How does one get so many different things done in one morning? Was it any wonder I dozed off for a few minutes after lunch? The day had begun very early for I had awoken just after three o’clock. Yes there are two-three o’clocks in the same day! Most folk not working shifts would be fast asleep at the first one but not me, not this day at least. My clock seems to be gradually going backwards as I find myself trotting off to bed earlier each night and waking earlier as a result. Sometimes, I have been told, I push myself too hard but that’s the way I am. So I woke up but didn’t get up immediately though I did get up before four. Off to the bathroom to shower, then get dressed but before dressing I did some stitching with needle and thread. Going downstairs for breakfast was interrupted by time spent on the cross-trainer and exercise bike. Following breakfast I was out in the rear garden gathering rhubarb and staking out a couple of flowers which couldn’t support themselves. I returned indoors to clean and cook the rhubarb which would be eaten later when cooled together with strawberries and custard. Have you ever eaten rhubarb with strawberries? If you haven’t and if you like both fruits then give it a go, they were made for each other. Next I cleaned the kitchen sink and the hardware on the draining board. Let me explain. We have a slightly hard water supply where I live which means we get limescale deposits inside kettles and anywhere else the water is used. We use vinegar regularly to clean it off surfaces and the kitchen sink seems to collect more scale than anywhere else. That took a little time but it was soon done. My next job was to hand-wash some items of clothing and hang them up to dry. Because we’ve had little rain I have been watering the gardens with a hose and so I did that in the front garden. The rear garden had been done the previous evening. Once that had been done I returned indoors again to put on some overalls then collecting a ladder and a wood saw I went into to rear garden to cut back more overhanging tree branches from a neighbour’s tree and remove the climbing ivy from the top of the perimeter wall. After a coffee I went back into the rear garden to check on wind damage to plants after the recent storm. E called me to say she was going next door to visit our neighbour so I joined her. We didn’t stay long as the nurse arrived to carry out her duties. It was then around eleven o’clock and E asked me to assist in checking out her car in preparation for its MOT test next week. One of those checks involved tyre pressures but there was no information in the manual regarding how much they needed to be inflated! How crazy is that? Fortunately she discovered a service station receipt showing what those settings should be, 34 psi for the front tyres and 31 psi for the rear. She had a plug-in air pump which evidently was faulty but I checked it out just in case it wasn’t. It was! I went to the van to get a foot operated pump but when I attempted to use it no air was getting into the tyres. I took it into the workshop room in the cellar and replaced the seal on the valve using PTFE tape. Success! All four tyres had been under-inflated. Meanwhile she filled the screen wash reservoir and the radiator and I checked the lights, oil levels and general wear. Satisfied we had checked all that we could we went indoors and I prepared lunch. It was whilst I was watching a World Cup soccer match after lunch that I dozed off for a while. Still, after a while I was up and about again…..you just can’t hold a busy bee down.
The weather hereabouts has been very unsettled lately and as I write this on Tuesday morning the forecast is to be the same at least until Thursday. I have to keep an eye on the wind strength especially as it determines whether or not I allow the flag to fly on the pole out front. If it gets too windy I have to lower the flag until things become more settled. Fortunately there are only a few times during the year when it becomes necessary to lower the flag because of high winds. This morning (Tuesday) I took a walk into what you might call the centre of the village in which I live. Now though the Village of Birkdale is just another suburb of the town of Southport. The shopping centre is shown at the end of this short video…
I had to make a deposit of some cash at one of my banks which happens to have an outlet in the village and at the same time I called into the chemist (drug store) in order to arrange for my prescription to be repeated. I normally do this over the phone but if I am in the village when the prescription needs repeating I do it in person. The prescription is for my hormone tablets and I get a twelve week supply each time. The prescription service has been much improved over the last twelve months. The chemist does everything on your request where once an appointment at the doctor’s surgery was necessary beforehand. Even so it was necessary to drop off the form at the surgery to be processed and then forwarded to the chemist from where it would be collected a few days later. Now it is all done electronically over The Internet by the chemist. If my doctor wishes to see me for a routine check-up I receive a note via the post. No doubt that will also get done over The Internet if and when they decide it is more efficient. In fact, I saw a leaflet in the chemist shop advertising the ‘new app.’ available for your mobile phone so that you can get the repeat done whilst you are anywhere. One day we’ll all be dependent on our mobile phones for anything and everything I suppose but not if I can help it. I never want to be controlled by and reliant on The Internet for my needs. I didn’t hang around once my business was done but simply returned home. By now it had begun to rain as promised but I was prepared, I had my umbrella with me. I wondered if I would need to lower the flag later in the day as the wind was beginning to pick up. I was hoping I might get some electrical work too.
I posed a question on yesterday’s post which asked what was wrong in the picture. Maybe a few of my readers discovered what it was and well spotted by them but for those who didn’t the answer is that the flag theoretically should not have been flying. One is supposed to lower a flag at dusk and raise it again at dawn but most people don’t bother. If it were a flag maintained by the armed forces then it most certainly would have been lowered as it would be somebody’s duty for that day to do it. How many got it right I wonder?
So I am again sitting at home and I am wondering why we didn’t get the severe stormy and wet day that was forecast for this area. The weather forecasters at the BBC are often very dramatic with their presentations and often speak on generalities. I know they cannot get it right every time but most of the time the forecasts are fairly accurate and I suppose that where I live right on the coast it can be difficult to be so precise.
The thing is that although the weather can be forecast to be bad for the region it is often a little different along the coast, for instance when snow has been forecast we often don’t get it and if we do it isn’t as bad as elsewhere. With the roofing problem we have at home, dampness on a wall and ceiling at the top of the house we were hoping for some rain to help pinpoint the leaks if any. Now it looks like we’ll have to wait some more.
Sunday is time out for me unless I have a mad moment and do something in the garden but it doesn’t stop the telephones from ringing. Even whilst I was writing this I received two inquiries one of which led to a job I will do in the morning. If I wish to get requests I have to be near to the phones or one of them at all times. Of course I don’t mind that for it is an essential part of being self-employed but it can be a pain when the calls come in at unusual times, often inconvenient or anti-social times. For some people it seems I have to be available whenever they call, even at six o’clock in the morning! Oh yes I have had such calls and they were not even emergencies! It is nice having days off therefore and sometimes I allow myself that pleasure during the working week, I have to else drive myself into the ground.
Just now the rain has all but stopped and it is beginning to get a little brighter. I wonder how long it will last?
I didn’t go to bed on Saturday evening. I had slept in until around 10.30 and just wasn’t tired but by Sunday evening I was quite ready for bed. However, having watched many of the Masters Snooker Championship preliminary elimination rounds I was keen to see the final itself but it didn’t finish until almost midnight. The person I thought would win, Mark Selby, did. This was the third time in six years he claimed the title this time beating Neil Robertson 10 frames to 6.
When I did get to bed it was an hour later before I actually fell asleep. Again I slept in but was in no rush to get up early anyway as I had no work scheduled. I had a bath during which time somebody had called wanting an electrical job doing but as I had left my phone in the bedroom I missed the call. Normally I would have taken the phone into the bathroom. Later I returned the call and discovered she had called someone else instead. I guess it must have been an emergency. It was now 11 o’clock and I got dressed in some ‘no intention’ clothes as I call them meaning not the clothes I would normally wear to work, dressing up clothes if you like. It had been snowing overnight and I had to go to the village to collect my medication from the pharmacy and then go to my local pub for lunch. As I was walking I wore boots and off I went. Although it is only a half-mile or so to the pharmacy it took some time getting there because of the slushy and slippery snow lying on the pavement, far more dangerous than fresh snow. I had submitted my request for my medication a week previously but I discovered they were only able to supply a third of them. Poor service I feel so I have to collect the rest another day. It was now 1 o’clock so I walked another half-mile to the pub. There were plenty of cars in the car park but when I got inside it wasn’t as full as I imagined it would be. I didn’t order food directly but bought a drink and opened a bar tab as I had no cash with me. It was almost two hours before I decided to eat, in the meantime just chatting with a few people. One thing I like about my pub is the fact that they are not mean with the meal portions and the quality is excellent and reasonably priced too! It was early evening before I got back home and found some messages on the house phone asking for my services. Mondays are sometimes like that.
I had to go to the village on Monday to deposit some cash at the Post Office. They take deposits for other banks on their behalf which is quite handy for me as it means I don’t have to go into town to deposit directly at my bank. It was such a lovely day with bright sunshine and clear blue skies and little or no wind to speak of so it was nice to go for the short walk. The village of Birkdale became part of Southport many years ago lying just south of the town centre. Like most villages which lie close to a town they lose their borders and become part of the main conurbation but still retain their name, character and identity. Anyway I live but a half mile from what might be considered the centre of the village, a mere ten minutes walk. As usual there was a queue at the Post Office but I didn’t have to wait long to make my deposit and soon I was on my way back home. I had no other reason to go to the village, no shopping or browsing. As I was approaching the railway level-crossing which separates the main shopping area from my side of the village an old guy came to me, looked me straight in the eye and said,’ You’ve got a lovely pair of legs’. Well that took me back a bit I have to say but I thanked him for his observation and compliment. I never wear trousers, leggings (maybe in the winter whilst riding my bike) or anything to cover my legs apart from stockings in the cooler months of the year so my legs are always on show. I have always received positive comments regarding my legs, mostly from women! One woman once said to me that she would die to have nicely shaped legs as mine. I’ve known for quite some time that my legs are one of my best assets but it is still nice when other people tell me, especially complete strangers! How nice!
The picture shows the main shopping area as seen from the level-crossing behind the camera. The Post Office is beyond the row of cars on the right-hand-side of the picture but on the opposite side of the road. Clicking on the picture a couple of times will magnify the image. The Post Office stands just beyond and next to the shop with the white awning for anyone who might be interested.
Yesterday I decided to buy a protective cover for my new mobile phone and E told me of a place to get one so she came with me. Unfortunately the store was out of stock on a suitable cover. We drove into town to buy fuel for the van and then I parked it and walked to another store whilst E remained in the van. As the distance to the store was around a half mile or so she decided to stay put because of her disability and wait for my return. Although the store didn’t have a cover specific for my phone they did have a rather nice alternative which on reflection is probably better so I bought it at £17.99. Now the area where the store is located is that where I normally do my shopping for toiletries, clothes and such but this time I couldn’t indulge as E was waiting for my return so reluctantly I shelved the idea. I don’t go shopping very often as I tend to buy things in quantity but in a couple of weeks time I will be returning. We returned home to do all the little daily tasks that occupy our lives like bringing in the washing (it was actually hung in the boiler room in the cellar), taking out rubbish and other general tasks before lunch. After lunch I set about familiarizing myself with the mobile phone so that I will know how to use it! I arranged and installed some security software on the phone should it ever be needed. The software was free and because I use the same software protection on my computer the two can be linked to the same account. Is is such a shame that we need to do things like that, it was never a problem with a simple telephone was it? Progress? Yeah, sure! I had expected a call from a client but it didn’t materialise so I spent the rest of the day at home. So far this week I have had one job but it is enough to satisfy my average expected income for the week. I may yet receive requests before the week is out, that’s the way it is in my business. I did make a call to the guy who fitted the roller door to my garage to ask what progress he had made in gathering the equipment he will need to automate the other garage door. He tells me he has most of it but is waiting on one or two items. He said he will ring back early next week. I shall be very happy to see that work completed so that I too can enjoy the privilege of driving directly into the garage without having to manually open the door. E uses the other garage although my van would better be parked in it as it is a higher vehicle with only an inch or two of headroom when the ladders are on the roof-rack, which is all of the time! As long as I can get the van inside it doesn’t matter. The guy doing the job is aware of the limited headroom so it should work out.
It isn’t Friday as I write this post, it is actually Monday but I often write posts in advance. At the time of writing there are three already in the queue. This will be the fourth but by the time it is posted hopefully there will be others already for posting. The reason I write things in advance is because I tend to write whenever something springs to mind in the same way I write my poems and songs. Probably another good reason is that I might forget things if I don’t write them down too! On Monday itself it was another of our ‘Bank Holidays’, we have a few of those each year. People will say that it always seems to rain on a bank holiday but that isn’t true. Nevertheless this bank holiday Monday it did just that. The bank holiday weekend has traditionally been a time when people take a short break somewhere, a sort of mini-holiday and because of this the major road networks serving places of interest often become grid-locked. We see the miles of traffic jams on the television news and I wonder why people put themselves through that self-imposed torture. Personally I have never taken a break anywhere during a national holiday, preferring to remain at home. For me a rest is as good as a change rather than the other way round, not that I have never enjoyed holidays or short breaks. These days all holidays hold less of an interest for me than they once did. I have lost the urge to wander around the planet like I used to I guess although given the chance, and more especially the funds, I might still be open to such things. I am saving the funds for other things just now but I still have options. On Monday morning I went to do a small job out-of-town and returned home soon afterwards with extra pocket-money. I will work on a bank holiday and have done for many years as long as my clients raise no objections. Because the day itself was rather miserable weather-wise I stayed at home. I wasn’t tempted to visit the pub so potted about the house instead. I was having problems with this site not displaying properly but the problem only existed with WordPress sites and I couldn’t figure out why. I tried using two other browsers to no avail and I eventually called my friend Jane to ask her if she had any ideas. She talked me through several options but still the problem remained. I got E to switch on her computer and load my web site and it was working fine! When I returned to my own computer I found the problem had resolved itself. Jane mentioned that the problem may have been external and it was simply co-incidental that whilst I was looking at another computer things righted themselves. I am no expert when it comes to computers but I have to say it can be quite annoying when having tried all obvious possibilities problems still remain. Well everything is alright now, as far as my computer is concerned!
I watch a soap called EastEnders. Ok I need to get a life but I don’t take it all seriously and often miss programs because I am doing something else. So it’s a case of if I see it fine but if not so what? It hasn’t got that much of a grip on me that I get withdrawal symptoms if I miss it! On Monday there were two episodes in the same evening and in the second one a certain character was to take part in the Olympic Torch relay, live on television. It wasn’t make-believe as the normal theme of the program is but it was actually a part of the real thing. The character, Billy, a loser in the normal storyline, was allowed his few moments of glory as they made his ever so short run a part of the event which has been running during the last couple of months as the ‘Torch’ (actually many torches) was carried throughout the whole of the UK. It could only happen here. Personally I hate all the hype that surrounds major events in this country. I prefer to simply watch the events themselves if I am inclined to do so. As the Olympics are basically an athletic games event I shall be watching as many of those events as I can because I like athletics, simple as that. I do not need to get all wound up to watch anything that is of interest to me so the lead-up to the event and the closing ceremonies will pass me by. In the UK the trend is to dramatise everything trying to get people involved and it is the same with everything that goes on here. I watch the news on television. It is one of my favourite programs because I like to know what is going on in my community and in the rest of the world but even the news is treated as a drama and that really annoys me. The news is the news and doesn’t need ‘padding out’ with a pile of waffle. The weather forecasts are presented in a similar way. They use ‘traffic light’ warning symbols to show the level of rain we should expect, the temperature and possible burn factors associated with too much exposure to the sun and even the level of pollen we may expect! Why can’t they simply say it’s going to rain, be very sunny and the pollen count is high, low or average? No, they want to make a drama out of it. One of the reasons I didn’t like ‘High Church‘ gatherings was all the pomp and ceremony that went on in them. I went to a more straightforward assembly which didn’t involve watching unnecessary tradition. I feel the same way when it comes to almost anything in life. If I go to a restaurant I want to see simple fayre presented simply. I don’t want all the paraphernalia that some chefs think are necessary to make their food attractive. I want to eat it, not take photographs of it! Give me the basics and I will be happy, everything else is superfluous.
Monday turned out to be a really good day. I got back to the old lady’s house and fitted her wall lights and new bell push with only a minor problem concerning the bell push. Well something had to be problematical given what happened on Friday. If I didn’t know any better I’d swear her house was jinxed! Whilst there I received another request to do a job some miles away in the next town and that turned out to be quite lucrative and easy to do. Swings and roundabouts I guess. I finally got home around 2.30 and fixed myself a snack after which I took my guitar outside and sat in the sunshine-soaked patio playing for an hour. A neighbour was having a glass and brick-constructed conservatory demolished ready for a single-storey extension to be built in its place, something that required planning permission from the local council and which had been granted last year. In order to gain permission to build it is necessary to post a formal proposition so that people living in the immediate area can oppose it if they consider it might cause a problem of one sort or another. In most cases like this one there are no reasonable objections. I sat far enough away from the work in progress for it to be a ‘nuisance noise pollution‘ as it were and my music drowned out the sound anyway. Before long they had demolished most of the structure. I don’t know what it is with me but I love watching the progress of a building being erected, the various stages leading up to that final finish. I shall be taking an interest over the next few weeks as the work progresses. I do have an interest in buildings, in their architecture, they are one of the success stories of the human race I think and some of them are really imaginative in their construction. They are beautiful things in their own way, well I think so anyway. I heard that we are going to continue having warm weather at least until Friday. Currently the temperature is twice the seasonal average at 19, 20 and even 21 degrees celsius. I suppose next week will see a marked change to cooler days. I’m happy with that as long as it doesn’t get too cold!
Whenever someone asks me to do a job for them I note it down in a diary. I seldom forget that I have work to do but on Tuesday morning I received a call from a lady who asked if I was coming as I said I would. Fortunately I was dressed and just about putting the finishing touches to my make-up when she called and was able to get there within a half hour. She had called me around eight-thirty but as is usual for me I wouldn’t have arrived until nine o’clock anyway. I could have said nothing about my forgetting the appointment but I apologised for my error. I arrived a few minutes after nine and did the work for her. I have worked for this lady before and she is nice to work for. She had done a little electrical job in her kitchen and asked if I would check it out. I couldn’t have done a better job myself! She told me that she had wanted to be a mechanic in her youth but couldn’t get into the industry. She is only six years younger than myself! There were other electrical jobs that needed doing but she confessed she hadn’t the knowledge to do them and that is why I was called. Later we chatted some and she was asking about my interests and when I mentioned that I play guitar she took me upstairs and showed me two lovely instruments that she owned but couldn’t play. Both were way out of tune and one, a twelve-stringed guitar, had a string missing, the other, a six-stringed instrument had two of its strings wrapped on the wrong posts so that the strings crossed each other on the machine head. She asked if I could tune it so I did a quick tune-up and played a song or two. It needs the strings fitted correctly and tuning properly. I also noticed that some strings were wrapped counter-clockwise and some clockwise which makes adjusting the tension awkward. They should all rotate the same way so it is easier to remember if you are tightening them or loosening them! She asked if I could teach her to play but I explained that it would take some time just to learn the basics. I may get back to her later if I’ve the time. I’ve now got to try to remember to do that. As we get older we find that we sometimes forget things, it’s unavoidable I suppose. It is one thing writing down appointments in a diary, it’s another remembering to read the diary or even remembering where you left it! I am alright on the last bit as my diary is in my bag. Now where did I place my bag? LOL.