Two days left

I write on Dec 29 in the afternoon just having eaten lunch. I had been working in the cellar hallway for a couple of hours earlier and it was all woodwork. There was only two working days left before the end of the year and I had it in mind to give everything a second and final coat of paint but there were still some minor issues to sort out first. Not a great deal of attention had been given to the doors and door frames down there when they were installed as most of them showed gaps or had been installed incorrectly. A couple of the doors were slightly warped, namely the one for the larder and the one for the utility room. I have taken steps toward reducing the warp on each. I have fitted thresholds beneath those doors which previously had none and fitted extra timbers either to the tops of the doors or the frames to eliminate the gaps. Those timbers have yet to be painted as I write. So this morning I concentrated on completing all those fiddly extras. It was around one o’clock when I stopped work for lunch but didn’t actually get to eat anything for a hour. E and I watched a movie during lunch and once it was over I didn’t much want to return to work so left the painting until Monday. Even when that was done there would still remain the floor. That requires the same cement treatment the other rooms had before it can be painted over therefore it will be early January before I can sort it out. The final stage of the hallway refurbishment involves doing the stairway and in fact the stairwell will probably get a coat of paint and repairs to the stone steps before the main floor is started upon.

Although it looks newly painted it isn’t. The second step up from the bottom needs a cement job on the right-hand-side behind the black post. There is some minor work to be done at the top of the steps too. Incidentally the window at the top of the steps is the double-glazed unit we made when we built the wet room a few years ago which is obviously behind the wall.

Shirley Anne


A good lie in

It isn’t often I have an extra lie-in but I don’t usually need one. However I had decided to stay up just that little bit longer on Friday evening in order to watch a couple of tv programs so waking up later was inevitable. Even so I should have arisen by four o’clock for by that time I would have had easily enough sleep. I arose just after five. Through Friday evening and into Saturday morning the weather had been foul with extremely high winds blowing and it lasted into the afternoon. I wasn’t going anywhere so it didn’t matter so much. Down in the cellar it would be much quieter and that is where I spent a couple of hours carrying on with the small store project. Years ago when we first moved into the house there was a downstairs bedroom, two in fact, though the second had been a bit of a makeshift affair. It had curtain separating it from what was then the kitchen and occupied the room in which the kitchen is now located. The other bedroom occupied what is now the rear lounge though it was always a rear lounge having been built that way. The previous owner had turned the house into a bed-sit so that he could earn money by letting out the rooms. When we moved in one of the first things we did was to turn it back into a normal home. A floor-to-ceiling wardrobe had been constructed in the bedroom but it wasn’t one of the first things to go, the sinks and associated plumbing to several of the rooms went first. The wardrobe stayed for a couple of years as we allowed E’s brother to use the room having been made homeless by his estranged girlfriend. I digress. The point is this, when I finally dismantled the huge wardrobe unit I kept the wood framework and the panelled wooden doors down in the cellar (along with many other things). Now, about twenty-something years later some of that timber came in very handy. Over the years some of it had been used elsewhere in the house but now I was using it to block off the rear end of the space beneath the stone steps in the small store room. This is what I did on the Saturday morning (8 th Dec)…

You may be able to see the panel framework. Before inserting it into the space I had to fit timber to the rear where there was no frame to support the plywood (top and right-hand-side). I fitted battens on the side walls and floor in order to secure the panel in position and then filled in the edges with filler. It was slowly getting there.

Shirley Anne


Lots more yet

The continuing saga about the utility room project. The story has still a long way to go before we find out if indeed it was the butler who was responsible! It is the 22nd as I write this after a reasonably busy day. I had been out for my morning walk long before sunrise about four hours before in fact and the Moon was about three days short of being full. It was a beautiful morning though a little chilly in the north-westerly winds and a few clouds spoiled what was otherwise a clear sky. The daytime sky turned out to be blue all day long. I was kind of hoping to see the high tide but as usual I keep missing it. There has to be some point in the calendar when my walk coincides with the high tide else I will have to look at the charts and take my walk when I find out the hour. When I got home I didn’t do much then until after nine o’clock. I needed more plywood but if I could use the panels we have in the garage there would be enough to carry on the work. Trouble was they belonged to E’s brother though he hadn’t bothered with them for over twenty years! They measure 45 x 48 (inches) and are covered with a material. They are constructed with plywood and have a wooden frame at the rear. They were used in the photographic studio he once had located in the next town but that business closed and he stored much of his equipment at home. E phoned him and asked what he was going ro do with them. He had forgotten he had them but told her he didn’t want them and that we could use them if we wished. Great! They were perfect for my project and I got on with first of all making a plinth for one of the freezers…


The picture was taken late in the afternoon when I brought it indoors from outside where the paint had been drying for a few hours. It is the same paint as used on the floor which dries quickly in the open air. Pity it doesn’t dry as quickly inside! Anyway it needs lifting a tad on the left because the floor is uneven. It had been constructed using one of the panels. I used another panel to begin blanking off the corner space in the corner across the room…


The space behind the panel is surplus to requirements and I am not sure why it is even there. The white wall on the left stands between the sink unit and what you see in the picture. It once was a fireplace. There used to be nine of them all told I believe. You can just see that the corner steps back twice and the panel is just in front of the first step. Another panel will be used to continue to the ceiling. The top of the cabinet on the right will extend to meet the panel and the plywood is there in the picture ready to be fitted. The other work I did was to finish painting the walls with their first coat. 

Shirley Anne

Just can’t hold me back

There’s just no stopping me sometimes. I had quite a busy day on Thursday, that is up until after three o’clock in the afternoon.  At that time I decided to take a break and rest up. The evening before I had watch England dismally fail to get to the Fifa World Cup Final. After scoring a goal in just over five minutes of play and remaining in the lead until well into the second half when their opponents, Croatia, equalised. Extra time had to be played to decide the winner and Croatia scored during that period. It also meant that I had stayed up just that bit longer to see the final result. Despite that I was still in bed before ten-fifteen and slept through until three-fifty and that is when I arose. No early morning walk as I would be doing the weekly shopping at eight. I had planned to water both the front and rear gardens and that is why I arose as early as I did. So at five o’clock I was out front doing that and by six-thirty I returned indoors having watered the rear garden too. Time for breakfast and a short break before I drove to the supermarket. I was back home before nine-thirty and had stored everything away. I wanted to make a start on that little fence I had planned to make but before that I had an hour’s break watching catch-up tv as I had missed a program I wanted to see because of the football. Once that had finished I set about measuring and constructing the fence. It would be in three sections and be assembled together when it was to be installed a couple of days later. Before then it would receive several coats of penetrating wood preserver just as the gate I had constructed twelve months ago.

The fence would be fitted on the right of the brick column, turn toward the corner (above the pot on the ground) then turn to the right again to meet the wall of the patio. Like the letter ‘Z’ but with right-angles. Here are the parts (three of them) on the workbench.

I also need to make a small corrosion-proof bracket that will support the fence near the middle and fix it to the natural stone capping at the joint so as not to drill the stone itself. I will probably use copper to make the bracket, a simple ‘L’ shape will suffice that can be screwed to the wood. Where the fence meets the brick wall and column it will be screwed through the timber. It will therefore be fixed at three points. It was a nice little project to work on whilst the weather had cooled down to a more respectable 21 deg C or thereabouts. Thursday began with a completely cloud-covered sky and it stayed that way all day. As I was driving to the supermarket, in fact I was still in my own street, it began to rain. However the amount we got amounted to a bucket to cover a football field and then it stopped. I was hoping it would return by nightfall but as yet at the time of writing it stays persistently dry. Maybe tomorrow?

Shirley Anne

Manufacturing mode

So there I was on Friday morning again with no electrical work and the whole day to myself. In yesterday’s post I mentioned I was going to build a stand for one of the new table lamps I had purchased. Soon after I had written the post I found myself in the rooms at the top of the house looking for something and discovered two suitable candidates for a table lamp to sit upon. Both would have needed painting white and the furniture on them would have needed changing to match what is already in the small lounge. Ah but alas they belonged to one or both of my two sons and though I doubt either of them were actually wanted by my sons there was no way I was going to take one or even ask. No, I had made up my mind to manufacture one myself so after breakfast I began the work. The first task was to find enough material from the stock of left-over bits and pieces from jobs we have had done in the past. I have always kept the scrap lengths of timber or sheets of board that were left after a job we’d had done as long as they were large enough to warrant keeping them. As we have cellar rooms there is plenty of storage space to allow that. After finding enough material I began by cutting four pieces of board to size which I would use for the side panels. Next I found some lengths of square sectioned wood to use for fixing the sides together to form a hollow square tube. I cut another piece of board to form a base and fixed that to the tube. Finally I found a slightly larger piece of board with which to form the top. Here is the almost completed pillar…..

I placed it in the cellar hallway in order to take the photograph. The work was done in the room we call the workshop to the bottom and right of this shot. It is called the workshop for a very good reason….it is one! Many a job has been carried out in that room over the years. The picture doesn’t show the fact that when it was taken the top had yet to be fixed. I did that next and then gave the whole thing a coat of priming paint. Once that was dry, about two hours later, I filled in all the gaps. It will need sanding down before another coat of paint is applied.

Shirley Anne

And then…

Yesterday E painted the timbers we had bought a few days ago with which to fit a picture rail in the bedroom we are refurbishing. She did that whilst I was away at work during the morning. In the afternoon we had dined out so no more work was done. Today, that is Tuesday as I write we decided to cut and fit the picture rail. Now for a joiner such a task should be fairly easy but for the likes of myself I knew it wouldn’t be that straightforward. I have fitted picture rails in the past on quite a few occasions and each time I was presented with one problem or another but I overcame them. I knew therefore that the work would get done eventually. Well the first section went up with no problems at all but when fitting the adjoining section at right angles to it we discovered that the angle was more than 90 degrees at that point. In fact it was nearer 94 degrees! That meant the mitre I had cut wouldn’t match with the other. I started again with a new piece of timber knowing that I could still use what I had removed. Anyway it was a struggle to cut the mitres even when I knew the correct angles. It was after I had struggled with the first section that E piped up that she thought she had a power saw somewhere in the house! Well I had never seen one but it appears she had purchased one some years ago when she was doing a carpentry course at college. She had stored it away and had forgotten where she had placed it. She hadn’t told me about it at the time either. She decided to look in a cupboard we have in the cellar room where the boiler is. It is a cupboard which has hardly ever been opened but I remember cleaning it out with a bleach solution to kill off some bugs we had found in there about ten years ago and storing various boxes on the shelves. Other materials had been stored in front of the cupboard so it was forgotten about. Guess what, there on one of the shelves was a power saw and here it is………….Power saw……It was a dream to use and we were then able to finish the rest of the installation much quicker

Bedroom 15

Bedroom 16












Whist I was packing everything away E started filling in the gaps with some wood filler ready for painting, probably the next day if things were to go to plan. It was a pity E didn’t tell me about the saw some years ago for it would have saved me an awful lot of time on the numerous occasions I had to cut timber for work I have done at home in recent years.

Shirley Anne


Covered in paint!

Well not exactly but it got rather messy near the end of the day. The day started fine and sunny and stayed that way all day long. I was up and dressed before eight o’clock and after breakfast then checking my emails I was outside mixing mortar! I had to finish the base for the water-butt and should really have done that on Friday but we took Friday off and dined out instead. It was almost lunchtime by the time I’d done the base (which is now completely finished) and filled in holes in the mortar of brickwork at the front of the house where I’d noticed wanted doing too. I was then going to tackle the unfinished woodwork over the passageway to the garage but thought I would stop for a while and have lunch. E had been busy doing things in the flower beds in the morning and continued doing that during the afternoon. Her nephew arrived whilst I was eating my lunch as he was completing the work of fitting plastic surrounds to the garage windows and fitting plastic over the rear fascia board. This meant he needed the ladder and therefore I had to delay doing the woodwork in the passageway. He didn’t leave until three o’clock so it was then that I resumed working and didn’t finish until well after six o’clock. I decided to cover the exposed woodwork with an undercoat paint ready for a top coat later. Now usually I would have used a non-drip paint but E had furnished me with a can of undercoat paint that she had found somewhere in the cellar. It needed re-mixing as it had separated in the can but even so it was still ‘liquid’. I hadn’t noticed that it wasn’t a non-drip paint! I began to apply the paint to the (sloping) woodwork panel but as I did so it began to drip all over the place. Gravity has that effect! It took me quite some time to paint that panel which was probably less than a square metre in area and my hand was now covered in paint. There were paint spots all over the stone floor of the passageway but that didn’t matter, the floor will be covered with concrete at a later date anyway. Years ago it must have been a nightmare of a job painting before the invention of non-drip paint! I did manage to clean myself of the paint before my evening meal and spent the rest of the evening relaxing. I will most probably continue working in the garage today, at least for a few hours. Well the weather is fine and I don’t want to spend the whole day working!

Shirley Anne