In that?

On Friday, yesterday’s post mentioned that I had decided not to take my usual walk in preference to completing the concrete screed laying in the outside toilet. I said I might take the walk today instead, that is Saturday but that was before I realised we were in for some nasty weather. The latest storm was on its way and was currently over Ireland in the west. Although we were not supposed to be getting the worst of the wind we would still experience gale force winds. I went to bed early just in case the worst of the weather had passed over by the time I was thinking of going out. It hadn’t and in fact was just reaching its peak and it was raining heavily too! There was no way I would be going for a walk in that so I decided to eat breakfast and later work out on the gym equipment instead. I had eaten breakfast and was standing at the kitchen sink looking out of the window when I saw something which alarmed me.

The mixer was standing in the same spot as in the first picture but covered as shown in the second picture, that is when I left it on Friday. As I looked out of the window it was still in the same position but lying on its back in front of the bench! The bag covering it had been blown away and was now behind the large greenhouse diagonally across the lawn. The same place gets filled with leaves very often when it is windy. My first thoughts were of astonishment and unbelief. Then I realised just how strong the wind had been and was wondering if there had been other damaged but then realised also that the wind had most probably blown inside the bag which forced the mixer to fall backwards. Had I simply placed the mixer facing the opposite direction it would have remained standing. Then I thought, ‘I hope it isn’t damaged’, which would have been a catastrophe. I need not have been concerned for when the mixer is lying on its back as how I have to put it to allow the stand to be inserted into the base before lifting it upright, the motor is just clear of the ground. My main concern was that the motor wasn’t damaged. I am truly amazed it was alright after testing it. Needless to say I moved the mixer near to the side gate where is is sheltered from the wind and I also placed it with its front facing away from the prevailing wind. Furthermore I tied the bag through its handles around the base of the stand. So it was now standing where the large bags of sand had been just outside the outside toilet entrance. Whilst there I looked in the room to see how the screed had set. I wouldn’t be going in there again until Monday. I did exercise on the gym equipment later using the cross-trainer, the treadmill and the cycling machines. I get more exercise using the equipment but it isn’t quite the same as going for a walk in the fresh air………………….. Shirley Anne

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Too much

I went to bed early but didn’t drop off to sleep until just after ten o’clock. I had set the alarm for four-thirty despite knowing that usually I lie awake waiting for it to go off! I wanted to take an early walk and set off just after five-thirty. The forecast had been for a cold night and fairly windy with it. Whenever the wind blows it makes things colder than the dry bulb indicates. It is all about evaporation. As an engineer one of my responsibilities was to ensure a comfortable working environment for the staff across the site. I had to maintain an ambient temperature of 21 deg C and a relative humidity of 50% both within set limits. I often used a whirling hygrometer which is a device resembling one of those rattles people often used at football matches many years ago. In the hygrometer are two mercury-filled thermometers one of which has the bulb inside a sock which is dipped in distilled water. As the device is rotated at speed it takes two temperatures, a dry bulb and a wet bulb temperature. The wet bulb would generally produce a lower temperature than the dry bulb due to the cooling effect caused by the evaporation of the wet sock. A reference chart would be used to find the relative humidity using the two temperatures. That by the way was a slight diversion to my post! It is interesting though as many folk wouldn’t know why the wind has a cooling effect, they just know it does.

There you see the device in the picture. Although I was well wrapped up the walk was bracing to say the least! I chose to walk my current route in a clockwise direction rather than the counter-clockwise direction I normally take which meant walking along the sea front with the wind in my face. I was certainly glad when I reached the point where I would turn inland and then back home with the wind behind me! It began to rain. It took some time to ‘thaw out’ on my return. How different from a couple of weeks ago when it was quite balmy. Now the rain was heavier and the morning looked miserable but after breakfast I did a little more work in the garage. This time cutting out the slot in the door edge in which to sit the new lock. It took me ages to do it because the door was on its hinges. I should have done it whilst it was held in the workbench the day before but of course I didn’t have it then. Suddenly I had it finished, the slot anyway and I stopped work. “I’ve had enough” I told myself and tidied up. It was twelve forty-five and time for lunch.

Shirley Anne

Trying its best

It was Sunday 17 th March which happened to be St. Patrick’s Day too.

Saint Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”), is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick

No doubt there would be much celebrating in the local pubs during the day and it wouldn’t matter if you were not Irish! I would be attending the surgery early in the morning the following day in order to give a blood sample for analysis. That being the case I decided to go for a walk on Sunday instead. I could have taken the walk after the surgery visit but I also wanted to do a little concrete laying on Monday morning too. At two o’clock in the afternoon on Monday I would be attending our next-door neighbour’s funeral with E. If you remember she had died the previous Monday morning in the hospital. There would be plenty of time after the surgery to do the small amount of concrete laying I had intended to do whilst the weather held good. Spring is trying its best to force Winter away before the Equinox! On my return from my walk I ate lunch as I had missed breakfast deliberately to take the walk. I wouldn’t be able to eat much later in the day for I wasn’t allowed to eat for at least twelve hours before giving the blood sample. I usually fast for longer just to be sure. As Sunday afternoon was bright and sunny I spent a little time out in the garden ‘pottering’ about and just enjoying the sunshine.

Shirley Anne

What a night!

It was still windy on Monday morning when I went out for my walk. We had yet another storm blow over the country from the evening before and on through the night. Thank goodness I had slept through the worst of it. I walked northward from home on a slightly different route and for most of the time the wind was at my back. It made conditions seem colder than they actually were, especially when walking in the shadow of tall buildings. Eventually I turned toward the beach and it was even windier! Nice though I have to admit. The tide was coming in, the first time I have seen it for quite some time. I guess I never got the timing right! Despite how lovely and bracing the fresh sea air was after a while I’d had enough and turned inland and out of the wind. In a way I was glad to be back home after two hours fighting the elements. I had no plans for the day. Although the sun had been shining it rained on and off after ten o’clock. A good or bad reason for not continuing with the concrete laying depending on how you look at it. I would rather it be fine for at least a day or two and perhaps the work might be completed. It will have to be shelved for another day.

‘I’ve had to book my appointment two weeks in advance, so we’ll both sit here until I feel unwell.’

Tomorrow I would be paying a visit to the dentist, probably for a filling renewal. It had been a couple of weeks since I had the toothache prompting the appointment. It had been the only available appointment at that time. The surgery would have accommodated me immediately had the pain been unbearable but in fact it had almost disappeared a couple of days later and remains so as I write this. Naturally I will keep the appointment and will probably get the refill. On Friday this week I have another appointment but this one with the doctor for a routine check-up and repeat prescription for my medications. How jolly eh?

Shirley Anne

Even better

I deliberately arose early on Monday morning for I had intended to take my walk earlier than of late. Knowing I would return by seven o’clock it gave me plenty of time to eat breakfast and hang the washing on the line that I had put in the washer before I went out. I also planned to visit the lawnmower repair shop before nine o’clock to leave the rest of the day to potter around at home. Well not just potter but to relax in the promised bright sunshine we were told to expect. More on that in a minute. It was a very cold morning at five o’clock with a sharp easterly cold wind. I took to walking through the back streets of town to minimise exposure to the wind but it seemed a little pointless as it was in my face throughout the first half of the walk. Still I was wrapped up against it. Anyone I saw was either delivering goods or driving off presumably to work. The sky was almost clear of clouds but a thin layer of mist blocked any starlight, at least for a while. When I reached the seafront the wind was now behind me. At eleven o’clock stood the Moon at last quarter, toward ten o’clock shone a bright Jupiter and further east at nine o’clock was a very unusually red Venus rising above the cloudy horizon. Though it was red it was bright and couldn’t be mistaken for any other planet, even Mars for it was too bright to be that planet. They stood in a straight line as if joined by a string. Obviously they weren’t! The Moon would be around a quarter million miles away, Venus at that moment and position would be around ninety million miles distant (it is around twenty-six or seven million when closest to us I think) and Jupiter is around four hundred and eighty million miles distant. As the eastern sky began to redden they all began to fade away with the sunrise. As I got nearer to home I saw several hundred, maybe a thousand jackdaws flying in swarm-like fashion and squawking away as if in terror. Their idea of a morning chorus no doubt. The gulls weren’t silent though they could hardly be heard over the jackdaws. It was quite light by the time I reached home and I was hungry but before breakfast I hung up the washing in the gym/boiler room. I had put the lawnmower in the rear of the van on Sunday and I took it to the repair shop before nine o’clock. It would take them ten days before I could collect it or they deliver it. It was due to the fact that many other people had taken their machines in for servicing too that it would take so long. When in the shop I saw a ride-on mower (they call them tractors) and I took an interest in it straight away. I asked the guy what the width of the machine was to see if it would fit through the rear door of my garage and according to the measurement it would. Having asked for other information about the machine I asked the price though it was there hanging on a label and I’d missed it. It was for sale at £1299 and well within my budget. I made a snap decision and bought it. It would be delivered on Friday 1st March at the end of the week. I explained to the guy that it would give me enough time to clear the wild animals out of the tall grass to which he laughed. Seriously though the grass has been growing steadily higher with the mild weather we’ve been having. He asked me if I still wanted the old mower servicing and I told him I did because it can either be a standby machine or I can give it to someone else, maybe one of my sons. I spent some of the rest of the day clearing the passage to the rear door inside the garage but I also relaxed on the patio in the lovely sunshine. I may at some point extend the sloping ground at the rear of the garage if required in order to make access for the new mower easier. That would mean laying more concrete but first I would need to remove the large bag of sand that still lay there. (White with bricks on it)

Shirley Anne

Back in the swing…

…of things. It was now Monday Feb. 4 th and I was up and dressed and ready for another morning walk. I left the house at nine having skipped breakfast. Had I eaten breakfast first I probably wouldn’t have wanted to go for a walk later. The day hadn’t started sunny but half-way through the walk it began to shine an d the warm rays of the sun were a welcome feeling on my back as I continued further away from home. When I turned on my journey back the sun was up and to my left in front of me which was pleasant but the wind was off-shore to my right and blew cold. It is getting to that time of year when deciding what to wear when out can be problematical. Too many clothes and we are too warm, too few and we are cold! I tend to wear more rather than less when it is cold as I can always remove something if I’m too warm. It was after eleven when I got back and time for something to eat. I had an early lunch rather than breakfast. It stayed warm (in the sunshine) throughout the afternoon and I began to have thoughts about getting into the garden to do a spot of tidying up but decided I would give it a miss and just relax for the day, after all I didn’t want to rush into the work routine just yet. Spring was just around the corner and there would be plenty of time on my hands to do whatever I wished. Actually I don’t need to wait for Spring to do that! The next day I would be up and early again but this time to return the van to the garage to have the faulty valve replaced, no going for walks that morning.

Shirley Anne

Them Thar Hills

I took to the road for the first time in a while on Saturday morning. By road I mean on foot. I haven’t been at my best lately and was in need of rest. It was such a beautiful day though quite cold in the gentle breeze or out of the sunshine where frost and frozen rain still clung to the ground. Down to the sea front only a half-mile from my door is usually my preferred route and about half-way to the shore I came across a guy locking up the building site there. I add that the picture shown is not of that site.

There is another building site a mere hundred metres or so further along but that hasn’t progressed as far as yet. The first site houses a new apartment block aimed at the older retired generation. The first thing I noticed was the absence of the tall crane that had stood there for more than twelve months. I asked the guy when it was that they took it down and he told me two weeks ago. Well I hadn’t been that way for two weeks so hadn’t noticed. We chatted a minute or two and he told me he would show me around inside when the internal work had finished. I thanked him and we parted. If I get the chance I will take him up on that invitation. I continued my walk passing the other building site which had closed for the weekend. This building is much larger and spread out. It will be a new ‘village’ for the elderly and retired though the apartments will be rented rather than owned. It will house shops, hair salons, medical access and all the things a small village would have but all under the one roof. The complex will be managed by employees of the organisation who will own it. I carried along and walked to the shore. Looking across the bay to the town of Blackpool and beyond to its left the mountains of The Lake District could easily be seen covered as they were with snow. Further to the right of Blackpool some of the hills along the Pennine Chain could also be seen covered with snow. Fortunately around Southport there wasn’t any snow. As I had arisen rather later than usual I had missed breakfast so on my return I sat and ate lunch instead. It was twelve-thirty.

Shirley Anne

Job done

E wants to retouch the remaining three of the white painted doors in the cellar hallway but for myself I consider the job done…

Slightly different from what it looked like a couple of months ago don’t you think?

Despite the job dragging on so long I enjoyed doing it most of the time. Some of the work as with the other rooms I had tackled in the cellar last year was mundane and boring and it often felt like I was getting nowhere. A lot of paint was spread over a lot of repairs and alterations in all of the rooms but for some reason the hallway repairs took longer than the rest. Perhaps I was simply feeling my age and just got tired of it all but then, like most jobs, everything just falls into place and in the blink of an eye it is done. If I could clear out the two remaining rooms of all the stuff in them I would find the time to refurbish them too. So now at last I can do some of the work that needs to be done in the gardens, especially the rear garden. Today is Friday 11th January and I have completed the work two weeks ahead of the date I thought it would. I am also very tired but not just from this morning’s work, I went for a five and a half mile walk beforehand. It went something like this……Went to bed at seven and dropped off to sleep. Woke up at ten-fifty and couldn’t get back to sleep. Finally arose at one-ten and went for my walk at two, an hour earlier than usual and when out decided to extend the walk. After breakfast and a little catch-up tv I finished the work at eight-fifteen. I lead a very strange life…

Shirley Anne

After the break

After the short break was over it was time to start work again. Alright it was only one day off but it did make a difference. So now it was Wednesday morning and I was up before one o’clock! I’d had enough sleep by then having retired to bed at seven-thirty. Time for a walk and at two thirty in the morning I never expect to see anyone about, that is near to my home for in town it is a different matter. Not that I walk through the town centre often at such an hour but if I do there is always somebody about. I walked down the road called Rotten Row which is usually deserted but this morning there were road works being carried out and as I passed I saw two guys from the local energy  supply working on some underground cables. I had noticed a power outage along that road several days earlier. They were the only people I came across throughout my walk though there had been a few vehicles about. When I returned home and after breakfast it was time to put on the kit, overalls, gloves and mask. I was going to paint the small store room floor in the cellar….

 

The left-hand picture might be slightly blurred as I had to take it from outside the room by reaching around the wall. The right-hand picture was taken from the same position just outside the room. In that picture you can see a dark triangular patch in the top right of the floor. When we cleared out the room we discovered an old cut-off lead water pipe and we think it was either a water supply to a tap (faucet) for use in that room or a supply pipe for what used to be an outhouse where there was a washroom and lavatory. I remember cutting off the lead pipe whilst digging out the Plot at the side of the house when constructing the raised flowerbed there a couple of years ago. When I cemented the gaps in the floor a week or so earlier it took a long time to dry. We are not sure at the time of writing whether this triangle of cement now covering the remains of the pipe has fully dried out or if it has water in it (seeping in from the soil in which it is buried) which is keeping it damp. If it doesn’t appear to be drying out I shall have to dig outside to locate and cut it off. Until then that corner will remain unpainted. I wasn’t able to do any more work in the cellar until the fumes had disappeared.

Shirley Anne  

More shopping and stuff

It was now Thursday 1 st November but slightly warmer than it had been of late. Even so it was only 8 deg C as I stepped out of the house on my way for my early morning walk. I was wearing the new Wellington boots just to break them in though I doubt they will become my regular footwear for walks but I may just wear them occasionally. They are more suited for wearing when working in the garden though E says they are too good for that as they are fur-lined and fashionable. I do have basic Wellington boots which have steel toe cap protection and they do get used when gardening in wet weather. It rained constantly whilst I was out and I didn’t expect to come across anyone for that reason. However as I walked along The Promenade a guy wearing only trousers and shoes crossed over to my side of the road ahead of me. He was soaking wet and probably cold though he also probably couldn’t feel it because he was drunk. He approached me to say hello and broke into a one-sided conversation. He told me that he had just been ‘mugged and threatened with a shooter’ but I doubted that was true. Why is it that drunken people think they know you? He told me that he knew me and had seen me in a certain supermarket a few times. I told him he was mistaken for I didn’t shop in the supermarket he mentioned, which I don’t. Then he invites me to his flat (apartment) for a cup of tea! Just then a police patrol car stopped to question him and I took the opportunity to walk away. There had been many patrol cars passing by along the route I had taken which was unusual for usually there are none. I thought they were looking for someone or a group of people as they circled the area. The rest of my walk was uneventful as it normally is when I am out that early. A couple of hours after breakfast found me shopping again but only for the weekly food stock. This time I was wearing knee-high boots of a more fashionable style though I suppose I could have worn the new Wellingtons! It was around ten-fifteen when I decided to put on my overalls and do some work in the utility room. Actually I spent most of the time in the garage cutting the plywood sheet for it was too large to get it into the workshop. A couple of hours later I had finished for the day as I was too tired to carry on but I managed to fit some sheets of plywood…..

 

There was always tomorrow to do more.

Shirley Anne