It’s just so tiring eating all day, especially in this heat!!! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Wednesday proved to be very different from the days surrounding it as the temperature rose to a level more suitable for a summer’s day. Alright it wasn’t quite officially summer but the seasons do not stick to a regimented date do they? It was warm and sunny especially in the afternoon but the day had started dull and overcast though it was still warm. I had nothing to do and didn’t really want to be working anyway. I pottered about in the garden during the morning digging out a few weeds and montbretia plants which are still popping up here and there. It is after all the growing season for montbretia and of course weeds seem to grow whatever time of year it is! Nothing really arduous though and afterwards I got out the hose and gave the garden a good watering. It had been raining in the previous days but at this time of year it is soon dry again. A little more time pottering about inside the house before E and I went to the pub for our belated lunch. It would have been pointless to have gone there earlier as it is always packed between noon and say two-thirty which was the time we arrived. As usual the staff were at their best and soon we were served. On our return home E told me she had to go out again to post a letter she had forgotten to take with us earlier. Usually she drives to the post box even though it is less than three hundred metres away and that only because of her condition. I offered to walk there and post it for her while she put her car in the garage. When I returned a few minutes later I stopped by our next-door neighbour’s house to chat for a minute. She had her decorator painting the outside walls of her house, something her husband used to do every five years until he died three and a half years ago. The poor guy had been working at the front of the house for quite a few hours and hadn’t stopped for lunch. As he said, who wants to resume work after eating a meal? He was right, I missed lunch very often when out working and for the same reason. She had provided drinks of course, something he couldn’t do without especially in the heat of the day and especially as the front of the house was in full sunshine during the day. It must have been very uncomfortable and tiring. I am sure I wouldn’t have liked to do it. I was thinking later that perhaps he should have started the work by painting the rear of the house first as it would have been shaded throughout the day. The sun almost never shines on the rear wall of her house. The following day, Thursday was forecast to be cooler with a slight breeze blowing, much better conditions for working in but as he told me earlier he hadn’t checked the weather forecast. What would he have done if it had begun to rain soon after he had started the work? It is always wise to check the forecast before doing any work outdoors methinks.
In yesterday’s post I wrote about rooms never always being perfectly shaped, walls never always perfectly aligned with adjacent walls and the problems they cause when hanging wall paper. Far be it from me that I should place any blame on the construction problems I face when doing such work and how it affects the result. No, I always work around such problems and compensate so that I end up with a good job done. I suppose even professional decorators are presented with similar problems and have to work around them. It proves that we don’t live in a perfect world after all. Back to my decorating and I faced another minor problem on Saturday as I returned to do a little more work in the lounge. On Friday evening my next-door neighbour asked if I could cut-back a large shrub she has in her front garden, I had cut a much larger one for her a few months ago and didn’t mind doing it for her but I thought to myself why doesn’t her son do the work as he lives with her! According to her he just isn’t capable, more likely he is too lazy. He is a police sergeant and works some odd hours but never all day long. When his father was alive I never saw him lend a hand when his dad was working around the house. I told my neighbour that I would do the work the following morning as I was far too tired to make the attempt when she called. It meant I would have to put off my own work for an hour or so but I didn’t mind. I had plans to do far more than I actually did on the day however because I was still tired. On Friday I had gotten this far..
but on Saturday I only managed to get this more done even though my neighbour phoned whilst I was eating breakfast and apologised for asking me to do the work. She told me not to do the work because she had now asked her son to do it.
I was relieved for that meant I could concentrate on the wall paper. I managed however to only hang three drops. The first one partly above the door and including the lighting switches and motion detector (house alarm) on the right hand side proved very awkward and difficult and in all took me an hour to do. I had of course disconnected the power supply to the switches and removed the switch plate until the paper was in place and reconnecting it then. I managed to hang it all in one piece. Very difficult considering its shape and the fact that it was in a corner where the two walls are a little out of alignment in one place. I had to leave the sensor in place and work around it. Amazingly all went well but the second drop was difficult to match-up because the walls were slightly askew. Again I managed to do it and I thought I might be able to get as far as the fireplace but I had to stop after the next drop. I was making too many silly mistakes, I was tired and I didn’t want everything to start going pear shaped. It didn’t matter as I had plenty of time left to complete the decoration before other work would commence by others, the installation of a new fire and tiling of the hearth and the installation of the new curtains. I decided I needed the rest so I planned and take a break and leave the work until Monday.
This view from the Symbolic Mountain in the gardens in Cowra, Australia shows many of the typical elements of a Japanese garden. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have reached that stage in life where I am getting less and less bothered if I get electrical work or not. Whilst the work is still available I am now tending to take it but only if I feel like doing so. I have of course to earn enough to cover my expenses if I am to continue. So I have to reach a minimum amount on average each week before I can begin to earn a profit. It is a fine balance because I only take on board the smaller jobs which obviously pay less. Having said that it only takes one job to cover my expenses, anything else is profit. So if I get two jobs I am earning enough to make it worthwhile but usually I do more than two or three jobs each week on average.
Revenues and expenses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have to say, at this point in time anyway, that I cannot see when it will be that I retire from my electrical work completely, all I do know is that I am taking on board less and less as time goes by. So what does a person do when all interest is lost? If I retired right now I would only have to find another interest to keep me occupied. However, that interest would have to be something which kept me physically active and not just keep me sitting at a desk, at a computer for instance. I have never liked the idea of not being physically active in my working life or even in my home life. I have to be active because that’s who I am. Less and less for me in one respect means more and more in another. I am fortunate in that we have gardens at home as there is always work to be done in them. Over the last couple of years I have been more involved working in the gardens than ever before. Because I am doing less electrical work as time passes by this allows me more time to work in the gardens if I wish. Soon though all work in the gardens will be solely maintenance work as the main construction projects have all been completed. Maintenance is something I am very used to and the work is guaranteed never to end!
I might as well retire from electrical work for again on Monday I hadn’t any. I shouldn’t speak too soon though because that can change in an instant. As it happened Monday was a fine day and it enabled me to get out in the garden once more. Now it was that once my electrical work was hard-going at times but now the only hard work, that is physically hard work I do is either in the house or in the gardens. My current project has definitely been hard-going. Digging out bluebells so deep beneath the surface is very tiring especially as I have spent hours at a time doing it! On Monday my main aim was to concentrate on installing a stone edging to the long flowerbed and I got this far with it…..(as always, click on pictures to magnify).
What slowed me down, apart from heaving the stones into position was the fact that I had also been digging out bluebells in the bed behind it. I see one and dig deep to get at it but it isn’t alone and I ended up digging lots of them. What is heartbreaking is that as I think I’ve finished digging them out I notice another and so on. These are sprouting up in ground I had already filtered! It proves they are elusive but I leave them till they appear at the surface. It’s all I can do. Anyway it looked as though I might not have enough slabs to finish the edging so I decided to use the ones in the Mound and elsewhere, replacing them with large stones instead. When I went to The Mound to see what I could use I saw more bluebells around the slabs so digging them out became my task for an hour or so. It is unbelievable how many times I have revisited The Mound to dig out bluebells….This time I began just on the other side of the dwarf conifer in the foreground and ended up at the back of the Mound as I saw more of them to dig out. I also removed the stone slabs which were surrounding the Phoenix Canariensis in the west wall flowerbed and tidied up the area…
The Phoenix Canariensis is almost dead centre in the picture. Whilst working in the area I put more soil in the bed where I had been working a day or two earlier removing some large slabs of stone. As I am the only one working in the garden the work is taking a lot of time to do. In all I spent about five and a half hours in the garden. Monday was the day the green waste was collected and our two wheelie bins are no longer full of bluebells! However, I do have to empty out the builders bag which is full of them too! That can be done at any time though, there is no hurry, there is too much else to do in the meantime.
I’ve been quite busy on the electrical front, all small jobs but very profitable nevertheless. I prefer the type of work I am doing for a couple of reasons, not least of all my age! What I like is the freedom and flexibility the smaller jobs allow me to have whereas when I worked full-time I never got a minute to myself unless I turned down work. Not a good idea if it is your main income. However, since I had an income from a private pension when I started self-employment twenty years ago that was less of a problem. Since I began receiving my State Pension eleven years ago there isn’t a problem at all when it comes to taking time off. That however isn’t me, if the work is small, and that’s all I will do these days, I am more inclined to do it. Having said that the pressure of offers sometimes is relentless. I even get called when I am not advertising! Much of my time so far this year has been spent in the gardens and no doubt that will increase as the weather warms up. It was another lovely sunny day on Thursday but still cold in the westerly wind. I went to do a job in a house on the other side of town at nine o’clock and had it finished just an hour later. As has often been the case recently I again noticed a few bluebells in the front flowerbeds on my return home. (Picture taken last year)Most were simply small and close to the surface but a couple were rooted deep beneath the soil. I wondered how I had failed to see them on my previous visits but they do grow quickly and short of removing all the plants and turning over the whole flowerbed soil I am bound to miss a few. Needless to say I put on my overalls and dug them out before digging a few more out of the flowerbed by the small greenhouse in the rear garden. (Picture also from last year) I thought I might have been able to sit out on the patio for a time but the wind was too strong and by early afternoon the clouds rolled in to blot out the sunshine. It wasn’t to be, not yet.
Miserable (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After a cold and quite miserable weekend it was refreshing to have a much better day on Monday. The sun was shining and it was a little bit warmer, not much but enough to be noticed. According to the forecast the week ahead was only going to improve with temperatures around 10 C. I had spent the afternoon at the pub on Sunday to cheer myself up and treating myself to a meal in the process. I had done no work at home or elsewhere over the weekend and was ready for any work that might come my way. I did one small job on Monday morning which has led to more work in the near future, to install a power outlet and to replace a floodlight. I appeared to have made a good impression on the couple who I was visiting. They had moved to Southport last year having lived their whole lives in Manchester some 40 miles away though I didn’t ask why. Southport is a small town compared to Manchester which is a large city more like London. Anyway I sorted out their problem which had been a fault in the switches controlling the light in their lounge and returned home. Before I went indoors I got the kneeling stool from the garage and dug out a few bluebells that had appeared in three of the flowerbeds in the front garden. They just don’t give up do they? I went indoors and prepared some vegetable and chicken stew and while doing so received calls for more work. Things are looking up. The extra cash will come in handy as I have annual vehicle expenses to fund at the end of this month, MOT and service with any repairs that might ensue together with insurance and road fund licence to pay for. The afternoon? I was called out to yet another small job and was able to put some more cash into my ‘piggy bank’ and later received more requests for work. As the weather improves I will make the effort to finish digging out the bluebells in the rear garden, well the bulk of them at least. I know there will be more.
I finally got up early on Wednesday after a few days of getting up so late I’d missed breakfast. It was a classical ‘cold and frosty morning’ with some thin fog hanging about but the day turned out sunny throughout. It was cold though and barely above zero degrees (Celsius) and in fact it never rose above three. I watched the blackbirds foraging for food around the spot I had left some grounded up nuts and monkey nuts (in their shells) for both birds and squirrels. At least my plant pots still had their loose bark on top intact after I had placed some sticks into them to prevent the birds from landing upon them. They had been tossing the bark all over the place beforehand. Still, they had shifted some leaves in the borders and on to the path in their rummaging for insects. The nuts I had left for the squirrels had all disappeared so I grabbed a handful and went into the garden and put them in the same spot. There was no sign of a squirrel during the time I watched from indoors but one then two magpies came down and started to sample the nuts. They had to break the shells first but that seemed to come naturally to them. I decided to return to the garden with a handful of loose seeds and spread them around whilst chasing off the magpies with their bounty. There were still enough nuts left for the squirrels should they put in an appearance. I returned again indoors and waited to see what would happen. It took some time but finally the blackbirds returned and ate their fill of seeds whilst a squirrel, probably the same one I have seen a few times recently, appeared and began eating the nuts before burying a few here and there in the border. The magpies didn’t return but a few jays or jackdaws came down to eat the seeds. They however left the nuts alone. I supposed they didn’t know there were nuts inside the shells or they were too lazy to try to break them open. The competition and rivalry can be intense when the weather is cold and the food is scarce. That’s why we like to put food out for them when the weather is cold. We haven’t used the bird table recently because of the high winds we’ve had. I want to make a slight alteration to the table in order to keep the larger birds from using it. They will be able to feed on the ground. Later in the day I watched the antics of the squirrel for quite some time as it wandered around.
Nuts (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Just after breakfast I received a call from a regular customer asking if I could investigate a faulty floodlight. She wasn’t sure if I was back at work after the holiday but I told her I was taking a three-week break. nevertheless I agreed to look at the problem on Friday to fall in-line with her schedule. So much for a three-week break, it’s nuts I tell you, nuts! Later I had just finished lunch when our next-door neighbour rang asking if I could repair a faulty hinge on her chest freezer. I was there five minutes later with my toolbox. A hinge pin had simply worked its way out so it was an easy thing to put it back. When I returned home I made myself a coffee and what do you know, the squirrel was back again and running about all over the place. By now it was getting slightly foggy again as the sun sank behind the houses. It had turned colder too.
Early to Bed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Early to bed and early to rise according to the proverb makes you healthy, wealthy and wise. Not completely sure about the truth in those facts but I do know that it certainly improves my (financial) wealth if it is off to work I will be going. After doing a small job the day before I rested for the remainder of the day and went to bed as early as I thought fit on Sunday evening because I had to arise early on Monday morning. I would be off to work to do a small job before eight o’clock. It was the only time the customer could be at home unless I was prepared to work in the evening or at the weekend. I try my best not to work at those times, excepting for emergencies as was the case on Sunday. Despite the fact I knew I would be getting up early I couldn’t get off to sleep for quite some time and even when I did it was erratic once again. All I can say is that I probably don’t need the sleep I sometimes think I do. I guess that is an age-related thing or I am not working enough to get tired. As we age of course we are less able to work as hard and for as long as we once did. It’s a ‘catch twenty-two’ situation. Anyway I arrived at the house, two miles away, at seven forty-five and was back home less than an hour later having done the work. That work led to more work for me to do later in the week, on Friday when the customer would be able to get some free time at home. E was still in bed when I arrived home and didn’t get downstairs until nine-thirty. She keeps strange hours, not usually getting to bed until one o’clock in the morning. As I write this it is now approaching ten o’clock and I have no plans for the rest of the day but that could change, it often does *. Not so for the rest of the week though, I have work scheduled for each day. It is always busy at this time of year. Maybe I’ll get tired enough to sleep through!
* PS. I did end up doing more work, two more jobs in fact.
A sedentary person, or “typical couch potato” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was watching the day’s news on television today (Wednesday) and smiled when I heard about an elderly widower who has been advertising for a job vacancy. He is just about 90 years old, his wife died two years ago and he says the boredom of not doing anything each day is driving him crazy. I know many his age who find it difficult to get up from the couch being as they are self-confessed couch potatoes! I admired his pluck and his obvious energy, even at his age, no, especially at his age. The newsreader went on to say that a local restaurant owner has invited the man along for an interview with the prospect of work to follow we assume if he is successful at the interview. I wish him success too. Not everyone wants to stop working as they get older it seems so I am in good company. I find it difficult to sit around doing nothing for any length of time but I don’t wish to spend my time doing useless things either. I like to be productive which means creating improvements in anything I do. It is good to spend time out of course but not for too long or too often. I know people who just flit away the hours going from place to place but actually getting nowhere, their time is spent looking at things or sitting in pubs and restaurants every day which would bore me to tears. Each to their own of course but I want to leave a lasting legacy that hopefully others will be able to enjoy when I’m gone. This is one of the reasons I like working for others or working at home on the house or especially in the gardens. I was looking out of the window in the wet room which overlooks the side of the house where I had been working during the summer, the ‘Plot’. I look at my achievements both there and elsewhere in the garden and am satisfied that what I have done is lasting. Whenever I look out of the windows at home my thoughts centre on what other improvements I can make. I am limited at this time of year as to what I am able to do simply because of the weather but I like making plans, in my head at least, for any future projects I’ve a mind to do. If I reach 90 I hope I will still have that same attitude and not resign myself or consign myself to a life of idleness.
Relentless is good, it means work is available if I want it. The period leading up to the Christmas break is always the same for me, busy. Relentlessly the offers pile in.
Relentless (Sick of It All song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I don’t like refusing work but I must do it or burn myself out. I reckon I have passed on more work offers than I have accepted these past few weeks. On Thursday last I had one small job to do and to be honest I didn’t want any more work until the following week but the calls kept coming in. Most of the offers were for larger jobs but as I no longer take on the larger tasks they were rejected. However one or two smaller work offers were made and I did those. I wanted no more but still the offers came in. I found myself making all sorts of excuses for not doing them as it appeared people don’t want to take no as an answer. I was driving to the last job when a guy phoned me. I guess he must have been around ten years younger than myself as he was asking if I could do some work for his father who was in his mid to late eighties. It turned out not to be just one little job but more than four and he practically pleaded with me to do them. I was determined not to give in as I explained that I was extremely busy and probably wouldn’t find the time in the foreseeable future. I also mentioned that I was just about seventy-one years old, trying to wind-down but even so my diary was full and that I had personal things to attend to without getting much time to do them. It seemed to have fallen on deaf ears as he once again asked if I could perhaps find the time sometime in the next week. I had to politely end the conversation for fear that I might have succumbed to his persistence. Actually I know I wouldn’t have, I don’t give in to such pressure. Do people think I am a machine which never gets tired? Maybe I am considering what I do!
Boat of Boredom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It appears that not having my advertisement published makes little difference to my receiving requests for my electrical services. To be honest though those requests have been few and I have refused more than I have accepted. To say I don’t mind would be truthful, as long as those requests are few, the occasional job breaks the boredom if I’ve nothing else to do. The weather has been a blessing, allowing me to be able to work at home outdoors but of course that won’t last. I write this on Wednesday afternoon after doing an electrical job this morning. I want to get into the garden again if not to work but at least to see if there is anything I would like to do as a project. I already have one or two things in mind which will cost me some money to do them but will keep me occupied for a little time at least. I guess I could spend a very long time out in the gardens doing something even if it is only maintenance! I wonder sometimes what makes some people tick. Here I am, almost 71 years of age still working and more especially wanting to whilst some do as little as possible, avoiding work at all costs and only wishing to collect their unemployment benefits, something I and others like me are paying for! If it were me in charge I would insist that all who are able-bodied be employed by local authorities doing anything that needs to be done before they could claim their benefits. There are many things that could be done, removing graffiti, cleaning rubbish from our streets, helping the disabled and many labour intensive duties not covered by those in full-time employment. Society it seems would rather spend our money by wasting it or just giving it away. The problem with all of this is we have too many rules and regulations which thwart efforts to use our unemployed workforce doing useful things for the society in which they live.
I like being my age, most of the time that is! Age brings with it many problems for some people though some will sail through their latter days with hardly a problem at all. You might say it was a matter of luck or good fortune and you would be partly right. Much of our health and susceptibility to illnesses can be attributed to our genes but not for everyone. We have to do our best to stay healthy and hope that will be enough. Remaining active into old age is beneficial to our health and well-being and it is one of the reasons I have kept working beyond the age I would normally have retired. The other reasons for working are that I enjoy it and if I am working for someone else it pays too! The beauty of working for one’s self is that there is no real pressure, you can work as much as you want to. Since becoming self-employed over nineteen years ago I have found that to be true. I can take work on board or not and take time for myself when it suits me. On Tuesday last I had a call from a guy for whom I had worked in the past and he was asking for my electrical services to solve a couple of problems he was having with his installation. My intention has been to work at home on a mini-project concerning the floodlights at the rear of the house but as there was no pressure to do it I agreed to respond to his request. It was nine o’clock when I arrived at his house and eleven-thirty when I left. It was financially beneficial to me of course and well worth the time I had spent there. When I returned home I prepared a vegetable and chicken stew, mostly vegetables, the way I prefer it being made. I used onions, bell peppers, garlic cloves, carrots and peas on this occasion together with pre-cooked diced chicken. I made enough for two or three meals as often I don’t have the time or inclination to stand in the kitchen cooking, much as I like cooking. I had some of the stew for my lunch as by then it was one o’clock. Soon after lunch I put on my overalls and started working in the garden. First job was to move the small concrete slabs, natural stone slabs and a couple of bricks that I had temporarily left in the passageway between the side of the house and the ‘Plot’ where I had been working lately. I then began to erect two sections of the scaffolding tower to allow me to reach the floodlights on that side and end of the house. There are five floodlights on the rear and side walls of the house. The one nearest the patio and facing the lawn had been faulty for some weeks so I planned to remove it and replace it with the one just around the corner which faced the Plot. It is the light just to the right of the window at bottom right in this picture, though the picture was taken a few years ago before I changed them to LED floodlights…… I would then extend the wiring from where I had removed that floodlight and install a new floodlight further along the wall but at a lower height and better position to illuminate the Plot and the passageway to the rear of the garage. Re-positioning that floodlight would also prevent false triggering of the floodlight’s sensor caused by the laurel bushes at the side of the patio which move in the wind. I got most of the work done by five o’clock when it began to get too dark. I had to put everything away but of course I left the tower erected as I hadn’t finished the work. Another hour or so would see it completed and I planned to do that the next day.
Ladies in Retirement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So much for semi-retirement and taking things a little easier. I am approaching my 71st birthday and by all accounts should have retired by now but because I am not one for lazing about and living the high life (whatever that is) I am still working. Of course I am talking about my electrical work for there is always other work to be done at home. Officially I am semi-retired though as far as the electrical work is concerned, and I do try to limit what I do in that respect, it hasn’t worked out that way. Although I haven’t been doing electrical work every day this past week on the days that I have done so I haven’t had much of a rest from it. I am my own worst enemy I suppose because I don’t like letting people down. Even so I have had to turn down more work than I have actually taken on board. I need to remove my advertisement more often and I might just do that. I remember the last time I did though it made no difference, I still got phone calls. The price of being too popular I guess….well someone’s got to blow my trumpet! Although I enjoy my work I am getting more tired of it as the months go by so perhaps a proper retirement is on the horizon. I’ll have to weigh up that possibility though and it will depend on whether I can remain occupied more at home. I have to find things to do or go bananas. I suppose I am more tired because I have been doing work both at home and away and occasionally both on the same day. I said to myself that as long as I am capable I will continue to work and I have kept that promise but I also said that I will cut down on it. I haven’t kept that promise though but increasingly it is becoming more important that I do.
Every so often you get a day where nothing seems to go right or you are interrupted at the wrong time. It happens to me fairly often. They are the kind of days I struggle sometimes just getting things done but I persevere, I really don’t have a choice, none of us do, it’s just the way things go in life. Having the right attitude and not getting all worked-up is the key to overcoming whatever comes our way. It doesn’t make it easier nevertheless. For me it is more of a nuisance when things happen the way they sometimes do. I had placed an order for a Victorian style street lamp-post two and a half weeks earlier but was still waiting for the delivery. I decided to call the supplier for the second time to make inquiries and after a minute or so was told that they were having trouble with their computer when making a search for my details. This was the same response I got when I first called them a few days earlier. I was asked for a contact number and I gave them my mobile number as I knew I would be in the garden when they returned the call.
Most of the work on or in the Plot had been completed on Tuesday but I still had a couple of things to do. The main one was to cut a brick in half to place at the end of the existing wall near to the rear of the garage. It was necessary to put it there now because I needed to fill in a small section next to the end of the paving slabs with concrete. There are two other small areas which also need filling with concrete too as they couldn’t be done earlier. I will do all three in a day or two. I also had to fill in the spaces beneath the natural stone capping I had set in place on Tuesday with mortar and any other places which required filling too. So on Wednesday morning I put on my overalls and began the work. No sooner had I mixed the mortar when someone called me on my mobile phone. It was the company supplying the lamp-post and they had bad news. I was told that the lamp-post was currently out of production but should be available in four to five weeks! ‘WHAT’? I exclaimed and proceeded to remind them that when I originally made inquiries I was told the same thing but that they would email me when one was available. They sent an email a week or so later informing me that I could now place an order, which is what I did. Now they were telling me differently. What kind of organisation is it? Meanwhile the mortar was getting harder. The young girl on the phone said she would make further inquiries and call me again. I carried on with my work. I was mixing the mortar by hand, a bucket at a time to make it more manageable. The work took three buckets to complete. Just after I had mixed the second load the girl called back and told me that she had spoken with her manager and they have agreed to deliver the lamp-post on either the following Monday or Tuesday. I thanked her for resolving the problem and continued with my work but I was thinking from where did this lamp-post suddenly appear when I had been told none were available yet? I was part-way through using the second bucket of mortar when the phone rang again. This time it was someone asking if I could install several floodlights where none existed around their house. I rejected the offer because of the amount of work involved and resumed my work. I had to mix one more bucket of mortar and had just done so when the phone rang once more. This time it was an old lady living a few hundred metres away who was having difficult in getting someone to repair problems with her kitchen lights. I told her I would call later and after lunch because at that moment I was about to use the mortar I had just mixed. I was wasting my time telling her that for she just kept on talking and I could stop her! Eventually I got a word in to remind her that the mortar was getting harder by the minute. The penny must have dropped and she apologised for inconveniencing me. I would call there at one-thirty as arranged. I finished that work and then went indoors for a length of high-grade pvc sheet to place beneath the garden compost bin now sited on the Plot and a pair of scissors to cut it. I doubled the sheet then placed the bin on it and then cut the sheet around it. I placed the bin where it should go then by the wheelbarrow transferred the contents of the yellow bag which I had temporarily removed from the bin a couple of weeks earlier. It took five trips with the wheelbarrow but I couldn’t get the barrow close enough to the bin to refill it directly. I had to use a large bucket to transfer it from the barrow to the bin. Fortunately the bucket holds half the capacity of the wheelbarrow so the transfer didn’t take long. Time to clear up and have lunch.
I got to the old lady’s apartment and discovered that she had eight large recessed down-lights in the kitchen, three of which were faulty. They were fitted with 100 watt screw-in lamps which are notorious for burning the holders and occasionally the wiring too. One old lamp had been broken off in an attempt to remove it and I had to remove the whole fitting from the ceiling before I could repair it. I explained why these fitting were causing the problems she’d had with them. Basically they get too hot! I explained the advantages in replacing the lamps with LED versions but after I had told her how much they would cost (£65 -£90 just for the lamps themselves) if she changed all eight she changed her mind and asked if I could replace one so that she could ‘test’ it. She would then get her son to replace the others a few at a time. Not a problem. She hadn’t the funds to pay me there and then for my time and it bothered her but I told her not to worry and that I would return on Thursday with a lamp. I had phoned my supplier to see if they had the lamps in stock and it appeared they had but three left and were waiting a delivery of more. I drove there but it seems they couldn’t locate the lamps where their computer indicated they would be and after ten minutes they and I gave up. I walked the short distance to the other electrical supplier who had no problems finding one and at a lower price! I returned to my usual supplier as they had asked and I told them I bought one and that it cost £3 less at £8.40. I drove home. The following day I would be house-bound until the engineer who was to repair the fridge/freezer had called. It was a return visit because the original repair, such as it was, a re-fixed loose sensor, hadn’t worked!
Although I have lots more work to do in the Plot the main construction is complete. In a previous post I showed the natural stone slabs placed temporarily on the walls of the new ‘flowerbed‘ for want of a better description as there won’t be any flowers in it, not at this point anyway. The two slabs nearest the high wall had to be cut short by a few centimteres so it is fortunate that I have an angle grinder in my possession. The main object for having the raised bed there is firstly to give that extra height to anything grown in it. Secondly it will allow the sun to shine on the plants for a longer period in the year than if they were planted at ground level. The reason I needed to do this is because the garage blocks the sunlight from anything near to its rear wall. For instance in the month of June when the sun is at its highest anything within a metre or so of the garage still remains in the shade. No good for plants except those which prefer the shade. Plants growing in the bed will be bathed in sunshine for around three months or more. When this picture was taken it was late in the day so the sun wasn’t shining on the bed but earlier the shadow of the garage lay in the middle of the rear natural stone capping which meant the plants were in full sunshine for a few hours. The picture was taken on 29th August about a month and a half after the solstice. The space behind the bed will be paved and will be used for other things. Watch this space. Now I can concentrate on doing the steps, the paving and the landscaping. I had just finished the work for the day and it was after two o’clock. I had lunch then went out on the patio to join E who was already toasting herself in the sun! I was only there for ten minutes when I got a call from a guy who had asked me a few days previously if I would install his new cooker hob on Monday. As I had agreed I drove to his house which was fifteen miles away and did the work. It took me about fifteen minutes to do the job and soon I was on my way back home. I did return to the patio though by this time the sun shone on only a small part of it. It was enough and I spent fifteen minutes relaxing then I decided to get out the hose and water the garden before going indoors to prepare a meal.