Making it work

Sunday let us know that summer was on the wane, on its last legs, struggling to stay warm and dry but nothing could be done about that. The day was damp and rain fell frequently, it was a day to stay indoors though had I wanted to go for a walk I would have. By coincidence I actually wanted to stay indoors to relax and this I did. Monday would soon be upon me and there was work to be done. Lately I have been involved in keeping active by undertaking various little projects at home, mostly in the garden. Monday however I had set aside for preparing for the new garage door installation which means installing a power outlet, a board on which the control unit will sit, re-positioning existing wiring and switches and to remove other items which I will reinstall sometime after the door is installed. To install a power point will require that I alter the existing circuit and supply it from the main distribution panel in order to isolate it from house circuits. It is at times like this I appreciate my electrical experience for it makes the work simple, straightforward and not least of all free. Well free from labour charges! I could say the same for all the other work I do around the house. There is a lot to say in favour of DIY. As the year gets colder I find that working outside is much more pleasant than it is during the warmer months. I suppose the cold encourages me to keep active anyway. Is it possible that I to do too much work? I can only say that if I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t be doing it! Could I move to an apartment where there would be almost nothing to do? I doubt it but not because I would have more time to indulge in personal pleasures, I would be bored stiff! My motto is more work and less play though not all work and no play! It works for me anyway.

Shirley Anne


Household chores

A distraction from chores
A distraction from chores (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I couldn’t get to sleep on Friday night until way after two o’clock despite my nodding off in front of the television before I set off to bed. Maybe the ‘cat naps’ had been enough to keep me awake but I did eventually fall asleep. That meant I ended up sleeping in until nine-thirty and missing breakfast. When I finally got downstairs and carrying laundry I put it into the washing machine then went for a walk. I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t miss not having breakfast. It was another pleasant day, still cloudy but reasonably warm with no wind whatsoever. Soon I was on my way back home to do some household chores, taking out the waste, cleaning the bins, hanging up the washing, vacuuming the carpets, you know, all the mundane stuff in life that has to be done. Once upon a time I didn’t much like doing household chores but in more recent times I find I actually enjoy it! Am I crazy or what? Not really, after all it is work and something therefore I enjoy. When I was very young I was the only one among my siblings who like helping out at home. I would prepare meals, wash and scrub the floors and other things most children shy away from. I won’t say that my brothers and sisters didn’t help out but from what I can remember I was the one who encouraged them to help. That was probably because I was the eldest. They remember me as ‘bossy boots’ and I probably was but I got hings done. So was my Saturday all chores and no rest? No, I am not that crazy! I get restless though and soon find myself looking for things to do but the problem with household chores is that they never seem to end, by the time you think you’ve done everything you have come full circle and have to begin again. When I finally retire from my electrical work (perhaps) I know there will be plenty of work to do around and inside the house to keep me occupied………………but that is life isn’t it?

Shirley Anne

Wintry weather

I was going through one of my phases of not being bothered or interested in anything and it led me to lie in bed for hours on Saturday morning. I simply didn’t want to get out of bed. I wasn’t tired, I’d had a good night’s sleep and had actually woken by eight. It was almost twelve-thirty by the time I arrived downstairs. So that was breakfast missed. I didn’t much feel like eating anything but I had to eat something. I decided to prepare a chicken and vegetable stew, one of my favourite meals as it is very healthy and tasty too. When I make it I do it in quantity and can get three meals out of it, four if I have a smaller portion but it is the kind of meal I call ‘moreish’, a small portion just doesn’t cut it. As I was preparing the food I couldn’t help but notice the sound of hail on the windows and for a while everywhere began to turn white…first-sign first-sign-2-jpgIt didn’t stay that way as the hail turned to rain after a short time. I wondered if this was the first sign of a colder winter ahead. I was thankful to be indoors in the warmth but I needed something to occupy myself. First of all I had some of the stew for my meal. It was by now two-thirty. E had gone to her monthly meeting and would be away for hours. I have been checking for any air in the radiators on a regular basis now that the heating is switched on. E’s workshop is at the top of the house so any air in the system naturally migrates up there which means the radiator in the room doesn’t get warm if I don’t bleed out the air. It needed bleeding which took minutes to do. The radiator in the bedroom we refurbished early in the year had been left valved-off as the room isn’t in use but I usually allow a little water to pass through just to keep the chill out of the room though it doesn’t get too cold because of its southerly aspect. I discovered it wasn’t warm in the least even after I had checked for trapped air. I opened the valves fully and still the radiator remained cold. I will need to address that problem when I get the opportunity though I think that may be next year if it is more than simply an air-lock in the pipes. I went downstairs and decided to do some baking, one of my other favourite ‘hobbies’. This time it was a fruit cake.Rich Fruit Cake Whilst it was baking I prepared a scone mix and baked the scones an hour later when the cake was done. E returned home after five o’clock and knew instantly that I had been baking. I love the smell of baking in a house, it makes it feel more homely. Just nice when it is cold and wintry outside.

Shirley Anne

Autumn eh?

English: Door furniture, old and new The hinge...
Door furniture, old and new The hinge and lock say craftsman, the padlock, B&Q. Detail on the old door in a church outbuilding. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a lovely day Sunday was, warm, dry and sunny practically all day long. There was only the slightest of a breeze, more a zephyr  most of the time. I spent quite a few hours outside enjoying it. The only part of the garden that was damp was the grass and that only because of dew. The artificial grass on the patio was naturally also damp too. Almost two weeks ago saw the Equinox marking the beginning of  Autumn but Autumn proper seemed far off on Sunday. It felt more like Summer. The week ahead looked promising too but I knew at this time of year it can suddenly turned wet, windy and cold. I still had some work to do outdoors if the weather could remain dry for me to do it. I had three small areas around the paving slabs I had laid on the Plot which needed filling in with a fine concrete mix and perhaps do some cosmetic work around the base of the new lamp-post using natural stones. There was also one other job I might be able to do sometime during the week but that would need the tower erecting at the front of the building. I had hinted at the possibility of doing this unusual job many months ago but didn’t get around to doing it. On Friday I had paid a visit to a local establishment which services and sells lawnmowers. It is noted for the lawnmower museum they have  there ( ) but apart from their lawnmower business they are also master locksmiths. Part of their shop is dedicated to that trade and they sell all kinds of things to do with locks and door furniture. They also program vehicle keys and lock systems which is why I was there. Recently I’d had a replacement control unit fitted around the steering column of my van and later it was discovered that the key no longer controlled the automatic door locking system though it still works manually. Neither the auto electrician nor the locksmith could resolve the problem which still exists. I can live with operating it manually and I will leave it that way unless I come across a solution. Anyway whilst at the store waiting to see if the locksmith could set things right I noticed that they also sold natural stone (slate) plaques with signage. I made inquiries regarding cost to have one made to size for my needs. It would cost £150 I was told so I agreed to have one made. They told me it would be ready to collect a couple of days hence, perhaps Monday. Now I know you will be wondering what the plaque was for and what was to be written on it. It will read…’Hassle Castle…..1877′ and it is to be fixed to the wall at the front of the house at high level. The house was built in 1877. I mentioned the purchase to my neighbour who thinks the idea highly amusing but liked it. I think the same. I may be able to attach a picture before this is scheduled to be posted but if not I will post one later.

Shirley Anne

Wet and dry

Raining Pleasure (EP)
Raining Pleasure (EP) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well it didn’t know what to do on Saturday, one minute it was raining and the next the sun was shining. These are the kind of days I like the least, I want to know if it is going to be wet or dry, not wet and dry! If I’ve to do any work outdoors it is essential it remains dry unless if wet it doesn’t affect what I am doing. At the moment I need some dry days so that I can get on with my project and it does matter if it is fine weather or not. On Saturday I was employed doing electrical work for someone else and except for installing a replacement outdoor light fitting all the work was indoors. I took the opportunity to do the outside work while it was dry. It didn’t stay dry for long though but long enough for installing the light. I seldom do electrical work at the weekend and will only work on Sunday if I consider it to be an emergency so it was unusual to find me working on a Saturday. The house was full of young women and even the dog was female and they had only moved in a week or so before from an adjacent street and wanted some replacement lights installing. Evidently their former home wasn’t as good as the one they had moved into and the mother told me that they had bought it at a knock-down price because the previous owner had many cats living there. It sounds a ridiculous reason for selling a house at a lower price I think but the buyer wasn’t complaining! I had the work all done by noon and soon found myself back home. I prepared my lunch as E left the house to drive to her once-a-month meeting of her group of hobbyists, in fact the members’ main occupation is entering competitions. I get abandoned and left to my own devices at such times….LOL. The afternoon turned out very bright and sunny, a tempting time to do some outdoor work maybe? Not a chance, I was too tired and it could still rain.

Shirley Anne

No work but work

Paint and Paint
Paint and Paint (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After my Sunday rest day I thought I would be rearing to start work on Monday but I had slept in as I had felt so tired on Sunday evening. It was around ten in the morning by the time I got downstairs. I missed breakfast but ate a banana and had a fruit drink instead. Despite this I joined with E and went upstairs to do some more work in the top room. I hadn’t any electrical work which seems to be the norm lately for the start of the week but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t be doing something at home. We spent about three and a half hours painting and carrying out alterations to the electrical power circuit. I managed to paint the lower half of the ceiling whilst E did more filling in of holes. We had to stop for something to eat but by the time we did it was already approaching one-thirty. I was feeling rather weak as I’d only eaten a banana for my late breakfast. We didn’t return upstairs until after three o’clock. I finished painting the remainder of the ceiling whilst E applied an undercoat to the underside of half the worktop. We had to remove the curtain rod and the timber it was attached to because it wasn’t secure. The wall behind required some repairs to the plaster so I got on with that too. It was six o’clock before we stopped work for the day but later after my evening meal I decided to paint some of the lower wall with the emulsion paint we had bought. It is the colour of lilac, E’s choice not mine but I admit it looks good. Monday had been a cool and dull day, ideal for working at home indoors. Tuesday however was forecast to be warm and sunny but even so I would most probably be working indoors for most of the time.

Shirley Anne

Very near

Friday was a great day and full of expectation. The scaffolding which had been erected in two places around the house was to be finally dismantled and the new carpet for the refurbished bedroom was to be laid down during the afternoon. It was a cold day, overcast and threatening rain. The guys arrived early and got stuck straight into removing the scaffolding over the garage at the side of the house whilst I made them each a drink of coffee. They seem to run on coffee! I had a few minor things to attend to in the meantime. It took them about three hours to dismantle most of the scaffolding then left to go for lunch. They returned shortly after lunch to finish the job but again they had to stop so that they could empty the now filled wagon. There was a small amount of scaffolding left standing in the garden which they said they would collect the next day, that is Saturday because there was little time left to do it then. Soon after one o’clock I received a call from the carpet fitters alerting me to their imminent arrival. I left them to get on with the job and soon enough they were done. I took ‘Robbie’ the robot vacuum cleaner and let him make a start in cleaning off the carpet debris whilst I used the mains-connected vacuum cleaner. I had to empty both their containers a few times before the carpet was thoroughly cleaned. Bedroom 23

Bedroom 24

Bedroom 25Bedroom 26You might think the carpet fitters would do that before signing the work off but I have never known any of them to do that. E came up later to have a look and to help hang the curtains (drapes). The curtains had been removed weeks ago before the refurbishment began and had then been dry cleaned but one of them required a little stitching before it could be hung. E began to do that but it was getting too late in the day and she left off finishing it until the next day. Now we are waiting for the new bed to arrive this coming Thursday. When the guys had left the site with the scaffolding I got up onto the garage roof to sweep it up  and collected a bucket of debris. I had discovered two places inside the garage where rain has been seeping in so I sealed one small hole with flashband  which will cure that problem  but the other leak was larger and will require more drastic work to be done. In the interim I have covered the area with a heavy-duty plastic sheet to allow it to dry out and when the weather is warmer it will be repaired properly. It never ends does it? I was just thinking how bored I would be if there were no problems to sort out.

Shirley Anne.

Last day

Apart from changing the radiator valves and some minor touching up of paint work E and I have no more to do in the bedroom as far as decorating is concerned. As I had no electrical work scheduled on Thursday I took the opportunity to finish what little work that was left to do and especially in the afternoon whilst E was out at the shops. The room could have been completed  much sooner but as there was no reason to get it done quickly and as I hold down an electrical service business I haven’t always been available. Added to that we have had building repairs going on too and have had to cater to the guys doing that work. By Wednesday evening most of the work was completed but there remains for some leadwork repairs to be done as I write this on Thursday evening. It may get done on Friday but knowing E’s nephew it isn’t likely, we’ll see. All the ridge tiles have been removed and re-bedded with new mortar and that took some time to do for the tiles are massive. They are Y-shaped and are fitted upside down. I am guessing they weigh at least 5 or 6 kilograms apiece, maybe more and there are a lot of them up there. Anyway nobody arrived on Thursday because of the intermittent rain.

Here are some more pictures of the bedroom……  Bedroom 20Radiator













Bedroom 18







In the last picture you can see where I have painted the coving in the same colour as the lower part of the walls. All we need now is the carpet and bed and the room will be ready for use.

Shirley Anne

Little by little

A Safeway advertisement from the 1950s.
A Safeway advertisement from the 1950s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although I dislike advertisements in any shape or form that are pushed under our noses it is almost impossible to avoid them altogether. That does not mean I am persuaded in any way to buy into services or goods that are offered through any of them because I am not. There are one or two advertisements which mention the word ‘little’ and sometimes I am thinking I wish the advertisements themselves would follow suit! UK readers will know the phrase ‘every little helps‘ from a well-know supermarket chain‘s advertisement and by the way I don’t shop there, but the phrase itself and the meaning behind it do make sense. I was in the kitchen making myself a coffee and reflecting on all that I have personally done in the house in the almost twenty-eight years we have lived here. When I recall all the hard work and the various projects I had set myself to do over those years I am frankly amazed. I then think to myself what would the house look like now had I not done all that work? It is the sort of thing we would never think of doing all at once unless we had the money but even then we would most probably have given the work to others to do. Doing small jobs here and there, mini-projects and minor alterations and little by little much gets done. We look back and see that it was all worthwhile. Of course many tasks have been performed by others but usually because I hadn’t the time or maybe the expertise or the work was too much for one person to undertake. However where it has been possible and where I have not felt intimidated by the work I have taken it on board. Again little by little I have learnt to do all sorts of things I haven’t been specifically trained to do but practice makes perfect. It starts with a task or a project, the willingness to have a go, an ability that can be built upon. Every journey begins with the first step as the saying goes. In this house my journey has taken twenty-eight years, a long road with many steps but one that has been achieved little by little and costing much less than if I’d paid someone else to do everything.

Shirley Anne

Silly slang and other things

Butter and a butter knife
Butter and a butter knife (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No work Monday seems to be the norm for me lately but it doesn’t stay that way too long either. I did get a call from a guy who had been struggling to repair a light and I went to his house to fix it for him. I was back home before you could say ‘Jackanory‘. Now there is a strange saying but of course it is only an allegory. E suggested we remove unwanted materials and tools from the bedroom in readiness for the furniture build. Hopefully the materials for building the furniture will arrive here within a few days. Then she suggested we, that is I, should call and arrange for the scaffolding to be erected in order for the problems we have with the roof to be resolved because the guy doing the repairs was taking far too long to get the work underway. He was supposed to be making all the arrangements but we need the work doing sooner rather than later. A little after lunch the owner of the scaffolding company called at the house to assess our requirements. We used this guy’s company when we had major work going on at the house in 2010 because we, that is I, liked him. His rates are very reasonable and this time he offered me a small discount from his estimated price. The scaffolding needs to be erected in two separate places but when he and I were talking I asked if we could have that scaffolding which was to be erected over the garage where I park my van to be extended across the full depth of the house so that we may have the rear chimney stack checked too. That stack isn’t in use and is unlikely to be in the future so we may decide to cap it off if it isn’t already done. So things are moving along as they should be. He stepped into the house whilst he made the calculations and E popped into the room to say hello. He asked how she was and after her reply I jumped in with ‘She’s having problems with rising damp in her wooden leg’ which brought laughter all round but he replied ‘Creosote is great for preventing rising damp’ which brought even more laughter. We like to laugh and joke around here. He told us that he aims to have the scaffolding erected on Wednesday or Thursday which will be yesterday or today as you read this. The price? £1000, and that is before any work starts! Should have bought a Bungalow! Now that isn’t a joke is it but hey, that’s the way it goes. After he left E sat and had her lunch and I sat with her although I had already eaten. I had wanted to be sure that one of us would be available when our caller arrived for I knew he would be calling around lunchtime.

English: Hot cross buns are a quintessentially...
Hot cross buns are a quintessentially British tradition at Easter.They can be eaten warm or split, toasted with butter for breakfast, tea or a snack. No one knows for certain when the tradition began, but in 16th century England, bakers were limited by law to occasions when these special doughs could be made. Good Friday was one; ‘cross buns’ marked this holy day towards the end of the Lenten fast. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we were talking she asked why I had no butter on my hot-cross bun but she had said ‘You’ve put no butter on your bun’. I immediately thought how strange our use of language is and especially slang. The thing is, how could I have put ‘no’ butter on anything? Perhaps if worded this way you will see my point, ‘You’ve not put butter on your bun’. We use slang every day and we all know what is meant by what is spoken, that is as long as we are familiar with local colloquialisms. Anyway I enjoyed the dry, that is un-buttered bun I’d eaten supplementary to my lunch.

Shirley Anne

Can’t wait to see things getting done

Junk food copy
Junk food copy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the last three days, that is Wednesday onward, we have had three young guys in our rear garden rebuilding the wall (see previous posts) but on Friday they cut their visit rather short. One of their party was feeling quite ill and in fact had brought up the contents of his stomach after stopping at an eatery for breakfast. Without naming the eatery its name begins with an ‘M’, a world-wide chain of eating places. I call their produce junk food myself but many people use them especially if they have children. As I write this on Friday evening I am not sure if we will see their return again this week. It isn’t important but I do hope the young guy is feeling better now. They have about three courses of bricks to lay on the double-thick wall, six rows and it will be completed. I am more concerned about the lack of progress on the roof repairs. I had one small job to do in the morning and was then prepared to do a little work at home after lunch but I received another request for my services at 11 o’clock. I drove the seven miles, did the job and was back home at 12.15 just as E had driven off to give a blood sample at the clinic for routine checks. That meant I had to cater for any needs the bricklayers might require but as I mentioned they were in the process of clearing up to leave. I prepared lunch but didn’t sit down to eat until 1.30 just before E returned. It was after 2.30 before I could do any work and by this time I was reluctant to start. Nevertheless I decided I would permanently isolate the gas supply to the bedroom as I mentioned in my previous post.

Propane torch being used solder copper pipes f...
Propane torch being used solder copper pipes for residential water mains. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I located the pipe in the cellar cut it where it went through the wall and up to the bedroom on the outside of the house. I fitted a blanking connection but discovered that the short length of pipe that was left in the soldered ‘Tee’ joint on the main pipe run had loosened, its soldered joint had come adrift whilst I was fitting the blanking-off cap! Fortunately I have a gas torch and solder and was able to resolder the joint before turning on the gas valve. No leaks! Whilst I was doing that E was filling in the various holes in the window frames ready for painting later. I decided to call it a day as by now it was 4.o’clock and I’d had enough of work. I do like a rest from it now and then!

Shirley Anne

Home alone 37…..

You and Me at Home
You and Me at Home (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…..or probably more! I find I am left alone at home quite often these days, unless I am out working. When I have things to do that isn’t a problem for I usually work best when by myself. I just get more done! Today, Wednesday, E went out around 8.30, presumably either paying her occasional visit to the NEC (Birmingham) with her group’s friends or going to another town within the county as she sometimes does also. I wasn’t told and so I am guessing. Anyway I had no scheduled work for the day as it happened so I spent the day at home. I kept busy doing routine things like the washing and such and spent some time on my treadmill trying to keep fit. I am surprised how I can, after a brief warm-up, still run when I don’t spend that much time doing that. I can’t just sit down and do nothing though, it hurts my bum! Seriously I spend more time on my feet, restless if you like, wanting to do something, anything to relieve the boredom. Usually when I have the free time at home I might do some baking, cakes, scones and things but over the past couple of months I haven’t bothered doing that, as with all the other things I could be doing they are being left undone.

Oneroom bathroom
One room bathroom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My next-door neighbour phoned me on the house phone and asked how I was. She does that from time to time rather than call at the door. If I am making the same inquiry I usually go to her house. She conveyed her sympathies regarding my relationship problem with E. She knows about similar problems I have had along the same line with E over the last few years too, like the time I wasn’t invited to my son’s wedding, which I discovered later was due to E’s attitude. Yet I don’t bear a grudge, I never have but still it hurts to be mistreated. Anyhow my neighbour was telling me about the new bathroom she has planned to be fitted at the end of next month. I think she was encouraged to refurbish her bathroom, which needs doing by the way, after seeing what we had done with ours. She has spent a considerable amount of money getting things done outside the house since the death of her husband eighteen months ago and I guess she now wants to spend some cash refurbishing the inside too. Over the last six years we have done exactly the same. Had I enough energy and time I would willingly have lent a hand with her bathroom but she is having everything done by a professional bathroom fitter. Even if I had been asked I would certainly have left the plumbing and tiling to others! Plumbing at home is one thing but I wouldn’t do it for anyone else partly in case there are problems later and partly because a plumber would be faster! I think tiling should be done by a professional too as they would make a better job of it and would also be faster. I didn’t do the tiling in our bathroom for the same reasons, though I did the tiling in the wet room.

Shirley Anne

First time

English: Street lamp. Aleje Ujazdowskie. Warsa...
Street lamp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have my bedroom curtains open during the night for a couple of reasons. In the winter months when it is dark and there are no leaves on the trees my bedroom is faintly lit by a street lamp in a cul-de-sac a couple of hundred metres away beyond the gardens at the rear of my house. Its light shines through the trees and results in a silhouette of moving shapes on my bedroom wall. It allows me to see what I am doing when I might be paying a visit to the toilet during the night without having to switch on a light. In some respects that is the more favourable option for who wants to be dazzled by a bright light when in a semi-awake state? Having the curtains open allows me to be greeted by the dawn when I awake, especially in the other seasons of the year. I live in a street which is orientated in an approximate ESE to WNW direction or if you prefer, the house faces roughly SSW. This means that the sun rises to my right from my bedroom window but of course I cannot see it during the winter months as it is too far south. There comes a time in the year when it finally rises directly in line with our street but then of course it is blocked from view by the other houses and the trees in the street and as ours is almost the first building in the street. There are quite a few houses beyond and toward the sunrise. Once the sun begins to rise  from a further northerly position the sunlight is able to shine into my bedroom on what is roughly the west wall of the room, that is the wall on my left as I look out of the window. Each year I eagerly wait for the first rays of the sun to appear on that wall for I know Spring is almost here. So it was that on Monday (9th) I saw again for the first time this year the thin line of bright sunshine on my bedroom wall as the light shone in from an acute angle. It was there for about twenty minutes then finally disappeared as the sun rose higher in the morning sky, each moment moving further southward as it did. As the weeks and months pass by the sunshine will light up more of the wall and will remain there longer as the sun rises from a more northerly point each day until around June 21st when it begins to rise further south once more. At that time the sun, if it isn’t cloudy, will shine on part of the wall which faces the windows and the west wall will be almost fully lit for quite a while each morning. It is nice to wake up to a bright room lit by sunshine, it sets the mood for the day.

This is the 2500th post since starting my blog…….

Shirley Anne

The nether regions

My my, the weather has been so windy lately, played havoc with the flag so much so I had to take it down until it subsided some. Now although it is still somewhat windy I have raised the flag again. The wind hereabouts is predominantly from the west, sometimes from the south-west and sometimes the north-west but predominantly from one of those directions. Over the last week it has changed to a more northerly direction and with that comes the cold. Now I live in an old Victorian house that has seen many changes to its interior since it was built in 1877 and I suppose when it was originally built it was hard to keep it warm.

Chimney stacks on a building in Newcastle upon...
Chimney stacks on a building in Newcastle upon Tyne, England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It must have cost a fair amount of money to maintain a cosy interior. There were nine fireplaces at one time from what information we have gathered during our time here so they must have been able to keep it warm but at a price. In fact there may have been more fireplaces but now we have only three presently usable. We could conceivably use a couple more if we re-opened the relevant chimney stack. There are four chimney stacks three of which served eight or nine fires whilst the fourth perhaps served another two or three. The fourth stack was capped off many years ago and no longer protrudes beyond the roof. So at one time if all those fireplaces were used it must have been very warm indoors. When we moved here about twenty-six and a half years ago we found the house very draughty in places and we tried to eliminate the draughts as best we could. It was only after we had double-glazed windows and a couple of new doors fitted in 2010 that we saw a very much improved  situation but it didn't solve the problem completely. The various holes in the interior walls through which drain pipes pass and some other holes in out-of-sight places together with the ventilation bricks made sure that the draughts were never completely sealed off. Last year we had cavity wall insulation fitted and the ventilation bricks changed and that improved things even more but still the wind gets into the house in some places. Also last year I made a start on the proposed garden toilet we hope to build in the now isolated room beneath the kitchen. I say isolated but it is still accessible from the garden. My readers will remember I sealed it off from the other rooms in the cellar last year. Now then, E was telling me about the draught she could feel from beneath the kitchen units by the sink. I stood by the sink and could feel the draught in my nether regions too. I investigated and sealed off the hole around the water pipes to reduce the draught but it still remained to some degree. The reason for that is the room beneath now has no ceiling as such so the joists and floorboards  which make up the kitchen floor are now exposed. I have filled in the gaps beneath the units with foam rubber as a temporary cure, (it worked). The two doors leading out to the garden into that isolated room are in no way draught proof and because the wind is blowing directly upon them the room itself has become the source of the kitchen draughts. It becomes it all the more important that I make some progress toward completing that garden toilet project as soon as I am able.

Shirley Anne

End of a bad week

Last week was bad and only got better at the end. Regular readers will have read my previous posts as to the reasons why so I won’t repeat it here. On Friday afternoon I had to make the journey into Liverpool again, this time to have my sutures removed. The plan was to have that done and then go to a favourite place in the city to have a late lunch. E drove me there, which is just as well for I was taking her out to lunch too! The nurse arrived at 2 o’clock, about ten minutes after we had gotten there. It took her some time to remove the sutures for there were more than forty of them! Now you know why I was glad to have them go because they had made combing my hair somewhat difficult. It also meant that we left the clinic a little later than we had expected. We were finally able to leave just after 3 o’clock and we drove through town to our destination not far from the Pier Head and the river.

The Three Graces, Liverpool as seen from the M...
The Three Graces, Liverpool as seen from the Mersey Ferry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

E hadn’t dined in this particular pub/restaurant previously and I guess she was looking forward to it, however, by the time we got there they had stopped serving meals. We learned that we had only missed their closing time by a few minutes. The staff apologised but showed us the location of another eatery close-by so we walked the short distance and entered a completely different kind of establishment altogether, one very much more basic. Both are located a short distance behind the famous buildings in this picture and about a mile from the clinic beyond and to the right of this picture. As we were by this time rather hungry we decided to stay anyway and eat. The place was full though I have to say and many were eating. It was obviously popular. The menu was surprisingly very good  and whilst E found us a table I placed the order at the bar, We had both chosen sirloin steaks. We waited but fifteen minutes and the food was served. It was delicious. I wouldn’t normally have chosen this place to dine in and probably won’t visit again. Our place of choice is a far nicer establishment. After finishing our meal we went to a local coffee-house to have a Cappuccino as we had plenty of time left on the parking meter. We could have had a coffee in the pub but E wanted somewhere quieter. The pub had been rather noisy but not overly so. We stopped for fuel on the way home but E had chosen a station only a few miles out of Liverpool where the fuel prices were much lower than nearer home. It didn’t much matter for when it came to pay I gave her my debit card. The day had been nice despite everything. Now if my readers will remember that on the previous Saturday I was going to install the replacement hot water pump and extend the existing wiring for the tank thermostat to control it. E and I did both on Saturday, that is I installed it all and she helped me here and there. At last then things are getting back to normal and maybe I will be able to get some of the other projects completed soon. There is no hurry to do any of them and I won’t be overdoing it when I resume working on them. This weekend has been much better than the previous one.

Shirley Anne