Nearly there

After doing the weekly shopping I arrived back home at eight-thirty and put everything away before spending an hour relaxing on the patio with a coffee soaking up the bright sunshine. When it isn’t too windy sitting on the patio early in the morning sunshine once Spring is here is wonderful. One side of the patio faces eastward and with the wall on the west side is is a sun trap. I didn’t want to stop there long as I wanted to continue with the garage door project. I finally got the slot cut to the right size and the holes for the handle bar and the key cut out. So it was time to fit the lock and screw it in place. I used the two white plastic door knobs which were on the old door and the square metal bar which was long enough to go through the new and slightly wider door. Unfortunately the plastic disks on which the knobs sit couldn’t be removed from the old door without breaking them so I will either have to purchase new ones which is unlikely (they are usually only sold with new knobs) or I will make a couple as I do have suitable plastic sheet. I will however purchase a couple of keyhole covers for they will be available. In the meantime the door is ready for use and therefore I removed the old door and moved it to the front driveway for disposal later. My word that old door was heavy but then again so is the new one! The old door was about to become in need of replacement for the base was showing signs of rot. I had made repairs a couple of years ago but knew it was only ever going to be temporary. There is more work to do on both the door and the frame and they will get done over the next few days. The door is now in use. No pictures today but I have some scheduled in tomorrow’s post

Shirley Anne


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

The door

That is the new garage door I have been working on, well manufacturing to be precise, is coming along quite nicely. It is April 2 nd as I write and I have not long returned into the house after spending an hour or so in the garage this afternoon. Actually it was more like two hours after my lunch. I had been working on the project during the morning too as I was determined to finally get the door hung on the frame. First though I had to fit the hinges and whilst it was standing fixed in the workbench I gave it a coat of wood preserver. I allowed it to dry whilst I had my lunch.

After lunch I began to fit it in place on its hinges. It is at moments like this that you discover the floor isn’t quite as level as it ought to be. I hasten to add I didn’t lay the concrete floor though I was present when it was being laid. It took a couple of attempts before I was satisfied it was right. When I do this I only fix a door with two screws in the hinges to the frame until I get it where I want it to be. There has to be a decent clearance at the bottom edge and it didn’t matter in this case if it was larger than required for I plan to have the concrete on the outside raised to meet the bottom edge when the door is closed. To do that I will lay a narrow width of concrete across the doorway. This will do two things, keep out any water and also keep out any mice! Pictures will be posted at the time. I had to take a trip out immediately after lunch in order to purchase a new lock for the old one wouldn’t be suitable and also a tube of silicon rubber sealant with which to set in the window pane. So I fitted the window on my return and inserted an internal frame to prevent it being pushed in from the outside.

You can see the inserted frame which is blue in colour. In case you are thinking the original door has been removed I tell you it hasn’t just yet, in fact you can see it through the new window otherwise light would be shining through it! The next day I hope to fit the new lock and if I have a couple of suitable handles I will fit them. I know I have spare handles in storage but I haven’t checked thus far. In the last picture you can see the other door which can still be used as long as the new one is left fully open.

And that’s it for today’s post.

Shirley Anne


It was a really cold and windy Monday morning as I ventured out once more for a walk. I left the house at ten after five as I hadn’t been able to sleep once awake at three-thirty. It wasn’t that I had retired that early though I fell asleep around ten o’clock after taking a shower. I find I sleep better after a shower. I have no idea why that is. It was also April 1st and we had all been fooled into thinking Winter had finished with us, at least in the morning. In any case I was glad to be back home around seven. Walking into the vestibule was like walking into the tropics even though the house heating wasn’t on. It would be almost another two hours before it did, just in time for E getting up! I ate breakfast after which I spent an hour relaxing before putting on my overalls to begin work in the garage. The next task on the project was to install a second length of timber on the door frame alongside the one on which the door would be hung. I could have used a single wider piece of timber but I made do with the timber I had bought. I drilled the brick wall and screwed the timber to it and then screwed the original timber to it……

So the vertical piece of timber in the picture is now twice the width and just as sturdy as if it had been a single wider piece. It is actually easier to do it that way and the two have six fixing screws holding them to the wall and four holding them together. Because the wall wasn’t perfectly straight I had to fit wooden spacers behind the vertical sides which left gaps. I mixed some fine concrete, the same mix I used for the ramp outside and filled the gaps on both sides with it. When I fix something it stays where it is put! I used the left-over concrete elsewhere around the garden where needed.

Shirley Anne

Saturday again

The day after we were supposed to leave the EU but our wonderful politicians have made such a mess of things it is going to be delayed. So much for promises and democracy! I will leave that aside as I don’t want to end up venting my anger on here. Although I did some work on the garage door yesterday I posted nothing about it. I didn’t mention either that I had my second drive around the garden……..on the new lawnmower! The grass needed cutting again but I also wanted to see how much the ramp alteration made a difference to getting it out of the garage and on to the path. I actually drove it out despite the narrowness of the doorway. That as you know is in the process of redesign. So yesterday (29 Mar) I got this far with the door..

The plywood partly covers the square hole at the top so that when the glass is inserted it acts as a stop. In the next pictures you can see what I did today (Saturday).

The frame on the outside of the hole, that is on the outward face of the door adds to that stop. When the glass is fitted later there will be a frame of wood fixed on the inside edge so that the glass cannot be pushed in from the outside. The plywood has been both screwed and nailed in place. The next stage will involve applying a wood preserver followed perhaps with and undercoat and top coat of paint, though I haven’t as yet decided on the paint or even its colour. I spent about three hours each of the two days before stopping work. At least the heavy work is now completed,

Shirley Anne

Next please

It was Monday 25 March and it promised to be a fine and sunny day. I was up early to take my first walk of the week. It was eight-ten when I left the house taking only a banana and water for I didn’t want to eat breakfast beforehand. Already the sun was up and shining though a westerly wind was blowing to cool things down. Nevertheless I was wearing lighter clothing beneath the jacket and chose to wear my trainers rather than my boots too for the first time this year. A lovely Spring day and it lived up to expectations throughout the day. Returning home I ate a small breakfast for I wanted to get into the garage and begin the next project. The ramp alterations were now complete but I would be doing more cement rendering in the same area later at some point, probably when I am at a loose end. I took the workbench and tools I would need and cleared a space in which to work. I drove the van onto the driveway to make that space. The main task was to cut the timber and erect a new door frame inside the garage. Here is the result…

Looking at the picture you can see the existing door and the white frame set between the brick each side in the normal way. I needed to widen the opening without cutting the brickwork. The extra width would make it easier to move the new ride-on mower through it. The new frame is sitting against the wall on the inside with a small amount of the bricks showing on the left and a larger amount on the right. The door will be hinged on the right just as the old one is but the extra width of brick on that side will allow the door to swing completely away from the opening. Full use of the opening between the brickwork will then be possible. The bricks on the left will act as the door stop when it is closed though the door itself won’t be in direct contact with them. The extra width gained will be around 10 cm and plenty for the mower to pass through. Incidentally it does pass through the existing doorway opening but with the bare minimum of clearance. That was all I did that day. Hopefully I would begin constructing the door on Tuesday.

Shirley Anne

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