…..it can be boring! What? Public holidays. Over Easter the weather can be warm and sunny but can also be wet, cold and windy. Where I live it was a mixture of all and at times wasn’t pleasant at all. Many folk take a trip somewhere but unless it is to a warmer country it hardly seems worth it unless the weather isn’t a consideration.
What does one do if the weather is poor? Well there are all sorts of things of course and for some being outdoors is great no matter what the weather is like. For those who wish to remain indoors there are still things they can partake in but it all depends on the individual. My Easter Day was spent indoors and as it was Sunday I did no work for Sundays I rest. However it is hard for me to spend all day doing nothing so I get bored. There aren’t many recreational activities which interest me these days except playing my guitar or watching documentaries on tv but even those things can’t satisfy all the time. Social events are fine but for me they would be boring if all I did was socialise every day. So I rested uneasy for most of the day with only the thought of being able to continue with my projects on Monday! Had the day been warm and sunny however everything would have been different, I would have been out in the garden and on the patio most of the time. I could have gone walking but I had done that only two days before and I wanted to rest anyway. I often wonder what other people get up to when the weather is poor and they remain indoors. To be honest I don’t really want to know!
I was at a bit of a loose end again on Tuesday. I could have done some work in the garden but chose not to. Once more I had no electrical work scheduled either. Rain was forecast for later in the day and through the night so that prevented me from repairing the loose bricks on the raised flowerbed I wrote about in yesterday’s post. I suppose I could have done the work anyway and simply covered the wall with polythene sheet to keep it from getting wet whilst the mortar set but I wanted to do some rendering on the buttress too and that would be difficult to protect from the rain. I put it off for another day. According to the forecast the rain would only be for the one day and then it would be dry for a few days. I went for a walk in the morning instead. I didn’t feel like walking or doing anything for that matter at first but after ten minutes or so that changed and it became enjoyable as it usually is for me. My main interest when walking is looking at the fauna, gardens and scenery and I like looking at buildings and their architecture when in built-up areas. I never get bored when out walking. The day was cold though with a bit of a biting wind but I was wrapped up well enough to bear it. Most of the time I walked in sheltered places so the wind was less of an irritation. The weather must have gotten to me however as later I began to feel its effect. For the remainder of the day I did very little for a change except play my guitar and watch television. This is certainly not good for me, it just won’t do but I suppose I have to rest from my labours sometimes! I found the time to write this anyway.
We have endured many days of rain and high winds lately but on Sunday morning it was bright and sunny, hardly any wind and no rain either. I had a restless night with little sleep because I had done very little during the preceding days and simply wasn’t tired enough. That meant I was awake early, around five-thirty but I didn’t arise until another half-hour had passed. I had breakfast around seven and around eight I decided to go for a walk into town. Usually the streets are fairly empty at that time, especially on a Sunday and this Sunday was no exception yet there were a few people about in the centre at least, hardly anyone in the approaching streets. It was quite cold though and I could feel a frost in the air though none was on the ground. It was probably five or six degrees (Celsius of course) and according to the forecast for the day it would reach twelve. I was well wrapped up so it didn’t matter. It would be busy in the town later for many of the shops there would be open. For me Sunday is The Lord’s day, a day of rest from work and I think only those who have to work on the day should do. Alas, the country has turned away from its Christian heritage allowing secular ideology to take over. According to Scripture countries who turn their backs to God will no longer prosper but try telling the masses that! No-one wants to listen. Anyway my walk took me through the shopping areas where one or two coffee houses had just opened their doors but I wasn’t tempted to go in to any of them. A voice called out ‘Good morning Shirley Anne’ and I turned to see who it was. It was a man named Archie, someone who I know who often visits my local pub with his wife, Ann. He was off to the gym for some exercise and then a swim in their pool. During the summer months I often see him out running. He would be around sixty-something years of age I guess. I carried along with my walk and nearer to home on my return I was approaching a woman taking her dog for a walk but didn’t make eye-contact with her as she drew closer. I didn’t want the dog sniffing around my legs as dogs do, especially if encouraged. I was about to walk past her when she said ‘Hello Shirley Anne’. I stopped and looked but I didn’t recognise her and she continued ‘Don’t you recognise me……from the pub……we met there a few times?’. I apologised for not remembering and even now as I write this I am finding it difficult to remember more about our meetings though I did recognise her once we started talking. Sometimes it is awkward opening conversations with people, even if you know them, when you are taken by surprise. She asked how I was doing and did I have a nice Christmas. I tell people the truth, yes I am well but no I didn’t enjoy Christmas for I don’t celebrate it in the way she was inferring. Many years ago it happened that I was not invited to family gatherings once they knew of my transition yet those closest to me were. I had no support from them and they continued to go to these gatherings which meant my Christmases since have been spent alone. In more recent years I made the decision not to celebrate Christmas but for Scriptural reasons to do with my faith. Now I suppose that will be the excuse for not receiving invitations even if that is not the real reason. Once the festivities are over I am expected to react to my family as if their treatment toward me was anything but favourable. I love my family and would do anything for them. Sometimes I wonder if it is appreciated. So I arrived home after my walk beginning to feel tired but wanting to go out again as it turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. What I do know is this will be my last Sunday walk of the year………..roll on 2016.
Apart from working for a short time on Saturday morning the long weekend was pretty much a boring affair. The weather on Saturday was appalling, wet and windy for the most part and I don’t remember if I saw that Sun even once! Sunday was a little better, more so toward the end of the day and Monday morning I was awakened to bright blue skies. As I write this on Monday morning I have no plans for the day though I might go for a walk later. However, because it is a national holiday most places will be filled with people, especially in town. I therefore usually avoid town for that reason, preferring a walk along the seafront instead. I have stopped all work at home until further notice except for those jobs that are emergencies or maintenance, like mowing the lawn for instance. I doubt E could mow the lawn nowadays with her health problems. With the way I am getting treated by E lately though I have lost all interest and that really goes against the grain because I like working at home and getting things done. I feel I am not appreciated most of the time. It is such a shame as there are jobs I’d like to be doing in order to improve the interior of the house, refurbishing the central heating, a couple of bedrooms and other things. Everything I do at home is funded by myself, E makes no financial contribution simply because she cannot afford it. At the moment all my expendable income is getting saved except where I want to treat myself now and then, which isn’t often at all! My electrical work keeps me happy and helps fund all my projects. I will be glad to get back to it if and when I get requests. As I look out of my front room window I see the flag blowing in the wind and I am hoping the wind will drop a little so that being outside is more enjoyable, then I might take that walk.
There’s a song in there somewhere……but it isn’t about a song. E and I have not been speaking now for seven weeks. It is all about her stubborn heart but I am not saying more than that just now. It means all of my time is now spent alone, not that this is anything new for over the last few years I have found myself in this position quite often. At the moment I just think she doesn’t care. I on the other hand do care but this time I am not rushing in to smooth things over as I normally have done in the past, this time I refuse to give in to her indifference. I am not at fault as usual but it seems that makes no difference. Everything is well for me as long as I have work to do but I seldom work every day. That means I get bored unless I make an effort to stay occupied. I take walks when the weather allows and go shopping sometimes. I took a walk on Wednesday in order to make a deposit in my bank and took a roundabout route to kill time. I had been dressed for work during the morning in case I received a request but none came in so in the afternoon I got changed and headed off out. After visiting the bank I continued my walk but got stopped within a hundred metres at the railway level-crossing. I could have crossed the road and taken the underpass at the station but it was such a sunny day and I was in no hurry to get anywhere. I got chatting to an elderly lady whilst we waited for the trains to come and go then we crossed over and chatted some more before we went our separate ways. I then met the only other female electrician I know hereabouts who was just about to enter a shop where I presume she was either working or giving an estimate. We didn’t talk except to say hello then I carried on with my walk. I was wondering rather aimlessly for a while before deciding to go to the pub and have a very late lunch. I hadn’t eaten for eight hours since breakfast. This time the pub was rather empty. I sat alone and had my meal but was greeted by a couple of guys I know, one of whom stopped to chat for a few minutes. I think he fancies me to be perfectly truthful for he never leaves me alone whenever I visit the pub. I was allowed to continue with my meal. Another guy came in and sat at the next table to have a meal and in the meantime was drinking a pint of beer. He went to the toilet and returned a minute later looking as if he was about to drop off to sleep when he seated himself at his table. I asked if he was alright and he asked why I was asking. I said that he looked a little tired and I thought he was about to fall asleep. I just wanted to make sure he was OK. He thanked me and told me he was fine then he asked me if I was alone. I told him that whilst in the pub I was. That gave him the impression that I was in a relationship and he said no more. I had an idea he was high on something but not alcohol for his pupils were a little dilated. Maybe he was simply tired. I didn’t stay long after that and returned home. E had been out all afternoon with her mom and she returned an hour later.
As I write this on Thursday afternoon I have had no electrical job offers that I am willing to take on-board since last Thursday and no work therefore since last Friday. Swings and roundabouts of course and I may yet get requests before this week is out. One good thing to come out of this, or maybe two good things would be the nice long break and a chance to really rest from my labours and to know what it would be like to be fully retired. I am not interested in the latter as such and I know that whilst I am fit and healthy I shan’t be idle once I do decide to retire from my formal occupation. For someone who doesn’t much care for travel and going places just because they are there or spending my whole later life roaming about like a hedonistic modern-day gypsy, I need to be doing something else instead. As I like working with my hands I know there will always be something for me to do, as long as I am fit and able. Besides I am more or less done with roaming for the sake of it except for taking the occasional break should I feel the need. Thankfully now the weather is slowly improving, the sun has been shining a lot over the past week raising my mood as it does. Funny how sunshine promotes activity, of any kind. More opportunities for outdoor pursuits or work, whichever of those I choose to do will keep me occupied. I have been offered work though but they have either been not cost-effective to do or they have been too far afield or too large for someone of my age. I tire of life sometimes, not the living of it but the things we all are expected to do living in a modern society. Jumping off the merry-go-round, the treadmill or getting out of the rat race would suit me fine but alas I am stuck with it. Once in the system, always in the system. The less of that system’s effect on my life the better as far as I’m concerned. For the time being I am expecting to get through this week work free…………….maybe. So what else did I do on Thursday afternoon? I cleaned the windows at the front of the house from the outside. They can be cleaned from the inside as they open inwards but reaching the fixed windows above, at least downstairs, are best done from the outside. They needed a hose pipe and a squeegee for they were heavily soiled and the higher ones had to be reached from a ladder. The sun was drying them as fast as I could wet them! Soon I was back indoors and baking some more scones having to use baking powder in the mix having discovered we had no self-raising flour but only plain flour. Adding a little baking powder to a self-raising flour mix makes them rise even more. E had been out shopping with her mum and can always tell when I have been baking in her absence, the house is filled with a lovely aroma.
The saying goes,’life has a way of catching up on you’. I am not sure exactly what is meant by that but it sprung to mind whilst I was out for a walk on Tuesday afternoon. Once more I had no work scheduled so the day was mine unless I got a phone call. I managed to reach lunch time without such a call and if I had received one I most probably would have deferred doing any work until the next day. As it happened the day was beautiful from dawn until dusk, full sunshine all the way and only a whisper or a hint of wind, ideal for a walkabout. So after lunch that is exactly what I did. I started out toward the beach but I’d hardly walked a quarter-mile when my mobile phone rang. Unfortunately the caller hung up before I could answer so I tried to call them back but alas couldn’t get through and after a couple of attempts I gave up. I continued to the beach by crossing the coastal road, a dual carriageway at that point, to reach the sand dunes. When we first moved to the area over twenty-six years ago the beach looked very different to what it is today and it was this point that reminded me of the saying quoted above but perhaps it should have been, ‘time and tide wait for no man’. That would be more apt. As I came out of the dunes I was faced with grass and shrubs, overgrown old pathways, small mounds of dunes dotted on what used to still be a sandy beach twenty-six years ago. The sandy beach is still there only it is further out than before on the other side of this new natural land reclamation. Of course I have walked to the same spot many times over the years and have noticed the subtle changes along the way but it has been a couple of years since I trod this particular part of the seafront. It took me by surprise for these last few years of changes had become more noticeable to me. A decision had been made by the local authority some years ago not to interfere with the natural processes of coastal changes as long as it doesn’t involve coastal erosion. About four miles southward from here coastal erosion is a concern as the sea threatens to eat away at the sand dunes there. When I lived there years ago much effort was put into staving off the sea by solidifying the dunes at one point. It has been a long time since I was there last so I am not too sure if that work was successful or if it is ongoing. Certainly things change with the passage of time, including us! I continued on my walk and came across other signs of change, a caravan site refurbishment involving new on-site buildings, alterations to the grounds forming a long-established local park, church building works and private gardens being landscaped. It seems that nowhere is exempt from change. Since living in the area I have seen many changes over the years, hopefully all of them for the better. On returning home I noticed that E had gone out in her car but that the roller door to the garage she uses was still open. I walked across to close it by pushing the button on the control box but it wouldn’t move and in fact it had somehow become unwound. Not certain about what I should do I called the contractor who had fitted it for me but he was working in Manchester for a week on a large contract. He advised me on what I should do, how to put it into manual so that I could rewind it and then switch it back to automatic mode. I followed his instructions and got things working properly again. Now I know why I haven’t received requests for my electrical services…..my talents have been needed at home! Nothing really changes after all.
On Saturday I felt like going for a drive somewhere, anywhere, just to get out of the house. I don’t do that very often and usually decide on the spur of the moment. I would have gone earlier but our youngest son had stayed the night again and I wasn’t able to get my vehicle out of the garage for he had parked his car in front of it! I hadn’t an appointment so I wasn’t in any hurry. Had I been so I would have done something about it. As it was I finally managed to drive off just after 12.30. He seems to be spending more time here than he does at his own place but at least we get to see him. E had driven off somewhere too, about a half-hour earlier but she had been able to get her car out of the garage! We have two garages but anyone calling tend to leave their cars on the driveway in front of the garage I use. That is probably because the driveway is a little wider I suppose. I drove off in the direction of Liverpool. I seem to be drawn there a lot these days. My old town, well it is a city, has changed immensely since I left there back in 1974 and not least of all in the layout of the roads. Those on the outskirts of the city centre haven’t changed much other than being upgraded and tidied up to make them more presentable but the ones in and around the centre can be a bit of a nightmare to negotiate if going from ‘A’ to ‘B’ within the centre itself unless one is used to the new layout. I have to say at this point that I am quite familiar with most of the roads but certain ones I have yet to get to grips with. Isn’t it always the way that when negotiating a chosen route slowly in case a turn is missed other drivers become impatient? I am sure they have been in similar situations where they have been on unfamiliar routes and have had to slow down too. Actually I was simply driving through with no particular place to go though I wanted to remain driving in the right direction nevertheless. It wouldn’t have made much difference had I missed a turn or two as I was only out for a drive. As it happened I had no such problems in the route I had taken but I did slow down on one or two occasions. I had no idea where I would end up on the other side of the city, that is I hadn’t selected anywhere in particular. I ended up driving eastward and away from the city. I enjoy driving, I always have, especially in the twilight hours or at night but even during the day I find it pleasurable. After driving for a couple of hours my tummy decided that it wanted something in it but I found myself in open country with no prospect of finding a decent eating house! Eventually I found somewhere, a pub/restaurant, parked up and went inside for a meal. It used to be that whenever I ate alone I got some strange looks from some of the other diners as if I should have been in company. Some people are odd aren’t they? If I am alone and I am hungry I eat! Sometimes when eating alone or drinking alone, not that I drink (alcohol) anymore, I get to chat with people. Maybe they think I need someone to chat with, who knows? I pushed the boat out a bit and treated myself to a good meal with all the trimmings for a change, never mind the cost. I spent almost two hours in there by which time the afternoon was all but over and I headed off homeward. E had returned whilst I had been out and was tapping away at her keyboard, probably entering more competitions as is her want. I think she spends far too much time on her computer but that is her choice. I prefer to go for a drive or a walk or for a train ride!
I took a trip into Liverpool again on Wednesday. This time I was meeting someone from afar who was visiting the city for an hour or so. I took the train as for me it is free if I travel in off-peak periods. As I was walking to the station I noticed someone heading toward me from the opposite direction and was wondering if it was my ex’s sister as she looked very much like her from a distance. She approached the road junction and turned left toward the village shopping area and I turned right heading to the station which is in the same area. She was on the other side of the road to myself and I lost sight of her in the short distance to the station, I hadn’t noticed that she was taking the train too and was standing on the platform when I arrived. She must have seen that it was me and said hello. I was taken by surprise for though I had thought it might have been her I wasn’t expecting that it was. Soon the train arrived and we accompanied each other for the twenty-mile journey. It was pleasant to sit and chat together for we don’t see much of each other these days even though she lives a mere three-quarters of a mile or less away from E and myself. Families are weird folk. I got off the train one stop before she did as she was going to the main shopping centre to exchange clothes and do more shopping. It would have been nice to go with her I suppose but I had other plans. Whilst on the train I received a request for my services as an electrician and noted down the details. I drove to the house later in the afternoon after my return home and made an assessment of the job arranging to do it the following morning. My friend and I had lunch together in a friendly little out-of-the-way restaurant/pub I had never been to before. I might take E there one day if she will come. Whilst on my way back home I walked through the city centre and dropped into the bank to deposit some cash I had brought out with me for that reason. Having spent out £5200 recently I have to start saving more when I can. At the end of my travels and finally back home for the day I went on-line in order to transfer the cash I’d deposited into another bank where I keep my savings. On opening my account to transfer the cash I saw that I had far more in the account than I should have, even with the deposit I’d made earlier. I ‘d received a deposit from my energy supplier to the tune of £423! What a nice surprise. I’d received £50 from them at the beginning of the month too. Obviously I had overpaid on my energy accounts and this was by way of a refund. The odd thing is that during the day I had received both an email and a written letter indicating that both my monthly energy payments would be increasing by £18 (electricity) and £40 (gas). I pay by direct debit. Wouldn’t it be easier to have used the refund to offset the proposed increases? Evidently not it seems, that would make sense! So I was able to transfer an extra £400 into my savings account. Now that was a very nice surprise. I left the £23 remaining from the refund in the current account. At the end of each month I transfer any unused cash into my savings account anyway but usually only in £50 or £100 amounts, anything less than £50 is left in the account until the end of the following month. This way I am certain of having a small contingency float for emergencies. So a pleasant day all round.
On Friday morning around 10 o’clock I asked E if she would like to take a trip into Manchester for a few hours, not for any particular reason but simply to get out of the house and away from things for a while. It would have been nice to go to Liverpool to see the marionettes but we knew it would be too crowded. The marionettes I am talking about are giant-sized puppets about 8 metres high visiting the city once again over the last few days. They were last there in 2012 but this weekend past a much higher number of visitors were expected. We didn’t wish to go there for that reason and for the disruption to transport schedules and routes. We decided to go to Manchester instead. The journey to Manchester from Southport is normally straightforward as most journeys between them are direct by train which only stops at a handful of stations along the way. Of course we took a cab to the station which is only a mile and a half from our house, cheaper than leaving the car there all day. E had telephoned ahead and had arranged the free hire of a motability scooter for herself as she is partly disabled. That meant that once we were in Manchester she wouldn’t have to walk anywhere though travel in the city is free on the bus routes. I however had to walk everywhere! We had no plans for the day but E wanted to return the scooter before 5.30 when the hire office would be closed. It still gave us a few hours to wander about. First stop was to get a bite to eat then we set off to explore. At first we were not sure where to go and we found that we had to move some distance away from the station in order to see more of the city. I have to say that a couple of hours isn’t long enough by far to visit any city and do it justice so we didn’t even try, all we wanted to do was go in the direction of our noses and see what we might come across. As it was another hot and sunny day the streets and parks were full of people enjoying themselves in one way or another. Eventually I took E to see the city’s gay village (quarter) and showed her the places I used to go every week on a Wednesday evening. No, I am not gay but it was just somewhere to go and mix with a few of my friends at the time. I don’t go there now and haven’t been there for twelve years. E had not been before but had heard of the place. We didn’t stop there but went for a coffee a short distance away before setting off back toward the train station and to return her scooter. We had purchased a lower-priced ticket which accordingly wouldn’t allow us to travel homeward between 4 and 6 o’clock (peak hours) but that didn’t matter as the next train was due not long after six. As it happened the earlier train had been delayed and therefore didn’t set off until two minutes before six and I am certain we would have been allowed to travel on it had we tried. However because E wasn’t so sure we delayed trying and when we did we found we had just missed the chance to board it before it left the station. That would mean a wait of twenty minutes, or so we thought, but we were informed that the next train would be leaving in a couple of minutes. We had to get to the correct platform which meant using the elevators for E’s sake as she cannot easily cope with all the steps they seem to have at railway stations. We made it just in time. We knew we had to alight a couple of stations down the line to board another train which was going directly to Southport but that was no hardship. Had we caught the previous train we wouldn’t have needed to change to another train as we had to with the later one. All was going smoothly and we hoped to be back in Southport around 8 o’clock at the latest but the train stopped a third of the way into the journey and we were told that it wasn’t going any further because they didn’t have a driver to take it the rest of the way! We were then informed that a bus would be provided to take us the rest of the way. It didn’t arrive for another half hour and now it was after 8 o’clock. The driver had to make stops at the train stations along the way to allow people off but he kept on making the wrong turns, having to reverse back up narrow country lanes that he shouldn’t have taken in the first place! It was 9.15 before we got into Southport and another fifteen minutes for the cab to get us home! At least we had the company of a woman with her two teenaged daughters for the duration and we made jokes and laughed about our common demise. We might do things differently next time or maybe not!