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January
31
- Up just before 8am . .walked. Stopped at the store on the way home for some milk and potatoes. Had a look at the skip near the laundrette on the way past, but it was full of rubble and earth and nothing which easily leant itself to crushing up for the lane, so it may be that is the last of the rubble from that source for the forseeable future - which is perhaps just as well. I need to stop spending all my time doing such a crazy, time consuming, thankless job (even if I get a strangely large amount of satisfaction from having done it!) . . did dish washing and vacuuming chores. .Mum called in with the paper and food donations, for tea and chats . . ate Mum donated ham rolls, crisps and a buttered bun . . napped until the alarm at 7pm (dreaming I was back at work at the post office, about to phone a subpostmistress about some nonsense or other!) . . drove to walk. It's hard to remember how bad that lane was before I started working on it - but I think it's fair to say I have made quite a difference to it. Although still rough along all its length, you can pretty much just slowly drive down it now, without having to concentrate on the actual surface and where the deep/potentialy damaging potholes were. :o) Wonder what the neighbours think?. . PCd a bit of this. . touched base with BB . .ate ham and grated cheese sandwiches and chocolate. . TVd until bed around 1:30am again. a
30 - Up around 7am? . .drove to walk to miss the wind and rain, although it turned out to be mostly clearing up and my rainwear was not necessary. . out a bit earlier than usual crushing rocks, as the weather improved. Put in another four hours at it and managed to make a bit of a dent in the stack of extra-hard pink blocks, although all the resultant gravel/chippings were immediately swallowed up by the lane with hardly any noticeable effect! (I'm actually working at trying to fill in the big dip and level it out a bit in front of next door to the left's hardstanding, so 'I' don't really even benefit from all that work at all! My infill there must be at least a foot deep in places and over time will settle down and compact so much, it'll benefit from more!). . ate two burgers in bread rolls and chips and a little chocolate. .napped until woken by Jk calling just before 6pm . . walked in multiple layers (6!!!) against the cold easterly-ish wind. The forecast for the next few days is a return to 'arctic' conditions with strong winds coming straight in from Siberia - and even maybe snow on Tuesday (a very rare event down here)!!! :o(. .touched base with JK, PS and LB. LB happily seemed to be doing ok healthwise (albeit 'red' in places), and will soon finish her course of radio therapy. One bit of news which should go some way to making her feel a lot better, is that her mortgage/health insurance has apparantly actually paid out! In FULL! So her house is theoretically paid for all of a sudden! Despite the payout, apparantly they've had some sort of financial advisor tell them that because of early settlement penalties which would be due and interest rates and the like, they've decided NOT to pay off the mortgage and are instead going to invest the money and do some modernising and updating (new windows etc) instead. . I'm sure they've done their homework and have been given sound advice - but if that was me, I'd pay the mortgage off instantly, penalties or not. Makes no sense to me at all what with low (investment) interest rates and the current uncertain economic climate and fragile job security etc, etc, to keep a mortgage. Even if the early mortgage settlement penalties mean a theoretical 'loss', it would be well worth that to me to have the peace of mind of having no debt and being certain of the security of owning the roof over your head. I've ALWAYS had that view, ever since I first took out the mortgage on my house in Bristol, and I can't envisage many circusmtances where that view would be changed. From a very early point, I scrimped and saved and went without, and almost always paid off more each year than I needed to. Every time I had a gift of money from Mum and Dad, or had some back pay or a bonus or managed to get some overtime etc, I'd pour the major part of that extra income straight into the mortgage. Inevitably, eventually I was able to pay off the mortgage and be 'free'. The life I'm currently able to live (BB says I should wake up every day and say 'hot-diggedy-dog , how lucky I am' ), would not have been at all possible if not for all those years of 'saving' like that. I dunno - maybe if I had her health issues, I'd see it all differently and more 'short term', rather than being a slave to the 'strategic long term overview' as I always have been - in most things!. . . TVd/guitarred. . . touched base with BB. .ate salmon sandwiches and chocolate around midnight. . TVd until bed around 1:30am. as
29 - Up around 8am. .walked in the cold breeze. . spotted a large mature old tree in the holiday camp being felled on the way back, and felt obliged to hang around with the camcorder attempting to capture a bit of it for posterity. It was a big old tree. SUCH a shame - but I presume it was diseased or some such, and WAS certainly too close to all the holiday shalets for safety. So close, it wasn't possible to just cut it through and let it fall. Laboriously over the course of what turned out to be several hours, the tree surgeon with his chain saw dangling from his harness, clambered around in the branches like a sure footed monkey, surgically removing a carefully chosen branch at a time and lowering it to the floor by the winched rope, fastened to a carefully chosen higher branch! All really rather clever. Cleverer than just 'chopping it down' like one imagines. . just stood motionless in the strong breeze watching the guy work, I got cold. REAL cold. Hypothermic cold! All of a sudden from a house behind my vantage point across the road, a lady dog walker emerged carrying a small tray upon which was a beef roll and a large mug of steaming thick soup and a spoon to eat it with! Wow. What a wonderfully generous gesture - and most welcome. All got a bit complicated trying to hold Sally back, eat soup and carry on filming in the street like that. lolol As instructed, when I'd finished I left the tray on their garden wall by the gate. A while later I saw the lady coming back across the road with the tray and assumed she'd just come out to collect it. Actually - she'd already collected it and was now coming out with a mug of tea and two small chocolates!!!!! How wonderful. Blimey - I hope they chop some more trees down there! lolol . . sadly the actual tree removal went on for SO long, I eventually ran out of both camcorder battery and tape. I was able to squeeze just a few minutes more out of the ice cold battery by warming it up with my hands, but there just wasn't enough tape left to actually get the final chop down of the main trunk of the tree, and I eventually just had to give up and walk away. VERY frustrating to miss the 'money shot' like that. :o( . . eventually headed home, utterly frozen. I'm so skinny and have such a weird metabolism, I really do think I was quite literally in the early stages of hypothermia! I was a bit wobbly on my legs and I really didn't feel too good at all, and my arms in particular were almost without feeling!! . back at home I found my watch had stopped in the cold again, and it was actually mid afternoon rather than midday! I'd been stood there for hours! . . put the heating on and got in the shower and stayed there for ages with the water as hot as I could bear, in an attempt to warm up as quick as I could. It took a good couple of hours before I felt back to normal!. . Mum called to touch base and confirm her TV channels were still missing!?? Uggh. .ate ham sandwiches and crisps followed by a little chocolate while transferring the video to the PC . . reluctantly went back out and popped up Mums to have a look at her TV and try and figure out what the hell has happened to the missing channels. My diagnostic investigations of what was and wasn't 'missing' confirmed that it was all the BBC channels - and only them. All the rest were still perfectly ok. Given, in my experience with the new digital channels, that the BBC channels always have the strongest signal and are the last to go if there is an aerial or connection problem, this suggested to me it was the transmitter which had altered. Got the manual out and put the TV through it's automated 'search for available channels' routine again (what I'd explained to Mum she should do the other night, but she couldn't work out how), and hey presto, everything was soon back to normal. How bizarre. Doesn't that mean that they somehow suddenly altered the channel output from the transmitter? I wonder how many people have been caught out by that - and how many have maybe been conned into having a new aerial put up or some such as a result? Actually - with hindsight - maybe there is a setting on that clever new TV of Mums that needs to be altered so it automatically 'follows' any such future change? . . napped until around 7pm . . wind and rain. Skipped the evening walk . . TVd. . touched base with BB. . ate tinned salmon sandwiches, crisps, chocolate and biscuits. . TVd until bed around 1am.
28 - Up around 8:15am. . . walked. Given a lamb bone for Sally by K . . drove back to the skip and filled the back of the car with building blocks again. . crushed rocks. . . cooked and ate four sausages and chips with 4xb&b and then biscuits again. . napped until around 7pm! . . Mum called to touch base and tell me about the neighbourhood watch note she'd had about an attempted break in not far away. Someone had allegedly attempted to jemmy a front door open in broad daylight! Sounds a bit weird. Pointed out to Mum, there's really nothing much you can do to protect yourself from such a thing and it wouldn't do to get all wound up worrying about it happening to you. Just hope it doesn't! All her BBC digital channels appear to be down!?? Uh oh!! Since she can still watch them on terrestrial, I suggested she give it a while and see if they just come back. . .walked and carried on out to JKs for coffee and chats. In a conversation (prompted by not having long enough arms to be able to read the newspaper article he was showing me!) I mentioned my rapidly deteriorating eyesight. He presented me with a pair of glasses he didn't want. Wow - they work! Bi-focals, with little semi circular magnified reading lenses at the bottom, with what I 'think' is clear glass above. . . pretty tired and felt like a hellish long walk home . .touched base with BB . . ate microwaved grated cheese, rolled in slicves of ham with crisps and biscuits. .TVd until eventually to bed around 2:30am. ss
27 - Up around 7:30am before the sunrise. PCd a bit of this. .drove to walk. A couple of days ago when I'd mentioned crushing rocks in conversation, one of the dog walkers had pointed out that some tarmac had been dumped in the undergrowth near where one of the paths had been re-surfaced in the summer, and he'd said I should have that! Seemed like a crazy thing to do and actually quite a bit of work involved in carrying it all back up the slope to the car, but since I was driving today anyway, I actually took one of the large plastic buckets with me. After having walked and inspected the small pile of tarmac on the way round, I decided I may as well clear it up and take it. It was only enough to three quarters fill the big plastic container, but still a breathless struggle to carry it up to the car and get it on the floor in front of the passenger seat! . . crushed rocks for a few hours. Spent most of the time just doing a couple of those awful iron-hard pink blocks. . . drank a glass of wine and cooked and ate four sausages and chips with 2xb&b and then biscuits . . TVd/PCd. Watched the brilliant 'Evo-Devo' program on one of the BBC channels. All about Darwin and evolution. Absolutely brilliant. . skipped the walk . . TVd the 'Bourne Supremacy' while browsing on chococlate, mini trifle and jaffa cakes. . touched base with BB . .TVd until bed around 1am. ds
26 - Up around 8am. . drove to walk. Stopped off at the store on the way home to buy some cigarette papers, but also to enable me to have a look at the skip which I'd spotted there a while ago. The old laundrette appears to be getting turned back into a residential unit, and a lot of building work is going on there, and plenty of rubble etc is getting dumped in skips. A couple of guys were working there and I had the chance to ask out of courtesy if it would be ok if I helped myself to some of the stuff out of the skip. They had no objection, and remarked how it was more usual for people to sneak stuff INTO the skip, not out of it for a change. lol . .dropped Sally off at home and then returned to the skip in the car with the five white plastic 'buckets'. It just so happened the guys were excavating and digging out a bunch of proper foundation hardcore/chippings at that time (PERFECT lane fill!) and they even happily shoveled it straight into the buckets for me. Drove home, dumped it all on my hardstanding and immediately returned for a second load . . crushed rocks for the next several hours and managed to get through all but two of the bins. Much easier to break all that up than those damn pink cement blocks I've lumbered myself with. . eventually spread it all out in the lane, more or less polishing off the amount I intend to dump outside my neighbours garage. Layed whatever was left in the ruts and potholes that lead away from there. I think it's fair to say, if all I've done was put in one place rather than spread around here and there along the length of the lane, I've probably more or less resurfaced about 100 feet of it now!!. . cooked and ate two burgers in buttered bread rolls with chips and then some chocolate raisins, while watching the news channel. They showed live coverage of Obamas speech about having to make hard choices and his intention to break the country's reliance on imported oil etc. Boy - that guy really seems to have the right idea about stuff. I SO hope he actually carries through on some of the things he's saying. If nothing else, he seems to show a 'leadership for the time', something which seems woefully lacking in this country!. . napped until woken by Sally around 7pm . .walked under the stars. Chilly but a pleasant, still night. . TVd . . touched base with BB . . ate ham sandwiches and chocolate . .JK called to touch base . . TVd until bed around 1am.
25 - Up just after 8am. . .walked . . pottered around a bit, did a bit of laundry and sorted out a few things here and there. Wow - it may all be kinda grey and tired looking, but I do have a large selection of clothes (many/most of which I never wear! Even the stuff I DO wear all the time, I find it real hard to throw any of it away until it is literally reduced to worn-out-rags!). I have one cupboard more or less full, of collared shirts and smart trousers etc like I'd need for 'work', which I can't bring myself to get rid of because some time in the future I may well be needing such stuff again. Who knows? . .
. PCd this for hours! This last week is all a blurr. . . ate. . drove to walk. . . touched base with BB . . TVd until gone 2am before bed.
24 - Up around 8:30am. Well - that isn't enough 'sleep'!. . walked. Just up the road thrown on the grass of the verge was the head end of some sort of garden tool or some such, all covered in rust. A little over a foot long, it actually pretty much resembles what I imagine is an 'ice pick' (although of course I've never used one)! Ended up retrieving it on the way back from the walk. With a clean up and a bit of a handle fitted, I can imagine that being pretty useful around the garden on occasions. I've had it in mind for some time now, to sink a bunch of the larger flat stones I've saved from the rock crushing (for the purpose), along all the edges of the front garden lawn where it meets the border and under the hedges - to give a better/easier 'edge' for mowing/strimming up to (like I did last summer under the hedge in the back). I reckon a tool like that would be perfect for digging out the necessary narrow trench. . ran the angle grinder all over the tool head to remove the rust and sharpen up the cutting edge, and then roughly carved up an old wood offcut laying around in the garage, to act as a short handle (in the full knowledge, it's softwood and will likely break as soon as I try to use it). Ended up looking like a pretty lethal implement - but surely useful on occasions!! . . sat out front in the sun for a while waiting for Mum, and very nearly started to fall asleep in the delicious sheltered warmth. . Mum called in with the paper and large food donations for a cuppa and chats . . . Walked up the garden to show her the rock breaking nonsense I've been occupying myself with up in the lane. Next door's dog was tied up on a long leash out there while he was doing something. Let Sally out to say hello. They appeared to want to play so next door untied his dog and they had a brief run around together. Got in conversation with next door and didn't notice (Mum told me later) that his dog had sneaked into the house! I'm pretty sure it ate all the food that was in Sally's bowl!! lol . next door loaned me his sledge hammer, although it has SUCH a short broken handle on it, I'm not sure how useful it'll be to me. I'll wait until Monday before I give it a bash I think. Less people around to be irritated by all the hammering - less chance of me being embarassed by being seen to be sat there for hours crushing rocks - and it'll give my badly aching and blistered right hand a breif chance to recover somewhat. (That damn blister has gone all dry, and keeps 'cracking' and hurting again every time I flex my hand!) . attempted to give Mum lessons on my garden hose hoselock fittings, of how simple it is for her to fit the new end she's bought for her hosepipe. Didn't go 'too' well but she eventually rushed off home intending to have a go right away! lol . . drank a glass of wine while making up ham rolls, doing my 'get tipsy-eat-sleep' thing. That backfired when Mum called to report on her progress. For a joke I answered the phone with 'did you get wet?'. Sadly, unexpectedly the answer was YES, and she'd been unable to fit the new end!!! Despite being all tipsy on my three quarters of a glass of wine, I headed up Mums with Sally and a LONG length of spare hose from my garage, which is in better shape than the old 'kinking' stuff Mum has been soldiering on with. . I didn't realise HOW bad things had become with Mums hose! She's been soldiering on for weeks with water spraying out all over her every time she goes out daily to wash down and refill her 'bird bath'!! Must have been freezing in the weather we've been having! I SO need to try to put in more time doing stuff for Mum!!!!! :o(. sorted it all out, tried (sadly mostly failing) to give more patient lessons on hoselock fittings, and eventually swapped her hose on the reel for the slightly better one I'd brought. . one other job I had to do while there, was unscrew the bottom and take the batteries out of that singing Christmas toy I'd given her as a joke (which she insists she wants to keep, because its lovely - a constant source of amazement to me. lolol) so she can store it away until next year!!! . eventually returned home (pretty much sobered up - so that was a waste of wine!) . . ate ham rolls, crisps and chocolate raisins. . napped until having to wake to escape a nightmare! (In the nightmare I was about to be mugged by someone! My nightmares are always about people - people 'doing stuff' to me. :o( I can't identify where the event was occuring in terms of a real place, but the location in the dream was extremely familiar. There seems to be a certain 'domain' in which my dreams occur - and on the rare occasions I actually become aware of the dream/nightmare, I am definitely aware that the actual urban landscape is one I have dreamed in before. Interesting-ish.). . TVd. . skipped the walk as the forecast storm arrived. . touched base with BB . . TVd . . ate cake and a pastry slice with crisps . .TVd until bed around 1:11am. Trouble sleeping as the wind and rain absolutely battered the house!! d
23 - Up around 8:20am . .walked. . . crushed rocks all morning again. I'm mostly down to dealing with all the building blocks from the bungalow now. Damn those pink coloured blocks are like iron! If I'd known they were that hard, I don't think I'd have grabbed them all - but now I have, I'm stuck with them!!!! IF I can actually keep up the work, put in the hours, and manage to break them all up, I think there should be just enough to imrpove things across both neighbours bits of the lane as well as mine - which is the right thing to do I think. . at some point during the rock breaking nightmare, I stopped to go get a coffee, only to discover Sally had dug up the garden again!!!! Arrrgggh. Lots more sweeping and shoveling! Grrrrrr. :o( . she was angrily banished into the house for a while, before I eventually let her back out, albeit barricaded off from the rest of the garden by a couple of strategically placed bins. . eventually called it quits for the day and then cooked and ate bacon and chips with 4xb&b around 2pm . . napped and didn't wake until gone 8pm! . . felt achey and couldn't face the walk. . TVd . .touched base with BB . . watched the late film 'Man On Fire'. One of those rare occasions where it caught my attention and I watched it all the way through until around 2am without turning over.(Horribly gruesome and violent in parts - but the film was clever in it's start, in that by the time it became horribly bloodthirsty, you were kinda thinking, yeah - do it to them! They deserve it. Do it to them BAD!) Just before the end of the film, Sally suddenly started barking (sorry neighbours!) by the front door!! That spooked me. I glanced through the curtains to see nothing, before flinging the front door open. Turned out Sally had somehow seen the shape of a cat entering the garden through the frosted glass of the door in the pitch black! It left - with Sally in hot pursuit to the gate. She then unusually had a poop on the front lawn (although that may have been because she had the little left over stew with her food this evening)!! . ate a banana and chocolate biscuits . . didn't feel tired after the long nap earlier and ended up guitarring/TVing/PCing the night away until around 5am before laying down for a weird dreamy half-sleep!? a
22 - Up around 8:15am again. I wonder why? Very tired still and my arms and back are aching pretty bad! Which day was it? Despite wearing two pairs of work gloves a lot of the time, I've developed a nasty blister from the end of the short lump hammer handle! . Annadin tablet for breakfast. .typing this days later, I can't really recall this day. Several are just a blurr of rock crushing, eating stew (boy - is making that stew SUCH good value for money!) and sleeping!!!
drove to walk I think . . crushed rocks . . ate something or other - inevitably stew I imagine . . napped . . torrential rain. Skipped the walk again. Letting Sally out into the back garden for a pee at one point, just after having put the back garden light on, I spotted a mouse rapidly retreating from the light, along the branch of the tree in which I've relatively recently repositioned the bird feeder of pea nuts! Cute. Well - the birds never seem to eat from it, I'm VERY happy to have the mice benefit, just as long as they don't come into the house at all. Assuming that's what it was doing up there, how on earth do they manage to get the nuts out through that wire? Must be difficult. . touched base with BB. . TVd . . ???
21 - Up around 8:20am . .put laundry on and then walked . . crushed rocks. Had a break from the rocks and dug out just a little more of the lane to make it as flat as is reasonably possible. It's just too much hard work to do a 'proper' job. Used the hedge trimmer for the first time and tested it out by cutting back all the brambles and overgrown weeds on the bank opposite my property - but actually only so I had somewhere to dump some of the earth I'd dug out from the lane. . crushed more rocks until rain stopped play. Swept/shoveled up and poured the latest pile of rubble strategicly as best I could over all the mud and dug out areas. Not 'too' bad a result, even though some areas are still just wet shifting mud! Ended up exhausted and feeling shakey and achey. I suspect I'm not eating enough for the amount of calories I'm using doing all this - and of course I haven't done anything particularly 'physical' for over a year or so. . JK called to touch base . . ate a bowl of stew with 4xb&b. . napped. .woke to torrential rain still. Skipped the evening walk . TVd . . touched base with BB . . TVd . . ate ham, mayo, cheese and lettuce sandwiches with crisps, some chocolate, Ritz biscuits, and half a sponge! Bit hungry I guess. . . TVd until bed around 2am. s
20 - Up around 8:15am. . walked. . left Sally at home and popped back up the road in the car for what turned out to be the last load of rubble from his garden . dumped it all next to my garage and then drove to the bungalow with the building blocks rubble and did two trips transferring all that back. The guy I'd spoken to there a while ago said I should use the big plastic containers they had a collection of, to transport the smaller rubble. Loaded up five of those containers and drove them back home. Wow - how useful are they. Big white, sturdy plastic bins about two and a half feet tall. Perfect for carrying stuff like that. (The heavy duty garden sacks, and empty sacks of dry dog food I've been using to transport everything, have all pretty much succumbed to the wear and tear and are all ready for the bin - so I was soon gonna have to stop , even if the supplies of rubble hadn't dried up.) . breifly stopped off at Mums to borrow the 'hack' and a spade before returning to have a bit of a go at digging out a bit of the lane in an attempt to make the area just a little flatter, prior to trying to make it flatter still by pouring in the rubble I'm making. . eventully stopped work feeling a bit unwell with all the exertion and sweating! . . ate a bowl of stew with 4xb&b around 5pm while watching the live coverage of the inauguration of president Obama on TV. He really IS a good speaker isn't he. Strangely emotional thing to watch I found. With the ever increasing diversity of media - it seems to be an increasingly rare thing for large numbers of people to all be focused on a single event like that. When it DOES happen, I feel a different sort of atmosphere about things somehow. A 'shared consciousness'? Hard to explain - and bordering on 'hocus pocus' nonsense - but I 'sense' it nonetheless! . . drove to walk, with three of the five big white plastic buckets in the car. Stopped off on the way to knock on the door of the bungalow, intending to 'officialy' return the empty bins, but sneakily intending to stear the conversation in a direction whereby I could ask if it was possible for me to keep the other two. Things went better than I'd planned and the guy said I could keep all five! Cool. VERY useful. :o). . TVd . . touched base with BB . . TVd/PCd until early before finally to bed. Felt SO tired I could easily have gone to bed hours earlier, but I was just too tired to move!
19 - Woken by Sally around 9am. .walked . . drove up the road and picked up more rubble . . . crushed rocks for a few hours and then spread the result in the lane. While I was hammering away, Sally apparantly took it upon herself to dig a huge hole in the garden!!?? What goes on in her mind? Was she 'helping' - or following the example of her pack leader in apparantly foraging for buried food? lolol . . ate a bowl of stew, 4xb&b and some chocolate around 3pm . . . napped because I felt really tired, but I was somehow mentally very awake and actually had trouble getting to sleep and fitfully snoozed for only an hour or less in the end . . walked . . cut my hair/beard, etc. . touched base with BB . . TVd . . ate ham rolls, crisps and chocolate. . TVd until bed after 12:30am.
18 - Woken by Sally around 8am. .walked and got a bit caught out in a heavy shower (although there WAS a really neat full rainbow, with another alongside as if in echo. Up to around ten ships moored in the shelter of the outer bay) . . typical! I get all freezing cold and wet walking, and then the day turns to sunshine! Unusually read a bit of the paper Mum gave me yesterday and then PCd this . .drank a full glass of wine while making up a huge pot of stew to cook. Actually got pretty tipsy on that one glass! . . ate stew with 4xb&b followed by a couple of squares of chocolate . . napped. Didn't wake (headachey) until around 8:15pm!!! . . walked real late and didn't get back home until well after 10pm. Caught out by the rain again, although thankfully just managed to get back before it became more torrential. . touched base with BB . . TVd . . ate pork and stuffing slice sandwiches with crisps and half a chocolate sponge cake. . TVd/PCd until getting on for 5am before bed! ad
17 - Up around 8am after a disturbed nights sleep. .walked . . did dish washing chores. . finally got round to breifly popping in next doors with the video camera to film their stairs/bannister, to enable me to see what it was originally like and maybe work out how to re-build/reinstate mine which has been strangely removed. . Mum called in with the paper and food donations for chats and a cuppa. . ate mum donated pork and stuffing rolls, crisps and kipling apple tarts. Irritating saturation coverage on the news channel(s) of Obama's train journey to his inaugeration! I fail to understand why SO much of the UKs news coverage is now devoted to the goings on in the US, to the exclusion of everything else except 'BIG' stories! . You'd have imagined a news channel on 24 hours a day could find the time to show a broader range of (domestic) stories, rather than just repeat the same headlines over and over again, in between pointless live feeds of Obama speeches from various rail stops! (Having said all that - I have to confess I like the look of Obama. He comes across as extremely intelligent, 'statesman' like and oh SO eloquant. Actually - kinda what you'd expect from a political leader I suppose, but rather a refreshing change from what we've incredibly become used to! I'm too young to really know, but there really does seem to be something optimistically 'JFK' about the whole scenario. Despite the amazing unprecedented security surrounding him, there WAS some footage on the news where he looked extremely vulnerable waving from the open back of his train. It hadn't even occurred to me what would likely happen if he were assasinated, until BB pointed it out. Because he's black - the US would likely errupt into a 'racialy motivated' civil war type mess!!!! Jeeze - she's right - and that's REAL scary!) . . fitfully napped until around 6pm as increasing wind gusts battered the house . .skipped the evening walk. Some of the strongest gusts appeared to be around 7pm as the storm went through. Even had some thunder and lightning later in the evening after the worst of the wind had eased. . TVd . . touched base with BB . .ate chocolate, chcolate sponge and ritz biscuits. . TVd until bed around 2am. s
16 - Up around 8:30am. . walked. . loaded the old oven into the back of the car. Stopped for a coffee and dismantled the last of the useable pieces from the old PC case before putting that in to get rid of, aswell as the old wooden toilet seat which I've had stored in the cluttered garage for ages. . left Sally at home and drove to the council tip and unloaded. . did a quick once round of the nearby DIY store before getting back in the car and driving to the out of town M&S store, looking specifically for some new underwear to replace the rags which I seem to have ended up often wearing!! Finally actually ended up benefitting from a sale. Got ten pairs for 21.86 which seemed a pretty good deal and will likely see me sorted for several years. . There seemed precious little sign of any recession at the out of town shopping centre. The car parks were all but full and people were everywhere. Did a quick once round of the electrical store (looking at ovens) before happily getting the hell away from all the mayhem and returning straight home! . . cooked and ate bacon, fried potatoe, baked beans and 4xb&b . .napped . .messed around with reassembling the old PC in the different case. . drove to walk in the pouring rain and gale. . TVd while finishing off reconnecting all the cables in the PC. The two front side USB connections took a while because it wasn't a single connector block! Had to work out which wire was which and attach them to the motherboard one by one!! Fiddly! . eventually fired it back up and everything appeared to be fine (except that one of the pair of front USB sockets appears to actually be damaged and won't accept a socket being put into it). . confirmed that the DVDRW was indeed not functioning before removing it (putting it in the bin!) and replacing it with the DVD player drive from next doors old machine. All seems to work ok although I'm not sure why I bothered with all the work. It's not as though I need THREE PCs is it!!! lol Maybe I'll bring that one back into service connected to the TV, but with only two PC monitors it'll be of limited use. . . touched base with BB . . TVd . . ate ham, mayo and lettuce sandwiches with crisps and a few squares of chocolate. . TVd until bed around 1:30am as the storm battered the house.
15 - Up around 8:40am. .Sally'd been sick in the kitchen - and then pretty promptly went out and was sick again in the garden!!!! Cleared up a little as best I could and then drove to walk . .Sally was sick again a couple of times as we walked!! Poor thing really was 'as sick as a dog'! Worrying! . . removed the old broken oven and meticulously measured it and the kitchen cupboard housing it fitted into. Eventually struggled with it (pretty heavy!) all the way up the garden and temporarily dumped it near the car . . cleaned up the greasy dusty housing in the kitchen . . drank a glass of wine and cooked and ate a big sausages, eggs, bacon, beans, bread fry up. . napped until around 6pm. . messed around some more with my absurdly large PC collection, starting the time consuming job of dismantling two of the machines and trying to transfer a motherboard and the best of all the old parts into the preferable case I was given by next door. . drove to walk . . TVd/guitarred . . touched base with BB. . ate four kipling apple tarts . . TVd until bed around 2am. s
14 - Up before 8am. . walked . . drove up the road and picked up more bags of rubble from where the guy had altered his wall and put in gate posts. That really is 'most' of what I think he wants to get rid of. Maybe just one more sortie up there (if I can be bothered - before his new gates arrive and stop me having access) would clear it ALL out for him. . . Crushed rocks out the back for a couple of hours again and then spread the result, here and there in potholes in the lane . . ate ham sandwiches and crisps . .showered and cleaned up around the place a bit . . TVd/PCd . . loaded the wheelie bin up trying to get rid of stuff. Ditched a mass of old cassettes - 'home made' recordings with hand written track lists etc, of old records and such, which it doesn't seem appropriate to donate to any charity shop. Even decided to finally get rid of the old black and white portable TV I've had in a cupboard for ages. Without a scart socket, with the imminent digital changeover, and with colour portables available pretty cheap (even frequently in a local charity shop) there seemed no point at all in hanging on to it - and since it fitted in the bin, that seemed the easiest answer. . TVd . . touched base with BB . . cooked and ate sausage sandwiches and chocolate. . TVd until bed at 1am.
13 - Up around 7:45am? I seem to be on a six hour sleep wake sleep type cycle-ish . .PCd with coffee and cigarettes and checked my hedge trimmer order on-line. Wow - the tracking info says it has left the Exeter parcelforce depot and is out for delivery already! . .walked and then got quickly back home to sit and wait around for hours. . wasted the day messing around sorting out more old cassettes and pottering about on the PC/guitar etc. The trimmer finally arrived just before 2pm, in a worryingly battered box. Unpacked it and thankfully it all looked ok. Breifly plugged it in and tried it out in the kitchen. It works. Trying it out for real will wait for when I HAVE to - but it does look like a 'beast' of a very able thing. :o) . . ate fried spam and chips followed by a little chocolate. . napped until around 6pm. Woke feeling headachey, achey and a bit unwell. Sat in front of the TV almost motionless for the rest of the night feeling iffy and achey. . ate bowls of muesli . . touched base briefly with BB . . TVd until bed around 1:30am. a
12 - Up around 9am. .stormy and wet. . walked in rubber and got pretty damp. Exchanged a word with the people in the house up the road where the 'youth' the other night had 'done something' with their wheelie bin/garage? As far as they were concerned, they'd noticed their bin had been rolled down the drive to a different-to-usual position, but other than that there appeared to be nothing to worry about - no damage etc. . . PCd and actually had a quick poke at the jobcentre website to see what jobs were available locally. Not much - apart from the usual smattering of low paid, all hours, care-worker jobs!! Could you imagine ME doing one of those?!!!!! I'd probably end up feeling so down and awful about the old clients' predicament, I'd start doing a Harold Shipman type 'help them on their inevitable way' thing!!! . . bit the bullet (that same old thing of when you have little money - spending some of it becomes a hugely important far reaching nightmare!) and went on-line (Screwfix.com) and ordered the hedge trimmer I'd somehow arbitrarily rested my indecision on!! A Ryobi, 60cm, 670W trimmer for 68.50 which included VAT and (next day?) delivery. Not the cheapest trimmer out there (where ARE all these big credit-crunch price-drop sales I've been hearing about?) , but the reviews looked okish (as far as they can go) and I figure it's the longest blade/biggest motor I'll get for the money - and it has a two year guarantee, so fingers crossed. :o| . . . messed around with my PC collection (!!!) and swapped the power supply out of an old one and put it into machine number two, to replace the one that sounds like a pneumatic drill. Actually turned out to be an apparantly perfectly acceptable straight swap. . ate ham rolls, crisps and a couple of chocolate squares . . napped until around 6pm . . walked . . PCd a bit then guitarred and TVd . . touched base with BB . . ate a Mum donated microwaved pastie, crisps and sponge roll. . TVd until bed just after 1am.
11 - Up around 9:30am. .walked, feeling down and tired . . tired of eating the same old same old, I got a bee in my bonnet about trying to come up with 'something' different - anything! Drank a glass of red wine and had a go at doing some sort of fried grated potatoe/cheese/onion/egg/flour concoction. Somehow ended up taking hours and in the end was absolutely bloody awful! (Should have part cooked the potatoe before grating it apparantly, according to BB). If not for dousing it in tomato ketchup (and eating some with 4xb&b) I don't think I would have been able to eat ANY of it!! Really actually ended up making me feel pretty nauseas (but I couldn't waste it could I!) and Sally was invited to eat the remaining half of it - which she did quite readily. . napped until around 6pm . . skipped the walk and sat motionless in front the TV all night feeling pretty fed up and yucky! The smell of the frying earlier seems to have permeated the entire house (despite the fact I always open the back door and kitchen window whenever I cook anything - which has been pretty chilly of late!), and has put me off the idea of eating altogether! . . eventually just ate a packet of mini chocolate rolls and a banana. . touched base with BB. . TVd/PCd until around 3am. .'hocus pocus' not being something I subscribe to, I don't think I've ever mentioned it here before, but going back at least as far as BBs visits back in Bristol, I'd become increasingly aware of regularly seeing the time 1:11 (mostly am) on various clocks. Went on-line and just for fun, did a Google search of 'numerology and 111' or something similar. Blimey - I didn't expect to have 'quite' so much in the way of returns on the subject! lol Entries in the bible, angels, aliens, end of the world in 2012 - all manner of utter nonsense! lololol Rather easier to explain in practical terms for me I think. For example - 1). early afternoon I'm thinking about eating and napping so I'm quite likely to look at a clock and bump into 1(13):11 - and since all the numbers are the same it's simply an unremarkable rememberable sequence. (10:00 for instance is less memorable, and not a time I am very often likely to see because I'm probably walking about somewhere with Sally.) . . 2). When I turn my microwave on to use it, the clock always comes on showing 01:00. By the time I've got some bread out of the freezer and then defrosted it and messed around in the kitchen for a bit, it's gonna be quite likely I see 1:11 pass by. . .3). I'm almost always watching TV around 1am and thinking about going to bed and am likely to glance at the clock around that time to see how late it is, so bumping into 1:11am is a very frequent event. Etc, etc etc. (I probably see 10pm as, if not MORE frequently, because it's when I call BB and watch the ten o'clock news - but I don't assign any great significance to THAT sequence of numbers!) Nothing particularly earth shattering about any of it. Incredible what some people will believe. . . VERY windy and the forecast rain arrived before bed. Disturbed sleep as the wind and rain battered the windows. d
Image of crushed rubble filling potholes in the lane
10 - Up around 8:30am. .-2C looks quite frosty outside. PCd a bit of this for breakfast. . walked. A bunch of upset people were all outside a house along the way. Someone had done a hit and run on the front end of their parked car in the night (and actually pushed it back to collide with another one (of theirs?) behind!). Must have been a hell of a collision. It was gonna be a write off - no doubt about it. :o( Given the damage, it was actually incredible that whoever had done it had been able to drive off! It looked as though they'd simply driven at speed straight into the front of the parked car - like they hadn't seen it at all! They'd called the police when it happened but been told they were too busy to attend!!! (Where have I heard THAT before!!!!) Makes my hours of crushing rocks so I can get my car up the lane and park it safely off-road, seem not so crazy after all huh? Funnily enough, I also bumped into my neighbour the 'lane owner' on the way home and he mentioned my efforts and seemed pretty enthusiastic about it, which was a bit of a relief. If someone objects for some reason, there's no removing it is there! Turns out it was him who'd added a little to what I'd been doing. . PCd this . . Mum called in breifly with the paper and food donations, for chats. Ate ham rolls, crisps and chocolate as soon as she'd gone. . napped . . drove to walk . .TVd . . touched base with BB. . TVd/PCd until early. At approximately 1:15am I was drawn by a loud bang and voices to race to the window and peek through the curtains to look at the group of swaggering youths that were walking down the middle of the road. As I watched, one came racing out of a neighbour's driveway and re-joined them, all swaggering and apparantly pleased with whatever he'd just 'bravely' done. From the noise I heard - some sort of interaction between their wheelie bin and garage door I think! As they carried on down the road, one of them made motions with his arm as if he was about to elbow one of the parked cars - but perhaps unlike would have been the case back in Bristol, he didn't. Yep - I'm very pleased to have my car hidden round the back in 'relative' safety. . all in all, it was a small, nothing-much of an 'event', but witnessing it still upset me greatly and plunged me into a very dark place!!! :o( Ended up aimlessly PCing for another couple of hours before finaly to bed.
9 - Up around 8am. .PCd a bit of this . . walked. Tree surgeons were working on chopping down the last of the big old trees by the old cricket club (Such a shame!) where they are going to be building a new housing estate. By the time I was on my way back from the walk, with the intention of maybe hanging around with the camcorder, the tree had already been felled and I'd missed it! :o( . . did paperwork and balanced my accounts. Sheesh - pretty much down to almost zero interest on my savings now! :o( Spending some of it now, on stuff I will need to eventually get (oven/hedge-trimmer etc) would seem to be a reasonable plan of action under the circustances. . phoned the gas board about the meter box only to be told it was up to me to go and buy a replacement latch mechanism! If I'd reported the broken mechanism within a week of it having been read, they would have replaced it, but because I hadn't - tough! What penny pinching ba*****s! . .compared the current reading/useage to my last bill. Ouch! One month useage has already exceeded my last quarterly bill!!! :o( I need to do some experiments to determine which is ACTUALLY more economical - having just the fire on next to me in the living room (usually on setting two of four) or having the central heating running. I've always assumed the fire is more cost effective. .surfed hedge trimmers some more. I just can't make up my mind which one to go for. It seems to change every time I surf them. I AM going to buy one - it's just not something I can face another year without. I am minded to actually go for a 'less than cheap' one with a long blade and big motor, in the hope it will actually last and be more able to deal with the large amount of heavy use I'll be giving it. . . cooked and ate a three egg cheese omlette and four sausages with 4xb&b. . napped . .skipped the evening walk again . . PCd. . touched base with BB . . TVd. . ate spam sandwiches, crisps, a banana and chocolate. . TVd until bed at 1am.
8 - Up late getting on for 10am! . . walked and back via town for some bread and a tour of charity shops. The 'jazz singer' was down there busking next to my usual cigarette sitting place so I had some free entertainment as I sat . . drank a little wine and cooked sausages, onions and chips and ate with 4xb&b followed by a little chocolate . .napped until around 6pm . . walked. . the gas meter box was wide open when I returned home!? Turns out the triangular stub the opening key fits on, has gone. Broken off completely! Must have 'been done' by the meter reader the last time the meter was read a couple of weeks ago! That's irritating. No way of locking it shut and stopping the thing from falling open all the time, exposing the meter to the elements. (Made a note of the meter reading while I was out there, so I can get an idea of how bad my bill is likely to be after having had the heating on lots during all this freezing weather). . TVd . . touched base with BB . . ate two pieces of marmalade on toast and kipling apple tarts . . JK called to touch base . . TVd until around 2am before bed. sd
7 - Woken around 7:45am by the sound of a wheelie bin being dragged down steps to the road. Grrr. I'm pretty sure it isn't today they are being collected because of the knock on effect from Christmas. . REALLY cold this morning, with the condensation on the inside of the windows turned to ice! My in/out thermometer says 9C in the living room, -4C outside!! . . walked. Things were starting to thaw out and warm up by the time I returned . . drove up the road and loaded the car up with more bags of rubble . . crushed rocks for a few hours and then spread it all out in the worst potholes in the lane again. . ate ham rolls and crisps. . TVd/PCd . . skipped the evening walk . . touched base with Mum, just to confirm what day the bins were due for emptying this week. Friday apparantly . . TVd and drank a little wine . . touched base with BB . . TVd/PCd until early before bed. My right hand is pretty achey from all that hammering. Think I'll give that rock breaking a bit of a rest for a while. What I've already spread up and down that lane needs to 'bed in' pretty badly. It needs some rain (hasn't rained for ages! Forecast for the weekend/early next week I think) and some traffic over it all for a while to get a feel for how effective what I've been doing is going to be. It's just amazing to me how hours of work and what seems like huge quantities of resulting rubble can just disappear into the lane with such little beneficial effect. It really could take several lorry loads to make a real difference!!! Laboriously crushing a few rocks by hand just doesn't cut it.
6 - Up around 8am. . .walked. The bungalow up the road which I once put an offer on, is having more building work done on it. They are building an extension (it WAS begging for it to be done) and have begun to put in the lintel and knock out the blockwork for the connecting door. Lots of blocks/rubble. Asked the guy working on the house if the blocks were up for grabs. He had no objection but said I'd have to have them by Thursday since that was when they were liable to be dumped at the council tip. . did the walk and then left Sally inside and went to drive up and get the rubble. Would you believe it - the damn car battery was flat and the car wouldn't start! Put the battery on a rapid charge and used the down time to crush some more of the remaining rocks. Did almost all I have and added the rubble to the lane before refitting the car battery. (I really should take that battery out again sometime soon and put it on a long slow charge - although I strongly suspect I'm looking at buying a new battery pretty soon - and there's a bit of a 'squeak' coming from the rear left suspension too, aggravated by going up and down that potholed lane I bet!!!) . Drove straight to the petrol station and filled up with 27.53ltrs @ 23.92. Trip meter reading was 173miles (395818 total mileage). Since I'd filled to the brim and reset the trip the last time I put in petrol, it was now going to be possible for the first time, to work out a possible miles per gallon. An online converter puts it at around 28.57 miles per gallon. Actually pretty poor - but given it's a semi auto, was all short trips and lots of messing around reversing into parking spaces and sitting around warming up and the like, I wasn't particularly suprised/disappointed. The way I use a car these days, it was gonna be bad whatever I drive. (A fully electric car would be absolutely perfect for MY modest needs - if only one was realisticly available!) I'll have to try and work that out again a few times in the future and really get a more realistic figure - although given I only need to fill it up every month or less, it'll be a while. . did a couple of trips to and fro transporting concrete blocks. Stacked them up in a small 'retaining wall' by my garage, holding back smaller rocks, for breaking up in the future. Those type of blocks are so much made of air, they'll eventually crush down to almost nothing more than a bucket of gravel!! Hardly worth all the effort it'll take! .very cold with the outside temperature hovering around freezing all day - although I worked up quite a swet again. . ate a tin of sausages in beans with grated cheese and 4xb&b, followed by chocolate. . napped until the alarm at 6pm. . .walked in sub zero temperatures. . TVd trying to keep warm . . drank a glass of wine .. touched base with BB . . ate corned beef sandwiches, crisps and biscuits. . TVd until around 1am before bed. d
5 - Up around 8:45am. . .walked . . left Sally at home and drove to the nearby neighbours and loaded up the back of the car with sacks of rubble . .spent the next few hours around the back, hammering rocks into bite sized chunks on my hardstanding, before spreading the result in potholes down the lane! Dreadfully time consuming for such little benefit/improvement, but it does have its upside. It keeps me warm doing it, and strangely makes me feel just a little more 'up', as though I have at least accomplished 'something' with the day, rather than wasting it completely again. . ate ham rolls, crisps and chocolate. . napped until the alarm at 6pm . . walked. Below freezing tonight. . . TVd. . .ate a banana . . touched base with BB . . watched the TV show about the 'Polish Anne Frank'. Moving and upsetting. . ate bacon sandwiches and chocolate rolls . . TVd until bed around 2am. s
4 - Up around 8:45am. . .walked. Returned home with more tupperware-type containers (nice big square plastic Jacobs crackers ones useful for storing stuff in the garage) and food for Sally from K. . did dish washing chores . . ate bacon, eggs and chips . . napped . . walked . .touched base with BB. . TVd.
3 - Up by Sally around 8am after only a couple of hours sleep at best! . . drove to walk cause I was just too tired and cold. Someone else it appears has put something (ash from a fire?) in some of the potholes up the lane which although it won't last has actually improved things up there a little further. Over time, if everyone kept on doing just a little like that, it'd be in such better shape. Sadly, having gotten the idea stuck in my head now, I prowl the streets during my walks, on the look out for any likely building works or rubble anywhere, that may be up for grabs and lend itself to being broken up and layed in the potholes!! It's become an obsession!!!. . Half way round the walk I woke up enough to remember what song it was that was very vividly going round my mind when I was woken . . downloaded YouTube 'how to play it' files and then guitarred, having a damn good go at trying to persuade my aching fingers to do the chords for Stereophonics 'Maybe Tomorrow'. SUCH a brilliant song! As usual, some sort of mental block prevents me from being able to get anywhere near it, despite being able to just about, very slowly do the chords-ish. :o( . . Mum called in with food donations for a cuppa and chats. . ate the last bowl of stew with 4xb&b and then a little chocolate . .napped until woken by shouting from next door around 6pm . . guitarred some more, inevitably skipping the evenin' walk YET again! . . PCd a bit of this pointless chore, although it gave my aching fretting hand and fingers a rest. . put in an hour or more on trying to knock up a DVD to play on the TV containing the Stereophonics files I'd downloaded from YouTube. Dunno why but it just didn't want to work and I eventually gave up in disgust after having wasted a disc! :o( . .touched base with BB . . TVd with a glass of wine. . ate corned beef, mayo, onion, tomato and lettuce sandwiches with crisps. . TVd until bed after 2am. d
2 - Up around 7:45am. . .walked . . TVd/PCd feeling very down. Sorted through most of my old cassettes and put them aside for eventual disposal . . JK called to touch base, swiftly followed by PS. He said stuff along the lines of he was thinking of coming down to visit but I was less than enthusiastic and suggested later in the year cause 'I'm not good to be around right now' which is something of an understatement!!. . drank three quarters of a glass of red wine and cooked and ate four cheeseburgers and then some chocolate . . napped, 'cheese-dreaming' until around 7pm . . did dishwashing chores . . touched base with BB . . ate bowls of cornflakes . . TVd/PCd until actually not far off daylight before finally to bed!! d
1 - Up around 9:50am!!. . .dabbled with stopping smoking but predictably caved in, in pretty short order. Just the half hearted attempt immediately plunged my mood into even darker depths! :o( . . walked the woods. Where ARE all the squirrels this year?!!. .TVd . . ate ham rolls . . napped . . TVd. . walked . . touched base with BB . . ate a bowl of stew and then a LARGE amount of chocolate. . TVd until bed around 1am.
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