Sand and clutter

Before any work could be done on the lawn project I had to figure where I would put the soil after digging it out to allow the cobbles to be laid. Some of the soil would be replaced once the grass had been removed from it. I decided the only suitable place to store it would be where the second bag of sand had been placed. I had removed the sand from the cellar floor whilst constructing the pit in there (see earlier posts). That meant I had to put the sand into small bags and store it in the garage as I had done with the first large bag. Some of that sand has since been used but there was still a large amount unused. I spent some time on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning re-bagging and removing the sand from outside. 

…and putting it into the garage with the rest….

It may not seem a lot but there are seventeen bags there in the picture above with two more behind the wheelbarrow.There are also bags of grit, granite chippings and cement there too! The garage is getting quite cluttered as you can see from these pictures….

The wooden crate and the blue coloured pallet were used in the delivery of the cobbles. In this country these things are never collected and we have to dispose of them ourselves but sometimes they do come in handy. The timber can be used and the large bags used in delivery of sand, soil and other things can be used too as you can see. We use this garage for storing most things we use outdoors for there is more space in it than the second garage as well as it being more accessible to both front and rear gardens. Whilst access to the gardens is easy from the second garage access to the rear garden is more restricted and only suitable for pedestrian activity. Just after I had completed the removal of the sand the rain came down heavily. Typical UK weather…

Shirley Anne



It was me who was garaged, spent quite a few hours in there working on the floodlight project. I was up and about very early on Tuesday so I could get on the treadmill for a time. I had been using the cross trainer on Sunday and had spent almost an hour exercising on it. Finally my muscles have gotten used to the machine and this time I had no problems. If you remember I had problems using it initially as I wasn’t used to it. Anyway as E and I had spent Monday doing other things I did no exercising that day. So on Tuesday I spent three-quarters of an hour on the treadmill before breakfast. After breakfast it was time to put on my overalls and get the electrical work done in the garage. I have to say at this point this project has fought me all the way for as I worked through it I was beset with one problem after another. Usually most jobs have a problem or two but this one was challenging to say the least. The electrical circuit is simplicity itself but the execution of it at times was frustrating. Anyway I worked through from late morning until three o’clock except for a lunch break in order to finish the work. 

The top picture shows the reverse of the reed switch bracket screwed in position and the wiring installed and connected. It is operating on a 12 volt AC supply so there is no danger it being easy to access. It operates a relay inside the grey box on the far right in the next picture. The external photo cell unit is wired into the same box (the cable is that entering the box at top right). Another cable leaves the box to supply the floodlight shown in the bottom picture. There you have it, when it goes dark outside and the garage door is opened, on comes the floodlight……

All I need to do now is to replace the door cover which I removed several weeks ago before any of this work was started. Hopefully I will get the safety edge gear refitted on the timber I purchased to make a better job than that originally done by the installer.

Shirley Anne

The season’s work

There’s no getting away from it, Autumn is upon us here in the UK. As the temperate areas of the Southern Hemisphere are welcoming Spring, we in the north are moving in the opposite direction. Leaves have been falling from the trees in greater quantities and for anyone living near that means the annual sweeping up of them! It’s either that else let the mess continue. Having a garden is a lovely thing and for those who wish to keep theirs tidy and well-maintained sweeping up the leaves is a must. The problem is the leaves don’t all fall at the same time. A couple of days ago I decided to sweep up as many of the leaves that had fallen as I could, mainly off the pathways because quite simply I got fed-up looking at the state of the garden. As the green waste bins were full after my trimming back the bushes in the front garden there was limited space for any swept-up leaves. I managed however to get them all in by compression. On Wednesday we were expecting another visit from the installers of our new garage door prior to it being installed the following week on Thursday. More accurate measurements were required and an assessment of the preparatory work we had done for the installation was needed. It was just as well I was at home for they had misunderstood my original request to maintain head-clearance and the reason for my having the roof at that point raised to accommodate the unit. They didn’t stop long and after five minutes or so were on their way. They weren’t sure if it would be themselves or the other local crew who would return to carry out the installation. E had been working in her studio during the morning but after lunch she joined with me and we cleared-up the fallen leaves once more but this time we included the lawn. Fortunately we have one of those devices , a rotatory sweeper which sweeps up the leaves into a hopper by simply pushing it along the ground. We had the work done in less than fifteen minutes but then had to put the leaves into one of the builder’s bags we keep in the garage. The green waste bins wouldn’t be emptied until two weeks later so storing the leaves temporarily in the bags was the only option and there would be more leaves to sweep up long before then. Autumn in the garden is never dull, there is always something to do, in fact I have some plans afoot already.

Shirley Anne

Moving along

A week or so back I wrote about having a replacement garage door installed. I had been having problems with the old door that fairly recently was converted to electrical operation though it wasn’t the electrical conversion but rather the inherent mechanical components beginning to show their age. The picture below shows almost the exact door as the one we are having replaced….

Photograph of a chain-drive garage door opener...
Photograph of a chain-drive garage door opener. This residential unit is manufactured by The Chamberlain Group, Inc. under the LiftMaster brand name. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For a few years I have wanted to replace the door with a roller-shutter type so I contacted a company which manufactures and installs them to call and give me a quote. Having agreed on the price I told them to proceed with the work. I was informed that it may be a month or so before it could be done. In the interim I arranged for the garage roof to be raised where the new roller was to be fitted and that work was carried out during the following week. Since then it has been a case of waiting for things to happen, that is up to the time of writing this on Thursday (21) for on Wednesday I received a call informing me that after a second survey on Wednesday 27 to check the preliminary alterations have been completed the installation will take place on Thursday October 5. The work will be completed in one day. I never did like the old door because there were too many things in its design that were prone to fault. Things move on though and hopefully there will be less problems associated with the new door.  The other garage has a rolled steel shutter door which gives us little problem and there is no reason to replace it. Hopefully in my next post regarding the new installation I will be able to post a picture or two.

Shirley Anne



One thing I hate are ladders but only if they are in my stockings! The other variety though come in very handy don’t they? Years ago we purchased a two-section aluminium ladder, classed then as 27 feet (8.5 metres) and it has proved to be very useful because if required only one section need be used. We acquired another more robust aluminium two-section ladder that has a pulley attachment at the top, or rather that section which would be at the top when both sections are used. I say we acquired it because I have no idea from whence it came nor to whom it belonged. It may have been owned by E’s father, who lived in the house with us but who is now deceased. In any event no-one wants to claim it though we’ve asked them. I don’t really want it either but until I can find a way to dispose of it I am lumbered with it. I may end up taking it to the dump. Once I do that I can place one or two of my other ladders on the racks instead. One of those is presently stored on the rack which the grey coloured bicycle is hanging from (last picture) but it is out of sight in the picture.In the picture above you can see we have one section of it suspended near the ceiling in the garage on the right. There are empty builder’s material bags sitting on it at the moment. The heavier section I have hung on the wall on the opposite side of the garage together with our original ladder. We did not posses a rack on which to hang ladders so me being me decided I would make some. Now it has been a while since I worked much with metal insofar as bending and shaping it under heat like a blacksmith does. I have been trained in that discipline along with many other things so I am used to it but having all the equipment at home to carry out mechanical work is not what most women would regard as normal….LOL. I have a limited variety of tools and equipment but one of the most useful is a metal-working vice of a decent size on a workbench in the cellar. It has proved its worth over the years. I found some suitable mild steel metal bars in my stock of things and using a gas-torch to heat up the metal to straighten it and the shape it I made two brackets and fixed them to the garage wall…

You can see the ladders hanging on them. I also attached some sturdy chain to aid with supporting the ladders. Because the ladder we ‘acquired’ is quite heavy, one section being almost twice as heavy as the one we purchased, the brackets might bend under the strain without that extra support. The chains could be locked too should we require it. Sorry about the detail as I took the pictures as an afterthought but if you click on them they should magnify. That was my work for a couple of hours on Monday (11th). Speaking of stockings by the way, it is getting nearer that time of year when I resume wearing them….but without the ladders!

Shirley Anne

I did and…

In contrast to yesterday’s post I said I would get on with the electrical work and I did. It was a slow start for me on Tuesday as I began the work at ten-thirty. There were several things I had to do before I could make any progress on diverting the supply to the existing power outlets in the garage. This garage we erected in 1989 about a year after we had moved in, maybe less, and the wiring for a light and a twin power outlet was taken from the basement house wiring. I rewired the house in 1988/9. Different electrical regulations were in force at that time so the wiring was compliant to those regulations. Since those days the garage supply, though still wired the same way, was brought under the protection of circuit breakers and RCD units by myself. Added to that I had installed two outdoor electrical supplies each fed from a dedicated RCD unit and circuit breakers. One was fitted in the boiler room and the other was installed in the other garage. The board provides the supply for that garage and for the other circuits at that end of the garden, the patio for instance. The unit in the boiler room supplies a couple of power outlets and some lights at the opposite end of the garden behind the first garage. For a time I connected the power outlets in the first garage (the one in which my van is parked and the subject of this post) to the same RCD unit. Today, Tuesday as I write this, I have removed the supply to the outlets and re-supplied them from one of the house distribution boards instead as there was a spare circuit breaker I could dedicate for them. Ideally I could have installed a small RCD board we call here a ‘garage unit’ in the garage itself but because there is the same protection wiring it the way I have I chose not to use one. It would be an unnecessary expenditure. Most of the electrical work was therefore carried out in the cellar (basement) rooms as I had to run a cable to the main supply units through those rooms. Having done that work I ran out of cable to actually wire for a new outlet near to the garage door. I would have to do that small job another day, probably Wednesday after I purchase the cable. This is the board I fitted before doing the rest of the work….

The lighting switch was originally directly on the brick wall. The new power outlet beneath it is the new one waiting to be wired into the existing circuit. I had to do a lot of cleaning and clearing out of rubbish as well as moving some things to the other end of the garage in readiness for the new door to be installed in a couple of weeks time. Here are some pics of the existing door mechanisms. The motor in the top picture pulls a loop of chain similar to those on bicycles which is attached to the top of the door..

The tracks in which the doors wheels run can be seen with the huge springs and their pullies above them. Click on pictures to magnify. The ladder in the last picture has been there for many years and has never been used. It was left by someone but nobody can remember who! It could be used but we have other ladders which are in better condition. You can see in the last picture the old garage door post with the cream-coloured painted top which was left as am extra support for the wall when the garage was constructed around it.

Shirley Anne


It begins

A dirty concrete cupid
A dirty concrete cupid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Wednesday morning and having no scheduled electrical work yet again I set about making preparations in readiness for laying concrete in the next day or so. The original steps behind the newest of the garages require a complete reconstruction (see picture in yesterday’s post) so I had to make some wooden shuttering which will outline the position of the new steps. This work has to be done in stages of course because all of the concrete cannot be laid in one go to produce the finished effect. As it happens it is the new middle section that needs to be done first followed by the top section and later the lowest section which I propose to extend as more of a raised platform rather than a short step in order to improve the existing poor stonework that makes up the current pathway whilst at the same time burying the top half of a waste pipe which should have been done when work in this passageway was undertaken by the previous owner of the house some twenty-six years or more ago. It is one of those areas we haven’t much bothered with since we took possession of the property twenty-five years ago this summer. There have been many other projects to do since that time so this particular project kept on being overlooked. So now I have no excuses for not starting the work and it will vastly improve the rear access from and to the garage. It is an awkward area to work on simply because it is the only access to the garage from the rear garden but now that access will have to be closed whilst I carry on with the work. There is more work to be done further down the pathway but that won’t hinder access to the garage. I am looking forward to doing the work as many of my regular readers will already know that I like working on projects at home. Whilst there is no hurry to get it all done I won’t be dragging my feet, I want to see it finished myself! If and when I get electrical work that will take precedence of course but I can take time off as and when I wish. Fortunately with this particular project I shall not need to worry about the weather as the job is under the cover of the garage roof. Not so with the work I want to do behind the other garage though, for that I will need dry weather for a day or so. I could end up looking like the dirty concrete cupid in the picture!

Shirley Anne

Another glorious day

Yesterday was another glorious day here on the north-west coast at Southport.
Weather for sitting around in and relaxing but I had to do the work I promised I would do the day before. The garage electrical circuits are now all fully functioning. E took me to a local store to purchase a light fitting for the roof above the rear steps as we had forgotten to buy it the day before. I also diverted the supply to the floodlight on the garage front so that it, along with everything else in and around the garage would be supplied by the garage distribution board. After I had completed that work I set about fixing some wooden battens over the rear access to the storage area which is inside the garage but above the rear steps to the garage. I need to make this opening secure by fitting some heavy-duty plywood over the hole. I have a small job to do for someone this morning so I will have to continue with the garage later. I also have to fit the woodwork for the roller door’s metal guides on each side of the garage opening and the newly cleaned and painted brackets need to be replaced on the wall. I didn’t finish working until 6.30 last night after starting at 9.30 in the morning so I was glad for the rest but I’m ready to start again today! It looks like we are in for some more fine weather this weekend so maybe a barbie is on the cards? Must remember to get some charcoal though!

Shirley Anne

I can see the floor!

I was up and out working at 8 o’clock yesterday morning. I had rested all day Saturday so was ready to do something. The main jobs were to remove the bricks and then the stones that had been stored in the garage but first of all, where to put them? I had it in mind to store them on the concrete platform that stands behind the old garage but first I had to remove some garden furniture and other things that had been left there. Using a wheelbarrow I proceeded to remove the bricks and re-stack them on the concrete platform. This took me over an hour of continuous labour. The next hour was spent shifting the stones and re-arranging the other items stored on the platform. At last! I could see the garage floor! By this time E had come outside to help. She was applying wood preserver to the parts of the new partition wall that had not yet been done and also some spare plywood sheets. Meanwhile I fitted some skirting boards and architraves to the partition wall which is now complete. There was quite a lot of off-cuts of wood as well as old wood pieces that needed to be removed and burned. This was my next job. In the past, before we had a vegetable plot, the area was used to burn large amounts of old wood, tree branches and the like but now the area has been landscaped and planted so we have to burn the wood elsewhere. We have an old metal waste bin that we use for burning wood now. It has holes in the base thus allowing an air up-draught, perfect for burning. However, with such a large amount of wood, including some old branches we found in the garage, it was necessary to stay with the fire to both feed it and to make sure the fire remained safe. By the time the wood had burned a couple of hours had passed by and I was beginning to smell of wood smoke! It was around 4.30 when I decided I’d had enough and went back indoors both to rest and to get washed and changed. There is always another day. The garage is looking more like a garage now although there is still much to do yet.

Shirley Anne

The garage

Today I shall be making a start on clearing out the garage of bricks (we have a few hundred stacked there) and many large natural stones which we accumulated when we knocked down the dry-stone walling at the front of the house some weeks ago. If you remember (those who read my meanderings) we had a brick wall built in its place. Anyway these need a new home, probably either inside the other garage at the rear where there is ample space or at the rear but outside on a large concrete platform which is there behind the garage. Then there are the several sheets of plywood which need treating with preserver before being stored alongside existing sheets of plywood in the other garage too. If anyone wants to build a shed using plywood we have plenty of it! A few other things will need to be disposed of too then I can sweep the floor and get on with treating the roof timbers and finishing off the electrical work and the remainder of the woodwork around the new partition wall. I’ve plenty of time on my hands these days so I am not bothered by the amount of work that needs to be done.

Shirley Anne