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February
28
- Up around 8am woken by Sally. . walked. Well - somehow we missed out on the storm which stayed to the south thank goodness. Fifty people killed across northern europe according to the news!!. ate chocolate and hand-washed my filthy hat and gloves . . drank the last glassfull from the box of red wine while cooking roast potatoes . .K stopped by to drop off a huge tin full of left overs lasagne! Blimey - suddenly seem to have a lot of food all over the place. I'm gonna have to sort out and freeze some of the stuff I've got in the fridge in danger of going off. I really should make an effort to take time out to eat more. . ate defrosted 'dog food' beef with roast potatoes and a pint of gravy . . napped but only managed a couple of hours until woken by Sally again. She seems to have been in a weird mood all day, spending much of the time just staring at me as though she wants something (?), and making me feel 'uncomfortable'. Actually spent much of the day feeling pretty down (and stiff, tired and aching). . drove to walk . . PCd just a bit of this . . ate lasagne and chocolate biscuits. That lasagne was GOOD - that was a big bowl full and it's hardly made a dent in the huge amount I was given!! . guitarred/TVd. That's disappointing - one of the strings on my (new) guitar is fixing to break already. . LB called to touch base. She apparantly now has a dog!!! Poor thing. . .to bed around midnight. ds
27 - Up around 6:30am woken by much seagull noise . . PCd a bit of this . . walked in sunny spells and showers . . vacuumed and tidied up around the place just a bit, before Mum pops in later. A 'day off' - or maybe a couple - I've earned it methinks. . .PCd a bit of this . . Mum called in with the paper and food donations for chats etc. . . ate Mum donated corned beef rolls and chocolate . . napped until the alarm at 7pm! . . drove to walk quite late . . showered - because I can/guitarred/TVd/PCd until early, nervously anticipating the warned-of storm, although despite some rain, it didn't seem anywhere near as bad as had been forecast. .ate bowls of corn flakes before finally to bed at getting on for 4am! s
26 - Up around 6:45am . . walked. Called in the store for milk on the return and treated myself to a 'going cheap' microwave chicken burger thing for 99p . . breakfasted on the chicken burger . .did laundry fully expecting the washing machine to break but thankfully it hung in there, despite the increasing noise from the bearings. . cut out yet another piece of the wall at the top of the stairs to enable me to glue some timber to the inside of the stud wall, to have something to screw the riser rail and soap dish etc. to . . left Sally at home and walked to the builders yard to buy some fibre glass insulation. With the stud wall all opened up like it is, it seems silly to waste the opportunity for getting some insulation into some of it, before I seal it all back up again. Not so much for any heat saving but more for noise reduction. Turned out to be quite a bit more expenssive than I'd thought it would be - although they did have a two for one deal going on. Couldn't refuse that, but it did mean I couldn't carry it home as I'd intended. Raced back and got the car before returning and buying two rolls for 22.10. . spent the next many hours getting some fibre glass into the wall and then piece by piece, meticulously rebuilding the wall by gluing the cut out panels back in place with much PVA glue and filler. Took a lot longer than it might because of the state of the wall. Like everywhere else in the house, beneath the heavily textured wallpaper is a flaking layer of old beige paint (actually more than one layer, but only the topmost layer is badly flaking! Under that, originaly back in the 1930's I presume, everything appears to have been painted a dark green!! Must have been SO dark in here!). Based on my experience with all the walls in the bedrooms, a decent smooth look CAN eventually be acheived using lining paper, BUT - only if you first spend hours and hours meticulously scraping off, inch by inch, that layer of flaking paint and then do LOTS of filler! Had to scrape off the paint from all the panels and around all the edges where they join the rest of the wall BEFORE I could fix them back in place!! BIG mess of scraped off paint everywhere - and lots more to do when I finally start trying to smooth the reinstated wall and get it ready for decorating. (that wall is actually particularly uneven and 'undulating' and may present a problem - never mind all my glued patches!!!!!) I seem to recall I spent most of my first year in this house scraping off all the paint in the bedrooms. Miserable, filthy, time consuming chore. Not looking forward to it. That one little bit of wall is probably gonna take a couple of weeks of scraping/sanding/plastering/filling before I can finally paper over it and make it appear smooth-ish. :o( Image of electric shower instalation workOn the bright side - by around 8pm all the panels were glued back in place and it IS now 'just' a monster 'decorating' job. If I was prepared to just cover everything over with heavily textured paper like the previous owners, that 'could' be done, right now. :o) . it's all been a hard fought battle, but I'm pretty much there now. VERY pleased. VERY, VERY exhausted!! . . left everything in a mess with step ladders precariously propped against bits of the wall, holding things in place at the right levels until the glue/filler hardened, and drove to walk at getting on for 9pm . . vacuumed just a little. . ate pepperoni pizza with extra cheese and then lots of biscuits and some chocolate . . TVd/guitarred . . to bed at midnight. Difficulty sleeping with a particularly painful right knee for some reason? I seem to suffer pretty badly these days when I do any 'kneeling down' work.
25 - Woke at 5am. Couldn't get back to sleep (thinking of the shower project!) so eventually got up! . . PCd catching up on the local news website . . walked a bit earlier than of late . . set about actually hooking up the shower cable. Actually really quite difficult because of the enormous size and stiffness of the stuff. Carefully took my time, just to make sure I 'got it right'. . .getting the isolation switch to seat back into the wall was a particular problem, despite having a nice deep box. Hellish difficult to get that great big cabling to push back in, and then the switch plate screws only 'just' managed to reach the box threads. Actually after all that, there is a disappointing (cheap?) action to the actual switch, and because of the hollowness of the stud wall, it sounds really yucky. That 'sound of it' thing is one criticism I have of all the switches/boxes I've put in. Because I always insist on putting in deep boxes (so there is plenty of room for cabling etc) the sound of operating the switches is always rather dull and hollow, rather than a nice crisp click. Shame. . cut the power and tested that a piece of the new thick cable would push up behind and into the fuse box. Bit of a squeeze but managed to make things easier by moving around, trimming off and tidying up some of the other cable connections. Drilled a hole up from under the floor right beneath the fuse box and without 'too' much hassle (much easier than the switch!) eventually had the cable pulled through and connected. As it turns out, after deliberately having left a bit of a loop of spare beneath the floor, there was only a couple of meters of excess, so that wasn't too much of a waste of s. . . finally around 1pm I was in a position to actually nervously turn everything on and 'commission' the shower. Yayyy - it works! :o) WHAT a relief. What an incredible relief after all that work. Still huge amounts of work to do, but couldn't help myself - left tools and piles of junk all over the place and went straight ahead and actually had a shower. A predictably low flow rate, but perfectly adequate. Hard to remember, but I think it's quite a bit better than I had from the shower (lower wattage?) back in Bristol. Oh what joy - warm and clean at the press of a button! . . drank a splash of red wine and ate corned beef sandwiches, crisps and chocolate . . napped for a couple of hours. Woke feeling absolutely exhausted and aching all over. . skipped the walk. Slumped in front of the TV all night (although every time I went to the loo I felt obliged to check and scrutinise all the pipe compression joints, close up with a torch to make sure there were still no leaks) . . guitarred/TVd . . ate defrosted pastry slices, crisps, kipling slices, biscuits and chocolate . . to bed around midnight. ds
-//unfinished//-24 - Up around 7am . . walked. back via the builders for 15mm straight couple compression fitting for 1.46. Whatever I do in terms of plumbing, I'm gonna need one of those to connect up to a perfectly positioned, blanked off branch of the existing pipework. No way could I get in where it is to solder it.. no wire wool! Called Mum to ask if sh had any then briefly popped up to get it .. messed around trying to solder fittings and made a complete hash of it all. Ok - change of plans. Back to the builders store for compression fittings! 4x elbows @ 5.83. . 'went for it'!

drove in a torrential downpour to buy 15meteres of 10mm cable. First store was all out so ended up carrying on to Denmans, where I probably just should have headed for in the first place! . bought 15mtres of the 10mm cable, a 45A double pole neon switch and 47mm deep stud-wall switch box all for 45.72. .had to cut out and remove yet another section of wall to be able to get the drill in to make a hole for the cable through a timber upright . eventually got the socket box hole cut in the wall and the unconnected cable routed all the way down to under the ground floor just below the fusebox under the stairs. Plenty of excess!! Called it quits around 7pm . . drove to walk . . exhausted! TVd . . Eventually ate a microwave curry, four pieces of bread and butter, bag of crisps and several Kipling slices . . TVd struggling to stay awake until bed at 11pm.
23 - Up around 7:40am . much rain. . drove to walk . . shower day 1. Removed wallpaper and then cut open a test piece of the stud wall with the disc cutter . Cut open a huge panel .Well - I won't be selling the house just now then! . . walked to the local store for 3m 15mm pipe, blowlamp gas, solder, isolation valve, elbow fittings etc and spent 27.90. .corned beef and mayo sandwiches, crips, kipling slices, chocolate . .jk called . .drilled shower mounting holes and big holes for the pipe and cable . . sales call from India and a guy at the door from Talk Talk trying to sell me broadband or some such. His sales pitch started off by saying they were updating equipment at the local exchange! Surely - that's just lying isn't it? The local exchange is BT. . . called it quits around 6pm after cutting and gluing a batten of timber to the inside of the wall for the shower to screw to. Cleared up and vaccuumed . . drove to walk. . exhausted. . eventually managed to summon the energy to cook and eat four sausages, four eggs, a tin of sausages in beans and two pieces of bread and butter followed by chocolate . . to bed just after 11pm.
22 - Up around 8am after only a few hours sleep. .skipped the morning walk (unheard of!! A shock for Sally.) and waited in, so as not to run the risk of missing the postman. The awful mess of lumpy paint on the botched wall was still wet!? Weird. . Dusted a little. Knocked up an aerial lead for the kitchen TV. Now I've got a proper socket on the wall right behind it, it made sense to knock up a very short, tidy, 'pigs-tail' curl of a lead, rather than have a long one all looking messy. . Ate jam on toast. . Mum called. Sis1 popped in for a cuppa and chats. I really wasn't good for 'chatting'. Just too up tight - 'waiting'. It really is THE thing that I'm the very worst at - having to sit around waiting on someone like that, totally powerless to do anything about being utterly in the hands of others, and unable to get on and do ANYTHING which could in any way interfere with me being immediately at the door, whenever that was liable to be!! I become a 'different person' under such circumstances. 'Stressed' is putting it mildly. It's not good - and not good for my health! Mum arrived a while later. .briefly PCd and tried to track the parcel on-line, but it wasn't that sort of posting and I couldn't. Phoned ParcelForce early afternoon chasing up the parcel. They soon called back as they'd promised and confirmed it WAS on the van and would be arriving within 30minutes - which it did. Oh thank god! According to the delivery driver, the parcel had actually somehow ended up with not a missing house number, but a WRONG number on the address label!? It'd originally been delivered to a house just a hundred yards up the street, but they'd refused it since it wasn't their name! Funny how we all live in our own little seperate worlds and have no idea who lives just down the street. Oh well - whatever - at last I've got my hands on the damn thing! . . Mum and Sis1 left . . immediately walked poor Sally. Despite encouraging her to use the garden on several occasions, she'd refused. Mind boggling she can 'hold it' for SO long! . . too late to start anything today so just read through the shower manual, familiarising yself with everything and making sure I'd not overlooked anything in my mental preparations. . . dug out the tin of dark wood stain I've had laying around for ages, and put a couple of gentle dabs on the filler I'd put on the damaged edge of the capping around the botched wall. Wow - that works. It certainly isn't invisible, but it sure does make it less noticeable. Quite acceptable to leave it like that for the time being. :o) . . .ate Sally's Mum donated pastie . . napped until the alarm at 7pm . . guitarred/TVd . . ate Mum donated pizza, kipling slices and then much later, some iced buns. To bed around midnight. s
21 - Up around 7am . . PCd a bit of this . . walked in a bit of warmish sun . . sanded down the botched wall and managed to get a touch of filler on here and there. The poorly supported side capping timber has seperated from the new plaster as you'd expect, but the small 'fill' of plaster appears to be sturdy enough to take some paint, which is all I need for the time being. . Mum called to say Sis1 will be popping down tomorrow. I'll be more than happy to say hello, but assuming my shower arrives, don't be suprised if I'm up to my eyeballs 'doing' things! . . PCd this at length while filler dried infuriatingly slowly. . ate sausage sandwiches and a couple of kipling slices . . napped. Woke around 8pm!!! Blimey, what happened there - a four hour nap!? . . skipped the walk. Sanded down filler, drilled plugged and screwed the retaining screws into the back of the new socket boxes and then put a coat of PVA over the wall - all done and drying by around 9:45pm. . TVd and since there was nothing else worth watching, watched Predator YET again . . ate ham rolls, crisps and chocolate . . .around 12:30am put a coat of emulsion on the wall and hey presto - it all turned to s**t! That'll teach me to rush things. It's all gone lumpy. :o( SUCH a disappointment after having got it all nice and smooth. :o( Looks AWFUL! No way can I live with that. I'm gonna have to leave it like that for the time being (I'm all out of white emulsion paint anyway), but in the very near future, that's all gonna have to come off again and be re-done! What a bugger! . . TVd/PCd until early before bed.
20 - Up around 7:30am. Just making my morning coffee when Sally 'went off'. It was a postman driver delivering my packet from Maplins. So - I guess that confirms that the parcel sat in Exeter for days, without a house number on it, IS the shower. Bloody post office incompetants . . . walked . . opened the Maplin package and had a look at the outdoor socket box thingy. As expected - although actually perhaps a little smaller than I'd imagined. Certainly over priced for what it is! That can wait. . . worked on trying to re-instate the not 'too' damaged capping around the firmed up wall. I'd always intended to at the very least, paint that white at some point, so a bit of damage patched up with some filler, sanded down and painted over, should still look fine (better than it did!) for the time being. The 'time being' before I have windows replaced, is actually getting longer and longer! Seems to me, given what I've been finding around all the windows, before I go anywhere near a window company, I really have no choice but to 'attend to' the outdoor porch light switch and linking cables, etc, etc. The actual light switch in the hallway is on a six inch stub of wall, hard up against the door frame/cavity capping, right next to the front door. The live cable feeding it emerges from beneath the floor, winds over the top of the skirting board (!!!!!!!), and then disappears behind the door frame/cavity wall capping timber! Inevitably that would be a 'problem' when replacing it all - and who knows what horrors may be hidden behind that capping! I've no choice but to somehow take that all apart and make it 'right' . Where the light is outside, where the door lintel is, where the frame is, etc - I know it's all going to be EXTREMELY problematic, and that doesn't even factor-in finding unexpected 'carrier bag horrors'! :o( . . Mum popped in around 2pm to drop off the paper and food parcels on her way to watch the local amateur matinee production of 'Mother Goose'! lol Bloomin' good luck to her. If it gives her pleasure - go for it. It ain't easy, going to such things on your own like that. 'I' should know! . . Very long and fiddely job, but eventually managed to get the two bits of timber screwed back onto the door/window frame and glued and screwed to themselves in a big 'L' shape. Finally ran a small amount of plaster into the gaps all around. That 'should' be enough to enable me to decorate and make good, without it being 'too' permanent. At some time in the future when I have the door/window replaced, without 'too' much difficulty it should be possible to break it out of all the plaster, and just unscrew and remove it (before window fitters even arrive!), WITHOUT in any way stressing or damaging the 'fragile' wall beneath. . cleared up, vacuumed and called it quits by around 5:30pm. I think that all went ok. What a relief! This 'Bristol experience' spawned feeling I get whenever I get serious with some DIY, where I get all panicky if I regard myself as not in a position to immediately put the house up for sale at a moments notice, seems to have actually gotten worse over time!??? It IS surely totally irrational. Look at that bit of wall for instance. I mean - for goodness sake - it would have only taken me a few days to have knocked it down and completely rebuilt it from scratch wouldn't it? And yet - I got all in a panic about it. I feel pretty panicy about the prospect of tackling sorting the outside-light switch, because of the amount of disruption and length of time it'll take. I don't suppose I will EVER escape that feeling. That's permanent 'damage'. :o( . . touched base with Mum. She'd enjoyed the show. :o) . . walked as darkness fell. The nights are starting to noticeably draw out again. Almost every evening somewhere in one of the trees in BGdns, an owl sits hooting. It's a wonderful atmospheric, almost comical noise, which almost demands a hoot back in response. I bumped into a dog walker this evening, who commented on the owl. I quipped that it was only because he was there, that I'd NOT hooted back at it on this occasion. Later on as I exited BGdns, the owl hooted again, and somewhere in the distance along the path beneath the trees in the pitch black, I could hear that dog walker hooting back at it. lolol :o). . TVd/guitarred . . ate ham, onion and cheese rolls, kipling slices, chocolate and bowls of co-co pops before to bed at 11.11pm. s
19 - Disturbed broken sleep for only a handful of hours then up around 7am . . walked in the icy. . started work on the inner skin of the little stub wall by the door. The two pieces of wood capping were definitely dispensable, and they never were joined properly and there always has been a gap at the 45 degree joined edge, so I just set about trying to roughly prise them away with whatever tools I could drive in and jam between the gaps. Turned out they were held in place by a total of five nails or screws from the other side of the door/window frames it appeared. A hacksaw blade pushed into the gap made pretty short work of the top two, and hey presto, the top capping came away and all was revealed. EXACTLY as I'd imagined - one of the bricks had partially fallen into the cavity leaving nothing but a bit of weak render and plaster/paint to make up the inner wall - part of which had disappeared into the void behind the loose brick! . .the postman delivered a letter. Turned out to be from Parcel Farce Force, dated the 18th. "Dear Customer, We are currently holding your parcel(s) at our depot, which we have tried to deliver to You , BUT NEED THE HOUSE NO. Will you please telephone our depot on *** (OPTION 4), so we can make arrangements for you to receive the parcel. We will hold for a further 14 days before returning to sender." I don't believe it! THAT must be the shower I've been anxiously awaiting. Quickly phoned them straight away and gave them my house number. The earliest they could allegedly deliver now was going to be Monday. I wasn't about to go driving all the way to Exeter (especially apparantly with snow showers over that way) so Monday it'll have to be. It wasn't until I got off the phone that I fully grasped the utter absurdity of the circumstances (yes - I'm getting old and a bit slow). They couldn't deliver the parcel because it didn't have my house number on it - so they sent me a letter telling me that! Well if I can get their letter, why the F**K couldn't they deliver the parcel? What absolute nonsense. (remember - I used to be a postman/parcel worker). What this is about is the break up of 'The Post Office' as we once knew it, into completely seperate businesses - half way to privatisation. This is a prime example of how the government/management's claim, that it makes it all more efficient and is beneficial to customers, is ENTIRELY bogus. The letter got to me without a house number because the postman at the local sorting office used a brain cell and his local knowledge to fill in the blank. Indeed - given the address on the package was otherwise complete, with a full postcode, the actual choice of possible house numbers was really quite small at around only 15 or so!! It's hardly Sherlock Holmes is it - and yet Parcel Farce couldn't manage to figure it out, so instead relied on the local postman and me to do their work for them! F***ing outrageous. Parcel Farce indeed. (Why the seller didn't put my house number on the thing in the first place, is a whole 'nother issue of course). . Back to the wall! Prised the side timber loose enough to get the hacksaw blade in, and sawed through the other three screws and soon had that out of the way to reveal - wait for it - two plastic carrier bags!!!!! Part of that lower blue one was what came out on the end of my drill-bit, when I desperately tried to fix the skirting back on the wall when, I was doing the two small socket boxes. The top bag was a Woolworths bag - a piece of history in itself now! . Once the bags were removed, the full horror of the situation was revealed. The whole lower portion of the wall was either missing entirely or composed of split/broken bits of brick and a substantial amount of loose rubble! With hindsight, it was an absolute miracle I actually managed to get those socket boxes cut and cemented-in, at all. VERY fortunate. Half an inch closer to the edge, and it would have all just fallen apart!!! . . cleared away all the rubbish and then laboriously attempted to botch up an 'improvement' using bits of brick and a strong PVA/cement mix. I had NO intention of knocking it all down and starting again, so it meant attempting to reconstruct it all from the back of the cavity void, out, via the awkward narrow gap between the wall and door frame! A good bit of debris and wet cement ended up disappearing down the cavity I'm afraid! :o( . went WAY beyond the limits of what you are supposed to be able to do with cement (consistancy of icing sugar - to be able to trowel it in 'round the corner' through the narrow gap and have it stick to the backs of the bricks!!!!!!!!!) , and eventually had things looking at least a little firmer than they were. Couldn't do any more and finish it off because everything was pretty much just about 'hanging on', so called a halt for a while to let it all firm up and go off a bit. . felt pretty down (lack of food methinks - although I really DO seem to have spent an awful lot of my life having to do such s**t!). Ate a tin of sausages in beans with chips and then a couple of kipling pastry slices and some chocolate. Those Kipling slices must be some of THE worst stuff you can buy in terms of the environment and unecesary packaging. Inside the carboard box (which I DO recycle), the six slices are divided into pairs and each pair is further contained in a plastic tray individualy wrapped with clear cellophane. Terrible, pointless waste! Always feel guilty when I eat them, and suddenly find my bin full. . . napped for a couple of hours until around 6pm . . drove to walk . . Images of window fitters botched wall repairsreturned to the wall after 8pm, by now somewhat 'firmed up' (me and the wall!) , and got a bit more cement/PVA mix on to the remaining gap - and skimmed the verticle to make it as straight as reasonably possible under the circumstances. That I hope, will do. It's all uneven and isn't pretty, but of course it's destined to be covered over anyway by some sort of capping, so doesn't 'really' matter as long as it holds together. No matter how much of a botch and how weak it is (being large amounts of just cement!) - it HAS to be an improvement on a Woolworths carrier bag! . used up the last dregs of surplus cement from the bucket, smoothing a bit of a wall under the floor, just so as not to waste it. There was an interview on TV yesterday with a young woman who'd been abducted when she was around eight years old, and had been kept prisoner in 'a dungeon' by some nutter, until she escaped when she was around eighteen or some such. Actually, in terms of revealing 'content' of her/his life/mental state etc, it was actually quite unrevealing and pointless, adding little to the already media reported facts. It did however give a little more detail of how the nutcase (lived alone, personality problems, difficulty forming relationships etc etc. Sound familiar?!!!!) had laboriously constructed the 'dungeon' beneath the house. Having watched all that, it's made me a little uneasy about putting in all this effort in smoothing and painting the walls beneath the floor like I have been!!! People WILL think the worst! :o| . . guitarred/TVd . .ate corned beef, mayo, lettuce and onion sandwiches with crisps and then just a little chocolate. Very cold in the house, with the wall cavity exposed like it is. Good job it isn't too windy right now! . . to bed around 11:30pm.
18 - Woke earlier (sound of the rain), snoozed on then up around 7:30am . .walked in the rain. Didn't get 'too' wet and managed to get back home before the sky darkened and it poured . . did dish washing chores including a very overdue major wash of the disgusting grease and dust covered hob. . the postman delivered both my pipe cutter orders. Finished the hob washing and then dug out a scrap piece of electrical conduit and a bit of 15mm copper pipe. Wow - the ratchet plastic pipe cutter worked a treat on the electrical conduit! So easy! After all those times of struggling with my little vice and a hacksaw! Shame I've done 'most' of the sockets in the house already. lol (Have I mentioned here - all the recent socket boxes etc I've been doing, I've been using the conduit I got for nothing last year from the guy in the house by BGdns. Still have plenty full lengths left too. :o) ) . tried the 15mm circular copper pipe cutter and THAT too worked a treat - even when just gripping a small length of copper tube by hand! A wise investment on both methinks. Quite happy about that. NOT so happy that I STILL haven't heard a peep from the seller of the bloody shower! 'Supposed' to be delivered within 3-4 working days from receipt of payment. I guess that means I'll be agonising about it all weekend, before I start getting REALLY uptight and start thinking the worst come Monday. WHAT a pain in the ass and infuriating waste of time. .PCd and ended up surfing outdoor RCD socket boxes again, in earnest. Hardly a priority (in fact a downright expensive luxury!!) but I figured I may as well just go ahead and aim to get it done, now that I'll soon have the switch box by the door sorted. If I don't, it'll keep 'haunting my thoughts', like so much else I'd like to get done around the house does! Maplins appeared to do the best deal, as far as my searches could tell, so I went ahead and ordered a 'IP66 Weatherproof RCD Double Outdoor Socket' for 29.99 and a 'Double Pole Switched Flex (Fused) Outlet With Neon Indicator' for 4.99. Actually - although I did intend to buy one eventually, probably locally (and maybe one without the neon), the switch I only added to the order to get above the threshold to qualify for free delivery! Of course there's an even greater need for an outdoor socket in the BACK garden - but that'll have to wait until such time as the leaking/rotting conservatory is my focus of operations!! It's never ending!!! Jeeze - I'm spending some money right now!!!!! Just wait till I start ordering radiators and all the fittings!! !!!! :o( Oh well - at least the place is 'starting' to feel a bit more - um - 'functional' as a result. Bit by bit, I'm dragging it into 'today' rather than the 'stuck in time thirty years ago' as it was when I bought it! . . PCd a bit of this . . ate corned beef sandwiches, crisps, half a battenburg cake and chocolate . . napped until around 6pm . . woke feeling very blah! Skipped the walk . . TVd . . had a prod at the little wall under the window next to the front door where I put the socket boxes in yesterday, and decided that since it'll all be greatly 'disturbed' when I EVENTUALLY get round to having double glazing done, there really was absolutely no point in doing the 'replace and disguise' the original wallpaper patch for the time being, like I HAD intended and have done elsewhere. Set about removing the thick ('cardboard box' thick!!!!) wallpaper around 8pm. That opened up a nightmarish whole can of worms (aside from the usual flaking layers of old original gloss paint, and protruding wall plugs etc!) :o( At least two parts of the wall are (were!) nothing more than a crumbling layer of plaster, with no brick behind it!!!!!! Looks to me as though during the installation of the old, hardwood door and window frames, bricks became 'dislodged' from the wall and kinda partially fell into and got wedged in, the cavity wall void. Hardwood 'capping' was then simply somehow fixed over the cavity to cover it all up - and a token smear of uneven/protruding cement roughly pushed into a couple of the visible gaps! Bloody window fitters working against the clock, I just BET! I seem to recall having discovered something very similar when I decorated the back bedroom and had to extract a dislodged brick from the cavity and re-build a bit of the wall under the window cill. Anyway - that's given me a real problem now. No way can I just leave it like that and botch it up to appear ok, because of course it'll suddenly re-appear to be a major problem for the FUTURE window fitters! They'd having nothing to 'fix' stuff to! I've no choice - I'm going to HAVE to attempt to remove all of the void 'capping' timber at the top and down the side of that wall (god knows how it is actually 'fixed' to the wall and doorframe etc, and how much of THAT will be destroyed in the removal attempt!!) and reveal the true extent of the problem, and attempt to remedy it and firm up/re-build (a bit of?) the wall!!! This is a MAJOR problem. (Actually - I have now absolutely NO doubt, that future replacement window fitters will encounter similar (worse?) circumstances around any window they replace, and will have to do some horrible against the clock botches and cover up jobs! God help them - and me! . Not a pleasant end to the day. So - tomorrow I'll be turning the house into a building-site - proper! :o( . . ate just a bit of battenburg cake . . TVd/PCd feeling pretty pissed off until eventually to bed in the early hours.s
17 - Up just before 7am . . walked . . sat around frustrated but not really wanting to get all tired and dirty - AGAIN! I rather wish I'd just gone up the road and paid the higher price for the shower, just so I could get on with things and not be tied down waiting like this. I'm absolutely NOT gonna get on with any of the 'big stuff' I need to start sorting (heating/windows, etc) until I've solved this shower thing. I've had a couple of mails suggesting the tools I ordered have been despatched, and I was rather expecting 'at least' them to arrive today - but no show. :o( . . guitarred a bit. . couldn't help myself and around midday ended up having a go at putting in another couple of socket boxes! Two singles, low level, on the short wall beneath the window next to the front door. For the past couple of years I'd planned to eventually put a couple in there - and I guess doing so BEFORE I have the door/window replaced with a double glazed one is a good idea (arguably should also attend to the outside light switch before that, because the cable for it appears to be loosely routed inside the door surround woodwork!!!). At some point I have every intention of mounting a (expensive!) full weather rated, RCD protected power socket on the outside of the wall somewhere on the front patio, to enable me to plug the lawnmower/hedgetrimmer, etc in, without having to constantly wrestle with extension leads (and open doors/Sally etc) as I have been doing. One of those single boxes will take a fused switch plate to enable me to turn it on and off (and easily isolate it in the event of any problem). Actually - when I finally get one and hook it up, it'd also give me somewhere to plug in an illuminated Xmas Santa/Snowman lights display wouldn't it? lololololololol Yeah right! . as for the other box, I'm not entirely sure what it'll end up being. Maybe something to do with (much needed) PIR lights up the path or some such. Haven't quite worked out how I can do (if ever) any of that yet. . Things did NOT go well! :o( It always WAS going to be awkward putting boxes into that wall, but I didn't imagine it would end up being THAT awkward. Amongst other things, the blockwork inside that wall appears to have been badly damaged and poorly patched up, presumably when the door frame, etc was fitted. The small piece of skirting started falling off the wall during the work and when I attempted to drill and plug the wall to enable me to screw it back in place, the drill bit just pushed through into some sort of void, and came back out with bits of blue carpet wrapped around it!!? Someone had cemented over a packing of blue carpet?? Worst of all was getting the four sections of conduit down through the wall to appear unobstructed under the floor. I only partially succeeded after hours of hammering and drilling (poor neighbours!) and much blood sweat and tears! :o( Given the state of the wall (and the fact I have very little plaster left), I figured I had no choice but to cement the boxes in place on this occasion. Far more difficult to get them mounted in place as a result, and it'll add several days of drying-out before I can plaster and fill and finish off. All in all, it turned into a proper nightmare, and those two boxes have probably ended up being the worst I've done as far as I can recall. . vacuumed and called it quits around 5:30pm. .TVd while the immersion heated the water - AGAIN! I had no choice - I was covered in black dust and blood and looked like I'd been down a coal mine! This immersion heater business MUST be costing me an absolute fortune! It terrifies me every time I put it on, and having to sit around waiting for it like this drives me mad. . drove to walk . . ate mum donated salami in bread rolls with lettuce and mayo, a bag of crisps and a bunch of chocolate . .guitarred/TVd ('Aliens' - again - although when I'm guitarring, it doesn't matter much what is on, I'm not actually 'watching' it!) until bed around 11:20pm.
16 - Disturbed sleep then up around 8am. . .walked in the rain. . not 'that' much I can really be getting on with, having to wait in for possible deliveries and all, so returned to the underfloor and used several loads of cement 'slurry' to smooth more walls to enable eventual painting. (Used a pair of Mum donated marigold gloves to protect my hands on this occasion.) Concentrated on the very tight awkward area under the kitchen, where a lot of the heating plumbing will eventually be done, where better light under there will be of greatest benefit. It's a real tight squeeze under there - have to inch along by 'walking' with your shoulder blades kinda - very awkward work! You have to make an early decision - on your back or on your belly - there's no turning round once you're in!! Carried on and used up the remaining sand from the old sack I've had hanging around for years and actually managed to do all four of the walls. Actually also gingerly bricked up a hole around the big thick incoming electricity supply cable. The cable comes through the wall from next door, and the hole through the wall was open to the neighbour's underfloor area! That didn't seem right, and was also potentially a 'fire' safety issue in the event of a fire in either property. (An 'incomplete' party wall in the attic, WAS one of the issues noted in the survey I had done prior to buying the place!) Having said all that - the neighbour DOES keep snakes as well of course!!! lol . Not sure how, but just doing all that took all day! . cleared up and was about to call it quits when I discovered a long bit of extension lead I've had laying in the garage without the plug on for the past year or more, unused. I think it was originally on the strimmer, but since I've succcessfully strimmed the garden and not needed it, I decided to sacrifice a short length of it for fixing another bulkhead light in that same unlit area under the kitchen floor. The light itself I'd already bought years ago. .by 7pm the light was fixed and wired up in series (actually in parallel due to how the fittings connect the wire) with the other two already down there. Actually put a small 40W equivalent energy saver bulb in each to keep the heat down. Satisfying to now have a bit of light in all three accessable areas down there, at the flick of a switch. Once it all dries out and I get some paint on those walls to brighten things up still further, it really will be much less of a daunting task and 'major expedition' to go down there to do stuff. It's been an awful lot of work and effort for 'little reason' - but it makes a big satisfying difference to me. Wow - imagine if I'd found it like it is now, when I moved in and had to start figuring out what was where and re-wiring and such. I'd have been overjoyed. . drove to walk . . cut my hair/beard for the first time in far too long. showered . . ate a Mum donated pizza with extra cheese and onion . . TVd until bed around 11:30pm.
15 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 7:30am! Longest sleep in one go I've had for a while . . walked . . removed the bath panel and pottered in the bathroom, looking at things with a torch and tapping all over the stud wall at the tap end of the bath, trying to figure out what 'may' be where - getting serious about my urgent priority of trying to put an electric shower in. Small portions of that wall beneath the bath are already missing (!!), allowing an insight into the studwork. Poked a bit of stiff wire up in one of the gaps and as far as I can tell at this stage, there appear to be no 'noggins' between a couple of heavy duty, quite close together upright timbers (which run up, pretty much where you'd want to mount the shower, in relation to the bath edge/shower curtain, etc.). I HAD intended to start tearing that wall apart today, on the OTHER side at the top of the stairs, so as not to have to disturb all the wall tiles which, although I DO intend to re-tile the bathroom at some point, I certainly don't want to have to start tearing them all down now because they are all clearly nicely watertight around the bath. This mornings explorations have enabled me to conclude, I really probably 'should' be able to put a shower up there without 'too' much difficulty (with the exception of getting the required length of water pipe inside the wall! How much does that new fangled 'plastic' pipe bend I wonder?). Trouble is (because of where those big verticle, unmoveable timbers are, etc, etc) I really need to have a shower unit actually 'in my hands' to be able to know exactly how the pipe and electric cables will enter, and whether or not they will be able to be simply run up between those timbers, etc, or if the spread between the timbers will be insufficient. . there's nothing for it - I have to 'commit' and 'go for it' and actually BUY a shower! . . was seriously tempted to jump in the car and head for Focus and just buy one, but ended up on the PC first having YET another surf. Turned out the exact one I had been thinking of buying, was actually advertised on e-bay for a good few s cheaper than Focus! Despite the infuriating delay it's going to make to getting on with things waiting for things to be posted, I ended up doing a shopping frenzy all over e-bay! lol Ordered a 'TRITON RAPIDE R3 8.5kw Electric Shower White' for 79.90 , a '2pc PIPE SLICE SET 15mm 22mm copper tube cutter' for 9.39 and a '42mm RATCHET ACTION PLASTIC PIPE CUTTER' for 5.85 (all including postage). I could have bought a cheaper model of shower, but I really liked the idea of having one with an on/off switch like that one has. The 2piece pipe slice set is the round, hold in your hand type, that simply slips onto a pipe and can be rotated in confined spaces. I DO have a pipe cutter somewhere, but it's bulkier and I know it won't fit in some of the spaces where I'm going to have to do some cutting (e.g. when I have a go at fitting a new stop cock, or when removing all the old pipework all over the house!) The ratchet pipe cutter is a new tool for me - bought in anticipation of doing plastic pipe plumbing in the near future - if not when fitting the shower, then certainly when I do central heating runs to new radiators! Apparantly one of those tools is vital for clean, square cuts to the pipe ends, to enable watertight push-on speed fittings. In fact, it'd make all my electrical conduit cutting a lot easier too when putting in new sockets etc. I've always had to laboriously cut that stuff by hand with a hacksaw - and almost never get a nice straight cut. . SO - I'll be now mostly waiting for the postman! . . Mum called to ask if I was ok. She'd heard on the local radio that some guy out walking his dog nearby yesterday had been attacked and mugged of his wallet!!!!? . . drank a glass of wine and cooked a four neighbour-donated eggs, cheese and onion omlette. Ate with four pieces of bread and butter, followed by a few biscuits and some chocolate. . napped the rest of the afternoon. There seems to be no limit to the sleep I need! Woke still feeling tired. . . drove to walk . . TVd/guitarred the whole evening away. . ate a couple of mum donated sausage rolls, chicken and mushroom pastry slice, half a battenburg, biscuits and chocolate . . to bed around 1am. s
14 - Up around 8:30am! PCd a bit of this . . walked late. Someone had left a red rose and a valentines card on next doors doorstep - presumably for the young girl who lives there. Ahhhhh. How cute. Unfortunately that just reminded what day it was and filled me with self loathing and regret, as I set off on the walk! :o( . FINALLY managed to exchange words with the owner of the house who'd thrown out the santa and snowman, had a bit of a laugh about it and confirmed he had no objection to my having taken them. . had a prod at the car attempting to tighten up the fan belt. Hellish difficult to get to the fixing bolts. Eventually managed it but I don't think I've made any impression on the squeeling noise when all the electrics are being used all at once(??). The jury is out in respect of whether or not I've actually made things worse! . . doing that wiring under the floor the other day was particularly painful because of all the rubble and bits of brick strewn around down there. It was like crawling around and laying down on a bed of nails! I SHOULD have put in the effort to remove all that before I did that work. I wasn't in the mood to do anything which required thought or 'anxiety' today, but WAS in the mood to do 'something' useful towards the bigger picture, and I couldn't resist returning under the floor with face mask, brushes and buckets, and having a 'proper' clearout of all the remaining debris down there (including the long dead, wind-dried, mumified rat!!!). Unpleasant filthy work. Eventually removed nine or more large builders bucketloads of rubble and dust, etc. and dumped it all up under the carport by the car. Nice to get that all cleared out from under there. Just a lot of dust and cobwebs down there now. . sorted through the spoil heap, by hand(!!), making sure there was nothing unpleasant (bits of wood, wire, screws, rusty nails etc) in amongst it all, before strategicaly tipping it in various potholes/depressions up and down the lane. All done and dusty by 4pm. . .TVd briefly waiting for the water to heat up prior to showering the layers of dust off - again. .messed around with brushes, a sewing needle (to poke in some of the burner holes!) and vacuum, trying to de-dust the living room gas fire a bit . . drove to walk with a still squeeling fan belt . . ate four Mum donated corned beef rolls and a tin of soup, a banana, and half a pack of jam biscuits . . just couldn't manage to stay awake and was in bed just after 9:30pm!!!!
13 -Image of modified kitchen wall, sockets and salvaged Xmas decorationsUp around 7:30am. My hands are in really painful shape! Bright red on the backs and the texture of sandpaper all over - never mind all the cuts and scrapes and 'black mans pinches' ,etc, etc! I suspect a lot of the damage is directly as a result of continually frequently washing my hands during all this work, in freezing cold water. :o( . . finished my coffee and cigarette and then around 8:30am got straight on and sanded down the filler on the kitchen wall and got a quick coat of emulsion on it. Right - that is THAT! That is going to do for the forseeable future. So - I now have a nice blank bit of wall all ready to have a boiler stuck to it! :o) Looks ok. Just looks as though it would benefit from a bit of light handed 'decorating' ( and one carpet tile which I have yet to cut to fit, from my pile of spares. Actually, it 'could' also benefit from a piece of skirting board, but that can wait for me to find a suitable piece of timber from which to fashion one to match the rest). I can live with that. I need a rest - REAL bad! In fact, my hands are in such bad shape, I don't think I have much of a choice! :o( . . walked. Stopped at the store for milk on the way home and was tempted by a couple of microwave cheeseburgers in buns, reduced to around half price of 95p each. I've not eaten enough of late, especially considering the energy I've been expending doing all this physical work (even just 'popping' up to the garage for some tool or other is equivalent to a 100m dash - several times in an average day!), and I certainly didn't eat enough yesterday - and I was feeling it. Very hungry. . . ate the two burgers with extra cheese for 'breakfast'. . returned various tools to the garage, tidied up and vacuumed, and started the task of trying to de-dust things a little - everywhere! . . Mum called in with food donations, some 'marigold gloves (too late - damage done!), for chats etc. . just sitting around like that, everything seemed to catch up on me and I started to feel all stiff and achey and oh so, SO tired. Poor Mum - around 2:45pm I excused myself for appearing rude and actually asked her to leave! lol . immediately lay down for a MUCH needed nap for a couple of hours . . TVd . . PCd this but ran out of steam and just left it all unfinished. I need to sit and be warm and comfy. TV beckons - sadly I don't think my poor hands can hold a guitar, let alone attempt to play one!! . . TVd and suprisingly did manage to guitar for quite a bit until early. As time passes I AM slowly starting to become more adept at using a pick, rather than just fingerpicking all the time. Just as well at the moment since my fingers are all stiff and every fingernail has been broken off! . . ate a couple of Mum donated cream buns, a couple of miniature sausage rolls and some chocolate. Should have eaten more, but just too tired to cook or prepare anything. . When I let Sally out into the garden to have a pee last thing at night, I get a real kick out of now being able to simply press the new outside light switch on the wall, instead of having to fumble with the previous temporary plug and socket. :o) I almost 'look forward to it'! lolol. . PCd until the early hours once again mostly surfing round windows, etc! Waste of time but I really do seem to have a fixation about putting one in between the kitchen and living room!? Finally to bed around 4am! s
12 - Woken around 6:30am by a door banging and sounds of voices . .-1C out 9C in. . PCd a bit of this . . walked - in layers and 'double trousers' again. Returned via the builders merchant and bought a single-gang blanking plate and a meter of 'earth sheild' (83p). A lot of the guys were outside the yard, warming themselves around an old oil drum which was being used as a brazier. I joked that I needed to get one of those- but in reality I've long wanted to get my hands on one, for having a go at burning some of the mountains of garden waste I produce (the more 'woody' branches), rather than have to continually drive it all to the tip. My composter is always full and I've had half a dozen sacks of leaves and such sat in the garage awaiting disposal for months! I have seen those drums just tragically thrown away in the skips, by the nearby trawler equipment metalwork units. The guys called back that there was one over there, and pointed me in the direction of a nearby skip! Once I'd bought my socket blank, I crossed the yard and had a look. Sure enough, there were two in the skip. I asked the guy in the unit (weilding a lump hammer, fabricating some sort of dredging gear I think) if there was any chance of me having one, and he had no objection. Rushed home with Sally, put on some overalls and then drove back and fished both drums out, so I could get to the bottom one which was less badly dented. In fact, it really was in pretty good shape but for a single dent. Climbed back in and retreived a bit flat metal lid (although that was in much worse shape where it had been pierced to prise it open). Managed to 'just' squeeze it in the back of the car. Dumped it for the time being at the top of the garden. Well - there ya go. At some point in the future I'm gonna have to figure out how to make some holes in it, and then have a go at making a fire in it. I haven't a clue how to go about that. I KNOW it isn't as easy at it looks. .

. sanded the last bit of that kitchen wall. There really isn't much more to do! SO eager to get that finished off! It needs more filler yet, once it's dried out a bit. I really have been pushing the limits of how fast I can do some of this stuff, happily painting over still drying plaster, etc, etc!! . spent the whole rest of the day doing wiring! All took MUCH longer than I'd imagined it would! I can't begin to count the number of times I had to squirm around under all the floors dragging new cables from all the sockets, ultimately hooking them all up to the new set in the kitchen and finally completing the new 'ring' back to the fusebox. Fast running out of daylight I managed to just change one small section of original wire at the fusebox and have the whole lot (except for the small bit of the kitchen of course) connected to a 20Amp MCB, rather than the crazy low 16 Amp which the original sockets were on. (Having said that - with hindsight, on rare occasions I've run just about ALL the PC/TV/Digi-box etc, etc equipment in the living room all at the same time, and obviously haven't come anywhere close to tripping the 16Amp circuit, so I suspect, without working it all out for each piece of equipment, everything draws on much fewer Amps than may at first be imagined). I think in an ideal world I'd have that circuit on a 32Amp MCB, but the yet to be sorted kitchen spaghetti wiring appears to be wired into both of those, and while things are fine, I'm loathed to start messing with any of it. All in good time.

damn. I hadn't connected up the phone socket in the alcove yet! Back under the floor several times yet again, modifying the telephone cable and eventually successfully connecting up the new socket. Made a couple of 1471 calls here and there, to check both sockets still worked, checked the PC still had broadband, and then called Mum and got her to phone me back twice, to check the phone rang from both sockets. All ok. :o) . . .by 8pm I was still at it, vacuuming around a bit before finally calling it quits! Next door knocked at the door and offered me fifteen eggs!? Some guy at his work sells them and somehow they'd ended up with too many - or something like that!? Well - yes please, thank you. Guess I'll be having to eat a lot of omlettes soon. lol . . drove to walk late . . cooked and ate a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese around 10pm, followed by a banana. . put the immersion heater on, and in the down time while it heated the water, returned to the kitchen and put a bit of filler on the wall and then PVA glued a couple of the worktop edging strips back on - held in place with strips of parcel tape. . . showered/TVd . . to bed around 12:30am.
11 - Woke earlier then up around 7am. . .PCd a bit of this. .what day is it? . . walked and returned with what appears to be the last couple of bits of 'noggin' timber from that guys garden. . started off with sanding down around the new socket boxes in the living room and smearing a little filler on here and there, so it'll be dry by later. . smoothed down a bit of the wall beneath the worktop in the kitchen and got a coat of emulsion on the half of it which will end up behind the end corner unit when replaced. Plastered a conduit into the wall above the worktop, leading away from the fused switch box along to the right where the original socket was. A 'risky strategy'. That conduit will take the power lead from a boiler when I get one, but at this stage I have no idea where a power lead will exit from a boiler and where it should enter the wall/conduit. Rather than leave everything half finished and have to live with it like that, I figure when I get a boiler, it 'should' be possible to simply drill through the plaster and INTO the hidden conduit at whatever position is desired, minimising disruption and the 'making good' around the entry point.

. drilled, wallplugged and put in the retaining screws in the backs of the socket boxes in the living room and then sanded the filler. Meticulously cleaned and scraped off bits of old paint etc from the backs of the patches of original wallpaper I'd carefully cut out. Awkward and time consuming! Eventually managed to get them good enough to paste back onto the wall over the new boxes. . with that bit of the kitchen wall not requiring any further attention, I moved the under counter corner unit in the kitchen back into it's proper position - or actually about an inch nearer the end because it looks better (although I'll have to cut a couple of new/spare floor tiles to fit now), and screwed it back to the floor, wall and worktop. Oops - noticed through the small hole where the TV aerial used to temporarily come up through the floor, I'd left a light on under the floor all night!! . . pottered around for ages cleaning things up just a little. . mixed a little filler and smeared it by finger over the wallpaper patch joins in the living room alcoves, very effectively hiding the patches. You know you're doing a decent job with that, when half way through with another load of filler drying on the end of your finger, you lose track of where the join was! lol . . more vacuuming and tidying and plenty of sitting in the kitchen with coffee and cigarettes just looking at the wall and the plaster drying! Screwed the 'temporary' surface mount broken/parcel taped socket box to the side of a unit beneath the worktop, just to keep it safe and up out of the way. That'll probably end up staying there until such time as I have to move the washing machine out of its position in the probably near future. God only knows what horrors I'll find behind that when I eventually do! . . Image of newly installed electrical sockets in the living room alcoves'smeared' and dabbed a bit of white emulsion on the living room alcove walls around the new socket boxes, attempting to blend it all back in to the existing dirty off white wallpaper. The existing walls really are filthy and badly in need of decorating , especially where Sally has her bed. She's managed to make the wallpaper there positively muddy/greasy! Never mind. With everything I have on my plate at the moment, that really isn't a priority at all! . That'll do nicely. . Things are starting to look 'straight' again. Definitely signs of 'getting there' with todays progress. :o) . . drove to walk. Sat in the dark chatting to a dog walker when a bunch of 'youths' parked up in a car, got out, ran to the wall above the main gun emplacement above us, and started aiming fireworks (miniature rockets) AT us!! The dog of the guy I was with was really spooked by the bangs and ended up running out onto the road! I quickly followed and pathetically filmed them (pretended mostly) as they drove past. Dumb bastards - and old enough to drive!! Doesn't matter how long I live, I will NEVER understand how it is that an entire generation seems to have grown/been brought up where their only means of entertaining themselves always seems to feature 'having a go at someone' and deliberately seeking confrontation with others. It's my guess they have lived a spoiled/comfortable life (have been heavily influenced by 'popular culture' - particularly the internet of course) and are too young and dumb to know what an incredibly risky way of behaving that actually is! It is my earnest hope that such people behaving in such a way will ultimately (inevitably?) eventually pick on someone similarly 'socially retarded' who will think nothing of giving them the battering they so richly deserve! (No matter how 'bad' you think you are guys - there's always someone badder! You wait. You'll see - and that lesson will hurt!) . Perhaps THEN they will realise the mutual value of 'just getting along with people' and offering due consideration for others. Rant, rant rant. . . TVd . . ate a microwaved pastry slice with chips . .TVd and ate half a coffee madeira. . to bed just before midnight.
10 - Up around 7:15am! Below zero outside - but looks like a clear blue sky sunny day. . PCd this . . put laundry on. Oh dear. that washing machine is almost nearing the end of its days! The bushes and or bearings are making an awful noise. Won't get too many more loads out of that I'm afraid. :o( I'm getting strangely used to the idea that absolutely EVERYTHING is wearing out all at the same time! :o( . . walked. It's bin day and on the way to BGdns, I passed a Santa and Snowman put out with someones bins. The big plastic type which (weird?) people have illuminated in their gardens. The electrics had been torn out of the backs of them causing minor damage, but they were otherwise intact. Ooooh - that would be something to play with at some future Christmas wouldn't it? Not something I would EVER have considered buying, but too good an opportunity to miss, getting my hands on some for nothing. On top of that - it amuses me the idea that I could just stash them away under the floor somewhere, one in each alcove perhaps, to be discovered and pondered over by some future owner of the house. lololol . SO tempting! Decided if they were still there by the time I walked back past, I'd better have them. (I admit to not hanging around for as long as I probably normally would! lol) . They WERE still there! Tried calling at the door to make sure I could have them, but no-one was in, so after umming and ahhing quite a bit more, I eventually ended up struggling home carrying them!! lolol . .put laundry out on the line to dry and put another load in the dying machine . . walked back to the builders merchant and bought four double gang socket plates and a bunch of wall plugs

back to the kitchen building site! There is something ON part of that original bit of wall, particularly above where there used to be a dado rail, which is reacting when it gets wet and leaches through the emulsion paint discolouring it - and it doesn't matter how much paint, or how many coats you put on - it still leaches through - a dirty, patchy, eyesore yellow!!! That's really disappointing, especially after all the work I've put in to it. :o( Every single room in this house apparantly used to have one of those rails, a foot or so down from the ceiling (and the walls above and below, painted!). An original 1930s type feature I guess?They've ALL been removed and the resulting uneven mess and flaking paint just papered over! An uneven line is clearly visible through the textured paper everywhere. In all three bedrooms I had to put in a huge amount of time trying to level that out, plaster/fill it over and make the walls flat. It's gonna be exactly the same in both the kitchen and living room - on every wall! And now I have this 'bleeding through the paint' of something unpleasant!!! I've never had that before.

pulled the cover back off the consumer unit under the stairs and got back under the floor and started getting serious with tracing the existing wiring.

breifly stopped in at Mums to see if there was an old socket box in Dads garage. There wasn't. Returned to the local builders place only to find they had none of what I wanted! . carried on round to a little local 'ironmonger' type store and succeeded in buying a box together with a TV ariel plate and another fused swith plate all for around 10. Raced back home to carry on and promptly snapped the brand new box clean in two! I don't believe it! Parcel taped it back together and wired it up and left it loose beneath the worktop. Dug out the old double gang switch box from the wall and eventually did a little cementing to fill the hole back up . . painted a 1 part PVA, 5 parts water solution over the bit of wall that has the 'staining' problem in the hope of sealing it in!

fitted the aerial wall plate . . . . . . .drank a glass of red wine while cooking a whole packet of thin sausages with chips. Ate and TVd for a couple of hours. . eager to know if it was going to work, returned to the kitchen and put a bit of emulsion on the wall on top of the sealing coat of PVA. I don't believe it - it is STILL bleeding through! . filled the small hole in the ceiling where the temporary outside light cable used to drop down, and then dabbed the remaining bit of filler on small imperfections in the wall here and there. . ate half a coffee madeira cake . . TVd until bed at 11.11pm. d
9 - Up around 6am! . . PCd this . . walked . . phoned the house insurance company just to check I was still covered! I've had renewal documents, but even though the renewal date was a week or so ago, the money still hasn't been taken from my account!? Quickly confirmed I WAS still covered, and the money should be extracted actually coincedentally today. . back to work in the living room and rough plastered the socket box into the rear alcove. Didn't go as well as it could have, but it'll do . . carried on and chased out the wall for a double power socket in the middle of the front alcove and managed to eventually get that rough plastered into the wall complete with conduits going under the floor etc. I've actually filled that alcove with old folded duvets etc for a 'Sally bed', so having a socket behind all that is largely irrelevant to me at the moment - but it still had to be done to be 'consistant' and more or less complete the room set. With the exception of maybe a new single somewhere near the door for a handy vaccuum plug-in point (ahh yes - but where might the doorway end up! I 'may' yet move it!! lol) , and attention to the trio of original, old, poorly fitted points (a double and two singles was all that was in that room when I moved in!!) some time in the future when decorating, that 'should' pretty much be the full set for that room as far as I can envisage. Once the plaster around those new ones dries, and I fill and smooth around them and get the paper back on, I can finally get serious about doing a 'proper' more permanent ring rewiring of it all. I've done those sockets now because it 'may' have a knock on effect of how I wire up the new socket position in the kitchen. I've yet to get REALLY serious with tracing existing circuits from the fuse box under the floor through walls and around the kitchen. It's all frustratingly hidden behind units and difficult to follow. My job for tomorrow maybe? Big relief to finally get those done. I now need to buy a whole bunch of new socket plates to fit in them all! . . tidied up just a little and vacuumed some of the dust. Damn - a bit off the vacuum broke under the strain! One of the flat paddles on the rotating filter-screen brush mechanism snapped clean off while I was emptying it and pulling all the dog hair off (probably a bit heavy handedly)! The vacuum still works, but that bit no longer catches enough air to rotate and clean the dust off the filter screen when running like it should. :o( . . . ran out of steam and called it quits mid afternoon and grabbed three ham rolls . . napped for a couple of hours . . skipped the evening walk. . TVd . . smoothed down the filler on the kitchen wall and then, although it isn't as good as I could make it, went straight ahead and slapped a thin coat of emulsion over it. Did that as much as anything else, just to stop me from spending the rest of my life trying to make it all 'perfect'. I'd kinda lost perspective there. It's an old bit of wall for goodness sake - and almost all of it will eventually probably end up covered in tiles and boiler - and even wallpaper! Why on earth bother putting in SO much time trying to make it SO smooth?! Doesn't make sense, especially with everything else I have on my plate. I need to push on and just get it done enough to do the wiring, and THEN I can remove the OLD socket box and make good THAT bit of the wall and call a halt to it!!. .TVd . . showered . ate a small bit of left over pizza, two sausage rolls, kipling almond slices and chocolate . . . TVd until bed at 1:11am. s
8 - Up around 7:50am. True to the forecast, it seems to have turned rather colder again. Only 3C outside - and much condensation on all the windows. Actually, at the moment, that is no bad thing I think. Should help to draw moisture out of the atmosphere and aid in the drying of the kitchen wall plaster. . walked in a hint of sleet for a time. Didn't hang around. Returned with a 'Sunday lunch' bone from one of the dog walkers for Sally, and with a couple more pieces of 'noggin' timber over my shoulder . . . the plaster on the wall above the worktop had partially dried out enough to start the job of smoothing things down. Ran the sander/spirit level/straight edge over everything trying to get it all as good as possible - within reason. None of the walls are straight or flat so it's always a case of best compromise. Having said that, by the time I'd finished and covered everything in layers of white dust, that wall was certainly more than acceptable for being papered over already. Unfortunately I intend to just put a coat of paint on it for the forseeable future, so that's gonna require a lot more, bit by bit, time consuming application of bits of filler and sanding down here and there, before I'll be able to get away with that. The most awkward fiddly bit of all that is the doorway edge that I had to build out by almost a centimeter or so in places. There is no edge bead on that edge, so of course it's a real nightmare to get looking straight and smooth - and will forever be a bit fragile with regard to getting knocks! . .dabbed on some filler . . bit the bullet and (after having been putting it off for the last year or two!), with layers of dust on everything everywhere already anyway, decided to finally get round to having a go at putting in a double power socket box in the living room rear alcove. Having absolutely no intention of having to start decorating that room at the moment, like I successfully did when I did the multiple sockets in the bay for all the TV equipment, I used a stanley knife to carefully cut out and remove just enough of the heavily embossed wall paper to enable me to get on and do the job, with the intention of eventually temporarily sticking the patch of paper back up! (that paper is so heavily embossed, and was all put up so badly, temporarily disguising a patch like that with a few 'finger smears' of filler and some emulsion is easy). . decided to put in a line of three socket boxes in the centre of the bottom of the alcove. A single for a phone point, the double power socket, and another single which will probably be currently blanked (but could be a TV aerial point) - all horizontally linked for alternatives/future flexibility. Putting the three in that alcove like that means that if I (or the future owner of the house) ever so desired, with a bit of quick and easy socket re-configuring, the 'focus' of the room could be completely reversed and all the TV equipment etc currently in the bay window, could be put in THAT corner of the room - which would arguably make the extreme awkwardness of the furniture/seating arrangement in there, much easier to resolve! . .wow - whatever those walls are made of is SO soft! Looks like 'breeze blocks' made of little more than coal dust kinda! Excavating the deep recesses for the boxes was acheived with little more than the drill - 'dragged' left/right, up and down. Actually SO effective was that abuse of the drill in those soft blocks, that the cut outs for the boxes initially went incredibly well and I ended up with the 'easiest', neatest, snuggest recesses I've ever done! Unfortunately that all went a bit haywire when cutting the channels down behind the skirting into the area under the floor for the conduit. I bumped into two huge great old nails that were holding the skirting in place, and which had fractured the concrete wall block behind when hammered in! Ended up having to change where the conduit dropped down and had to do some cementing to attempt to firm up the big hole which developed!!! That was really disappointing. :o( If not for that, I probably could have had the whole job more or less done in just a few hours. Instead, by 6pm I'd only managed to rough plaster in the two single boxes, and had to leave the double power box for some other time, after the cement has hardened. Very disappointing - and not good news considering the recent drop in temperature (only a couple of degrees above freezing again) and the howling gale from under the floor blowing up through the rough cemented hole, next to where I sit!! . . tidied up and vacummed around the place just a bit, getting rid of just 'some' of the dust (mostly for Sally's benefit). Pointless clearing up in earnest, because there'll be more tomorrow - and so on and so on!! :o( . . drove to walk. Icy biting cold wind and hints of sleet. Real unpleasant. . drank a glass of red wine and cooked a large Mum donated pizza with extra cheese . . TVd, struggling to stay warm in front of the fire in the draft! . . utterly exhausted and just couldn't stay awake, and ended up in bed by around 10:30pm!! d
7 - Up around 7:30am . .PCd this until gone 9am . . .walked. K turned up to chat with the assembled dog walkers, and completely out of the blue, produced a 45amp double pole switch plate with red neon 'on' light from his pocket, and asked if it would be of any use to me! Something somewhere had been altered and it was being 'thrown away'! Well - what can I say - how bizarre. I WAS intending to go buy one of those when I have a go at fitting a shower! Rather than have a ceiling one on a pull string IN the bathroom, because of where things will likely go, I'd already concluded that I'd be better off with a normal wall switch, mounted on the stud wall on the landing at the top of the stairs. Yes please - thank you (although ultimately if it works out, I WILL still buy a 'prettier'/newer' looking one at a later date). . stopped off at Ks on the way back and picked up dog food left overs - and a couple of packs of 'just' out-of-date butter!! . eventually struggled home with the left overs in a carrier bag, and a couple more bits of 'noggin' timber over my shoulder. . PCd this . .returned to the under floor space and slapped a coat of old white emulsion on the few bits of walls I'd smoothed. Oh yes - that makes a difference. :o). . .ate dog food lasagne and a little chocolate. . napped until the alarm at 6:30pm . . skipped the walk . . TVd . .PCd at length surfing showers. Difficult choice all things considered. Of course normally I'd just go for cheap (especially considering it'll be 'kinda' temporary), but I've somehow ended up having my sights set on one with a on/off BUTTON, rather than the usual (much cheaper) multi function dial! . . ate a couple of small sausage rolls and a banana before to bed around 2am.
6 - Up just before 7am. PCd a bit of this. I'm very behind with it - been too busy. . walked and returned home with another long wet section of timber to be dried out in the garage . . little I can do on a Saturday with Mum coming down, and I can't really touch the kitchen wall until the plaster has dried out, so I decided to put in a bit of time (wasting!) under the floor doing more 'wall smoothing' slurry painting until she arrived. . Mum called in with paper, food donations for chats and a cuppa. . . as soon as mum had gone around 2pm I couldn't resist going back under the floor and doing some more. I really hadn't intended to waste so much time doing it, but I reached a point where the old sand I was using was almost all gone, so I figured I'd push on and use it all up and get it out of the way. (That sand was actually from a small bag left on the side of the road last year some time! It was one of the small bags that is used to weight down a temporary roadworks sign and stop it blowing over in the wind. After the roadworks were finished, the bag just got left behind and sat there on a verge for a good week or two - or longer. Hate seeing stuff go to waste and debris laying around, so one day while walking Sally when no-one was looking, I picked it up and carried it home, intending to probably add it to the lane potholes! Waste not want not. :o) ) By the time I'd used it all up, there was only a small section of one particular wall that needed doing to complete it, so I ended up mixing up even more using the other sand I've had hanging around for years. By the time I'd used all that up, cleaned up and stopped, it was around 6pm already! Quite happy to have finally got a bit of that done down there. I've 'smoothed' sections of wall at the back of the house and at the front around where I've mounted a bulkhead light, and actually a good portion of another wall joining up the two lintelled access holes in between. If I can eventually get some white paint on all that, it should act to reflect the poor light and make it much easier to see and do stuff (plumbing/electrics/etc) down there when required. . . drove to walk . . showered off the grime . .TVd . .ate three Mum donated ham and mayo rolls, crisps, banana and much chocolate . .guitarred/TVd until bed at midnight. s
5 - Poor broken sleep for little more than a couple of hours then up by Sally around 8:45am. . . walked . . back to work on the wall. Took off a little more wallpaper around the door and then set about sanding down the rough plaster around all the boxes etc. .I was just starting to use my ancient and abused electric sander on the wall when it started to threaten to burn out and stop working!! Oh noo!!!! Ended up having to waste the best part of an hour dismantling the thing and trying to remove the mass of dust that was gumming up all the parts and particularly the bearings/bushes. Happily managed to figure out how it came apart, and succeeded in removing lots of the thick layers of crud before with the unwise help of a bit of WD40, managed to get things all freely moving again. What a relief. . Actually, after a bit of sanding, it turned out to be not looking 'too' bad, considering the pre-existing uneven state of the wall. . pushed on and eventually did plastering up to the wall edge where the doorway is, trying to straighten out the 'curve' that some previous builder had thought was acceptable! Didn't go 'too' badly despite my poor plastering skills and the old plaster which only gives a few minutes working time before it goes off!! In fact, once that wall has dried out a bit, I think I'm mostly down to just a 'decorating' job now. Just lots of time consuming sanding and filling over several days, trying my best to get the wall smooth enough for just a coat of paint, rather than have to hide it behind heavily textured wall paper like it was. Yep - I feel a lot happier with progress today. Because of the 'Bristol' experience, I get a bit 'panicky' when things are a big 'building site' mess as they have been these last few days - just in case for some reason I have to suddenly try and sell up and move out! Irrational perhaps, but I just can't help it. I'm a lot happier when, even if things are still a mess, they can readily be improved by more or less just a bit of decorating! This has much to do with why I'm taking so long to getting round to having quotes for windows etc. I feel I need to concentrate on a little bit at a time and get each bit pretty much sorted before moving onto the next, rather than suddenly end up out of my depth and have every room an unmanageable building site. I think the 'temporary electric shower project' really should be urgently next, but I'm not gonna start on the devastation that will cause to various bits of the house, until I've pretty much finished sorting out that wall in the kitchen. . tidied up and vacuumed some of the dust and bits of plaster from all over the kitchen floor! . . mixed up a tub of my best cement 'slurry', and put in a bit of time under the floor pointing/painting over the bricks and mortar on one of the supporting walls, smoothing things out a bit prior to someday painting it white. Boy doing that is SO absurdly time consuming, but somehow bit by bit, I AM determined to do it - eventually. Really wanted to do some more, but I just ran out of steam and felt SO tired, I had to call a halt around 6pm . . drove to walk in pouring rain. Stopped at the store and treated myself to a fresh, VERY expensive pizza! . . a couple of 'kids' were outside the store, sheltering from the rain having a 'smoke'. That strong home grow skunk stuff they smoke - even being all congested and blocked up with a smokers nose full of plaster and brick dust, even 'I' could plainly smell it from a considerable distance away! . . did dishwashing chores and de-dusted just a little. . drank a glass of red wine while the pizza cooked. Briefly PCd a bit of this. . ate pizza and a little chocolate. . TVd until bed around 11:30pm. d
4 - Very poor disturbed sleep then up around 7:45am. I'm gonna have a 'day off' and just clear up a little I think. . .walked in intermittant drizzle. On the way to BGdns, the owner of a house I pass was out working on his van, so I had the chance to ask what I've been wanting to ask for weeks! In his garden is a big pile of what looks like throw-away timber or maybe firewood. Plenty of those pieces are exactly the same (small!!) size that my floor rafters are remarkably made from. Because those floor timbers are so small, there is quite a lot of flex and bounce in the floors. Not so much as to be a problem, but I reckon the 'feel' of the floors could be drastically improved by adding a few noggins here and there. There are also a few areas for when I do plumbing etc, that would benefit from having some extra noggins put in. That timber in the guys garden would be ideal for making up noggins (although was by now rather wet and would require some considerable drying out)! . Sure enough, it WAS surplus and was apparantly destined to maybe used by a member of his family for firewood. He had no objection to my having some of it, and even generously offered to drop it home in his van! I guess I could easily have said yes please and just had all that done, but I'm funny about ending up being indebted to someone like that. I declined and said if it was ok with him, since I walk past twice a day, I'd just take a bit at a time when passing over the next few days. . Struggled home carrying the beam of timber and carrier bag of dog food. Dumped the timber in the garage to start the long process of drying out. . did 'potholing' under the floor and made sure that all the new 'in the wall' conduits were accessable and free from blocking plaster. Pushed the TV aerial lead up through one of them to the socket in the kitchen . messed around removing a couple more of the old tiles around the soon to be removed old double socket, and then dug out the old protruding wall plugs and forced some plaster into all the holes. .got a quick layer of masonary paint on the outside wall to protect where I bricked up the drier vent hole. . tidied up, put tools back in the garage, and de-dusted things a little . soldered the plug back on the end of the aerial wire, temporarily roughly hanging out of the socket box (unlike all other connections, easily pushed back into the box to allow me to plaster and finish off the wall around), and reinstated the portable TV in the kitchen. . cooked and ate a huge feast of Mum donated four rashers of bacon, three eggs and chips followed by just a little chocolate . . napped, dreaming about eating until around 5:45pm . . drove to walk before the forecast heavy rain moved in . . PCd and actually did an oh SO rare e-mail reply to someone, who had asked questions about my old XS1100 chop and how it was made! Hard to remember it was SO long ago, although one or two of the most bizarre little details ARE still very clear in my mind. Like how I made an idiot lights cluster out of an old cassette case. lol I'm sure the guy didn't want to hear about THAT! lolol . . . guitarred/TVd/PCd most of the night away before finally to bed in the early hours! s
3 - Up around 7:15am. My lower back is in bad shape! Actually ALL of my back, neck and headache as a result! . . walked . . phoned the battery company guy and thanked him for the replacement battery, although pointed out it was STILL not quite right and I'd had to use a carpet tile to make it fit, and then mentioned how the delivery guy had refused to take the returning battery because he didn't have the paperwork! I asked what he wanted me to do about it - fully expecting I'd have to stump up the cost of parcel-posting it back to him. Bizarrely, he didn't seem to care about it, and although I can't quite recall how it came about in the conversation, he more or less suggested I should just keep it!!? Huh? I probably should have pushed the point and said I'd post it, but after he'd said that I just let it go, and the conversation ended with me thanking him for his help and that was that. So - I have a spare, brand new 054H type car battery (that won't fit my car) worth around 40 for nothing! How weird is THAT! Just in case he made a mistake that will eventually be noticed, or in case I suddenly get billed for it, I guess I'll just leave it all packaged in its box hanging around for a while until I'm sure. It 'may' come in useful. (While surfing Maplins website on many occasions, I have dabbled with the idea of buying one of those cheap solar cells used for topping up car batteries, with a view to maybe trying to rig up some sort of solar/car-battery powered garden lights set-up or some such. I had every intention of giving it a go as soon as I ended up with an old car battery - like I just have. Maybe having a go at that with a brand new, fully functioning car battery, is a whole different proposition! VERY tempting. :o) ) . . left Sally at home and drove to the diy store to buy a new drill. Actually felt quite 'liberating' to have the car back and be able to go places! Wasn't concerned about 'what' drill under the urgent circumstances. Just a cheap one, locally, now, would do! . . Upon arrival at the DIY store, the car park and much of the interior of the store was festooned with big fluorescent signs announcing a 10 trade in deal on power tools! Located a cheap/that'll do drill on the shelf and then confirmed with a sales assistant that if I presented my old broken drill, it WOULD be 10 cheaper. Damn - I'd have to drive back home and get the old broken drill. (Actually - I hadn't yet checked the fuse in the old drill, just in case it was nothing more than that.) . .returned to the car, but before heading home, popped round to a nearby electrical supplies place on an industrial estate which I've been to before. Quickly explained to the guy behind the counter what I was up to with trying to maybe put in a shower, and asked if he had a 40Amp MCB that would perhaps fit my consumer unit. He was a very helpful guy, said he had one but also said he didn't think it would fit. Got him to get one and had a look anyway. Wow - looked to me as though it WOULD probably fit! That guy was REALLY helpful and was even at one point offering to let me have it for nothing to try, and bring back if it didn't fit. I figured what the hell - if it doesn't fit, at that price I'll keep it as a souvenir - so I paid him the princely sum of 3 and raced home with it. . the MCB went into the consumer unit pretty much straight away - and although it is fractionally different to the others, it is SUCH a good fit and lines up so well, the case goes back on without ANY hassle at all. So there - after all that agonising over it, and wondering where on earth I may be able to get one, and imagining I may even have to have my consumer unit replaced, for a mere 3 it's all sorted. Yayyy - absolutely DELIGHTED! :o) So - theoretically, there is little stopping me now from pushing forward with a shower project (although there still remains my concern over whether or not it's a good idea, with such a low 63A main incomer RCD breaker on the consumer unit! Only one way to know - put one in and try it!). . quickly checked the fuse in the drill and confirmed it WAS the drill that was burned out. Mum called so I grabbed a quick coffee while she chatted. Image of new socket boxes in my kitchen wall. drove back to the store for a drill. It was one of their own brand type - an 810 watt, variable speed hammer drill, very much similar to the one I'd just got through, for 29.99. Grabbed a couple more single, 35mm deep socket boxes while I was at it for 1.31 each (I need to put a bunch of those, together with double power sockets, in the alcoves in the living room still - and 'may' well end up doing that soon, since I'm back to playing with the half finished re-wiring of things and can now get around under the floor a lot easier than before). Marched up to the checkout and with a smug smile, handed the woman my broken, battered, dusty drill in a carrier bag. She opened it up and peered in looking confused. Whatever must she have thought! The thing was - she'd been on leave or some such, and was completely unaware of the 10 trade in deal - despite all the signs all over the car park and store! lolol Once a supervisor had been called and explained to her what was going on, I got my 10 trade-in and departed with my socket boxes and new drill, all for 22.61. Nice one. . ended up driving around all over the place trying to find somewhere that had pre-formed bends for the electrical conduit I'm using between the socket boxes. The conduit run, up the kitchen wall to the bedroom floor above for the outside light cable, unfortunately emerges behind a floor joist which is too close to the wall to make things easily accessible. I figured a right angled bend (or actually slightly less than 90 degrees) would enable me to get the conduit into a much more easily reached area under the bedroom floor, and because of the coving in the kitchen would be very easily hidden away. Normally those little bends are available off the shelf in the DIY store but they didn't have any - nor did any of the nearby builders merchants I tried. Getting suggestions of where to go next, and driving from place to place, although frustrating for something so small, turned out to be actually something of a VERY useful education as to what is where down here. Being a newcomer to the area, and not getting around much or knowing anyone, I never have any idea of where 'stuff' can be bought. As it turns out, that whole area of probably a couple of square miles, is almost exclusively occupied by various industrial estates with all manner of different building/electrical/window/etc, etc supplies places! Actually amazed to find so many - but I guess that is partially explained by the 'demographics' of the population down here. i.e. lots of wealthy/retired having tradesmen do alterations/extensions/work on their homes, etc. Suffice it to say, eventually I ended up at a huge unit occupied by Denmans Electrical Wholesaler (wow - everything you could EVER want, electrical! A seductive display of new multi way consumer units in their counter area!) , and after having got the poor guy behind the counter to go get various bits and pieces for me to have a look at, chosen from their catalogue, I ended up buying a '20mm PVC Normal Bend' for 1.32. This was actually not at ALL what I'd set out to buy - but was far better for what I had in mind! :o) . . ate ham, mayo and cheese sandwiches with crisps . . worked on putting the rest of the conduits in the wall. The run up the wall with the bend at the top was a real awkward fiddle, but by removing one of the bend socket pieces, and very carefully heating it on the stove to make the bend slightly less, I eventually got it happily protruding under the bedroom floor in a very accessible position, with the entire thing hidden from view in the kitchen wall. No problem pushing the cable down through that whenever I want now. :o) . . much hard work and awkwardness. EVERY piece of conduit I do, is cut to 'just' fit through the holes of the socket boxes at each end without overlapping so much as to cause any obstruction to whatever is to be fitted in them. Every conduit end is 'reamed out' with a conical grinding stone drill attachment, to remove the inner edge of the cut end, and make it much easier for pushing cables through when finished. All the conduits are then 'roughed up' over their entire length with some sandpaper, to give a good key for the plaster and prevent any expansion/plaster seperation or cracking over time. I've done a bunch of these like this over the years - tried and tested method. Seems to work well. Once in place, wiring them up and any future alterations/re-configuring of wiring, is just SO simple, it really IS worth all the effort. . managed to get all the conduits rough plastered in place by around 8pm. Yayyyyy. :o) . . finally cleared up and collapsed in front the TV around 9pm . . no appetite but forced down a microwave curry and four pieces of bread and butter . .struggled to stay awake in front of the TV until bed just after midnight. a
2 - Up around 5:45am!! I woke from a nightmare (about blocked drains!) and should have been able to get back to sleep for several more hours, but unfortunately as soon as I woke I started thinking 'house' stuff and that woke me good and proper! . much milder. 4C outside / almost 12 inside. . walked early and was back shortly after 8am . . back to work on the wall in the kitchen, chasing out grooves for the conduit with the disc cutter and drill. Dust everywhere! Clearing all ths stuff away into cupboards etc before starting the work turns out to have been largely a waste of time - the dust has seeped into all the cupboards and drawers and is layered on absolutely EVERYTHING - cutlery, plates, everything! It even seeped under the closed kitchen door into the rest of the house. Popping out at one point, I was dismayed to find a cloud of it in the air in the hallway and living room!! Poor Sally was just sat there in it!!!!! :o( . difficult doing all that grinding, drilling, hammering work while trying to keep an ear open for the battery delivery guy, who I assumed should be arriving some time today. With my hearing already obviously damaged and frequent bouts of tinitus and weird noises appearing in my head, now it's too late, I always try to remember to wear my ear defenders when doing stuff like that. Because I was trying to listen out for the doorbell/Sally barking, I did everything WITHOUT protecting my ears - frequently stopping the defeaning tools to have a listen!! . . in the middle of things, and with it being absolutely VITAL to continuing, would you believe it - my drill broke and without any warning simply wouldn't go the next time I picked it up! Arrrrgggghhhh!!!!!!!! . . rough plastered sockets boxes in place . . at some point the replacement car battery was delivered, and luckily I'd reached a point where I wasn't using the disc cutter, and DID hear the doorbell. Disappointingly the delivery driver would NOT take the returning battery I'd parceled up, because he didn't have the necessary paperwork (which I'd assumed the battery company would have supplied him with - like when I had to return my broken guitar!) . Fairly soon had a convenient break in the 'wall work', and unpacked the new battery and raced up to the garage to fit it. Oh for goodness sake!!! It STILL doesn't fit the bloody carrier in the car, even though it does have the feet!!!! Turns out the height of the feet is a few millimeters less than they should be! Grrrrrrrr. :o( Ummmm -ummmm - I know. I cut up a piece of spare carpet tile and placed it in the battery carrier beneath the battery. That few millimeters was all that was required to be able to bolt it down securely without it slopping around. Phew - that'll do! I've had enough of this palava! I NEED the bloody car back. On the positive side, with the new battery, the car started up like a dream. Thank god for that! . . finished rough plastering in the socket boxes and called it quits and tried to de-dust a little . . .TVd for a while around 6pm as the immersion heater heated water for an hour . . showered . . drove to walk- because I could! Car appears to be running fine - so it WAS all about the battery (although I've a suspicion I'm soon gonna have to at the very least, tighten the fan belt, which is hinting at slipping when under load!) . . microwaved four faggots and ate with three bread rolls followed by a couple of almond slices. .TVd utterly exhausted until early to bed, before 11pm. a
1 - Up around 7:30am. . -1 outside / 9 inside . . walked early and was back by 9am . .did dish washing chores and tidied stuff up in the kitchen, getting just about everything stashed away in cupboards or moved elsewhere. I'm planning to use the disc cutter in there soon and the mess is going to be awful! The power socket where a new central heating combi boiler will go has to be 'moved', so I'm going to cut a new one into the wall complete with my usual plastic conduit leading down under the floor. . PCd and surfed all over the place and drew up a list of combi boiler dimensions. Although not entirely critical, I used more or less the biggest I'd come across to work out approximately where to put the new socket boxes in the wall . unfixed and moved the under-counter kitchen cabinet end unit, to give me access to the portion of wall where I need to do the work. (How bizarre - that kitchen has apparantly been fitted On TOP of a floor covering of old lino, which lays beneath the carpet tiles. When I replace everything, I'm going to have to put the unit back ON a piece of the old lino, to make sure it still reaches up to the underside of the worktop!!! Bloody amateurs/cowboys!). . Removed the wallpaper. Utterly bizarre, whoever put that heavily embossed wallpaper up, just put it up over the top of a load of projecting wall plugs from some old, long since removed wall cupboard or other!! They didn't even bother to remove them and fill the holes!?? . hacked off a good portion of the awful, badly fitted tiles. I DID try to save them intact, so I could 'maybe' put a few back up later, as a temporary measure for where the worktop meets the wall, but try as I did, almost all of them fractured into pieces. Oh well. I'm not too worried about that. The kitchen would benefit from them all being replaced - properly! - with some others.

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It's only a wooden lintel above that doorway!! No wonder there are cracks in the outside render - and disappointingly that stretch of wall up to the doorway edge, where I'm gonna do all the work isn't at all straight!!! It curves into the edge - and that's really gonna matter when I mount the new sockets!!!! Bugger! That's gonna complicate matters in terms of getting them all straight and level. I'm gonna have to plaster/re-construct that bit of wall, all up the side of the door opening, to attempt to level it!!!!

ate a tin of ravioli with four pieces of bread and butter. . back to the kitchen. Ummmd and ahhhd for ages just looking at it and measuring up and trying to make my mind up where to put things. True to form when I do this sort of thing, I can't just do a simple 'move the box'. Instead I have to get all clever and complicated and start putting in a load more, trying to envisage every possible FUTURE scenario. On this occasion, I ended up with wanting to put in a total of FIVE new boxes!!!! For the last year or two I've had 'temporary' wires all hanging around in that same area. One TV aerial cable coming up through the floor for the portable TV that lives on that counter top corner, and the outdoor garden spotlight cable, temporarily hanging down from the ceiling and plugged into the socket. All of that had to be taken into account and finally sorted out properly. So - in a single line jut above the worktop 1- single box for a TV point, with conduit chased into the wall from under the floor below. 2-double power socket with conduit from below. 3-single box with conduit from below to power a new boiler - and all those boxes interconnected horizontally with conduit to allow for flexibility in connecting them up. 4-BELOW the counter it seemed a shame to waste the opportunity of including another double power socket along one of the drops of conduit, just in case at some point in the future things would be altered and an appliance would want to be plugged in under there - although as things stand I'll probably just have that one blanked when it's all done. 5-Higher up the wall a single box to take a fused wall switch for the outside light, with conduit embedded in the wall going UP to the underfloor space of the bedroom for the light cable, together with conduit leading down to the new (2) double power socket for the supply.

 

At long long last I actually made the decision and had worked out how to stagger them for all the conduit interconnections, etc etc, and started the unpleasant work of drilling and chiseling out the recesses for the deep socket boxes. Filthy messy work but thankfully didn't go 'too' badly and by around 6pm I'd 'excavated' the holes for the top four boxes!

walked. Definitely a couple of degrees warmer tonight. Thank goodness for that! . . drank a glass of red wine and ate Mum donated pizza with extra cheese. . TVd until bed before midnight. da

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