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

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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

Just in time

It had been quite a few weeks since I last mowed the lawn, well it seemed that long anyway. I don’t keep tabs on such things. I had watered the garden soon after breakfast on Friday instead of doing it the other way around. I wanted to go for a walk but needed some space after eating. It was just after four o’clock when I’d finished the watering and still very much dark. It wouldn’t get light until after six o’clock at this time of year. No, I didn’t water the garden in darkness as we have switchable lighting at one end which pretty much illuminates the whole garden though the floodlights illuminate automatically because of their motion detectors. The lights over the patio can be switched on too but there is little point if all the others are switched on, suffice to say it was light enough without them. Anyway I digress. So I went for my walk just after four o’clock and it was dry and windy but a little cool, especially in the wind. Soon I would have to think about wearing warmer clothing on these outings though I had on this occasion been well wrapped up too. I took the walk through the back streets to town and beyond and was well-sheltered from the wind. When I reached the seafront however it was a different story, bracing but enjoyable nevertheless. It stayed dry until I reached home when I could see the odd spatter of rain by the front door entrance. When I went indoors I prepared what I would be having for lunch later, another chilli. It was around ten-thirty when I decided to mow the lawn as it had remained dry until then. The odd spattering earlier must have been just a passing cloud which had decided to hold on to its load. I mowed the lawn, which took about twenty minutes and just as I had put the mower back in storage it began to rain.

Even so that didn’t last long either but we had been promised more persistent rain later in the day and into the night. On Thursday, the day before, our next-door neighbour was having the scaffolding around his house dismantled, well almost all of it. Evidently the work of re-pointing the brickwork and carrying out roof repairs had ended. The guys had been fortunate for it not to have been raining whilst doing that job. How do they manage to work safely if it is pouring down with rain? Anyway on looking at the work that has been done the front aspect of the house looks really nice but when I looked at the side and rear all that has happened has been a little patching up here and there. I would have though it better to have the whole house done while the scaffolding was there. I know how much it costs to have scaffolding erected having had it around my house and it isn’t cheap! I even asked the guys why they were dismantling it as I didn’t think the work was finished. It didn’t look finished to me.

Shirley Anne

Really early

I made a joke a short while ago about getting up so early that I hadn’t gone to bed yet! It’s almost true. An hour after E had gone to bed on Saturday I arose. Now she goes to bed just before one o’clock usually which meant I was up before two. In fact I was already awake at one-thirty. Over the last couple of weeks, maybe a month as I write, this has been my routine. I end up eating lunch when she is having breakfast! I am getting so used to the routine I may make it permanent. I much prefer to be up early anyway. Though two o’clock seems ridiculous to many what actual difference does it make when your day starts and finishes? I say if you are single and it suits you then do it, after all your not at anyone’s beck and call. If you have a  family living with you then that is a different matter. Anyway I was up and about early and the first thing I did once downstairs was to fill the washing machine and then move some of the gym equipment from the area of the floor I would be painting with its second coat on Monday morning. It was Sunday and I wouldn’t be working that day. Then it was breakfast time and soon after that I was dressed and ready for a very early walk. It was four o’clock when I left the house. As I passed along The Promenade, for I had chosen that route this time, I could hear the hustle and bustle of people in the town still hanging about after their night out. I could never understand why local authorities allow bars and clubs to remain open til such a late or rather early hour. Once upon a time you couldn’t get an alcoholic drink after ten-thirty in the UK and in some places not at all on a Sunday (like Wales for instance). How moral standards have fallen! I remember the arguments put forward in support of later opening hours. Everything would be fine and it would discourage drunkenness because people would spread their alcoholic consumption over the longer period instead of drinking as much as possible in the shorter opening hours. No, it just meant they had more time to be able to drink more and that is what many do. I steer clear of town at that time in the morning when out walking. Where I walk at that hour it is usually deathly quiet. On my return home it was time to hang up the washing in the gym (it doubles as an airing place) because it was raining outside and had been throughout the night. When it got a little lighter I saw that the far border in the rear garden had remained dry because of the overhanging trees so I got out the hose and have it a thorough soaking. It is that part of the border to the right and beyond in the picture above. The hose pipe ban had been lifted a few days earlier. On Monday morning I hoped to finish the painting of the gym floor which would only leave the touching up of the white walls and a general cleaning of the equipment.

Shirley Anne

A lot for six hours

If I was being pedantic I would say six hours and twenty minutes but if I was being extra pedantic I would be honest and say well okay it was more like five. What is she talking about? My early morning activities of course what else? It was Wednesday morning and the promised rain hadn’t fallen through the night. I was up.before two o’clock, which accounts for the twenty minutes and downstairs before two-thirty. I checked to see if we had rain and discovering we hadn’t I went into the garden to give the plants a drink. At this time of year it is important not to let the plants die for lack of water. Next it was breakfast followed by a half-hour of catch-up tv. and checking my emails. I was about ready for another walk which used up two hours. On my return home I would be doing some painting in the cellar again. I was about half-way through my walk when I happened upon a guy in a wheelchair who darted out of a hotel lobby a couple of hundred metres ahead of me and going in the same direction. We had both reached the far end of the Promenade before I caught up with him and I hadn’t been walking slowly. I bid him good morning and we chatted a while as we went along. I mentioned that I was impressed with his speedy exercise and he told me the chair was brand new and he was ‘putting it through its paces’. ‘Much better than the previous one’ he said. He was staying for three weeks at the specialist respite care home at the far end of the Promenade after leaving the spinal treatment unit at the hospital. I assumed he meant at Southport. He told me he had an operation which hadn’t gone well and it had left him unable to walk. He was very philosophical about it but I thought how sad for him. I asked him where he lived and he told me North Wales. North Wales can be seen across Liverpool bay from Southport on a clear day. Soon we were at his destination and we parted ways. As I walked along the seafront I could see the heavy rain clouds dumping their load over Ainsdale about four miles down the coast. As I got nearer home it began to rain there too. It had just about stopped raining as I entered the front door. So what next? I put on my overalls and painted over the area I had been working on a couple of days earlier giving it its second and final coat. I also painted the step leading into the room and a little more elsewhere.

At the time of writing there remains the area around that step and the small area beneath the up-righted treadmill to be worked on and of course the bare section in the picture. The other half of the floor also needs its second coat of paint. None of that will take long to do. The floor repairs and painting will then be finished but at some point I will need to touch-up the white walls where I have accidentally touched them here and there with the red paint.

Shirley Anne