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January
31
- Up late around 8:45am. Icey. .'breakfast of coffee and cigarettes at the PC surfing 'calculating total load of domestic wiring' type sites! Lovely! . . walked . . tidied up just a little putting laundry away etc, and then PCd this at length. .ended up feeling absolutely FROZEN as snow showers fell outside!. . ate a Mum donated pastry slice, pork pie, crisps and some onion and then a banana and square of chocolate . . napped, not because I needed it but because I just needed to be warm!! :o( . woken after only an hour or so by next door slamming their front door yet again. . TVd . . packaged up the battery ready for return. I've no idea when that's liable to be, which is a bit awkward because I want to start getting on with things. . guitarred a little /TVd, drank a glass of red wine. . ate ham, onion and grated cheese rolls - actually put under the grill for a time to warm them up a bit . .huddled in front the fire unable to get warm, until bed around 1am. d
30 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up at 8:20am. Well - it's above freezing outside, but it looks as though we had a sprinkle of snow in the night! . . walked under a cold blue sunny sky. Stopped at the store on the way home to buy some parcel tape so I can re-seal the car battery box for when it is returned . . .PCd and exchanged a couple of mails with DS throughout the day, getting an opinion on whether or not my consumer unit could cope with putting in an electric shower etc. Batting things backwards and forwards a bit like that, helped me clarrify things in my mind. I 'think' I've FINALLY got a handle on what is what with regard to my consumer unit and all the wiring etc.

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. . Mum called in just before 1am with food donations and the TV paper, for a cuppa and chats, and discussions about windows! I'm trying to decide what I actually want with regard to which windows would be openers, etc when I have them replaced, so I can get consistent/equivalent quotes when I call companies in. I 'think' I've decided. . . ate chicken slice sandwiches crisps, a banana and chocolate . . napped. All this doing nothing but 'thinking things through' is actually exhausting me!!? . . surfed yet more looking at MCBs on e-bay etc. . walked . . guitarred/TVd . . ate salami rolls . . to bed around 1:30am.
s
29 - Up at 8:15am after almost no sleep at all again.Uggh. Feel awful. . . left a note on the doorstep next to my upturned recycling bin saying 'please leave it here', just in case the car battery was delivered while I was out. Walked, getting it over and done with pretty quick . . messed around all over the house measuring the rooms and radiators and then going on-line to work out desired radiator BTUs from helpful on-line calculators. Wow - all those old radiators were woefully, drastically under sized/powered for the size of the rooms!! Hmmm - the more I look into all of this, the more of a complicated nightmare it is becoming! To get 'proper' output to the bedrooms and living room in particular, I'm going to have to find space on the walls for some pretty large and/or bulky double radiators, rather than the very small, inneffective singles that were there before. That's gonna be awkward. Because of the proximity of the doors, that means the bedroom ones will have to be moved elsewhere - and in the living room (assuming I stick with roughly the same place - because there really is little choice) it'll force the sofa out another six inches or so into the middle of the room!!!! WHAT a bloody pain all this is. I'm SO glad I held fire and tried to think all this through before leaping straight into just having a system installed by someone. This really is going to take a bit of figuring out! :o( . . ate a tin of soup and three Mum donated ham rolls and then a square or two of chocolate. . had a damn good study of the electrical consumer unit and finally got round to writing down EVERYTHING I could see written anywhere on it. . PCd some more, trying to make sense of it all. . around 3pm the delivery driver arrived with my car battery . . carefully undid all the packaging, took the old one out of the car, put in the new and sure enough - it doesn't fit!!! The new one has no flange/feet on the two bottom edges, so it isn't possible to actually bolt it in to the carrier!!!!! I could cry. I really bloody could. . took a couple of 'may be useful' photos of the original battery in position in the car, and then that one, lined up against the new one to show the size difference, before carefully putting the new one all back in its packaging. . in a foul mood I returned to the PC to go back through the website ordering process to make sure I hadn't made a mistake. Uh oh. Actually - I HAD made a mistake - although in my defence, under the circumstances, I think I'm only 'partially' to blame - kinda (but then I WOULD say that wouldn't I!). Here's how it goes - you go to the firms website and click on the button about batteries and your are then presented with a screen and 'Please choose your Car Manufacturer from this drop-down menu'. You select the make and the screen immediately auto updates to show the make you have selected and presents another drop down poulated with the models of that make and 'Please choose from the vehicles below'. When you select the model, the screen then autoupdates and reveals details of the car make and model and the required battery, which in the case of MY car stated '(all models)'. The screen includes the cca and ah ratings and the dimensions of the battery, together with a graphic of the terminals layout - all of which matched my original battery (I DID check!). Image of car battery dataYou then click a button that says 'Go>>' and you are taken to a more detailed screen showing the battery specs AND a photo of the battery. THIS is where I made my 'mistake'. Image of car battery 'feet'I was SO busy making sure all the ratings, terminal sizes and layout, and actual battery dimensions were the same as my original (actually still bolted in the car), I neglected to spot that the battery in the picture did NOT have the 'feet' (actually two protruding flanges) at the base, which the original has and which are actually VITAL for bolting the thing into the car!! So - I guess I HAD ordered the wrong one - despite it being listed as the one to get for that make and model!! It is worthy of mentioning here, that the battery I was sent, was actually considerably physically smaller than my original, AND was even smaller than the dimensions listed on their website Humphgrrrr! . . I phoned the company and spoke with the guy I'd spoken with yesterday. Apparantly, this sort of 'problem' was why he'd e-mailed asking me to call him - and it was MY 'attitude' and insistance that I'd ordered the one I wanted, which had prevented him from making sure this type of error wouldn't occur (because something along the lines of "all models of car have different types fitted and you can never be quite sure"). . i.e. it WAS all MY fault! Ok - ok - everything always is isn't it!! Under the circumstances I tried to be apologetic and self deprecating and smooth things over - and thankfully he eventually suggested he'd get hold of a different type, get it sent out next week and I'd return the 'wrong one' to the carrier when that one was delivered. Thank god for that - assuming I get the right one THEN of course!! . .after I'd thanked him and finished the phone call, I even sent an e-mail with a couple of photos of the old battery and its mount in the car etc etc, 'just to be helpful' maybe (although I DO have an unfounded suspicion, when you send e-mails like that, to companies in particular, they are likely never to receive them because their anti-virus software is likely to simply block out-of-hand, anything coming in with attachments or hotlinks, etc.) . oh well - at best, there goes another week without being able to use the car! It may well have been MY mistake - but I STILL can't believe that such a company would run a website that isn't capable of having data which would make such a situation impossible. I mean - that's what computers are all about isn't it? At the VERY least, the web designer/programmer should have flagged THAT item as one needing personal contact with the supplier prior to ordering - surely? Ok, ok - enough - it WAS all MY fault! Just please, please, PLEASE send me the right one - soon!!! I NEED my car back right now, with all this 'house' stuff to sort out! . . napped late until 7pm. . skipped the walk and guitarred/TVd/huddled in front of the fire all evening. . ate a pastry slice and chips, a couple of kipling apple tarts and some chocolate. . to bed before 1am. s
28 - Up around 8am . . .phoned the battery company! Found the call a bit confusing actually. I couldn't quite see what the problem was. The guy suggested that since I'd not entered my car registration number on their website when ordering the battery, he needed to make sure I'd ordered the right one - 'because we've had a lot of problems with this one, where people have ordered the wrong one' - or something like that!? Bit weird. Their website was quite explicit with the measurements, terminals layout diagram, all the current ratings, etc, etc - and even had a jolly good picture of it above the 'buy it now' button. Hard to see how a mistake could be made - unless their site is in error or there is a human error along the way. Just seemed very weird he delayed despatch of an order on such grounds and forced a customer to phone like that. I 'almost' started getting into an argument, but managed to get off the phone before it got too out of hand. I actually quickly called back again shortly after and gave him the car registration number, just so there were no excuses if I get sent the wrong one! (I even actually did a screen grab of their prodcut info/order screen too, just in case!) So - pointlessly delayed for a day, I 'should' have it tomorrow . . walked. . PCd, mostly surfing plumbing/electrical sites etc - learning. . ate dog food steak and chips . . napped until around 7pm . . TVd and mostly guitarred the whole evening away until early. .ate a couple of bananas. . somehow ended up back on the PC surfing 'consumer units' and electrical stuff until almost 4am before finally to bed! Ended up very cold and couldn't sleep again, and then when I did, I seemed to have half-awake nightmares! This is a repeating pattern so I've found. If I don't eat enough but DO eat bananas before bed like that, I get hypothermic cold and have sleep disturbance/nightmare type dreams. I even became aware at some point, whatever the nightmare was I was having, it was a continuation of one I'd had before! Weird. s
27 - Disturbed sleep for maybe just an hour or two before woken by the sounds of the bins being emptied and then up by Sally around 8:15am. . 9 degrees C inside, -1 out . .went on-line and ordered a battery for the car from that Advanced Battery Supplies website I'd bumped into. So - theoretically, they should deliver one here in the next day or so! Yeah - right - we'll see. . walked . . put on some laundry and then PCd this instead of getting on with all the stuff I SHOULD be getting on with. There's SO much to do and think about, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all! Today I'm gonna do nothing - just eat and sleep! Have I even mentioned here yet, the bearings on the washing machine are going, and the main TV in the living room is showing first signs of going wrong too! That really is almost EVERYTHING needing replacing at the same time!!! Bizarre. I'm starting to wonder if I even actually have enough in savings to cover it all! :o( . .Mum called to say her bath had emptied nicely. lol Better than mine actually - mines partially blocked too!! lol . . damn - popped down for a coffee and found an escaped sock in the middle of the kitchen, which I'd not put in the wash. Hate it when that happens. Had to wash it by hand - which wouldn't have been so bad if not for the tap water being SO cold. Washing my hands in the bathroom etc in this weather is actually painful it is so cold! . . . drank some red wine and ate dog food steak and ale with chips and then some chocolate . . slept until woken by Sally before 7pm . . walked. Actually felt too hot in double trousers and all my layers!? True to the forecast, it seems to have temporarily warmed up by a couple of degrees . . TVd/guitarred . . ate a couple of corned beef rolls, crisps and chocolate . . briefly checked the PC for e-mails and lo and behold, would you believe it, I'd had a mail from the battery company which simply said - "Hi - Please contact **** on 0777******* as there is a problem with us sending your battery. Regards ABS". Why the hell didn't they say what the problem was? That made me all up tight and down. So something as simple as getting a replacement car battery is gonna be a drawn out load of hassle now is it? :o( . . TVd until bed around midnight. d
26 - Up around 7:45am a bit achey . . . walked in the cold and carried on via the store to Mums to have a look at her bath and the slow draining away of the water. Lifted the outdoor manhole/drain cover and with the aid of a hosepipe pretty quickly confirmed that everything was clear and in order. Rather than start dismantling everything, I started off by having a poke down the plughole with the long thin handle of a large kitchen spoon. The 'spongeyness' at the bottom of the 'u' trap pretty quickly confirmed it was the usual partial blockage of trapped bits of hair accumulated over time and all wrapped around the plastic 'cross' of the plug/pipe inner. Managed to carefully tease out a fair wad of that with just a pair of tweezers before getting a bit more with a weird bendy grabbing/pick up tool that Mum produced from a cupboard somewhere. In the end, I think probably one of the best things for the job turned out to be an old spoke from a wheel I found laying on a bench in her garage. The little right-angled stud end was just perfect for poking down each of the plug holes, and then with a quick 'roll' of the fingers, it very effectively wrapped itself around any hair and enabled me to carefully pull it all back out. Eventually couldn't withdraw any more, and the water seemed to go down quite a bit better, complete with the little 'whirlpool' and associated sucking noise, which was abscent when we started, so I figured that was as good as it was gonna get. . a very quick coffee (and a quick look at how close Mums central heating boiler was to its power supply switch, for reference when I come to wiring in a new socket for mine) and then raced home to get on with having a look at my immersion heater . .Luckily found some forgotten about salvaged wire in the garage, which looked safe and heavy duty enough to use (actually from my old oven as I recall) and eventually managed to replace the old dodgy half burned out bit from the fused switch box to the heating element terminals in the top of the tank. (Whoever fitted that old, too-short bit of wire should have been shot!) The terminals at the end of the heating element all look pretty old and even a little coroded, which doesn't bode well for any prolonged useage methinks! . nervously turned the power back on and then turned the heater on, 'feeling' my way all over the wires and pipes and sniffing deeply, making sure nothing was getting hot that shouldn't be. It all appeared to be ok and a slight murmer from inside the tank suggested the heating element WAS still working. Fingers crossed. . had a coffee and TVd for a bit, frequently going back up to the airing cupboard to check all was well. After 45 minutes (s electric!!!!) the outlet hot water pipe at the top of the tank was WELL hot, so I guess we're back in business for the time being. Few - WHAT a relief! . . . ate a big bowl of K donated 'dog food' meat with four pieces of bread and butter and then some chocolate . .headachey and unwell . napped until around 6pm . . TVd still headachey and unwell. .skipped the walk . . popped up the road and knocked on the door of the house (same window arrangement as mine) which had all its front windows etc replaced a few months ago, and asked which company they'd used and if they had anything negative to say about any of it. They were quite happy with it all, so THAT will eventually be one of the companys I ask for a quote. Popped next door and asked if he'd had a chance to look at battery prices for me as he'd said he would. He had, but had only managed to come up with one supplier/quote which was around the same price as that I'd seen on-line (albeit a 'better' battery/make) so I thanked him and suggested I would just get on and order one from on-line myself. Took the opportunity of looking at and discussing HIS double glazing/central heating/wiring, etc. Another company to get a quote from. Wow - did it feel warm and comfortable in BOTH those houses compared to my ice box!! I can hardly imagine what it would be like to have it so warm here! That's the hardest part of all this suddenly having to get a load of stuff done in the house. This daily mind numbing cold I have to endure. It really does sap the strength and degrade the thought processes and generally just makes everything really tough. :o( I can hardly bear to sit at the PC at all at the moment because it is just SO cold doing so! The forecast seems to be for a bit of a return to the cold weather for another week or so. Just a few degrees warmer would make life SO much more bearable! . .TVd. . touched base briefly with Mum . .ate a couple of kipling apple pies . . TVd/guitarred until early before eventually to bed, only then to not be able to sleep. I should have eaten more. s
25 - Up around 7:30am, early enough to hear someone with a loud exhaust starting their car up to go to work a few minutes later. I suspect it is THAT which has been waking me up most mornings . . walked. . got back to work under the floor and used the disc cutter to hack off the protruding bricks and square off both access holes beneath the new lintels. Awkward and filthy work with plenty more breathed in brick dust, despite wearing a mask. . swept and cleared out a few buckets of rubble/dust from beneath the floor and deposited it in potholes in the lane. . Uh oh - there is something very not good in the corner of the space under the floor, adjacent to the outside wall on the other side of which is the outside drain!! It actually looks as though the concrete slab on which the house is built, is absent in that corner and there is just a soaking wet area of decaying smelling mud!!!!! One more thing to worry about. Given the piles of debris I cleared away around it, I presume it's been that way for several years so I'm not gonna worry about it 'too' much right now. Thankfully there is still a good gap and several bricks up before the rafters, and the damp doesn't appear to be getting up quite that high - although clearing lots of that debris away DOES seem to have aggravated the damp odor which is 'slightly' more detectable in that corner of the kitchen above as a result (when you realise what you are sniffing for). Oh dear. What next for goodness sake!! :o( Ran out of steam clearing out the dust and rubble, with at least half the house footprint still to do. . cemented up around the access holes, tidying up the brickwork and firming things up just a little, and then using the remaining small amount of cement in the bucket to make my custom 'slurry' which is ideal for painting over rough walls with a brush, to filll up all the bad pointing and imperfections. Eventually makes for a smoother finish, firm enough to 'maybe' at some point lend itself to painting over with some white paint. It's a lot of largely pointless work, but uses up the waste cement, and I AM quite likely to paint some of those walls in an attempt to improve the poor light down there. It needs a minimum of another light down there - and I actually already have a cheap 'bulkhead' one bought for the purpose a couple of years ago, but until I can score some old twin flex, for nothing from some broken old lawnmower or such, that'll have to wait. I'm not throwing money away on new wire just for that! Actually - unfortunately the layout of those under floor walls means, that at some point I'm going to want to put in just one more access hole/lintel to give me FULL access to the area around the fireplace in the kitchen, to do power points, etc!! That can wait for ages - long after I've got heating etc done. . .Image of under floor access holescalled it quits and tidied up and vacuumed around 3:30pm. The pictures I've included here are, from left - the before and after of the access hole to the area beneath the kitchen - the other is the access hole 'I' made, into the void beneath the living room, BOTH of which are beneath doorways so there is minimal load above. Should be ok. Some tradesman/owner of this house in the future (assuming everyone won't be morbidly obese by then!) should thank me for it I think. Oh yeah - that pipe hanging down and now going through the wall and then snaking unsupported across the floor - that's the live gas supply which leads to the kitchen back boiler/fire (capped off by the plumber the other day). It's LEAD!!!!!! THAT will thankfully disappear as soon as I have a gas man in to re-plumb stuff when I have the central heating boiler fitted!!! Scary having to crawl over that! Keeping knocking it!!! . . TVd with a coffee while the immersion heater heated the water for half an hour. Uh oh. Nasty burning smell in the airing cupboard!! Oh NO!!!!!!!!!!! I don't believe it!!!!!!! THAT shouldn't be hot!!!!!!!! ARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!! Quickly turned it off and pulled the cap off the connection box on the top of the heater only to find burnt looking plastic around the wires!! That really threatened to plunge me into a fit of absolute despair - but desperately trying to continue my recent brief moment of feeling a little more objective and 'up' - I convinced myself that I was actually really fortunate not to have had a fire!!!! With a bit of luck, it'll be just the old wire connection that has failed and hopefully the actual heating element is still working? That'll be tomorrow all set out for me then. Playing immersion heaters! :o( . . the water was less than hot, but I was SO filthy, I had no choice but to go ahead and have the luke warm shower (in a freezing cold bathroom!) . . ate a tin of soup and ham sandwiches . .TVd (One of the channels is showing old, allegedly 're-mastered' episodes of the original Star Trek every day. I can't help myself nostalgically watching them when I get the chance. Great fun. Classic stuff. ) . . walked. Felt rather uncomfortably cold in the wind. . touched base with Mum. I've a horrible feeling she has a blocked drain somewhere! Her bath has suddenly become slow at emptying allegedly . . TVd/huddled in front the fire . ate a couple of bananas and a whole pack of Mum donated jam biscuits . .JK called . . to bed around midnight.
24 - Up around 9am . . walked late. Returned with a tub of left overs for Sally from K. . got to work under the floor and set about trying to put in a concrete lintel over the access hole in the supporting wall beneath the door to the kitchen which was made by someone else in the past and was an unbelievably tight squeeze, and really iffy with regard to the 'hanging in mid air' bricks supporting a couple of the rafters for the kitchen floor. Actually used some old offcuts of wood and an old car jack to 'prop' a couple of the kitchen floor rafters while I worked, 'just in case'. Used the disc cutter out in the garden to cut and grind the steel reinforced lintel into two halves. That is the lintel I bagged for nothing ages ago, from the owner of a house nearby who said I could have it, when I saw it laying on a rubble heap in his garden for months. It's been sat on the floor beneath my car-port ever since, used as a 'stop' for the wheels of the car, so I don't have to think or be too careful about how far I reverse back into the parking space. Next time I use the car, I'm gonna have to remember that is no longer there!! . .while messing around up near the garage I exchanged a word with the mechanic neighbour and asked if the dodgy, fault-like performance of the car could maybe be explained by nothing more than a dying battery. He had a proper battery/charging circuit tester and happily offered to test it for me. He confirmed the charging circuit was ok, and that it looked as though the battery was indeed on its way out. To confirm it, a further test was done where the battery was put under load. He warned me if the battery was duff, the test would drain it and I wouldn't be able to start the car. It did - and I can't. :o( Well - that proves that then. Pointless taking it out YET again and trying to charge it. I guess it'll have to just sit there unused now until I can source a new battery. The neighbour generously offered to see how much he could source one for, via his contacts. Nice one - although, I actually later regretted having agreed to that. Anything less than the 40 I know I could order one for on the internet, isn't going to be 'much' of a saving (if any), and it means I just have to hold fire and NOT get one until he's done whatever it is he's gonna do. I'm not ungrateful, but I just want to get on with it and have the car useable again, so I can think about going places and buying stuff for the house (and hopefully find there is nothing wrong with the car other than the battery!) . . by mid afternoon the lintel was succesfully cemented in place. It still needs more work, bricks cutting off, more cementing etc but that is the worrying bit done with. The kitchen floor did NOT collapse! That all actually didn't go too badly. So well in fact, I decided, with all the tools and everything already all over the place, I'd push on and have a go at putting in the remaining half of the lintel over the other access hole which goes through the wall beneath the living room doorway. The hole 'I' made when I needed to get in there to put in the new sockets for the TV etc in the living room bay. . Unlike the hole I'd just tended to, because of the slope of the ground beneath the house, there were several courses of bricks ABOVE this access hole and everything was much firmer, safer and more solid - because 'I' did it. Dispensed with propping and just drilled out bricks as required and cemented the lintel straight in without much ado. VERY pleased to have finally got all that done.VERY pleased. :o). . walked . . TVd . . cooked and ate a large Mum donated pizza with extra cheese and later half a coffee cake . . guitarred/TVd feeling 'pleased' until bed around midnight. s
23 - Up around 7:45am again. I'm sure I'm being woken up by some outside noise or other. Seems to be turning cold again! Much condensation on all the windows. Only 4 degrees C outside. PCd and ended up surfing plumbing sites! I'm trying to be sensible and consider EVERYthing. You know what - I have a feeling that I'm gonna completely change direction with my plans. I think it makes sense in the wider picture of stuff (including my finances etc). My conclusion is - I think it makes much greater sense to hold fire on the central heating thing - and instead concentrate on having double glazing put in (to the front of the house at least)!!!!!!!!!!!! Even through this harsh winter, I hardly used the central heating, and relied on huddling in front of the fire in the living room mostly. Any heat I DO put into the house, INSTANTLY dissipates through the drafts and windows. Even with the central heating on, it was hardly able to warm the house up as a result! I only have a certain amount of savings left - which when gone is gone. The big bay windows and door at the front is absolutely NOT a DIY job, and their replacement with double glazed is absolutely fundamental to making this a 'proper' liveable home. It's the greatest drawback of the entire property. It's gonna cost a fortune, but will have the greatest impact all round. I think I am decided. I think it makes sense. The plan is (right THIS minute!) double glaze the front, follow that up with cavity wall insulation - THEN have central heating put in and maybe do much of that myself prior to having just the boiler professionally installed. I 'think' this is a sensible plan. At the end of all that - I'll be REALLY broke, and may even then be under the threshold for claiming some sort of 'benefit' for the first time in my life!! It's a plan - for today at least! :o| . . walked . . did laundry and dish washing chores and tidied up around the place just a little until Mum called in with food donations for a cuppa and chats etc . . drank half a glass of red wine and cooked and ate four sausages in sandwiches and biscuits . . napped until the alarm at 7pm . . TVd . . surfed a little ('porthole' windows believe it or not! A 2ft plus diameter round window high in the wall between the living room and kitchen would make SUCH a difference to the gloomy light level in the kitchen, and would look strangely rather cool I think - but rather pricey. Absurd thing to be thinking about, but I'm trying to think EVERYTHING through, including crazy 'desireables' I'll probably not live long enough to do. It ALL has a knock on effect on everything else. e.g. where to put radiators/pipes, etc, etc. I dunno who's gonna end up with THIS houseate , but if I can do 'some' of the stuff I have in mind, it'll be a nice functional place for them! :o( ). PCd this at length . . TVd . . a tin of sasuages in baked beans with chopped onion, grated cheese and four pieces of bread and butter . . to bed around 3am. d
22 - Up around 7:45am . . walked in the drizzle although with my mind SO occupied with thinking about boilers and such like, I hardly noticed I'd even covered half the ground! . . touched base with Mum and 'confronted her' with the 'quotes' thing that's been going around my head. Whenever you have such work done, it is widely suggested one should get a minimum of three seperate quotes from which to choose. I'm really not sure I can see the point! What will that get you? You'll end up with a whole bunch of different prices for much the same thing. Seems to me, at the end of the day, most people are therefor going to simply end up opting for the one that they most 'felt' instinctively 'comfortable' with. In other words, it'll be down to the effectiveness of the sales pitch and a (blind) assessment of the personality of the salesman! How the hell would that work for ME? It wouldn't - because I'd be convinced every single one of them was a shyster gonna shaft me for every penny he could get (I remember the fiasco with the dodgy roofers in Bristol. I thought they were ok. They were very much not. How can you EVER know?) How can 'I ' make such a decision when I don't feel comfortable with anyone?! Hard to explain - I don't think Mum understood my problem with it. I was VERY close to picking the phone up and just telling the guy from yesterday - yes - lets do it. I didn't however and decided I'd wait - at least until Monday before doing so. . . managed to muster up the energy and decided, come what may, the tumble drier in the kitchen needs to go. It's in the way of fitting pipes to a new boiler - and in fact in my mind has long be destined to be done away with. Sadly, I had hoped to put a small under the counter fridge in its place, but that won't be possible now because of new boiler pipes dropping down against that wall. . . pulled the tumble drier out of it's position in the kitchen and set about bricking up the large round vent hole through the wall. Retrieved a decent spare brick from under the floor (there are many down there) and then used the disc cutter out in the back garden to meticulously 'carve' four bits of half-moon shaped pieces of brick to 'plug' both skins of the cavity walls. Eventually got them cemented in place. (How old is that cement?!!!! Amazing it still seems to 'work' after a year or more.). . swept up all the debris and then did a little bit of the same in the void beneath the floor. There's plenty of dust and rubble type debris in that big space beneath the floor, and I've long since determined that at some point I'd have a damn good go at trying to sweep it up and clear it out a bit. Wriggling along on your back or belly under that floor (pot-holeing style) to do wiring etc, is made particularly uncomfortable when laying on a bed of rubble on top of the rough concrete slab! If I'm gonna have plumber/gas fitters in under there to do stuff in the near future, I guess the pressure is on to get that done. In fact - I think I need to think seriously about maybe getting down there and doing the overdue, awful job of trying to put in a couple of concrete lintels, and make the narrow access holes in the supporting walls a bit bigger and safer. The one beneath the kitchen in particular, which is where access will be desireable/required for putting in central heating, is particularly small and dangerous. I can't imagine anyone but me (and the nutcase that made it!) daring to try to squeeze through it as it stands. All that debris down there would also of course make for some excellent material for pothole filling in the lane out back - which incidentally has sadly deteriorated quite markedly in places, with all the cold and wet weather we've had over the winter (specifically where standing water gathers). Actually - there is much evidence all over the neighbourhood of the toll the recent freezing weather has had on things - the like of which I don't EVER recall having seen before. ALL along my dogwalk route to BGdns, there is a trail of 'rubble' on the paths, where bricks and mortar on every garden wall (mine included! :o( ) , have 'blown', cracked and crumbled due to the ice!! It perhaps goes without saying that the roads are in a pretty poor state, with subsidence, cracks and potholes worsening everywhere. The ongoing cost to every council-tax payer is going to be huge. . strategicly dumped two buckets full of debris into potholes up the lane before clearing up and calling it quits. Managed with some difficulty to carry the drier all the way up the garden and stash it in the garage. It's old and well past its best (the plastic all over it seems to have 'gone off', gone a bit yellow and turned brittle. The door surround is even cracked slightly as a result!) but I guess I should hang on to it for the time being. It suppose it 'could' come back into service somewhere somehow (in a new/rebuilt conservatory?) - although given my lifestyle and the cost of running such a thing, it's not something I can envisage ever using again. I think I've only ever used it twice since I've been here - and that was, as much as anything, just to see if it actually worked. .nervously TVd with a coffee for half an hour, while the immersion heater heated the tank of water. Had a reasonably succcessful shower, so I guess half an hour of heating/electric use is gonna be around the minimum required now for each shower. Expensive! :o( Good job there isn't anyone else around, cause it ain't something I'm gonna do a lot of! So, 'psychologically', that kinda proved to me that there is no reason I can't get by and continue living here with everything exactly as it is for the time being. In fact, actually 'doing' just that little bit of stuff on the house for the first time in ages, actually seemed to make me a little more rational and objective in my thought processes for an instant. So much so in fact, that it suddenly seemed very clear how much I'd completely 'lost the plot' particularly over the last few days, but also I guess the last few weeks, or possibly even months! All that nauseating 'poor me' type thinking I was doing (evidenced by my journal entry of the 20th in particular!) makes me want to puke! If there was any ever doubt that I'm 'not quite right in the head' - well, there it is right there. The fact that I can unwittingly uncontrollably descend into such a 'mental state' almost unnoticed - and then for no apparant reason 'pop' back out of it and regain perspective. Quite extraordinary. If one views such 'conditions' along a continuum of behavior (as I do), I surely MUST be on that scale in the 'same direction as' bi-polar(without the 'up'), or dare I even suggest, paranoid schizaaa - no - no, I daren't even say it!!! Suffice it to say - it ain't easy being at the mercy of such madness - but thankfully, just now, I'm cool and have 'regained perspective' for a moment. Jeeze - what have I to be so down about? It ain't as though having a heating system break is a 'huge' deal is it - I've still got enough money in the bank to deal with it, and a little more! It ain't no Haiti! Get a grip! I'm so very lucky to have what I have and be able to survive the way I do. Ok - so - many do better - but jeeze, there are SO many do SO much worse. In SO many ways, I AM in an enviable position and should be bloody grateful. It's simply, much of what goes on in my head, that isn't something many would envy! . . -//-
walked, trying to think everything through a little more rationaly. There is MUCH work to do on this house to make it the really cool place it 'could' be, and every little alteration that could be made has an impact on everything else. Like the pieces of a complex puzzle. Which piece do you put down first - and how many of those pieces can you put in place without having to pay for outside help? It's VERY tempting to just hand over the money and have that guy put in a system and that'll be that - but I'm really particular about certain stuff. I'd be a lot happier if I could do at least, all the siting/mounting of radiators and associated underfloor pipework myself. I know I can do it - and wow, imagine how easy it would be using the new bendy plastic pipes and push fit joints etc (although, never having used any of that, scares me off a bit). On top of that, the bathroom needs gutting and retiling etc etc, and it seems a shame to have all that work done on a heating system only to splice in to existing crappy old pipework that will have to be altered/replaced when I do the bathroom anyway! Even if I DO go for it now - there is still a lot of preparitory work I think I'm gonna have to do. If the boiler goes on that wall in the kitchen, an electrical socket will have to be (re)moved , alterations to the wiring, wall tiles removed, etc, etc. Arrrrgggghhhh - I don't know what to do! . . returned home via the store (to buy annadin tablets for my headache) and scored some going-cheap packs of sausages . . cooked and ate four sausages with chips, followed by chocolate . .TVd (but mostly lost in my thoughts, thinking stuff through in GREAT detail - including 'outside the box'!) until bed around midnight.
s
21 - Up around 8am . . walked . . PCd . .my new guitar lead arrived in the post. Took me a while to get a bit of a grip on how to get it useable. Not sure I fully understand the issues, but I seem to have almost no useable bandwidth on any of my USB sockets ever! Seems to be that the broadband modem (which can ONLY be plugged into a USB socket) immediately swallows up 75% of all available USB bandwidth!? Add to that the 12% which is 'system reserved' - that leaves no room for anything else!!??? Anyway - I eventually managed to get the lead working, but I confess I was rather disappointed, and concluded I probably shouldn't have wasted my money on it. It DOES work, but irritatingly my setup doesn't enable me to hear the output from it into the PC through my headphones. Attempts to 'monitor the input' like that (using that function, available via the Audacity software) simply gave a clipped delayed version of the input a fraction of a second or so, behind the actual. Is that what they are talking about when they use the term 'latency' in some of the stuff I've read regarding recording audio stuff on PCs etc? I guess I should have waited and maybe saved up for a 'dedicated box' with a built in headphone socket, connected to the USB etc. Oh well - maybe it'll still be useful - although at the moment, any sort of music making stuff is out of the question anyway, due to my - um - state of mind! . I was in the middle of experimenting on the PC when the central heating guy who didn't show yesterday phoned, at around midday. He made the inevitable excuses about some unknown mistake and having it written in his diary for today. I very nearly told him to just go away, but relented when he said he'd be here in about ten minutes. . walked around with the heating guy trying to remember everything I needed to say and point out. On the face of it, it appears that the ONLY place I've detremined I can have a combi boiler (I can't explain all the reasons, but there is only ONE place in the WHOLE house it can reasonably be sited - in the kitchen- and the proximity of the vent to the conservatory outside, makes that touch and go) SHOULD be ok, and all the rest of the issues are not insurmountable problems! Everything would be done in plastic with push fit connectors and easily plumbed bendy pipes! Should all be doable in just four days. His quote for everything was 2500 - which once I'd got over the shock, didn't seem actually that bad. Not the cheapest perhaps, but certainly not the most expensive (which I have no doubt WOULD be British Gas. Mum paid over 3k for JUST a replacement boiler with them!!!) . . . . ate ham rolls, crisps, banana and biscuits . . napped breifly only to be woken by the postman delivering my new 1.5TB hard drive . . PCd loading up some of the drive as heavy rain fell . . skipped the walk . . TVd/guitarred/drank a PS donated beer. . ate defrosted meat pastry slices, banana and chocolate . . TVd until bed around 1am. d
20 - Up at 7:45am again woken by the noise of the bin men. . walked - miserable. In conversation about my boiler etc, one of the dog walkers asked why I bought 'such a big house' and wouldn't I have been better off with a smaller one. Hardly relevant to my current problems, but that really pissed me off even further, and dragged up all the 'Bristol' stuff in my mind - again! It is NOT a big house - the actual volume of the inside is arguably smaller than that of my two bedroom in Bristol - and frankly, I didn't have a huge amount of choice about how I ended up here did I! So - some claustraphobic little shoebox is all I should be allowed is it? - but then around here, the smaller houses are actually higher in price anyway because of the older/retired/downscale type market! I can't win can I. Doesn't seem to matter what happens ever - somehow I'm to blame and worthy of cricticism. God knows - I think that enough about myself, without having others seem to feel it necessary to confirm it. :o| . . . messed around in the immersion heater cupboard in the back bedroom, clearing out and vacuuming some of the old dust and debris from the exposed areas around the pipes beneath the floorboards etc. Pulled the bath panel off and eventually mentally got a handle on what pipe seems to be doing what and where. Wasted a load of water letting the hot tap run to drain away all the hot water from yesterday, and then did a test of putting the imersion heater on to see if it worked and would heat the water back up. It's gonna cost a small fortune, but at the moment, it DOES appear to work - so I guess the 'immediate' pressure of not having hot water to bathe is lifted (until the immersion packs up of course - which it WILL). I wonder how many people of my age in this country, can honestly say, that pretty much their entire adult life they've never known the luxury of being able to just turn on a hot tap and have hot water come out of it! . I've been put back thirty years! This is EXACTLY how precarious my existance was in the house in Bristol after the back boiler broke down and before I put in my own electric shower and eventually central heating. I can't believe it. All that hardship, struggling, scrimping and saving, going without - all the hard work - the last thirty years, all for nothing! I can't believe it - and yet - no - actually I DO! It just absolutely confirms to me the utter pointless futility of my life. ALL of it. Fucking pointless. I can't do it all again. I just can't. . . hopeless. . ate dog food, chips and Mum donated chocolate . . TVd, unable to get on and do anything whilst waiting for the central heating guy I'd spoken to yesterday to turn up to talk about a quote for a complete new system. Around 4pm he'd said. Around 5pm I PCd a bit of this. Oh God I want to be asleep!!! He's not gonna turn up is he. . He didn't. I really fucking despair. . .drove to walk. Watched and listened as what I think was HMS Cornwall slipped into the bay under cover of darkness . car still playing up, so I guess it isn't the battery. :o( The state I'm in, I can see it just getting dumped in my garden and never used again! . . TVd . .Mum called to touch base and talk nonsense for an hour! . .ate Mum donated coffeee cake and chocolate. . to bedaround 1am. s
19 - Up at 7:45am again . walked. Returned with a container of left overs meat from K . . balanced my accounts all morning. Haven't done that for ages and it had been starting to prey on my mind, with various things needing sorting - one of which was the house insurance coming up for renewal. The renewal paperwork was quoting a (237) premium 50 more than last year! PCd and eventually confirmed from an online quote, I could get it MUCH cheaper elsewhere. Phoned the company intending to cancel, but eventually decided to stick with them when they 're-negotiated' and eventually agreed the same cover at even a slightly cheaper amount than it actually was last year (although I 'probably' could have got it even cheaper if I HAD changed company)! What a bunch of money grabbing shysters they all are (ESPECIALLY when you consider, I've never EVER made a claim on any house or contents insurance)! If I'd not checked the numbers and had simply sat back and accepted the automatic renewal (as I almost did!) I'd have been 50 worse off. Grrrrr . I really, really, REALLY need to finally get round to changing energy suppliers too - but as always, I just can't face doing all that right now. . . once again I've been surfing of late looking at external hard drives. They seem to be getting bigger and bigger (and cheaper) so quickly, it's impossible to keep pace - and definitely impossible to work out what the best deal is, since tomorrow they'll be likely cheaper and bigger again anyway! Went round and round with various adverts (again!) before ending up on the Maplins site. Click click - there goes 109.98!!!!!!!! Ordered a '1.5TB Verbatim External Hard Drive' for 89.99 and a 'semi' impulse buy of a 'USB to Guitar Jack lead' for 19.99 which I thought was 'just' cheap enough to be worth a try. . . whilst PCing I'd put the heating on intending to warm the water and house up a bit and then take a shower. At some point I noticed the carpet tiles near the back boiler in the kitchen were wet! Uh oh - the back boiler is leaking pretty badly!! :o( Turned it all off and placed a plastic tray and tupperware beneath the fire to try to catch the drips and then left it while I cooked some chips, optomistically hoping it would settle back down. . ate chips and left overs 'dog food' pork . . the leak did NOT settle back down. SHIT! My worst nightmare - I'm gonna have to try and get someone in - and quick. Would you believe it! The minute I spend some money on 'toys' - I'm taught the lesson I shouldn't, by big stuff going badly wrong!! Dug out an old newspaper and arbitrarily rang one that took my eye. 'He's just popped out. He'll call you back' - so I had to just sit around waiting for half an hour or more. When he did call back, of course he couldn't get here until tomorrow around 4pm at the earliest anyway. I suggested I needed someone sooner, but since I wanted a quote for a complete new central heating system now anyway come what may, it was agreed he WOULD come tomorrow. (at the worst, I guess I could just have the thing leak into strategically placed containers until then?) . breifly touched base with Mum to see if she had any 'age concern' provided recommendations for local heating plumbers I could call. She didn't. . somehow ended up on-line looking at local listing and called the closest (geographically) I could find. He was currently working in Plymouth but said he'd pop in somewhere around 6pm on his way home. I'll settle for that! . . sure enough, somewhere after 6pm a guy and his young apprentice called in. Thank god! . after some little difficulty (he suprisingly didn't seem particularly familiar with the back boiler/fire set up!?) he managed to dismantle enough of the fire front etc, to expose the main body of the back boiler. Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear! With one glance even to me, it was pretty obvious things were gonna be well beyond economical repair. The big metal heat exchanger body, appeared to be leaking from much higher up than I'd imagined from peering in underneath with my torch, and was well coroded and actually dripping rusty metal laden drips down all over the actual gas feed pipes, which were also looking dangerously coroded as a result. That has clearly been leaking for AGES! Probably even before I moved in judging by the small pile of flaked off metal, sat in a wet heap towards the rear! Right - that's that then. Quickly negotiated that the guy should just 'cut it off' and make it safe and stop the leak. It was late and he was on his way home but thankfully he agreed. . accompanied the young apprentice up into the attic and looked on (trying to educate myself/understand what was what) as he cut off and capped the small central heating expansion tank cold water feed. That tank must have been at least half full of thick rusty crud! Can't have seen any servicing for decades. The guy back down in the kitchen was draining the water off with a hosepipe out into the garden drain, and had capped off the gas supply pipe. (I have to confess, I had uneasy reservations about this when at no point did he make any attempt to use one of those 'proper' 'hydro/vacuum level' devices on the meter to ensure there were no leaks in the system! He just seemed to rely on some aerosol stuff or other sprayed over the cap, and 'not bubbling' I presume. That did NOT inspire confidence.) . after a bit of chatting about things, it was agreed he'd send me a written quote for a complete system. . if I was paying cash, 40 for this evenings work. That seemed pretty fair to me, as these things go. I was hardly gonna quibble was I! They'd bailed me out. I was grateful - although it almost seems funny. I paid someone 40 to come and destroy my central heating and hot water system for me and leave bits of it propped up around my kitchen!!!! lol <cry> . . tidied up just a little and then TVd the evening away, feeling shell shocked and utterly miserable, as heavy rain poured outside . . ate a microwaved curry, buttered bread roll and chocolate . . to bed around 1am. s
18 - Up around 7:45am . . walked. Felt mildly more 'in control of myself' and functioning than I have done of late, for some inexplicable reason. The hint of sun and slightly milder weather perhaps. Tried to keep the feeling going and actually 'do' something! . removed the battery from the car and put it on charge - again! I AM going to buy a new one I think, pretty soon. Without even testing other bits of the car first, I'm pretty sure from the writing on it etc, it is the original one that actually came with the car. Even if it ultimately turns out there is something else also wrong (with the charging etc), I'm pretty sure it simply isn't holding much of a charge any more anyway, so seems a reasonable investment. I've seen a place on-line (Advanced Battery Supplies) that'll do one for 40 delivered, allegedly! I'd like to see that - someone coming all this way and delivering a car battery to me!!??? Bizarre. . . dragged the ladder out and climbed up to remove the blown 500w bulb from the back garden floodlight. Left Sally at home gnawing on a defrosted pigs foot and walked to the local store for a replacement bulb and a couple of batteries for my living room digital clock (5) . . fitted the bulb which initialy didn't work!? Messed around for ages checking everything, and with the multitester etc, before finally managing to get it working again. Just a dodgy sprung contact there somewhere I think. WHAT a waste of time and much up and down the ladder that cost me. ! . .re-fitted the car battery . . ate ham rolls, crisps and a little chocolate . napped until around 6pm . . TVd . . walked . . TVd . . cooked and ate Mum donated pizza . .PCd until to bed around 2:30am.
17 - Image of HMS Northumberland in TorbayWoken by Sally around 8:30am . . walked. A clear sunny blue sky and actually felt pretty warm in the sun. Almost spring like. Oh what a difference that makes! Greeted by the impressive sight of a warship moored in pretty close in the bay. Couldn't resist the opportunity to have a good poke with the camera and ended up somehow spending several hours sitting around filming it. Easy to read the name and have a good 'nose' at whatever was going on on deck with the cameras zoom, etc. HMS Northumberland. .spoke with poor miserable PJ who's cat had died etc . . ended up returning home after around 1:30pm, feeling just a 'little' more up than of late. . drank wine . .ate tuna, onion and mayo with chips and a piece of bread and butter. . napped . . TVd . . ate bowls of co-co pops . . to bed around 12:30am. d
16 - Up around 8:45am . . poured with rain just as I was about to leave the house. The car started so drove to walk. . guitarred . . Mum called in . . ate tuna, onion and mayo sandwiches, crisps, biscuits and chocolate . . napped until around 7pm . . guitarred/TV . .ate Mum donated kipling toffee things . . TVd/PCd until finally to bed around 3am. Trouble sleeping feeling a bit unwell. Bit of an understatement that actually! I've developed some pretty uncomfortable feelings in my chest somehow! I suspect it's time to start paying for my constant chain smoking. My lungs have been well full of smoking related 'liquid' for quite a while, but this chest pain business is something new. I even went on line the other day and looked up pneumonia! In theory I guess I ought to go see the doctor and have x-rays and maybe even a heart monitor type thing done - but frankly I can't see the point. It seems kinda hypocritical to have spent a life feeeling so utterly miserable to then start trying to prolong it when things start to go wrong. Anyway - maybe it's just the pain of a broken heart? :o|. s
15 - Still up at almost 6am so not much point in going to bed. . .walked - wobbly. . ate left over chilli and bread and butter . .slept until around 5:30pm . . drove to walk. Car isn't running right!? Almost felt like touch and go whether or not I'd be walking home!! . . guitarred/PCd . . ate beef and bread and butter and chocolate . . to bed around 3am. s
14 - Up at 8:15am. .burned a couple of discs to give away . . walked. Dog walker let me know the old lady up the road had been found dead in her garden on Sunday! Really uspet me that . . PCd/Tvd another day away . . drank wine and cooked a tin of chilli with a small mug full of boiled rice. Ate with three buttered rolls followed by chocolate. . napped late until around 8pm! . . TVd and aimlessly PCd the whole night away!
13 - Up at 8:45am. Damp and grey outside. Not a hint of any snow . . walked. Felt almost spring like. K told me about Ts dog falling out of his car on his way home!!!!!!!

. guitarred/TVd . . vacuumed . .

drank wine and ate K donated beef, chips and chocolate and biscuits . . early to bed around 10:30pm. ds
12 - Up around 7:45am to the sound of strong gusts of wind battering the house . . walked. Returned with K donated meat . . walked with Sally to withdraw some cash and look in charity shops. Bought a white double valance for 2 . . drank a glass of red wine and ate dog food and chips . .TVd waiting for the forecast snow. It rained heavily instead. . napped until around 6pm . . TVd . . did a long e-mail to BB. Actually not so long, but it took all night - just trying to explain some stuff, but I'm not sure I managed it! I'm not entirely sure I know myself, although I think there is logic to it. Am I down because I've ended it, or did I end it because I'm down? I don't suppose it matters. The miserable outcome is the same. 'Bereavement'. :o( . . TVd and ate corned beef sandwiches, crisps and chocolate beore to bed at almost 3am. d
11 - Up before 8am. No sign at all of any snow left outside. A degree or two above zero . . walked. Actually felt 'almost' mild after the recent freeze. Just a few degrees makes all the difference . . sat at a blank screen on the PC for probably a couple of hours trying to write to BB, but once again I just couldn't do it. .Tried to be objective about how I seem to have completely ground to a halt with my dark perspective on life and concluded that I'd slipped deep into 'prozac' territory. I think I need to be back on the tablets. The irony of that, which actually made me laugh out loud, is that I've slipped beyond the point at which I have the strength to go through what it takes to get the tablets. I can't face trying to make appointments and see doctors and get perscriptions and all that shit! And after all, in the grand scheme of things, what the hell difference does it ever make anyway. . . just sat/TVd the day away. .

drove to walk. Misty 'calm before the storm' type evening. A ship slowly slipped into the bay as I sat for my cigarette and scared me to death with the noise of it dropping anchor . . guitarred/TVd . . ate Mum donated ham rolls and chocolate . . TVd until bed before midnight. s
10 - Broken sleep then up around 7am. Just the lightest dusting of snow on things outside. . walked in a 'drizzle' of powdery snow like stuff . . sat around motionless in front the TV/fire feeling down and like shit. . drank wine and ate Mum donated pizza . . retreated to sleep . . TVd . . ate a banana and muesli before bed around 2am. d
9 - Up around 8am after only a couple of hours sleep. Absolutely frozen - especially my legs! DEFINITELY lack of food. . walked. Biting cold wind. . ate four boiled eggs and toast . . TVd/huddled in front of the fire until mum called in . . ate a banana and a mum donated pastry slice . . fitfully napped until the alarm at 7pm . . guitarred a little/TVd/huddled in front of the fire all night, occasionally peeking out of the curtains to see if the forecast snow had arrived. . ate some mum donated kipling things . . to bed around 2am. s
8 - Up around 8:15am. . thermometer says -3C outside, 9C or less inside. The digital clock I have sat next to the TV in the living room bay window, which includes a thermometer, actually reads 7C!! Too much lower and I'm gonna have to seriously consider some sort of overnight heating, just to make sure no pipes freeze! . . walked . . PCd breifly, but my heart isn't in it at all. I seem to have come to a complete grinding halt. . K called at the door at some point with a huge bread-loaf sized joint of beef for Sally. He actually handed it straight to her and I had to grab it back out of her mouth! . . ate a tin of soup with salami sandwiches . . napped long until late . . gave sally some of the K donated beef but it was smelling pretty awful and it actually made me throw up while dealing with it!! That's way too far gone! Dumped the rest in bags out in the bin. Jeeze what a waste! . . guitarred a little/TVd/huddled in front of the fire all night unable to muster the energy to do food. . ate a handful of biscuits and some chocolate . . eventually to bed gone 4:30am!! s
7 - Up around 7:50am. . walked. Freezing cold with a few minor patches of ice but almost completely clear, and a clear blue sunny sky. Returned with a pocket full of a bottle of wine, given me as a thank you by one of the recipients of the latest discs. . sat around, miserable until gone midday . . did dish washing chores . . ate a big chunk of defrosted K donated 'dog food' pork with chips . . napped until just before 6pm . . TVd . . walked late and sat around in BGdns in the minus3 temperatures for ages. Cold starlit sky with no moon . . TVd . . ate salami sandwiches and chocolate. . to bed around 2am.
6 - Image of a rare snowfall over BrixhamUp before 8am. Hovering around 10C inside, 0C outside with an inch or so of snow on the ground. Well - so much for that then. It really is SUCH a rare event for sheltered Brixham (Torbay in general) to get any snow - when it DOES happen, it generally means the rest of the country (only perhaps a mile or so away) is in a bad way, which according to the TV news seems to be about the case. As daylight grew, the light covering on everything began to almost immediately set about thinning. Damn - should have set the alarm and got up earlier maybe. .walked with Sally (carefully!) and headed off across town and up onto the hills (the fields behind the snow covered roof - centre picture). By the time we'd got up there, it'd thinned so much (except on the treacherous side roads - most of which are of course steep hills - saw plenty of scary moments with sliding cars!) it really didn't lend itself to any decent photos or filming at all! Actually rather something of a disappointment. Still, with a bit of icy sleet and a hard north wind, it was pretty uncomfortable up there. Those poor horses up there, with their drinking water frozen solid! No point in hanging around, so pretty soon returned home in the slush. . PCd this as horizontal sleet blew in with a bit of a vengence. Strong wind. Real nasty. .waited until the worst of the sleet had passed then left Sally at home and popped up the shop for milk (and mushrooms!). . cooked a mushrooms, onion, bacon bits, cheese sauce concoction while drinking a glass of red wine . ate with buttered bread rolls followed by a little chocolate . . napped until almost 8pm!!. .huddled in front the fire/TV all evening as the outside temperature dropped to around -4C. .

BB called briefly for the last time. Our nine year 'relationship' is ended. .-//-
I have to confess, until absurdly recently I'd been living in the belief that somehow, somewhere along the line, we'd end up together here, and try and squeeze out at least a few years of relative contentment and happiness. Potentially more acheivable here than anywhere else I've known. . Well - that ain't gonna happen. . A long held fanciful dream, just melted away like the snow. . So - what now? I'm all out of bridges to burn.

ate the remaining small amount of cheese mushroom goo with a bread roll . . to bed around 2am. d
5 - Up around 8am. 0C outside with threatening clouds, 9C inside . . walked. Ended up spending a ridiculous amount of time in the front garden when we returned home, filming a spider and a fly!! . PCd aimlessly. The local news site had an update on the rescued guy - "DOCTORS say the 52-year-old man who was rescued on New Year's Day was resuscitated after his heart had stopped beating for 30 minutes. The man, who has not been named, was so cold his body temperature had dropped to just 25C. The normal body temperature is 37.5C. Initially doctors say he showed signs of making a strong recovery, but it has since been discovered he may have pneumonia. He is currently on a non-invasive ventilator in the intensive care unit, where he is expected to stay for another two weeks before spending a further two weeks recovering." Pneumonia - that's very not good - never mind a potential lifetime of 'treatment' for how he came to end up there like that in the first place! :o( I feel absurdly 'connected' in some sense, after having 'eavesdropped' the rescue, etc. . . Mum called . . ate a microwaved curry, four pieces of bread and butter and some chocolate. . napped until the alarm at 7pm . . guitarred/TVd the night away, shut in the living room with the fire on, occasionally peeking out of the curtains to see if the forecast snow had arrived. . by the time I let Sally out into the garden for the last time before bed somewhere around midnight, there was the lightest dusting of snow on parts of the garden. . to bed around 1am. s
4 - Up around 8:30am. -1C outside, 10C inside . . walked . . pottered in the garden very briefly and cleared some piles of fallen leaves. . PCd. The headline on the local newspaper website was "Man Rescued In Clifftop Hunt" (the events occuring during my 'moon' video!) and included "Sgt Jackie Page, in charge of the police search, said: "This was as close to a lifesaving rescue as you can get.The man needed resuscitation to keep him alive. He would have died if we hadn't found him and he was close to death when we found him. Resuscitation was performed on him for a good 15 to 20 minutes before we started to move him.Then we had to stop and give him more medical attention before moving again. So it wasn't an easy evacuation. The man, who has links with Torbay and Teignbridge, was taken by land ambulance to Torbay Hospital to be treated for hypothermia. He is still recovering.This was a really good example of how the emergency services can work together. Police paramedics and coastguards teamed up in a calculated and effective response. The units on the ground from both police and coastguards were directed by the helicopter to make as prompt a rescue as possible." Well - there ya go then. . . ate salami and lettuce rolls, crisps and a little chocolate. . napped until 6pm . . walked in the freezing clear night. . . TVd feeling pretty empty and down, just looking forward to being warm and asleep again as soon as possible . . . huddled in front of the fire/Tv and ate a couple of bananas and a handful of biscuits before to bed around 2am.
3 - Woken by Sally around 8:50am. 'Slightly' warmer - a couple of degrees above freezing already. . walked. Above freezing it may be, but a wind has returned making it actually feel colder! One of the dog walkers said her father used to call such a wind a 'lazy wind'. I'd not heard that before. Apparantly so called because 'its too lazy to go around you - it cuts right through you!'. lol Pretty accurate. . detoured somewhat on the way home, having a look to see if I could spot the house which according to the local newspaper website had suffered a fire the other night. Actually turned out to be almost easily missed from the outside in passing. Trails of smoke staining from an open upper floor double glazed window drew my attention to it. Higher up at the level of the roof-slope semi-dormer type windows, the fire damage was more severe, and a pile of burned debris was piled up against the side of the house at ground level below a blackened, smashed side window. Must be pretty well gutted inside. Amazing I didn't notice the sirens whenever that went up. Luckily no one was seriously hurt. (Breifly stopped by at Mums on the way back home, to tell her about it. She'd actually walked right past the place yesterday and hadn't even noticed!) . . PCd for several hours, editing down the rest of the scanner audio and polishing off the 'moon' video. I wonder how the guy is doing? . drank a glass of red wine and cooked a Mum donated pizza while the file uploaded to Youtube. . ate pizza and then pretty promptly napped . . woken around 6pm by the phone ringing. Ignored it again - an ever increasing habit - but, well - it just seems increasingly pointless to do otherwise, no matter who. . felt woozy, a bit 'yucky' and very blah - and oh so very tired of feeling oh so very cold! Skipped the evening walk and just blobbed in front of the fire and TV for several hours, wrapped in everything. . PCd this for hours . . TVd and ate a couple of bananas and some Mum donated shortbread biscuits before to bed around 2am. d
2 - Up around 8:45am. -2C outside, 10C inside with just a little ice on the inside of the windows again. .walked late. . guitarred. . Mum called in for a cuppa and chats etc. Ooops - she'd been trying to call and hadn't got through. I'd forgotten to turn the phone back on since the other evening. Oh well. I didn't miss it. If it weren't for the internet connection, I think I'd probably have it taken out now and save the s and all the hassle of the few pointless calls I get. . ate Mum donated ham rolls, crisps and chocolate . . napped until around 6:30pm . . guitarred/TVd and drank a small bottle of beer PS left behind . . BB called briefly . . PCd working on a video that 'maybe' I shouldn't - of the 'scanner radio traffic' from last night set against a short 'moon' sequence! There ARE rules and laws about 'using' such radio reception. It's ok to listen, but NOT ok to make use of it or relate it I think - something like that. I used to know about all that stuff from my radio amateur days. Having said that, there were also pretty strict rules governing what could be discussed and about the use of bad language etc while transmitting. Based on what I've heard on my scanner, all that sort of stuff goes by the board these days - especially with reguard to the - um - 'colourful' language of the local fishermen! Given that I've invested hours in meticulously editing the audio (half yet to do) to protect everyones identities (during the calls that evening, the mans actual name WAS transmitted!), I really can't see I've done anything particularly wrong by making up the video and sharing it. Hearing all that sort of stuff makes the hairs on the back of my neck go up kinda - and I wanted to share a sense of that with whoever may watch (listen to) it. Police helicopter and crew, multiple coastguard teams, fully crewed lifeboat, ambulance, etc, etc, etc - HUGE amount of effort on behalf of one agonised soul. That way but for the grace of god go 'we'?. .ate bananas and bowls of muesli before eventually to bed around 4:45am. d
1 - Up around 8:15am. .walked. Feels pretty chilly again. Didn't hang around. . did laundry chores and worked on the 'coastguard helicopter' video for several hours. Ate left over curry and rice with four pieces of bread and butter while it uploaded to Youtube. It may not be possible to tell from the compressed YouTube version of the video (it's only 'just' possible to see on the full version) but the helicopter is actually door open and winching from around the 2 minutes 7 seconds mark through to around 4 minutes and 38 seconds! Not sure if it was a 'person' on the end of the winch, but it sure seemed like a long-drop winch at times, and even pretty close to the waves while it travelled the length of the shoreline! If it WAS a person on the end, WOW - was that a ride! . . napped until around 6:45pm. Ooops - all the laundry I'd left on the line had frozen solid! That can't be good for it! Eventually managed to get the pegs off and 'crunch' it all up into the laundry basket and brought it in, to leave on the airer in the 'conservatory - although I don't think it's liable to thaw in there! I daren't bring it into the house to dry, because it'll just cause huge amounts of condensation on all the windows!!. . walked in multiple layers. Despite the sub-zero temperatures, I ended up sat in BGdns for ages, listening to the scanner and watching the lifeboat go out and lights from the distant police helicopter, etc, etc. Someone was out somewhere threatening suicide and all the troops were called out. Once I'd heard enough to realise what was going on, I just couldn't tear myself away and head home without having a rough idea of what the outcome may have been for the person concerned, so I had to sit around motionless for over an hour just listening - freezing! Whiled away a bit of the time by propping the camcorder up on my torch on a bench, and having a go at filming a bit of the moon in a crystal clear sky. 'Almost' a perfect full moon I think - but just maybe not quite. Certainly the leading/upper edge of the moon image was VERY well defined, and using the full 70x optical zoom it was possible to clearly make out proper mountains. The trailing/bottom edge was much less clear for some reason. Strange feeling, looking at the moon like that - in the cold of space - me in the cold of the quiet night - listening to all the radio traffic and goings on, with someones life hanging in the balance out of sight a few miles across the bay and round the coast, somewhere beneath the lights of the hovering police helicopter. . without hearing the 'full' outcome of the threatened suicide thing, the cold eventually got to me SO much, I just couldn't sit there any longer and I HAD to head home. As far as I can tell from what I DID hear, the guy was found alive, albeit hypothermic, and he was going to be transported to hospital. From the description of him I overheard - he wasn't wearing a 'huge' amount (like I was!) - I don't imagine he would have survived much longer, out in such temperatures! Good luck to 'im! :o( . . PCd and eventually wrapped up and uploaded the silly 'drum' video. . ate a couple of sasusage rolls, crisps, coleslaw, banana and sponge cake before eventually to bed around 3am.
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