<<Return to My Diary
29 - Up around 7am with an aching back, headachey, and feeling pretty low . . .walked . bit the bullet and made a FULL 'safe' copy of ALL the 'user data files' on my 500GB main 'C' drive onto my big 1.5TB external 'backups' type USB drive. I DID have a good prod at that backup drive to see if I could take the actual hard-drive out of its case, and fit it straight into the PC, to speed things up. Doing mass file movements via its USB lead is painfully slow in comparison. Sadly it wasn't obvious how the case would come apart, so I just had to persevere with doing it via the USB lead. Eventually carefully set the copy going - and that was the PC all busy and tied up for way in excess of the next FOUR hours!!!! . got clean, did multiple laundry chores, guitarred etc during the agonising down time. . ate a tin of soup with four pieces of bread and butter and some chocolate. . napped leaving the copying of files STILL running! . . back up around 6pm and straight back to the PC - which HAD finally finished its copying. Made a few further copies of useful things to keep like my address book, favourites, quick launch shortcuts etc before swapping drives around and then - 'going for it'! Repartioned the main drive and then set it going on the lengthy formatting. . . walked with a coffee leaving the machine formatting .tu . . put the bin out ready for collection, together with a big pile of other debris alongside. Pushing my luck a bit there I suspect . . straight back to the PC to spend the whole rest of the evening reinstalling windows and drivers and programs and updates etc, etc, etc. Hours and hours and reboot after reboot ad infinium! Nightmare! . guitarred a little in front the PC in the downtimes . . . according to the scanner, somewhere around midnight the coastguard troops were mobilised (along with the police) to go look for a 'depressed male' potentially up on Berry Head. The lifeboat was also scrambled to scan the relevant coastline, but a thick fog meant they couldn't see anything and they eventually gave up trying and returned to base. I kinda missed the end-result of the incident, but suspect it was another false alarm type deal, because the radio was completely silent later as I ate. . ate a six pieces of bread and butter pile of chopped ham and pork sandwiches, crisps and chocolate . . to bed after 2:30am leaving the PC copying most of my 'data' files over from the external drive, back onto the main C drive. I'm getting there - VERY slowlyzzzzzzz.
28 - Up around 7:30am . . 15C in, 8C out. .Almost casually (!?) put a maximum £201 (inc postage) bid on an e-bay auction for an Icom PCR1500. It's a pretty serious all mode, wide-band, COMPUTER CONTROLLED scanner reciever thingy. From what I've read and the youtube videos I've watched, it really would do pretty much everything I can conceive I'd ever want (and much more), from a 'at the PC' type scanner. It really would be a wonderful toy to own - particularly now that I've got a better understanding of what I want to be able to do (mostly just 'monitoring' - um - EVERYTHING!) and where and how with all the more modern stuff that's available. My bid was 'almost' casual, in that the auction was going to end when I was out walking, and I FULLy expected to be outbid. (The last one I saw go, had lots of interest and went for around £250+!) . . walked. Ended up getting a bit uptight about maybe actually winning the auction and having spent a load more money, and didn't hang around too long. On the way back, the van man who'd shifted the three piece suite for me drove past, and I had the opportunity to cheerfully wave at him. . .straight onto the PC and watched the end of the PCR1500 auction. Right up to the end of the auction I was actually the highest bidder, and almost looked in danger of winning it for very near my maximum bid!! Yikes. Predictably, four seconds from the auction end, two sharks jumped in, I was immediately outbid, and it went to one of them for £216.99. Shame - but something of a relief also. I've enough on my plate right now as it is. . all of a sudden the van man pulled up outside. Turned out he WAS coming to MY door!! Having waived at him earlier had apparantly suddenly reminded him about his offer to me of an internal glass paned door, and he'd gone home and put it in his van and brought it straight round! I could have it for nothing if I wanted!!! I didn't bother measuring it - just had a quick inspection of it and jumped at the chance. He helped me bring it in - I thanked him for it (AND for charging me so low for the sofa move) - and off he went. Cool. :o) . messed around measuring up the living room hallway doors for a while, and sadly, things didn't look so cool after all! Turns out that glass paned door is several inches wider than what I currently have, and because of the width of the actual glass panes (15 rather than the 10 in each of the french doors), it is NOT really going to be possible to simply cut it down to fit (mostly because of the amount of frame needed to still be able to fit a latch mechanism and handle). To make it work, I'd have to actually try to increase the size of the door-frame/opening in the wall!! That is a FAR more substantial bit of work, would cost a bit in timber at the very least, would trash the place with dust etc, and is not something I want to rush into tackling for the sake of a free (needs work/doesn't match the french-doors)door. WHAT a shame! SUCH a shame I can't just do a bit of woodwork and fit it. VERY disappointing. :o( Gonna have to store it somewhere and think about it all for a while. SO disappointed. :o(. . .. . spent hours up the top of the garden breaking up the old sofa chair next door once gave me, which he'd recently said he'd take to the tip next time he goes. I'm tired of squeezing past it all the time, and who knows when he's liable to find the time to drive to the tip next. The fortnightly wheelie bin collection is this week, so it made sense to me to break the thing up and squeeze as much of it as I could into the bin, and start the lengthy process of getting rid of it bit by bit over the coming weeks. . took AGES to break it up! Although largely chipboard inside, it was actually constructed a LOT better and more robustly than the sofa I recently did the same to. Eventually had the bin filled up as much as I dared, some of the timber added to the dustbin full in the garage for burning some time, a small pile of mixed debris to get rid off in the coming weeks, and all the foam tied up in a bundle and wrapped in my smelly old hearth rug, for hopefully getting rid off this week alongside the bin. Rediculous the amount of time, work and effort I have to put in these days, just to get rid of stuff. . ended up feeling pretty down about everything and overwhelmed with panicky feelings of kinda 'not being able to cope' with everything!?! . . ate corned beef and mayo sandwiches, crisps and biscuits . . napped . . walked with a coffee. . PCd a bit while monitoring radios. It would appear from what I picked up on the scanner, the 'Dart(moor) Rescue' people were having some sort of excercise, with mock rescues off the moor? First time I've actually picked them up like that, after having only recently discovered mention of their frequency (167.1Mhz) online, and added it to my scanning list. . ended up just sat at the PC for ages just looking at the mess I'm in, feeling utterly fed up. The hard drive is in such a dreadful mess, with old and new directories and programs littering the thing, without me readily able to identify what is old or new, good or bad, required or not, I just don't think I can live with it like this. I'm not sure what to do about it. I'm oh SO loathed to, but I suspect I'm gonna have to do loads of work to safeguard some settings and such, and then start again from scratch, wipe the hard drive and then try to rebuild it all - again! I just don't want to bother. I'm sick of it all. Sick of it ALL! I'm pretty down right now. :o( . . . TVd . . ate bowls of cornflakes and chocolate before back to bed around midnight.
27 - Up around 6:55am . . woke up at the PC and continued with a bit of slowly trying to rebuild everything. Got my e-mails back up and working at least! Recieved an e-mail from the Marine Conservation Society people. "We thought you would like to know that we have had a request from the Australian Seabird Rescue charity, asking to use some of your "seagull eating plastic bag" footage in a film that will shown at the Byron Bay International Film Festival in Australia in March. It will then be shipped to as many international film festivals as possible to spread the word further still. . So it seems that that unfortunate seagull, probably sadly now long since dead, and of course your footage, are helping in no small way to protect other seabirds." Good of them to keep me informed as I'd asked, like that. Funny how things like that video, can take on a little life of their own.:o| . . . walked the beach and woods. A seal was in the bay calmly lounging around during Bellas frantic swimming out for her ball. More frantic chasing around in the woods. She gets REAL hyper every time she has a swim! Even more so than her hard to tolerate usual!!! Got back just as a bit of drizzle was in the air. . straight back to working on the PC, but actually didn't get very far with the rebuild, and bizarrely ended up surfing looking at new hard drives and the like! I think I'm just sick and tired of the 'work' of trying to sort it all out, and needed a mindless 'surfing' type rest!! I DID at least actually manage to get my old, OLD, out-of-date, 'can't live without it/it does the job' HTML editor (Frontpage Express - run on an XP machine!) back up and running - so I'm pretty much in a position to be able to update my journal at least. . early afternoon the postman delivered my new scanner D earpiece. It would appear to be identical to the one which recently broke - which was actually a bit of a disappointment. I 'could' have got one cheaper than £4, but had hoped the little extra may have indicated it was different. Oh well. 'Next time' I'll have to try a completely different type. . PCd a bit of this (instead of reinstalling software and drivers and sorting out the hard drive mess as I should be!). .ate the rest of yesterdays cheese melt concoction with four pieces of bread and butter followed by a little chocolate . . napped . . walked with a coffee - and using my new earpiece on the scanner. Good to get back to discreet monitoring like that. . PCd and checked on watched e-bay listings etc. I AM in danger of having a bid on an expensive bit of radio kit ending soon!! Oh dear - haven't I learned my lesson yet?! . . PCd this at length until early. This is NOT getting things sorted out! Right - just after 1am, lets see if my FTP program and account settings etc is working and if I can upload THIS. . . . ate a trio of mum donated ham rolls, a banana and then some chocolate . . TVd before finally to bed getting on for 3am.
26 - Back up around 8am and straight back to the PC . No progress. Still utterly buggered!!! :o( The antivirus program scans found nothing and helped not at all!??? How is THAT possible? What the hell is the point in running up to date antivirus software, if things like this can still happen and screw you SO bad?!!!! Grrrrr! Well - that's the end of it then - decision made - I'm gonna HAVE to have a go at repairing/reinstalling Windows from scratch from the CDs!!! :o( (Interesting to wonder what the hell I'd be able to do if I had this problem on a shop-bought PC - where they DON'T give you ANY re-install discs, and instead, rely on some sort of oem 'factory settings' operating system on a seperate partition somehow! How on earth would I (anyone?) be able to salvage data and do anything like this, with a single drive laptop?? I SO need to read up on such things and try to figure out a better way of dealing with such eventualities - if there is one! Running some sort of external drive backup EVERy single time you use the PC just isn't practicable.). . walked. Actually felt a just a 'little' calmer than yesterday (for which I'm sure poor Bella was most grateful), after having had to accept I had NO choice and WAS going to have to do the reinstal and probably lose a bunch of stuff. . . Put in some hours backing up as much of my data files as I could think I'd need, onto the secondary hard drive, and ALSO onto an external USB drive. . An initial lengthy attempt at just 'repairing' windows had no affect on things. . . . . . wrestled with the PC ALL day and eventually reinstalled windows from scratch. Bizarrely and totally unexpectedly, it somehow managed to retain my 'data' files, but actually put the fresh windows operating system kindof in on top of the existing one (!???), but with many of the windows directories alongside the existing old ones, so Ive ended up with all the old directories and files littering the machine in a dreadful mess! (With hindsight, I probably really should have wiped the drive completely - but in too deep by the time I belatedly decided as such!) . Did dish washing chores in the downtimes as things loaded etc. . eventually had things up and running sufficently to get on-line, and after activating windows (same copy - YET again, again!), ran windows-update after seemingly endless windows-update, having to re-boot the machine more times than I can remember! Ridiculous! . dared to drink a glass of wine during all this nightmare, but strangely somehow failed to get tipsy like I usually do?? Just as well I guess. . . . carried on wrestling with things until somewhere around 7:30pm before briefly having a break to walk Bella - albeit leaving the machine installing downloaded windows updates while I did! . . straight back onto the PC to wrestle some more. In a foul, FOUL mood about having to go through all this - for nothing! Wasted the whole day - and will yet more to come, reinstalling and rebuilding everything back to how it was (if I even can!)! :o( . poor BB called to touch base, and briefly got the brunt of my foul tempered ranting. Pretty soon after, I just HAD to called it quits for the day. Needed food and a break. . drank some more red wine while cooking up a bacon, mushrooms, onion cheese-melt concoction again. Eventually ate two thirds of the bowlfull with four pieces of bread and butter. Only two thirds because it was SO 'rich', I started feeling a bit queasy and didn't dare eat the rest. . ate a trio of mini jam doughnuts . . to bed somewhere around midnight.
25 - Up around 7:25am. 15C in, 8C out. .Walked. Carried on down town and headed for the hardware store looking to buy a low energy GU10 lightbulb for the PC room downlighter. Wanted a 'regular' low energy one, with a diffuser on the front, similar to what I've got in the living room alcoves, but preferably a higher wattage. They didn't have much of a choice but DID have a 'Kosnic' 11W one - which is allegedly equivalent to the light output from a normal 50W halogen type. The shocker was the price. £9.99!!!!!!! Just for ONE bulb!!!!!??? Nevertheless, I wasn't in the mood to be messing around searching on e-bay and then end up with dim, 'slightly' less expensive rubbish (like I did with those LED ones!), so I bit the bullet and went ahead and bought it!!! Also bought a new double gang switch for the PC room. The old one I'd used WAS a bit past its best, and wasn't smooth in its operation - and stuff like that bugs me. . one of the charity shops was clearing everything out to be decorated, and the few remaining things they had left were going for 10p. Scored a brass plate (the type that goes on swing-type doors to push against. Not sure what they are called.). With a slightly scrolled decorative edge, 30cmx6cm and solid brass, I figured it was worth 10p for the scrap value! I have it in mind to maybe fix it sideways to the front of the understairs cupboard door. Because I hinged the kitchen door round the other way to accomodate all the alterations I've made, when its fully open against the hall wall, if I open the uderstairs cupboard (where I keep all my coats and shoes etc) and lazily allow it to swing right back, the handle of the kitchen door digs into the paintwork of the front of the understairs one. That plate would improve that. Ok, so it'll get a bit scratched - but for 10p, who cares. It'll be better than having the paint wearing away and a groove being dug in the timber like it is! Also bought seven tins of dog food for £3.92. . . fitted the new bulb and lightswitch faceplate. . PCd/radiod a little untilMum called in with the paper and food donations . . walked back with Mum to have a quick prod at her broken hosepipe hoselock fitting. It'd fallen apart after the recent freezing temperatures - I figured things were probably warmed back up enough now to sort out. Fitted a spare connector and (eventually!) got the hose back to working 'acceptably'. As I was leaving she told me to have a look in the drawer of one of my living-room chairs when I got back. Shed put £30 in it when I wasnt looking - to avoid the inevitable argument with me about refusing to accept it. She'd kinda set her mind on paying for my living-room footstool. :o) . .ate Mum donated sausage rolls, crisps, banana and some chocolate . . napped . . well - the new outrageously expensive downlighter bulb in the PC room seems to do the business quite nicely. :o) In fact, it's maybe even brighter than I'd imagined it would be (once it's had a couple of minutes to fully 'warm up' like they do!). Hard to imagine when I'll ever use the original main light now. . walked . . TVd/PCd. Poking around looking at this and that all over the net, all of a sudden I was hit by a pop-up window and instant virus attack! Like I've experienced before, it somehow entered via some sort of Sun Java script or some such. (With hindsight, I wonder if I had something set wrong, allowing such attacks to get past the usual browser safeguards? I AM running an up-to-date anti virus program for goodness sake!!) I'd long since altered the Java thingy to show some sort of loading 'consol' or other, so I actually SAW it as it started to do it's thing - and immediately attempted to disconnect from the net and stop it as it did so - which HAS worked for me before now. On this occasion it did NOT work!!!!! It got me - it GOt me GOOD! What I was left with was nothing more than a screenful of a bogus message, purporting to be from some cyber-crime Uk police type organisation, and demanding a payment of a fine for illicet surfing! Nothing I did would shift it. Every attempt at rebooting, etc (safe-mode option also removed?!) ended up with everything disappearing and that one screen firmly in place and me unable to do anything about it AT ALL! :o( Damn damn damn damn DAMN!!! And I try to be SO careful! One simple careless click of the mouse and I'm TOTALLY screwed! I could cry! :o(. After much battling with everything, I DID somehow manage to boot up the machine onto my old, secondary hard drive. That was unexpected!? The last time I had such major PC issues, I must have actually loaded the windows operating system onto that drive, prior to eventually reverting back to my main one. WHAT an incredible stroke of luck! That enabled me to quickly copy over precious data files which I didn't have copies of anywhere else. (Recent photos, journal entries, scanner/radio frequency lists, saved downloaded program/driver updates and the like. Some of the hard or impossible to replace, 'precious' stuff!) All is not 'quite' lost! Opened the PC up and disconnected the virus infected drive and then used the other to go on line and download full fresh copies of the antivirus software, anti malware software etc, etc. Even surfed at some point and DID find reference to such a virus on a message board somewhere. Some guy from a PC repair store (a 'professional'!) seeking advice from anyone on how to get past it!! No-one had offered any suggestions of how! That didn't bode well! . Ran scans to make sure all appeared to be in order on the clean drive before eventually reconnecting the infected drive and then running the FULL virus scan across IT. (Big drive, lots of files - takes WELL over an hour to scan - nearer two!) Nothing much was found!? Swapped things back over and confirmed the drive was STILL fully blocked with the virus (trojan?) 'ransom' message. (Wish I'd taken a photo of it for future reference - but at the time, I was too busy trying to salvage things!). How come the anti virus software isn't finding anything???!!!!! (I gotta be honest - a VERY small part of me was just a tiny bit in admiration of the filthy low life scum who'd constructed the virus! They DID seem to have done a bloody good job at it! :o( ) . I lost track of the number of times I had to re-boot and try something else. I even at some point ended up with what appeared to be a failing/corrupted hard drive file system, after having abruptly killed the power on it so many times!!! In danger of almost making things worse, myself! . . -/ . . . /- . . . desperately wrestled with things until around 4am before eventually leaving the PC running and eating Mum donated sausage rolls, pastry slice, crisps and chocolate. Eventually to bed, actually leaving the PC STILL running yet another full scan!!
24 - Up around 7:15am again. 15C in, 8C out. .walked. Had a wander around in BGdns a bit and confirmed in my mind where that replica gun they'd shown on TV, actually was. It HAD to be the gun emplacement overlooking Astra Zeneca as I'd thought. . . K turned up at the seats under the roof for his usual morning chat to assembled dog walkers, and announced he'd just been bitten by a dog on the way there. Turned out it was a 'proper', drawn blood nasty bite on his hand! He'd allegedly simply started a conversation with the guy walking his two dogs as he'd passed, and when they came close, one of them had a sniff at him and then without warning just bit him! That guy I speak to most days, and his two dogs ARE a bit scary and out of control at the best of times (I've actually witnessed them have ago at others!), but I was suprised nonetheless. Bad news for all concerned. What to do? Shame. :o( . Back via the store for milk, and also scored some going reduced pork steaks . . I've been putting it off and putting it off and wanting to get it done for ages - today I managed to muster the energy to finally have a go at fitting the spare eyeball downligher I've had laying around for ages, into the ceiling of the PC/radio room, directly above my 'desk'. The main light just doesn't seem to be able to illuminate things there enough - particularly now my failing eyesight requires more light on everything. Given the 'desk' is a black marble effect, and everything else including the keyboard is also black, I've been finding it harder and harder to see what I'm doing - typing and finding the appropriate keys on the keyboard in particular (I CANNOT touch type!). . Turned out I not only had the spare downlighter, but also a ceiling rose and an old double lightswitch - so everything needed to hand, to have a go at it. . sadly a ceiling rafter above meant I couldn't align it exactly with the centre of the window, but it ended up pretty close to directly above where I sit. Carefully cut the ceiling hole out with the electric jigsaw and then sorted out as much of the cable connections in the attic as I could before having to finally cut the power and work by torchlight. Getting the new switch cable run down inside the wall to the existing single switch box was a lengthy fiddle, but got there in the end and fitted the old double switch plate. In the abscence of anything more suitable, I 'unwisely' took the risk of capping over the spotlight up in the attic, with an old plastic (!!) paint pot, in order to keep the fibre glass insulation and debris away from the hot lamp parts. I'll need to revisit that when I can get hold of something more suitable.(I 'think' some offcuts of big diameter soil pipe is often used. Need to find me some, somehow.) Until then, I'll just have to stick to using low-wattage, cooler running bulbs. . at length, with one of my spare low energy LED bulbs fitted, it was all done and working by 4:30pm. Yayyy. :o) If nothing else, I can finally stop thinking about wanting to do it! The bad news turned out to be how pathetically dark the LED bulb was. SO dark in fact, the small amount of light it gave out, seemed to be instantly absorbed by everything black, and I was hardly any better off! Actually rather disappointing. So - I need a different type of bulb in there before it's any use at all. Damn. . . ate a bowl of stew with four pieces of bread and butter and then some chocolate . TVd . monitored radios briefly and heard P chatting - back out of hospital and on the radio again. :o) He doesn't sound 'quite' himself! :o| . . walked . . PCd . .drank a glass of wine and fried up two of the pork steaks. Ate with chips and huge amounts of flora with each mouthful of meat. Haven't had that sort of thing for a while - very welcome. . TVd. One of the channels is re-running the old original Kung Fu series. Always had time for that, and in the abscence of anything else worth watching, I've caught a couple of late. TVd until bed around 12:30am.
23 - Up around 7:15am. . .walked. Very mild all of a sudden. Several squished frogs along the way. :o( Back via the store for bread, etc supplies. . .failed to muster the energy to actually 'do' anything (again!) and ended up PCing and messing around playing with radios pretty much all day! Heard almost nothing of interest. Ordered myself a new 'D' earpiece for the scanner off e-bay for £4 including postage. . ate a bowl of stew with four pieces of bread and butter followed by just a little chocolate . . napped. Woke from a dream just before 6pm which suited me, so I could catch the BBC2 'BGdns' TV show at 6:30pm. . TVd. Well - (predictably) that wasn't worth the wait! lol A short snippet focusing mostly on the museum and the group of guys who like dressing up - and that was that! Strange editing also - which 'I' thought kinda deliberately lead the viewer and potential visitor to believe that there was a replica anti-aircraft gun to see on the number one gun floor - which there most definitely isn't, because that's where I often sit in the winter in really bad weather to have my coffee and cigarettes! What I suprisingly couldn't figure out in my mind, despite my familiarity with with Bgdns, was just exactly where the hell that anti aircraft gun replica (and the structure housing it) ACTUALLY was!?? The view from inside it on the TV appeared to be much further along into the outer harbour, overlooking all the moored pleasure craft. Maybe the bunker overlooking Astra Zenica? I'll have to have a rummage around some time and get that straight in my mind. . tu . . walked - WITHOUT my winter coat layer or hat. Felt almost spring like, with the outside temperature still up around double figures C. Played ball and sat listening to the radios for quite a while. . PCd this . . couldn't face more stew and had a go at freezing two lots, putting one lot in the fridge and then gave the remainder to Bella.. .TVd . . ate bowls of rice krispies and frosties . . to bed after 1:30am..
22 - Woken at 7:15am by next door slamming their front door - again! 15C in, 8C out. . walked under the grey sky and in some strong gusts of wind. Didn't hang around and got back pretty sharpish before the forecast heavy rain arrives . . PCd/monitored radios whilst settling down for the next several hours to clear all my long outstanding paperwork and balance my accounts. . . took hours but balanced and got on top of everything in the end . . ate pilchard and onion sandwiches, crisps and biscuits . too late to nap. TVd . . walked after most of the rain had passed, but still a bit drizzely and very damp out. Lots of frogs out on all the streets. Moved a couple off the roads along the way. . tu . . TVd . . I'd scored a big pack of minced beef going cheap (£1.50ish) on its use-by date the other day. Should have used it straight away, but couldn't muster what it took to do any cooking, and ended up leaving it in the fridge for the last couple of days! If I'd left it any longer, I'd be in danger of having to throw it away, so this evening I HAD to cook it. When I pulled it out of the fridge and opened it up, there was no pink left to the color of it!!! It didn't smell off(ish), so I dared to push on and use it - two days past the use-by date! Drank most of a glass of red wine while cooking up a big pot of stew using the chopped up mince, some onions, frozen peas and lots of chopped potatoe - and even threw in a glass of red wine. TVd and guitarred a bit in the kitchen/diner while it all simmered away for ages. . gingerly ate a bowlfull of stew with three pieces of bread and butter. Tasted ok-ish. Left the remainder to go cold in the pot on the stove as usual. Ate the last piece of bread and butter with a covering of strawberry jam from a jar in the back of a cupboard - with a use-by date of March 2009! It really is amazing I don't ever get food poisoning isn't it! . . TVd until bed around 1am.
21 - Up at 6:50am after a rather poor/broken nights sleep. 14C in, 7C out. . . walked in a touch of drizzle. . PCd and wasted away at least another hour on trying to decode pagers with the scanner - and consistently failing miserably! It really isn't gonna happen for me. . . PCd this . . briefly radiod and got to the bottom of Ps absence of late on the local repeater (TR). Oh my god - it WAS him who was mentioned in the local news (Tuesday 14th)!!!! (The local weekly paper front-page headline had been "Workers Save Harbour Plunge Man"!!!) He'd caught his sleeve in the accelerator of his mobility scooter and driven off the harbour wall! He landed on ropes with his legs dangling in the water, and had then been rescued! He was 'ok-ish' in the end and returned home - but WAS now being kept in hospital for a bit with bruising or some such!!!! Blimey! Poor old P!!!!! Could SO easily have been killed!!!! . . carried on PCing this with the scanner running away in the background as I did so. Didn't really take much notice of a familiar radio-amateur's voice from across town - until I suddenly realised he was actually on the phone and not his radio! He was clearly talking to someone, local to me, who still has one of the old chordless phones! Funny small world. . Touched base with Mum and then went straight on-line and registered her phone number with the 'Telephone Preference Service', in an attempt to stop the nuisance sales type calls she's been recently plagued with. . checked online for the TV program that several dog walkers have been talking about. Apparantly on BBC2 on Thursday 23rd February at 18:30hrs is a program called "Britain's Heritage Heroes. John and Jules join forces with the heroes and heroines of Devon to find the last little ship to leave Dunkirk in 1944 and meet a group of re-enactors at Brixham defending the future of an anti aircraft battery." That'll be the one then - part filmed in BGdns allegedly. Dunno if I'll be able to remember its on. Chances are I'll miss it - because I'll be IN BGdns at the time! lol . . ate pilchard sandwiches, crisps, banana and biscuits . . napped . . walked . . PCd/TVd . .ate tinned hot dog sandwiches, banana and jaffa cakes . . TVd until bed around 2am.
20 - Up at 6:30am. 13C in, -2C out. I was woken by Bella clattering out of the bedroom at some point and then thought I'd heard her downstairs wanting out, so leapt up to let her out. She was probably just yawning or some such - SHE doesn't tell me when she needs out. She'll just goes wherever she is! . . PCd a bit of this as the sun rose into a completely clear sky . . walked. Returned via the store for a few supplies. . Couldn't raise the energy or mindset to do anything much. Just pottered around again clearing out the remaining junk littering the rotting, leaking conservatory, and removing some of the old eyesore hooks and useless lights etc which I inherited with it. Just trying to declutter really, because it does make me feel slightly better about things when there is less junk laying around. The garage is just bulging full of it all! I really could easily fill a skip! . did a bit of laundry and washed Bellas muddy old drying towels, while doing the bit of drilling work to fix the old bathroom towel rail to the wall in the conservatory. That horrible old dark wooden towel rail has been hanging around for a while now, and I'd almost thrown it out on several occasions, but just knew I'd regret it if I did. Seemed like a good idea to stick it on the wall out there, for hanging Bellas drying towels on. Its always been a pain trying to find some way of hanging them up out there for them to dry off, after having toweled her down following swimming or walks in the rain. (they've remained constantly damp for months!) Ugly and 'temporary' it may be, but its nice to finally have a proper functional place to put them. Actually used a couple of other existing wall-plugged holes in the walls to screw in a couple of hooks as well - for hanging up my waterproofs to dry after rainy walks. Silly little things, but makes life easier. .vacuumed . . sat on the two seat sofa in the conservatory with a coffee, enjoying the rare tidiness of the space for a bit, and actually ended up playing guitar for a bit! . . I've really been hankering after having a glass of wine of late, and eventually thought what the hell, and walked back up the local store with uncontrollable Bella and bought myself a box of red wine. £16.49!!! Yikes! Got back in time to bring Bellas towels in off the line as a light shower of rain fell . . a different nozzle on that box of wine to what I've been used to. Just a screw-cap type tap arrangement rather than a lever. Messed up when opening it and promptly dumped a load of it all over the tea towel, hand towel, floor and worktops!!£! What an expensive tragic waste! . . drank a glass of wine while preparing food. Got 'tipsy' and 'happier' on that single glass. Boy, I 'needed' that! . cooked up an expensive pan of mushrooms in butter and garlic salt, chopped bacon and grated cheese 'melt' type thing, and ate the lot with four crusts of bread and butter. Oh boy was that rich and GOOood. Ate a little chocolate before then doing my most favourite thing in the whole world - going to sleep! . . woke just before 7pm feeling absolutely awful. Paying the price for feeling SO good before I'd napped. Actually felt so bad, I ended up skipping the evening walk and eventually just played ball with Bella in the garden very briefly . . TVd the night away hardly moving (except for crawling over to groom and pet Bella during most advert breaks). . Jeeze - that little bit of Van Nelle tobacco I found yesterday is strong awful stuff! Making me cough and feel yucky. Be glad when it's gone - which won't be long! . ate bowls of rice krispies and briefly PCd before eventually going to bed around 1am.
19 - Up around 7:15am. 14C in, 1C out - after a few days of 'relatively' mild, suddenly back down to near freezing! . . waking at the PC I somehow bumped into a description of some free software which would allegedly enable me to decode pagers with the scanner. Took the risk of downloading it and had a bit of a go. Got absolutely nowhere. :o( . walked late. Had the usual battle with Bella on her lead(s!!), to get her to stay to heal all the way to BGdns. Then after ball play, she had a nip at another dog! Ended up storming home with her held rigidly at my side via the halti, and wishing I'd never got her (really) - again! . . that seemed to trigger a state of total despair and overwhelming pointlessness about everything. Seems like an utterly empty, futile existance, punctuated twice daily by being made to feel frustrated and angry by an uncontrollable mad dog!! :o( . .fed her and then shut Bella in the kitchen and took a rare 'time out' from her for an hour or more - for both our sakes! . played for a couple of hours (!) on the scanner again, but STILL failed to get the pager decoder to work. . felt awful down. Ended up returning to bed! Couldn't sleep but just lay there for hours. . eventually got back up and TVd a bit and then ate a trio of Mum donated chicken slice rolls, crisps and maltesers. .returned to bed. Ignored the ansaphone taking a message from Sis2 at some point. Can't help it - today is a complete write-off! :o( . . PCd . . reluctantly walked late. Bella appeared to know she was on 'thin ice' and I wasn't gonna take any messing around (rough with the halti! :o( ), and she 'behaved' about as well as SHE ever can. If only she'd walk to heal like THAT every day, I'd settle for everything else I have to put up with, with her! . played muddy ball and then actually walked back via town, making the most of her temporary better behaviour. Even actually did some off-lead stop, sit, wait type excercises along the way - which she performed almost flawlessly! Boy I needed that! . found a little 'Van Nelle' tobacco on the way . . . TVd the evening away and actually watched a whole film which was on. Nicolas Cage in 'Knowing'. Some extremely good CGI in that one (the plane crash in particular) - and a rather refreshingly unexpected end for the Cage character (and everyone else!) near the end. lolol Nonsense. . . ate bowls of frosties, and some maltesers before to bed at 1am.
18 - Up around 7:50am . . walked . . pottered around and spent quite a time clearing out more of the garage stuff I had dumped in the conservatory. . One of the cactii I inherited with the house and have had cluttering up the place for years, has finally succumbed to the cold temperatures out there and my neglect of them. In the process of digging and cutting the remains out of the pot, I got severly pricked - lots! Ended up with loads of impossible to see tiny slivers of splintered spikes in my hands! Ended up (for the next couple of days!) just hacking away at various fingers and bits of my flesh with a pair of nail clippers, cutting away chunks of skin until I no longer experienced the awful irritation! Nasty! The rest of those cactii HAVE to go! . . did dish washing chores . . ate corned beef sandwiches, crisps and a tin of oxtail soup followed by a little chocolate . . napped . . walked with coffee. Chilly. Saw a couple of shooting stars and a satellite I think. A sudden squawl of rain blew in and had me retreat to the cover of the roof over the seats until it had passed. So weird to suddenly get some rain and accompanying strong winds like that, for it then to pass as quickly. Like a little localised eddy in the fluid of the air! . monitored radios as I sat. A local amateur I've spoken to on a couple of occasions, seems to make a habit of calling CQ on the calling frequency (145.500Mhz) around 8pm most days. I'd not heard his usual call for a while, and had kinda 'missed' hearing him and had wondered if he was away on holiday or some such. This evening he was back on, and quickly got into conversation with someone after his call. Almost casually he dropped into the conversation that his wife had JUST died!!! Blimey! It IS strange how much just listening to the scanner and radios, I can become kinda emotionally affected by some of the things I hear about people I've never even met! He seemed very 'ok' - but almost kinda too much so, for so soon I felt!! Sad. .actually on that same subject, I've noticed P across town hasn't been on the radio like normal of late. I've been missing hear him chatting on there every day. (He's on the local repeater (TR) SO much, I regard him as 'the TR 'gatekeeper' of Brixham'! lol) Doesn't seem right, TR being so quiet. Need to find out what the story is there, and see if HE's ok! :o|. . . TVd and briefly guitarred the evening away . . ate a pastry slice, some cheese, crisps, banana, two iced buns and a little chocolate . to bed around 1am.
17 - Up just before 8:30am. . walked the beach and woods . . I've been suffering from a weird smell in the house for a while, and had been starting to wonder if I had a bit of a damp issue in the space under the floor. I'd been putting up with it for a while beause the whole place has a different smell at the moment anyway - because of the new funiture! There is a definate hint of some female perfume about the place from it! Most unusual and weird for me. Kept on getting occasional strong wiffs of a very not-so-pleasant smell every now and then. I'd even sniffed at Bellas muddy paws to see if that was the cause but eventually discounted that. Well - all of a sudden this morning while pottering around and clearing up a little, I suddenly got to the bottom of it. Damn it all if it wasn't that hearth rug I'd tried to wash and had draped over an airer and left standing around to dry!! Something had obviously gone horribly wrong with my washing attempt, and the thing was clearly now a breeding ground for some sort of mildew or somesuch! Really increasingly bad smell! Oh well - that's a gonner then. That's gonna have to go out for the refuse men. No choice. Awful strong smell. Banished the rug temporarily out to the garage. Whatever has gone wrong with that (and I've never experienced such a smell so strong) is SO bad, it's now absolutely filling the draughty garage!!? As soon as I open the door, a thick wave of that scent hits me! The atmosphere must be full of spores or something? Never known anything like it! . . . Mum called and then popped in today with food donations etc. - because she's going to see the local amateur theatre show tomorrow with Aunt B.. . ate corned beef sandwiches, two mini pork pies, crisps and cheddars followed by a few biscuits . . napped until the alarm at 7pm. . . walked. . . TVd/PCd . . ate bowls of frosties . . to bed around 12:45am.
16 - Up around 7am with the noise of someone dragging a wheelie bin down their steps. . . tied up a big bundle of foam from the old sofa and put it out next to my bin, in the hope the bin men would take it. . PCd a bit of this . . .Yayy - the bin men took the big bundle of sofa foam without hesitation. (They 'can' be suprisingly picky about what is and is not considered acceptable as domestic refuse these days - down here especially!). .walked. Down in BGdns, a light haze of smoke was rising from a camp fire in the distance over just behind Churston beach, and I could intermittantly see a small group of figures hanging around. As I was looking across, there was a sudden loud bang, and a simultanoeus splash in the water next to a seabird floating by the rocks. The bird immediately dived for cover, and I could hear someone shouting out 'I missed it'. That bird and the splash in the water right next to it, was a LONG way from the figures behind the beach. From my vantage point, FAR too far for something like a pebble to be thrown. It doesn't come across in this brief description, but the events STRONGLY suggested to me that a firearm (sounded VERY 'shotgun like') MAY have been fired! SO convinced was I of this, and given the proximity of dogs and dog walkers and the like, after some quick agonising over the prospect, I ended up pulling out my tired mobile phone to see if I had any battery life left since I last charged it (which was only when I picked the suite up the other day). There was 'just' enough charge to make a call. I phoned the police and attempted to accuarately describe 'precisely' what had occurred (without ANY embelishment - and actually suggesting it MAY have been just an aerosol in their fire and coincedence in the timing of the splash, etc.). I DON'T make a decision to call the police like that lightly - especially after all the Bristol nonsense! I STRONGLY felt the circumstances warranted it on THIS occasion. . the local police called me back shortly afterwards just to clarify the location, and within fifteen minutes a single officer (!) had made his way along the paths, through the woods, and down to the group behind the beach to make contact. Even from such a distance, it appeared that he'd found nothing to cause him concern. I felt SUCH a fool - despite other dog walkers saying I'd done the right thing! Yeah - maybe - but why is it always ME who does it?! . . eventually called a halt to ball play and wandered along to where I imagined a police vehicle would be parked, in the hope of being able to make contact with the officer and apologise for having made my call! Two police cars were parked there with an officer inside one of them, so I introduced myself as the 'pr' and made my embarassed apology. Felt SUCH a fool! Gotta admire those guys. What if I HAD been right? One guy wandered down on his own to confront them!. . . PCd and fired off a message to the footstool seller, giving an indication of what had occurred yesterday, and thanking him for all the bother he went to for me. . PCd this for ages whilst monitoring radios. . . ate a six pieces of bread and butter pile of chicken and stuffing slice sandwiches, crisps and biscuits . . napped until around 6:30pm . . walked. Sat with a coffee and cigs and chatted for quite a while to another dog walker. Back after 9pm. . . TVd/guitarred . . ate a banana and half a sponge cake . . PCd . .to bed around 2am.
15 - Up around 7am. 14C in, 7C out . . wow - the parcel company website tracking-link shows the footstool is already at the 'devilery depot'! . . walked in increasingly sunny spells. Still a bit of a cold feeling, strong north westerly type breeze blowing. . . recovered from the walk with a coffee in the sun at the top of the garden . . . PCd . Oh wow - the tracking-link is NOW showing it's been 'loaded onto a van' already! It really is starting to look as though I'm actually liable to recieve it later today, rather than tomorrow as I'd imagined!! Cooool! . . PCd this - just anxiously waiting-away yet another day!! . . . messed around with the scanners, having a poke around the frequencies, trying to find anything 'new'. There WERE some transmissions on a couple of 'baby monitor' type frequencies! Pretty unsettling that. I reckon at least one was being used in the way we used one, when Dad was reaching the end of his days. In short, I appeared to be listening-in to a soon to be deceased persons laboured breathing!! :o( Yikes! I won't be putting THAT frequency into my memory scan-banks, thank you very much! . . . around 2:30pm a hire-van pulled up outside. Oooh oooh ohhh - awwww. The driver called at next door. Getting no answer next door, he returned to his van and then, eventually, reappeared and started carrying MY parcel up to my door! Yayy. I was at the door before he'd even got halfway up my path. It turned out he also had a delivery for next door and asked if I'd accept it for them. Of course I said I would - even when he warned me it was heavy. Returned to the back of the van with him and could hardly believe my eyes at what they were having delivered. Propped up at an angle in the back of the van, amongst all the other parcels, were four, individually plastic wrapped car wheels, complete with tyres (presumably for his land-rover project)!!!! They were each SO heavy, I actually had a bit of trouble carrying the two I ended up taking all the way up my path and steps! Stacked them all up FLAT on the patio (the highest one with great difficulty!) and left them out front. . . nervously and excitedly unpacked the footstool. It was entirely adequately wrapped in sheets of cardboard, and all taped-up around. Must have taken the seller quite a while! As soon as I had the wrapping off, I could see that although not entirely 'unblemished', the leather cushion top WAS a pretty damned good match to the suite. Phew. The wood WAS quite a bit lighter than everything else (just a shade lighter even than the fire surround), but entirely acceptable and 'in keeping' with the look of everything else as I'd hoped. Only then, as I studied it more closely, did I fully realise it was damaged, and in a dreadful state of near collapse!!!! :o( Something had 'impacted' and split a portion of the timber feet part, and all the timber framing above that appeared to have been 'crushed' in some way. Luckily, although all the glued and pinned joins had been seperated by the impact/crushing, and the whole top section of the timber framing was all knocked out of position, none of the actual timber sections had been broken. I was devastated!!! :o( The more I studied the almost inconceivable way it had been damaged, the more I became UTTERLY convinced, that it had happened in the van and had been caused by next door's bloody land-rover wheels falling against it - because they hadn't stowed them flat!! Ain't that just MY luck ALL over! I mean, what are the chances that a neighbour would have such a ridiculous delivery in the same bloody van?!! :o( . . ended up sat on the floor of the living room with the stool top unscrewed and removed, studying how, if at all, I could salvage the situation. Chances are I probably wouldn't get anywhere complaining to and seeking compensation from the courier, because they seem to have a 'get out clause' with regard to transporting 'furniture'. If they WERE to re-pay me the price I paid, they'd probably insist on having the stool, and I'd be all the way back to square one! . . eventually figured I HAD to give it a go, and then spent the next several hours frantically teasing the stool apart, removing as many of the bent metal pins and old glue as I could, and then drilling and screwing the thing back together as best I could. All the screws were carefully put in kinda on the inside, and eventually I had it sufficiently robustly, all put back together. (Actually - as evident from the original varnish marks, it turned out it wasn't built 'particularly' well in the first place! The subrame never was put on particularly square to the feet! It's also ALMOST tempting to revisit it in the future, with a view to modifying it so that the cushion part hinges, to allow for some internal storage! Do-able-ish maybe, but not really worth all the bother.) By around 5:30pm I was actually finally able to have a cup of coffee with my feet up! . Why has it always got to be SO difficult for me? Why do I always seem to have to work SO hard to have 'stuff'? What ARE other peoples lives like?! I SO often seem to miss out on the simple bit of pleasure that getting something 'new' like that, is supposed to give one! Ok - so I've pretty much gotten there in the end, but it was a hell of a battle, and really took any hint of pleasure out of it for me. :o( I SHOULD be grateful I suppose. Plenty have less. It DOES look ok (now). It IS pretty comfy and functional. So - given the battle, and the condition it's NOW in, was it worth £31.62? I'm so out of touch and count the pennies to SUCH a degree, I've really no idea anymore! My benchmark is - if I saw that in a local charity shop for that price, would I have bought it? I dunno. Borderline I think. 'Probably' would have. . touched base with Mum and she popped straight down to see the footstool and hear the tale of my anxiety. . Whilst I'd been working on the stool earlier, Bella had at some stage had an enormous poop in the garden. Deep in my stool drama, I determined to clear and bag it up later. When I eventually went out to do so, it was gone!!!!! Eeew! Eeeww, eewwww, EEEewwwwwwWWWW!!! HORRIBLE DOG! Why do THAT??? . she'd started to look a bit iffy earlier - but I guess you can't ask anyone to be sick on commmand in a place of your choosing (I DID try!). Bella had a big long drink on top of what she'd eaten, and then chose to be sick in the middle of the living room while Mum was there! FFS!!!!!!! Cleared up as best I could (which wasn't too well) - trying not to be sick myself! Here's me trying to FINALLY get a decent living space sorted out, and she's fast going about destroying it! Who'd ave'er! :o( !!!!. . walked Mum back home. On the way, Bella dragged me to a halt in the road and had another 'upset stomach' type poop! There was gonna be no easy way of picking THAT up, and since it was out in the road, I dared to just leave it behind on this occasion!!! (Naughty!) Just then, a car came speeding down the road and with a sickening 'splat', drove straight over the pile, splattering it all over the place! Well - that took care of that then! :o\ Wouldn't want to be the owner of that car when they next get out (in their garage?!)! (Sorry). Carried on down to BGdns as usual. The all weather lifeboat appeared to be doing some sort of training exercise, way-in close just off Fishcombe Cove. . would you believe it - just to make the day complete, Bella lost her ball!! That was an almost brand new one!!! Grrrr. What a f**in' day this has ended up being! :o( . . . TVd/guitarred briefly . . cooked and ate a pizza with extra pepperoni and cheese followed by a little chocolate . . TVd (with my feet up. :o) ) until bed around midnight.
14 - Up around 6:45am. 13C in, 4C out . . .walked . . back via the local store for some bread - and 200g tobacco @ £59.52! :o( Popped into the local builders yard and enquired about wood treatment stuff. Sooner or later I'm going to have to put something on those new front-garden fence timbers. Something dark, like up the back garden I think, rather than the more popular light golden fence colour. Turned out, six litre tubs were around seven or eight pounds, so not gonna break the bank. I was almost tempted to buy some and just get on with it and get it done, but I was spared all that imminent work when I read the instructions on the tub and found it stated NOT to be applied in temperatures below 10C. That can (thankfully) wait for warmer times then. . . did multiple loads of laundry chores - while defrosting the freezer! I've not defrosted that freezer since I've had it (WELL over a year now is it?) and it'd built up quite a layer of ice (especially around the top 'bread' drawer) and has actually been making it difficult to open and close the drawers for a while! Piled all the drawers of food onto a duvet out in the cold conservatory, and then wrapped them in it as best I could, before dragging the freezer right out, turning it off, and leaving it with the door wide open - while putting the washing on the line, defrosting and giving Bella a bone, sitting for a coffee, etc, etc. Eventually ended up putting the old hairdryer on and having a good blow at all the ice. At length, I managed to remove all the ice (a GOOD couple of pints or more!!), dried everything off, vacuumed and then put everything back in place. Nice to have got that unpleasant chore done at last. . ran out of steam and just sat around all uptight about the footstool thing! . My anxiety eventually got the better of me, and I ended up on the PC mailing the footstool seller, asking if he'd be kind enough to drop me an e-mail once the stool had ACTUALLY been picked up from him by the courier! . . . forced down a tin of sausages in baked beans with grated cheese and four pieces of bread and butter followed by a little chocolate . . lay down to nap but only managed to half snooze for an hour or two (even kinda 'dreaming' at one point, about a footstool somewhere, happily bouncing around in the back of a van!?!) Eventually gave up and forced myself to wait until after the 6pm courier cutoff for the footstool collection, (tu) before anxiously firing up the PC to see if there was any indication of what may have happened. Yayyy - oh WHAT a relief - the seller had mailed me to confirm it was picked up at 15:35. The parcel company website tracking-link was also now confirming this. Oh WHAT a relief!!!!!! If for whatever reason, that had NOT occurred, given the money involved and my limited finances, I really probably would have had NO choice but to just 'walk away from it', and write off the £33 (yikes!!!!), rather than start having to gamble EVEN more money on it!! WHAT a relief! Now all I have to remain anxious about is, will it arrive in one piece - and is it actually any good, will it 'kinda' 'match' the suite/room, and was it worth the money (to 'me') anyway!! Mailed the seller back with earnest thanks. . . walked . . TVd . . BB called . . ate ham sandwiches, crisps, crackers and a little chocolate . . to bed before 1am.
13 - Up around 7:40am. 12C in, 5C out . . walked. Carried on down town for a tour of charity shops prior to buying 18 tins of Tesco own-brand dog food (£8.40) to carry back home in my rucsack . . TVd/PCd/sat around feeling tired and uptight, still, again! . . ate a pastry slice, crackers and cheese, crisps and chocolate chip cookies . . napped until the alarm at 7pm. . walked. A hint of drizzle before clearing . . TVd the evening away . . ate tuna and mayo sandwiches, crisps, banana, cake and chocolate . . to bed around 1am.
12 - Up around 7:45am. 11C in, 0C out with cloud cover. That's actually warmed up just a little. When I let Bella out and then went to bed last night, it was showing -3C out. . . walked . . PCd a bit of this and that, getting nothing much done - and all the while continually returning to the e-bay footstool auction listing, trying to make a decision about it!!. .I DID put in quite a bit of time knocking up a short e-mail to the three piece suite seller, complete with a few photos, letting them know where it now lives and thanking them for it, etc. . . eventually mustered up the energy to have a go at breaking up the (Bella's!) old broken sofa. The neighbour said he'd have any scrap metal in it for his next trip to the scrap yard. . after MUCH labouring out in the garden with a stanley knife, hammer and various implements, I'd reduced it to various piles of rubbish. The metal springs went in the neighbors trailer, the wooden bits filled a dustbin in the garage (for possible burning some time?), and the material went in my wheelie-bin together with as much of the foam and padding as I could squeeze in there for this week's refuse collection. That STILL left a substantial pile of foam to get rid of!! It's liable to take a while, given the wheelie-bin is only emptied fortnightly. :o( The single chair, I still haven't even started on, and it remains sat up under the carport! . . TVd and recovered with a coffee for a bit, before heading up onto the PC to sit and wait for the 17.03pm end of the footstool auction, all shakey, heart pounding and feeling sick as usual! . . A couple of minutes from the end I inched the bidding up to £14.50 (and was of course promptly outbid) to get a feel for who was bidding. Looked like three other bidders were in the running, and all three were 'shark' type 'dealers'! Oh dear. . my earlier e-bay 'research' had suggested that 'more modern/desirable' real-leather footstools 'could' sell for anything up to around £50 or more second-hand! (Brand-new ones are breathtakingly expensive, even more than I'd paid for the whole suite for goodness sake, and frankly TOTALLY out of the question for me!) Exactly as had happened when I bid for the suite, in my mind, my maximum bid - what it may actually be worth 'to ME' went higher and higher as time wore on (despite the prospect of having to then add on >£10 for postage)! Daring to wait until the last few seconds before the end of the auction, I eventually put in a final maximum bid of a wapping £35.51!!!!! (I may have lost the plot a bit there!) Suprisingly I WON IT - for £21, four seconds from the auction end! :o) . I immediately paid the seller and then mailed him "I won the auction and have made immediate payment of the auction price. Further to our previous correspondence, I hope you are still willing to pack and post the item. As previously suggested, I believe CityLink would be the best and cheapest way to go, if convenient to yourself. It is my suggestion that I pay you another £15 to cover costs. If this is acceptable to you, please let me know and I will do so. " I had a pretty quick and unexpected reply "Hi and thanks,,, I suggest you arrange collection,,, Last week i broke my leg in two places so cant get out. Not even hobble... i am in for the next 5/6 weeks so anytime they can collect, I can package it up ready for collection.."!!! Uh oh!!!! That put me in a bit of a panic! How the hell am 'I' supposed to arrange a pick up from MY end???!!!!! . frantically started surfing courier sites on the net - and got into an even worse panic stricken state. Went through several laborious 'quote me' courier sites (having of course to put in an e-mail address every time - so can be guarnteed masses of junk-mail for evermore!), only to suprisingly have every one of them refuse the package at the last step for one reason or another! (Too big, too heavy, don't deal with private individuals (CityLink!), need the FULL senders details, etc, etc, etc!) Nightmare!!!!! Got me VERY uptight. I'd spent my money, and now appeared unable to actually get hold of the thing! I was 'trapped' and seriously started to think I'd just blown £21 for nothing!! :o( . . after a couple of messages back and forth between me and the seller to get his full details, I finally appeared to successfully get 'through' a website (Interparcel.com) quote procedure, and appeared to be in a position where they WOULD do a door to door service on it, (bizarrely using CityLink), booked via the net for around £10. . resorted to phoning the seller to confirm with him what would be a suitable collection day. The first call I made to him was actually rather amusing (but didn't seem so to me at the time of course!) I rang up and got a female voice rather than the seller, so I put on my best overly polite manner, and started off saying "I'm sorry to bother you . . " - and that was as far as I got!? She hung up on me straight away!! I rang straight back - and quickly asked for the seller BY NAME that time. Turned out she'd previously thought I was one of those automated phone call type things, and she'd immediately just hung up - as ya do. lololol . . to cut a long, unbelieveably stressfull to me, story short, I eventually completed the online courier door to door order using my credit card, etc. A hard to believe 'mere' £10.62 (inc VAT), to be picked up from the seller on Tuesday 14th between 9am and 6pm and delivered to me within two working days. I can't tell you how incredibly stressfull the whole experience was to me - and will of course remain so for the next couple of days until it ACTUALLY happens! :o( I just can't believe it's really possible to offer such a service for such an amount!? No wonder 'The Post Office' (Parcelforce) are losing out to the competition! (Politics at work there I reckon! :o( ) We shall see! Nothing I can do now but sit (up)tight for a few days - AGAIN!!!! . . .Recieved a reply to my earlier mail, from the suite seller. "Hi Terry, thankyou so much for letting us know that it has gone to a worthy owner, believe it or not that means a lot to us. We were very fond of the sofa but it is really good to know that you are pleased with it. I hope that you continue to enjoy it, and finally thankyou for being so easy going and a fantastic first time experience for us on ebay. Take care" That was kinda nice I thought. The comment "thankyou for being so easy going" made me laugh - out loud - a lot! ME? Easy going??? lolololol :o) . . . was just about to walk when it poured with rain. Perhaps because of all the stress I'd just been through, I just couldn't face getting all muddy cold and wet, and I dared to skip the walk and just encouraged Bella to use the garden instead. She didn't seem to mind. . . TVd . . ate a trio of ham and mayo rolls, crisps, crackers and a little chocolate . . struggled to stay awake and to bed before 11pm.
11 - Broken sleep then up around 6:25am. 12C in, 2C out . . walked the woods, BGdns etc. A chilly breeze again. . . PCd intending to attempt to update this, but then made the mistake of having a look on e-bay at footstools!!!!! I absolutely MUST have a footstool in front of me when I sit around - and the old one I've got is a fit for the rubbish tip, split plastic topped embarassment, and has been for years. (I hid it when I took the photo of the room!) Trouble is, it's just SO functionaly perfect. I actually went on e-bay looking at pieces of fabric and leather with a view to 'maybe' trying to recover it. Then somehow ended up looking at auctions for footstools. Wow - they are expensive!!!!! And then - damned if I didn't see one being auctioned, miles away (for collection only of course) which was a 'reasonably' good match for the suite!!!! Ooohhhhhh. :o( That's gonna be agonising watching that go and not being able to have a go for it. . Mum called in with the paper and food donations. Showed her the foot stool auction and then with her encouragement, couldn't resist contacting the seller and asking if, despite what he'd put in the advert, would he be in any way willing to consider posting it to a winning bidder!! (The absurdity of that struck me after I'd done it! Based on my hasty e-bay research, such a stool is liable to sell for perhaps around £50. Add on a courier charge and that's getting up to around half the price of the entire suite - just for a 'not quite matching' footstool for goodness sake. I'd have to be mad to be throwing money around like that wouldn't I? . . . cooked and ate four sausages and chips . Bella climbed up onto the new sofa when my guard was down!! Grrrrr. Off - OFFFFF!!!!! Had to actually drag her off by her collar! Got her all confused and traumatised and cowering, poor dog! :o( . . made up Bellas duvet bed in the bedroom with all the cushions from the old sofa, arranged around the bay window as near to like the sofa as I could make it. Seemed to meet with her confused approval. I may even have to retrieve the cushions from that old chair up under the carport for it! (Earlier, next door generously suggested he'd transport it to the tip in his trailer when he next goes. That would be VERY welcome!). . napped until waking around 5pm to escape a nightmare. (I was about to get a beating from someone (at least three) while simply walking in the street, and woke before it was going to start hurting!) . PCd. Oh my goodness. Got a reply from the foot stool seller. "Hi,The Footstool weighs around 10/12 KG. So carrage would be costly i think, if you can find out,yes willing to post to you". Oh dear!! Here we go again then - agonising over whether or not I should risk another expensive (how much?) gamble!!! Surfed and did my best at looking into freight charges. CityLink for around £10 door to door!?? Can that be right? Hmmmmm???!!!!! Oh dear - I don't know - again! :o/ . . replied to the ebay seller out of courtesy. "thank's very much for the prompt and positive response. CityLink appear to be the cheapest, at around £10 picked up from your door. This would however mean YOU would probably have to arrange it, to be able to choose the date of pickup? A lot of unwanted hassle for yourself!!!! I'll be watching the auction to see how the bidding goes. I hope for YOUR sake it goes for a nice high price, and 'I' don't win it!!! lolol :o/ Thank you once again for your reply. Best of luck with the auction." . . . walked in the cold, crystal clear, starry night. saw a neat shooting star heading kindof east to west just after entering BGdns. . . TVd briefly before PCing this (and e-bay of course) at length for hours until early . When I eventually went back downstairs, Bella was asleep on the sofa!! OFFFFF!!!!! Grrrrr.. ate a pastry slice, crisps, some cheddar crackers and some chocolate-chip cookies while watching the news. Reports were coming in that Whitney Houston had just died aged 48!!! It's very strange getting old and seeing people younger, who have been in some small way a 'part of your life', dieing off around you all the time like this. :o( . . to bed around 2:30am.
10 - Up around 6:45am. 12C in, 4C out with rain. Seem to have a bit of an upset stomach! :o( . . walked . . recovered with a coffee, planning how to start moving stuff around the place so I could clear the front room of all the old 'junk' furniture. Bizzarly started off by cleaning the bath!!!? It was in a hell of a state from when I attempted to wash the hearth rug, and needed doing before that anyway. Figured I'd do it now so I could get the still very damp hearth rug, draped over the airer, out of the conservatory and back up in the bath out of the way. . moved tools and stuff out of the 'dumping ground' conservatory into the garage, etc. Finally had to carry the awful and uncomfortable, patterned green old sofa-chair which next door had given me, all the way up the garden in the rain to be dumped under the carport. That was tough, and hurt my back rather. That's gonna be one for 'disposal' (somehow!??) for sure. . with space made, I then moved the dining table and chairs and eventually managed to drag the leather two-seater out there followed by the old broken three seater (Bella's sofa!!). Boy, the amount of mud dust under the cushions of that was shocking. It's just amazing the amount of mud she's bringing in all the time! Unbuttoned and removed the cover to hang on to - which I think 'may' come in handy. In fact, I may keep all the big sofa cushions too, to make up a better version of Bella's bed in the bedroom? The bad news for her is, I have a feeling when I get hold of the new suite, I'm gonna have to reluctantly ban her from climbing up on any of it! That's gonna be a shock for her. Poor dog - losing her favourite place. I feel awful about the prospect! :o( The actual broken base/frame of that old sofa, is gonna have to be dismantled in some way, for me to be able to get rid of it. Dare I consider trying to burn it? That'd be outrageous - and probably doomed to failure if it's fire resistant material like it should be. lol . Propped that old sofa up on its end against the house wall in the conservatory, for a decision about how to get rid of it to be made at some later date. . vacuumed and dusted around the echoey front room. With the furniture out like that, it was unusually possible to open the door to the hallway right back as though it wasn't there, which gave a taste of how things would look if I had a glass door in there instead of the solid wood one. I think I'd like it. That settles it. If ever the opportunity arises, I DO want to get hold of a couple more panelled glass doors for the place, and replace both the hallway doors!! . . very, VERY uptight and feeling frankly a bit nauseas, but suffering from lack of food, so defrosted a meat pie for lunch. That pie turned out to be utterly disgusting and largely inedible lumps of gristle, so Bella had most of it, and I made do with forcing down a packet of crisps and a couple of biscuits. . sat around uptight - just 'waiting'for 3 o'clock to come. I was all dressed and ready to go, by 2:30pm!! . tu . . true to his word (oh thank GOD!), the man in a van pulled up outside just after 3pm. Left poor Bella behind and raced straight out. As we pulled away, I awkwardly confirmed with him that he knew where we were going, and that he didn't need maps or old duvets for wrapping stuff, or any such like. Good job I did - he'd forgotten his satnav! Briefly detoured back to his house to pick up and set-up his satnav, before then heading out of town. . felt funny to be 'out' like that. Like quite a bit of an adventure, after having done without any transport for so long now. Everything seemed to be going rather fast and dangerously close to colliding! . the traffic in the usual blackspots wasn't 'too' bad, but there was still plenty of time for 'chatting'. Kinda - 'So, how's business in these hard economic times then?' was my lamely unoriginal, he must have heard that a thousand times, opener! Just like being in a taxi. lololol . . it felt like an eternity to me, but in pretty quick time, the lady sat-nav voice was telling us we were there - and we were. Nice big newish house on a corner, of what looked like 'quite' a new and affluent estate. Wow - that was actually REALLY easy to get to. The guy I think opened his front door before I'd even rung the bell as van man opened the back of the van and prepared inside. . wow - a VERY nice, immaculate looking house! And then - my first sight of the three piece suite!!! Oh wow. It looked like new! Better than I could ever have hoped for! Oh my god WHAT a relief. . it had apparantly gone in via the conservatory and back door, so that was how we took it out. Van man was of course all experienced at such things, so I just did my clumsy nervous best at helping and doing whatever he told me to. It was a bit of a squeeze carrying the wooden frames through between a fence and the house wall, and clumsy nervous me succeeded in bashing one of the legs of a chair against the fence post! The chair was ok - but I knocked a lump of timber out of the otherwise perfectly smooth and coloured treated post! Embarassing! . . in no time at all the van was loaded up, with plenty of room to spare in the back, and we were back on the road. . more traffic and chatting on the return. In our broad ranging conversation, van-man suggested he may have an internal glass panel door he may be getting rid of! Oooh, oooh (potentially exciting, although from my experience, such conversations rarely actually result in any such suggestions coming to fruition. I'm not 'pushy' enough perhaps. I NEVER follow up on such a comment, if it doesn't subsequently happen.). . soon back at home, I raced in to secure Bella in the diner behind the french doors, and then assisted unloading and carrying everything up the garden steps and into the living room. Van man was very good, did most of the work, and even went out of his way to actually put all the drawers back in and the pieces of the suite back together as he brought them in. By around 4:45pm the job was done and the suite was sat in my room. All that then remained, was for me to pay him! Felt real awkward and just blurted out that I didn't do 'tipping', and said he just needed to tell me how much to give him, and that's what I'd do. £30 he said - so that's what I gave him, with my thanks and bid him farewell (after having grabbed some business cards from him and assuring him I WOULD recommend him to anyone - and I meant it.) I was in such a fluster and a state, it didn't occur to me until later, that he'd VERY much done me a real favour there! I think he'd significantly UNDERcharged me! It WAS pretty much a good couple of hours work - the van, his labour, the fuel, etc, etc - and he normally charges £25 an hour. He should have asked for AT LEAST £50! I think I owe him greater thanks, at least! That WAS a VERY good deal. . recovered and calmed down just a little and had my first sit in 'my' chair facing the TV. Blimey - that'll do nicely. :o) It IS definitely a bit of an unnatural squeeze having all three pieces in there, but that's the fault of the size of the room and where the doors and TV etc are, not the suite. In my mind, before I'd even bid on the thing, I'd imagined stashing one of the chairs in a bedroom for 'rotating' out when I wear out the first chair! I need to live with it for a bit and get a feel for what may or may not work - do I want to move the hall doorway, TV, etc. All in due course. Thank god the trauma 'I' experienced in buying it and getting it here, has most definitely worked out better than I could have hoped. I can't believe 'I' own such a nice looking bit of furniture!! For the first time in my life! It really does look like new! The colour of the wood isn't 'quite' matching the fire surround (oh my god - I'm turned into my mother!), but it 'almost' does, and I reckon it SO, SO goes with the colours and feel of the place now. If not for the tiles on the fireplace and the curtains I inheritated with the house, I would NEVER have thought of ever going for anything remotely 'red'. But since moving in here, it's grown on me more and more, what with my love of plain white walls and brass bits of detail. That suite really works for me. At night, with the curtains shut and the fire on, it really feels - um - 'sumptuous' to me! I'm very pleased - and really am gonna take ages to get used to it looking so nice and actually being mine. Imagine - ME - with a decent leather suite and not someones old throw away!!!! Sorry Bella - you're staying OFF it! No matter how well or otherwise it wears, I have no doubt, I will never buy another this lifetime! . . . I tried but just couldn't wait until her visit tomorrow - I called Mum and said I had something to show her, and got her to pop straight down. Better see it quick, before Bella and her mud dust ruin it! :o/ . Mum appeared to be suitably impressed about the whole related saga, and actually seemed glad to have some 'good news' for a change. She also insisted I should keep both chairs in the room, like in the warped photo I've included here. I'm not convinced. Feels far too awkwardly cluttered to me. We'll see. (Absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to photograph that tiny room to do it justice! I think even THIS picture was SIX shots stitched together!! The difference in the wood colour is far more noticeable in the picture than in reality. My self-made wooden bay-window 'TV unit', assuming I'm gonna keep it where it is, is now BEGGING to be stained and varnished to match - as it always has been!) . . eventually walked Mum back home and then carried on with Bella down to BGdns for muddy ball play . . . TVd/guitarred the evening away with an upturned footstool on the sofa, to stop Bella climbing up on it! Oh WHAT a joy to be able to walk through the one open french door into the kitchen diner, without having to squeeze past that old two seat setee I had stuck there. . . ate a Mum donated sausage roll, crisps and then bowls of co-co pops . . to bed around 11:30pm. Encouraged Bella to join me on her duvets up in the bedroom, rather than run the risk of her trying to get up on the setee in the night.
9 - Up around 7:20am. 11C in, -2C out with no wind thank goodness. . PCd a bit of this. . walked in the sunny cold. . put the still dripping hearth rug out in the garden in the sun all day . . PCd. No contact from the suite seller yet! I guess I shouldn't be suprised, but if it was me selling something and someone had immediately paid me like I did, I'd have been in touch immediately after the auction end! Other people have a busier, different pace of life with other priorities I suppose. Sadly, that doesn't do me any good at all! I'm SO uptight and sick with worry now, I can hardly contain it! :o( . PCd a bit and found one other possible alternative local 'man and van' type advert. Searched the net as best I could for ANY trace of the e-bay suite seller, but could find absolutely nothing. Gonna just have to sit-tight, up-tight I guess. :o( . . . PCd this and played radio a bit until mid afternoon. . feel 'heady' and fit to explode! Just the tiniest bit of 'out of my control' stress, and I turn into an awful mess don't I! :o( . . .ate another big bowl of stew with four crusts of bread and butter and a couple of squares of chocolate . . lay down to nap and actually ended up on the bed beneath a duvet WITH Bella under the duvet too!! Boy does she have a boney back! Almost impossible to get comfy with those sharp bones digging into my arm. lolol Most unusual for her to actually stay like that for any length of time. She usually (thankfully) quickly gets up and takes herself off to her own pile of old duvets on the floor - if she even bothers to join me up in the bedroom at all. Half snoozed for a bit until the phone ringing around 4:45pm saw me (us) leaping excitedly back up. Yayyyyyyy - it was the suite seller - the lady of the house. Ebaying was new to her and she'd been having difficulty getting in touch via ebay allegedly - then she'd seen my phone number and called. WHAT a relief. Something about her manner and the way she spoke went a long way to removing my fears about everything. I guess in short, as far as one can ever tell, she sounded like a 'decent' sort of person (and I suspect, very suprised and pleased with how much they got for it!) . . after a quick flurry of nerve wracking phone calls between them both, with 'some' considerable relief, arrangements were made for the local 'man with a van' to pick me up tomorrow evening to go over and get it!!! :o| . ok - I'm still worried and physically painfully uptight - but a 'bit' less now I suppose. . PCd a bit of this . . walked. Started off as a really pleasant quiet evening, with hardly a breath of wind. A few spots of rain on the way back and then heavier after we'd returned . . fed Bella the last (large!) serving of stew with her evening meal, because I was really just a bit fed up with eating it all the time. That WAS a cheap bunch of meals. . . TVd the evening away . . ate bowls of rice crispies . . to bed around 11:30pm.
8 - Up late around 8:45am. 12C in, -1C out. . walked the woods etc. Ok in the woods, but a cold easterly in BGdns again. Someone (homeless?) was deep in amongst the trees 'camping'!! That must be REAL tough in this weather! . The recent easterlies have blown a lot of debris onto the beach at Churston cove, and some decent person a little while ago had gone to the bother of collecting a lot of it up and stacking it in a heap in the 'usual' place just behind the beach. The last two times I've passed that way, I'd seen a PAIR of blue, right up the arm, heavy-duty rubber gloves, as used by fishermen, washed up on the beach on the first occasion, and then added to the heap of debris on the second. I'd toyed with the idea of having them, but walked away on both occasions. They were suprisingly still there this morning - so I 'salvaged' them and popped them in a pocket! Should be real useful for some of the 'garden work' I still have to do. . played ball in BGdns on the way back and then saw some glimpses of a seal AND a dolphin 'playing' just off the rocks in the boisterous sea (although probably more likely actually competing for a scrap of food). . Bumped into Mum on her way down town on the way home . . washed the sand out of the salvaged gloves and stood them up to dry. They are in suprisingly good nick, reinforced on the inside, and still entirely watertight! Cool. . . TVd . . PCd this . Well - todays the day. I've agonised over that three piece suite for sale on e-bay for what seems like absolutely AGES now - and tonight the auction ends. Time to make a decision about it. :o( SO hard for me! Surfed e-bay for several hours straight, looking at every single furniture listing on there, trying to get a handle on how much it may really be worth - and then how much it may actually be worth TO ME (factoring in transport costs and the fact I've not even seen it or sat in it and the like!). SUCH a difficult decision for ME. . after having spent the whole morning and deep into the afternoon hard at it, until I was unable to focus on the screen any longer, I eventually came to the conclusion that it WAS worth me going for. Having made that decision, it was then 'just' a matter of wrestling with what would it be worth to ME to actually definitely win the auction and get it. The more I thought about it and the more I measured up and sat around looking at the living room and the on-line photos, the higher went my maximum bid in my mind - and higher and higher still as the day wore on!!?? Shut down the PC and tried to busy myself with something else rather than go completely mad! . . had a shower. Worthy of mention, because I haven't had one for a while it's been SO cold. Also worthy of mention, because I'd been building up to having a go at washing the thick-pile hearth rug pooped on by Bella, which has been sat in the conservatory awaiting attention or throwing away ever since. The only way I could think of washing that (in these temperatures with no hot water on tap) was by laying it in the bottom of the bath with the plug in, whilst having a hot shower!!!!! Well - I gave it my best shot - walking up and down on it as I showered. Unbelievably filthy water (feet!)! It's been around for MANY years (Mum and Dad before me) and never been washed before I suspect, given the colour of the water and the amount of dust and grit in it! Too dirty, thick and cumbersome and the tap water was too painfully cold to get it fully rinsed out and clean!! Eventually left it hung over a clothes airer in the bath, for the still dirty water to continue slowly oh SO slowly draining out of it!!! . . . ate a big bowl of stew with four pieces of bread and butter and a bunch of biscuits . . eventually napped for a short while, although had difficulty doing so because I couldn't get the 'suite' thing off my mind . . walked . tu . . straight back and onto the PC to while away the next hour and a half waiting for the end of the suite auction, STILL agonising over whether or not I should go for it, and if so, up to how much! During that time, I did test the waters of who was bidding, and pushed the bids up to just over £100. I was of course promptly outbid, but it DID give me a 'feel' for how things were liable to go. At least one or two of the other bidders appeared to be 'shark' type 'dealers' which was a bit worrying. . sat and waited for the auction end, shaking like a leaf, heart racing, and feeling a bit sick! Eventually figured it WAS worth a LOT to ME to be able to get my hands on it, and decided to get serious with a VERY high final bid, in the hope of definitely securing it. The bids inched up near the end of the auction as they always do. I layed in wait, and around 6 seconds from the end of the auction, I put in my monster maximum bid of £300 !!!!! That seems like a lot (and then PLUS another £75? maybe for transport?) - for a second hand suite!!! - but I HAVE set my heart on something in that style, and I HAVE half-seriously considered dealers adverts for similar, second-hand at even higher prices! With those, always the transport/delivery costs to this strangely innaccessable part of the country are prohibitive. Lucky people around the country have scored such suites for SO much less, but that clearly isn't going to ever be the case for me - here - without transport etc, etc, etc. This one was 'local'. I just HAD to seriously go for it!!! :o(. . . My strategy worked. I beat a 'sniping' shark who put in a high automated bid a second later. I won the auction for £175.01. A three seater and two chairs - mahogany wood frame with a drawer beneath each unit - 'throw over' type brown/ruddy leather cushions. . felt sick and awfully uptight - shaking with adrenalin for ages! As is my way, I IMMEDIATELY paid for it - and added a note to the seller with the payment advice:- "Please let me have your phone number and address. I intend to hire a man and van to collect. Please call me on Brixham 01803 ****** to negotiate a convenient collection day/time. Sincere regards. "! . And that was the 'easy' part!!! Now I have all the hassle of actually arranging the collection of the thing!!!!! Haven't a clue how I'm gonna sort that out. How to co-ordinate a man and van (who may well not work outside 'normal' business hours!) with whenever they will want to have it shifted!???? Absolutely NOTHING I can do until they make contact with me. :o( . . . just then the phone rang. Ooohh, oooohhh - oh. BB calling to touch base. lol . . TVd trying to unwind and recover . . cooked and ate four sausage sandwiches and a little chocolate. . to bed by 2am.
7 - Woke earlier then up around 7:45am.. . walked - with Bella regretably back on her halti, AND her normal lead for the forseeable future! She WILL learn if it kills us both!! . A cold breeze has returned making it feel colder and unpleasant again. Temperature out hovered around 3C pretty much all day. Back via the store for milk and couldn't resist a going-cheap (£1.49) large pack of minced beef. Bought some veg to go with it . . did the mountain of dishwashing chores . Headachey. . PCd and listened to radios for a bit . . cooked up a HUGE pot of stew using the minced-beef and potatos, peas, carrots, onions, and a sprinkle of garlic salt and instant gravy granuals. Ate a large bowlful with four pieces of bread and butter followed by chocolate . . napped for a couple of hours until the alarm at 7pm. Woke with the same nasty headache . . walked. Bella lost her thrown ball in the dark. Messed around looking for it for ages by torchlight, but eventually just had to give up. I so hate losing balls like that and don't give up on them easily. . . PCd the whole evening away, looking mostly at three piece suites on e-bay! . . ate a small tin of ham in sandwiches, crisps and chocolate while watching a documentary about the coroners office on the BBC Iplayer which I'd missed earlier. . the local news reported that the trawler that sank over by Teignmouth has finally been salvaged. It was being held in the sandbar by its sunken fishing gear, hence the problems they'd had trying to right it and salvage it. . . PCd some more until finally to bed around 4am!! aa
6 - Woke earlier then up around 7:15am. 13C in, 4C out . . PCd a bit of this. . walked . . Not quite drizzle, but a very damp atmosphere . . spent the day back up the ladder moving the disconne antenna out of the attic and eventually mounting it on the old TV mast atop the soil stack! I HAD intended to mount it on a short stubby bit of TV aerial mast I have laying around, but it looked a bit thin and it eventually turned out that the thicker longer (6'+?) mast I have (from my original stack mounted Tv aerial), was exactly the right diameter for mounting the discone directly onto, once I'd filed away a rough bit of the inner seem and drilled a screw hole. Seemed a shame to cut it in half so, despite it being FAR longer than I'd wanted to risk on top of that soil stack, I eventually just 'went for it' and put it up as it was! What the gales will do with that is now going to be a real worry! :o( If there's the slightest hint of it potentially causing a problem to the soil pipe, a plus point about not cutting the mast in half is that it's long enough to be mounted on the T&K brackets instead, if I decide to at a later date. . the whole process took absolutely ages - but most of that time was spent messing around with the new longer run of heavy duty coax cable. Fiddly having to thread it through into the attic from the outside, through the existing hole I'd drilled in the soffit for the long-wire coax. Even more fiddly and awkward was threading it through inside the stud wall down into the PC room!! Had to solder the (re-used) sockets on the ends, AFTER it was pretty much all in place. Used a couple of old thick rubber plant retainers inherited with the garden, to keep the coax in place around the top of the soil pipe. . finally had the thing hooked up to the scanner and everything back in place by around 5:30pm.
Listened to the radios for a bit and although things are improved, it's finally fully dawned on me how poor that discone antenna is in comparison to the colinear on the chimney. (I do VERY much like how that colinear performs for me - and don''t regret the expense of it at all.) Given the tall mast that discone is currently on, it actually isn't 'that' much lower than the colinear, and yet the performance of it is pretty pathetic in comparison. Some stations I get on a pretty good signal of several S points on the 'wideband receive' colinear, are simply non existant and inaudible on the discone!! All that time and effort putting it up, only to come to the conclusion that I'd really be better off selling off the discone and buying another colinear! In fact - if I had the money, I'd go for a larger more expensive colinear (they DO make ONE more in their range, with EVEN better gain - but rather expensive, and a wapping 5 meters in length) and mount it more robustly on the T&K brackets! That sort of a setup with the increased gain and length, would probably perform even better than the chimney mounted one, despite being just slightly lower. . all in all, I ended up pretty disappointed and fed up. Promptly uncontrollably descended into an increasingly down mood. . . walked and had the usual twice daily hassle with getting Bella to walk to heal. She grinds me down and oh SO often (always?!!) makes just walking along with her a miserable nightmare. By the time we reached BGdns I was in a filthy mood, and simply headed straight for the seats under the roof and did NOT play ball or frankly want anything more to do with her! :o( . the walk back was a repeat of the battle for control of her 'ADHD' type inability to retain what she needs to do for anything more than a handful of steps. She absolutely knows what I require - she just can't manage to retain it in her damaged mind! After all this time - STILL!!!!! Other dog walkers pass me every day and happily disappear off into the distance, while I continually have to keep stopping and correcting Bella every few steps!! I'm SO jealous! :o( . . . just sat for ages feeling utterly miserable. . . TVd . . forced down bowls of coco pops and most of a mum donated swiss roll . . TVd until bed around 11pm.
5 - Up around 8:15am. 12C in, 5C out with hazey sun. . walked the muddy defrosted woods. Felt much warmer. . checked the local forecast and then mustered up the energy to put the ladder up and have a go at tending to the leaking, rusty, top section of the soil pipe stack where it protrudes through the roof tiles above the soffit on the back of the house. Scraped off as much of the old layers of flaking paint as I could, before gently prising back the lead from around the pipe. The lead actually looked 'ok' for its age, did appear to be under the tiles all around as it should be, and appeared to be letting water in just where it was loosely formed around the cast-iron pipe. The remains of the tube of silicon I've had laying around wrapped in plastic for months, was still useable once I'd removed the hardened plug in the end, so I did my best at injecting lots of that into the space between the pipe and lead, before then pressing the lead back in place and adding more over the top of the join. Definitely a 'botch job', but with luck, it should improve things, do a good enough job for a few years yet, and prevent any further rapid deterioration of the affected soffit timbers below. . spent the next several hours messing around with the metal bracket I made up ages ago, for mounting an aerial mast on top of that pipe. The small 'salvaged' lightweight bit of TV aerial mast I had knocking around in the garage, proved to be too small for the U bolts I'd originally intended to use on that bracket, so I had to elongate the U bolt mounting holes to be able to fit the pair of 'salvaged' rusty smaller ones. Had to do that by hand with a small round metal file. Took ages but got there in the end. Sorted out suitable bolts and lock washers, wire brushed everything down, and then climbed back up the ladder with a small spirit level, and actually fixed the bracket and short mast in place atop the soil stack, just to see if it WOULD actually work. Turned out the stack wasn't actually vertical anyway - but should be good enough for perhaps my lightweight disconne antenna? Worth going ahead I felt, so bolted the bracket plate up tight, removed the temporarily fitted U bolts and short thin mast, and then proceeded to put a coat of white 'one coat' paint over everything. Difficult and precarious on the top of the ladder, without enough hands to hold the paint, brush, AND hold onto the ladder all at the same time! It WILL need another coat of paint at least, but felt good to finally get round to getting that done. Aside from improving the leak issue, 'in principal', I have somewhere else now to mount a small lightweight aerial, albeit, at a height which is no improvement on the height I can get things INSIDE the attic. Nevertheless, getting things outside is always a noticeable improvement in reception. I think I AM going to eventually have a go at putting the disconne (scanner antenna) out there, in the hope it will escape the 'interference' problems I've been plagued with recently. . . called it quits around 5pm . . TVd and rested for a bit in front the fire before eventually walking . . TVd . . ate six pieces of bread and butter chicken and stuffing slice sandwiches, packet of crisps, a tin of mushroom soup and some chocolate. Would have happily eaten more, but I ended up too tired to do so, just couldn't stay awake, and was in bed by around 11pm!
4 - Up around 7:15am. <10C in, -2C out. I'd expected it to be colder out than that? Seems to have actually 'warmed up' just a little since late last night? The increased cloud cover perhaps. . . PCd a bit of this . .walked and DID see just a few flakes of snow as we approached BGdns. It didn't last and eventually turned into a hint of drizzle. Back via the store for a couple of supplies. TVd/sat around in front the fire/aimlessly PCd and even chatted locally for a bit on the radio as rain fell. Yet again, I just couldn't muster the energy to do anything at all! . . ate a large bowl of two chopped up pork pies, a tin of sausages in baked beans and some grated cheese followed by a few biscuits . . . napped until the alarm at 7pm. Still raining pretty hard, although the temperature had recovered up to around 6C. Couldn't face going out in the cold rain, so skipped the walk and just let Bella use the garden. . TVd/PCd the whole evening away, actually doing and acheiving nothing . . ate a pastie, bag of crisps and some chocolate . . to bed around 2am or later.
3 - Up around 7:30am with banging doors.. <11C in, -2C out. . PCd a bit of this . .walked the frozen woods. . TVd/PCd/sat around in hat and layers feeling down, doing nothing but trying to keep warm. Hovered around 0C out all day. DID have a go at one point in trying to solder a new lead onto the broken scanner D earpiece. Put in quite a bit of time on the attempt, only to then find there was no way of putting the plastic D parts back together. Another one of those 'built by machines' type things which simply isn't designed to be taken apart and put back together. Put it straight in the bin in disgust . . ate pilchard sandwiches, crisps and a third of a Mum donated swiss roll . . napped until around 6pm. Down to -2C already! . . TVd the news and weather forecast . . walked in the -3C temperatures . . TVd with the fire on all evening and saw the outside temperature drop to -4C as the evening wore on! . .Mum called to touch base and say she'd been a bit unwell with an upset stomach. Suggested she should NOT come down tomorrow as usual, given the forecast was for cold rain/sleet or even snow by around midday . . ate the last of the rice and chicken soup concoction with four pieces of bread and butter and a little chocolate . . TVd until bed around 1am.
2 - Up around 8am. <11C in, -1C out.Walked in the cold dry. Seems weird being so cold, but having no frost because of the dry air - just one noticeable little line of it around one bit of a damp hedge in BGdns? At least the frozen ground means Bella is avoiding getting quite so covered in mud when playing ball. 20 mph wind with 25mph gusts meant the windchill was pretty unpleasant again . . sat around in hat and layers feeling too cold to do anything again! I suspect the older I'm getting, the less able I am to be able to endure being so cold all the time?! A pretty sunny day, but the temperature hovered around zero most of the day.. . eventually ended up on the PC. Rang a local 'man and van' and enquired about pricing for locally picking up a three piece suite. Somewhere around £25 an hour. Doesn't sound bad until you take into consideration that just getting out of town here can take an hour because of all the congestion! Can't make my mind up about the suite currently listed 'locally' on e-bay. Never mind the fact that I've not even sat in it - even from the photos, I can tell it isn't really 'quite' what I want. If I seriously had a go for it, (someone else HAS already bid) it'd probably end up costing me a good few hundred £s!! That'd be a lot for second-hand one of that type-and one I don't 'REALLY' want? Decisions, decisions. . spent ages finally replying to the last e-mail SH had sent me a while ago . .. ate pilchard sandwiches, crisps, biscuits and chocolate. . retreated to my duvet to nap - just to get warm rather than because I was particularly tired . . . back up just after 6pm. . walked with a coffee. tu . The wind had eased a little. Sat under the stars for a bit drinking my coffee . . . TVd . . cooked up a pot of peas and rice, and a chicken soup, garlic salt, turkey pieces sauce concoction to go with it. There's always so much moisture driven off when I cook rice like that, I always have to do so with the window and back door open, to minimise the condensation in the house. (The same whenever I do chips.) That was a pretty chilly experience this evening! . Ate half with four pieces of bread and butter . . .PCd/TVd until bed around 1:30am.
1 - Up around 7:40am. <12C in, 0C out. . . walked in layers, including fleecy jogging-bottoms under my trousers! Oh boy, was that a cold wind. Wasn't 'too' bad until I got down to BGdns where it was blowing straight-in really strong and unpleasant. .returned via the store for some milk, and ended up buying a going reduced, bacon and egg roll for £1. . ate the roll. Sat around feeling cold and down, and in danger of just sitting motionless all day, overwhelmed with the pointlessness in doing anything! :o( . . managed to muster the energy to have a healf hearted poke at a bit of the garden, and dug out some more of the remaining marsh-grass type stuff from alongside the slabs on the top tier. Emptied another of the pot plants, and dug the rose type plant into the border there instead of the grass. Tried using the garden seive Mum had loaned me. Oh dear - that suprisingly didn't work at all. The mesh is too big and let almost everything straight through. Useless. continued just pottering around for a while, and eventually filled a few small carrier bags with a bit of garden waste, to sneak out in the wheelie bin tomorrow. . vacuumed quite a bit before ending up just sitting around in front the TV and fire. Ate a banana and some biscuits . . walked. tu . I think that wind has gotten even stronger down in BGdns. Really blowing a gale. Serious windchill factor! :o( Sheltered in the gun emplacement for a cigarette again. . . TVd/guitarred a bit next to the fire all evening. . ate a six pieces of bread and butter pile of corned beef sandwiches, two bags of crisps and some chocolate . . TVd watching a good portion of the film 'House Of Flying Daggers' for the first time. Not 'too' sure what I make of that, but amazing scenery and settings for sure. . TVd until bed around 2am.