Not quite……..

……..what I’d ordered. It was Friday and the first proper day of Spring following the Equinox on 21 st. I had this plan of arising early, going for a pre-breakfast walk and after breakfast doing other things. It didn’t quite go that way but then what did it matter? After all my time is free to do as I please. However I do expect my plans to go according to my wishes nevertheless. First thing which went wrong was getting up too late or later than I had wished. That being the case I left the house at nine o’clock to go for the walk which meant no breakfast before or afterward either because it was approaching lunchtime by the time I returned. I ate lunch at twelve and then played some catch-up on my offset plans. First port of call was to the hole in the wall for some cash. I dislike using the debit card all the time and prefer cash anyway. For myself I don’t like the idea of being in a cash-less society which is the way it will go if we use cards all of the time. Another case of lose it if you don’t use it. Anyway from the cash point I drove to the window repair and installation outlet from whom I had last week ordered a small double-glazed window to install in my new garage door. It should have been ready for collection but it wasn’t. In fact it appeared that it hadn’t even been made! They were to call me when it had been. I drove off to the builders merchant to purchase a couple of door hinges and some 100 mm length screws. I usually keep a stock of various sized screws but I had none of the longer ones in stock having used them all during my previous cellar room projects. The problem with buying screws here is that they come in boxes of 100, 150 and 200 so I was obliged to buy more than I actually needed. I opted for the box of 100 which still cost me more than £20. Had I gone to a retail store they would have cost more per unit as they usually sell them by number. I may have had to pay say £10 for 30 or less of them! Getting up late sort of spoiled my plans which were to begin constructing the door and frame in the garage. I couldn’t do the laying of the final coat of cement on the ramp I had been working on because rain had been forecast for the afternoon. There was nothing to stop me doing the woodwork inside the garage however but I decided against it. Instead I watched some tv with E whilst she was having her (late) lunch by which time I didn’t feel like starting work so late in the afternoon. Saturday onward for a week looked far more promising for we were in for some warm and dry days.

Shirley Anne


Spanner in the works

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.

Shirley Anne

Total disruption

My life has always been governed by routine and I suppose that is true for most people despite what they may say to the contrary. Routines are one thing and plans another. My life is also governed by plans and yes, probably everyone else’s are too. We all make plans in life. Plans are the promises we make to ourselves but sometimes don’t receive or carry out. After a complete rest on Sunday I was ready to resume the routine of working on my plan, a project I had given myself (like all the others) to fill a portion of my days with something to do but something else had to be done first. I had to have my six-monthly appointment with the doctor for check-ups and prescription renewal. I planned to do a little shopping after the appointment and then do a couple of other errands before returning home.  The appointment was for 0910 but as is usual I didn’t get to see the doctor until twenty minutes later. On leaving the surgery I walked into town to purchase a few things one of which was a blood pressure monitor before returning to my vehicle to drive home. According to my doctor my blood pressure was again just as the previous time very high. On that occasion I had subsequently been loaned a monitor to carry out the tests at home and they proved my blood pressure wasn’t high at all. The doctor suggested I might purchase a monitor or have another check-up by the chemist. I chose to purchase one so that I could take several tests and submit them to the surgery. Later at home my tests showed once more that my pressure levels were not high at all. I told the doctor that my results were always high when I visit the surgery. Now I suppose the reason for that is I don’t find it easy to relax at the surgery. I took my purchases home and immediately drove off again to dump some rubbish and unwanted items at the waste recycling depot returning home via the builder’s depot to purchase granite dust and cement. It was lunch time when I got home and after lunch I didn’t much feel like working but did a little plastering in the cellar storage room. The day hadn’t turned out anything like I thought it would, it had been totally disrupted. I thought later that I should have concentrated on installing the replacement shower cubicle glass instead but there was always tomorrow.

Shirley Anne

Just making plans

We’ve had a few bad days of cold and windy weather from the east but today as I write this on Thursday 1st March it looks as though things are about to change for the better. It has been snowing but not that much, in fact we’ve probably had only a few hours of it during the time it has been falling. I guess we’ve had three centimetres  of the white stuff at most as it comes and goes. What is worse is if it doesn’t melt away it freezes so although there might not be much of it the snow can still be a problem. We are very fortunate though for in many parts of the country conditions have been far worse so we mustn’t complain. It never ceases to amaze me though that this country cannot cope as well as it should when it snows whereas many other countries take it in their stride. I had planned to go for a walk but changed my mind and worked out on the Elliptical Trainer instead. That’s the beauty of being able to have the space in which to fit exercising machinery and equipment and I humbly acknowledge that privilege. Having gym equipment was never on my thoughts when we first moved into this house thirty years ago. Funny how things change I suppose. For most of the day I stayed indoors relaxing but I did wander about making plans for other projects E and I have been considering. My current project is to decorate the boiler room which houses the gym equipment and as you have been reading part of that work is already complete. However there is some preliminary work that needs to be done in other parts of the room yet to be decorated, tidying up wiring, replacing some of the pipe lagging, perhaps replacing the main light and installing another just to name a few. So over the next few weeks I shall be doing that work whilst decorating those areas which require no preparation. A little here and a little there is the way it will go. One other small project E would like have me do is to install a couple of 5 amp power points in the hallway for the two table lamps we use there. She wants them to be automatically controlled and I have the plans to do it. It will mean installing a photo-cell similar to those controlling the garage lights as shown in this picture…

and in conjunction with a time switch. The photo-cell will supply power to the 5 amp sockets when it goes dark and the time switch will prevent the lights remaining on all through the night. Once it is daylight again the power will automatically shut off. The system of operation is similar to that supplied to the porch light and the garden street lamp-post via the ‘part night’ controllers except that the new one will use cheaper parts and will be manually adjustable if required. Nothing like having plans as long as I can get around to doing them!

Shirley Anne

Ahead of myself

‘Jump the gun’, might be another description I assign to myself at times. Why? Well it is because I am a forward thinker and a person who when has a project often sees it finished before it had begun! I often think too forward into the future as I like everything to be organised and well planned out. I like things to run smoothly as I plan them to but that is never always possible due to events and circumstances beyond my control. I get annoyed in those cases.

The Strombus thinker. What is he possibly thin...
The Strombus thinker. What is he possibly thinking about? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The problem with thinking too far ahead is that we can miss what is happening in the present. Much of my time has been spent in the garden over the last twelve months carrying out alterations and additions, removing unwanted plants like bluebells and montbretia (may need more work on these next year too) and general maintenance. E and I were talking about the garden and the wildlife we get in the relatively small area at the rear of the house, other gardens. I was talking about the method I used when deciding how to populate the flowerbeds I had been working in these past six months. I told her that I think forward to how I imagine the bed would look like in winter and how much greenery we would like to see there at that time of year. Not all the trees and plants in our garden are evergreen but I like to keep deciduous plants to a minimum so that there is always some green foliage to see during the cold moths. I have also to bear in mind how fast they will grow and to what size and all this helps in the decision-making. Anyway we got to talking about the wildlife, owls, foxes, squirrels, mice, bats and a huge variety of birds all live or spend time in the rear gardens to our property. They all have to plan ahead too don’t they? The forward planning I make has taken a different route lately, for one I am planning less because there is less to plan for though there are still some things I, we need to plan ahead for in the coming months and some of them I wished were already done and dusted. At this time of year when the weather is warm and sometimes humid I don’t feel much like doing anything but I know if at least I don’t make any plans to get things done later they may never get done. Now, at the Summer Solstice my thoughts are elsewhere for a time.

Shirley Anne

Planning ahead

At the moment of writing work has come almost but not quite to a standstill on the bathroom project. I am still finding work to do that isn’t affected by the fact that we are waiting upon the tiling being done. The reasons for that are listed in recent posts for those new to reading my meanderings, and thank you all new-comers by the way for following my blog. I am not short of work though as I have been inundated with requests for my electrical services. It is Thursday afternoon and I have taken the afternoon off. I went out this morning to do a small job and on my return spent an hour or so with E marking out a datum line and fitting more wooden battens on which the first row of tiles will sit when the guy comes to do the tiling. He would only have to do it himself anyway so we are saving him the time. I have had some fun with linking this computer to E’s printer in order to print out my certificate of motor insurance. Earlier in the month I arranged and paid for the renewal but didn’t receive the certificate through an email in order to print it out. I had to take action as the old certificate expired on Saturday. I went on-line and contacted the insurers through their chat line facility and it appears they were having difficulty in sending it to my AOL email account and not only mine but everyone using AOL. I gave them an alternate address and they said they would send it there.

English: I wasn't planning to go that way
English: I wasn’t planning to go that way (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However in the meantime the chat was disconnected so I used their freephone number and contacted them over the phone. I explained what had happened and I also requested a hard copy of the certificate to be sent to my home address. I was told the fee would be £3.99! Well I was never charged for receiving a hard copy in the past as they were always sent that way. No doubt the fee would have been hidden in the overall cost but I never saw it. I was told that they would send it free of charge on this occasion and I would receive it within three days. Whilst checking my other email address I discovered they had indeed sent me the certificate electronically to the alternate email. It was then that I decided an attempt to print it. After a few attempts and it not responding I finally discovered that the computer was sending the data to a printer that wasn’t connected to it, the default printer, my own printer. Having discovered that error and correcting it I was able to print off the certificate. It now looks as if I shall have two of them! It is wise to have more than one copy I guess. Later I decided to print off a few business letterheads as I thought I’d used up my stock. When I came to store the newly printed sheets I found I had plenty left and didn’t really need the extras! I’m sure I am losing it! Anyhow I like to keep abreast of things and am always thinking and planning ahead. So it was that I ended up in the cellar in the little room we plan to convert into a washroom and toilet that will only be accessed from the garden once the existing doorways have been bricked up. That task will be given to E’s nephew who is a builder. The floor tiles need lifting and the floor levelling as there is a slight slope in it at the moment. These tiles are made from fired clay and measure something like 8 x 8 x 2 inches. They don’t make them like that these days! They are simply set upon compacted sand and can easily be replaced in preference to a concreted screed if we need to but I prefer to keep them if I can so every effort will be made to do so. I was simply making some assessments of the alterations and preparations that will be required to set the ball rolling once we set foot in there in earnest. I like planning ahead.

Shirley Anne

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