Sunday let us know that summer was on the wane, on its last legs, struggling to stay warm and dry but nothing could be done about that. The day was damp and rain fell frequently, it was a day to stay indoors though had I wanted to go for a walk I would have. By coincidence I actually wanted to stay indoors to relax and this I did. Monday would soon be upon me and there was work to be done. Lately I have been involved in keeping active by undertaking various little projects at home, mostly in the garden. Monday however I had set aside for preparing for the new garage door installation which means installing a power outlet, a board on which the control unit will sit, re-positioning existing wiring and switches and to remove other items which I will reinstall sometime after the door is installed. To install a power point will require that I alter the existing circuit and supply it from the main distribution panel in order to isolate it from house circuits. It is at times like this I appreciate my electrical experience for it makes the work simple, straightforward and not least of all free. Well free from labour charges! I could say the same for all the other work I do around the house. There is a lot to say in favour of DIY. As the year gets colder I find that working outside is much more pleasant than it is during the warmer months. I suppose the cold encourages me to keep active anyway. Is it possible that I to do too much work? I can only say that if I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t be doing it! Could I move to an apartment where there would be almost nothing to do? I doubt it but not because I would have more time to indulge in personal pleasures, I would be bored stiff! My motto is more work and less play though not all work and no play! It works for me anyway.
Monday (28th) here in the UK was one of those days we call a Bank Holiday, traditionally a day when bank employees took a break from, well banking. Banks closed for the day and therefore it limited trading activities. Nowadays banking takes place on-line for the most part but the holiday remains in place for everyone to enjoy or not as they wish. Today the holiday is referred to as the August Bank Holiday, there are others. Anyway it never made much difference to me when I became self-employed back in 1997. I would work if the opportunity presented itself, and it often did. The day still makes little difference to me now that I am retired, well retired from electrical work in a full or part-time capacity. I find work to do at home which pretty much keeps me active. I am not alone in being one that works over the holiday, I know many people do the same and if you go down any high street it is business as usual for many. As I said, banking is carried out over The Internet and much commerce follows suit. The Country can’t close down for the day can it? We were expecting someone to visit the house at my request to assess some work I want carrying out. I have decided to replace the garage doors on the garage I use to park my van. This one…
From the picture it looks fine and indeed the door itself is fine even though it is around twenty-eight years old. That is because it is made of fibreglass and aluminium. However it had always been opened and closed manually until a couple of years ago when I had it converted to electrical operation.Now again, there is nothing wrong with that set-up either but what is a problem are the mechanical components that had to remain after the conversion. They comprise the two side tracks in which the door runs, the wheels which run inside the tracks, the two large heavy-duty springs one each side which assist in the raising of the door, the pulleys and the steel wires either side which form part of the spring mechanism. All of these, especially the steel wires which need replacing regularly, require constant maintenance and of course that involves cost! It was high-time I replaced the door with a roller-shutter variety similar to what we had installed in the other garage though more streamlined.
That roller door is more like an industrial type than a domestic one though it doesn’t appear anything like that to look at it. It is a very efficient door and very robust. So the guy came along to measure the opening and requirements as did E’s nephew, a builder who was at hand to discuss any alterations that might have to be undertaken before the installation takes place. I agreed on a price for the work (£2250) which hopefully will take place in around a month’s time. As it is a bespoke unit it will take time to manufacture. Unfortunately as the opening is non-standard a door from their stock cannot be used. I paid the £600 requested up-front now all I have to do is raise the balance and carry out some electrical alterations for the installation.
Usually there is always something to do on a weekend for me but I make the attempt at ensuring I get the rest I need. Sunday is the day when I do no work other than perhaps mow the lawn occasionally. Other things I might do are only normal domestic chores of a very minor nature, washing dishes or cooking and things like that. Saturdays however are days when anything goes and I will work on whatever comes my way. There are days when I don’t want to be doing anything at all but those days are few. On Saturday last week I had it in mind to do little or no work but I wasn’t completely successful. Before getting ready for an early morning walk I stripped off the bed linen and put it in the washing machine. By the time I had showered and dressed the linen had been washed so I hung it in the cellar boiler room then set off on my walk in the cool, dry but quite windy weather. I returned home quite exhausted because of the wind. I hadn’t taken a coat but wore a cardigan instead as it hadn’t felt that cold. That was a mistake because it took some time before the sun began to raise the temperature and I was glad I took the return path through the built-up areas to home. By the time I got home I was in full sunshine and warm. It is difficult knowing what to wear when going for a walk. Too many clothes and I get too warm but too few or the wrong outer garment and I feel cold. It was never a problem when going for a run, I would get warm in minutes, even in the depths of Winter! I decided then to just take the day off and do little. just prior to lunchtime I received a call from an old customer who was having problems with her electrical installation. Although I am officially retired I accepted the work for a couple of reasons, one, the house was close by and two, it was an old lady of 90 who had nobody there to help. I was there for an hour or so before returning home. After lunch I spent the afternoon out on the patio with E just relaxing for once. It would be Monday before I would even think about doing any work or so I thought. Our next-door neighbour called and asked if I could sort out a problem she was having with a ceiling fitting. As she had more than one light in the room I told her I would look at it on Monday morning. They say there is no rest for the wicked but I hope I am not that.
Master of Styles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It has to be said…I am feeling the urge……aha but what urge? Since declaring I am retired, officially that is, I have been enjoying much free time for myself. However as many of my readers will know and all those who know me will know that I need to find things to do else get very bored. A few days ago E asked her nephew, a builder, if he had any second-hand bricks we could have for a project at home. I mentioned what happened in an earlier post but since then we have decided we will require more than the forty-five we took at that time. He told us that we could have as many as we wished because he wanted to get rid of them. He told us that he would deliver them within a day or two. Perhaps when you read this he will have done so or I might have done so. I am in the ‘building with bricks’ mood and feel the urge to get my hands dirty again. I have a couple of small projects which I am eager to start, all depending upon the weather of course. If it gets too warm I will probably leave off beginning the work until it gets cooler though at the time of writing this on Sunday it is fairly cool at 16 deg C. This is the UK however and it can get hot or cold, wet and windy in hours! Hopefully I will be able to do the work soon and pictures will follow. There is always the garden to work in of course but at the moment the only work there is in removing weeds and mowing the lawn. Speaking of lawns, I have been on my hands and knees manually digging out weeds from the lawn recently, an ongoing problem which will take time to complete. Ideally the lawn should have some chemical treatment but it isn’t that bad or bad enough to warrant that just now. I don’t like to use chemical treatments if at all possible but in certain cases it is necessary or have a lawn of weeds instead of grass! For me though it is all about occupying my time. I suppose that when you feel the urge you’ve got to do something about it!
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.