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.
………..especially at my age! Retirement, semi-retirement, couple of days a week or even a couple of hours a day should be my lot at my age. Somehow I can’t manage any of them. There are times though when all I want to do is well, nothing but I soon get restless doing that. I did one small electrical job about twelve miles from home and returned by ten o’clock. I had a larger job scheduled to follow but it was cancelled at the last-minute and at the time of writing I am not sure whether it is a permanent cancellation or not as they didn’t explain in their text message. A bit naughty I thought for not informing me one way or the other but that’s the way some people are I suppose. It didn’t matter because I could do some work in the plot. I donned a pair of overalls and boots and began cleaning out the small internal annex to the garage which stands next to the plot and followed that by clearing the pathway and the large pile of root balls that had been stacked in the corner of the plot which can be seen in a few recent posts. I then took the cement mixer stored in the other garage and put it behind the garage next to the plot for use when I had the time to begin laying bricks. The next thing was to stack some of the bricks recently purchased on the plot in readiness to build. Both the mixer and the bricks are covered with plastic sheets just in case it rains though that is unlikely for a few days. By now it was one o’clock and time for lunch. I had not long finished lunch and someone called asking if I would do a couple of small electrical jobs in a town twelve miles away. It was after two o’clock but I decided to take the work. It was too hot to work in the plot and too late to start mixing mortar anyway. It was an old lady for whom I had worked before and she wanted an extra power outlet installing and her bathroom towel heater checking over as it had ceased to work. It was five o’clock before I left after completing the work. So much for part-time working! After my evening meal I spent an hour watering the front and rear gardens! I don’t know how I do it all but thankfully I can.
After another full working week I was determined to take Friday off so that I could get started in earnest of my latest garden project which is to vamp up the are we now lovingly call the plot. If you’ve read my earlier posts you will know what I am writing about. Not only was I hoping to mix and lay the concrete topping on the footings for the proposed walls I wish to build but I was hoping the weather would stay fine as Thursday was a day of wind and rain. Friday as it turned out presented the ideal conditions for the work I was to do. I always expect phone calls when I am in the middle of doing something and Friday morning while I was working I got one. It was from an old lady who was desperate to have her doorbell circuit working as it had gone faulty. She could hear the concrete mixer in action and apologised for interrupting me. I explained that if she wanted me to do the work it would have to be later in the afternoon. She was insistent that I should pay her a visit but I will explain more further in this post. It takes some time to get organised when doing building work. First I had to get out the mixer and it’s stand and take them near to where I was working. There is a power outlet on the wall just beyond the bench in this picture where I could plug the mixer lead into. This picture was taken a couple of years ago before I carried out the alterations to the patio. Then I had to fetch the gravel, sand and cement. The cement is stored in the cellar room where the boiler is located in order to keep it dry. Fortunately that room is the one whose door leads directly into the garden. The other building materials are kept in the main garage. Finally I gathered all the tools I would need, brush, shovel, spades, wheelbarrow, hose pipe and such things as a spirit level and timber. I had to construct a wooden retaining wall before I could pour any concrete but it didn’t need to be anything fancy which was just as well for I had only off-cuts of various timbers anyway. It took two full mixer loads and another half load to finish the work. As you might have noticed the sun was about to shine down on the plot from the south. It was one o’clock. It would shine down for a further four hours or more on the plot and the patio next to it. I cleared everything away to return indoors for lunch at one-thirty. I went to fix the lady’s doorbell circuit a little after two o’clock. I was greeted by herself and a gentleman friend. He was evidently just that, her friend. Her husband had passed away within the last two years and I could see that she would be helpless without her friend. Why do I say that? She was what you might call highly strung and excitable, she was also very nervous and inattentive to anything I said regarding the fault. The bell itself hung in the hallway and three door push switches controlled it, one at the rear of the house and two at the front. It was the two at the front which didn’t work. I had to replace one of them. I traced the fault to a joint beneath the carpet and in the corner of the door frame. I had to roll back the carpet and remove the carpet grippers to get at it. Awkward wasn’t in it and one of the wires was extremely short! Somehow I got them all reconnected and everything was fine. The reason she had insisted the work be done immediately was because as she explained she was expecting a friend travelling up from Shropshire to visit for a few days! I couldn’t see the connection but as I explained, she was rather highly strung. She was overjoyed that I had taken the time from my day off to do her job though.
So many times I have said to myself and others that now I am in my 71 st year I am limiting my workload but increasingly I find myself breaking this promise. My main problems are that I enjoy my work and I don’t like to let people down. Of course there is a limit even so, I won’t be persuaded to work when I know I’ve had enough. On Thursday I had one electrical job scheduled and after a day’s break from work on Wednesday I was ready to get active again. It would take me around two hours to complete and I could drive back home. About an hour into the work I received another call from a lady not living too far from my house asking if I could do a small job for her so as such I agreed. I had just finished the first job and one of my regular customers asked if I could fix a problem with her lights. I couldn’t let her down but the work took me further away from home. I had it done in a few minutes before driving homeward and stopping at that lady’s house to do her little job. However whilst driving there I received yet another call asking for help with faulty lighting switches. I agreed to go there after I had done the lady’s work. Finally I was able to drive home but I needed to fill my van’s tank with diesel. My eldest son had called to the house but found no-one was at home. E was out shopping as by now it was three o’clock. I was ten minutes from arriving home so he waited. He is a keen cyclist and he wanted to collect one of the bike frames he stores in our cellar because he wanted to work on it. These bikes are not the run of the mill road bikes most people might buy but they are specialist built and cost a pretty penny to have repaired. That is why he wanted to do the work himself. By three-thirty he had left and I was about to have something to eat having missed my midday meal but I got another call to a house twelve miles away where they had lost all power.
Keep It Turned On (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Rather than drive all that way to fix the problem I tried to talk the customer through a possible solution over the phone but it all fell on deaf ears. Some people just won’t attempt to solve an electrical problem even if it only involves switching on a tripped circuit breaker. They seemed not to be able to get anyone else to help so I drove there. There was no power at their circuit breaker board so I checked the supply compartment on the other side of the wall on the outside of the house where the meter was located and there was an RCD unit in there which had tripped. I switched it on and all was back to normal. They told me that one of their freezers had become faulty so they unplugged it from the outlet and that is what had tripped the RCD . It cost them £40 for my call-out but they gave me £50. They could have done it themselves and saved the cash. £40 is my minimum charge for any work I do. Now although I had done five jobs on Thursday none of them were difficult but it’s the driving around that wears me out. I finally finished for the day at five o’clock having started at eight-thirty and no break for lunch. After my evening meal my eldest son returned asking if I could assist him to remove the pedal bearing assembly as it was to be replaced. However it had become damaged as he had tried to remove it with a special tool for the job. We had to come up with an alternative method to remove it. It took some time but we managed to free it. Now at least he can fit the new parts without the added cost for labour. It was now eight o’clock in the evening and I had little time for anything else.
It used to be that I arose very early in the morning to go to work but those days are long gone and I usually don’t get out of bed before seven o’clock for work these days. On Friday morning however I had to be at a job before eight which meant I had to arise before six just the once. I don’t mind having to do that occasionally. I was back home before ten and was paid a little more than I’d asked which made it worthwhile. A few weeks ago I did a lot of work in the two flowerbeds in the front garden but I don’t think I had put enough bark chippings down beneath the plants to cover the soil. Some weeds had begun to show and they needed pulling out and more bark added so I donned the necessary clothing and got out there to do the work. It was one o’clock before I returned indoors and with the work done I had my lunch. I had it in mind to start placing the plants I had bought in the mound and flowerbed in the rear garden for the weather was going to remain fine all day long. At two o’clock I got a call from an old guy who asked me to repair the light in his bathroom. I went along to see what the problem was and found I needed to buy some materials. I drove to the electrical store, returned with the goods and did the work. I was back home around three-thirty. E had gone out for a while so I set about placing the larger plants in position to see which was the best position for each of them. Having decided that I began to plant them one by one.
I managed to do them all before five o’clock but left off planting out the fifteen small flowering shrubs to do them the next day instead. A girl can do too much in one day after all! The middle two pictures show the side and part of the rear and none of the small flowering shrubs were planted there. They look a little empty in places so I will have to think about the possibility of purchasing suitable plants to put there. The side, shown on the left in the last picture and on the right in the one before does get full sunshine so I might buy more of the type I planted around the front or something similar. The rear of the mound gets very little sunshine for most of the time so perhaps a couple of shade-loving plants will go there.Anyway I spent a little time on Friday afternoon relaxing on the patio in the late afternoon sun before returning indoors to prepare my evening meal, oh yes, and to hang up the washing that I had put in the machine earlier onto the lines in the cellar.
Myalgia after overuse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I went to bed rather tired after the day I’d had on Saturday working in the garden. After a really good night’s sleep I planned to have a very relaxing Sunday. I wasn’t prepared for the stiffness in my body and the lack of strength in my legs and for a while I wasn’t able to get out of bed. When I did make the move it was painful and I struggled to move. It was difficult just trying to stand erect. Now I expect a little stiffness and a few aches after hard work and it usually happens the next day so in that respect I wasn’t surprised. I did my neck exercises in case I had problems with a trapped nerve again. It wasn’t so long ago I had that problem. However the neck exercises had a limited effect and I put it down to simple muscular pain from working. As the day wore on things did improve eventually. It is so debilitating not being able to just do the simplest of tasks without difficulty. The aches and pains from hard work I am used to and if I have been working that extra bit harder I expect them but it is the trapped nerve which can be more of a problem. The only recourse I have is to exercise my neck and to not place too much strain into whatever I happen to be doing. It could be that I have been working at too fast a pace and not taking things more slowly or that I often don’t take a break now and then. The odd thing is that on Saturday I did take things slowly and at a leisurely pace so perhaps I just over-stretched myself. I know I didn’t take a break as I should have. My main problem is myself, I don’t know how to work slowly! The restrictions caused by age keep knocking at my door but I try my best not to let them get the better of me. You know what they say, use it or lose it and keep moving less you seize-up! It seems I can still seize-up whether or not I adhere to those principles. Doing nothing isn’t an option, in fact that would be disastrous for I probably would turn into a statue if motionless for too long. Exercise is never a bad thing but I suppose too much of anything cannot be good either. Maybe I should do stretching exercises before manual work as I used to do before going for a run? I might give that a try next time, it can’t be a bad thing.
I have been sleeping rather soundly of late and waking up fully refreshed because of the busy times I have been spending during the day. I had no scheduled electrical work at the beginning of the week but on Monday that had been a blessing as it turned out. With nothing to do on Tuesday I was prepared to find something at home that I could do instead. It was such a lovely morning but the northerly wind kept the temperature down. However that didn’t stop me from sitting out on the patio after breakfast with a cup of coffee soaking in the bright sunshine. With my back to the wall I was pretty much out of the wind and all I could feel was the warmth of the sun. Incidentally the picture shows the patio at around 4 o’clock and not at 9.30 in the morning when the sun would be behind the camera in this shot. After a while I returned indoors just as E was coming downstairs for her breakfast. She asked if I would like another coffee and just as I was about to drink it I received a call requesting my electrical services. The job was in a house some fifteen or sixteen miles away but first I had to visit my electrical supplier for some goods. The work itself would only take me an hour or so under normal circumstances but at one point I had to wait whilst the builders she had employed had done their work. I was in no hurry so it didn’t matter and I spent the time chatting with the lady of the house who informed me that she fostered children. I found it difficult to chat with her for I couldn’t get a word in edgewise! She could talk! When I began the work all she did was talk and it was interfering with my concentration. If it wasn’t her speaking it was her dog who liked to bark a lot until she stepped in to quieten it. In situations like this I have to be very diplomatic of course but I usually say after a few minutes that I must get on with the work and they take the hint. It is always nice chatting to people who employ me but sometimes I think they forget why I am there in the first place! It was mid-afternoon before I could leave. It had been bright and sunny all day long until I was about five minutes from home when the heavens opened and there followed rain, sleet and hailstones. Two minutes later and it was as bright and sunny as ever with blue skies. The day ended as it had begun, bright and sunny with a little wind.
I suppose every day is a nice day, it all depends upon our attitude and our reaction or response to the things which happen to us. I had an electrical job to do for a lady living some fifteen miles away living in a small township or extended village situated on the highest ground hereabouts. The place is called Parbold and it is on Parbold Hill, naturally, and marks the beginning of the western edge of The Pennine Chain at our latitude. The Pennine Chain is known as the backbone of England, a mountainous range stretching from the Midlands up north to The Cheviot Hills in Scotland. The house was up a small lane off the main road, quite a secluded place to live, though there were other houses down the lane. The house was beautiful inside and a lot of money had been lavished upon its interior to bring it up to a very high standard. My task was to replace some of the ceiling lighting fittings and to repair a couple of damaged cables hidden in the wall which someone had accidentally drilled into. The lady herself was quite chatty and friendly and it was a pleasure to work for her. By noon I had the work finished and was on my way back home. It was such a sunny day and quite warm for the season too and as I drove homeward I had thoughts of dining out for lunch. When I arrived home and put the suggestion to E she was pleased at the idea so after we had changed into more suitable attire we drove to another local township and enjoyed a nice meal. On the way back home we dropped into a store specialising in the sale of lighting fittings of all kinds for we wanted to see if they had something suitable for our bedroom project. The store is literally filled with pendant lights and chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, many of which are illuminated. There must be a couple of hundred units hanging there. It makes it easier to select something when you can see what it looks like out of the box and working. Having decided on which one we wanted for the bedroom the guy went into the stockroom to see if there was one in stock but alas there wasn’t. We placed an order and paid for it immediately. The guy was to call us when it had arrived, possibly on Wednesday he thought. We were in no hurry. The light we had chosen was on offer at half-price but still cost £99.50 , which is relatively cheap for a light fitting these days. We saw some units at £500 and £700 but there was no way we were going to fork out that kind of money for a ceiling light!
I am writing this on Sunday afternoon and am looking forward wondering what the week will bring. Tomorrow I have one electrical job which won’t last longer than an hour but thereafter I have nothing planned. That will probably change before long, it usually does. I know I will be at home all day long on Thursday because the guy who is building the bedroom furniture starts the work early in the morning. E will be doing the weekly shopping after lunch so I have to remain at home then anyway. The start of the work was put back from Tuesday which means it is unlikely to be finished by the weekend as we have been told it should take three to four days and I can’t see him working past Friday. We’ll see. I am hoping to see the roof repairs underway too for the weather is forecast to be reasonable. It is just that E’s nephew will be doing the work and he is quite laid back when it comes to working for us. It’s as though he can’t see the urgency in getting on with it whilst the weather holds good. I know that isn’t true because he does have a lot of work on his books. Builders are strange creatures who think nothing of having many jobs running concurrently. This practice is foreign to me for I have always concentrated on one job at a time. I have always worked alone and although I could have had more than one job on the go at a time I never did. E’s nephew does employ other men so he can have more than one job running at a time. The problem with that system is obvious, each job takes longer to do if employees are being moved from job to job. In the case of roof repairs it is imperative to get the work done quickly before the weather turns nasty. If I get more work during the week E will hopefully be able to stay at home unless she has doctor’s appointments in which case I will have to reschedule my work. It all depends I suppose on others and sometimes others let us down don’t they?
Wednesday proved to be a really nice and sunny day for a change. The weather hasn’t been that good for weeks so it was pleasant to have lasting sunshine. I went to do a job in the morning, as it turned out it wasn’t a big job but I was told they would need my services again within a few days once they have purchased the replacement lighting units they will want me to install. It turns out that the guy of the house is a friend of the manager of my local pub who had recommended me. I was also told that having worked in his sister’s house and her friend’s house too they both had recommended me. I suppose even the infamous can get recommendations! Ha-ha. I guess I must be doing something right. When it came to payment the guy insisted I take more than I had asked, which was a bit of an unexpected bonus. Whilst I had been working at the house I realised that one of my screwdrivers was missing and I then remembered where I had left it. On Monday afternoon I had installed a replacement outdoor light adjacent to the front porch and had placed the screwdriver on the low roof momentarily. I had forgotten all about it. I drove to the house which was only a couple of miles away and caught the guy just about to leave to do some shopping. He had seen the screwdriver and had taken it indoors. I should have phoned ahead so I was fortunate to have caught him at home. I thanked him but didn’t ask him why he hadn’t phoned me to let me know he had found it. Had I forgotten where I had left it I suppose he might never have told me. This has happened to me a couple of times in the past and I have lost one or two tools as a result. It proves not all people are as honest as they would have you believe.
Anyway the year has started off well and I am pacing myself as I said I would. Normally I would have returned home after a morning at work and then begin to work at home, a project or some gardening, both of which I have in my mind to do if I am able but they can wait a tad longer. As I am getting back into the swing as it were I will make a start on the things I have in mind to do, a bedroom refurbishment and of course the gardening! Just before I wrote this I called a guy to have the bedroom emptied of all the stuff that has accumulated in it whilst it has not been in use over the last few years as I would have to hire a skip (dumpster) if I was to do it myself but some of the items are far too large for me to move them myself. At least the room will then be ready for working in and hopefully I shall be too.
Come Monday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So now we are in the first Monday of the new year and I am off to do some electrical work with other work in the pipeline. Although I hadn’t advertised over the holiday it made no difference, I still got calls from people from whom I had worked before. Well it’s nice to know people do keep my cards or details for it also means they liked my work. It has seemed strange over the last couple of weeks not being involved in my usual routine and every day has felt like a weekend, in fact I have never been sure which day it was on occasion. I had been expecting some action toward the roof repairs last week for I had been promised the work would commence on Tuesday or Wednesday, at least as far as erecting the scaffolding was concerned. Alas, nobody turned up but I had half-expected that with it being so near to the new year. Had the scaffolding been erected on Tuesday I doubt any repairs would have followed the next day because the weather had made a turn for the worse again and it didn’t cease raining. As I write this on new year’s day I very much doubt we will see anything happening before Monday and if it is raining I doubt it will start then. As it is now Monday I am expecting at least a call. I shall be working for a couple of hours and perhaps longer if I get another call so I may not be available should anyone call to the house. E will have to take charge as it were but she is equally as capable of making coffee as I am for that is all that will be required and probably all my involvement if I was there. I resisted the temptation to do any gardening as I thought I might do over the two-week break and in any case the weather hasn’t been that favourable except for one or two days. I even thought I might get something done on Christmas day and would have done had it not turned out so wet and windy. It is to be expected I suppose at this time of the year. At least the electrical work will be indoors but if it isn’t even that will have to be rescheduled until the weather improves. I can’t believe the cheek of some people who really do expect me to carry out repairs outdoors when it is raining. One lady called me on New Year’s Eve asking if I could do some work for her, repairs to lighting and replacing lights in the evening because she worked during the day! I put her straight about that one and now she is arranging for someone to be at home at nine o’clock in the morning when and if I do the work. The only time I would work in the evening is if it was an emergency. Nothing changes does it?
Workload (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Well last week I was run off my feet with my workload which was only possible because all but one of the jobs were small and easily manageable. During the year I seldom work more than four hours in any day but in the approach to Christmas I seem to be working more hours each day. On Monday this week for instance I had but one job scheduled for the day and that was to be done later in the afternoon. I had disconnected a cooker for someone on Saturday and I had to reconnect it on the Monday at their new address. I couldn’t have done it early in the day for there would be no-one at home. In cases like this I have to be flexible but normally any work would be done early in the day. I had arisen early in case anyone called. After my breakfast I sat reading in the lounge for an hour or so and contemplating what I was going to do about the installation of the intercom unit I had bought last week and had every intention of continuing with the work until I received a call for help. Another small job request but it was well worth doing so off I went and was back home before lunchtime. It had been a problem with an air extract fan in a bathroom ceiling which runs whenever the lights are switched on and continues to run on for a short time after the lights are switched off. The timer circuit controlling this function was at fault and required replacing. Usually these timer circuits are not readily available but as the fans themselves are very inexpensive to buy changing the whole unit is simpler. However as it happened I had a spare timer circuit which I had removed from another fan some months ago. The fan had been purchased in error by the customer who didn’t want the timer fitted but didn’t wish to waste time exchanging it. Result? I obtained the timer circuit never thinking that in a couple of months it would come in handy. Once home I cooked my lunch and had again sat down to read afterwards. This time I managed to remain seated for fifteen minutes before I received another request for my services. The strange but fortunate thing was that this caller’s address was a mere two hundred metres away from the apartment where I would be reconnecting that cooker. How convenient was that? Both jobs were done and I finally returned home for the day when it was almost time to eat again. This is the way many of my days turn out and that is why I have to shelve any ideas of working at home. Well no sooner I had eaten my evening meal when my phone rang again. That job was placed in my rota for Friday morning. Having started the week with very little to do my spare time was soon gobbled-up once again.
It Doesn’t Matter (Wyclef Jean song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’m crazy so people tell me but what do they know? I actually like work! Why is that? It is all about being occupied, about not wanting the boredom that comes from having nothing to do. Now I suppose I could travel here and there and spend my time filling my life with meaningless pastimes.The problem with that is I get no pleasure in wasting time that can be spent working. The things that held my interest in years gone by have done just that, gone by. My outlook on life has changed quite a lot, especially within the last couple of years. Much of that is due to my religious beliefs for I now see just how pointless are the many things people see as being important in their lives. What does it really matter if we surround ourselves with material things or not? Does it matter if we spend all of our time travelling about or staying at home, dining out or eating in? The answer is absolutely nothing! ‘ 15 So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.’ (Ecclesiastes 8) So it all depends upon what we like to do for no matter what that might be it makes no difference. We all end up in the grave, that is our flesh of course. This being the case I fill my time working in one way or another, though naturally not all of the time. I have been eager to get into the gardens, especially the rear garden where more has to be maintained in order to do some pruning and clearing away of yet more leaves. Yes, although the leaves have ceased falling I haven’t been able to get into the garden to clear them away but they are in places where they are unlikely to move any further. I also want to dig out a few plants and one or two small trees that are over-populating one section of the border they are in. The main reason for not having done any of this work has been the terrible weather over the last week or more, high winds and rain, lots of both. As I write this on Sunday evening the weather has finally changed for the better and I may be able to do some of the work in the week ahead. E hasn’t as yet finished applying gloss paint to all the woodwork in the kitchen and therefore I haven’t been able to do any touching-up of the emulsion on the walls. That will take minutes rather than hours though and the kitchen will be finished. Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow, maybe not but it doesn’t matter does it?