A fine end

Sunday, the last day of the year turned out to be bright and sunny, The temperature hovered around 9 deg C all day though a stiff breeze made it feel colder. Still, it was nice to be outdoors when sheltered from that wind. I had deliberately arisen early so that I could drive to the beach to collect some more stones. I left the house around seven-thirty and by the time I had parked the van in the car park near to the beach it was beginning to enter the twilight zone. Twilight for me is the best part of any day and I am glad I live in a place where we have a period of twilight twice a day. Anyway, the wind felt stronger down on the sand but I persevered and collected quite a few stones while it was still quite dark. I made three short trips to and from the van to collect the stones in a plastic bag to then place them in a large bucket I had stored in the van. I should have taken a couple of more trips at that time but I was beginning to feel tired and cold. I could always return later. Before returning indoors on my arrival back home at eight-thirty I decided to make an attempt at sliding the hard neoprene strip back into the guide on the garage door. If my readers will remember it had slid out a couple of weeks ago and I informed the installer to have it repaired. At the time of writing this on the last day of the year there has been no follow-up from them. I will have to inform them it has been repaired. After doing that small job I took a parcel we had received on behalf of our neighbour across the road to give it to her who at the time it arrived wasn’t at home, then I went indoors for my breakfast. E came into the kitchen just as I had finished eating. After breakfast I donned my overalls and went into the garden to empty out the stones and to dig out a couple of montbretia plants.

Still not enough stones to cover the soil so I would have to do some more collecting. With that in mind E and I drove down to the beach in the afternoon and whilst I went to collect more stones she sat inside the van admiring the sea view. From her vantage point however I was invisible because of the intervening sea wall. I collected a small bucket full of stones which I placed in the empty space when we returned home…..

It looks full now but in fact there is space for a few more. I plan to put some other plants in the area later so some of the stones will move to create a space for them. It should then look fuller. (Click on pics to magnify)

Shirley Anne


Ready but not

It had taken longer than I had thought for the delivery of a new halyard rope for the flag pole but when it arrived on Tuesday it was too late in the day for me to install it or to make the attempt. I seldom like beginning a task late in the day so anything arriving late gets put off till the next day. I had spent time on the treadmill before breakfast whilst E ate hers during my exercise. We were expecting the delivery of a new dishwasher and at that time I hadn’t switched on the computer to track its progress. For some reason I developed a cramp in my right calf muscles whilst running, something I never had problems with years ago. I persevered and finished my exercise but I was left with an aching leg for a few hours thereafter. After breakfast I switched on the computer and checked the expected delivery time for the dishwasher and found they had scheduled delivery between the hours of two and four o’clock. E was pleased about that as she had to go shopping and did so in the morning. I of course was free to do other things so I decided to install the new rope for the flag pole. I was a little concerned that I might have difficulties in using the old rope to pull in the new one but my concerns were unfounded, it went in easily. I had however stitched them together with a needle and thread to ensure they would pass through the finial at the top of the pole. The flag was re-attached and ready for the wind which didn’t arrive at all during the day. Oh well. I returned indoors to recheck the delivery time for the dishwasher and it had been revised. It would now be delivered between one and two o’clock. E returned home before noon and I told her the new delivery time but checking once more I found it had been revised to arrive between one-twenty and one fifty. It arrived half-way between. It was ready for installation but by this time it was time for lunch. It took about fifteen minutes to unpack it and connect it up. That was it, all outstanding jobs done……..well…er…..not quite. I still have the garage light project as and when I can do it……..when I am ready.

Shirley Anne

Time slot

Following on from yesterday’s post it turned out that the weather was favourable on Saturday after all. I am referring to recovering the top of the garage wall with a concrete mix. When discussing the work with E’s nephew the builder he assured me that the seal between the fibreglass and the brick walls would not let in water. Well he would have been right in that assumption had the joint been against a smooth and flat surface but brickwork as you might guess is far from that, especially if the wall is aged and the mortar has given way in places! I checked inside the garage for any leaks the following day and sure enough there were four of them, though one was not associated with the new roof alteration work. They were all but one very minor and that which was worse wasn’t too bad, just bad enough to do something about it! Any leaks are undesirable, especially after new work has been done. Part of the problem was due to the top layer of bricks not keeping out the water because the mortar had cracked and some weeds had found a home in them. I had suggested all the bricks have new mortar or be repaired but nothing was taken on board. Any builder worth his salt would have ensured the wall he would be securing something to was solid enough to take it. Seems our builder didn’t think it was necessary. At the end of the day it didn’t matter because I could carry out the repairs to the brickwork myself. All I needed was a time slot in which to do it. The weather forecast hadn’t been promising and rain was said to be on its way to stay for a few days. There was just the one slight opportunity after lunch on Saturday when it would remain dry for about the next sixteen hours. It was raining when I arose and it didn’t stop until about ten-thirty. We knew that marked the beginning of the short dry spell so I took the opportunity and began the work. Here is the result…

The topping is a fine concrete mix, that is sand, grit and cement rather than just sand and cement in order to give it durability and strength. The same mix is used when laying a footpath and at the rear of our house there is a footpath constructed using the same mix. It has been there for 28 years and is as good as the day it was laid. Not only have I put a layer on the top (where it was needed) I have put some on the sides too as that was where water was getting in mostly. That should have been done by the builder before the new roof seal was applied so that the fibreglass could be placed over it. That can still be done should there be any more problems but I have a feeling it won’t be necessary. The rain held off until well after the concrete had set. Timed to perfection. The work had taken about thirty minutes to do.

Shirley Anne

Hooray a quiet day!

What a nice and quiet day Monday was, well almost. Early rise then breakfast, a little later I was placing one foot in front of the other as I walked to the north of town along the seafront. It started bright and sunny but soon after I began the walk it turned cloudy and somewhat cool, which I didn’t mind. The wind had changed and was now blowing from the north-west, hence the coolness. It was way too early for lunch by the time I got back home so I sat out on the patio with E with a coffee for the sunshine had returned. Because it was around noon the shadow of the house had now covered most of the patio but E was able to sit in the sunny part. An hour later and the patio was in full sunshine again and would be for the next three and a half hours if it didn’t turn cloudy again. It didn’t turn cloudy during the remainder of the day. We returned indoors for lunch by which time it was hot and humid outside. Now I could have done some work, which I was wanting to do but because of the weather conditions I decided against that idea. I spent the afternoon in the garden either on the patio or pottering about around the garden itself removing weeds and debris, nothing strenuous of course. Around five o’clock I got the hose and watered the plants before finally going back indoors to do some domestic chores. E had gone out, taking her mom they spent a couple of hours in town doing some business and window-shopping. When I was outside I had left my phone indoors. I sometimes do that so I am not disturbed but I check to see if anyone has called. Our next-door neighbour had called me three times on the mobile and twice on the house phone. E had just returned and before she came inside I told her about the calls thinking a parcel had been left with our neighbour which sometime happens. When E came back she told me our neighbour was having problems with her electric shower! Although it was now approaching meal time I told E I was going next door to see if I could help with the shower and she then told me that I should take note that our neighbour’s gates were stiff to open. Sure enough the gates were sticking together at the bottom. All had been quiet until our neighbour put a spanner in the works, lol. I knocked on the door and was invited inside. I went upstairs along with her son and checked the operation of the shower. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it just as it was when I checked it a few weeks earlier. The problem was they didn’t know how to use the controls to get the best from the shower. I explained how the shower works and the link between water flow and pressure to the heat of the water. The heat settings only switch on the elements either high or low. Water control does the rest. Finally the penny dropped and they could now see what they were doing wrong. I asked if they had an adjustable spanner (wrench) and the son fetched one. I took them both to the gates and showed them what the problem was with them sticking. I had the adjustments made in twenty seconds and all was fine. Maybe next time (though there shouldn’t be a next time after my adjustment) they could do it themselves, or rather the son could. It would be a first.

Shirley Anne

Goal achieved

I can relax a little now that all the major projects I had set myself to do this year have been accomplished. I will not remain idle though for even now I can think of things I can do to keep me occupied. On Wednesday morning after breakfast I undertook to finish the small project I had started the previous day which involved alterations to floodlights at the rear and one side of the house. Basically all I had left myself to do was to fix a new floodlight and a connection box then terminate the wiring after which I painted the remaining section of the main cable I had been unable to do the day before. rear-floodlights-4-and-5

The light which used to be where the black connection box is just around the corner (top-middle) has now been re-positioned where you see it on the right of the kitchen window. A cable now runs from the connection box to a new position beneath the other kitchen window here in this picture …side-wall-floodlightIt now shines directly upon the Plot when activated and will better illuminate the area and especially the passageway beneath it. The faulty floodlight will be partly dismantled and tested and if it is only the sensor that is faulty and not the LED lamp I will keep hold of it and use it elsewhere. It didn’t take long to dismantle the tower and store it away until it is needed again. It was almost lunchtime but I waited an hour before indulging. After lunch I had set myself a little plumbing job to do. If any of my readers will remember, I drained down the central heating system radiators and pipework a couple of months ago while it was still Summer in order to fit new radiator valves where I could get at them, though not all of them needed replacing. That meant air in the system when I refilled it of course, most of which I vented off manually. However, the bathroom towel rail heater remained air locked even though I had made alterations to the pipes in the airing cupboard to enable me to release any trapped air. I needed to get to grips with the situation but what with all the other work I had been doing I never really had the time. I attached a previously made length of hose pipe with a connecting pipe and fitting to the valve I had installed when the system was empty of water and allowed the water to gush out and into the bathtub. Surprisingly there was no air but just a little sludge, enough to stem the flow of water when in use. Thankfully the towel rail heated up and I was able to pack everything away.

Shirley Anne

Busy doing nothing

Another funny day on Thursday but for different reasons. Nothing really was planned and I was to be house-bound for the afternoon. I had to wait at home for an engineer to check our faulty fridge/freezer under guarantee. It had been looked at some weeks ago but that engineer I discovered hadn’t checked it properly even though I was charged a lot of money for him to check it out. Modern fridges cannot always be repaired easily as many components are moulded into the fabric of the framework. The compressor and pipework are accessible though and can be worked upon. In our unit it turned out to be a heater fault . The heater is used to defrost the system automatically but unfortunately it cannot be accessed as it is hidden in the insulation. A stupid idea if you ask me for it means defrosting will now have to take place manually! I digress. A four-hour slot had been allocated for him to call which meant I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere until he had called. Wouldn’t you know it? He arrived at the end of the four hours! So what was I to do in the morning? There was a small amount of filling in with concrete on the Plot but I decided not to do that until another day. Instead, I drove to the garden centre to browse for more plants and returned home with three to put in the Plot, two in the ground and one in the raised flowerbedplot-35

The small conifer in the left corner of the flowerbed and the two shrubs just right of the new steps are those which I bought and planted. I did no other work during the morning. E went out shopping as usual and I had to wait until almost five o’clock before I could return to the apartment I had worked in the day before and get paid by the old lady I had worked for. We ended up chatting and I didn’t leave until long after six o’clock by which time E had returned and was eating her evening meal! As far as the fridge/freezer is concerned I might just decide to buy another but of a different make, it will depend upon how frustrated we get having to manually defrost it every so often.

Shirley Anne

A little brighter

The sun may be cracking the flags just now but the change only started on Saturday morning after a few days of dull, overcast and occasional rain. I think the main culprit was the position of the so-called Jet Stream which by all accounts has now shifted a little in our favour. I had made arrangements for the engineer to check out the fridge/freezer and had prepaid the sum of £114 for the privilege. It took some time to eventually get the appointment due to the poor access to the manufacturer. Their telephone service was one of the worst I have ever encountered, menu-driven and often I was misdirected or cut off. I needed to speak with someone but eventually gave up. Their online presence was just as poor but I did get connected to their repair agency otherwise the work would never have been done. I had checked out the system myself as did a local engineer but neither of us could find a fault. stock-photo-young-plumber-writing-on-clipboard-in-front-of-refrigerator-appliance-in-kitchen-room-The engineer who came on Saturday had it sorted in fifteen minutes. It appeared that a sensor (thermistor, a resistive device which changes values with temperature) had become loose! Naturally I was going to claim a partial refund, £114 for fifteen minutes is a little over the top, that’s a whopping £456 per hour! I believe that a lower charge is levied (£45) if the fault, or lack of one as in this case, was minimal. Rather than attempt to contact the company by phone (almost impossible) or on-line I chose to write them a letter of which I made a copy indicating my concerns regarding the price and the poor connectivity to their services. I thanked them for the prompt and efficient service provided by their engineer however who by the way gave me a receipt showing the total amount of time he had spent at my house…..15 minutes. I will have to wait and see what their response will be. Anyway I took the walk to the post box and posted the letter. It was warm and beginning to get sunny. In yesterday’s post I wrote about my escapades installing the new towel rail.radiator in the wet room and the visit from the joiner who will replace the door I had mentioned. I didn’t mention however that I had struggled a little trying to remove the door and it’s hinges and the having to take it down more than three flights of stairs before hauling it out to the garage until I decide what to do with it. Gosh it was heavy, they certainly don’t make them like that these days, not for general use anyway. It must have been one of the original doors fitted back in 1877. Actually all the doors in the house are the original ones fitted. So I had Saturday off except that I mowed the lawn, vacuumed  the carpet on the stairs and landings whilst ‘Robbie’ (our robotic vacuum cleaner) did my bedroom, nailed down any loose floorboards in the top room in readiness for the carpet to be laid and I did some cooking and washing too! I find it hard just sitting on my bottom and doing nothing. Sunday though would  not be the same, it would be a day of rest. Monday, well this is what happened on Monday…the carpet fitter arrived mid-morning and finished the job before noon.

Top room carpet 2

Top room carpet 1

Top room carpet 3

The door has not yet been replaced as you can see in the last picture taken through the doorway from the landing. You can also see that E has quite a number of machines and boxes of materials for her crafting hobby. I suspect she will turn it into a small business considering the specialist equipment she has purchased.

Shirley Anne

Not the same

Not the same, not as good, not made to last, they don’t make things like they once did, everything is designed to be thrown away after a short time. We’ve all heard those sayings especially those of us who are members of the older generations. We can all remember the days when things were made to last but today it seems that robustness no longer exists for many manufactured things. At home we have three large chest freezers, one small freezer and two small fridges down in our cellar rooms and upstairs in the kitchen we have two fridge/freezers. The largest of the chest freezers was purchased at a church auction as I recall in the mid-eighties around about 1985 so shall we say 30 years ago? At that time the freezer was already 20 years old, maybe older. That is around 50 years and it is still working! They certainly don’t make them like that anymore. FridgeFreezersOne of the two fridge/freezers we have began to have problems some time ago. It was producing too much cold air and ice began to form inside the freezer compartment when it should not have done. That could have been caused by a couple of things, defrost heater fault, blocked drain, faulty control panel, faulty sensors/thermostats. I had tried all the obvious things to no avail so I thought I would call in a specialist to check it out. It’s not that I haven’t worked on refrigerators (or freezers), I have, in fact the machines I have worked on ranged from the small air conditioning units to units as large a double-decked bus! I have not worked on domestic fridges so much, in fact very little and that was around 45 years ago when they were built differently. The same principles apply to fridges/freezers/heat pumps no matter their size. It is the method of control and the components which differ. Whilst I was waiting for the guy to show I decided to strip down the unit and check out what I could. I found a huge block of ice on the evaporator which should not have been there. A blocked drain could allow the build-up of ice so I cleared out the drain pipe though nothing much was stuck in there. I checked the circulation fan (a newer development not found on very old units) and saw that it was working. I put everything back together but still the compressor didn’t start. The compressor is the main component in any recycling refrigeration system no matter what its size, basically a motor which compresses the refrigerant and pumps it around the system. I left the unit switched off for a time and restarted it later. By now it was seven-thirty in the evening and I didn’t expect the guy (and his father) to call at that hour but they did! They wanted to see what was wrong with the unit for themselves and having checked it over couldn’t find a problem either. The guy suggested that I had already cured the problem myself and to leave it switched on for a couple of hours to see if everything returned to normal. He phoned back an hour or so later to ask if it was operating. I hadn’t yet checked it but went straight to the kitchen and discovered that it was getting colder inside. I thought the problem had now been sorted. It wasn’t, three hours later it was still struggling to lower the temperature, only reaching down to +10 deg C. I switched it off and the following morning trawled the Internet to find a local engineer. The first guy admitted that if the system required recharging with refrigerant he couldn’t do it and I suspected that could have been the problem. I would have to wait and see. I arranged for the repairs to be done on Friday for a fixed price. So much for modern standards of manufacture, an appliance which goes faulty within two years doesn’t bode well does it?

Shirley Anne

Not quite

Central Heating 2
Central Heating 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having had no electrical work this past week I have been able to get on with a few things at home. Yesterday, that is Thursday as I write this, I was able to make a start on the central heating work, replacing the valves on seven radiators and altering some pipework. If my readers will remember I managed to do six of the radiators and as I had begun the work late in the day I stopped after three hours being as it was then time for my evening meal. After breakfast on Friday I completed the replacing of the radiator valves, a total of fourteen. There are actually thirteen radiators in total plus at the moment one tall towel rail. I replaced the valves on but seven of them for some were inaccessible and some didn’t require replacing anyway. I also installed two gate valves in the cellar room below the wet room so that I can connect a towel radiator/rail later without having to drain the system again. The heating pipes cover four floors and I know from memory that a plate manifold exists beneath E’s bedroom floor on the first floor. The reason I mention that is because when I began to refill the system it took an inordinately long time to fill. I have a feeling that air is still trapped in some of the pipes and probably in that manifold too. Slowly the radiators on the ground floor filled up but it took some time.The first floor radiators took much longer to fill, in fact twice as long. The bathroom towel rail is a problem and even now as I write this on Friday evening air is still trapped in the pipes despite my fitting a gate valve to manually vent it. Two of the five radiators on the first floor  don’t appear to be totally free of air as yet also. There are three radiators on the top floor but two are not in use and were valved-off. The third hasn’t filled up as yet either. That radiator is in the room we recently redecorated and which is still waiting to have a new carpet laid when I get around to ordering one. Once the first two floors were just about free of air I switched on the pump for a time to encourage the air to escape. I’d had enough of going up and down the stairs venting radiators trying to find out why the system was taking so long to fill up so after five hours I packed it in and left it for another day. Things may have settled down in a day or two and the trapped air may have escaped but if not I shall have to investigate further. I may have to ‘force fill’ the pipes in order to expel any trapped air that isn’t caught in a radiator where it can be vented off easily. Incidentally our system is an open type one pipe system which means it isn’t pressurised and it is served by a header tank where it can expand and/or overflow if anything goes wrong. Don’t you just love plumbing? Don’t you remember from all my earlier posts about my plumbing escapades? I hate plumbing! Ha ha.

Shirley Anne

Got started

English: Radiator of a central heating system ...
Radiator of a central heating system . Transparent background & converted to SVG by Rugby471. Original picture is here (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was talking about the possibility of starting the task of replacing many of the valves on the radiators on our heating system. Not every one needed to be changed and some couldn’t be reached anyway because of the things stored in the rooms they are in. Those rooms are currently not in use of course except for the storage of furniture, the furniture belonging to my sons. Should it be necessary to replace the valves in those rooms at a later date it won’t be too difficult but it will necessitate draining down the system again. So it was that in the afternoon on Thursday whilst E was out doing the weekly shopping I set about making a start in replacing the valves. First point of call, the top of the house into one of the two small loft areas in which the water storage tank for the heating system is located in order to isolate the water supply to the tank. It was then possible to drain the water out of the radiators without it being automatically replaced by the storage tank! Second point of call, the lowest part of the house, the cellar, where the boiler is located. I attached a hose pipe to the drain cock and led it out of the door into the garden then opened the valve. It was a case then of waiting a half-hour for the water to completely drain out of the system. I returned to the top of the house and opened the air bleed screws on each of the radiators in turn to test whether the radiators were empty. As soon as the first one was empty I began to replace its valves. I continued with each of the radiators in turn until I reached those on the ground floor. Of the five down there one didn’t need its valves replacing and one couldn’t be reached because of the furniture stored in the room. I managed to replace the valves on two of the three remaining radiators before E returned home with the shopping. At that time I stopped the work. It had taken me a little less than three hours. At the time of writing this on Thursday evening one radiator remains to be done. I have also to alter some pipework in the cupboard in the main bathroom in order to fit an air release valve there and then I have to fit a couple of ‘gate’ valves in the cellar beneath the wet room floor in readiness for the installation of a towel rail at a later date. The only form of heating in the wet room at this moment is from a fan heater at high level which is fine if wanting to heat the room whilst having a shower but not to have switched on all day long (in the colder months). Having a heated towel rail will keep the room reasonably warm whilst at the same time keeping the towels dry.

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I am hoping there will be no leaks when the water is turned back on after the work is complete because that might necessitate a drain-down of the system again in order to fix it!

Shirley Anne

Stuck inside

Although it was nice having warm and sunny weather it was refreshing when the temperatures returned to normal for the time of year on Tuesday. I don’t like it too hot and felt uncomfortable in the 24 C heat on Sunday and Monday when I had some electrical work to do in the morning. Thankfully the work wasn’t strenuous but it still took me four hours to complete. E and I dined out mid-afternoon and spent an hour or two out on the patio when we returned home. We had set our hearts on buying new furniture for the patio and had seen what we wanted in the ‘Homebase’ store so on Tuesday morning we drove to the store ordered and paid for it and now wait for its delivery as I write this on Tuesday afternoon. We could have bought it over the Internet but for something so large I would rather see it first. This is a drawback with using the Internet because you can never tell what things look and feel like close-up. Eventually we drove back home after making a detour and had our lunch. By now it was raining and we were more or less confined indoors so I suggested we use the time to carry on with the repairs to the ceiling and wall in one of the top rooms of the house. In earlier posts I talked about the damage that had resulted up there because of the leaking roof which was repaired a few weeks ago. The wall needed papering over and the ceiling needed a coat of textured paint……Top room damage


Top room repair


Top room repair 2

More textured paint will have to be purchased as there was only just enough to cover the patch on the ceiling. We papered the wall with some embossed paper we had stored in the cellar. It will be painted over later. The main problem with this room is that it is filled with cardboard boxes which will have to be sorted if we are to redecorate the room. It needs redecorating and a new carpet laid once the work is done.

Shirley Anne


Well I suppose we can now say yes to the small bedroom project. We had been waiting for the carpet fitter to lay the carpet on Monday morning so that we could bring back the furniture into the room. The guy came on time as planned and less than an hour later it was finished. Whilst he was here I asked him if he would be interested in laying the artificial turf when it arrives and he said he would. I showed him the patio so that he could see the surface where the turf would be laid. We talked about the adhesive that would be needed and he told me he would source that at a cheaper price than we would otherwise have had to pay if we bought it ourselves. When the turf arrives I have arranged to call him so he can see it and then set a date to lay it. In the meantime E and I cleaned the new carpet and brought the furniture back into the room. Small bedroom 16

Small bedroom 17

Small bedroom 18

The bed needed re-assembling as did the wardrobe. We needed to carry out some minor repairs to the wardrobe and level it so it would stand erect, we also had to adjust the door catches as they had always been a problem in the past. The reason the bed is empty is that we are waiting for the delivery of a new mattress on Friday. E went out after lunch and I was at a bit of a loose end until I remembered a job that needed doing at the top of the house. If my readers will remember we had two roof leaks repaired recently and the ceiling in one of the top rooms had been damaged because of the ingress of rain. Six years ago we had roof repairs and a lot of other works going on around the house but the roof leak hadn’t been discovered though we thought it had. The ceiling was not repaired at that time as there was no time to do it. However it got left and almost forgotten about, shelved for another day which never arrived! It was fortunate in a way that repairs weren’t done as the recent leak would have necessitated it being done again. I had a tub of ready-mixed plaster in the house so I used it all to patch up the area. Naturally that was only to be the base and a top coat of plaster would be applied later. Both the ceiling and part of the adjoining wall had been damaged.Top room damage

Six years are a long time to leave before doing a job but in this case it saved doing the job twice!

Shirley Anne

What now?

As I write this on Thursday afternoon the guys who were fixing the roof problems and the chimney stack, well one of the chimney stacks as there are three of them, have informed me that they have finished. I phoned the scaffolding company to let them know and the boss told me they would call tomorrow, Friday, to dismantle it and take it off site. At last I thought, I would have my house back but as I was putting the van in the garage I noticed one corner of the roof had been letting in water and the wooden roof is beginning to rot. The supporting joists don’t seem to be affected but part of the roof sheeting will have to be replaced and then the whole roof in that area will need resurfacing with bitumen. I think the real problem is where that bitumen sheeting meets the brick wall. Aside from that it also needs to come over the brick because at the moment it lies on top of it and out of sight from the driveway. Water has seeped beneath it and it has lifted the bitumen under the two stone blocks I placed there to hold it down some time ago. You can see them on the right-hand-side on top of the brick parapet in this picture taken recently.The leak is in the corner on the inside of the garage above and in front of the van.

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Anyway that part isn’t the main problem as far as I can tell. I think the main leak is just on the other side of that parapet where it joins the side wall. It means I will need the services of Es nephew once again if he’ll do it. When will it all end? At least this work is at low-level and scaffolding won’t be needed. I could probably do the woodwork repair but I would still require a professional to do the bitumen sheet. Maybe I will need to employ both. Anyway as I write this I am expecting E’s nephew to call around to see it.

Shirley Anne


Dragging on

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So Friday morning I had expected the guys doing the roof and front step to arrive early as they did the day before. I was up very early so as not to be caught out asleep as I had been on Thursday but I also had to put out the wheelie waste bin as I do every Friday morning and Monday morning if it is ‘green waste day’. Most folk put out their bins the evening before but we have experienced others using our bins to dispose of their waste. That I do not mind but when they put the wrong type of waste and unsorted waste into the bin it is a bit of a liberty especially as we diligently sort our waste before putting it in the bin. Our collection is usually later in the day or morning so there isn’t the need to put the bin out the evening before. This week it was plastic and cardboard waste and the bin was full to overflowing as usual but alongside I had placed a small mountain of cardboard we were left with that came with the bedroom furniture and other items over the past two weeks. Most of the waste we dispose of these days is either plastic, cardboard or paper and all are recyclable. I ate breakfast and waited for the arrival of the guys but they didn’t turn up. As I write this at noon they have still not arrived. Accordingly our repairs are dragging on unnecessarily. The whole work if done at once would probably only take a little over a day but try holding down a builder even if he is E’s nephew! I am not sure at this point whether the repairs on the west end of the roof have been completed. I climbed to the top of the scaffolding on Thursday afternoon to see what progress had been made but I think there is more to do yet. Once that end is completed they have to move to the east end of the roof to carry out a repair there and to generally check the other chimney stack to ensure everything is alright. Then of course the wall alongside the front steps needs to be finished off. We did very little work at home ourselves on Friday morning though as I write that may change, in fact E has just come into the room to tell me she is going to gloss paint the picture rail I had sanded down an hour ago. That will mean I can get on with painting the walls on Saturday if I’ve a mind to do so.

Shirley Anne

On the go

I woke up rather late on Thursday, I must have needed the sleep is all I can say. I knew the guys were coming early but I wasn’t dressed and ready to come downstairs. Fortunately E had risen earlier than I but even she had to answer the door at ten minutes after eight in order to give the guys access to the rear garden. I actually didn’t get downstairs until almost nine-thirty. I ate a very light breakfast, mostly fruit and after a short while drove off to buy the LED light bulbs for the new fitting. If you remember yesterday I mentioned E had been given six tungsten bulbs but I was never going to use them. Anyway I drove to the retail park to see what they were charging for the bulbs and then phoned my electrical supplier to ask them how much they charge. They were even less than half the price at the electrical supplier. I drove there and bought them for less than £19 for six. When I returned home E had just finished vacuuming the carpet on the stairs. I went upstairs and installed the new light fitting…Bedroom light

It didn’t take long to install though even using the high ladder it was still a bit of a stretch to reach the ceiling. I have been able to get things done at home as my electrical work has been slack in coming in this week. E went out in the afternoon to do the shopping and I decided I would climb the ladders to the top of the scaffolding were the guys had been repairing the roof to see what they had done. The guys had left for the day. One of the tasks they were to do was to re-point some of the brickwork but like most builders I have come across they are no too fussy about the mess they create. One of the five floodlights we have on the walls at the rear of the house was literally covered in red mortar. I descended to fetch a brush and clean it off before it set hard. A plastic bag to cover the light whilst they were working would have prevented my having to clean it. I am capable of climbing ladders but many women, probably most women my age are not and would therefore not be able to check things over. I set high standards when I work, especially if it is for others so I expect those working for me to be just as conscientious. It looks as though the front steps will be finished off soon as one guy was preparing the small wall for skimming with cementFront steps 3

Everything is on the go but I will be happy when all the building repairs and alterations are completed and the scaffolding removed. We can then concentrate on our own work.

Shirley Anne