‘Should I or should I not?’ were the words in my mind when I arose on Wednesday and prepared for my morning walk. It was one of those mornings at this time of year where I was undecided on what garments I would wear. Would it be too cold and should I wear something to keep me warm for as I opened the door to get a feel for the conditions it was somewhat foggy and damp. I must have chosen correctly for I was very comfortable throughout the walk. However when I was within a few hundred yards (or metres, take your pick) the sun broke through and I began to feel a little too warm! Time for breakfast after which I took a drive to the builders merchant in order to purchase some more materials including more lengths of the wood I had purchased for constructing a new garage rear door. I needed more ‘granno’ and cement and one bag of small granite stones. When I returned with the goods I approached some workmen who had been at the house of a neighbour pruning the trees around their garden. They were using a machine which turns the branches into wood chippings and I asked them if they would dispose of the few left-over branches we had stored in the garden after we chopped down the fruit trees. They kindly took them from me and put them through the machine. It meant I didn’t have to saw them to dispose of them myself. You can see them in this photograph I took a few weeks ago.
When that was done I unloaded the van and began to mix the concrete for completing the base layer of the ramp project and then laid it. I had to cover it just in case it rained but that wasn’t likely according to the forecast. Better safe than sorry though. It would be a few days before I would begin laying the top layer of concrete to finish the project. Once that was completed I would have the new door to construct though knowing me I might start work on it before. The afternoon turned out very sunny and quite warm and I was able to sit out on the patio to relax with the newspaper.
Saturday and especially Sunday were horrible as far as the weather was concerned, wet and windy, very windy for most of the time. They were what you might call typical winter’s days. On Monday morning I awoke thinking I had travelled to another planet, it was bright and sunny with no clouds in sight and remained so all day. The forecast for Tuesday was for rain throughout the day followed on Wednesday by another dry and sunny day. Very unsettled weather to be sure but we are talking about the UK.
I had no plans for the day except pay a visit to Dobbies the garden centre and that only for a quick visit and my free coffees. I didn’t think about it at the time but I I missed the opportunity to buy some things for the garden. As it happened E wanted to go into town to exchange some clothing on behalf of her mom and I wanted to purchase another air compressor for pumping up tyres. If you remember last week I purchased a compressor for E to have in her car but at the time it was the last of the stock. When I called in again they still had none in stock so one was ordered. Hopefully I could collect it at the end of the week. On the Friday of this week (1 st March) I would be taking my van in for its annual MOT test. I am trying to take as much rest as I can whilst I have the backaches but it is hard for me to sit doing nothing. At this exact moment I am sitting on the sofa writing this whilst the tv is on and I am watching an hour of drama. Makes a change from digging around the garden, refurbishing rooms in the cellar and the countless other things I normally do at home.
Gosh it was cold on Wednesday morning (Jan 2) as I started off on my morning walk. As I expected there weren’t many people about, partly because it was just after the new year and maybe because it was cold. One thing I did notice was the night club near the route I sometimes take wasn’t open and blasting rock music into the local district for a change. All was pretty much quiet save for the occasional car driving by. I was glad to get back home for once though I do enjoy it whilst I am walking. I hadn’t slept long getting only five hours. I was awake long before the alarm was set to go off and in fact I disarmed it. I paid the price for the lack of sleep later on in the day. So after breakfast I was ready to do a little work. Let me tell you about breakfast or rather where I eat it. Usually it is either a granola or muesli else it is porridge. I have it all with fruit and a fruit drink too. The ‘breakfast room’ keeps quite warm throughout the night even though the heating isn’t on. A fridge and a fridge/freezer keep the temperature topped-up. The curtains (drapes) are kept closed even though there are double-glazed windows. It is surprising how that reduces heat loss from a room. The doors are kept closed so there’s nowhere for the heat to escape, result…the room stays warm. Below that room is the utility room in the cellar which stays even warmer because of the freezers in there. My work though was in the cellar hallway which isn’t heated though it gets warm enough if the utility room door is left open or the boiler room door is likewise left open if the heating is on. I digress. Anyway I wanted to begin painting the door frames with red-coloured gloss paint but only had enough for just a little more than one frame..
I would need to purchase more and did so later in the morning. I downed tools and watch some catch-up tv by which time E was downstairs having breakfast. She had shown me a problem with one of the worktops in the workshop she has at the top of the house. I refurbished the room a couple of years ago but with the weight of all the paper she had stacked upon it she thought it was damaged. It wasn’t but rather than take the risk that it may buckle later on I decided to install an extra support beneath it. However, that had to be made and painted before it could be fitted. I took measurements and made it then gave it a coat of gloss paint but it would need another coat the next day after which it would be ready to install. We then drove off to purchase the paint and some more paint brushes. I didn’t do any more work that day. See, I am keeping to my word by not doing as much work each day and relaxing more.
My day on Tuesday was filled with different things all of which amounted to work, rest, shop, and play with meals thrown in here and there. I was up at three but though I had been awake since two I was in no rush to start the day. I finished breakfast at four and got on my knees again to finish off the seal around the grid in the wet room. The previous day I had gouged out the floor seal around the grid and half-filled it again with a special rubberised sealant similar to silicon rubber but more paste-like. In all other respects it was the same as silicon rubber and cleans off using acetic acid (vinegar). Now I was filling the gap to floor level.
Having done that I checked my emails before carrying on with the work in the small storeroom in the cellar. I did as much as I could without having to cut timber as doing that could have disturbed E from her sleep. That meant cutting and fitting plasterboard and one or two pieces of wood which I cut outside in the garden. Once she was up and about I was able to cut the rest of the timber and finish off all the work at ceiling height. Of course by that I mean the construction part as there is some filling-in to do between the plasterboard panels prior to decoration.
The boxes of screws I had purchased whilst working on the utility room project were now empty so I needed to go out and buy some more. E had an appointment with the DHSS (Dept. of Health and Social Security) and wanted me to tag along for company. The appointment was for 12.20 so off we went at noon. We weren’t in there long and soon we were off to buy the screws followed by some free minced pies and coffee courtesy of Dobbies. They are only free to members of course and being a member I take full advantage of their free offers. We then drove to the village so that E could attend some business at the Post Office whilst I walked across to the chemist (drugstore) to purchase some feminine hygiene products. It was two-thirty when we arrived back home and time for lunch. At last I could relax in front of the tv and watch some missed programs before writing this.
My day yesterday (29 th) wasn’t pleasant at all as those who read my post will know. Although I had been a bit poorly I had to take the opportunity when there was a lull in the bad weather to take down the tunnel I had previously erected over the longer patio flowerbed. I took this picture through the kitchen window the following morning. It shows the bamboo canes I placed over the two Phoenix Canariensis Plants there which will need the frost protection.
You can also see two of the other three plants of the same variety covered over with plastic bubble-wrap. The fourth is out of sight to the left of the picture. On reflection erecting the tunnel had proved to be a bad idea though only because it had been too exposed to the high winds we had been experiencing. In a more sheltered spot it would have been a different story. Lesson learned. Today as I write I hope to be able to wrap the two ‘wigwams’ with bubble wrap which won’t take long as the wind dies down a little. Though it had been windy during the week it had been quite warm over the last couple of days so there was no hurry to wrap the plants. If the weather was going to be reasonably fine I thought I might finish the lawn feature by filling it with the pebbles which had finally been delivered. The work in the small store was on temporary hold until I purchased more materials and of course made steps to cure that floor leak from the wet room above. Having said all that I was prepared to take more rest instead, at least for that day.
Well it was Sunday the last day of the month and it would all be downhill from then onward as far as the weather was concerned. It could only get colder, wetter and windier until Spring. When I arose it was an hour later than it had been of late for a couple of reasons, one, I was tired, and two, I had decided not to take a walk but to take a rest from it for a change. As it happened it was a dry morning and the wind was high but coming from the southwest was fairly warm and it would have been pleasant to walk in. I usually rest on Sundays anyway though doing garden chores is always likely with me. However, this day I wanted complete rest at least from manual activity. My garden project was almost completed and I would then be looking for something else to do. At this time of year gardening duties will be keeping me occupied quite frequently so I’ve no need to worry about not having something to do. E and I haven’t spent much time dining out over the last few months but her birthday was coming up (11 th Oct.) and at least I would treat her to a meal out for that. I would have more free time to dine out in the months ahead too. I don’t observe birthdays, anniversaries or annual festivals any longer but make exception for E’s birthday. So for this Sunday there is nothing to say, nothing new or eventful to report, it is just a real day off. In your own life do you take time out and simply do nothing all day long occasionally? If not then I think you should, you owe it to yourself. Have a nice day.
After completing around one third of the next stage of the garden project I was ready to bring that part to a conclusion on Friday morning (20 th). However it didn’t work out that way. I had been for my early morning walk and was feeling a little tired but I had the weekly shopping to do. I went out at three o’clock and was back before five which gave me plenty of time to rest up before doing the shopping at eight o’clock. It made no difference, I remained a little tired and when I returned home from the shopping all I wanted to do was sit down. A muscular pain in my left buttock didn’t help so sitting down offered some respite. I needed to eat something too for I had not eaten much for breakfast. I made myself a sandwich and sat with E whilst she had her breakfast. We watched some television and checked the weather forecast. It was about to rain and according to the forecast would continue to do so for the following three days also. It would be Monday therefore before I could finish the second stage of the project, that is filling the bottom of the trench with concrete. The previous work had set hard overnight.
E asked where she could best do some spray-painting and I suggested outside in the fresh air! Aside from the dangers of inhaling the paint it would most probably dry faster outdoors. Fortunately the high winds we had on Wednesday had subsided so painting outside was possible but only if she did it within the hour. Rain was due about then. She was spray-painting egg shell halves. I cleared a space on the concrete base behind the garage where I had been putting old bricks and rubble. Why paint eggs shells I hear you ask? When dry they would be broken into tiny pieces to be used in art work when she makes her greetings cards. The paint would be touch-dry in twenty minutes and take twenty-four hours to set hard. Twenty minutes later they were dry and we packed them into a cardboard box. It began to rain right on time! I would it appeared be getting the three-day break from work!
Now that my latest project has ended I feel it is time for a break. I won’t be entirely inactive though. I will either be doing small tasks or planning the next project, the lawn project for instance. I think ahead, always have and then I set myself a schedule. The work is already finished in my head long before I actually start doing it. Yesterday for instance I purchased online a number of bamboo poles and 100 metres of bubble-wrap.
The poles were up to 8 feet in length (2.44 metres) and the bubble-wrap 1.5 metres wide. They will be used to protect some of the garden plants from severe wind and low temperatures. Last Winter we had a spell of really harsh weather which did damage to some plants, namely the Phoenix Canariensis (Canary Isle Palm). Three of them suffered badly even though I had shielded them for the wind managed to break through and even though they can withstand temperatures down to minus seven deg. Celsius. That however only means for very short periods! It was the now infamous ‘Beast from the east’ persistently blowing for days which caused the problem. The plants have now recovered though one has taken much time doing so and has some way to go yet before it is back to how it was before. Another though has recovered very well and even looks better than it did before! In preparation I have fitted a few eye-bolts in places to aid securing the protection I will be installing this year. I know it is early for the worst weather usually doesn’t arrive until January through to March and even then it doesn’t usually last for long. However it only takes a day or so to damage the more sensitive plants. There are always things to be doing in the gardens so having something to do is never a problem. There is one job I think I will end up doing which is to remove the round top edging that is fixed along the lawn edge nearest to the house or at least drop it to below the concrete path. The reason is due to the grass growing between the edging and the concrete which is difficult to remove. In the picture above you probably cannot see the edging stones for they are usually covered with the grass unless it has been cut. It is then that the grass can be seen growing where it shouldn’t. I may decide to put off that work for a while though, it all depends on how I bored I might get if I’ve nothing else to do.
Don’t you find it is the little things that mostly annoy? The spot of paint on the floor despite the fact there was a ground sheet, the splash of gravy or wine on that clean white skirt or dress, the appearance of a spider’s web after you have vacuumed the house! The list could go on and on, you could list quite a few I’m sure. Something out-of-place annoys me. I would be sitting quietly and resting and then something attracts my attention. I try to ignore it but it begins to play on my mind. After a short wrestling with my thoughts I have to get up and fix the problem. The problem shouldn’t exist and in fact if you think about it the problem lies within ourselves if we let things get to us. When I was young and growing up I was noted for my dedication to detail, everything had to be spot on perfect and my endeavours merely were an exercise in time-wasting, not intentionally, I simply had to concentrate. No matter how hard I tried my efforts always proved pointless though I didn’t know that because my efforts often put me top of the class. Whatever I did was close to being as perfect as anyone could make it but in life nothing really is perfect is it? When we grow up we begin to see our limitations but we still strive for perfection if we are conscientious. In the end we just do our best. My attention to the out-of-place things which annoy me is my own downfall but I think to myself ‘I’m not going to be defeated’. I am my own worst enemy I suppose. On Sunday afternoon I was out on the patio sitting down and simply wiling the time away. I saw a fallen leave near to where I was sitting. Eventually I picked it up then noticing another I picked that up too. I ended up picking up leaves from everywhere and then realised it was an impossible task. Why was I doing that instead of simply sitting down for the rest I should have been taking? I stopped doing it but a few minutes later I found myself trimming back a bush and pruning another! That’s the way I am, I cannot relax, I’ve got to find something to do. The small things get to me and I wish they wouldn’t!
I can remember a time when in this country working on a Sunday was frowned upon. Strict Christian ideals were the norm and Sunday was a day dedicated to God and going to church. Neither seems to be the case for may these days. When once this country could boast the majority of its people were church-goers now less than fifty percent attend church on a weekly basis. Of course going to church didn’t mean and still doesn’t that people were true believers giving their lives to Christ. Secular society demanded changes and changes they eventually got now hardly anyone obeys the Sabbath’s requirement to rest. Exodus 20: 8- 11 ‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labour and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.’ For unbelievers this is nonsense so they do as they please. However Scripture does say that the sabbath was made for man(kind) and not that man was made for the sabbath. It is supposed to be a day of rest. Your sabbath may not fall on a Sunday but whenever it is you should take it. There are some folk though who will work each and every day of the week. To what end I say? Anyhow the long and short of it means that the old days of quiet and relaxing Sundays have all but gone. On Sunday (8 th) after breakfast I went into the rear garden to sit in the shade for even by 8 o’clock it was bright, sunny and warm. For ten minutes it was all peace and quiet then I heard the noise of a chain-saw being used intermittently, which I think is worse than having it run continuously, at least for a short time. Thankfully after twenty minutes it stopped but I thought to myself who on earth wants to use a chain-saw at eight in the morning, especially on Sunday? Don’t they consider others who might want to actually take a day off and have a lie-in? Later it was vehicles and police sirens vying for position as to which could make the most noise. After lunch we had another couple of hours of propeller-driven aircraft followed by jet engine craft. It was the last day of three for The Southport Air Show. Thankfully I find weekdays are often quieter these days.