Just about complete

I have yet to refit the two wall lights but as far as the room being completed is concerned it is finished. I am looking for a small unit to place against the wall opposite and facing the windows on which I will place one of the two table lamps I propose to purchase in the near future. It will stand near to where the guitar is in the next to bottom picture. As I write this on Saturday evening the furniture arrived earlier today and at last I am able to actually sit in the room again! Here are the pictures…

In the two top pictures you may be able to just see the red covered top of a four-legged stool standing between the sofa and the cabinet. I am in the process of painting a base unit I made yesterday for the stool to stand on. It has four recessed holes for the legs to sit in and it will spread the load when anyone sits on the stool to prevent the legs digging into the carpet under the weight. The stool is only there if I wish to use the computer while it is on top of the cabinet instead of on my lap. Now that the work is mainly complete I am already thinking about another project I can start in the weeks ahead. Maybe I’ll just shelve the idea for a while.

Shirley Anne


Nowhere to sit

Having been told by the carpet fitter that he would arrive at eight-thirty on Friday morning I duly arose early. I waited for eight-thirty to come, then nine-thirty and I was about to give up on him arriving any time in the morning when ten minutes later the door bell rang. It was the fitter. There was no apology nor explanation, only a cheerful smile. I simply accepted that he hadn’t kept the appointment and let him get on with the job. I made him a strong cup of tea with little milk just as he likes it and thanking me he began the work. I popped in a few times to see the progress and chat with him and he was only too pleased to chat. Maybe it is his ancestry which makes him a chatterbox like myself though I hail from different stock. Although he was born in this country I have been led to believe his family are of Italian origin, and Italians like chatting. He is a pleasant person and has been to our house four or five times over the past few years laying carpets as well as the artificial turf we have on the patio. Soon the work was finished and he had taken a mere hour and a bit to do it.

Yes it is a pale grey colour and is designed to match the grey pattern of the wall paper. The curtains match the colour of the stripes around the ceiling as well as the other colour on the wall paper. I spent around twenty minutes vacuuming the new carpet of all the bits and pieces that are produced in laying carpets and having to empty the vacuum out twice before I let Robbie (in the picture) vacuum up the smaller bits I had missed. I had to empty his tray three times, well he is only little! I often wonder why carpet fitters don’t vacuum the new carpets after they have laid them. Maybe it only happens in other countries? While Robbie was busy wandering about the room I began to move the furniture in, the small cabinet, the coffee table, the television and its table, the guitar and the new floor-standing lamp. Now those things are all very well and good but I couldn’t sit on them (well maybe the coffee table) and be comfortable. I received a message on my phone informing me that the settees would be delivered between eleven o’clock and two o’clock the next day, Saturday as arranged. Well I hoped so.

Shirley Anne

Odds and ends

Having completed the bulk of the work in redecorating the small lounge I could begin to do the smaller jobs. The first thing I set about doing on Tuesday was to fill in a few small gaps with caulk and then store away the things I had finished using and cleaning some of the brushes. The next thing was to offer the radiator up to the wall on the brackets in order to mark the position for drilling the wall for the left-hand top bracket Having marked the position I replaced the radiator on the floor for painting later. I then drilled the wall and fixed the bracket. One of the things I had to do at some point was to clear the hearth and score the hard granite surfaces to enable the tile fixing compound to adhere when the tiles would be laid later in the week so I began doing that. I had to use the end of a metal-working file to score the surface and hoped it would be enough. That was hard work and it took me quite some time to do it. I finished that and then applied a second coat of gloss paint to the underside of the coffee table. It would be the last coat to the underside. Whilst I had the brush and paint to hand I gave the radiator a coat of white gloss paint. That may be all it needs as it was already white in colour. Once the radiator is dry I would re-fix it to the wall and connect it up but that would be a couple of days away. I had finished what I had intended to do so I made myself a coffee and sat with it out on the patio in the warm sunshine. It was eleven o’clock. Just before noon I drove to the pub and had my lunch. I got to speaking with a guy I know who is a decorator and I asked him if he was working. He told me he just got fed-up with working and had taken the afternoon off. I know exactly how he felt. I was telling him that I was looking to purchase a small sideboard but that I wanted it in white. I had been searching for one using the Internet but could find what I wanted. He suggested I visit one of the local charity stores and see if they had something so after lunch I started out to look for one. I drove to a local street in the town where I thought I might find one but on the way I recalled the Salvation Army had an outlet next to their citadel in that same street. I have often visited the citadel but never the adjacent store. I was in there for only two or three minutes when I saw something that was almost exactly what I was looking for. All it needed was to be painted white. Here it is with the drawers to the left and the shelf in front just after I had applied the same priming paint I had used for the room wood work. That wasn’t today as you read this it would be the following day an hour after it was delivered. See tomorrow’a post.  The price was £35 and they would deliver it the next day for another £5. I bought it knowing it would be unlikely that I would find a better piece of furniture and especially for that price. I think I was meant to go there. The reason I wanted a small sideboard is it will be the only piece of furniture in the room besides the seating, coffee table and television because I want to keep a minimalist theme for the room. The tall bookshelf I had in there had become so cluttered and many of the things, including the books, were hardly used. By keeping little or no storage space in the room it will stay uncluttered.

Shirley Anne

Wheels in motion

Talking about redecorating one of the lounges in yesterday’s post set me thinking seriously about getting the ball rolling, setting the wheels in motion as it were as I had nothing else to do on a dull Monday morning. What a difference the weather turned out to be on Monday compared to the previous two to three days. It was much cooler and windier though I will say it brightened up later. Not one for hanging about too long before making the decision to get the lounge redecorated I made immediate steps in that direction. Before I could do anything however I received a call telling me that the photo cell sensor unit I had ordered had arrived and was ready for collection. As it happened the existing sensor had resumed working as before but I still followed through with the purchase and drove there to collect it. It will be a useful stand-by should one of the two installed units fail. Pity it cost £75 for the privilege but there you go. So getting back to the lounge…..I organised an appointment with Hillary’s who’s representative will now be coming along on the 20th of this month, three days hence in fact, to measure for bespoke curtains and to install them at a later date. They have to be made to suit because the windows are of unusual dimensions. At the same time I will decide on the colour. That arranged I proceeded to check out the local furniture stores over the Internet and finally selected at least for the time being the sofas I want, one three-seater and the other a two-seater from DFS. They cost me £1700 in their sale offer. I paid up front. The suite we have at the moment consists of a three-seater sofa and two armchairs but having a two-seater instead of two armchairs saves space and for this room will be more suitable. I have chosen from the Mendez range in the colour ‘Bordeaux’ which as the name implies is a rich crimson red. They, I have been informed will take around six weeks to manufacture and deliver, plenty of time to be getting on with the decorating. Whilst I was out collecting the sensor I drove to a decorating supply centre and purchased some cover stain (for covering the existing mahogany stain on the woodwork), some gloss paint and wallpaper paste. I didn’t purchase the emulsion on that visit but will collect some later and neither did I purchase the wallpaper. Now I have ordered the furniture I can decide on the colour of the wallpaper and later on the carpet. I will need to decide on the colour of the wallpaper before I have the curtains made too. So it starts…. After I had dropped the materials back home I went to the pub for lunch and at the same time phoned my decorator friend. He told me he was quite busy but maybe could do the work in a few week’s time. I just have to remind him later on. I see him at the pub sometimes too though he wasn’t there on Monday, well he would be working at that time of day! I had thought about doing the work myself but I will have enough to do stripping the room and getting it ready to work in and of course any electrical work that comes in. Later in the afternoon in fact I received a call to do some electrical work the following day which all helps to lessen the cost of the decorating.

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

Space again

English: Modern view of Manchester City Centre
English: Modern view of Manchester City Centre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday morning  just before noon I took E to collect the large hire van from the hire company across town and drove back home to park my own van in the garage. The people who run and own the hire company are known personally by us and we always use their company whenever we wish to hire a van. E was quite some time arriving home with the vehicle which as it happened was even larger than the one we hired a few weeks ago. We immediately set about loading it with the numerous boxes and pieces of furniture which belong to our youngest son and his girlfriend that we had stored in our house and garage whilst they were waiting to move into their own first home. They both work in and around Manchester so it was natural for them to buy a house there. We got most of it stored in the van but had to wait for them to arrive before we could load the heavier items such as the bed and one or two items of furniture. We were sitting having our lunch some time after two o’clock having loaded all that we were able to when they arrived at the door. They were surprised that we had in fact done most of the work already. I think it came as a bit of relief as they had been at work during the morning. Finally we set off toward Manchester some time after three but they first drove to her parents home in order to collect her car before following on behind us. We actually arrived at least a half hour before they eventually pulled up but whilst we were waiting for them we decided to do a spot of gardening by removing much of the overgrowth and weeds we found trying to engulf the small front garden. We filled their wheelie bin which had been empty when we first arrived. After a brief look around their new home we all set about unloading the van. It was a hot sunny day on Friday and it took its toll on us all to some degree. It was fast approaching 7 o’clock by the time everything was inside the house. During our little tour our son showed us the rear garden which at present is very much overgrown and somewhat neglected. It will take some time to get it organised. He showed us a large cabinet tucked away in the rear which he hadn’t opened beforehand and wasn’t quite sure what it was until I told him it was a storage box. We opened it to find a large spade, a large fork, a strimming machine and a lawnmower inside left there by the previous owner. That was an unexpected bonus! We didn’t stay long after we’d done the unloading but it was now after 7.30 and we had to get back home. We put some more fuel in the tank, not a lot, and drove homeward. On the way we talked about something to eat and I suggested we stop at one of our regular haunts which happened to be on the route. It had been some time since we dined out in the evening but to our surprise we found the place remarkably empty for a Friday evening, a time when many folk unwind after the week’s work. There were still quite a few people in there nevertheless. It was well after 10.30 when we got home. The two lounges we generally use now seem empty with all their furniture gone and as E said earlier, ‘I’ve got my garage back’! Their house has been well cared for by the previous owner and apart from some repairs to the brick wall at the rear of the property little is required to be done. It is one of those houses that can be lived in without having to do anything to decorate or improve it. The same cannot be said of the gardens though but given time I’m sure they will put that right.

Shirley Anne

I just can’t!

Room (Photo credit: -bartimaeus-)

I work hard and love doing it as my readers will have gathered by now but there comes a time when I have to say no. I am talking about working at home now. We, that is E and I, have had one project or another on the go for the last few years, they keep us active and give us something to do with our spare time. By doing things ourselves we have saved huge sums of money though some jobs we certainly had to pay someone else to do them. Our last project was the wet room and we have the bathroom in the early stages of refurbishment at the moment. Other projects will follow, God willing. We are at that stage with the bathroom project whereby we have to sort out the plumbing and central heating pipes. The plumbing for the furniture isn’t a problem as such but the central heating pipes that fed the radiator have to be re-routed which means lifting floorboards in the adjacent room before I can make further progress. That room used to be the bedroom of our youngest son who still uses it on occasion when he comes to town for a weekend activity such as a wedding. The room is filled with furniture but being the way he is it is also filled with heaps of miscellaneous other things and is totally untidy. I don’t know what it is with guys but most of them are the same when it comes to keeping things tidy and in order, especially at home. He was at home over the last weekend, that is our home for he lives with his girlfriend in another town now and I mentioned that I wanted to move the furniture in the bedroom to be able to continue with the bathroom. There was no offer to help me in any way nor any suggestion he might have a tinge of guilt as to the way he has left the room over the last couple of years. I refuse to do anything in that room by way of cleaning it and E doesn’t bother either. Consequently dust has gathered and the untidiness has gotten progressively worse. If you were to compare that room with my bedroom it would be like having two waste bins, one dirty and full and one clean and empty! Mine is the latter. Many of his clothes are still in the wardrobe and chest of drawers, apart from those that litter the floor or are in bags on the floor gathering dust. So I have set an ultimatum, either the room gets sorted or I stop working on the project. I can only do so much. I wonder how long it will be before something gets done?

Shirley Anne


Even on a Saturday and Sunday

English: 1966 Ambassador 990 station wagon by ...
English: 1966 Ambassador 990 station wagon by American Motors Corporation (AMC). Detail of the standard roof rack, and the one-year only roof design finished in optional two-tone paint (white). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whilst I adhere to observing the Sabbath day, having my day of rest and sometimes more than that sometimes, I find I am still doing something. My youngest son and his girlfriend/partner got the keys to their new apartment over in Manchester on Saturday. A week or so back they were asking if we had a spare bed they could have. As it happened we did, we have a couple of spare beds. Having decided which one they would like my son asked if I could transport it to their apartment on Saturday. The bed had been in storage at the very top of the house in a room that is mostly filled with his brothers furniture. His brother and his wife have two rooms in our house full of their furniture, one is the room mentioned and the other is one of the three lounges we have downstairs. Both rooms are filled to capacity! Unfortunately the bed in question was stored behind another bed with other furniture in front of it! Rather than wait until Saturday to get everything ready I decided myself to spend some time on Friday to bring it out of the room and take it downstairs. My son was going to be at work during the week and even on Saturday until 4 o’clock so he would have been hard-pressed to lend a hand. I am very experienced in moving heavy and awkward items as it has been part of my duties throughout my working life. There are proper ways to move large objects and if done correctly require very little effort. It’s all about using the objects’ own weight to move it safely and without putting too much strain on yourself. Slow and steady does it. Anyway I had the various parts of it dug out and transported to the floor below in no time but didn’t want to take it to the ground floor as I didn’t wish to block the hall. On Saturday I had to empty my van of everything in it, clean the inside and lay a plastic sheet inside ready to take the bed, I drove it out of the garage and parked it near to the steps leading up to the front door. I then began to move the bed and a few other items out of the house and into the van. The mattress itself would have to be transported on the roof rack but first of all it needed to be wrapped in a plastic bag in case of rain. Fortunately I had kept the bag that had covered another bed which I had bought a few years ago. We were going to put the mattress on top of the van just before we set off to Manchester on Sunday afternoon. Later on Saturday I began to rationalise all the materials and tools I had removed from the van discarding items no longer required and reducing the net load in the process. I do this occasionally as over the months I find I have accumulated too much rubbish and unnecessary things. I have always maintained a tidy van and know exactly where everything is but even so I still find I accumulate a ‘surplus’.

Shirley Anne

They let me loose with a hammer!

Old white wash-basin
Image via Wikipedia

Friday morning

After breakfast I was looking for something to do. I had no electrical jobs and as the weather promised to be wet and windy I decided to fetch my toolbox from my van and set about removing the fittings from the downstairs toilet/cloakroom. Before long I had removed everything that had been fixed to the walls, except the mirror over the wash basin. Next, I removed, demolished would be a better word, the cupboard standing in the corner then proceeded to strip off wallpaper and wall tiles. In a matter of an hour the room was left with bare floorboards with only the wash basin and toilet suite still standing! I shan’t be moving them out until after next weekend as it will most probably be needed for my guests at the barbecue we hope to have. It will save them having to traipse up the stairs to the bathroom! No doubt our new decor will be a subject of discussion! The week following will see everything taken out of the room ready for a complete refurbishment. We are transforming the room into a ‘wet room’ and that is going to take us a while to do but there is no hurry. Now that our eldest son’s wife is expecting a baby in December they may decide to move back here sooner rather than they would otherwise have planned. It just means their own house will become empty until they get a buyer. What it means for us is the need to redecorate a bedroom and a lounge, both of which are not presently in use except for storage of furniture and other things. This means that we have to find alternative places to store what is in these rooms too. You might think that a seven bedroom house with plenty of rooms in the (clean) cellar would give us the space we need but many of those rooms are already filled with possessions. It is going to require some clever manoeuvering to get everything stored. You have to remember that our children’s furniture will perhaps be here only temporarily.

Late Friday afternoon

I’m playing guitar and drinking red wine………….my hammer has been put away…….for now

Shirley Anne

Lazin’ on a sunny afternoon

The day started early for me as I dragged myself out of bed to get ready for work. I had one job to do locally which turned out to be two jobs albeit at the same address. Even so I was back home just after ten o’clock! I wasn’t in the mood for work but today and tomorrow I cannot afford such luxury as I have two separate jobs to do which will take me the morning to do in each case. When I got home I washed my van, the first time in quite a few weeks as I have been too busy elsewhere. Later and before lunch I had some housekeeping to do and I spent some time on the treadmill but after lunch I’d simply had enough of work and exercise. There were things to do and there still are things to do but I wanted to rest instead. The morning wasn’t too bright but by noon the sun began to shine and it remained sunny all afternoon. I grabbed some beer (lager) and my guitar and went outside to sit in our new patio. after a while I took the guitar indoors but returned to just sitting quietly in the patio whilst appreciating the scenery. E had gone out for a couple of hours and there was no-one else in the house. Today we are expecting E’s nephew and his friend to turn up to lay the remaining paving slabs in the rear garden around the patio. Later, probably Wednesday and Thursday, we are hoping they will finish laying paving slabs in the front garden too. We are also expecting two deliveries this week, the first will be the materials and furniture for our proposed re-vamp of the downstairs toilet/cloakroom and the second will be the delivery of the windows for the new(er) garage. Of course this means more work so it is nice to be able to sit around occasionally, ‘Lazin’ on a sunny afternoon’.

Shirley Anne