Getting that way

It’s getting that way I shall be getting up before I’ve even gone to bed! Another early night on Wednesday and fast asleep just after nine o’clock. I awoke at three and paid a visit to see my porcelain friend but after returning to bed I couldn’t resume my slumber. I eventually arose ten minutes before four o’clock and was surprisingly rearing to go. I was downstairs and into the rear garden to water it before five. More on that in a minute or two. An hour later it was time for breakfast and then some computer time. To be honest I was a little bored after that because there was nothing to do. Come seven-thirty I was leaving the house to do the weekly shopping and arrived at the supermarket at my usual time just before eight. It is great doing the shopping early because there are fewer people in the store and moving around it is much easier. I find having to manoeuvre my trolley around other folks’ trolleys is a distraction and a pain when there are lots of them being pushed around. Anyway I wasn’t there long and was driving home after thirty minutes. On my way home I have the radio on and heard that our wonderful water supply authority has imposed a hose pipe ban because they say the reservoir levels are low. That means limited watering of the plants in the garden unless it rains in the meantime (I write this on 19th two days after it had rained all day long). I think it is disgraceful that they haven’t done something about this seasonal shortage by now after years of having to put up with it. The irony is that when we don’t need the extra water there is too much of it but when we do need it most there is a shortage! Build more reservoirs for goodness sake, it isn’t rocket science! Now I will have to resort to the watering can won’t I?
On my arrival back home and after unpacking and storing everything away I discovered I had forgotten two items though neither of them were important and can be purchased next time. It’s getting that way I can’t read my shopping list it seems but there was a very good reason for missing the items. When I walk through the store I normally use a set route but on this occasion I collected the canned food first which meant I ended up going down a couple of aisles in the opposite direction. Being so used to collecting items in a certain manner it confused me and I had to consult my list but even then I still missed one thing. Got to be my age eh?
Today I was going to prepare a chilli-con-carne, something different for a change and after half an hour it was complete.

Chilli

I normally make this kind of dish well in advance and re-heat it later. Once the heat is removed after cooking the dish stands in the residing heat and cooks slowly for an hour or so more. It tastes far better as a result. Is your mouth watering?

Shirley Anne

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I did ask

It was getting a little monotonous having each day to water the gardens because of the dry weather. Oh it has been just fine for sitting about in or simply being out in but all I wanted was a little rain now and then. The attempt to rain was made last evening (13 th) but it wasn’t very much. However it was a storm called Hector which gave some respite from the heat and dry weather. The only problem was it brought more wind than rain! It got pretty stormy hereabouts but fortunately we were too far south to receive the harshest of the wind. Nevertheless some tree branches came down here and there. I had gotten up early on Thursday in order to do the weekly shopping again for E has been unable these last couple of months. I actually arose at five-thirty and was in the kitchen at six-fifteen. However I thought I would do a little work before breakfast which was to give the repaired door frame I did yesterday a coat of priming  paint. I later in the day applied the top coat. Anyway whilst I was doing that I heard a loud snap and something falling on the lawn behind me. I paid no attention until I had finished the small painting job for I knew what it had been making that noise. Once again the neighbour’s tree was shedding a branch because of the high winds. It is the large tree left of centre on the other side of the wall in the picture. You may be able to see from its leaves and the leaves of the apple trees bottom right from which direction the wind is blowing. It is left to right or west to east of course.

Most of the time we are picking up small twigs and leaves which have fallen from the tree but occasionally when it is very windy larger parts fall down. I cleared up the mess on the lawn and deposited the bulk of the fallen branch in my neighbour’s garden. At the same time I took the opportunity to prune back a couple of lower branches on the tall holly tree which stands next to the large greenhouse. It is just right of centre at the end of the greenhouse in the picture. Naturally I chopped the holly branches up and put the pieces into our own waste bin. I returned indoors for breakfast. It was seven o’clock. After eating I waited until it was eight o’clock before driving to the supermarket. I was back home at nine-fifteen just as E came down for breakfast. Pretty much throughout the day it was windy but there was still no rain. In fact it brightened up late morning. I would be watering the gardens again if it remained dry.

Shirley Anne

Short walk

It was Wednesday morning (6 th) and I wanted to take the mile walk into town to purchase a few things. So after breakfast I set off on foot on the short walk. It is actually slightly longer than a mile so a good two miles  round trip if I don’t end up wandering about as I often do. My purchases were for cosmetics mainly but I spent a little time in the Marks and Spencer store just to browse. I bought myself another skirt for the summer months but wasn’t tempted to spend any more money and returned home, not even stopping off at Neros for a coffee which I would normally do. It was one of those warm and humid mornings with hardly a breeze blowing. I was uncomfortable for that reason and wanted to get home as soon as I could and find somewhere cool to sit for a while. As I approached our house I could see a guy trying to deliver a package to a neighbour’s house across the way but he wasn’t getting an answer for I knew they were out at work. I beckoned to him and said I would take it in for him and he replied that he also had a package for me. A few days earlier I had made an online purchase of a lightweight rain coat. It wasn’t a proper rainproof coat but one which was classed as ‘showerproof’. They used to be called ‘Pacamacs’ though this one looked a bit more substantial than those original ones. When I go walking in the colder months I have a proper waterproof jacket which I purchased last year but it is too heavy a garment for use when the weather is warm. The new showerproof coat wraps up into a small bundle and fits into the small bag supplied with it and can be taken with me when I go for walks in the warmer months. As it is only for use in a light shower I do carry an umbrella too. Both fit easily into the bag I use when out walking. E kept asking me what my plans for the day were but I hadn’t any. I asked her if she would like to dine out somewhere but she declined and said we have food at home which must be eaten soon. She had been out shopping with her mom on Tuesday and had bought these ‘special offers’. She does crazy things like that sometimes knowing full well that we have freezers stocked with the very foods she had purchased! I despair sometimes. I spent the rest of the day at home.

Shirley Anne

Down in the mouth

‘Down in the mouth’ is an expression we use to describe someone who is (temporarily) feeling ‘out of sorts’ or not as ‘upbeat’ as they usually are. Late morning on Thursday saw me like that and I’ll explain in a moment. I had gone to bed early on Wednesday because basically I couldn’t keep my eyes open! I really was feeling tired. It meant once more that I would wake early too but that wasn’t a problem except that I woke a little too early at three o’clock. I had slept on top of the bed again in the high temperature and especially high humidity which was way over 90%. Sleeping under the covers would have been unbearable. So I woke up and made the attempt at returning to sleep but couldn’t. At five o’clock I gave up the idea and had a shower. I was downstairs for breakfast before six. As is my want I usually have the tv switched on while eating breakfast which was on that day porridge. Just as I had finished eating the tv went dead. At first I though I’d accidentally switched it off on the remote control but then I realised the fridge power indicator light wasn’t on. I checked the lights and they too were not working. Going down into the dark cellar rooms I discovered the unit which reads the gas and electric meters had no indicating lights working. This meant there was no power at the electric meter, the whole house was off, fridge/freezers, power outlets and lighting all not working. It was six twenty-five. There was nothing I could do  but go and do the weekly shopping run. However, even I didn’t want to go shopping at such an early hour though I had planned to go around eight o’clock. I sat and read the local newspaper for a while then looking out of the lounge window I saw our neighbour’s son about to leave for work. I opened the window and called to him asking if he had lost electrical power too. He had. It could only be a high voltage distribution problem for I learned later that large areas had been affected. Had it simply been local it might have been the lower voltage distribution system at fault. I decided I would go and fetch the shopping which I did but first of all I had to wind the garage door up manually to get the van out and wind it sown again manually too. I returned home at eight-thirty by which time E had come downstairs and eaten her breakfast. After I had packed the food away the power came back on as we stood and chatted. It was now nine o’clock. Now I had a dental appointment around eleven o’clock so after a short rest I drove there and was attended to almost immediately. I’d had a couple of fillings replaced. The injection I’d received didn’t wear off until almost two o’clock! I had no feelings on the right side of my mouth and when I looked in the mirror I could see my mouth was sagging on the right. I really was down in the mouth for a while. I was back home before eleven forty-five and drove E into town so she could attend to some business. We arrived back home for lunch after one o’clock by which time I was feeling really drained of energy. We spent a little time relaxing on the patio after eating lunch and wondered when we would get rain. The day was still warm and humid as we awaited the promised rain and thunderstorms late in the afternoon. Maybe it would finally rain on this the last day of the month……………

Shirley Anne

Lots done

It was Thursday morning and I had the unenviable task of doing the weekly shopping once again. E had been taking things easy for the past few weeks in order to recuperate but had in fact driven herself and her mom into town yesterday. Maybe next week she will resume doing the shopping but if not it will be down to me again. Actually next Thursday (31) I have a dental appointment late morning so will have to shop early if it falls to me to do the shopping. I digress. Today therefore I went shopping early and about an hour after returning home first went into the front garden to water it with the hose then I got out the larger watering can in order to apply a weed-killer/lawn feed mixture onto the lawn in the rear garden. Last year after doing exactly the same the lawn looked much better having been rid of the weeds and moss. It took about six cans to cover the lawn and not long after I had finished I could see it taking effect as the moss began to turn black. Having already mentioned to E that I would like to leave the house together for a few hours she went to dress whilst I was doing the lawn treatment. I had left the van on the driveway on my return from the supermarket rather than putting it in the garage as I would normally do for I was determined to go out for the afternoon. We drove down to the pub/restaurant about two miles away and had a meal there. It is a well-known local eatery offering a set meal or something from the carvery.

English: Toby Carvery
Toby Carvery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We chose the carvery as most people would do dining there. One thing you can say about a carvery is its value for money, as many vegetables as you can eat together with your choice of meats and a one-off payment (£2) for an unlimited amount of soft drinks of choice add to accompany it. We paid a mere £19 for two with drinks included. After the meal we drove off to the garden centre and browsed for more plants to put in the gardens. This time we purchased Verburnum Davidii (a large shrub), Lewisia, Diascia, Weigela Foliis Purpureis, Jacobinia, Oxalis and Alstroemeria (smaller shrubs and plants).

Lewisia
Lewisia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I name them for the botanists and gardeners who may be reading. We planted them immediately upon returning home late in the afternoon. Three went into the front garden beds and the remaining seven into the rear garden beds. I think the only other planting out will be the beetroot presently growing in pots in the greenhouse and we plan to put them among the plants in the flowerbeds in the near future. The last task of the day was to water the rear garden plants with the hose. Overnight and throughout the whole day tomorrow, Friday, we have been informed to expect heavy rain. For a few days after we are told it will get very warm and dry.

Shirley Anne

Shopping day

There must be something wrong because I am beginning to like doing the weekly shop! Shopping for foodstuffs has never been high on my list of favourite things to do. Once upon a time and many years ago I used to share in that weekly event but in more recent times E took it upon herself to do it. However, she has been unable to take on the responsibility over the past few weeks so I was obliged to do it. Now I am finding it isn’t all that bad after all. I hate crowded places, always have, and I especially dislike waiting in long queues at the supermarket checkout. I dislike waiting for anything to be honest, my get-up and-go wants always to be doing just that. Whereas E shops late in the day I do it as early as possible and for two reasons, one, there is far less traffic in the aisles and at the checkout and two, I get the rest of the day to do others things. Today, Thursday 17, I was up early and had eaten breakfast by seven before going into the garden to water all the plants with the hose. At eight I was driving to the supermarket and had returned home with all the groceries by nine o’clock. I don’t mess about, I treat it as just another chore and those I like to get done as quickly as possible. Once I had put everything away and had made myself a coffee and had prepared E’s breakfast it was nine-thirty. I put on my overalls and went into the cellar to fix the threshold timber to the floor of the storage room we are now calling the ‘Larder + Pantry’. Once that was done I touched-up the paint here and there and then began to fill the shelves with foodstuff on one side of the room and on the opposite side cleaning materials… 

Aside from affixing a label on the door which E is making, the job is finished. It looks like a mini version of a supermarket itself now! Originally we were going to use the room for storing paint and decorating materials but we decided to leave them where they are in the workshop room. After lunch I fed all the garden plants with a liquid feed whilst E potted about (quite literally) in the greenhouse. She was in fact supposed to be helping me but a phone call put an end to that and she began replanting some of the seedlings into larger pots instead.

Shirley Anne

Curbing my spending

Gas mask 1
Gas mask 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For one reason or another lately I have been engaged on a spending spree. Today, May 3rd, I bought a gas mask online. Now what do you suppose I needed that for? A kinky party (never been to one)? Well if you remember I purchased some floor paint and it arrived today. Having taken off the lid of one of the cans and painting a sample corner of the cellar storage room I thought it would be best if a mask was worn when painting the whole floor. Indeed it is necessary for the paint fumes are strong and the room cannot easily be ventilated. The paint itself is a chlorinated rubber composition and even after painting such a small amount it sent fumes throughout the basement and the first floor. I hastened to close the room door to minimise the fume distribution but even so I had to keep a few doors and windows open to disperse them. As I hadn’t a suitable mask I had to make the purchase. A few days ago I purchased some clothing for myself and for E and yesterday I purchased the item of gym equipment I was looking to have to go along with the treadmill and elliptical cross-trainer we already have. This time it was an exercise bike, bike machine or whatever you choose to call them.The picture shows the exact model we chose. It looks a though I will be installing an extra power point in the gym soon! So although I have been spending out a lot recently it isn’t a regular habit, I simply couldn’t afford to be spending all the time. Now, for the month ahead at least, I have to curb my spending. Well maybe. Now that I have the paint I can finish off the storage room though it will have to wait now until I receive the mask. I will have to use the mask again when I paint the gym floor but at this moment in time I have still to fill in the holes with cement. I would have had it done by now had I not been looking after E while she has been incapacitated. Today for instance I had to do the weekly shopping once more, something which seems to becoming a regular thing lately. I don’t mind of course, it’s a change from what I usually get up to!

Shirley Anne

Busy but not busy

Gosh I was tired on Wednesday night but it didn’t help me get much sleep. I did get to sleep however but it lasted only three hours and I was awake again. When I awoke around four o’clock my mind was in overload thinking about everything and nothing. I found myself trying to solve problems as I lay there tossing and turning until finally getting out of bed around six o’clock. From that time on until about nine-thirty I walked about with heavy eyelids and wanting to return to bed though I knew I couldn’t. Once again it was down to me to do the weekly shopping as E was still incapacitated. It’s funny how one perks up when there is something to be done, something necessary that is. It was a slightly easier chore this time as I had a better idea of where to find things. Even so I found it strange that some items were not where I had expected them to be and even E says the same.

English: Canned food - Port Lockoy, Antarctica
Canned food – Port Lockoy, Antarctica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As an example one would expect all canned food to be in the same area but at this store that wasn’t the case. E told me later that a certain manager had arranged it that way and saying HE didn’t have a clue. How could a guy get it so wrong she says with tongue in cheek? When I returned home it was almost time for lunch so I prepared it. There was no way I would be doing any work on my project and who was I to argue with E? She told me I needed to rest from it and I knew it myself though there wasn’t much left to do on it. Later, at five o’clock, I had to drive E to the hospital for her appointment. She was having a scan on her shoulder, yet another of her bodily ailments. We stopped by the supermarket on the way back home to purchase an item I had forgotten to buy earlier. Getting back home and it was now time for our evening meal. I was ready for bed by then but of course I had to wait till a more appropriate time……………..

Shirley Anne

Got dragged away

The plan for Friday was to get the boiler surround finished off, at least the construction of it. I had arrived downstairs before eight o’clock and soon after breakfast I went into the cellar to begin work. My first task was to take down the large panel I had cut and temporarily fitted the day before and then cut it in half to make the two doors. I fitted the hinges and after some manipulations finally got the two doors in place. For something so simple it turned out not to be so easy as I thought it might have been. It was around that time E came into the room with a very welcome coffee. She asked if I could accompany her as she had to take her computer in for repair. I agreed to go with her and downed tools. To be quite honest I was getting a little annoyed that the fitting of the doors had been a bit frustrating at times so was happy to take a break. She had decided to take her machine to a workshop in the next small township eight miles away. Seemingly she had problems with the one nearest to where we live and wanted to try somewhere else. We took the van and soon we located the shop and left the computer with them. As we needed door furniture for the work I was doing and a few other items we went shopping for them before returning home. It was lunch time by the time we arrived so it was at least another hour before I could do any more work. That work was to cut the two side doors and fit the furniture for the four doors. Finally, again after some difficulty, we (for E had decided to lend a hand) got to this stage..The side doors have been deliberately designed not to reach the floor for ventilation purposes. All that I need to do now is to cut and fit the side panels and that should be the end of that work except for the decoration.

Shirley Anne

Sum total

I didn’t know what I was going to do in the way of work on Thursday though there was much to do on my current project. I did know however that I had to go purchase a few things. I had a good night’s sleep but was still feeling a little tired as I sat down to breakfast. I hadn’t been keen to rush into anything because of that. It is true what they say, your body will let you know when it needs a break and mine was telling me to take one. To be fair I have been doing rather a lot of late and so I knew I needed a little break from things. Shopping is one of those things which takes my mind off my usual routine for a while but though I would be shopping it was the wrong type! I would be shopping for materials and nothing nice like clothes. I don’t often shop for clothes but when I do I usually spend a lot of money and time doing it. It was after ten o’clock when I left the house and after eleven o’clock when I returned. E was about to go shopping too, for food. My purchases were for cup washers, cabinet hinges, door knobs, a ‘Surform’ plane, two lengths of mini-trunking and a five-foot long LED lighting unit. That involved visiting three separate outlets around town. I suggested to E that we dine out  when she returned from the shopping trip and whilst she was out I fixed the mini-trunking on the ceiling in the gym and placed the telephone wire that had been hanging on the ceiling into it. That was the sum total of the work I did on the day. When E returned home it was approaching two o’clock and we drove to our local pub for lunch. I was feeling tired and weary but once I had eaten I felt better. When we returned home we spent a little time watching catch-up tv. I took the remainder of the day just relaxing mostly on the sofa watching more tv. The LED light unit was a little present for E as she had been asking if I would move the existing fluorescent unit nearer to her work-station in her workshop at the top of the house. I thought I might change the unit at the same time. I would probably do the work on Saturday afternoon while she was out at her monthly meeting.

Shirley Anne