<<Return to My Diary


<My Diary Archive 2014 My Diary Archive>

February
28
- Woke around 6:15am and lay there and snuggled with Bella for a bit before getting up. 14C in, 4C out. Mostly a threatening dark grey sky and strangely 'calm'. Woke at the PC and as is my habit, checked in on the Marinetraffic website, on which I have selected to have the wind speed/direction option displayed. That was telling. It appeared that the big swirling storm sat right on top of the country, was just then centred directly over the middle of Lyme bay. When they say the winds are 'cyclonic' on the forecasts, I guess that is what they mean. In the centre of that storm just out in the middle of Lyme Bay, the winds in a circle all around were all pointing in different 'anticlockwise' directions, and VERY light - hence the brief period of extreme calm here. Gusting to 50mph just down around Lands End, near zero mph here! Basically just like being in the very eye of a hurricane I guess. By the time I'd finished typing this, the big fir trees opposite my window were waving around again (with three wood pigeons clinging to topmost branches) indicating the storm was moving and the wind was building back up as the trailing edge moved in. . walked BGdns in the wind and rain. Back via the store for supplies after the rain had stopped . . . smoothed off a bit of the new plaster over the old socket box site in the middle of the living room wall, got a bit of filler on here and there, eventually smoothed that off and ultimately got some emulsion over it all. It's pretty much disappeared, but it isn't perfect, and 'I' can still make out where it used to be, which IS a bit disappointing to me. Nevertheless, I don't suppose anyone else would ever notice, and it IS behind the sofa, so it'll do. . worked on the hall wall all the rest of the day, pretty much nonstop. Because the wall levels are different above and below the rough cemented scar of where the picture rail used to be, no matter what I do, it's going to be impossible to have a nice flat wall out there. The best I can hope for is to 'disguise' the uneveness!! THAT meant grinding (by hand) bits of the lower more prominant wall away, here and there along the whole length of the scar, to ultimately enable me to get a best compromise level to apply a filler skim from! The corner of that wall at the kitchen door end has a bit of the original wooden 'detail' which I've revealed everywhere else around the house, so of course I've also got all the work of trying to carve the lines for that out all straight and level, on both corner edges from skirting to coving. Because the uneven flatness of the wall above and below the picture rail scar ultimately meets that straight corner edge, it's THERE that I had to pay SPECIAL attention to the 'disguising' of the substantial uneveness, or it'd be VERY obvious and a real 'draws the eye' eyesore. To cut a long story short, I had to manually grind away at a good square foot or two section of the wall below the picture rail scar, to reduce it's level by around 5mm!!!! WHAT a time consuming hassle!!! . . at length, I ultimately reached a point where it was going to be as 'flat' (looking) as it ever could be, and I skimmed over all the scars with PVA filler - LOTS!!! . . . called a halt around 6pm and then rushed to vacuum and clear up a bit, shower off dust, and quickly eat a couple of corned beef sandwiches, crisps and a banana, before DF called in just after 7pm. I was VERY eager to know if he'd managed to get me a socket box of course. He 'theatrically' and triumphantly pulled from his pocket what he'd bought as a result of my e-mail to him last night. My initial excitement that I'd soon be able to get on and complete the job, soon turned to despair and incredulity. Despite the EXPLICIT description I'd given him of what I needed, even complete with a picture, so there could be absolutely NO room for doubt - none whatsoever - he'd gone and bought a PLASTIC, 30mm depth, surface-mount type!?!!! It was impossible not to show my 'disappointment'. I tried not to make 'too' big a deal out of it, because he HAD after all, been inconvenienced and gone out of his way to attempt to help me out, and I insisted on giving him the 75p it'd cost him. I unceremoniously 'threw' the box out into the conservatory with my currently-in-use tools. That's of absolutely NO use to me! 'Compulsive self reliance' - Is it? Is it really? Or is it ACTUALLY that quite literally EVERY single time I rely on someone else for something, it IS gonna be a f**k up?!!! This is just a CLASSIC little example isn't it? I mean - there it is, right there. I couldn't have been more explicit. There COULD be NO mistake - and yet I end up with this b****cks. In our many 'argumentative' conversations, I've attempted to explain this sort of stuff to DF. That 'I' seem to have a different experience in life than most - but it's SO hard to explain to someone who generally doesn't have such experiences. DF doesn't 'get it' at all, because he clearly hasn't had a lifetime of it. Lets take the radios thing as an example. Almost every radio I've bought, whether it be new or second hand, from a stranger or from someone I know, has ended up being faulty! DF on the other hand, has had marvelous deals on dirt cheap radios which have carried on working faultlessly for evermore. Time and again in our related conversations, he has tacitly suggested that it is 'I' who has somehow done something wrong and brought such things upon myself. Because HE has never experienced such continual things, it MUST be ME at 'fault'. I should have done things differently - like HE would have done. This irritates and angers me. For me, this argument from people is THE classic blinkered arrogant unshakeable flawed belief in their 'self'. I can't adequately express all this, but I see it maybe as an 'ego' thing? A total inability to really appreciate how others have very different experiences. Luck and good fortune has never forced them to 'deconstruct' themselves, or even given them any notion that such a thing is possible (and dare I suggest, desireable?). Taken to extremes - as is so often the case in people with right wing political views, like we seem to be seeing more and more of at the moment - others less fortunate are often reviled, dismissed and caused to increasingly suffer as a result. Blah blah blah. No - it's no good - I CANNOT adequately express this in words - it's more of a 'feeling', kinda. That does NOT make me wrong!! Blah blah blah - anyway - I 'may' have to return to the subject of socket boxes, the next time I sense DF is angling towards 'I' brought such and such a circumstance upon myself. Surely even he would 'get it' then wouldn't he? Actually - no - he probably wouldn't - he 'couldn't' could he! . . coffee and chats until getting on for 11pm. . TVd . . ate a large bag of crisps . . almost falling asleep in the chair, to bed soon after.
27 - Up at 7am again. 14C in, 4C out. Sun and showers. . the old vacuum was uncermoniously thrown into the back of the refuse lorry by the bin men, no problem. . slow getting going, with much mental rehearsing of all the work required to replace the hallway light switch box, conduit, etc, etc. It's pretty much gonna be a complete re-run of what I had to do with the light switch in the living room - i.e. dig it all out of the wall, cut out and remove a bit of the coving at the ceiling, lift a floorboard above and attempt to temporarily drag it all to one side and leave it all hanging loose on the wires out of the way, to enable me to then carve a new channel for conduit down the wall with the disc-cutter drill and chisels, carve out a recess for a new single patten box (slightly lower to match the height of all the rest throughout the house?), get the new conduit and box all plastered in the wall and then make good, invisible and paintable. It's a big nasty job - mostly because of having to use the choking dust producing disc-cutter in the house again - and doing such things always takes me a LOT of building-up to tackling. The in intricate depth 'mental rehearsal' of doing such things, is always a VERY prominent part of ANY such work I do for some reason. Seems to be vital to me. I actually end up spending more time imagining and 'rehearsing' such things, than it actually eventually takes! Anyway - I was lost in such thoughts for ages (again) before finally walking - with a rucsack. I need a few food supplies AND one more new single patten box for that lightswitch repositioning job. In theory, as things stand, it should be the LAST ONE I ever need to do in this house! Yayy. . walked FGn and sat around with a coffee and playing ball in the chilly breeze . . back via the local store for a few supplies before heading for the builders yard. Would you believe it - they did NOT have any single socket boxes left! FFS! How f***ing typical is that! . . recovered from the walk with a coffee and annadin tablet before reluctantly having to head out again with Bella to the other builders merchant down towards town. THEY did not have one either! Carried on down through town and all the way up to the DIY store to find they TOO did not have one. An entirely predictable frustrating waste of time and effort. :o( That is so, SO frustrating. To have all this work held up and stopped in its tracks, and be stuck in all this mess, all for the sake of a f**ing 1 patten box!!! So how the hell do I get my hands on one - without transport? WHAT an unbelievably frustrating holdup to everything, over something so stupid. All fully mentally rehearsed and brewed up to do it, I reckon I could have had that final nasty job all done today! I can't tell you how frustrating and disappointing this is. I guess I've no choice but to concentrate on all the other bits of the wall which require (much) attention, and actually work around the lightswitch thing, until such time as I can get hold of one!Image of an example of the state of the papered-over walls That's not good - not least of all because I'm gonna have to keep looking at the mess which that lightswitch area is in for the forseeable future. :o( Actually - for the record, I'll include a little image of that switch here, to give an indication of the horrors I've faced all around this house, when simply removing the old wallpaper. To remove any doubt, NONE of the wall came away with the paper when I removed it. This is actually the state of the wall (in just THIS particular area) which a previous occupant decided to simply wallpaper straight over!!! They didn't attempt to apply some filler and smooth it off or do ANY preparatory work at all - they simply plonked the wallpaper straight over the flaking, lumpy eneven mess (a two dimensional photo doesn't do the mess justice)!!!! What sort of a person would do something SO unbelievably stupid? So - like it or not, I have absolutely NO choice but to do 'something' about it (even if I wasn't determined to do the extra work to replace all the conduit etc, like I have now everywhere else. I mean - what's the point of doing lots of superficial tarting up work, without doing a 'bit' extra to make it all SO much more improved and easier to re-do wiring when necessary, etc). . anyway - all frustrated and with the wind taken out of my sails and half the day wasted pointlessly walking around town, I guess I'm having a break from the building work today! A 'break' that is, if walking miles and carrying a heavy rucksack of twelve tins of dog food and other supplies could be considered a 'break'! Not currently working, it may look from the outside as though I have a wonderful life of leisure, but in its own way, I can assure you it's all pretty 'hard work' living like I do (no transport especially). :o( . . . ate two pastrami slice finger rolls, crisps, banana and a few maltesers . . napped the whole rest of the afternoon away until gone 6pm, only to wake with the same headache. . TVd sucking another expensive annadin extra tablet. I appear to also have a possible re-emergence of an antibiotic resistant weeping wound on the back of my head - again! :o( . . . couldn't muster the energy to start getting in a mess and do some 'quiet' late work on the walls, and ended up on the PC and monitoring radios for a bit. . With DF due to visit tomorrow evening, because I was SO frustrated at being held up on all the building work for the sake of a damned socket box, against my usual 'compulsive self reliance' tendancies, I dared to e-mail him (complete with an attached large image, taken from some on-line building supplies place). "I have a big favour to ask . . although if it's hassle to you, of course simply don't bother, no guilt. No stores (I got my last one from Interline) here in town currently have one, and of course without transport, all my decorating/building work is held up just for the sake of getting hold of something so silly!!!! I'm after a 'Socket Box Metal Single 1 Gang 35mm deep'. It's the metal box that goes in a wall behind a lightswitch. Image of the type is attached. If you maybe drive past such places on your way to Cockington etc, should only cost around 1.50 from any decent DIY or electrical store. If you can get one (MUST be 35mm deep - nothing else will do me), I'd really appreciate it - if it's a pain in the ass, don't bother, no worries - I'll still make you coffee. lol". He soon replied saying he'd have a look in B&Q in the morning. . TVd as a rain front blew through . . ate a banana and then bowls of co-co pops . . to bed after 1am.
26 - Up at 7am. 14C in, 3C out. Clear sky - and sunny once the sun came up. PCd a bit of this . . . walked FGn . . . worked on the hallway wall some more. Eventually managed to scrape off the last of the layers of paint I had to remove on the main body of the wall, although I think that paint was actually holding the wall together! Huge amounts of damage to the surface as a result. .stopped early afternoon to grab a corned beef and mayo sandwich, crisps and banana, and managed to stay awake and return to the work afterwards. .succeeded in rough plastering in place a new double socket box to replace the poorly positioned old one . . called a halt and cleared up a little around 7pm. Part of the reason I'd pushed on and immediately started work on the hallway wall, was because tomorrow is the fortnightly wheelie bin day, and I'd wanted to make full use of the opportunity to get rid of all the debris from removing all the bulky wallpaper etc. Put the full bin out by the gate ready for collection, at long last together with (after having cut off and saved the flex) my old upright vacuum cleaner (the one which just blows the dust straight back out into the air, and which had started to burn out the motor brushes etc). It'll be good to finally see the back of that one, and not have it cluttering up the place - assuming the bin men will take it? . . . recovered in the garden with a coffee and playing with Bella for a short while . . . TVd/guitarred a bit . . .cooked and ate some frozen mixed veg, chopped potato and a tin of mince in gravy followed by most of a bag of mum donated maltesers . . to bed around midnight.
25 - Up around 7:30am. 15C in, 6C out. Grey with some sunny spells . .walked FGn . .aircraft 'Endurance01' searching the channel for containers again . . started stripping off the wall paper in the hallway, on the reverse side of the newly decorated living-room wall. Turns out that wall is one of the worst I've found here so far. Had NO choice but to attempt to scrape off up to FOUR layers of old paint in places, on the badly crumbling wall surfaces using a stanley knife blade - because large areas of it came away with the wallpaper!!!!! . That did NOT go well.:o( . .worked (mostly scraping) almost non stop from around 10am to 7pm, spending the last half an hour vacuuming and clearing up a little of the horrendous mess I'm now in. Still large areas of layers of old paint to scrape at some more. Even 'if' I can actually succeed in removing the remainder, the wall is SO uneven in so many areas, it's clearly NOT going to be even possible to hide where the old picture rail scar used to be. :o( I've also caused so much damage to the wall attempting to get that paint off, it really is starting to look as though I'd be better off hacking it all off and replastering from scratch - which I am NOT prepared to do. :o( Yep - no matter what I eventually succeed in doing, that wall is always gonna look disappointingly pretty bad. :o( . . . exhausted . . ate ham, mayo and grated cheese sandwiches, a large bag of crisps, and a banana . . TVd oh SO worn out from all the excertions! Very nearly fell asleep in the chair and could easily have been in bed by 10pm, but that felt absurdly early, so I forced myself to stay awake and watch 'Traffic Cops' on BBC1 with just a couple of biscuits before to bed at midnight. (Yet another day of not eating enough, given the energy I'm using up!) The journal is getting WAY behind too, but at the moment I just don't seem to be able to find the time to do it - that, or by the time I 'could' sit down and type it, I'm just too exhausted to do so and just end up 'laying' in front the TV not moving/thinking instead!!! With hindsight, I probably should have had a break and not started on that wall so soon after having done all that work on the other side. I'm just feeling exhausted ALL the time! The place is now looking in SUCH a mess, I have no choice but to push on real hard with this soul destroying 'demolition' phase, to the exclusion of all else. :o(

-/unfinished/-
24 - Up around 8am. 15C in, 8C out. Grey again but not so windy . . walked BGdns . . slow mustering up the energy. sanded filler. Plastered the old socket scar. Emulsioned the whole wall except for around the old socket box scar (which needs smoothing/filling and finishing off once it's all dried out. It IS happily 'hidden' behind the sofa, so the room looks as though it's back to normal. Although by no means 'perfect' and all pretty rough on CLOSE/with glasses on inspection, it all looks happily 'ok'. A GREAT improvement on what was there before. Well worth all the work and effort. I'm SO pleased to have finally got rid of that horrible old wallpaper. . aircraft 'Endurance01' searching the channel again . .ate four crusts of bread and butter with a tin of oxtail soup . . napped until the 7pm alarm and then had real trouble waking . . rain and strong wind gusts . . sat in front the TV all night, despite there being nothing on . . ate ham sandwiches, crisps, banana and the remaining half of the cherry sponge cake . . to bed at 1am.
23 - Up around 8am. 15C in, 10C out. Grey, windy (gusts up around 50mph) and rainy. . .One container (cigarettes!!!) has now come ashore near Seaton . Police and coastguard on scene to ensure no 'pilfering' from the public. . Endurance01 commencing search for two others in poor vis around 8:38am . . walked BGdns in the cold wind under threatening grey skies. Sat and played ball for ages before sitting under the higher roof for my coffee monitoring radios. Endurance 01 had sighted the other two containers and informed the coastguard of their positions - one still well afloat, the other much more submerged. Tug 'Multratug 4' was tasked to attempt to locate them and take them under tow! Fishing vessels in the vicinity were warned of their proximity and asked to tell the coastguard if they spotted them . . .

prepared and replaced the coving with PVA filler . . . cut power - disconnected and extracted the old socket box in the middle of the wall and cemented up . . .altered the ring main under the floor and eventually connected-up the two new power socket faceplates. Yayyyy. . .neighbour had propped up the fence which had been blowing back and forth in the gale, tying a couple of pallets at right angles to it across his whole grden path!!!! That's good of him. . . tidied and cleared up and then vacuumed - using the new socket. :o) . . cut my hair beard etc . . . PCd/TVd . . BB called . ate a mum donated buttered chelsea bun type thing. . TVd . . cooked four sausages and ate in sandwiches . . to bed somewhere around 3am or later.
22 - Up around 9:20am again. 15C in, 11C out. Sunny. Slow getting going again. The coastguard mentioned that a partially submerged container had been reported as sighted this morning just 6 miles due east of Berry Head! Yet another life threatening danger for the local fisherman to consider! . . walked FGn real late in mostly sun, although still a cold breeze . . . Mum called in with the papers and food donations for chats . 'Endurance 01' in the air searching again . . ate a slice of Mum donated gala pie, pastry slice, crisps and a banana . . napped until around 7pm. Difficulty waking. . TVd in a wanting to be quiet mood . Even the scanner seemed to be in the same mood. Very quiet all night. . . attempted to firm-up/repair the damaged cornice/coving pieces I'd had to cut out, with some filler . . ate two quarter pound burgers in buttered baps and a little chocolate. . drank a tall shot glass of Baileys before to bed around 1am.
21 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 9:20am!!! 15C in, 8C out. Sunny spells and shower clouds . . aircraft 'Endurance 01' doing a coastal search? Containers? 10.34 Re-tasking to Exeter to refuel.

Containers

walked. Just up the road - 'Rusty' running loose!! Managed to get him on a lead and walk him back to his house. The owner was in their garden calling him, after having 'just' realised he'd escaped. They were lucky to get him back! Amazing he managed to cross that busy road without being killed . walked BGdns, played ball for a bit and then sat around for quite a while in the increasingly breezy sunny spells with coffee and cigs . Back via the store for supplies . . sanded down the filler on the 'short' wall. More dust. :o( Put on a wash of matt white so I can see which bits need more attention and bits of filler. . . ate salami and mayo sandwiches, crisps and a banana while the paint rapidly dried . . .the smoothness of the wall turned out to be happily not too bad. . turned off the power and removed the temporary light switch arrangement and actually got the switch and wires into the new conduit and box. . applied filler at the ceiling bit and dabs elswhere where it needed it. . vacuumed and tidied up and got Bella fed before DF called in for chats around 7pm until around 10:30pm. . . TVd/guitarred/aimlessly PCd . . . ate crisps, banana and a pack of Kipling almond slices before finally to bed around 4am.
-/unfinished/-
20 - Woke earlier, lay there for a bit then up around 7:30am. 15C in, 10C out. Wind and rain. . slow getting going, which as it turned out was no bad thing. By the time we walked BGdns, the rain had stopped and there were even some decent sunny spells. Played ball in the mud for quite a while, before then very briefly 'dipping' Bella in the waters of the cove, just enough to wash the worst of the mud off. Exchanged a few brief words with a dog walker (a trio of miniature doberman types) and confirmed my suspicion that it was her who'd lost the chain collar I found a little while ago. She lives nearby so I said I'd return it to her some time (although she has bought a replacement already). . Sat around on the higher seat in a bit of very welcome sun, supping my coffee and having a few smokes. Eventually back via the builders yard for more filler supplies (1.5kg Everbuild Powder Filler 4.20) . . . recovered from the walk in front of the TV for a while with another coffee. I feel utterly exhausted still, so it's probably just as well I can't get on and do too much at the moment, but boy, it sure is frustrating having to just sit back and wait for plaster/filler to dry like this. I have SO had enough of all this thankless and dusty work day after day! I VERY much need to be drawing it all to a close real soon, or I feel I'm in danger of going a little crazy, with it filling my every waking thought! . . .PCd this - for hours, radioing locally a little along the way . So - today I literally did nothing, but wait for filler and plaster to dry! :o( Actually, I did also make a lot of phone calls. I found a dog tag this morning. Lost by a dog called 'Sam' and with a phone number. I called and called, but every time I did, the call was answered (so presumably I was charged!!) only for the line to then go dead! Grrrrr. . .around 18:15hrs (STILL sat at the PC!!) it would appear the Dart Lifeboat was out on a shout. I 'think' they saved a sheep - unless it was gonna be kebab night at the Dartmouth lifeboat station?!!! . . . walked BGdns with a coffee. Detoured on the way there and dropped off the dog chain collar thing back to its rightful owner in the house on the corner. 19 that ornate and elaborate chain cost apparantly! . played ball in the dark under passing clouds and a starry sky. Listened to a local club net on the radio for quite a while whilst having my coffee and smokes on the higher seat. Felt pretty cold out .. TVd/guitarred . . cooked and ate half a box of sage and onion stuffing, peas, four cumberland sausages and gravy . . . struggled to remain awake until to bed at 1am.
19 - Woken around 6:45am by the pain from all the scrapes and dings on one of my hands (aggravated by being all clenched into a fist like I do when I'm asleep). 13C in, 5C out. Broken cloud with more wind and rain forecast by tomorrow morning. . walked FGn for muddy ball play. Hosed Bella down a bit. . .straight back to the wall work. Drilled the walls and 'retro' fitted two wall plugs and retaining screws each in the two new metal socket boxes and new light switch box. I say 'retro' fitted because, through MUCH experience, I've found that positioning new socket boxes into a newly 'carved' drilled and chiseled out recess in an existing wall, is far more easily done by partialy filling the new rough recess with plaster or filler, and then just pushing the metal socket box into position, forcing the excess plaster or filler out around it. Making little adjustments to ensure it is all square, at the perfect depth, and nicely horizontal etc is real easy, and then you just finish off the face of it by filling any remaining surrounding gaps and smooth everything off with a big flat 'float' type trowel held hard against the flat of the wall. The filler or plaster all goes off solid pretty quick, and once it's all fully dried out, I sand over the face of it and the surrounding bit of wall, just to ensure the face plate when fitted will be perfectly flush with the wall and not leave any little gaps where the wall isn't flat. With the filler/plaster all stuck to the metal socket box like that, there's no real possibility of the thing EVER moving or coming back out of the wall through normal use. Nevertheless, once everything has dried out and gone fully solid, I always put two screws in them just to be absolutely doubly sure. Proper job. :o)Image of a new double socket box One of these days I'll have to try to do a geeky video for Youtube of how I've learned to do it. Trouble is - when doing them, the LAST thing you want to be doing when in SUCH a mess, is start trying to video it! The 'for reference' little picture I've included here, is of one of the new 35mm deep double socket boxes I've just put in at each side of the living room wall. The top of the short length of plastic conduit which leads down to beneath the floor, can be seen bottom left. With very rare exceptions (occasionaly caused by a particularly awkward problem), I always aim to put the conduit in at the same time as I lay in the socket box - i.e. when everything is wet and adjustable. I of course always roughen the outer surface of the plastic conduit with sandpaper prior to fitting it, to ensure the plaster/filler has the best possible 'key' to grip onto. Experience has also proven, it is best to very slighty 'ream out' (I use a little conical grinding stone in my drill) both ends of that conduit prior to fitting, to remove the 'sharpness' of the inner wall edge (making it more 'funnel' like at the ends). That makes it much easier to eventually feed the wires through, without them tending to 'snag' on that edge a bit. . The original socket in the middle of that wall, I have YET to remove! When I do, I'll of course have to cement up the void, plaster over it and reinstate a smooth bit of wall. That old socket is on the wall all wonky, has visible gaps between the wall and face plate, and was actually insanely put right down TOUCHING the skirting below, making painting the skirting there largely impossible, and also making it impossible to plug in some of todays bulky 'wallwart' type power supplies!! I ALWAYS put in my sockets with a small gap above the skirting - 'standardised' and easily measured, by using the 35mm depth of the metal box I'm about to put in (which appears slightly less once the face plate is screwed on). Blah blah blah - anyway, it's always a LOT of HARD work putting them in like I do, but ultimately they work, they look 'ok', and they're better than not having one at all and/or better than what may have been there before. Why am I going on about it at such length? Because I have spent SO much of my life putting in SO VERY many of them!! I of course put in loads in the house in Bristol, but never mind that. I just stopped typing this to run around the house and have a quick count of the number I've put in here, for light switches, power sockets, phone sockets, TV sockets, etc. I ended up REALLY absolutely shocked with how much work I HAVE done here - and how much I must have spent on the damned things. (NOT including those I've put in the stud walls in the bedrooms, and computer room etc) around the ground floor rooms alone, I quickly counted a conservative incredible FORTY TWO!!!!!!!!!!!! I am REALLY shocked by that! I'd NO idea it was so VERY many! Living alone as I do, I don't use them all of course, and one or two are even 'blanked', but whoever has this house after me, even if a with-kids family, pretty much wherever you'll conceivably want one, it's there. Also, given the plastic conduit leading up (or down in the case of the light switches) to each, and the ability to easily rewire them from under the floor(s), which one is a TV aerial point or phone socket etc could easily be rejigged if desired, etc. Anyway - I hope somone sometime unknowingly thanks me for all the effort I've put in. I really had NO idea it was SO very many (and I DO have a couple more I still HAVE to do - like one in the hallway which is a spur through the wall off the one I need to remove in the middle of the living room wall!). . .sanded bits of filler on the main body of the wall and then used up the last of the watered down old matt white emulsion paint, just to be able to get rid of the big old tub . . . Image of temporary/unsafe lightswitch arrangementscraped at the short wall next to the living room door for ages, removing crumbling old rubbish, 'evening-out' lumpy old plastering, sharpening joins to the door surround and skirting, etc, etc, etc, and getting to a point ready for gradually starting to 're-build' a smooth bit of wall. That did NOT go well! Had to hack out a whole small section of the original failed/seperated 'plastering' right back to the brickwork, in the crucial vicinity of the light switch. Damn, damn, damn. Building that all back out with plaster and filler is gonna take extra days (mostly just waiting for the drying prior to sanding), and is gonna force me to keep the VERY unsafe and dodgy, unsightly temporary lightswitch arrangement, which consists of the entire old metal conduit, socket box and switch just hanging loose down the wall on the cables. Damn, damn, damn! :o( . . . I hadn't intended to, but ended up just applying a LOT of strong PVA filler mix to huge sections of the wall as a result! . . . spent the next MANY hours vacuuming and de-dusting everything throughout the whole of the ground floor, trying to get rid of all the awful disc cutter dust which lay on layers on absolutely EVERYTHING! Didn't finish until almost 8pm! Utterly exhausted - again. . During that monster clean-up, I also discovered some areas of great concern to me. Evidence of some significant traces of damp in the wall between the front door and the bay window - actually reaching the inner skin of the cavity wall!! Also an amount of apparant movement in whatever type of lintel sits in the arch of wall between the kitchen and the diner - which has actually caused cracks and flakes in some of the plaster on the wall above where the lightswitch is next to the door to the hallway, and above that door!! Both rather worrying, and VERY disappointing, and requiring of further investigation in the near future. :o(. . . TVd for a bit, exhausted . .Mum called to touch base and say the birds had got used to her new feeder, and she was genuinely very happy with it . . eventually cooked two small chicken kievs and ate with just four pieces of bread and butter - because I just didn't have the energy to do anything else!! . . . to bed around midnight.
18 - Woke earlier, lay there for a bit then up around 7:15am. 14C in, 8C out. Threatening cloud - and soon after, some rain. . . walked saturated FGn and played ball in the mud for a while. . . mustered up all of what it took (and believe me it took a LOT!), bit the bullet and started work on the extra 'icing on the cake' work I'd reluctantly set myself whilst working on the living room wall. Putting the full drop of conduit in the wall from under the PC room floor down the living room wall near the light switch to under the living room floor - using the disc cutter and diamond masonary cutting blade to chase out a channel all the way down the wall! Nasty nasty work, absolutely FILLING the whole house with choking dust - again! (Bella stayed out in the garden most of the day.) The dust was so thick in the living room at times, I had absolutely no choice but to stop for a coffee in the garden, because I actually couldn't see my hand in front of my face! Trust me to end up doing this work on a day which ended up being very nearly without a breeze! HARD work - grinding, chiseling, drilling, hammering, up a step ladder, under the PC room floor, under the living room floor, etc etc - breathing and 'eating' choking dust all the while! By mid afternoon, I had one of the conduits positioned in the wall appropriately and 'ready to go'. Dare I - did I have the energy? NO - but I 'went for it' nontheless (because I'd probably regret it for evermore if I baled out now) - I set about doing the whole thing all over again, for conduit number two, running down nearby alongside!!!! That second one was NOT as successful. A particularly strange and rock-hard brick in the wall just under the living room floor where the conduit had to emerge, stubbornly resisted all attempts to chisel drill and grind it away. Sadly, as a result, access to THAT conduit will not be as free and easy, and may restrict the diameter of what I can push through it. WELL worth having, nevertheless. . . at MUCH hellish length, both conduits were rough plastered back into the wall. Yayyyyyyyy. Boy - I wish I'd done those years ago. I could have saved myself s in the cost of the long run of RG213 coax cable which I've had to snake around the house and drop down in the cupboard under the stairs, and then all the way back across under the living room floor to act as my antenna 'downlink' for the scanners in the living room. I can imagine all manner of possible things I may now wish to route through them. Making-good and smooth that bit of wall in the living room is now however going to be a long and laborious job. How well all this works out, is going to ALL be about whether or not I can FULLY disguise the scars, and make that wall look like it was never 'opened up' like that! Fingers crossed. Time will tell. . . eventually called a halt, tidied up just a little, and then spent ages vacuuming up dust. Far too much dust on everything to do a proper clean up, so lots was left covering everything - everything BUT the floor, for Bellas sake. . . THAT was a good ten hour almost nonstop 'working' day -and believe me, it WAS 'WORK'!!!!! . . .exhausted and hardly able to move, but strangely didn't feel particularly hungry and had to force down some turkey slice and mayo sandwiches and crisps . . TVd until to bed around 12:30am.
17 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up around 7:15am. 13C in, 7C out. Raining and blowing, gusting up around 44mph. . . walked BGdns. Eventually detoured back intending to take the shortcut to the builders yard, only to find the narrow pathway completely blocked by an enormous fallen pine tree - again! That's the second one of those to have come down now! The last one took out a nearby persons fence, but 'just' missed damaging the house I think. I 'think' they had their crushed fence replaced back then - I guess they'll be doing so again!!! Whoever owns the narrow and kinda undermined piece of land running alongside that lane should seriously consider removing ALL of the rest of those pine trees! They really are dangerous. Anyone walking down that useful shortcut to the shops pathway (and many elderly do) is running a real risk of possible death given all the rain and winds we've been having! . Had to walk all the way back and round in the rain to reach the builders yard. Bought two double gang sockets face plates, one single gang socket box and a 10ltr tub of Macpherson Contract white emulsion paint all for 22.91. . struggled home carrying the heavy paint, with the rest stuffed in pockets . . . recovered for a bit before leaving Bella home alone and then heading up the store in the rain with a rucksack on my back for milk/sugar etc supplies. . back via the window/plastic store for two 3mtr lengths of overflow pipe for 5.76. . .felt UTTERLY exhausted and just could not face doing ANYTHING else the whole day through . . . cooked and ate two quarter pound cheese burgers with chips for lunch . . napped for a couple of hours . . TVd . . ate crisps, five mini doughnuts and bowls of rice krispies . . to bed around 1am.
16 - Up at 7:15am. 12C in, 1C out. Sunny. . walked FGn in the sun. Sat around for ages with coffee and cigs. SUCH a relief to have a nice day for a change. . .back to the wall. Sanded. 'Whitewashed' up to the doorway with the little left-over old matt white emulsion paint I'd found in the garage, with some added water. Hardly thick enough to be of any use, but enough to be able to more easily see where I needed to apply more filler and doo more 'smoothing' work . . . Carefully hacked away at the wall next to the doorway, and exposed the old metal conduit drop and lightswitch box. Forced into a little bit of disc-cutter work, to cut through some old rusty and bent retaining nails! That was nerve wracking, having showers of sparks dancing around the living room! Had to cut through and remove a piece of the plaster coving at the wall ceiling corner. That didn't go too well, and left me with two largely broken pieces to attempt to reconstruct and replace at some later date! :o( With the coving removed, and with some of the floor up in the PC room, it was then possible to open up a bit of a gap between the wall and the ceiling, sufficient to be able to drag the light switch cables across and a little bit out of the way - whilst dangling dangerously loose down the living room wall!! . . more disc cutting and chiseling and drilling before eventually rough plastering in a new switch box and conduit, albeit more or less in exactly the same place it was before. . . vacuumed and cleaned up just a little by 7pm . . .ate ham and grated cheese sandwiches with crisps and a tin of mushroom soup . . TVd until to bed around 10:30pm.
15 - Up at 8:15am. 13C in, 7C out. Less wind with likely showers, but with even some sunny spells . . . walked BGdns, played ball and then sat around with a coffee for ages . . .back to work on the living room wall. Started sanding down bits of filler etc. Hard to explain, but it's SO hard to actually 'see' all the bits that require work and filling, when you are faced with a large section of part plastered, filled, and part painted wall like that. SO much easier once the first coat of white emulsion has been put on. My big tub of left over emulsion in the garage turned out to only have a cupfull or two left in it! . halted work and walked with Bella up to the local builders yard. Damn - they were closedfor the day already!? . . headed off all the way down towards town to the other builders yard - and would you believe it, they were shut too! Walked on down even further to the paint and decorating store - and THEY were shut aswell (although due to reopen in half an hour)!!! I was NOT about to hang around for thirty minutes only then to have to try to carry a huge tub of paint (assuming they had some) all that way back. I gave up and headed straight back home - in a sour mood. Having no transport makes even the simple task of popping into a DIY store for some paint SUCH a pain. :o( . . . poked at the wall some more, doing bits of filler as best I could . . . walked BGdns under a hazy starry sky with a full moon . . .TVd . . cooked and ate a whole P donated black pudding roll with a tin of sausages in baked beans and four pieces of bread and butter . . fell asleep in the chair. 'Just' managed to wake long enough to stumble straight to bed before midnight.
14 - Woken at 7am by the sound of the torrential rain blowing against the windows. 13C in, 3C out. Gusting up around 50mph already. The forecast is for a good 24 hours of this, with gusts increasing to peak later this evening. :o(. . . very bad headache. Annadin tablet, coffee and smokes for 'breakfast' . . .no. No way. The rain was utterly torrential (and blowing a gale) all morning. I just could not face going out in it. Bella had to make do with just going out in the back garden a couple of times instead. God, how guilty I feel! . . did dish washing chores and otherwise just sat in front the TV - mostly watching the news for hours . . the rain DID eventually ease off somewhat, somewhere after midday. I considered walking Bella, but still didn't feel too well, and simply really didn't want to have to . . ate ham and mayo sandwiches with crisps followed by some chocolate . . napped the afternoon away (despite the increasing noise of the wind) until around 5:30pm . . highest local gust so far, 79.5mph . . a top part of the garden fence has all fractured and broken off, and was half laying across next door's garden. :o( Briefly went out retrieved and dumped the debris at the top of the garden, leaving the remainder blowing back and forth in the gale and likely to be down by morning. . . PCd a bit of this while monitoring radios and listening to the local BBC radio Devon, which IS VERY good at keeping listeners up to date on storm developments, fallen trees, road closures etc, etc. The main Torquay sea-front road has been closed again because of the wind and waves! Ten ships sheltering close-in in Torbay. . radiod locally briefly . . . DF called in with biscuits for chats, as the winds howled local gusts up to 82.6mph . . . PCd briefly . . . TVd . . ate a banana, meat and pastry slice, crisps, biscuits and chocolate . . .eventually to bed not much short of 3am.
13 - Up at 6:45am. 13C in, 3C out. Less wind and not raining at the moment, but plenty of threatening dark grey storm clouds. The NEXT bad gale and storm-force winds is forecast for tomorrow afternoon and night! And so it all continues!!!!! . . PCd this . . .blimey - sunshine! Walked with a coffee - and with the bird feeder-end in a pocket, in the hope I would be able to find a suitable empty plastic drinks bottle along the way, because it's bin day and all the neighbourhood recycling bins are out, full of such things. As luck would have it, the new neighbour's recycling bin just along from my gate had a big empty coke bottle in it. Despite the embarassment of potentially being seen rifling through someones bin, I quickly bagged it. Headed straight up Mum's to give her the feeder-end and the bottle - all she needs to try it out. Actually pillaged another bottle from someones recycling bin along the way, because the coke bottle I'd already bagged was EXTREMELY flimsy and not ideal (although as it turned out, the second one I got was I think identical). Briefly presented Mum with the feeder-end and the bottles before heading off to BGdns. . ball play in the mud, in a very chilly feeling stiff westerly type wind. Damn, damn, damn - after only a couple of mouthfulls of coffee (unusualy on the lower seat, because I was a bit early and 'the' dobermans were still around up top), when throwing Bella's ball, I knocked my flask to the ground, spilling out its steaming contents! Damn - I was really looking forward to the rest of that. Bella got covered in mud as usual, so I briefly dipped her in the sea (low tide) on FCove before heading back in the sunny spell. . back via the store for cigarette paper supplies and then carried on back to Mum's. . poked holes in one of the empty drink bottle ends and fitted the little plastic hanger, screwed the feeder-end on and confirmed it was ready to be used (once she'd finished drying the bottle out after having washed it, and once she'd chosen and bought some suitable seed). Coffee and chats for a bit before heading home . . . TVd the news for a bit before reluctantly getting back down to working on the living room wall, as plenty of showers blew quickly through. Pretty much a re-run of yesterday, with drilling, chiseling, and plenty of potholing under the floor, working at getting the other double socket in the opposite side of the wall. All 'rough-plastered' in place, vacuumed and cleaned up by around 5pm. Yayy. :o) . . . PCd a bit of this prior to showering off the layers of black building-block dust, brick dust, and plaster splashes . . . TVd feeling a bit iffy (with stabbing chest pains! - although they 'may' have been emanating from my aching lower back somehow). . . drank the last glass of red wine in the house. Cooked and ate a whole box of twelve fish fingers, chips and peas followed by a banana and a tiny bit of chocolate . . TVd the evening away until to bed at 12:15am.
12 - Woken around 7:45am by the noise of the rain clattering on the windows, and neighbours slamming doors. 13C in, 6C out. Gale, gusting up near 50mph and forecast to get worse to peak around midday . . . walked FGn in light nylon shower gear, lulled into a false sense of security by a break in the rain. Big mistake that was. Half way across the waterlogged, fully exposed and brutally windswept green, it began to pour with pretty much horizontal rain (straight through my non-waterproofs). VERY unpleasant. Couldn't bear sitting in that playing ball, so prettly swiftly called a halt and headed straight down around the harbour and along to the sorting office to pick up the little birdfeeder packet I'd missed delivery of yesterday. Actually hard walking against the force of the wind in places - and that, right down in the relative shelter of town! . headed straight back home up the busy main road in the gale. Along the way, Bella chose to have a poop on the pavement right by the zebra crossing!! That was embarassing, having to wait for her to do her business so I could then pick it up, and having the occasional passing car pull up and stop so I could cross on the crossing - which of course I didn't want to do. A little further on, a big removal type lorry was partialy parked on the narrow pavement facing me, with an enormous rear door open right across into the front garden of the house they were working in, blocking the pavement entirely. It's a nasty road at the best of times! Having to stop in the wind and pouring rain and walk out into the road with Bella, carrying a poop bag, to gingerly peer around the front of the lorry to see what traffic was coming and wait for a suitable break to be able to run past it down the middle of the road, was not at all pleasant. All of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, a female special constable appeared next to me in the pouring rain and gale - and offered to 'help me cross the road'! At exactly that moment, a long awaited gap in the traffic was coming our way, so I just quickly shouted above the noise of the wind and rain that we could do it, we could do it now, and we promptly ran off up the road past the lorry and eventually safely back onto the pavement. I didn't even get the chance to thank her for her thoughtfulness - but boy, that made me laugh. Just exactly when was it I turned into someone who appeared to need help from a policewoman to 'cross the road'? lololololol Jeeze - I must be getting old - and looking it!!! :o/ . . .eventually back home, drenched right through. . TVd the news for ages recovering from the walk, as the gale increased in ferocity. Seemed bizarre to see live outdoor reports from the Thames floodplain, with the wind and rain not yet having arrived - but with the rain beating against my bay windows, the wind absolutely howling frighteningly against the house, and the front doorknocker constantly clattering. Jeeze - what on earth are all those poor flooded people going to experience later when all this arrives?!!!! 100mph winds forecast for slightly further up North later, and a whole normal months' worth of rain in just the next couple of days, with storm after storm continuing to come our way!!! Things were bad enough already - how on earth is this country gonna be able to cope with all THIS? This really is starting to get quite frightening to me! :o( . . . couldn't face doing DIY stuff, and ended up just PCing a bit of this - cold and wet, as the wind blew and the rain absolutely POURED! - and then all of a sudden around 1pm, it stopped raining (pretty much exactly as forecast). Still windy of course, with 75mph gusts recorded locally. The fence all down the garden out back is now definitely ALL falling down! All the posts are now wobbling about, and some of the rails have now all come adrift. God knows what I'm gonna be able to do about that. No point in even attempting anything until there is an improvement in the weather. It goes against the grain, but I'm just gonna leave it for as long as I can, and let the next gales finish it off. :o( . . .briefly knocked at the neighbour's door asking if they had any big old plastic drinks bottles they were gonna be putting out in tomorrows recycling. I need one for that bird feeder thing. They didn't. Either I'm gonna be scouring the area and raiding peoples recycle bins, or I'm gonna have to go buy a bottle of something, just to get my hands on a suitable empty bottle! . . . eventually managed to muster the energy to start working on the wall again. Got under the floor and measured everything up, working out where the floor joist obstacles were, etc. Damn - some of what I had envisaged maybe doing, simply isn't gonna be possible because of where the joists are! Eventually figured out where I could aim to put the two new power sockets, equally spaced at either side of the wall. That wall is the only place in the room where you can possibly put a sofa, so having the power socket in the centre of the wall out of reach behind the sofa is no use to anyone. Couldn't aim to put two new ones 'quite' where I wanted them because of the joists beneath, but only a couple of inches difference, so it should do, and not 'offend the eye'. Putting one at the door end WILL be reachable and useful (for when I want to plug in the vacuum at the very least), whereas aiming to put one at the other end is more about trying to envisage some possible future requirement. Better to have too many sockets than not enough. . eventually knuckled down to drilling and chiselling out the rebate in the wall for the double socket at the door side. Dusty, awkward and unpleasant, but it actually didn't go too badly, (I've done plenty that have been a LOT more difficult than that) and I eventually had the recess dug, complete with a channel for the plastic conduit to drop down under the floor. At length I had that new socket box and conduit roughly plastered in place. Yayyy. Always SUCH a joy and sense of acheivement to reach that point. It'll require plenty of work and touches of filler to smooth and finish it off and get it fit for painting over etc, but that's just a bit of 'decorating' and easy in comparison to actually getting them IN the wall. Subsequently altering the ring main and wiring them up is an absolute breeze thanks to the short length of round conduit leading down to under the floor. So - that's one done. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to get the other one done as 'easily'. . vacuumed and cleared up the mess around 7pm . . . drank a glass of red wine to celebrate . . BB called to touch base and tell of an ice storm causing chaos over her side (Mississippi). It's not only us getting freakish weather. :o( . . cooked and ate a whole pack of thick sausages, a tin of sausages in baked beans, grated cheese and four pieces of bread and butter followed by a little chocolate . . TVd struggling to stay awake. The top local (Berry Head) wind speed gusts today were 85mph. . . to bed around 10:30pm!!!!
11 - Woken slightly earlier by the noise of the rain clattering on the windows, then up around 7am. 13C in, 6C out. Gale, gusting up near 60mph! . .PCd this after having let Bella out in the garden and having to wipe her all down 'as usual' . .delayed walking, waiting for the worst of the heavy rain band to pass, which the rain radar site suggested it likely would pretty soon . . . walked FGn after the rain had passed. Back via the store for milk and then the builders yard for two double and one single metal socket box for 4.06 . . . worked on the living room wall as a few heavy rain showers blew through, with the TV on the news channel most of the day. Appalling scenes of mass flooding devastation! Hard to believe it's this country! Feel SO sad for all the poor people having their homes/lives ruined. The absurd irony of me suddenly deciding to start doing a bit of work on the house at this time is not lost on me. The way things are going with the climate etc, is there really much point in spending so much of your life doing such things any more? Think of all the poor people who've scrimped and saved and put blood swet and tears into doing up their property, only to have it all ruined and washed away in an instant! I can't imagine! I feel so, SO, sorry for them all. :o( How could 'I' survive such an experience? I just don't see how I even could! . . Eventually got a skim of plaster over the picture rail scar, and bits and pieces of PVA filler here and there, but probably spent more time just sitting looking at it all and watching the TV than actually working on it all. It's a relatively small section of wall, but it's gonna take all manner of work to get it anywhere near just being able to paint it. Image of decorating the final living-room wall.Like every wall in this old house, it doesn't actually have 'plaster' on it! It's more as though the walls have been covered with a poorly held together, uneven 'gravelly' skim, and then just lightly painted, or in some areas, painted with several different coats of who knows what. As a result, huge amounts of filler will be required to even-out all the cracks, dents and gouges, etc etc. All the way around the doorframe requires similar. The old power point in the middle of the large section of wall needs doing away with and a replacement or two put in instead. The double light switch (on the far side of the door) and the drops of cable in the wall down to it ALSO needs re-doing/replacing. etc. In an ideal world, I'd ALSO like to sink a full drop of conduit (or preferably two!) into the little section of wall next to that light switch, to enable me to run cables straight down from under the PC/computer room floor nearby above, inside the wall to under the living room floor!!! Sadly, I seem to have lost my ability to knuckle down and just get in a big mess and aim for the end result like I used to, so I'm HAVING to mentaly break it up into multiple seperate pieces, and concentrate on little bits at a time! An unpleasantly lengthy war of attrition - which I also don't seem to have the energy for, as I once did!?? I may well NOT do all I'd like. It IS tempting to do the absolute minimum - just tart it up a little and then slap paint on, exactly as it all is. Whatever I end up doing, it's already starting to look 'sharper', smoother and better than it did with the old embossed 'just cover it all up' wallpaper. . . vacuumed and cleared up around 6pm again. Missed the postman trying to deliver something at some point, (the birdfeeder thing presumably) when I was up getting tools from the garage I guess. Damn - means I'm gonna have to walk all the way down the sorting office in the forecast gale tomorrow. . skipped the evening walk because I was just too tired to . . yet more trouble with and cleaning out attempts of Bellas ears . . ate ham sandwiches, crisps and a banana . . TVd/guitarred a little . . ate bowls of rice krispies before to bed around 1am.
10 - Up at 7:45am. 13C in, 5C out. Mostly sunny with just the occasional hint of a light shower. A nice day between gales. . walked. Popped in the new local pet warehouse, looking to see if they stock the kind of bird feeder I filmed down in BGdns the other day, which I think Mum was interested in maybe trying out. It's little more than a plastic screw-on 'dish' type attachment for empty plastic drinks bottles. They didn't have any. . Played ball in BGdns for a while. Only one ship left anchored in the bay. Something 'unusual' going on, on the Paignton to Dartmouth steam railway line, across the bay in the distance near Goodrington. Looked as though there were people working on the line, but what was 'unusual' was the fact that the chuffing steam train complete with all its passenger carriages was just going back and forth multiple times on the short stretch of line which appeared to be being worked on?. . Eventually carried on down town to see if the 'newish' pet store just up from the harbour had any of those bird feeder attachments. They didn't either. . started feeling a bit unwell and ended up just heading straight home . . TVd the news for a while. The flooding situation around the country seems to be getting ever more serious. The Thames flood plain now starting to go under - and yet more heavy rain and gales forecast for the rest of the week!!! Dire! :o( . . .PCd this . eventually went ahead and ordered one of those bird feeder things for Mum off ebay from the 'Neat Ideas' supplier. 2.99 inc postage. . . sat around for ages trying desperately to persuade myself to actually get on and start doing something. I still have various 'awkward' walls around the house, STILL with the original/previous owners disgusting, discoloured, heavily embossed 'covers a multitude of sins' wallpaper that I haven't yet worked on. One of those walls is in the living room, the wall between the living room and the hallway. I'd originally delayed doing that one because I wasn't sure if I would maybe want to move the doorway and light switches etc, etc, because of the impossibility of getting a furniture layout to work in the room. I STILL can't quite decide if the room would be better off with that doorway moved, but I'm certainly not eager to get bogged down in major construction/alteration works again. That almost open plan 'inner sanctum' as I regard it, of the living room with my french doors to the kitchen diner and kitchen, works SO well for me, it'd be easy to just go on forever as it is, and never get round to finishing off that one remaining ugly wall! . blah blah blah - anyway - after umming and ahhing and sitting around just looking at it for AGES (YET again!), I eventually decided to just leave the doorway exactly as it is and aim to fix up the wall like I have all the rest, and get it smooth enough so I can eventually just emulsion paint it. FINALLY managed to muster up the energy to start having a go at it! Ugggh - that's gonna be potentially weeks of mess and dust on everything. :o( . . worked at extracting a handful of old protruding wall plugs and then stripping off all the old wallpaper and at least some of the layers of paint beneath, for the next several hours. As with all the walls in the place, that revealed all manner of horrors (like the usual line of uneven and lumpy cement where a picture rail used to be, etc) which is going to require lots of time consuming work and some plastering and filling etc, etc - never mind probably having to employ the disc cutter to cut a conduit channel to slightly reposition the light switch, and probably a new power socket or two. Oh well - it's LONG overdue. I've made a start at least, and can no longer just keep ignoring it. . . . vacuumed and cleared up a little somewhere after 6pm . . . spent a while trying to clean Bella's dirty, full of mud, ears out yet again, when she started showing signs of much irritation - again. . TVd the 'apocalypse' news mostly, tired out . . ate two ham, mayo and grated cheese baps, crisps, banana and biscuits . . struggled to stay awake watching a bit of TV. Almost fell asleep in both the chair and on the floor next to Bella again!! Just managed to 'catch' myself and was in bed before 10:30pm!!
9 - Up around 8:45am. 13C in, 5C out. Recently rained, sun and squally showers again. The westerly wind gusts appear to be dropping back to around 50mph and less. A total of TEN ships sheltering close-bye in the bay! I heard 'bay reporting' on the scanner yesterday saying that ships wishing to shelter in the bay due to the bad weather, were at liberty to come right into and anchor-up INSIDE Torbay at the moment WITHOUT incurring whatever are the more usual fees to do so. . . walked BGdns with a coffee for ball play and plenty of sitting around as at least a couple of the ships lifted anchor and headed away . . . pottered in the front garden de-weeding a couple of the borders in some of the sunny spells. Ended up being 'almost' a nice day in parts. Stopped by a big squally shower, so had a break with coffee in front the TV for quite a while before managing to finish one side and the 'new' border (with the 'precious' campanula plantings) at the bottom of the garden at least - before more rain of course. Hardly much to show for a day, but more than I've done for weeks at least. . . cooked and ate four sausages, two eggs and chips . . .skipped the evening walk as yet more rain fell . . .BB called to touch base . . TVd the whole evening away (including watching the excellent Steven Hawkins 'The History of the Universe' on the Quest channel) . . ate biscuits, banana and chocolate before to bed around 1:30am.
8 - Back up around 8:45am after not enough sleep. 14C in, 7C out. Wind gusting up to 50mph, squally showers. . . slow getting going. Walked BGdns and played ball in the mud. Rained on a bit and then sat around taking shelter under the roof for a while before eventually heading home in a brief drier spell . . . PCd a bit of this . . . Mum called in a little after midday, when the gusts of wind were peaking for today at around 77mph. Chats and PCd with her for a bit, looking at recent storm videos on Youtube and the like for quite a while. . . ate a meat pastry slice, crisps, banana and buttered chelsea bun thing . . napped for a couple of hours. . . TVd the whole evening away into the early hours hardly moving, as the latest gale roared, with plenty of rain and gusts still peaking up around 60mph. . . cooked and ate four sausages in buttered baps with a little fried onion, followed by biscuits and a little chocolate. . . to bed after 2:30am.
7 - Up around 8am. 13C in, 5C out. Recently rained, but - good grief - some sun! The forecast brief lull before tonights/tomorrows next bad storm. . . slow getting going and PCd a bit of this . . . walked late. Walked the woods for the first time in ages. VERY muddy down there, and a good few trees have been blown over. One big one in particular was blocking the main path through, and made for a nasty detour up a slippery slope to get round its exposed roots. Ball play and swimming for Bella on the Churston Cove beach before heading back to Bgdns for sits with coffee and cigs on one of the higher seats. Some pleasant sunny spells, but still felt pretty chilly in the increasing wind. Back via the store, mostly for instant gravy supplies . . . microwaved and ate the last roast duck plated meal with plenty of gravy. . TVd/PCd . . napped as the latest storm arrived to pour with rain and batter the house all over again :o( . . . DF called in for coffee and chats until around 10:30pm . . . TVd/PCd until early. Ended up surfing quite a bit, looking at all manner of nonsense. One of the many things I ended up looking-up, was the Wikipedia entry for Sea State. Once again during the coastguard MSI broadcast, they'd been using the term 'Phenomenal'. Turns out it IS indeed a 'proper' nautical term. It's the term used for number 9 (the roughest) on the 'World Meteorological Organization sea state code' - which equates to wave heights OVER 14 metres!!!! Scary stuff. Hard to imagine - but then again you don't really need to imagine - there are some amazing videos of the waves over Portland way etc during the recent storms on Youtube. .Another interesting site I bumped into, (http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Special:SeaLevel) enabled me to more fully understand and picture in my mind how low parts of the country are, and why the recent Somerset floods have been so catastrophically extensive! . . . ate ham sandwiches and crisps before finally to bed WELL after 4am!
6 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 7:30am, when woken by the neighbour slamming their door. 13C in, 6C out. Yet more rain, but somewhat less wind at least. . .walked BGdns in full wellingtons and rubber weather gear and played ball from the shelter of one of the lower gun emplacements. Dipped Bella in the waters of FCove afterwards, to get the worst of the mud off. The tide wasn't yet fully in (although in far enough to prevent ME from actually getting onto the beach from the flight of steps), and the waters of the bay were dead flat calm, although there was still a heavy underlying swell, resulting in Bella being caught off guard by a couple of surging waves! That was enough to clean her off nicely. Sat on a seat under the roof for a while before eventually trudging back in heavier rain. . . back via the store for bread sugar etc supplies. Briefly popped into the little local newsagents to see what sort of electronic cigarettes they have been prominantly advertising. Whatever type they were selling, their prominent, hand-written advert outside, suggested interested parties could try one! Turned out the type they were selling was VERY different to the little 'Vapourlites' one I've already bought and don't think is really any good AT ALL (in terms of actually delivering a nicotine 'hit'). The one in the store was of the type that requires a button press when inhaling, and which can apparantly be 're-loaded' from various different types of bottled liquid with varying nicotine content and flavour. True to their advert, the guy behind the counter wiped off the mouthpiece and allowed me to try it. Once adjusted for maximum vapour delivery, it DID give me a MUCH greater 'hit' than my little Vapourlite one. Sadly, the thing struck me as extremely long and cumbersome in comparison, and really didn't strike me as the sort of thing you could easily carry around when out and about. With my poor eyesight, I also found it hard to find the button which needed pressing when inhaling. The beauty about that Vapourlite one (aside from it's easily pocketable, 'almost' cigarette size) is you just suck - no need for pressing buttons. The downside is the expense of the non refillable cartridges, and the comparatively small amount of vapour on each intake. So - pros and cons on both sides. It was VERY good to be able to actually try an alternative (despite the potential health risks of sucking on a lightly 'wiped' 'public' one! lol). I 'may' yet invest in one of those refillable types to try - so I have the relative freedom to explore the less costly different flavour and nicotine strength vapour refills (available all over the place these days), in the hope that I'll find a combination that can actually have a chance of delivering enough nicotine to 'clear my mental confusion' when I encounter the withdrawl when I try not to smoke. We'll see. I HAVE been regularly carrying the Vapourlite one recently, and have occasionally used it instead of actually having a cigarette (especially in the rain!), but to be honest, I suspect I'm actually 'smoking' more overall as a result, because it just seems to wet my appetite for several proper roll-ups immediately after!!? . . . TVd/PCd as rain pretty much poured all day. . .spent hours surfing, reading-up on the old Tiscali Thomson TG585v7 wireless router etc which Sis1 gave me. Connected it up to my PC and messed with all the settings, but got nowhere with it!? Went round and round the net for hours - and at the end of the day, figured it was NOT one I'm gonna be able to make use of. It appears to be 'locked' to Tiscali, and only an awkward firmware upgrade would unlock it. Trouble with that is, 'generic' firmware for it appears to be rarer than hens teeth (or actually simply not available). It would appear the Thomson manufacturer has made exclusive deals with ISPs, and only releases various versions of 'locked' firmware for them!! Ultimately after having wasted hours, I figured it just wasn't worth wasting any more time over, and I'll probably just have to ditch it. What an appalling waste. . . TVd . . drank a tall shot glass of Baileys . . ate a microwaved plated roast meal from the fridge with gravy (although I ended up giving Bella most of the unpleasantly fatty meat). . TVd/guitarred a little. . ate bowls of rice krispies and a little chocolate while watching Question Time. . . to bed around 1:30am after very nearly falling asleep on the living room floor next to Bella.
5 - Poor broken sleep then up around 7:35am, woken by the noise of the rain hitting the windows. 12C in, 6C out. Gale continuing. Heavy rain and wind up around 45mph+ SSW, with gusts over 60mph! I'm in no hurry to have to venture out in that! Sounds like a boat ('Seafish') is adrift at the entrance to the harbor/end of the breakwater by the old oil jetty! Both lifeboats in attendance and coastguard teams on foot in full suits and lifejackets making their way along the breakwater! At 08:10 the lifeboat had got a line on and pulled it off the breakwater rocks, but sounded as though they were having a struggle getting it under control! . At 08:22 helicopter Rescue 169 was landing at Woodbury Common (to do a search for a single soldier I thought they said???)? The all-weather-lifeboat eventually proceeded to take 'Seafish', which appeared not to be taking on water, back into the inner harbour/town pontoon by around 08:35. . Listened to the local BBC radio for a bit. Jeeze - sounds like utter chaos out there! All manner of roads/rail routes closed due to flooding and landslips, trees and power cables down, waves breaching coastal defences, thousands without power and a 'major incident' declared in Dawlish - and all that BEFORE the impending high-tide?! . At 09:12 Rescue 169 with four on board was airborne and returning to its base at Chivenor. . . delayed walking, umming and ahhing about whether to even bother, as rain lashed the windows. Eventually reluctantly decided to go for it, and got all togged up in wellingtons and rubber gear. Bizarrely, by the time we left the house, there appeared to be something of a lull in the showers and a general improvement. Headed straight down through town (SO sheltered from the wind down there compared to up near my house!) to see the high tide in the harbour again - actually looking a little 'overdressed, as even a glimpse of blue sky appeared at one point. The water in the harbour WAS high again, but it didn't look as though it was going to be as high as the other day, so nothing particularly much to gawk at. As far as actual damage goes, it appeared that the big heavy wheeled walkway/'gangplank' which gives access from the harbourside onto the Golden Hind replica was the only proper casualty. The ship end of it was splintered and damaged, and the whole thing was laying across the harbour wall. The actual Golden Hind replica itself appeared to be moving around on its mooring plenty more than usual, and of course the only way for anyone to get onto it now was by boat! The other big old heritage sailing trawlers moored around the harbours edge were also being 'boisterous' and appeared to be a handful to keep safely in position. . the pathway past the yacht club was closed again because of the swell breaking up over it, although plenty of people ignored the little line of cones and carried on through regardless. I toyed with the idea for a while but eventually thought better of it and detoured around the steep road above. . eventually back up into BGdns for a little ball play in the saturated mud and occasional showers. The waters of the bay appeared to be suprisingly calm, but with a heaving underlying substantial swell. The local coves were very full again, and the little remaining strip of pebbley beach on Churston Cove was frequently 'almost' overwhelmed by the swell. On this sheltered side of the bay, there were NO big waves to speak of AT ALL! On the lower seats, nestled into, and all sheltered by the windbreak rising land behind, there was really hardly even much of a wind! (Yeah - cause it's my house copping it and acting as a windbreak ain't it!!) The few miles out across the wind flattened bay, things were obviously very different again. Plenty of big white waves breaking and whipped up all along the Paignton and Torquay sea fronts etc. Absolutely amazing how sheltered Brixham is, when the storms come in from anywhere other than East. Part of me was actually just a little disappointed that there really weren't ANY local views AT ALL, worthy of pointing my cameras at!! . . eventually trudged back home without getting showered on much at all in the end . . . hosed mud covered Bella down out in the garden. A portion of the new neighbour's fence has been blown down, up by their garage, and next to a bit of my now rather exposed and vulnerable fence. On the other side, a whole 40ft+ run of my post and rail fence is now all loose and blowing back and forth in the wind at will! Frankly, after last nights 'worst I've ever known it' battering, I was suprised it was still standing at all - albeit leaning over at a dodgy angle. :o( . . .TVd the news. Jeeze - what devastation all along the nearby coasts - but not right here! Extraordinary footage of the railway at Dawlish just hanging in mid air, with the sea having torn away huge sections of the sea wall and all the supporting land beneath! How on earth is this (relatively impoverished and blatantly financially 'neglected') part of the country going to be able to recover from all this - especially since the forecasters are suggesting we are expecting storm after storm, AGAIN, for 'at least' the next two weeks?!!!! :o( Unbelieveable weather! Seem to have been enduring it for a long time now. Can't help but act as though life is fully on hold until it improves - although it really is starting to feel as though it never will! :o( . . .did dish washing chores while TVing the news. Aha - well there we go then. The news eventually reported that at the height of the storm yesterday, a top wind speed gust of 91mph was recorded just down the road up on Berry Head! (I eventually also found a website confirming it.) So - given just a little bit of shelter from the topography perhaps, that really was not that far off what the house was experiencing here!!! I was NOT exaggerating the severity of it! . . did laundry chores . . . drank a glass of red wine and then finally bit the bullet and had a go at cooking the expensive frozen 'christmas duck' that P across town had given me (for Bella?) a while ago, and which has been taking up so much room in the freezer. . cooked up a mass of roast potatoes, peas and stuffing to go with it. Cooking it from frozen like that meant I eventually had the oven running for not much short of three hours in total!! (!!). . eventually made up three plated meals before then having a go at carving off the duck meat to go with them. Tried a little mouthfull, and despite its 'age', it tasted 'ok for human consumption' so I carried on. I don't recall EVER having had roast duck like that before. More used to chicken, I was disappointed and shocked at how much of the thing appeared to be just unpleasant/inedible fat!? Carved off enough meat for a meal, and then sat and ate one of the plated meals with a good pint of instant gravy. It wasn't 'bad' (for something two years past it's best-before-date!!!!), but I wasn't overkeen because of the unexpected fattiness of the meat. NOT something I would seek to have again. . . eventually carved off and sorted out enough actual meat for the other two plated meals to put in the fridge, and ended up with a LARGE mound of fatty meat for Bella to have tomorrow. Boy - if I'd spent how much that duck had originally cost (around 10 I think it was), and then sat down at Christmas to eat it, I'd have been horrified at how much effort and expense I had to put into the cooking, and how little I got out of it!! VERY poor. . . TVd and actually ended up falling asleep in the chair! Woke up all aching and uncomfortable. Straight to bed somewhere around 11pm.
4 - Woke earlier, lay there for a bit then up around 7:30am. 12C in, 4C out. Showers. . . walked a little early and headed straight down to the harbour to see what this morning's 8:45am high tide looked like. Very high again, but not as high as yesterday's. Carried on alongside the outer harbour path (safely open today) and eventually up into BGdns for muddy ball play. UK flagged (out of London) buoy-laying vessel 'Patricia' was anchored in the bay again (together with a few other cargo ships sheltering from the weather), as it has been for a while. Whilst we were playing ball, it upped anchor, dropped a couple of crew into Brixham via its launch, and simultanously headed out towards the submerged wreck of the former German Naval training ship MV Emstrom, to do some sort of underwater radar test before returning later. Wonder what they are up to? Surely not a coincedence that the other night when walking (in pretty poor visibility), I'd noticed that the blue and amber flashing warning lights from the four buoys marking the Emstrom 'exclusion zone' which I've become so accustomed to seeing at night, appeared to have changed, been replaced with something MUCH less visible, or even removed altogether. Image of buoy-laying vessel Patricia in Torbay, and close-up of buoys and crewman on deckIn the tiny images I've included here, yellow buoys can 'just' be made out on the deck of the Patricia in front of the supertsructure. The other image shows a zoomed-in shot of those buoys. To give those suprisingly enormous buoys some scale, in that zoomed-in shot, one of the crew in a hi-vis jacket can 'just' be made out in the far left corner!! You wouldn't want to ever bump into an unlit one of those at night in a boat! . Found a small ornate dog collar type chain, for some VERY small dog. . eventually back home after having missed most of the showers . . PCd and PCd this, whilst monitoring radios. "Southerly storm force ten expected later!" :o( Nevertheless, business as usual for all the fishermen so it seems. The navy too - HMS Bulwark out and about in Lyme Bay doing live gunnery firings somewhere around 50kms to the south east. HMS Defender and Tyne also out that way according to the AIS. . .ate ham sandwiches, crisps and two small jam doughnuts . . TVd as the latest storm arrived and gradually increased in ferocity to utterly horrendous and really quite frightening. The living room bay window is all creaking, whistling and draughty, the front door knocker is constantly tapping away at the door, and the roaring of the wind on the front of the house in general is just plain scary! . dashed out to retrieve my blown-over wheelie-bin at some point, and jammed it against one of the steps on the patio, layed on its side. REALLY ferocious winds from around 6:30pm! At some point I overheard the local 'bay reporting' talking to an inbound ship, telling the captain that the pilot who'd been due to board them, was refusing to board the pilot boat, and they could either wait until 'later', or carry on down the channel without him!! I've never heard anything like THAT before! I 'think' the ship carried on without him!!??!! . . . PCd briefly monitoring radios, and caught part of the 19:10/19:30hrs coastguard MSI broadcasts. Referring to the sea state I think it was, they used the phrase "becoming phenominal for a time"!?? Is that an official nautical term I wonder, or just a very human description of what we are enduring? The broadcast also included a new(ish?) navigation warning informing that the wreck of the Emstrom was now a 'racon, code Tango' - so obviously things HAVE been 'changed' out there. Actually spent quite a while on-line trying to more fully understand what that 'actually' meant. I got the gist of it - that it's an automatic transponder for ships radar, but couldn't fully understand the significance (if any) of why it would send specifically a letter T? Stopped typing this briefly to dash out into the dark and retrieve the trio of recycling bins I never use (I don't do waste food, etc!), which had been blown from the patio down onto and across the garden! Jeeze - I am SO SO VERY uptight with this weather. It's all about how much damage 'the property' is potentially liable to suffer, and my inability to have the means to be able to then do anything about it kinda! :o( . . .TVd . . although outside of my range in the deep valley, snippets on the scanner up towards midnight suggested around eight people had been rescued from flooding over Dartmouth way. . coastguard and police had closed the Torquay seafront I believe, and were having to work hard to keep masses of sightseers away from the danger . . ate a whole mum donated sponge cake thing. . TVd until to bed around 2am.
3 - Woken around 7:30am by the wind noise from the gale whistling through windows and tapping the door knocker. 13C in, 7C out, with wind gusts just short of 50mph! Jeeze - the forecast for Tuesday night is gusts just short of 70mph - then 50mph Wednesday and similar for Friday!!!! God, there's just no end to it!! :o( . . .walked BGdns. Wow - the tide was in high. Maybe a little higher than 'I' have ever seen it. Fishcombe cove was all water, right up to the flights of concrete steps, with no beach at all. Churston cove in the distance was a similar story, with the water 'almost' breaching the pebble bank. Even the light on the end of the breakwater was only a foot or two above the water. Given the shelter from the wind afforded by the land, true to form, there were almost no waves on the Brixham side of the bay at all - just a heavy swell. In the far distance on the Paignton and Torquay side, things were obviously very different, with huge white, skyward breaking waves visible all along the seafronts. Looked as though they were getting a real pounding. It was SUCH an unusualy high tide, I eventually decided to head down to the inner harbour, to see how things were faring. Soon passed a dog walker along the way, who let me know the pathway through down by the yacht club slipway was closed, because the swell was pushing water up and over it. Had to steeply detour up out of the carpark and around the top road before dropping back down into the inner harbour. Wow - the water WAS in high. It HAS been worse apparantly, but this was definitely the highest 'I' have ever seen it. Water was even lapping across the pavement almost reaching the road in one place. Down by the harbourside public toilets/viewing platform, the path around the harbour wall to the ferries pontoon was unpassable, with substantial amounts of water drifting right across on the swell and all around the refuse bin, etc. The old sailing fishing boats moored alongside the harbour wall, were so high, their tyres and bits of timber 'fenders' were almost up against the ornamental railings rather than the harbour wall. The innermost 'working quay' with a small crane (from where they often set off fireworks etc), and where multiple propped-up boats are currently stored and being worked on, HAD recently been 'just' underwater! The actual high tide had already passed, and the water level was dropping back as I walked around, and a couple of fishermen were out on that quay inspecting things. Looking across from the other side of the harbour, it looked 'almost' as though they were walking on the water. Water was lapping across part of the floor under the old fish market roof! The water level adjacent to the very innermost harbour wall where the William of Orange statue sits, opposite the pubs and shops, was no more than six inches below flooding over - but 'just' being held safely back. All in all - Brixham appeared to have been really lucky and 'just' got away with it. . eventually back home through town, and back up into the gale force winds battering my unshelterred house. . . PCd/sat around the whole day through, as the wind and rain noisily battered the house, feeling down and just trying to get through it - again! :o( . . I neglected to mention it here the other day, but just before Mum called in on Saturday, while I was PCing looking up stuff on the bullet I'd found, I'd briefly taken my eyes off Bella, and allowed her to stay downstairs out of my more usual on constant guard sight. In the space of no more than five minutes, she set about trying to scratch her right ear, and had made it an awful sore and bloody mess again! So - I'm straight back to having to CONSTANTLY guard against her making it worse - again - still - ALWAYS! Went through a prolonged period of her clearly being severely irritated by it today, so ended up spending much of the day trying to clean it out, etc etc. Ended up in desperation using some of that ear-wash solution I'd bought off Amazon for the first time. Not too impressed with it, but it 'may' ultimately have helped just a little. . . somewhere around 8pm the gale thankfully finally eased back to less windy and worrying . . . cooked and ate four quarter pound cheese/mayo/ketchup burgers followed later by three mini jam doughnuts. . TVd until to bed before 11pm!
2 - Woken around 8:40am by neighbour noise. 14C in, 8C out. A brief lull in the storms with even a hint of some sun. . . walked BGdns (NOT wearing a raincoat for a pleasant change) and even took my camera tripod, intending to maybe have a more serious poke at the sights to be seen on T's bird feeder up by the roofed seats. Played ball in the mud for a while before eventually heading for the higher seats. Turned out a couple of people were already sat up there all taking photos (and even re-filling one of the feeders), with even a couple more arriving a short while later, so it wasn't the best time for 'me' to be playing cameras. Ended up just sitting around smoking, drinking my coffee and chatting for a while, whilst all watching the birds and squirrel etc. . . messed around with my disc cutter in the damp conservatory and ultimately partialy dismantled it, cleaned it out a bit, and then fitted a new length of spare flex to it, to replace the shorter length I'd damaged the other day. The flex I had to hand was actually just a little 'lighter guage' than the original, but I think it 'should' be ok and safe enough. A little life left in the old grinder yet. . salvaged the flex from my old broken strimmer, before just dumping all the rest of it in the wheelie bin . . .TVd briefly, actually just waiting for the weather forecast. Not good. YET more bad storms forecast for much of the coming week! :o( . . PCd a bit of this around 2:30pm, just as all the coastguard response troops were being paged and mobilised to attend 'a car over the cliffs at Dawlish' (sadly largely out of my listening range, due to the lay of the land)! Soon turned out it wasn't actually in the sea, so their local lifeboat was stood down - although the air ambulance WAS apparantly being called-in, so sounds like a nasty one. Or then again, maybe not - teams were stood down around 15:18hrs? . PCd this at length for ages . . . TVd and drank most of a glass of red wine. . walked BGdns. A star filled sky to start with, but soon sheltering from passing showers. . .TVd and finished off the glass of wine. .needed food but had no appetite. Forced down two ham finger rolls and a large bag of crisps . . . to bed before midnight as the wind was increasing again.
1 - Woken around 8:30am by banging noise from the neighbour on the other side this time. 13C in, 2C out. Big broken rain showers and strong 40mph gusty winds . . . walked BGdns in waterproofs. Played ball in the mud for quite a while, occasionaly retreating to take shelter from heavier showers in the nearby gun emplacement. Eventually called it quits and headed up to the seats under the roof, for sits with coffee and cigs watching the birds on the birdfeeder. Whilst sat there, it became evident from comms on the scanner, that a couple of the guys from the local radio club were heading for the Breakwater carpark, intending to run a bit of a 'special-event' station, in support of 'SOS Radio Week'. Given the wind and heavy showers, it appeared they were just gonna be sat in their vehicles. At some point, one of them actually gave me a shout! Humph - how frustrating was THAT - I did NOT have my VX-7 handie with me to enable me to reply! lol Image of a live N.D.F.S. 577/450 cartridge, found atop a council refuse bin in Brixham, Devon!?? Ummd and ahhd a bit, before deciding to brave the showers and take a stroll all the way out in that direction, just to briefly say hello. . headed down the steep paths to the lower coastal path, descended the flight of steps near the Astra Zeneca building, and started off along the outer harbour wall towards the inner harbour. All of a sudden I spotted something strange sat upright atop one of the many council refuse bins. A bullet!! I assumed at first that it was probably a plastic toy, but as soon as I touched it, it became clear it was indeed a real one! A quick look at the base then confirmed that it was not only real, but was apparantly also still live/unfired! Wow - who on earth found that - and where - and then just left it there like that for any passing kid to maybe start playing with? WHAT an idiot! Ummd and ahhd a bit before succumbing to my knee jerk reaction of informing the police. Called the non emergency 101 number on my mobile phone and reported what I'd found - suggesting it appeared to be an elderly .45 calibre that was still live. Turned into a 'lengthy' call , when the guy taking the details needed to confer with someone else, and had me wait whilst he did so (damn - all my PAYG mobile-phone credit being swallowed up for nothing!!!) . At length, it was agreed that I would take it home and someone from the police would call in later to take it off my hands. . . A little unnecessarily silly perhaps, but I really wasn't particularly 'comfortable' continuing along our brisk walk, with a live bit of ammunition in my coat pocket! Hardly likely to spontaneously 'go off' - but I couldn't help thinking that it maybe just 'could' if my flapping in the wind rain-coat pocket bashed against something, or if one of the occasional sunny spells heated some old and potentially unstable cordite, up too much!!! It occurred to me then how silly I'd been. Would have been SO much simpler a solution to the whole affair, if I'd just tossed it into the sea! . . . 'carefully' walked through the gale and occasional heavy showers around the inner harbour and all the way out to the breakwater car park, to say a very brief hello to the guys sat in the car with the aerials on top. Didn't have much time before Mum was due to call in, so didn't hang around and very quickly headed straight back through town and home . . . very carefully and gently rubbed off just a little of the corosion on the cartridge, in an attempt to make out the stamped details on the base. That's weird - no date? . . quickly PCd, trying to look up details about the markings on the bottom of the cartridge case. N.D.F.S. 577/450 . At first, because of the 577/450 calibre entry on Wiki, I started to think I had something really old - but then scant information related to the N.D.F.S. marking seemed to contradict that. At the end of the day, I concluded it was probably no older than 1970 - and was made for some old shooting piece by that Jim Goodwin guy in his North Devon garage! How the hell it came to be sat on a council refuse bin alongside the outer harbour in Brixham will remain a mystery. . . Mum called in with the papers and food donations for chats etc. . around 1:30pm whilst Mum was still here, a police car arrived in the street outside. Invited the lady special-constable in (after confirming she'd be ok about meeting Bella), when it appeared she needed to briefly write some details down. I DID suggest it would have been easier if I'd just dumped it in the sea, and apologised for having called them and put them to all the bother. Bella was 'ok', but a little hyper and 'pokey' with her nose, like she can be with someone she doesn't know. A brief note of my name, address and where the catridge had been found was made, and then she stood up to leave. Apparantly at that stage, Bella had a gentle 'nip' of her leg!!! Ooops!! That was embarassing! The lady special then left and returned to the waiting car, carefully carrying the cartridge with her - to be appropriately disposed of (ultimately to be blown-up with other stuff somewhere she suggested. What a shame. Could have made a nice addition to my ornamental brass collection, if 'emptied' and made safe. If 'I' had actually found it and had pulled it out of the ground somewhere myself, rather than finding it left by someone on top of a refuse bin!!, I probably WOULD have had a go at making it safe and just kept it. Just as well I didn't perhaps! ) . . showed Mum some of the BGdns birdfeeder footage I'd filmed whilst experimenting with the camera settings. She seemed to REALLY like it!? Maybe I should try to do a 'proper' little video of all those birds down there - for her if no one else? . . ate corned beef and mayo finger rolls and a large bag of crisps as soon as mum had gone . . .my nose appears to be acting up, all simultaneously running and blocked again. I also appear to be feeling oh SO cold, irrespective of whatever the room temperature is? . . . oh no! The howling gales appear to have started to make all the fence posts between me and the (old)neighbour out back, look as though they are about to start falling over - complete with the whole length of rotten fence rails! Went out and had a look. That is seriously bad news! Those posts are poorly stuck in metal post spikes, which have somehow been just driven into the ground between our adjacent concrete paths. A single low line of breeze blocks has been cemented on top of the length of the path between them all. The whole lot appears to be falling to bits!! I can only assume that the ground into which those metal post-foot spikes have been driven, has become SO unusually waterlogged, that the (never before experienced?) weeks of persistant strong gales have gradually wobbled them loose!! That really is a disaster! Hard to explain here, but given how they are somehow stuck in the ground between two adjacent (joined?) concrete paths, it is quite beyond me how it will be possible to do anything about it!!!! Digging them out and perhaps concreteing-in new ones is NOT an option!!!! Just impossible! So - just ANOTHER part of the property all falling to bits, without having a clue about what the hell I'm gonna be able to do about any of it!!! :o( I'm really starting to feel as though I simply can't go on pretending that I can actually afford to live here. Everything that needs sorting or 'could' be done, is SO intricately linked-to and absurdly complicated by the 'join' and 'shares' with next door, I just can't seem to be able to see how 'I' can do anything about ANY of it myself. It'll all take ks and skilled and equipped builders to do! Overwhelmed and VERY down. :o( . . . napped - just to get warm more than anything else - but also to just escape from it all. . . skipped the walk. It wasn't raining - but I just couldn't face venturing out nontheless.. . TVd the whole evening away hardly moving . . . ate a piece of Mum donated gala pie, a banana and five small jam doughnuts . . . to bed around 2:30am.
^Top