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.
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?
As I had no electrical work to do on Wednesday I could become a plumber again for the day but first of all I had to grout in the three floor tiles I had refitted in the wet room on Monday morning. The tapcolumn in the bathroom needed to be connected to the hot and cold water supplies both of which could be found in the airing cupboard behind the tall towel radiator. The toilet cistern, the shower unit and the hand basin are all connected to the cold water main which has the advantage of being at a higher pressure. The mains water can also be drunk if so wished using the tap over the hand basin. The hot water supply is from the hot water cylinder which in turn is supplied from a storage tank above the airing cupboard ceiling. We chose however to supply the bath’s cold water from the storage tank so that both the hot and cold water supplies to the tap would be at the same pressure. However the pressure from the storage tank is quite low because it is located insufficiently high enough to obtain a high pressure. The pressure has always been adequate for the bath supply and the old bath used to fill up quite quickly. Nothing has changed to reduce the pressure which in fact should be that tiny little bit higher as the new bath sits closer to the storage tank than the old bath did but in fact the pressure at the new tap is actually lower! This is because the final flexible connecting pipes that run inside the column are reduced dramatically in diameter. The supply pipes are both 22 mm but the flexible pipes are only 10 mm or thereabouts. This does restrict the flow of water. So the task for the day was to remove the shelving from the airing cupboard and connect into the hot and cold water pipes taking the new pipes down to the floor and out under the wall supporting the radiator to connect to the flexible pipes to the tap column. It took some time to cut and assemble all the pieces and fittings but eventually it was completed and I tested it by partially filling the bath…..(click on image once or twice to magnify)
Once all the plumbing was done I had to reinstate the three shelves inside the cupboard and fit some supporting timbers and clips to hold the new pipes. By the time I had tidied up it was half past three and I had missed my lunch! Actually, I had deliberately forgone lunch so that I could finish the work. All that needs to be done now is to box in the pipes beneath the tap column and cut and refit the room’s door, all woodwork.
Following on from yesterday, I had concentrated on getting the plumbing sorted for the cold water supplies in the bathroom. There were other small tasks to do also to enable that work to be carried out. E had gone out with her mum for the afternoon as she usually does on a Thursday for the weekly food shopping. By the time she had returned I had finished that work and had tidied up the room. I purposely left diverting the one hot water pipe until Friday morning thinking it would be an easy job which would leave me more free time to perhaps do some work on the drain pipes. As it happened diverting that one pipe didn’t turn out as easy as I had thought it would be. It was all to do with the arrangement of the timbers beneath the floor, getting the pipe into position and bending it around the obstacles took time. Finally I was able to re-instate the hot water and test for leaks of which there were thankfully none. I started to cut some floorboards to lay them temporarily in the spaces where we had lifted damaged ones a week or so ago. These were some of the old floorboards we had lifted when we laid new boards to replace them. These old pieces of board were used to fill in the gaps in the half of the room where the original boards still lie. By now it was approaching one o’clock and I asked E if she would like to dine out somewhere as I had had about enough as far as working in the bathroom was concerned, I wanted a break! She didn’t need convincing so we drove northward out of town to a place 12 miles away and took the well-earned lunch break in a restaurant we have often visited in the past. Today is Christmas Eve and I am doing nothing at all. I had done an electrical job for one of my regular clients yesterday morning but I was surprised to get any work at all as I had cancelled my advert for three weeks until 6th January. It will probably be a couple of weeks before we dine out again too. I tend to become a bit of a recluse at this time of year, not venturing out from about a week before Christmas until well into the New Year. I dislike the Christmas and New Year celebrations which for me are just a sham and quite frankly I would prefer to be doing something else.
I slept in a little later than usual on Saturday and didn’t get downstairs until after ten. I skipped a full breakfast and began working in the wet room. E joined me after she had gotten dressed. She doesn’t always get dressed before breakfast and was sitting at her computer in her dressing gown. Soon we were both working with E doing a spot of painting and touching up on some grouting whilst I began to install the drains, the water pipe and the cable for the under-sink water boiler. Most of this work took all day to complete. I was about to install the shower unit and complete the water supply pipe connection for it when our eldest son and his wife called together with their daughter to give E a birthday present and soon afterward E’s step-sister called too so all work had to stop for an hour or so. When they left it was early evening. I returned to fit the shower unit and accessories whilst E prepared our evening meal. The next stage will be laying the floor tiles after which we can finally fit the furniture, that is the toilet and vanity unit, mirror and other small items. It may be a day or two yet though before work can be resumed as I have electrical work to do too. Last week at this time we were enjoying our stay in Vienna. I think E has some idea where we might go for our next trip but that is months away and for a longer spell. We have not had what you might call a proper holiday since 2009 when we took two of them six weeks apart! Until our next break though it will be work, work, work. Well we have the upstairs bathroom to refurbish yet and after that the outdoor accessible toilet. I will need a break after all that.
Monday morning saw me with nothing to do other than continue working at home, even though the weather is so hot. I’d had a long soak in the bath on Sunday evening to help me to relax, not that I needed to relax, I knew I would fall straight into a deep sleep anyway because I was feeling very tired. Lying there quietly I could hear the water tank refilling as they do of course when running off a lot of water. It seemed to be taking longer than usual to stop but the thought soon passed from my thoughts. I could still hear what seemed like water flowing through the pipes when I had finished bathing but couldn’t pinpoint the source and in any case it was late, 11.45 and I was tired. I arose around 6 o’clock and had my breakfast so I could start making preparations for continuing the work in the garden. When I approached the rear of the garage I could hear water splashing and discovered the overflow pipe from the storage tank supplying the bathroom was gushing out water and it looked as if it had been doing so right through the night. This must have been the sound I heard the night before. A change of plan then, out with some tools and a ladder to investigate the problem. It was of course the sealing disc in the supply pipe valve. I managed to turn off the water supply to the tank to stop the overflow but as I was doing that I received a call from a lady I’ve done work for before on numerous occasions who wanted me to do two small jobs for her. The flow seemed to have stopped from the overflow for the time being but I knew that wouldn’t last and I’d have to strip out the valve disc and replace it at some point. The access to this tank is through a very small opening measuring something like 300 x 450 mm and was constructed by the previous owner of the house when the bathroom was at that time undergoing a make-over (it needs another one) and I found it extremely difficult gaining access but managed. The ceiling ‘trap’ (access hole) is alongside the wall and the water pipes make it even more difficult as they restrict movement. I closed the trap and went off to tackle the lady’s jobs stopping on the way to collect my medications from the chemist (drug store) which I should have collected on Friday but simply forgot. The jobs took longer than expected and I didn’t return home until after 12.30. I took the lady to buy an electric wall heater to replace another she had so that she could decide on the model she liked but on the way back to her house we stopped at my house so she could see something of it as she had been asking me about it. As it wasn’t far off route I obliged and showed her around the rear garden and the work we’d been doing there. She was very impressed and complimented us on what we’d achieved. We stayed but a short time and then returned to her house to do the remaining work. Her house belongs to her daughter but she lives with her and as her daughter was at work she organised everything for her. That meant I would have to wait until the evening to receive payment when her daughter would drop by our house with the money. It was around 2.30 in the afternoon when I suggested to E that we should do something in the garden making use of the fine weather and she was eager to do so. We managed to move a mound of soil and level the ground a little ready to lay some paving slabs there later and I moved the four remaining slabs from where I’d stored them up onto the plot of ground before we could lay that last slab which now completes the set of steps we’d been constructing. Out came the cement mixer and we mixed some mortar and laid down the final step. The remaining three slabs will be laid on a membrane directly over the compacted soil. The ground is contained within brick walls and is therefore naturally compacted. It isn’t necessary to lay a foundation for these slabs as long as we make sure the ground is fully compacted and is level. By now it was after 4 o’clock and E pointed out that the overflow pipe was again pushing out water. I thought it might somehow! Tools and ladder out again and upstairs to do the job. Fortunately I carry plumbing materials in my van with the electrical materials so I didn’t have to purchase anything. This time I made the effort to climb completely into the ceiling space which was quite difficult but had to be done in order to gain proper access to the valve. Soon I had the valve stripped down and the replacement washer/valve seating disc was fitted and then we returned to the garden to tidy up but before I went downstairs I got washed and I changed my clothes which by now were covered in dust. I hadn’t bothered with overalls this time as the clothes were already somewhat soiled from my earlier work. It was now just after 6 o’clock and we received a visit from the lady and her daughter with the payment for my work. The lady is 80 years old, though you wouldn’t know it and her daughter a little over 50. I invited them into the garden so the daughter could see it too. I was handed a sealed envelope containing a card and cash but I didn’t open it until later when back indoors for our evening meal. I had been given twenty pounds more than I’d asked! What a nice gesture and especially so after the day’s problems. The daughter has always been generous when paying me for the work I do because as she says ‘You are prompt and efficient’………..She forgot to add ‘and wacked too’! And then I wrote this.