I had a great night’s sleep on Wednesday, a sort of catch up for all the poor nights of sleep I went through during the previous week. I even slept in until six o’clock. Ah but there was a reason for that, I wasn’t going for a walk but I was going for the weekly shopping and don’t do that at three in the morning! The house still smelled of the chlorinated paint I had been using the day before despite giving it plenty of ventilation. It didn’t really matter for I planned to do some more painting as soon as I returned from the supermarket. There are different ways of painting a set of stairway steps. Start at the top and work your way down to the bottom is one method but to do that in the cellar of our house means that I would have to gain re-entry to the house via another route. Paint only half of each step to allow climbing back upstairs afterward or paint alternate steps for the same reason. I had painted two steps then missed one then repeated the pattern the previous day but I wanted to finish the steps this time around. Beginning at the top I began painting those steps I hadn’t done the day before but I still had to leave three of them only half painted so that I could still get out of the cellar using the stairwell. It would be no hardship to finish the steps later. Once I reached the bottom it was time to give the whole hallway floor its second and final coat of paint. Once done I returned up the steps making sure of course that I kept to the ones painted the previous day. Near the top however each step had only just been painted which is why I left three of them only half-painted.
It wouldn’t take long to paint them later. When the cellar was less well lit years ago the top two steps were difficult to see and their leading edges were given a coat of white paint as you can see from the one not painted. Since we built the wet room (to the right and behind the wall not shown in the picture) the steps have been lit through the internal window we put at the top of the wall. There is an external window allowing natural light into the room which now in turn illuminates the steps and of course if the room’s lights are on the steps are well illuminated. Now that the cellar has been refurbished and a new and brighter LED unit has been installed there is no longer the need to paint the leading edges in white. As I write this on Thursday afternoon (10 th) there is only those steps to paint and perhaps a retouch here and there on the main floor. Usually the mortar between the stone tiles is where a touch up is required in places. The project has all but come to an end with only the retouching of the white paint remaining to be done. Now I can look forward to getting outdoors into the gardens for a change.
The post has nothing to do with Christmas apart from the date. I was determined to go for an early morning walk on Christmas Eve so arose at two. The week ahead looked very promising as far as the weather was concerned, dry though cold. I decided to walk along the Promenade (it is so named) for a change but long before I reached it I could hear the thump, thump, thump of rock music from one of the night clubs. Why on earth do they have to have it so loud that I can hear it a half-mile away? It must be a nightmare living close-by and it happens almost every night. Thankfully by the time I was on the Promenade the music had faded to a more respectable level though it was still loud enough to hear far away from the club. Soon I was up-wind of it and all was again quiet. It had been foggy during the night and there was still a trace of it as I walked along. I was surprised at the number of vehicles passing by as at that time there are usually few. Soon I was back home in the relative warmth, I say relative as the heating isn’t on at five o’clock! The house is generally warm especially in the room we use to eat in which is just as well as I ate breakfast in there. It was time to do a spot more work in the cellar hallway, finishing off filling holes and gaps with plaster. After two and a half hours I had it done and returned upstairs to sit with E whilst she ate her breakfast. I took a two-hour break then went back to work for just an hour. This time I did a little painting but not a lot. I was mainly giving some of the bare plaster its first coat though I did cover part of the ceiling too.
In the above picture I painted the area above the doors and the ceiling to the right of the light. In the lower picture I had been filling in the holes and gaps on the wall and ceiling as well as elsewhere in the hallway.
The room on the left is the small store room which is just about completed, only requiring a very small amount of painting work which would get done when I next used the floor paint.
After the short break was over it was time to start work again. Alright it was only one day off but it did make a difference. So now it was Wednesday morning and I was up before one o’clock! I’d had enough sleep by then having retired to bed at seven-thirty. Time for a walk and at two thirty in the morning I never expect to see anyone about, that is near to my home for in town it is a different matter. Not that I walk through the town centre often at such an hour but if I do there is always somebody about. I walked down the road called Rotten Row which is usually deserted but this morning there were road works being carried out and as I passed I saw two guys from the local energy supply working on some underground cables. I had noticed a power outage along that road several days earlier. They were the only people I came across throughout my walk though there had been a few vehicles about. When I returned home and after breakfast it was time to put on the kit, overalls, gloves and mask. I was going to paint the small store room floor in the cellar….
The left-hand picture might be slightly blurred as I had to take it from outside the room by reaching around the wall. The right-hand picture was taken from the same position just outside the room. In that picture you can see a dark triangular patch in the top right of the floor. When we cleared out the room we discovered an old cut-off lead water pipe and we think it was either a water supply to a tap (faucet) for use in that room or a supply pipe for what used to be an outhouse where there was a washroom and lavatory. I remember cutting off the lead pipe whilst digging out the Plot at the side of the house when constructing the raised flowerbed there a couple of years ago. When I cemented the gaps in the floor a week or so earlier it took a long time to dry. We are not sure at the time of writing whether this triangle of cement now covering the remains of the pipe has fully dried out or if it has water in it (seeping in from the soil in which it is buried) which is keeping it damp. If it doesn’t appear to be drying out I shall have to dig outside to locate and cut it off. Until then that corner will remain unpainted. I wasn’t able to do any more work in the cellar until the fumes had disappeared.
Shopping day again but first some more work to do. Up once more very early and by three o’clock I had my overalls on and was giving the woodwork a second coat of paint and the ceiling its first. I was two and a half hours doing that and then returned upstairs for a drink and to watch some tv before toddling off to the supermarket. Now it isn’t often, practically never that I eat a hot dog but the previous week I came across some cans of hot dog sausages when shopping and brought one home. I had almost forgotten I had them so this week (Thurs. 8 th) I bought some buns. On my return home I cooked some onion by chopping it and then boiling it rather than frying it as I normally do. Boiled onion is usually served with hot dogs and I made a couple of them with added ketchup. They were delicious, just like the ones I remember on days out somewhere. After my treat I put on my overalls again and continued with the painting. Earlier I had noticed a couple of places where the emulsion had turned brown but in fact they were stains seeping through. One was on the ceiling and the other on a wall.
When decorating the small front lounge last year I had purchased some stain sealing paint and had a little left over. I used it to over-paint the two stains so that I could apply the emulsion once again, which I did after first of all painting the most part of the walls. I stopped work for the rest of the day at twelve o’clock. There was still much to do but the room was beginning to look as it should.
With no morning walk I was able to concentrate in carrying on with the utility room project immediately after breakfast on Tuesday. However breakfast was at four o’clock as I had allowed myself an extra hour in bed once again. It appears I am working so hard I need the extra rest and who am I to argue with that? I began the work at four-thirty not leaving myself open to any distractions for I wanted to continue filling in the gaps and joints before painting could start. I spent almost two hours filling in holes, some of which were large and had been made by others many years ago and not repaired. It is because the room is in the cellar that any sort of refurbishment was considered unnecessary, even by myself at least while there were more important things to be doing in the upper rooms and elsewhere. So not only have I had to fill in my own work but all the other gaps and holes too and there were quite a few. I was beginning to tire of filling them in and in fact I had been doing it in stages to relieve the monotony. Some of the holes were too large to fill in one attempt anyway. After two hours I decided to do some painting. The woodwork needed an undercoat of paint so I searched my stock to see if there was anything suitable. I found a half-filled ten litre drum of vinyl silk emulsion in magnolia which was pale enough to act as an undercoat to the white paint I was going to cover it with later.
There was still more filling-in to do which would hopefully get done the next day. I was happy to see the undercoat of paint making a striking difference to the now already brighter room after I had installed the new ceiling light the day before. Although there is still plenty to do yet I am beginning to see the finished job. It’s got to be better than when I first started on the room!
It was now Thursday 18 th and after a really good night’s sleep I was ready for the day. First of all though I was to take my morning walk. It was a little on the cold side at 7 deg C but because there was no wind whatsoever it didn’t feel that cold. The sky was clear and the stars filled it. However the street lighting prevented a clear view, that is until I reached the seafront where it was almost pitch black. Soon my enjoyment was over and I was back home for breakfast. I had a number of chores to do before I could even consider doing any work in the utility room, except to fill the washing machine and switch it on. I had re-positioned and re-connected the machine the evening before to check for leaks. Yes there was one! One of my pet sayings is that I hate plumbing and to be honest it is true, at least to some extent. The leak was sorted and I washed my overalls, they needed it! On Wednesday I had concentrated on installing the second cabinet, no painting the floor that day and having to fight the fumes. This is how far I got…
By the end of the day I was ready for bed and a good rest. Now it was Thursday but I had the weekly shopping to do. I watched some catch-up tv before going to the supermarket and returned by eight-thirty. An hour or so later I began to work in the utility room but kept the work to a minimum. I fitted the doors to the second cabinet and the door knobs to both after which I painted the new section of worktop.
I couldn’t do anymore work thereafter until the paint had dried in case I stirred up dust so I had the rest of the day to myself.
Wednesday morning saw me doing a spot of painting in the utility room I’m engaged in refurbishing. I began by painting the wall against which the next cabinet will stand, the same wall or side of the room I was concentrating on as I work around the room little by little. Once that was done I gave the floor beneath it a coat of the chlorinated rubber floor paint I had used elsewhere on other projects in the cellar (see older posts).
Eventually the whole floor will be painted as I move around the room. I can only work on sections of the room at a time because of the furniture (mostly freezers) in there. The parts of the floor beneath the new cabinets will only be painted once of course for there is no need for another coat when it will be hidden. In the picture above there will be the washing machine, another cabinet and a freezer. The patch you see couldn’t be painted until the following day because the cement I had put there to fill a hole hadn’t yet dried completely. Painting the walls doesn’t require wearing a mask as it is only a vinyl emulsion but the mask was necessary when painting the floor. The fumes given off with the chlorinated rubber paint are overpowering and possibly a health hazard if a mask isn’t worn. The fumes linger for hours so we keep the door down to the cellar closed until they subside. Later in the day I hoped to do more work down there but only if the fumes had dissipated, if not there would be plenty of work to do in the garden!
I must have been so tired on Sunday evening I ended up sleeping in a further hour and a half after I had switched off the alarm! Usually I get out of bed immediately because I know I am likely to nod off again if I don’t. The consequence was I missed my early morning walk as I didn’t then wish to take it because I had work to do which I would have to start later in the morning. I didn’t want to do that. The walk would have to wait a day. The work I wanted to do was all in the utility room. First job was to fix some wall tiles around the sink top. The second job was to move the drain pipe coming from the upstairs dishwasher and to re position the cold water supply pipe to the washing machine in the utility room.
The black pipe is that drain from the dishwasher which used to run at high level and come down the wall to where it is still connected. The cold water pipe to the washing machine now runs down alongside the window on its left. It used to come down the wall to the left of the drain pipe. I wanted them moving so they didn’t go through the worktop I would be fitting there and it would allow any joints to remain accessible. Once those jobs were done I blanked off the hole near the ceiling (top centre in lower picture) then took a break and sat with E having her breakfast. When she was ready we went to the hardware store and purchased two more cabinets, four doors with their furniture and some more plywood for the worktops. One of the cabinets would go alongside the washing machine between it and one of the smaller chest freezers which will stand on the far left (lower picture above). The other cabinet will be fitted on the opposite wall together with the larger and older chest freezer. The other small chest freezer will be fitted where the older one now stands. All this is intended to make better use of the room space. On our return from the store E got ready to go to a funeral and I took the goods into the room. After a quick lunch she went out and I got on with more work, filling in some holes in the floor and wall and later giving the wall its first coat of paint.
However I then noticed the drains for the washing machine and dishwasher drain needed attention as there appeared to be a small leak. This leak must have developed over the years and I needed to repair it. Whoever had installed it hadn’t left enough pipe sticking out of the wall so I had to dig it out before doing the repairs.
The main leak was on the white pipe connections. The dark patches on the wall is cement which couldn’t be over-painted until it was dry. You can see the dark patch on the floor where I had filled it in. The best thing about this project is the different disciplines involved, electrical, carpentry, brickwork and cementing, plumbing and painting and decorating. That’s why I like doing projects.
Or…for my American friends and some others….a wrench in the works. Somehow ‘wrench’ doesn’t seem to express it as well as spanner but I suppose that is due to my living in the UK. I would prefer to say England rather than the United Kingdom because I am English, I was born here. I do have Scottish ancestry though on my father’s side of the family but I was born in England. Now we say ‘spanner in the works’ to express a condition whereby a planned activity has been forced to a stop by an outside influence or objection. Well it seems that E has thrown such a spanner in the works having raised tentative objections to my planned garden project. I think however she would prefer something slightly different from my proposals though not entirely different. At the moment therefore the plans are on hold until we can agree on what to do. I suspect that won’t take long and I’ll soon be making inroads but who knows? We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime I can rest up though with me that will be difficult. This morning, that is September 1 st I had to water the garden again because we’ve had little rain lately and one or two of the plants were beginning to wilt a little. I had watered the garden on Friday evening and the plants were looking healthy afterward but a second watering was needed to ensure the soil was moistened through. For today and the following few days the weather forecast says it will remain dry. Anyway I did that and on the way back upstairs I glanced at the pit in which the cross-trainer stands and noticed a small amount of paint flaking off in one corner. When I first constructed the pit a few months earlier I had used paint we had in storage but was never really satisfied with the colour after painting the walls in the room white. The paint in the pit was more creamy looking. Having painted the floor red it magnified the differences between the wall and pit colours. I decided to scrape off the flaking paint and redo the whole pit in a gloss white though I couldn’t of course paint beneath the cross-trainer itself.
It didn’t take long to do, about twenty minutes but now it looks much better for it. Later in the day it was time for more garden maintenance, sweeping up leaves and mowing the lawn.
Up and about at my now usual early start but I had to wait until it was light enough to allow me to have the gym light on with the door open. If you remember I didn’t want a room full of moths which would have been attracted to the brightness of the room. That meant I couldn’t begin painting until five-thirty. The plan was to complete the second coating of the floor which I managed to do all except for the small area where the treadmill had been standing. It is the area between the up-righted treadmill and the small can with the wood on it. That small area had to be left for its second coat as it was part of the walkway I had to leave to enable access to the garden door for the day (to the right and to the rear in the picture). It would get painted on Tuesday morning when the rest of the floor would be dry. This was how the floor looked soon after I had painted the second coat (on the left and beyond)…..
I was feeling rather tired during the rest of the morning and was sitting quietly on the sofa when I heard my eldest son and his wife arrive. They were collecting some things they have in storage here. He was telling me how much he was feeling tired also because of the extra work he had been putting in at work lately, especially the shift work. He is a police officer and puts in some long shifts as they are expected to do these days. He was looking forward to his annual break in a couple of weeks time (as I write). By the time you are reading this he, his wife and their daughter will be holidaying in France for, as he said, twenty-seven nights! They have been to France a couple of times before. I remember when we took he and his younger brother down to the south of France many years ago for a two-week break with a short trip into Spain too. On that occasion we travelled by car, in fact the only time we have ever taken a holiday by car. We have driven in foreign countries of course but we flew there first!