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<My Diary Archive 2012 My Diary Archive>

January
31
- Up around 7:20am. <13C in, 3C out. Grey and miserably overcast, but stopped raining at least. . walked. According to dog walkers, yesterdays rescue was all over the local news. A small 'day boat' type trawler, all loaded with fuel and fish had allegedly gone up onto a drifting sandbank and capsized! Efforts were being made to salvage it!! . . returned via the local stores and actually bought a 500g bag of 'grass seed with rye' for 2.45, for the bare earth in the gardens when the weather improves. . . PCd. Oh wow - there is a three piece sweet going on e-bay, 'relatively' close (in Newton Abbot) 'almost' of the type which I've grown a desire for, to replace all the 'given away' rubbish I'm making-do with!! Several days yet to run on the auction. Should I start ringing people up to see how much they'd charge to transport it I wonder? Dare I take an expensive chance, all unseen???!! That's gonna prey on my mind for days now isn't it!!! :o| . had a mail from the local lifeboat station suggesting they'd be including a link to the rowers video on their website at some stage. .radiod just briefly, and had the chance to very publicly (!) thank P again for the steak. lolol . PCd this at length whilst monitoring radios. Plenty of chatter 'in the distance', as people appeared to be attempting to pump-out and move that half sunken fishing vessel outside Teignmouth..Down to and below, an uncomfortable 13C in the house/PC room. Hard to sit motionless so long at the PC in such temperatures despite layers and hat. I've had the living room gas fire and occasionaly the PC room electric heater on a LOT recently!! s!!! Worry. :o( . . ate a banana and bowls of muesli . . napped until woken by the phone ringing/no message left around 5:55pm . . TVd the news. The 'stuck on a sandbar' trawler was featured on the local news. . .walked in the biting-cold strong easterly wind. Didn't play ball and took shelter from the wind in one of the main gun emplacements for a while. . TVd . . cooked the other half of the P donated steak with chips, peas and mushrooms. A pretty fine meal again . . ate biscuits . . TVd until bed around midnight.
30 - Up around 8:20am. 13C in, <5C out and still raining . . walked late in the rain and played ball in the mud before 'dipping' Bella in the cove to wash off the mud . . TVd/guitarred a little/aimlessly PCd/monitored radios , not up to doing anything as the cold rain just kept falling ALL day! . ended up around 13:40 listening to a rescue by Teignmouth lifeboat. It would appear something had actually capsized and 'five people stood on the side of the wheelhouse' were rescued by the lifeboat!! They were all rescued and returned to shore almost before the Portland coastguard helicopter had even gotten into the air! An ambulance was called because they were all apparantly borderline hypothermic! I bet!! Blimey!!!!!. .felt very down. Drank a glass of red wine . . . ate a six pieces of bread and butter pile of ham sandwiches, crisps, chocolate chip cookies and a little chocolate . . napped, dreaming deeply untill woken by the alarm at 7pm . . walked in the light drizzle but did NOT play ball because the ground was waterlogged and mud was SO bad. . .TVd for a couple of hours. . ages ago, P across town had given me a big piece of proper frozen steak from his overflowing freezer he allegedly didn't want. I'd finally got round to defrosting it throughout the day. It was SO big (cost over 4!!), I decided to cut it in half and make two meals out of it. Drank the last glass of red wine from the box while cooking it and some chips. Eventually ate it, 'doused' in a big wadd of flora as a 'sauce', with the chips. Wow - jolly nice it was too (despite my rotten teeth having a bit of trouble with the idea!) 'Livin' it up' eating (and drinking) so well. :o) . . TVd and ate mum donated chocolate chip cookies before eventually to bed around 2am.
29 - Up around 7:20am. 13C in, <1C out. . walked the woods etc. . sat in the garden for a bit . . PCd . .dug out my multimeter and had a proper play with the Nokia phone power supply I'd found yesterday. Turned out the polarity of the power tip was correct - and even the around +-6v voltage would have worked. With some considerable nervousness, I eventually dared to plug it into the VX-2 radio. Bugger! Despite how it appeared to fit the socket, the power tip somehow was NOT applying its output actually TO the radio. WHAT a disappointment! Something else to be laying around cluttering up the place then - and STILL desperate for a suitable power supply for charging the radio. :o( . . Figured it was high time I had a look at the CB radio I'd been ripped-off with buying on e-bay. Something amiss with the audio output. Sounded as though it simply needed a new speaker. Took it all apart and at length, determined that it likely was nothing to do with the speaker at all, and was more likely a 'proper' fault with the audio stage of the circuit board. So - nothing I'm gonna be able to do about that, so my money was just thrown away then!! Yet another s 'write-off'! Conned and ripped-off by someone YET again. I ALWAYS am aren't I?I could spit! :o( . . . . ate crisps, a sausage roll and a tin of sausages in baked beans with grated cheese . . charged up various batteries on cameras and radios etc while running virus and malaware etc scans on the PC for hours, making sure everything was clean. It wasn't!! - but as far as I know, was when done. Had a mail from SH suggesting he'd been doing similar, and after a struggle had eventually managed to get himself clean too. lol . . .TVd . . raining - lots. SO cold and nasty, I dared to skip the evening walk and just let Bella use the garden instead. Sorry Bella, but I think I may actually make a habit of skipping the evening walk when its such bad weather. I don't think it does either of us any good to keep going out in the cold rain like that. . ended up PCing and knocking up a 'random snips' video of the RNLI fundraising rowers, and eventually uploaded it to youtube for posterity and whoever if anyone may be interested (mostly because no one had yet uploaded any video of it, as far as I could see).Mailed via the local RNLI website, and let them know out of courtesy. . .PCd . . touched base with BB . . ate two pastry slices, mini cheddars, crisps, banana and chocolate . . to bed around 2:30am.
28 - Up just after 8am. 13C in, 3C out. . walked with the dog 'lampshade' I never actually used on Bella when she had her attack injury, intending to return it to the vet when settling up my latest bill later. .bizarrly found a Nokia mobile phone power supply laying in the gutter on the way to BGdns?? Interesting to me because the power tip on it, looked very much like the silly miniature one on my VX-2 radio. (I'm desperately in need of a power supply for that radio, so I can 'at least' charge the batteries onboard, rather than have to remove them to charge in the cheap 'iffy' charger I bought). Pocketed the charger for later examination . . sat in BGdns playing ball as usual, I dabbled with the power supply I'd found, and confirmed that the power tip DID appear to be the size of the one required for my VX-2 handheld! Ooooh - I wonder if that may work with it for me? . suddenly spotted a bit of interesting boat activity heading in towards the breakwater. I'd completely forgotten that was going on today! As part of the local RNLI SOS 2012 Day, the lifeboat crews were doing a sponsored row of an old 'heritage' type lifeboat, around from St Marys Bay and into Brixham harbour, and then on to Paignton and finally Torquay - all to raise money for new lifejackets. (The 'wags' were apparantly walking an ILB to Torquay via road!).Image of Torbay RNLI SOS Day 2012 heritage lifeboat rowers The heritage lifeboat accompanied by the all weather Torbay and inshore lifeboats and a support craft made its way into harbor. Felt obliged to race back up to the roofed seats area and have a bit of a prod with the camcorder. All the damned trees and unmanaged foliage up there has all grown back (since I cut it all back a year or two ago!!) and it was only 'just' possible to get a few shots! Looked like amazingly hard work rowing that boat - and in 'relatively' calm waters. Incredible to imagine, THAT is actually how rescues used to be done!! Mind boggling! Imagine bad weather and stormy seas, and men setting out on a rescue in one of those, with their wives perhaps watching from the windswept shore - wondering if they would ever see their men again or if they'd be lost, and they'd end up destitute and having to put their children into a local orphanage, etc, etc, etc. Incredible what used to be done, and how times have changed. :o| . eventually carried on down town as I'd originally intended, and halfheartedly grabbed a couple more shots on the way. . walked up the vets and returned the unused 'lampshade' and then settled my bill. That was shocker! It was at least TWICE the amount I'd imagined - 43.16!!!!! VERY OUCH!!! :o( Re-weighed Bella while I was there, and it DOES appear that she has lost weight. Maybe a kilogram? She's SUCH a bag of bones at the best of times, she can ill afford that!! I may be more liberal with her treats and last bites of what I'm eating in the near future. . . returned straight home and sat in the back garden in the sunny spells with a coffee and cigs for a bit. Cool - the neighbor had noticed and already taken all the cut-up tree firewood, I'd stacked up in the lane by my garage door. :o). . . guitarred in the front garden briefly . . did laundry . . Mum called in with food donations for chats etc. She ALSO brought me her old garden seive I'd asked to borrow. Excellent. At some point I need to be able to seive through whole areas of the soil in the garden, to be able to remove all the bits of twigs and rubbish, but especially to attempt to seperate-out the masses of stone chippings which have got all mixed-in with everything everywhere. It'll wait - for some dry sunny weather. . . . ate four ham rolls, crisps and mini cheddars followed by a couple of squares of chocolate . . napped until the alarm at 7pm . . felt very unwell and just not right . . walked . . TVd . . drank the last of the Mum donated bit of baileys drink . . eventually ate the last of the chicken with four pieces of bread and butter and lots of salt, then half a battenburg cake . . . to bed around 12:45am.
27 - Up around 7:15am. <14C in, 3C out. . PCd this . .walked the woods in the sunny, frosty cold. Bella seemed full of it, and rampaged all over the place chasing squirrels as usual. . . Bella ate her usual tin volume of dry breakfast, and all seemed ok. . . there is one more thing I REALLY wanted to get done in the garden, before slowing the pace and taking stock of where I'm at. Up by the carport on the top tier, a tree had self seeded and grown out from between the patio slabs, threatening to undermine and damage the carport concrete slab/fence area. I had the chance to 'nip it in the bud' when I first moved in, but back then I was kinda nervous about doing anything to the place, and just left it. It's since grown to at least twenty feet in height, with a malformed 'V' of trunks, with the base being now at least as thick as my thigh!! It HAD to go! Dragged down a ladder from atop the pergola (which I ended up actually not using) and set-to, cutting it down from atop my little step ladder using my excellent, new, sharp wood-saw. Wow - that new saw made cutting all the top branches down a breeze. The thick pair of trunks was much harder work, and the final cutting of the main trunk was a bit of a nightmare. There was no way of digging out the base or roots without lifting loads of slabs and doing MAJOR excavations of the entire surrounding area, so with much difficulty (it would have been completely impossible without that new saw) I eventually managed to just cut it off an inch or two above ground level. . somewhere during this work, Bella threw-up part of her breakfast - and promptly re-ate it!!! :o( We aren't out of the woods yet then! . . spent the next couple of hours (with an occasional rain shower) cutting up the felled tree with the secateurs and lopper. The neighbour the other day had suggested he WAS interested in firewood for his burner - and desireable sizes would be in the region of eight inches in length. Cut every single of the thinner branches into roughly eight inch long pieces and eventually put them all in a dustbin in the garage to dry out for a bit. I don't imagine the neighbor will want all that 'kindling' - so maybe I'll end up burning it in the future once its dried out? We'll see. . took a while and quite some effort to reduce all the thicker trunks into similarly sized chunks, but once again, thanks to that new saw, I managed it in the end. Stacked them all up in the lane in front of my garage door, for him to notice and take, if and when he pleases. Job done by around 2:30pm. One less thing to worry about, and a few less leaves to sweep up in the autumn. Parts of the garden ARE starting to look rather bare - with heaps of countless empty pots all stacked up near the garage! lol The previous owners would be utterly horrified I'm sure - but it IS the right thing to do for the place. Some 'intelligent' re-planting of some low level greenery around the place, WILL be desireable in the future to compensate. . After sitting around for a bit recovering with a coffee and cigs, I eventually re-hung my long wire antenna and tied it temporarily back to the top of one of the fence posts up by the garage. . . ate a cheap tin of chopped ham and pork in sandwiches, crisps and mini cheddars, a couple of chocolate biscuits and a square of chocolate.. . . napped poorly until around 6:15pm. (I think I was a bit dehydrated after all that sweating and sawing!) . . walked in the cold under a starry sky . . gave Bella her normal type evening meal which she ate as normal. I needed to feed her as normal, to see if she IS actually recovered or not, prior to intending to walk to and settle-up at the vet tomorrow. Sat in the garden with a coffee and cigs for a bit, as much as anything else, just in case Bella was going to throw up! She didn't while we were out there at least . . PCd this, intending to try to catch up with the last few days of unfinished entries. I've been working so hard every day (and often then getting tipsy and sleepy having a glass of wine!)- I've just not had the energy to do it! Worthy of note here - keeping busy and working physically hard like I have been, sure keeps 'down' moods at bay. Having said that, I have to work SO hard to acheive it, (actually almost to the point of exhaustion!) I really haven't the energy to keep on doing it all the time! Catch 22! Shame. It's the same with how they recommend doing long walks to combat depression. It absolutely DOES work in my experience, - however, I have to walk SO far for it to work, it's just physically impossible to keep on doing it (especially how I'm getting older and all my joints (back and knees mostly) are aching SO bad ALL the time now! :o( ). .PCd this at length until deep into early . . ate bowls of rice krispies and co-co pops before finally to bed round 4am.
26 - Woke around 7am. Snuggled with Bella on the bed for a bit . Let her out in the garden for the longest pee I've ever seen her have! . . PCd just a bit of this, waking with a coffee and cigs . . walked. Bella seemed improved and didn't have the runs. She also seemed to revert back to having difficulty walking to heal again, and always wanting to be a few paces ahead! . . . gave Bella her usual bland, 'complete' food breakfast and suprisingly she eventually ate it all . . .up the top of the garden where the rotary clothes line is, a whole section of the concrete slabs has been all severely sunken and uneven since I've been here. Used by me as a dumping ground for all manner of pots and planters, I didn't sort that bit out when I did lots of work to try to level and de-weed most of the other slabs up there, some while ago. I had it in mind to 'lose' all the ash (less than a foot deep) in the bottom off the oil drum, into the space under those sunken slabs. . moved all the pots, and earth and chipping filled planters, and lifted the two rows of slabs and put them to one side. Carried the oil drum up and simply upturned it onto the revealed bare earth. Incredible after all this time to see just a couple of brief embers still glowing, and hear a couple of cracks from little bits of wood as they cooled! Broke up and spread it all out as flat as I could, tamping it down with a big length of old timber from the garage. Dug out other areas removing all the weeds and grass and then used some spare soil from the planters to try to level things off some more, before slowly relaying all the slabs, as level as I could reasonably manage. Before finally leaving them in position, I cut up several old plastic sacks of dog food, and layed the plastic underneath all the joins. This is what I did under the other slabs I've lifted in the past, and it does seem to have nicely done the trick of stopping the weeds and grass growing back up. Actually put in the extra effort to put down plastic in the gap right up to the neigbours wall, AND around where I have my composter, where the grass (thick marsh-grass type stuff) continually growing up tall, was a real pain in the rear and kept on needing cutting back. Finished things off around the edges and by the composter, by shoveling back in chippings on top of the plastic. The slabs are uneven and some of them move, but it was a neat way to get rid of the ash, and it looks better than it did and hopefully will now mean it doesn't constantly get overgrown with weeds and tall grass, and require so much work to try to cut it back all the time. . with the hedge in the back garden removed, the 'border' I'd made beneath it, by just digging a line of big stones into the earth, no longer seemed appropriate. Indeed - I'd be better off just having the lawn right up to the fence there now. Kicked and dug out all the stones and eventually carried them all through the house and had a go at putting them all along the bottom of the new fence in the front garden - a few inches out to give a proper plantable border. The lay of the land and difference in height of the two gardens made it pretty necessary. Used up all the stones and more from the pile I have saved up by the garage, and scavenged from other parts of the garden where deemed necessary, and with difficulty, eventually had a line of them dug in down to near the bottom of the front garden. They are just loosley dug in, and the surrounding earth pounded back in around them with a lump hammer, so they can easily be altered or moved in the future - but based on how it worked under the hedge in the back garden, it should do quite nicely. . Dug out and carried bucket-loads of soil from where the hedge used to be in the back garden, through the house and dumped it all in behind the new line of rocks in the front - as rain showers passed through making everything muddy!! Did my best at levelling that area of the back garden, in line with where the lawn is - although not really possible because of the trunk and huge surface-visible roots of the cherry blossom tree (which IS gonna have to go - but maybe next year now, rather than this?). I need to buy a whole bunch of grass seed for that area - AND for all the way down the fence/stone border side of the front garden too!! . shifted more buckets of 'soil' through to the front from one of the heavy, almost impossible to move planters out back. I'd long since disposed of whatever dead plant (big fir tree I think?) was growing in it - just had it sitting around waiting for when I'd be able to 'lose' the soil from it. It's one of those big, expensive, quarter-wooden-barrel type planters. The metal hoops are all rusty and the timber is all looking pretty rotten, but I've been eager to empty it, in the hope of being able to upend it, and actually use it as a little 'coffee table' next to the old wooden bench up the very top of the garden, where I DO tend to quite frequently sit with Bella, for a coffee and cigs after the morning walk if its cold and sunny. . eventually pretty much filled the new front garden border with enough soil and old compost from pots to do the job for the forseeable future (needs rain and settling in) and managed to empty the foul smelling planter, by dumping the remainder of the old compost in one of the back garden borders - after having salvaged as many of the masses of chippings mixed in amongst it all as I possibly could. . Called it quits after 5pm after yet another day of almost nonstop hard labour! Sat at the top of the garden with coffee (on the upturned barrel-planter coffee table) and cigs recovering as dakness fell . . TVd and rested for an hour . Temperature outside dropped like a stone after dark, to mid single fingers. . walked with coffee after 7pm.. Yayyyyy - found a 20 note laying in the road as we headed for BGdns . . Stunning clear, star filled sky. . back via the store for milk and a pizza for the freezer . . drank a glass of wine and gave Bella her evening meal of the rest of the pot of peas and rice, together with a fist full of best chicken pieces all chopped up and mixed in. She was VERY eager for it and absolutely woofed it all down without hesitation. I swear, she had an expression on her face as if to say, " For me? This is all for me? Yyayyyyy!" lolol I'm 'not counting my chickens' (lol) but it would appear that the vets injection has done the trick and Bella is on the road to recovery. Fingers crossed. . . Mum called to touch base and check on Bella. . . BB called to touch base and say she'd had a virus e-mail from 'me'!!???? Allegedly recieved when my PC wasn't even in use? (I've hardly used it for days.) Is that likely? I am of the opinion it isn't - but could be wrong of course. I'll have to run a virus check when I get the time. On reflection, I've had a couple of obvious virusy type mails allegedly from SH, who I HAVE exchanged a couple of mails with recently. Strange coincedence? Need to get to the bottom of that!. . . cooked a mountain of chips and eventually ate them with a chicken breast and four pieces of bread and butter followed by a couple of squares of chocolate. . . TVd until bed around 12:30pm.
25 - Up around 8am. . I think Bella 'may' have eaten just a little of her food in the night. Let her out into the garden and she had the runs - really bad. Just poured out of her like water!!!! . PCd a bit of this and waited until shortly before 9am and rang the vet. Managed to get an appointment for this afternoon at 2:30pm . . walked . .Bella refused her breakfast again . . TVd and pretty much just sat around worrying and waiting for the vet appointment, as drizzley showers passed through . .went out and checked on the oil drum a couple of times. Incredibly there was still a lot of heat in the ashes, and when I stirred them round with a big stick, plenty of burning embers came to the surface!! Amazing how it keeps smouldering away like that after all these hours. No wonder the fire brigade spend SO much time 'smashing the place up' and 'damping down' after they've put out house fires and the like . . . cooked up some rice and peas and a chicken soup, garlic salt, chopped turkey slices concoction. Ate half - a big bowl full around midday . . . set off for the vet in a hint of drizzle around 1:30pm . totally misjudged how long it would take to walk there, and arrived way early, before 2pm! Sat on the wall outside and rolled myself a cigarette. I hadn't even finished smoking my cigarette when all of a sudden the door opened and a vet appeared calling us in early!!?? That's the second time they've done that when I've been sat outside, before I've even gone in to let anyone know I've arrived for a later appointment! How on earth did he know the guy sat outside was me? lol Explained as best I could that Bella was unwell and not herself, sufficient for me to need to start taking 'steps' (because this is how I started to lose Sally etc). The vet 'got it'. As I held onto the sharp end, he had a good feel of Bella's stomach and thankfully reported he could feel nothing of cause for concern. He then took her temperature, with a thermometer shoved -'you know where'! She wasn't keen on that, and taken by surprise (not as suprised as poor Bella!) I almost allowed her head to reach round and get him!! Her temperature was allegedly 'slightly' elavated. The vet quickly suggested he'd give her a couple of injections - one of antibiotics, and another to prevent her from feeling and wanting to be sick. (MAROPITANT (Cerenia) and AMOXY CILLIN (Duphamox LA)) I held her tightly still, as they were both administered without complaint. The vet suggested if she didn't improve in a couple of days, I should return on Saturday and they'd have to start running other tests. He also recommended I should feed her some light meals of white fish or chicken, with rice, to get her appetite back. . confirmed I could settle the bill when I returned in a couple of days, and headed away . . . returned via town and stopped off at a butchers I don't usually go in, and had a look at their chickens for sale. Turned out they had one pre-cooked one left for 3.99. Seemed like alot of money to me - but I soon got my priorities straight. Bought it and headed straight home. . . napped for a few hours . . skipped the evening walk and let Bella have use of the garden while I drank a glass of red wine and cooked up a BIG saucepan of rice with peas - for Bella! 'Carved' the chicken with my hands and a thumbnail as is my miserly way, and took off almost EVERY last little bit of meat, before then boiling up the bones in a saucepan of water. Eventually poured the liquid from that into the still cooking peas and rice. Took ages. Jeeze - I don't spend THAT much money or time ever cooking food for ME, never mind for the dog - but - well - priorities - needs must! With the 'stock' all cooked into the bloated peas and rice, I finally scissored up all the skin and a LARGE handful of the meat into Bella's bowl, and added half the peas and rice. Hard to judge the right amount to give her, but it seemed like a BIG bowlfull! Let it cool, floating in a bowl of cold water. Mum called to touch base and check on Bella . . eventually nervously gave Bella her gourmet meal. Well - all I can say is, all that effort had exactly the desired result. Her appetite seemed instantly returned, and she absolutely gulped it all down - every last pea and little grain of rice!! She kept it down too. :o) Don't blame her - I tasted it - it wasn't bad. Briefly called Mum back on the phone whilst Bella was eating, so she could hear the good news of the gulping, and rattling of her licked-clean bowl. . . TVd . . ate the remainder of MY earlier rice and chicken soup concoction with four pieces of bread and butter followed by a couple of squares of chocolate . . TVd until bed somewhere around 11pm.
24 - Woke earlier, snoozed on a bit then up around 7:50am. . PCd a bit of this. . walked and had Bella poop and play ball, all as normal . . Bella refused her breakfast - completely!!!?. . prodded at the pile of ash in the bottom of the oil barrel and found it was all still hot and full of glowing embers. Oooh - dare I? I SO want rid of that garden waste, and just can't stand the prospect of having to carry it all out on my back and dump it bit by bit again! :o( What the hell. Sorry neighbours/planet (especially the poor lady just up the road - who HAD finally put her washing out on her line this morning! In my defence, the wind WAS blowing away from it, in the opposite direction.). Dug out old scraps of dry timber from the garage and made a pyramid of it in the bottom of the barrel on top of the hot ash and ambers. Doused it with a dribble of paraffin (almost none left!), added some screwed up newspaper and all the paper and cardboard from my recycling bin, and in no time at all, had a very healthy fire restarted. Aha - that proves it's all about what I'm burning rather than me doing something wrong. That drier timber (burned some old rotten, 'damp' trellis too) burned up with plenty of flames, just like you see people stood around on picket lines to keep warm. Having said that, all contained within the barrel, it was entirely under control, without the least hint of it being able to get in any way otherwise. Turns out to be a remarkably safe way to burn stuff, and explains why, up on the industrial estate, one of the units often happily has one burning away VERY close to the building for much of the day, entirely unattended. Tried to slowly add small handfulls of the garden waste and keep the flames going (as BB had suggested is the way to do it), but as soon as that 'relatively' damp and all cut up small and compacted garden waste went in there, it was all pretty much reduced to a familiar smoky, flameless 'slow smoulder' again. Oh well - what the hell - I NOW know what to expect. It'll smoke like that for hours and hours, but WILL eventually all disappear - and I don't have to sit there watching it all day because it ISN'T going to get out of hand. 'Went for it' and just ended up tipping whole dustbin loads of the garden waste into the barrel, and let it do its slow smokey thing for hours - just occasionaly poking stuff down and around when it looked as though it needed it. It DID appear to actually go out at one point when I 'stirred' things up, but I managed to get it going again (probably would have reignited on its own eventually anyway, with the benefit of hindsight) and dumped in the last binload of all the cuttings, filling it to just below the brim!. During all this, it was actually drizzling just slightly, with occasional bouts of heavier rain, so I kept on having to run out and prop the lid over the top to keep the rain out. An old piece of long 'U' shaped 're-bar' I have laying around in the garage, was ideal for putting across the top of the bin, to keep the lid raised enough to allow a decent airflow and for the smoke to continue billowing out. (as per the picture included here. The red and white square sign propped against a seat at the top of the garden to the right of the barrel, is a big aluminium 'no smoking' sign (salvaged from somewhere during my Post Office days I think)! I HAD been using it in desperation yesterday, to attempt to fan the flames through the air holes at the bottom of the barrel. It amused me to leave it out there on display, to any neighbour who may have looked across!!!! :o/). Image of burning garden waste in an oil drum(That U of re-bar is now part of my tried and tested 'incinerator kit' stored in the garage. lolol). . It was also quite a bit breezier than yesterday, which turned out to be beneficial for keeping things going within the barrel nicely, and clearing the smoke from the neighborhood better. . left things safely smoking and dared to take my eyes off it, and retreated in to TV and eat corned beef, mayo and grated cheese sandwiches, mini cheddars and crisps followed by a couple of squares of chocolate somewhere around 3pm. . checked the oil drum was still all safely smoking away and gradually going down, and dared to go have a nap for almost a couple of hours. .upon waking, the drum was still smoking but pretty much everything in it, with the exception of the couple of big root balls, had been reduced to ash pretty much. Well - it took two days (!!) but that's all the garden hedge-cuttings etc, thankfully gone at last. Yayyyyyyy. :o) Well - it was a nightmare for all the neighbours, it isn't something I'm gonna make a habit of (I actually won't need to much ever again, what with most of the hedges now gone), but it sure does work. I've learned how to deal with garden waste I can't otherwise get rid of. :o) If I ever do have to do it again, I'll dry out the cuttings for a bit first, WONT cut everything up so small and dense, I'll load it up in the evening, and let it smoke down overnight, hopefully largely unnoticed. Cool. . . walked feeling a bit yucky again. . Bella refused her evening meal! Well - I think we just crossed a line there didn't we. She's been going along for a while now, eating sometimes, not at other times, and pooping relatively normally for the most part, and I'd been just trying to 'ride it out' and wait for her to get over it - on a bit of a roller coaster, thinking she was getting better one minute, then not again the next. If she's gonna actually STOP eating, somethings seriously wrong and I'm gonna have no choice but get her to a vet pretty soon. :o( The way she's going, and how she's kinda acting 'subdued', is all too painfully reminiscent of how Sally went!!! . . cut my hair and beard and then showered and changed into clean clothes, desperately trying to escape the sickening smell of smoke which hangs on me STILL!! . . ate a handful of biscuits and a banana . . TVd. Actually bumped into and got all caught-up in watching, what turned out to be a pretty interesting film on BBC1. 'Open Range' - a 2003 western directed by and starring Kevin Costner. I even appreciated the 'love interest' bit, with a kinda happy ending. Good film - worth staying up to watch. . . . to bed after the film around 1:45am.
23 - Up around 7:30am (woken by slamming-door noise from next door yet again) . .walked . .decent sunny spells weather with a bit of a breeze and no one with any washing out. Figured it was time to try having a garden-waste burn!! YIKES!!!! Took my long-wire aerial down from the end of the garden and looped it up on the pergola out of harms way. Dragged the oil barrel down to the 'safe' middle patio area. Just then I spotted one of the neighbours wiping down her washing line! Called out and explained what I was about to do, and she seemed suprisingly quite happy to not put her washing out for a bit. She DID say something along the lines of "well it won't be going on all day will it". (Little did either of us know!!!!!) . carefully made a pyramid of branches and wood and screwed up newspaper, and doused it with just a little paraffin from the garage, before eventually putting Bella inside out of harms way, and daring to actually set it alight. After a false start or two, it eventually got going, and I dared to add an armful of the hedge cuttings. That pretty immediately seemed to suffocate the flames, and all I ended up with was an enormous amount of billowing white smoke across the whole neighborhood! Prodded the cuttings with a large stick and tried to get the flames back, but nothing I did worked. . it all went on like this for hours, with me not daring to take my eyes of it for an instant, lest it should suddenly somehow spring to life and get out of control. It did NOT 'spring to life' - but over time, it did become apparant that the stuff WAS indeed actually going down and WAS kinda burning away somehow - so I eventually kept on adding cuttings to it. It was just SO absurd that it was taking SO long, when I'd seen next door's fire go up in no time the other day. I just couldn't understand what I was doing wrong. This was very close to being exactly one of the reasons why I'd been SO reluctant to have my 'first' fire. I'd envisaged either it would get out of hand and set fire to the neighbourhood - OR - I'd load the barrel up, and have the damn thing go out half way through, and have all the hassle of having to empty out and deal with the resulting mess! . it carried on like this for hour after hour - with me nervously chain smoking all the while - and suffering smoke inhalation from the billowing barrel when I wasn't! I'd occasionally go in and get a cup of coffee, but stay fixedly on guard from the conservatory whilst drinking it! Very tiring to be so uptight and 'on guard' for so long. in UTTER desperation, suspecting I wasn't getting enough air into the thing, I actually dragged the extension lead out of the garage and fixed up my electric drill, and drilled more and larger air holes around the base of the barrel, while the fire inside was still burning!!!! It made absolutely NO difference to proceedings whatsoever!?????. . going inside at one point, I discovered that poor Bella had thrown up all over my deep pile hearth rug!!! Uggh! God knows how I'm going to be able to wash that! Aside from worrying about Bella - if she goes on like this, the house is gonna be horribly uninhabitable for goodness sake!!!!! :o( . . the 'smoking' of my garden refuse, and my constant 'guarding' of it, continued non-stop, ALL F**ING day!!!!!! Ridiculous!!!!! Doubly so when at some point during the afternoon, a neighbor down the road popped into his garden for an hour or so and had a quick bonfire and immediately got rid of all HIS garden waste!! FFS!!!. . I had admittedly somehow gotten through a fair bit of the huge pile of cuttings, but somewhere late afternoon I decided enough was enough, and stopped adding any more fuel to the barrel. The remainder I collected up and managed to cram into three dustbins. Back to walking it out in a rucsack? :o( . . stayed fixedly on guard for hours more with the outside garden floodlight on. It almost makes you 'sea sick' watching smoke rising for that long. The smell of it was in my clothes and all over me, actually making me feel sick! . . time ground on and it soon came to the point where I was going to HAVE to walk Bella. I did NOT want to leave the thing burning, unattended!!!! Nevertheless, given how it had been acting for SO many hours - just smoking and smouldering away - I figured if I put a couple of pieces of timber across the top of the barrel, and put the lid on top of them, it'd give enough air flow to keep smoking, and yet keep everything safely under control. Took the calculated gamble and walked around 8:30pm. . . Would you FFing believe it! When I returned and immediately rushed to look out in the garden, the fire was all aflame inside the drum, licking round the gaps beneath the lid! Must have been going like that for a while, because the timber supports the lid was sat on were actually burned through, and the burned halves were threatening to fall out on either side!!! Would you believe it! The MOMENT my back is turned, after hours and hours of just sitting there smouldering. Bloody typical! Oh well - I got away with it - and at least it's almost all burned away to nothing in the bottom of the barrel. . . fed Bella her normal evening meal, but actually in two stages, just to get her to eat it a bit slower than her usual gulping it all down as fast as she can, in case that would help prevent her from being sick again! . . returned to the conservatory to guard the fire some more. At precisely 10pm, the burned away lid support timbers suddenly fell out of the top (safely onto the concrete slabs below), and the lid plonked down more or less perfectly in place, safely sealing the top of the barrel with the glowing embers within - as if saying, enough is enough - that's me done for today - go rest! That was an utterly utterly absurd, LONG, twelve hours straight, day of burning!!!! That wasn't a fire - that was more like 'cooking' charcoal ffs! If I had a car on the road, I could have taken it all to the tip in half an hour! WTF!?. . . BB called to touch base . . finally ate a tin of chicken soup with turkey slice sandwiches, crisps and chocolate around midnight. . to bed around 1am, all still smelling of smoke. WHAT a day!!!!!! The absolute day from hell! NEVER again!!!!!!!!!!!!! :o(
22 - Up around 8am after not enough sleep, and feeling it! . . .no 'accidents' in the night from Bella thank goodness . . walked . .Bella ate 'most' of her breakfast - but then had a drink and threw up just a little on the carpet in the conservatory!! Well - I guess that's 'an improvement' of sorts at least. :o( . . set about doing 'weeding' in the front garden border next to the path - which was actually pretty much what I'd gone out intending to do about a week ago, when I suddenly built a fence instead! lol . dog walker T turned up late morning with a three quarters-full dustbin of soil as he'd promised. I'd mentioned to the assembled dog walkers the other morning that I was in the market for any 'spare' soil they may be getting rid of. Given all the work I've been doing and all the stuff I've been taking out of the ground, there are areas of the garden in need of slightly building back up - and I'm probably going to end up putting stones and a slight 'raised bank' behind them, below the new fence, so that will also require a large amount of soil. T's 'donation' pretty much disappeared immediately into the path border and ended up hardly noticeably any different. With such a large garden, such a small amount doesn't make much difference. . weeded lots more, pottered around, cleared debris, moved rocks, emptied a big pot, etc, etc, and kept going all day again somehow! Very very slowly I'm just starting to make what I feel is a bit of progress with the state of everything out there. Eventually called it quits on the front garden again, and then similarly 'pottered' in the back garden - adding yet more cut debris to the mountainous heap I've now developed!!! . next doors TV aerials have swiveled in the wind again and ended up back up, bent against the chimney stack, and perilously close over the top of my fragile chimney pot! :o( They need to tweak the nuts, not just keep twisting it back round! . . chatted with the neighbor down the lane, and gave him my old car battery to get rid of. He reckons he can get a few s for it in the scrap yard. Good luck to him - I'm just glad to be rid of it from the cluttered garage. . eventually called it quits feeling oh SO tired AGAIN around 4:30pm . . . ate a trio of ham and mayo rolls, crisps and some chocolate . . almost fell asleep on the sofa for a bit, and probably actually would have done if not for all the shouting, banging noise from next door! :o( . . I'm not sure quite what I did that would have made any difference, but in fiddling about with the barometer clock some more, it's suddenly started telling the correct time again - and IS keeping to it. It'll be a while before I'll be able to trust what its telling me again. . walked. Bella still definitely isn't herself and still has an upset stomach when out. Strange thing is, alongside her being unwell, she's being the best behaved on her lead when walking to heal, that I've had from her yet!? All very strange. . PCd a bit of this . . bella only ate half her evening meal and left the rest!!? . . TVd as the noise of much banging around from next door continued. After six hours of it pretty much non stop, with even nervy Bella being noticeably 'upset' by it at times, at around 10pm I'd really had enough of it and lost my temper and stamped three times on the floor (traumatising Bella even more!). Things DID quieten down somewhat after that. :o( . . ate bowls of rice krispies before to bed around 11:30pm.
21 - Woke earlier then up around 7:20am. . oh jeeze!! Bella had been 'ill' in the night. Everywhere!! All around the kitchen AND living room! I'm not even sure from which end, although I think it was 'the runs' kinda, given how she always 'travels' when she goes! . cleared up just a little as best I could, using much newspaper and a wallpaper scraper. 'Washing' of carpets and carpet tiles will have to wait for some other time - at least until she's not liable to do it all again right away!!! :o( Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Now I AM really worrying about her. :o( . . PCd this before walking late . . . Bella ate her breakfast. Goodo. That's a good sign. Fingers crossed . . spoke with the neighbour who said a couple of guys in a car with Irish type accents had driven down the 'private' back lane, and stopped outside my carport, peeking in and looking at my car!!! They were allegedly 'dealers' and were looking for untaxed/off the road cars to buy for 'salvage'. The neighbor was of course understandably suspicious and he took their registration number. They also said they were putting leaflets through the house doors. As soon as I'd finished being told all this, I went and checked and there was NO leaflet in the letterbox. . some time later, my front gate was found to be wide open and there WAS a leaflet put through the door!! "Clearway Salvag. Registered Waste Carriers. We buy any vehicle. Mot failuers, Non runners or runners, Also salvaged vehicles, Cars Vans Caravans 4x4s etc, Instant cash from 20-6000. *DVLA NOTIFIED* Don't wait to get 80 fine from DVLA for untaxed vehicles. Office:0800 9596602. Direct Line:07733005815". There's 'something' VERY iffy about all that. I mean - two guys - from Ireland! - driving down peoples back lanes peering into gardens looking for cars!!????? Makes me rather insecure and worried about security all of a sudden. :o( . . . cleared up a little and did dish washing chores pretty much until Mum arrived . . chats etc for hours . . ate Mum donated pork pies, mini cheddars, crisps and biscuits . . napped . . walked feeling pretty yucky and achey and unwell . . messed around a bit with the cheap nasty barometer on my diner firebreast wall. It stopped keeping accurate time a while ago (despite having wasted money on a PAIR of new batteries, because the shop wouldn't sell me just one!). Obviously the old fashioned, bulky, electric clock mechanism has had its day. Managed to prise off the front cover and glass, and eventually successfully unscrewed the nut and removed the mechanism. Successfully fitted the newer mechanism I'd salvaged from the cheap plastic clock Mum'd let me have 'for experiments'. Unfortunately the spindles were a slightly different size, so I wasn't able to re-fit the original, slightly more decorative barometer clock-hands, and had to make do with the plainer new ones. Had to trim off (with one bite of my nail clippers) a tiny bit of one of the hands to get it to fit appropriately on the face within the case. Looks 'ok'. During all this messing around, the whole front of the clock face case came away from the rest of the barometer!!!!??? Absolute cheap rubbish it is - made of chipboard, with the clock part just stuck on with some weird rubbry glue!! Can't believe I threw away so much money for it! :o( Ended up using some dabs of PVA to reattach the clock part. . eventually got it back on the wall, and lo and behold - inexplicably it wouldn't keep proper time all of a sudden!!??? FFS! . . guitarred, TVd, PCd the night away until around 3am before eventually to bed without having eaten anything else.
20 - Up around 7am (woken by noise from next door I think). No signs of Bella having been ill in the night thank goodness. Hopefully it was just one of those passing stomach upsets dogs get. Sally of course had a 'glass stomach' and frequently got unwell like that. This is the first time I've had it with Bella since I've had her I think , so maybe I just need to learn to recognise HER way of being 'mildly' unwell, rather than immediately worry so much? Time will tell. . .walked and played ball as usual, with Bella acting pretty much her normal self. . on returing home, Bella once again didn't want her breakfast, although could be tempted by a gravy bone. . . spent the whole day nonstop, working in the front garden again. Cut down and with some difficulty, eventually dug out the big root of the last ugly deformed bush growing amongst the dead hedge at the bottom of the garden. Raked up all the bits of remaining cuttings and tidied up all around the lawn as best I could. Used the hedge trimmer to cut back and tidy-up next doors hedge, and then ran it across the top of the deadwood hedge at the bottom of my garden, to even it up into more of a straight line and bring it down to around the height of the fence. . That all took until early afternoon. Spent the rest of the day on the top patio, much of it in the sun, cutting up with secateurs and the lopper, all the mountain of hedge trimmings - just enough to be able to fit into a dustbin. Filled dustbin after dustbin and carried it all through the house, and dumped it in an enormous heap in the back garden by the rotary clothes line. Much of the time I was doing all this chopping up, the police helicopter was noisily buzzing all around, doing some sort of search or other apparantly. . by around 5:30pm, all the hedge had been cut up and moved into the heap in the back garden, together with a couple of heavy big root stumps and also a pile of larger thick wood branches I didn't cut up. If I AM going to try having a fire in my oil drum, the sizes I've cut everything into, should enable me to be able to pick up big handfuls, walk it over a short distance and safely feed it into the top of the drum bit by bit. We shall see. . stored the considerable pile of fence timber offcuts in the garage, swept and tidied up the front patio, and pretty much drew a line under things out there for the timebeing. Less is DEFINITELY more out there. It's looking a bit like an inviting blank slate in parts. I need to sit with it like that for a bit, and plan what should be done with it, to make it look nicer - but be LOW maintenance. I think I AM going to have to eventually work towards clearing that lower dead wood hedge, putting in three more fence posts, and carrying the fence across. It IS begging for it. The main problem with that is going to be, how to get the heavy bags of premixed 'postcrete' home from the builders yard! (Everything else I can carry, bit by bit, of course.). . .Utterly exhausted - AGAIN! Sat around recovering a little before then walking with a coffee. Bella still appears to have something of an upset stomach. .gave Bella her evening meal which she ate as normal . . TVd and guitarred just a little - with difficulty. My hands are all sore and puffy!. . drank a glass of red wine and ate a pizza with extra cheese followed by four kipling apple pies . . struggled to stay awake until to bed around 11:30pm.
19 - Broken sleep then up around 8:30am with the sounds of the bins being emptied. Drizzley. Boy I'm tired and aching and covered in bruises, sores, blisters, scratches! I really have worked VERY hard these last few days. :o/ It's really taken a toll on me. Gonna take a while to recover I think! . . slow getting going. . Uhoh - Bella appears to have thrown-up just a bit of 'water' on the living room carpet!!? . . Walked late and played ball as normal before back via the post office to draw out some cash and buy a couple of supplies . . UH OH!! Bella did not want to touch her breakfast!!! That's SO out of character. She normally can't wait to rush it down. She wouldn't even take a couple of gravy bones!!? . . TVd . . Bella (food still untouched) eventualy had a drink - and a short while later promptly threw THAT up on the dining room carpet!! Oh dear. :o( <worry>. . . vacuumed and tidied up just a little before PCing a bit of this (for hours!), trying to catch up with the last few days of the blurr of hard labour, etc. I think I AM going to HAVE to have a 'day off', although I'm itching to trim a little more and tidy up the awful mess out there. Typing this ain't easy - my fingers are a mass of invisible bramble-thorn splinters! . .Actually - about the garden fence. It isn't necessarily the type I would have chosen - but it's what most of the back garden has been done like, so it seemed appropriate to carry on 'the theme'. Benefits I can think of in having such a type of fence in the way it's done, are:- it allows the wind through in the gales, rather than being big flat sheets to be broken and blown away; it allows hedghogs, frogs and 'desireable' garden visitors to pass freely, whilst keeping Bella firmly in her place; 'pieces' can be 'relatively' easily replaced if and when necessary (and of course I can 'just' about manage to do so, by carrying the stuff back from the builders yard, rather than need a car or have to pay the 10 for delivery!). Blah, blah, blah. Enough - lets go check to see how Bella is doing!! :o( . . drank a glass of red wine while cooking up four cheese and mayo burgers in bread rolls. Although morer listless than usual, and still not interested in eating or even drinking much, Bella WAS tempted by the last bite of burger . . napped until the alarm at 7pm. Woke feeling pretty awful myself! . . decided to skip the evening walk and just went into the windy back garden with Bella for a bit instead. She played ball just a little, and when we came back in, was tempted to have a bit of her breakfast still in her bowl, so I gave her a tin of meat to go with it is her usual evening meal, and she ate it all down - albeit very much slower than her normal. Fingers crossed. . guitarred briefly and TVd as Bella hardly moved on her sofa all evening . . ate a banana and a couple of kipling apple pies . . to bed around 12:30am.
18 - Up around 8am. 14C in, 11C out with drizzle. What an amazing swing in the outside temperature all of a sudden. Very tired and achey . . walked . . the drizzle cleared up as forecast, so after crunching an annadin tablet to take the edge of all my aches and pains, it was straight back to the fence, to cut and fix the 'missing' handful of rails. . with only the last section down to the end of the garden to do, past a strangely positioned post well away from the end, it was pretty obvious I was going to have to buy more timber. Managed to use a long offcut poked through all the undergrowth to see what I was aiming for and prove it WAS gonna be doable and bit the bullet and went for it. . cleared the mass of hedges (and a tall, thick trunked, self seeded tree!) and just dumped it all in an enormous heap on the garden. Yep - FAR too much to cut up and walk out!!! I'm gonna HAVE to muster up the courage to FINALLY have a go at burning it all, in my not yet used, homemade oil barrel 'burner', still stored in the garage! . Hacked away for ages at the root of the small tree with a hand axe and got it down at least below ground level, but sadly had to leave it in situ because I just could NOT get it out (and didn't want to waste the whole rest of the day in trying). . . recovered a bit from my exertions before leaving Bella at home again and walking up the builders yard for YET more timber around 2pm. Struggled back with two pieces of 25x150mmx4.8m (14.08) and then managed to immediately return and carry back the last two of the 25mmx75mmx4.8m (9.20). (I need to check on these prices! Have I been overcharged somewhere along the line?) . . carried on working at it and by 5pm actually had it all done 'through' the deadwood of the hedge at the bottom of the garden, and right up to the very edge of the wall and sharp drop down to the pavement below. The 'deadwood' hedge can stay for the time-being, because although unsightly, it acts as a very efficient Bella barrier, and of course doesn't grow or require any maintenace. Having said that, of course it's now begging to be done away with and for some more posts to be concreted in and the fence carried on across up towards the gate. MORE work! Ugggh - that can wait - indefinitely! Anyway - YAYYYYY! Job done - and the garden has grown in width by around three feet (although it HAS cost me a small fortune!) !! :o)Image of a post and rail garden fence It's a mess at the moment, and will require softening with some 'appropriate' plants, but I'm glad it's done. MUCH less maintenance now, and a definite dividing line to work to and be responsible for. . . shifted all the cut hedge and tree branches up onto the patio by the house. I'm gonna have to spend ages cutting that into at least, pieces the size I can carry through the house to have a 'bonfire' up the back, because I can't safely do it out front due to the cobweb of phone lines overhead! Cutting that all up and carrying it through is a big enough job in itself! That may well have to wait for a while. I'm just SO tired . . . sat around for ages in the dark with the outside light on, with coffee and cigarettes 'admiring' my work - but really because I was too tired to move (even when it began to drizzle a little!). (The photo I've included here - which doesn't do it justice, makes it look wonkier than it really is, and strangely makes the huge garden look really small and narrow? - was taken the morning after). .cleared tools into the conservatory and then just sat around TVing for a bit, trying to recover and allowing the sweat to cool on me! . . . walked . . . TVd . . showered and got cleaned up . . ate tripple defrosted chicken and stuffing slice sandwiches, chicken crisps, and a tin of chicken soup, followed later by a slice of Mum donated coffee and walnut spongecake . . TVd/PCd (catching up with and trawling through e-bay listings etc) struggling to stay awake, until to bed around 3am!
17 - Dreadful night of very little sleep, because the pain from the finger on my right hand kept waking me! Up at 7:30am. 12C in, 2C out. . .walked . Got into a brief conversation with an assembly of dog walkers about the local recycling boxes outside peoples houses all full of bottles and cans, and thence about peoples drinking habits. One of the guys has a daily tipple of vodka I think he said, and admitted to spending around 40 a week on booze!! Jeeze - how the other half live!! That's more than I can afford to spend on food!!! . . popped an annadin tablet and got back to work on the fence . . cut and dug out more brambles and eventually fitted the next couple of fence rails and used up all the timber I had by mid afternoon. . left Bella at home and walked up the builders yard. The guy had been true to his word and had ordered-in fresh supplies of the timber. Bought four 25mmx75mmx4.8m (15.16) and got the guy to parcel tape them together so they were easier for me to carry. Walked them slowly back home. . recovered with a coffee and cigs in the sun before repeating the excercise with two 25x150mmx4.8m lengths (?). . after recovering, I set about hacking away a huge amount of the hedge to reveal the next post down and started fitting the next lot of rails. SO much cut down hedge to get rid of, I don't think it's going to be possible to do anything other than have a fire now! :o( Far too much to try to chop up and walk out!! . cut and fit a couple of rails before reluctantly HAVING to call it quits around 5:30pm, because I just couldn't see enough in the dark to keep going. Shame - rain is forecast and it would have been good to have been able to get at least those four bits done before all the timber gets soaked. Oh well. . cleared all the tools away and then ended up just sitting around with a coffee and cigs in the garden looking at the fence for absolutely ages . . . walked with a coffee, WITHOUT a rucsack. . Damn - my 'D' earpiece I use on the scanner has broken! I'd noticed a while ago the wire had become strangely stiff - and now it's actually snapped. Jeeze - how many s was that - and it lasted less than a year was it?!! Grrrr. :o( . . TVd, drank a glass of wine and watched the remaining bit of tonights starwatch live show . . ate triple corned beef, grated cheese and mayo sandwiches with mini cheddars, crisps and chocolate . . to bed around midnight.
16 - Up around 8am. 12C in, 5C out. . . walked late. Upon reaching BGdns the ILB was just returning into the harbour to return to station. Something was going on!? Image of slipped-mooring trawler-hull, salvage by pilot vessel Celia T in TorbayTurned out the trawler-hull used for storing fishing nets and gear at the mouth of the outer harbor, had slipped its mooring and had been floating free in Torbay! (Is THAT why I heard all that 'out of the ordinary' clanking in the dark last night perhaps?) By the time I realised what was going on, it was way over by Broadsands, and it'd been taken successfully under tow by the pilot-boat Celia-T , with a harbor masters boat in attendance, and they were slowly hauling it back! Typical - this particular morning I hadn't brought my scanner with me. I DID however have my VX2 in a pocket, and 'just' caught the coastguard's earlier 'pan pan' emergency broadcast on channel 16 being cancelled. The hull was towed back and then right-in past its usual mooring, to disapper in towards the INNER harbor. Amazing it didn't end up on the rocks and sunk! I wonder if the tug which has been moored in the bay for ages, was firing up its engines just in case it had to quickly move out of the way!! (It's been suggested to me, that despite what I imagine is some considerable expense to have that mooring for a 'hull', it's worth it rather than have the expense of some other place to store all their gear - IF there even IS anywhere near!). . . straight back to work in the front garden. Dug out all the roots of the brambles and hedge that I've cut away. Wasn't easy and took a considerable amount of time and effort, but I extracted most of it in the end. I've a horrible feeling that the whole hedge there, may well have been growing out of that big root-ball I've dug out - which may well mean 'next doors' bit of remaining hedge could end up dieing back and just end up being brambles and dead wood (which it mostly is anyway)!! Time will tell. . sat around in the sun recovering with a coffee and cigarettes for ages, before managing to muster-up the energy and 'the nerve' to leave Bella at home and walk up the builders yard around 1:30pm. Bought a box of 200 5mmx60mm Velocity Screws, a 22inch universal hard point saw (the old one I have is rusty blunt and useless), and two 25mmx75mmx4.8m lengths of sawn timber for 26.24. Walked it all home. . Messed around with a G clamp and put one of the bits of timber against the fence posts to see how things are gonna work out. Damn - it's gonna take more timber than I'd imagined - and NONE of those posts are equally spaced, in-line, or quite straight!!!!! . Coffee and cigs and much thinking things through before heading back up the builders yard for another 25mmx75mmx4.8m length, and two 25x150mmx4.8m lengths (21.66). Walking that back really did almost kill me! Ended up 'collapsed' in the gutter just outside my front gate for a while!! lol . . . set about cutting and fitting fence rails. Every single individual rail between each pair of posts had to be cut to fit at angles, pre-drilled, and fixed with four screws each - and each of those screws awkwardly put in 'backwards' - screwed in on the neighbours side towards me on mine!!!!! HELL getting the screwdriver and/or drill and screwdriver bit, in amongst some of those hedge branches and brambles!!! Only 'just' possible with several!! SO, SO time consuming and awkward!
Bad light reluctantly stopped play around 5pm . . . walked with a coffee. Chilly with a fantastic clear, star filled sky. Sat there for quiet a while, mostly lookin' up. A fantastic start to the BBCs series of live starwatch shows on TV tonight - in fact, already being broadcast as I sat lookin at the sky. . returned in time to catch the second half of the 'starwatch' program. Pretty good stuff. . ate a trio of ham rolls, a tin of beef broth, two pieces of bread and butter, and a bunch of chocolate. . to bed around 12:30am.
15 - Up around 8:15am. 12C in, 4C out. With the 15mph wind and up to 30mph gusts, it feels much more like freezing outside with the windchill, and the south easterly direction of it really is penetrating the house (via the whistling windows and doors no doubt) and taking all the latent heat straight out of it! :o( . . . walked the woods in layers . . sat out on the front garden patio cutting branches . . as she'd coincedentally said she was going to, next door had a young chap in to do some gardening hedge trimming work for her. I think he 'may' have been a 'learning disablities' type - but if so, was pretty highly functioning (more so than me, as it turned out!!!!!!!) . as if to make me eat my words ("I SO clearly simply don't even exist to them"), the woman next door made a point of coming out to speak to me to tell me she was intending to trim some of the high hedge which backs onto and slightly over my pergola in the back garden, and she was sorry that some of the cuttings could regrettably end up falling my side. Because of the lay of the land, I've long been aware that cutting that hedge is FAR easier done from MY side by climbing onto the top of the pergola (and ladders I have stored up there) - and I was fully intending to do it (again) quite soon. Seemed appropriate to offer to do it for her in this way. In fact, I dropped everything I was in the middle of doing, and set about climbing up there with the hedge trimmer straight away. Didn't take long, and I cut it back, hard, as low as the pergola and ladders and old-wood, thick branches would readily allow. More cuttings to get rid of! :o( . . returned to the front garden to carry-on cutting-up cuttings. A short time later the lady next door reappeared and suggested that they were going to have a fire to burn all their cuttings and hedge trimmings, and would I like to add all MY cuttings to the heap in their back garden! I was reluctant to add to what could have been a problem for them, but she was all 'matter of fact' about it, so I eventually readily carried everything over my patio wall and round to their large pile of bonfire material. Boy - I DO hope they don't have a problem setting the fire, and get lumbered with all MY stuff as well!! . . returned to the back garden and trimmed and tidied-up all the cuttings from around the pergola. Thought I lumbered nextdoor with more than enough of MY waste, so cut everything into bin-sized and carryable pieces and held on to it in one of my dustbins. Eventually called it quits and retreated inside with Bellla as the worker guy next door set about preparing the bonfire. Never having EVER had a bonfire myself, and being strangely 'frightened' of them as a result, it seemed like an incredibly risky venture to me - just set in an excavation in the middle of her lawn, and with such strong gusts of wind! I wouldn't have dared! . . sneakily watched through the slats of the back bedroom blind, as the fire was set. It happily blazed away nicely, the guy heaped all the cuttings onto it bit by bit, and in no time at all, it was pretty much all gone!! Just like that!! I even saw him layed out on the grass next to it, being warmed and relaxing at one point! Blimey - how easy was THAT! Why AM I SO 'nervous' about having such a fire of my own????? I'm going to HAVE to give it a go - rather than spend all those hours and hours, cutting stuff up so I can carry it out like I do! It IS madness. I think thye've just shown me up to be a complete idiot haven't they. lolol In fact - all in all, the events of the whole day have proven to be a testament to how much of an out of touch with reality idiot, I really actually am!! lolololol :o/ . . . drank a glass of red wine and cooked and ate a pack of eight small sausages with chips followed by some chocolate. Those sausages were going out-of-date in the local store, and cost me a mere 80p. A few more pennies for some potatoes, and that was a BIG feed for not much over a . THAT is a classic 'benchmark' type cost of a meal for me. It's why I have SUCH a hard time going in cafes and spending lots more than that for just a cup of coffee or some such. Fish and chips from a local chippie is well over 5 now I think isn't it? And as for the cost of eating-out in local restraunts - well - I could feed myself for almost a week for the cost of a single meal!!! I just CAN'T do it!! . . . lay down to nap but couldn't and just ended up half snoozing for an hour or so before getting back up to sit in front the TV for a bit . . walked . . .TVd . drank a small glass of the Baileys Mum had let me have. Nice stuff. Could have used some of that when I had that sinus infection a while ago! . . ate bowls of sugar puffs and chocolate . . to bed around 1am. d
14 - Up around 7:45am. 14C in, 6C out with a lot of cloud . . PCd this . . walked in the biting cold breeze . . wrapped myself up in padded overalls and hat and gloves, and sat out front chopping up hedge cuttings into two inch long sized pieces into a dustbin until Mum arrived around 12:30pm . . coffee and chats - and a look at the news channel. Amazing pictures of a new luxury cruise liner having horrifically hit rocks in calm seas, and capsized off Italy somewhere - with a handful dead and lots of people still missing! So - who's gonna end up in the dock over THAT one I wonder? Wonder what sort of lives people end up living once they've been found 'responsible' for such a disaster? :o( . carried on cutting some more after Mum had gone, and then all of a sudden she'd returned. She'd brought me a couple of pairs of her old gardening gloves, because the ones I were using were all cut to shreds. :o) . . carried on cutting a little more before eventually just calling it quits because my hands were aching, blistered, splintered and lacerated, and it was SO cold out there in the wind - and leaving still a big pile of more to do. :o( . .Not 'that' cold out temperature wise, but the wind blowing strong from a kinda south easterly direction made it feel VERY chilly. Having had the front door open all morning, inside the house had cooled quite noticeably, down to only around 12C! The 'perfect storm' type wind direction for plenty of whistling from windows and the front door! WHAT cheap, utter crap those 'new' windows are I'm stuck with!! :o( These days it seems you really DO get what you pay for - which isn't any consolation when you haven't got much and have no choice but to pay as little as possible!! :o( Not only are the windows and door whistling - the laquer on the cheap 'brass effect' door knocker has 'blown' already, and the knocker has become SO corroded, it looks atrocious and is in painfully obvious need of replacement - ALREADY!! The lock is fast going the same way! Same also goes for the illuminated brass doorbell push - who's lamp has also blown of course. Do all that work - pay all that money, and within a year, it's all turned to s**t! Is it any wonder that I am so often 'incapacitated' by the overwhelming pointlessness of doing ANYTHING, and am SO reluctant to have to buy new things or have stuff done by people - to inevitably end up getting screwed-over some more?!! :o( . . ate a banana, mum donated pie, sausage roll, crisps and mini cheddars, followed by a bunch of biscuits . . napped . . walked in the uncomfortably cold wind. tu . . TVd the news and then PCd this for ages. . .ate a mum donated pie, crisps, mini cheddars, bowls of rice krispies and chocolates . . to bed around 2am.
13 - Up around 8:15am. 14C in, 1C out. . PCd this . . walked . . TVd, in danger of doing nothing again, before eventually mustering the energy to start having a go at cutting back one of the overgrown, high-maintenance hedges in the FRONT garden! I'd realised a while ago that deep in the ugly growth of mostly brambles, there remained some old short, wooden fence posts which appeared (as best I could tell by reaching deep into the hedge and giving them a wobble) intact enough to maybe fix a bit of timber rail fencing to. Needed to make a start cutting that back before any birds decided to nest in it again. . started off by leaving Bella safely inside while I used the hedgtrimmer to start cutting away at it all, before then letting her out to join me as I moved to using the lopper and secateurs. . .late afternoon the 'lady of the house' arrived home, and I was able to discuss what her plans were for the hedge, and make sure she had no objection to what I was proposing. (Dunno WHY I bother to so much 'consider' others like I do - when I SO clearly simply don't even exist to them!) She had no objection to me doing what I suggested, but suprisingly confirmed she intended to keep whatever bramble strangled plants there were along the hedgeline!? Her reasoning was that by leaving it all there as it was, she didn't have to do any weeding or maintenance on it, and she could just leave it!! That was disappointing - and seemed frankly bizarre and faulty reasoning to me. By just leaving it (as we pretty much BOTH have done this last year), it's just continued to grow across half the (my) garden into a massive and unsightly bramble strangled mess - making for an even bigger job to sort out in the long run! (Those viciously sharp brambles must grow three, four or more feet a year!!!) I confess - I was rather hoping (with the enticement of a nice, new-ish post and rail fence as I was suggesting - all done and PAID FOR by me of course!) she'd say she wanted it all gone - in which case I was half inclined to offer to cut and dig it all out on her side, as long as she (with the others who live there - all with cars) got rid of all the cuttings to the tip for 'us'. It's obvious common sense isn't it? Do the once and for all, large amount of work to take it all out, then you have hardly any ongoing maintenance to do at all - especially if you return the whole lot to lawn which could have been quite doable!? Oh well - that's REALLY disappointing. What that means is, I'm gonna spend a load of money, time and effort cutting back MY side right up to the boundary to be able to fit the fence rails, only to then STILL have to cut the bloody hedge (brambles especially) and get rid of the cuttings all the time, as it uncontrollably grows back over and through the fence rails from her side! :o( On top of that - at night, because of the position of the only nearby streetlight and how high that hedge has grown, my ENTIRE garden will remain in TOTAL pitch black, shadowed darkness! Bugger! . . . at length, I eventually managed to cut the section of hedge I was starting with (only half the length of the garden from the top - leaving a tall fir tree in place half way down, and all the bottom half of the hedge beyond it, to do some other time - 'war of attrition' like) right back to expose the little fence posts. Those posts appear to actually be mine and on MY property - and more or less in a straight upright line, and in 'adequate' condition. Only problem I can see in what I'm planning is, because of the position of the topmost post, positioned just on the neighbours side and hard-up against the end of my patio/dividing garden wall (obviously built AFTER the posts were already in place - and VERY much away from the dividing line and on MY property), I'm gonna have to fix the rails onto the neighbors side of the posts! That's gonna be awkward, with HER side of the roughly cut-back hedge still in position. :o(. . carried on being a 'human shredder', cutting as much of the cut down hedge as I could into 'carryable' bin-sized chunks, until calling it quits gone 4pm as the light faded, and when I no longer had the strength in my right hand to be able to squeeze the secateurs any more! With one dustbin filled, I left a BIG heap of cuttings on the front 'patio', still to chop up. Ugggh. Hours and hours more mindless chopping to do - and then the problem of how to get rid of it all again. Misery. .cleared up a little and brought all the tools back in and carried the dustbin through to the back garden. Filled a rucsack! Back on the 'walked with a rucksack' chain-gang again.:o( . One thing I forgot to mention here - that little lane shortcut to the local shops, which was so badly overgrown I took my secateurs up there and cut back some of the branches a little while ago - it's suddenly been attended to and had all the overhanging foliage cut RIGHt back. It's now about twice the width it was and is much easier to simply walk down - albeit still covered in appalling amounts of litter and other fly-tipped rubbish everwhere! . . PCd a bit of this . . walked in the chilly with a rucsack and coffee. A bit of cloud, but looking up at the stars through one of the gaps, I promptly saw a brief meteorite. Sat around for quite a while drinking my coffee and listening to local amateurs on the scanner. . TVd . drank a glass of red wine while watching an hour and a half long show on the Dave channel. "Milton Jones Live Universe Tour Part One:Earth". Stand-up comedian Milton Jones delivering one-liner after one-liner. VERY amusing (I unusually laughed out loud on more than one occasion) - and SO impressive that he could actually remember them all like he did. :o). . cooked and ate a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese followed by large amounts of chocolate . .struggled to stay awake and to bed just after 11pm.
12 - Up around 8:45am!! That was an unusualy long sleep? . .woke with coffee and cigs while PCing this. Feel as though I could go straight back to sleep!!!? . . . walked very late and then continued on down town looking for dog food again. Would you believe it - both little Co-Op stores were all out of stock of their cheaper 'own brand' - again!! Had a look in the little Tesco Express and ended up buying 24 tins of theirs for 11.20. Overdid it really, because that was quiet an uncomfortable struggle to carry them home on my back, and I even couldn't get all the tins in my rucksac and had to carry one in a bodywarmer pocket! . . balanced my accounts. Always makes me feel a little more 'comfortable' when I've succeeded in doing that, and cleared the stack of bills that have been sat on the desk for weeks. . . ate tinned corned beef sandwiches, mini-cheddars, crisps and a small piece of Sis2s densely-packed american fruitcake. . napped. Woke from a deep dream around 5:20pm. (In the dream, YET again, I'd returned to and let myself into, my old house in Bristol! Makes absolutely no sense at all of course, but on emerging from the strangely altered front door, I found the wall had been knocked down through to next door, and IHB and a group of his friends were all there having a dinner party type get together - with some guitars. I joined them (because of the guitars), only to next find, they'd all drifted away together leaving me sat there on my own. I thus woke, to escape the awkward, painful 'avoidant' feelings.). . . TVd . . walked in the increasing cold. . tu. . TVd . . PCd e-bay and such and then sorted through some old piles of paperwork, trying to throw some old bills and suchlike away . . ate bowls of sugar puffs and the last bit of the fruitcake. To bed around 3am. Well - I didn't achieve much with the day, but at least I wasn't in 'quite' as much of a hopeless down mood as yesterday!
11 - Up around 7:30am. 16/4C inside/out. Omg!! Damn, damn, damn! I left the gas fire in the living room, on its lowest setting, on all night!! That'll be a bunch of money just thrown away! :o( . .walked. Brief glimpses of dolphin in the bay. Haven't seen any of those myself for ages. . . did some laundry - and that was all!! Ended up in a terrible down state, couldn't see the point in ANYTHING, and just sat around hardly moving the whole rest of the day. Felt frozen and headachey throughout. Worst day of 'mood' I've had for a while!!??? Totally 'incapacitated' by it. (How could I EVER possibly attempt to explain such a thing to a JobCentre or some such? They just wouldn't have a clue or believe it would they!! :o( ) What a waste of a nice sunny day! :o( . . . . forced down a handful of biscuits . oh SO reluctantly walked - slowly - and ended up just sat in the cold, like stone, for absolutely ages. A lot of stars in the clear sky, but my eyes were playing tricks and everything seemed to be moving, so I didn't bother focusing on anything. Very tempted (again) to just go to sleep there in the damp cold, and let things take their course!!! . . . sat in front the TV/fire some more . . eventually forced down a small tin of ham in four small bread rolls and a bunch of chocolate around 11pm . . actually fell alseep on the sofa for just a minute or two, and even found an uneaten Malteser still in my mouth when I 'woke'!!? . . to bed around 12:45am. aa
10 - Up around 7:50am. .walked. . it was an enormous effort to do so, and took me until well gone 11am , but I eventually mustered up enough energy to leave Bella at home and walk to the local industrial estate in search of wall bolts for fixing my T&K brackets to the back wall of the house. Stopped off in the first little unit I came to, and pretty much found the type I was after, only to then be told they didn't do card transactions!?? With only a tenner left in my pocket, that was a bit of an irritating stumbling block, so I carried on to the builders merchant. They did NOT have the type of bolts I wanted! (Apparantly these days, everyone uses the 'new' type of bolt that simply 'screws' into the concrete/brickwork. I've never used any of those, and frankly, I just don't understand how they can possibly actually work - especially if you intend to possibly undo them and then do them back up, perhaps even a couple of times in the future! Of course they MUST work ok, because that's what they all use these days, but I wasn't willing to try them out on this - mostly because I know how 'iffy' some of the walls are in these badly built houses. Those type of fixings would absolutely NOT work in some of the crumbly black 'cinder' blocks used throughout the place. . did a bit of 'fact finding' looking at their timber for making up the type of 'post and rail' fences that line my back garden (with a view to reluctantly possibly doing something similar in the front garden, when I get serious about cutting-back the monstorously overgrown, high maintenance hedges!) and then returned to the other place and found I had 'just' enough cash, to buy all I wanted, to be able to get on and have a go at putting the brackets on the back of the house. Bought three twin-packs of 'Heavy Duty Masonary Through Bolt M12x100' for 4.80 and a five pack of '12x200mm Masonary Drills' for 3.27. . after a coffee and many cigarettes (during which it drizzled) I 'just' managed to keep going, and got the ladder up against the house, got tools out and started to give it a go. (Gave Bella some bones to eat while I did so.) The mounting holes in the metal brackets were just a little too small to accept the heavy duty 12mm fixings I'd gone for, so all five of the slots had to be filed out slightly bigger! . the exact middle of the back wall of the house, which is where I wanted them, was far too near the bedroom window, so I ended up going for as close as I dared. The first TWO holes I drilled in the wall, ended up with the drill-bit just disappearing into a big void!! It wasn't just a case of having missed the bricks and drilled into the grout between - there actually was a big void of nothing behind the render!!??? (I looked in the little hole with my torch, and poked around through it with a bit of bent wire. A large empty void!!!!!?????) What the hell is holding these houses up? . dared to risk going higher and drilled again, and thankfully managed to find a brick. As luck would have it, all three holes for the top K bracket then found proper red bricks to drill into. Used up and blunted one of the drill bits pretty quickly, and had to move onto a second. (Glad I bought that pack of five rather than just one as I'd originally intended!) Nervously pounded the bolts into the holes with a lump hammer, and things started to look as though it was gonna work out ok. Used a plumb line and spirit levels to mark and then drill and fix the bottom T bracket - around 24" lower than the top K. I MAY have screwed-up, putting the K at the top and the T at the bottom, but no matter how much I've tried to think it through, I've never quite been able to decide which way round they really SHOULD go (if it actually matters. I've seen both ways round, on other peoples houses). I'm not gonna worry about it too much. The way things have worked out, what with how poorly the house is built, and given how high-up near the eaves I've put them, and the nature of the windows and 'unsupported' walls between, etc, etc, I have NO intention of putting anything particularly large or heavy on those brackets ( - like I WAS happy to do on the house in Bristol!). If I ever DO decide to risk something big and heavy in the future, I reckon part of the deal would be at least another K bracket, well below these two! Given the storms we get here, I could see the whole wall falling away if I have something with too much wind loading!!! . . filled the two aborted holes as best I could, with a strong mix of cement and PVA rammed in. Let things dry just a little before dabbing some paint on, to help with rainproofing. . dabbed just a 'touch' of PVA/filler mix on the backs of the brackets before finally bolting them in place, just to smooth out any irregularities in the surface of the wall, and give the best chance of a good stable fixing. . Image of T & K brackets and mastfinally, dug out the thin old TV aerial mast from the garage, and bolted that between the brackets, just to kinda tie them together for the meantime, and to enable me to envisage and plot what I may actually end up putting up there. (I DO intend to paint them white at some point in the future, so they are less noticeable.) Yayy. Nasty, NASTY job done. :o) AT LAST!! How long have I had those damn brackets laying around on the floor of the conservatory? Months!! Glad to have FINALLY just got them out of the way! I have a feeling I 'may' end up moving my lightweight disconne antenna out of the attic and putting it up there. Aside from the fact it's 'relatively' deaf inside the attic (compared to the co-linear, outside, higher), it's recently started to exhibit picking up a LOT of 'interference', halting and ruining my usual scanning!!!!???? - which I have a feeling could well be 'wireless equipment' just through the wall in the neighbors houses!! The colinear on the roof does NOT suffer such problems. Anyway - whatever I do with that mast, its gonna be SO much easier just popping the ladder up to it, rather than getting right up onto the main roof - and for only a 'few' feet difference in height! I DO need a 'decent' bit of heavy-duty aluminium mast really now though. . . while doing this work, I discovered amongst the 'salvaged from a skip' rainwater gutter spares I have in the garage, 'almost' enough parts to do next-doors rainwater downpipe project (assuming the rubber seals are still good on the outlet bit)! I'll need to measure-up to see if the downpipe part is long enough. Maybe just some L bends and brackets to buy for a few s? Cool. (Lots of other work up there to do - need to do a LOT with my rusting, leaking around the roof flashing, soil-pipe stack!) . . . . showered and then PCd this at length . . walked late . . TVd . . drank a glass of red wine . . finally ate six pieces of bread and butter tuna and mayo sandwiches, mini cheddars, a pack of crisps and some chocolates around midnight, before to bed straight after around 1am. d
9 - Up around 8:50am. .walked late. Found a tennis ball in the gutter just up the road on the way out. Like I need more tennis balls right now!! lolol . . TVd/PCd . . .once again, failed to manage to raise the energy to do - anything!!! :o( I definitely seem to be in an ongoing 'winter down' at the moment. Not really functioning at all! . Mum called in with a new pair of slippers for me, because I'd made the mistake of casually mentioning I needed some new ones a while ago! Good grief - she spends more money on me than I do! Makes me feel SO guilty!! I find myself trying to 'guard' what I say when we talk now, lest she should rush out and spend YET more of her money on me!!!!! :o( (I DID just happen to mention how nice I thought the Yaesu VX-7 radio is! lolol Just as a joke of course. Safe, because she hadn't a clue what I was talking about.:o) If she did, she probably bloomin' would!!!!!!) . . . ate a tin of soup with four crusts of bread and butter followed by biscuits and a little chocolate . . napped . . walked. Very bright, mostly clear, moonlit sky. . TVd. Another program on, all about the search for the Higgs Boson particle - but I gotta be honest - I really haven't a clue what the hell they were all on about! lolol Sadly TOTALLY beyond my understanding, all of that. . drank a glass of red wine and then ate a six pieces of bread pile of corned beef and mayo sandwiches, crisps, mini cheddars and a couple of squares of chocolate. . to bed before 1am. d
8 - Up around 8:45am. .around 9C out under a grey sky with very little wind - actually not bad. Walked the woods for squirrel chasing, the beaches for ball throwing and swimming, BGdns for ball throwing and sitting, and eventually home for a coffee and a little more ball play in the garden. . PCd a bit of this, becoming increasingly headachey. . ate a ham ring, two eggs and a tin of sausages in baked beans with four pieces of bread and butter followed by biscuits . . napped . . walked . tu . Weird evening on the scanner. So many dead carriers and strong interference noise on so many frequencies, it actually made it pretty unuseable and I ended up listening to BBC radio 4 for a while!??. . Tvd/guitarred the evening away. Watched the first of a two parter on BBC2 entitled 'To Boldly Go' - about how mankind survives underwater (and in space, etc.). A pretty neat, interesting show for a change (albeit with the presenter Dr Kevin Fong going on all the seemingly obligatory 'jollies' at the licence fee payers expense of course). . ate bowls of sugar puffs, a couple of jam tarts and some chocolate . . to bed around 3am.
7 - Up around 8:30am. . slow getting going. Walked late in a hint of sunny spells . . . returned home to find the part of next doors hedge up near the house, which I have to regularly trim and which has been blocking their satellite dish signal, had been completely cut down. Yayyy. That's VERY good news. One less bit of garden maintenance to have to keep up with. . was just about to let Bella out into the back garden when I suddenly saw 'a head' up near my car near floor level!?? It would appear next door is cementing up the hole in my wall. Yayyy - at last! Assuming that IS what's going on up there, that's the final piece of the jigsaw for returning my garden to being hopefully reliably 'dog-secure' again - for the first time since early September (I just checked back on my journal. Actually suprised me - it feels as though it's been MUCH longer!!!!) . Stayed out of the way and indoors - needing to be studiously invisible/non-existant to everyone. eventually decided I'd better go up the garden and show some interest - but mostly to sort of apologise for how short tempered I must have seemed the last time I spoke with the neighbor about it all. Glad I DID pop out - but I don't suppose the neighbor was. I couldn't help but find room for criticism of the blockwork he'd just done!! It wasn't at all straight or quite in-line with the new garage wall!!!!!! Hopefully smoothed the waters with my 'apology', and then helped hold a spirit level flush across the walls, so he could hammer the blocks a bit straighter before the cement went fully off! Actually made a bit of a mess of the pointing he'd just neatly done - but I felt it WAS necessary. Things were ok, so I also gently broached the subject of would he mind (I said I'd even consider paying for the parts and do it myself!) possibly having a downpipe into HIS collector from the shared guttering, to ease the pressure on mine. He had no objection - so that'll be something for me to aim for in the future, if he doesn't end up doing it himself. Even also discussed the front porch roof. All in all, I was glad to end up feeling things had been 'smoothed back out' and that my 'bad temper' of late had not AT ALL 'damaged' things between us. :o) (It was all just in my own mind perhaps?) . . poor Mum had been calling at the front door during all this, and hadn't been heard. She suddenly appeared at the back gate. lol . . chats and coffee with Mum. She'd turned up with the paper, food donations AND some (Xmas) gifts which Sis2 had recently sent in a parcel to her. Turned out Sis2 had sent me some socks and a bag of tennis balls for Bella (and mum had given me some of the heavy fruitcake she'd sent for her)!! Jeeze - Bella has more balls than 'I' know what to do with! lol . . . ate a trio of ham rolls, mini cheddars, crisps and chocolate. . the guy next door appeared out front re-aligning his satellite dish. I couldn't help myself knocking on the window to get his attention, pointing at all the cut down hedge, and just smiling and putting both thumbs up, so delighted was I to have it gone (although the awkward-to-remove stump currently remains, so WILL probably unfortunately end up all growing back). . napped until around 6:30pm . . walked with a coffee. Just before reaching BGdns, the coastguard were calling 'Pan, pan' and mobilising the troops to do a search over by Torquay. Multiple 999 calls had been made, reporting the sighting of a red distress flare. Ended up sitting around on my favourite seat in the dark in BGdns with coffee and cigs, listening and watching for well over an hour, as the all weather lifeboat and its Y boat did a search pattern in the far distance off Torquay, with the mobile teams searching along the shorelines. (There WERE fireworks going off somewhere in that direction at the same time!) At length, apparantly nothing was found, so YET another (well intentioned) false alarm! The number of people and expense involved in such a thing, really is quite breathtaking - and this is just one little corner of a vast coastline, all around the British Isles. One assumes this sort of thing is going on ALL the time, all over the place, with most people being completely unaware!! Amazing that it's all mostly down to volunteers (the ones with the TRUE 'local knowledge') and charitable donations - never mind the cost to the taxpayer of the actual 'coastguard' infastructure and police involvment etc, etc, etc. (No helicopter on THIS occassion. I wonder how distant in the future will be small locally/computer/GPS semi-automatically controlled UAV type things (even controlled by the lifeboat crew perhaps?) for doing such searches much quicker from the air? . . I'm not sure how it could be done (assuming it isn't already?), but I've come to firmly believe there SHOULD be some sort of COMPULSORY annual tax/'insurance' type payment made by (almost?) EVERY vessel that puts to sea, to help pay for all this all the time!!! . . eventually got back home by around the time the search had been discontinued and everyone had returned to base. It all went on for round TWO hours in total! . . . TVd/PCd the night away. . ate a pastry slice, crisps, mini cheddars and a wedge of Sis2s american fruitcake. . finally to bed around 3:30am.
6 - Up with the alarm at 7am. 14/4C in/out. . .walked. All the ships except the Bukowiec appear to have left the bay already. Played ball and eventually carried on down through town and up to the vets for Bellas 9:30am appointment for her annual 'Lepto' booster jab. A bit of waiting around before eventually in for the quick, routine, 'scruff of the neck' jab, without any complaint from her at all. The vet also had a quick listen to her breathing and heart and all appeared in order. The vet commented that she seemed like a pretty athletic dog with a nice slow, at-rest heartbeat. Blimey - yeah - with all that twice daily ball play, and uncontrollable racing around all the time, I should think so! 34.70! Ouch. :o( Nice little earner for the vet!! I just BET it isn't 'actually' necessary. . . back via town for a tour of the charity shops and a bit of shopping. Both mini supermarkets were all out of their own-brand cheap dog food!! Bugger! Ended up just buying the last single tin in one store! . bought some burgers and scored some bones for Bella in the butcher before eventually returning home in the cold, hazy sun with a very light backpack. . gave Bella half the bones out in the garden. Gone in an instant. . next door would appear to have somehow managed to pull round and re-align their TV aerials some time last night (presumably by simply reaching out of their attic window?). Although the reflector on one remains bent, at least they aren't threatening to impact my rear chimney pot or VHF radio antenna - for the moment. . PCd this . . ate chopped ham and pork with mayo sandwiches, with crisps, banana and a bunch of biscuits . . napped until around 6:30pm . . walked and sat around with coffee and cigs listening to the radio for quite a while. The Bukowiec had slipped away during the day, so I guess Lagos will soon be getting its Polish salt - actually AND the ship, if I heard right! . . . TVd/PCd . . cooked and ate two cheeseburgers around 1am . . to bed around 2am.
5 - Up around 8:30am. VERY breezy, but at least it isn't raining for a change! . . walked and played ball in the mud. . PCd . . tried real hard to force myself to do something as the strong winds battered the house - and ended up popping up in the attic to establish if it was going to be possible to put an eyeball spotlight in the ceiling of the PC room, directly above the desk. (I still have a 'spare' brass effect one laying around currently unused - although I'd rather have a white one in there.) Turned out one of the ceiling rafters was more or less right where the light would need to go, and that, combined with the 'fire' hazard issues of the insulation above etc, etc, I ended up just not bothering with any of it - again! :o( . . bizarrely found a dead newt (Bella found it first and I womndered what she was sniffing) on the carpet out in the conservatory!! Not sure how it got in there - trapped out on the lower tier of the garden and then climbed in through one of the increasingly rotten conservatory wooden panels I guess. Upsetting. . briefly checked on everything in the garden and had a glance up at the house roof etc. The old rotten wooden fence panel near the kitchen window has broken slightly, and is threatening to be torn away and destroyed by the wind! Next doors pair of TV aerials (which appear to have been poorly mounted by simply stuffing their bracket underneath 'MY' inherited-with-the-house aerial lashing kit on the back of the shared chimney stack!!!!) had further twisted round on their dogleg-mast in the gales!!!! The end of the larger of the two antennas was worringly close to my VHF/UHF colinear radials - and the reflector of the other was all bent and hard-up against the chimney stack, with the boom and elements threatening to come in contact with my rear chimney pot. That rear chimney pot would appear to have been long ago broken (when the chimney was sleeved for the back boiler?) and has apparantly been botched and held together with cement! The LAST thing I need is something coming in contact with THAT!!!! More hassle to worry about! The way this property is inescapably linked and 'part of' the neighboring properties, is really starting to appear to be a major pain in the ass to me. For the sake of my expensive colinear antenna, I'd like to replace the old aerial lashing kit at some point with a more heavy-duty one, and maybe put up another, and more aerials etc etc - but because they've 'slaved' off the existing one like they appear to have, it'll all be difficult and complicated to do so. (Any removal of 'MY' lashing kit, would I think, see their aerials come crashing down!) Not only that, but the dog-leg mast they've used is kinda round the wrong way, which means instead of it leaning back over their roof, it's leaning forward towards mine, putting the boom of one of their TV aerials pretty much over the rear corner of the stack on MY side - which is exactly where I'd want to put another bracket and mount one of MY aerials!! Then there is the MAJOR issue of the water from their roof being directed into MY guttering (or NOT when it rains hard!!). Out front - the guttering from all the houses is joined and there is NO downpipe on MY property! It all goes through next door's to who knows where! Another particular problem I've got is the flat roofed porch over the front door. It's effectively a single shared flat roof across both properties. It leaks like a seive (despite my efforts to temporarily botch it a year or so ago) and all the timber below the roof is rotting away - badly! If it was seperate for each property, I would long ago have sorted something out - rebuilt it all in a completely different style, or maybe even just paid the roof guy to cover it over etc when I had the bay roof done - but because it's shared like it is, and the neighbour seems to worry more about his garage than his house (really!?????), it's all just falling to bits and causing who knows what sort of eventual major expensive problems to us both! . . Anyway - blah blah blah. It's all just aggravating the feeling that I don't have enough control over my own property to be able to attempt to maintain it in the way 'I' need to, given my lack of moeny etc! :o( . . cooked and ate a ham ring, two eggs, chips, and four pieces of bread and butter followed by a couple of mini chocolate logs and squares of chocolate . . napped until woken by the noise of a wheely bin being banged about around 5:30pm . . walked in the still strong breeze. Five ships and HMS Severn were all anchored in the bay, taking a break from the storms . . TVd . . ate chopped ham and pork sandwiches, crisps, two shortbread biscuits and a little chocolate . . had the scanner on for a bit and got all hooked up into listening-in to a bit of a 'drama' which unfolded in the bay from around 11pm onwards, which delayed my going to bed early as I'd intended. The coastguard started continually calling the polish tanker Bukowiec, which was one of those moored and sheltering in the bay. They called and called and called but got no response. They even asked HMS Severn to start signaling them with lights, in an attempt to get a response. There still was none. The pilot boat out on a pilot transfer was eventually detoured to go have a look and try to attract their attention, and at the same time the lifeboat was being mobilized. The reason for all the calling? - apparantly the ship was sending out automatic radio distress signals!!!!!!! To cut a long story short, eventually they managed to get one of the six man crew to answer the radio. NO ONE had been on 'anchor watch' on the ship for at least half an hour or more - and it also sounded from their eventual responses as though they were 'impaired through drink'!!!! . I know nothing about seafaring matters of course - but that seemed like a pretty big deal to even landlubber me! Imagine what 'could' have happened! A court-case for someone, surely? Anyway - of course I didn't actually 'hear' ANY of that myself did I! (Worthy of a quick mention here, of how many children, some of them VERY young (!!), appear to have been given PMR radios to play with for christmas!! A lot of meaningless ('some' of it amusing and cute) 'chatter' and beeping, on those channels of late.). . eventually set the alarm and to bed around 12:30am.
4 - Up around 7:50am. . rang the vet and made a booster jabs appointment for Friday. I confess, I was rather hoping I could just pop in this morning rather than have to mess around making an appointment, because of the forecast bad weather and the fact that the jabs thing will only take a couple of minutes anyway. . walked in the mud, washed Bella off on the beach by having her swim for her ball, and then returned via the store for milk and bread. . dared to go up the garden to see what's been going on. I'd rather hoped the missing bit of garden wall had been rebuilt yesterday - but no. Just another ugly lump of 4x2 screwed to next doors newly rendered wall, to support the top bit of my rail fence above the garden wall. The temporary gate/bin arrangement had been tied back in place across the wall gap below. And so, the saga continues! . the garden was also strewn with broken bits of concrete (or asbestos?) roof sheet!!!??? Looks as though the neighbor on the other side has had a large peice of the appex capping on their garage destroyed in the storm and blown all around. Collected up all the bits from around my garden and just pushed them through the fence onto their path, for them to notice (and get rid of!), in case they haven't. Thankfully, as far as I can see, apart from a broken solar light (presumably smashed by flying bits of broken roof - or - maybe when the builders put my carport back?), I've come out of all that weather pretty unscathed. . a while before Christmas, some marks and lines and suchlike were painted up and down the street out front on the pavements. The letters B.T. accompanied the markings. This morning, workmen have started cutting (big diamond disc cutter!) and digging holes all over the place - and one of them is right outside my property, adjacent to my gate and in the region of my gas pipe and water meter etc!! It would appear they are 'feeding' a new thin cable of some description all up the street. Wish I'd read my water meter (and checked for leaks) BEFORE they'd started!! Fingers crossed all will be well - but from experience, I can't help but doubt it! . . PCd this . . ate defrosted chicken and stuffing slice sandwiches, crisps and biscuits . . napped until woken around 6pm by LOUD shouting, screaming and banging from next door! Inconsiderate b*******! Where DO people learn to behave in such a childish and disgusting manner? Too much watching Eastenders is it? It was the shouting that woke me - but then the mulitple banging (door slamming?) was SO loud, all the radiators and stud walls of the WHOLE upstairs of MY house all rattled and vibrated!!!? :o( . .tu. walked . . TVd/PCd the evening away . . BB called . . ate almost a whole packet of shortbread biscuits before eventually to bed around 4am or after.
3 - Up around 8:10am. Blowing an absolute gale outside!! Real nasty. A local weather website suggests 60mph gusts!! . . .walked in full weather gear - and was promptly drenched-through before even getting halfway to BGdns!! Dreadful storm. Plenty of fallen branches all around. Scary walking under the 'animated' trees. Did NOT play ball! A couple of cigs under the roof before eventually battling back against the full force of the wind. Stopped off at the little local hardware store and succeeded in buying a replacement CR2032 battery for the PC (best before date: 08-2015) - albeit at a rather 'pricey' 1.75!! Could have got THREE for just 1 on e-bay, but I just didn't want to have to wait any longer, because running the PC without one is SUCH an irritating, time-consuming pain in the rear!! . . eventually back home absolutely soaked through - again. Squelchy feet especially. :o( Plenty water pouring into the conservatory! :o( . . Mum called to touch base . . TVd recovering from the walk before eventually playing with the PC and getting the new CMOS battery fitted and things re-set to how I like them. Seems to have done the trick. . by midday the torrential rain had suddenly stopped, and even a bit of sunny spells appeared. Gonna take days for all my gear and shoes to dry out - and the forecast suggests it isn't going to get a chance!. . . mostly PCd the day off again, whilst also listening to radios a bit. Not good on my bit of stretched wire down the garden, but I DID 'just' manage to monitor a bit of a 10Mtr FM repeater, coming in from New York I think it was. (Plenty of UK stations chatting through it! I SO need to get on and improve my wire antenna - somehow!) . Messed around for a bit late afternoon, tracking the ISS as it passed 'overhead'ish, using another very cool website I bumped into. (http://iss.astroviewer.net/) Really neat graphical representation, making it very easy to keep an eye-on when and where. I'd also read up a little on the amateur-radio side of their operations (http://www.qsl.net/va3rj/sat_iss.html), so figured it'd be fun to have a bit of a listen on the "Worldwide downlink for voice and packet" on 145.800Mhz on the scanner and FT-7900. I imagine you could spend your whole life listening out for it and NEVER hear it (because they are hardly gonna be sad enough (like me!) to be sat around twiddling their thumbs and playing with their radios to pass the time for goodness sake!) - but it WAS interesting to give it a go like that for the first time. I did NOT have the nerve to actually start calling CQ just in case! lolol I'd need to read up on things a LOT more before I'd ever dare do that! lololol Imagine the state I'd get in and the fool I'd make of myself if I actually got a call back! lolololololol . . . 'something' was going on up the end of my garden with next door's garage builders again, because the gate and supporting refuse bin were moved and eventually moved back, but I didn't bother going out looking!! I'm sure no-one else would understand, but I really don't feel as though its 'MY' garden anymore!! It's gonna take a long time to get over that feeling - although I've a horrible feeling, I may never succeed in doing so. I'm sure no-one else could understand. . ate biscuits . . walked under a starry sky. Sat for a cigarette under the roof and then the minute I set off to return, it started raining again for goodness sake! I reallly am getting fed up with all this being cold and damp ALL the time! :o( . . stopped by the local store for bread, but they had none and I came away empty handed! . as I walked back, down the spookily unlit bit of road which runs alongside the industrial estate at around 8pm, I became aware of something laying all across the road ahead. Eventually discovered an open 'suitcase' just sat in the middle of the road, with all its contents strewn aroundabout!??? Accidentally dropped from a passing vehicle perhaps - or more likely stolen dumped? Scrabbled around for a bit, picking up all the rainsoaked bits and pieces and stuffed them back into the suitcase as best I could. Some files and paperwork and lots of little offcuts of carpet. Carpet salesman perhaps? Had a good look around with the torch just to make sure I hadn't missed anything else. There WAS an aerosol of some sort of carpet cleaner there too, but it looked as though the top had been broken off, so I didn't bother picking that up and just left it laying in the verge (amongst all the masses of other discarded debris that always lines that road. Outrageously disgusting state at the best of times!) .Image of stolen/dumped property struggled back home carrying everything in my arms. . fed Bella and then set about drying-off and intending to play 'Sherlock Holmes' with the suitcase of stuff, in the hope of being able to reunite it with its rightful owner. Wasn't difficult. Aside from everything else, there was a small pad of printed post-it notes advertising exactly whose it all was, complete with a couple of phone numbers and even a web address! Phoned the guy and eventually got him on his mobile and let him know the score. Turned out he'd been working fitting a carpet nearby, and someone had happily helped themselves to the case (and something else) from his van parked outside! That's a bit close for comfort! So - we have a local scumbag to worry about!! :o( Funny thing to me was, the guy hadn't let the police know, and seemed to be indicating he wasn't likely to bother!! He WAS grateful I'd called and suggested he'd be able to find the time to retrieve it in a day or so. (?!) . . set about trying to dry everything out in front the fire. The guy pretty soon called back and suggested he'd come and pick it up later - which suited me FAR better than being lumbered with it, and having it 'hanging over me' for days. . . the guy and his lady eventually turned up at the door. Briefly invited them in and had my first chance to try securing Bella in the kitchen with the French doors. She didn't come crashing through the glass, so I guess they worked ok. :o) The guy seemed pretty decent and thankful. He'd already suggested on the phone he'd like to know where I'd found it all, and go look to see if there was anything else of his in the area, so I was already shoed and ready to go out. Turned out they only had two seats in their vehicle, so I eventually suggested I'd walk up the road and meet them in the area to show them where. As I set off with Bella, the guy offered me some paper money ('for a drink') as a thankyou!!! Sure could have used it - but it didn't seem right to 'further his loss' as I clumsily put it, so I quickly refused. I DID suggest that instead of me taking the money, he should do ME 'the favour of' reporting the theft to the police!!! (It astounds me that people don't report crimes like that. No wonder the police are always suggesting crime has reduced when (older?) peoples experience is to the obvious contrary!!) . .raced up the road with over-excited uncontrollable Bella and a torch, and showed the guy EXACTLY where I'd found it all (because I was able to relocate the carpet cleaner aerosol-can I'd left behind there) - and after having refused his money again, bid them farewell and left them to have a look around the area for themselves. Jeeze - I trust this sort of thing isn't going to develop into an ongoing 'Bristol' type situation all over again - finding stolen dumped stuff every day!! Not a good feeling, but glad to 'be of some use' for a change. :o( . . . TVd . .drank wine and ate six pieces of bread and butter with a tin of microwaved stewing steak. Boy has that steak stuff changed (for the worse) since I last bought it! Hardly recognisable as the same stuff - more like soup now! What a disappointing rip-off! :o( Ate a banana and a couple of mini chocolate logs . . TVd until bed around 12:30am.
2 - Up around 8am. 14/3C in/out. . walked the woods before muddy ball play as usual. Saturated ground and mud everywhere! :o( Got Bella to paddle off the mud on the beach before returning . . TVd . . opened up the PC and pulled the CMOS battery out to see what type I need to get. (3V Lithium CR2032) . I'm eager to do so, but I'm gonna delay ordering one on-line (dirt cheap), and see if I can get one locally when the hardware shops are all back open in a day or so. . ended up PCing a bit of this because - well - because I just can't seem to muster the interest or energy or see any point in doing anything at all at the moment. The days are just flying by, and each and every one is the same - walk, sit around in front the TV/PC feeling as though everything is utterly pointless, until it's time to walk again - sleep - do it all again! Just going through the empty motions for Bella's sake. . ate biscuits . . walked. Several ships have appeared moored in the bay, which suggests tomorrows forecast storm is going to be a rough one. . TVd . . drank wine . . ate a pastry slice, two bags of crisps, banana and chocolates . . to bed around midnight.
1 - Up around 8:15am overheating and feeling a bit dehydrated. . walked . .did dish washing chores while it rained lots. . TVd/PCd the day off. . tu . walked in the mud as the temperature dropped. .TVd. Mum called and talked meaningless nonsense all through the TV show I was trying to watch. . . ate a tin of soup, four pieces of bread and butter, chopped ham and pork roll, banana and chocolate . .to bed around midnight.
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