Busy doing nothing

Another funny day on Thursday but for different reasons. Nothing really was planned and I was to be house-bound for the afternoon. I had to wait at home for an engineer to check our faulty fridge/freezer under guarantee. It had been looked at some weeks ago but that engineer I discovered hadn’t checked it properly even though I was charged a lot of money for him to check it out. Modern fridges cannot always be repaired easily as many components are moulded into the fabric of the framework. The compressor and pipework are accessible though and can be worked upon. In our unit it turned out to be a heater fault . The heater is used to defrost the system automatically but unfortunately it cannot be accessed as it is hidden in the insulation. A stupid idea if you ask me for it means defrosting will now have to take place manually! I digress. A four-hour slot had been allocated for him to call which meant I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere until he had called. Wouldn’t you know it? He arrived at the end of the four hours! So what was I to do in the morning? There was a small amount of filling in with concrete on the Plot but I decided not to do that until another day. Instead, I drove to the garden centre to browse for more plants and returned home with three to put in the Plot, two in the ground and one in the raised flowerbedplot-35

The small conifer in the left corner of the flowerbed and the two shrubs just right of the new steps are those which I bought and planted. I did no other work during the morning. E went out shopping as usual and I had to wait until almost five o’clock before I could return to the apartment I had worked in the day before and get paid by the old lady I had worked for. We ended up chatting and I didn’t leave until long after six o’clock by which time E had returned and was eating her evening meal! As far as the fridge/freezer is concerned I might just decide to buy another but of a different make, it will depend upon how frustrated we get having to manually defrost it every so often.

Shirley Anne

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Do it for nothing revisited

Saturday Morning Apocalypse
Saturday Morning Apocalypse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I got to thinking yesterday
That things were going not my way
The many plans I had in store
Grew wings and flew out of the door!
It seems to happen frequently
As if my life was jinxed for me
But other times it goes quite well
Then pleasant stories I can tell.
So life does have its ups and downs
And I must never wear a frown
I’ll take each moment as it comes
And praise The Lord for what He’s done.

Copyright Shirley Anne 15 Sept 2004

 

Two days ago I wrote about people who seem to think I will do their jobs for next to nothing, I don’t but I do sometimes lower the price under certain circumstances, not my own but those for whom I am working. That however doesn’t happen often. Very rarely will I charge absolutely nothing for the work I have done. Surprisingly this past week I have earned more than I thought I would because few had called for my services. It goes that way sometimes. I haven’t been at my best health-wise as I explained in previous posts but I am beginning to return to normal so I was glad about that by the end of the week and the fact that I have been able to get back to work too. On Saturday morning I was driving to my electrical supplier in order to purchase some cable I needed for a job I am doing at home when I received a call from someone living in a nearby town asking if I could do some work. I don’t normally work for others at the weekend but I asked what the job entailed. The lady told me she had bought a replacement oven but the supplier told her that the circuit needed a power outlet as the old oven had been hard-wired to the supply without a switch. It sounded a reasonably easy task so I offered to do it for her as soon as I’d been to the supplier. I arrived there forty minutes later. I needed to remove the old oven to get access to the wiring which was easy enough but I discovered that it had been connected to the supply behind the built-in refrigerator. I inched out the fridge to see the connection box but it was buried in the plaster. I noticed what I thought was the cable supplying it and thought it best to simply cut it off (rather than have the problem of trying to remove the fridge) and redirect it to where I was to fit the switch whilst at the same time disconnecting the oven cable by cutting that off too.. I fitted the switch and made the connections but here was no supply when I switched it back on. To my horror I discovered I’d made a terrible mistake by cutting what I’d thought was the supply cable but it was in fact supplying a hidden power outlet and had been connected to the same box behind the fridge. I therefore had to remove the fridge in order to get at the connection box to undo my mistake. In any event I had to remove the fridge anyway in order to add another power outlet for the new oven as the original cable on the oven would not have been long enough to use to wire the new power outlet where it had to be sited. Still with me? It all sounds simple but in fact it was a bit of a nightmare after I’d gotten the fridge out of the way. Firstly it was well and truly wedged in place and had been fitted on a small piece of timber to raise it off the floor and then screwed in place. I finally managed to get it out and was then able to get at the connection point that also needed replacing. It had been plastered into the wall and was broken so it needed replacing anyway and that was another reason the fridge had to be removed. All this work to connect an oven that hadn’t yet been delivered! I soon had the electrical part of the work done once that fridge had been removed but when it came to putting it back it became a problem. First of all it was jam-packed with that much food it weighed heavily. Secondly it needed two people to replace it. Fortunately assistance came from a neighbour for the man of the house couldn’t help me as he had only recently come home from hospital after he had suffered a heart attack. It took us more than an hour to get the fridge back under the worktop and the guy helping me was a little frustrated because it had been so awkward. I was just grateful for his help. It was then I discovered that the floor covering had been damaged during the process of removing it. On reflection I perhaps should have placed something on the floor but it would have had to have been plywood, not something likely to be on hand. That was the last straw for I had been there almost four hours doing a job that normally would have taken a little over one hour and to be frank I’d just about had enough! Naturally I will be billed for a replacement floor covering but fortunately the floor area is small. It should be covered by my public liability insurance so it won’t come out of my own pocket unless there is a clause where I have to pay the first couple of hundred pounds. I have had the insurance since I started working for myself and have never yet had a reason to make a claim, neither has anyone else but accidents can happen at any time. I felt awful nevertheless having inconvenienced those I had been working for and for damaging their floor covering. Hopefully at least they will have their new oven soon and a new covering for the floor. I didn’t bother doing any work at home after that episode, it was far too late in the day.
Some days you know you should have stayed in bed!

Shirley Anne

It’s gone!

The hole that is. Here it is before I bricked it up023. It shows the door-opening leading into the small room we will be converting into a toilet. It also shows the first of the old doors which lead directly into the garden from this side of the house. We don’t use these doors and after I’d bricked up the doorway it became impossible. We use another door which is in the boiler room to get into the garden. It is a new plastic door we had fitted a few years ago whilst we were having all the windows replaced with double-glazed units. There is another door which can be used to get into the garden, it is in the kitchen and leads out onto the stone steps which you can see in a recent post. We seldom use that door which is kept locked and bolted but it is there should we like to. Over the past week (it is now Friday as I write this) I have been concentrating on bricking up the doorway and now I have completed it, well on the half that faces into the laundry room. Maybe we should call it the freezer room now that there are four of them in there! Anyhow here is the hole that was…026Notice too that the light switch on the right hand side of the original doorway has now been removed leaving just the one switch by the entrance to control the light. Once the wall has been painted I intend to alter the power circuit in order to tidy things up and to enable us to use the two new freezers side by side against the wall facing in the second picture. The heating pipes will also be re-insulated. I collected the materials yesterday (Thursday). Speaking of Thursday, I spent an hour or so in the garden in the afternoon and dug in the last remaining stone slab at the rear of the new pathway we’d constructed but failed to get back to because of the weather and other things. More work is needed in that area such as filling in the gaps and setting in some stones along the rear wall. That wall still needs to be repaired too. At this moment I am not sure if it will be left for myself to do or if I can get someone else to do it. People have let us down on that score so far. After I had done that small job I decided to take the opportunity to get my arm down a couple of grids! There are three grids around the rear of the house and one behind the old garage but only two need to be cleaned often, one takes the waste from the laundry and the other from the kitchen. All take rain water away too. Since the other two are covered  they don’t get filled with spurious surface debris and neither do they take away greasy and soapy water from the kitchen sink! So the two I reached into were full of surface debris but the one serving the kitchen was also full of a compacted grease and detergent/soap combination which threatened to block it completely. It hasn’t been cleaned out for a couple of years as I recall. Nice smelly work but someone has to do it. I may get the drains cleaned professionally once in a while. I will make a start on the other side of the new wall over the next few days as time permits. What I have done so far can already be felt in the laundry. It is warmer than it was before.

Shirley Anne

It never ends does it?

Freezer with open door.
Freezer with open door. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday morning E drew my attention to an unusual noise she could hear whilst in the kitchen. At first she thought it was the washing machine we have downstairs in the cellar and she asked if I was running it to clean some laundry. I wasn’t. I thought perhaps it might have been the domestic hot water pump adjacent to the boiler which is also down in the cellar for in the past we have had to replace that pump because it had been noisy due to wear. The sound would have travelled through the pipes and would be heard in the kitchen as it did on that occasion. I went to investigate and discovered the noise was coming from the chest freezer we have, again, in the cellar. In fact the freezer sits alongside the washing machine in one of the rooms down there. I first thought it might be the mounting rubber feet which support the motor assembly that had become worn but it wasn’t. I switched the freezer off for a few minutes and then switched it on again and it went quiet. The compressor was running however but after a short time the noise returned. Furthermore the compressor continued to run even though I had turned the thermostat down to the off position. Obviously a faulty thermostat at the very least. However the freezer is very old, more than 40 years and it has been in our possession for more than 32 years. We estimate it to be around 45 years old, so way out of date. The problem with the unit is spare parts will not come easily if at all and to add insult to injury the rubber seal has deteriorated so much that ice forms beneath the lid which we have had to chip away on several occasions. As it is a chest freezer there is far less heat gain when the lid is lifted for as we all know cold air doesn’t rise so the faulty seal is less of a problem to the faulty thermostat. I asked E if she had a plug-in timer to enable us to continue using the freezer for the time being whilst we sorted out what to do. She obliged and we set the timer to come on for two hours every two hours which would ensure the food was kept frozen without having the compressor running continuously. We left it like that until Sunday morning and indeed for as long as it is going to take for the delivery of a new freezer. We drove off to the retail park and bought not one but two freezers to replace it. We calculated that the capacity of the old freezer was around 350 litres and each of the two new ones are 300 litres so we will have almost doubled the capacity. We bought two so that if one ever fails we should be able to transfer food from it to the other. It will also enable us to keep meat products in one and vegetable and other products in the other making them easier to use. That little trip cost me two pence short of £500 but we weren’t finished! I had taken along some measurements to see if we could purchase a replacement fridge/freezer for the kitchen as that unit was also faulty though it is nowhere near as old as the freezer is. It is in fact about four or five years old but it is frankly too small and was bought in error. Unfortunately I took the wrong measurements along so we returned home and purchased the fridge/freezer over the Internet using the same retail company.We have never been happy with the faulty fridge/freezer  because of its size so a couple of years ago we purchased a much larger unit because we wanted extra cooled-storage capacity upstairs rather than in the cellar. That second unit sits in the family/dining/morning room next to the kitchen as it is too large to fit in the kitchen itself. The kitchen in our house is quite small but it used to be situated in the room we now use as the family room next to it. We didn’t need a large kitchen as it was then because the washing machine, the chest freezer and the boiler are all in the cellar. I suppose we could return the family room to be a kitchen and use the kitchen as a dining room but that would now mean stripping out both rooms of their built-in units and panelling, a costly and unnecessary project. Getting back to the fridge/freezer, we decided to buy a new and taller one which will fit in the space as the original one did. That cost me another £190 but at the end of the day worth it for us. It means we will have two fridge/freezers in the kitchen area as we have now but two chest freezers in the cellar too instead of just the one. We must be mad I hear you say and to add further fuel to the fire we also have an extra small freezer in the cellar in which we keep butter, margarine and one or two other things. We have two small drinks fridges too, one of which isn’t in use at the moment but the other is and is out on the patio during the summer keeping the drinks cool. The new fridge freezer is being delivered tomorrow  as I write this on Sunday but the chest freezers are scheduled for delivery two weeks away. An extra charge would be incurred if we insisted they be delivered before then. The old freezer will last that long. It will have to!

Shirley Anne