<<Return to My Diary
31 - Up just after 8am. . walked. Returned with a bin bag conatining a HUGE amount of left over beef from K. . . scraped down the remnants of the long ago removed, damaging ivy, and then put a coat of black masonary paint on the lower part of the front outside house wall around the half newel posts, to more or less finish things off. Bit of a pain and actually had to use a tiny artists brush to paint up to the posts!! . .TVd/PCd . .cooked chips and ate with a huge amount of microwaved beef. Delicious! . . drove to walk early, to get back in time to see the 7pm TV show 'Did Darwin Kill God' . I think - not necessarily, but he certainly killed man made religion (or would have done but for mans innate ignorance and arrogance). If only!. . touched base with Mum only to discover she had been unwell and in bed all day!!! Uhoh!!. . TVd . .JK called to touch base . . guitarred . . touched base with BB . .TVd eating kipling apple tarts, chocolate and biscuits until bed around 1:30am. sa
30 - Up around 8:30am. Another very sunny day. . walked . .painted a coat of gloss paint onto the outside handrail. Took ages and then just when I'd finished and was calling it quits, Sally rubbed up against the newel post in passing and covered it with her hair! Managed to remove most of it I think. Right - apart from a dab of paint on the house wall around the half newel posts, that's that protected from the weather and pretty much done with for the time being I think . . guitarred and eventually ended up in the car with Sally and the guitar and drove down to BGdns to sit in the sun on a seat overlooking the bay, having a bit of a 'twiddle' for the first time ever. Felt awfully self conscious but thankfully everyone seemed to ignore me (actually - was that a very wide berth given me by passers by? lol). Unfortunately it soon clouded over and felt all cold, so the outing didn't last long - but at least I've had the nerve to do it once. . . cooked and ate chips and baked beans covered in huge amounts of grated cheese . . napped for only an hour or so, until the alarm at 7:30pm . . guitarred . . touched base with BB . . guitarred some more, doing the same little awkward, interesting-to-me twiddle (I've even named it! 'Business As Usual'! lolol ) over and over again until my fingers were sore and black!? Dunno why but the old strings on that guitar make my fingers go black when I play it! I'm gonna have to order some new ones from somewhere soon - and I think am going to invest in a new 'hard' capo. The old one I have (and frequently find myself using for some reason, I think because it simply makes the cheap crappy guitar sound 'brighter' if mostly used on the third fret) is made of a braided nylon strap and is a bit of a pain to wrap around the neck and put on or move up and down! . . ate only a few Kippling apple tarts, which really wasn't enough food at all - but I didn't want to waste time doing food, when there was so much 'Business As Usual' to be twiddling. lol . . . to bed around 1:30am. a
29 - Up around 8:45am! (Actually, since the clocks changed last night, that's almost no sleep at all! :o( ) . .things afoot in the night it would appear! A deck chair had been placed atop a neighbor's car. Maybe that was how it was driven home - with someone in it?:o( . walked and then having seen it in the distance couldn't resist walking all the way out to the breakwater beach and slipway to see boats being lifted back into the sea for the summer. Sat around and did actually pull the camera out of my pocket, but nothing really seemed worth filming. Eventually walked back via BGdns. On the way was a bit of drama. A helicopter swooped in low over the town before heading off into the bay to drop someone off onto some small naval vessel or other (one of a pair, out 'on a jolly' it appeared). Sadly the helicopter action was way distant and I was in the wrong place to really attempt to capture anything of it - although of course I DID try! . . Fantastic weather but still very cold in the shade. . ate corned beef, mayo and lettuce rolls with crisps, and then some chocolate. . napped. Woken by DC ('singing man') calling in. He seemed all a buzz after having spoken to some shop owner or other about the concept of getting some musicians to record ome of his songs and putting them to video for possible selling as a souvenir. Of course the concept is something I've given some considerable thought to, and was sadly obliged to attempt to explain in some detail, the difficulties and obstacles as I've seen/found them (although I AM of course very negative in a 'my glass is always half empty' type of way about everything. HIS glass appears to be very half full). At the end of the day, I suggested he should start off by getting ONE song, some musicians who could do it, and actually get some 'proper' sound recorded, all as a concept test, before getting too excited about the idea. That will I suspect be difficult enough to achieve on its own! If it can't be done on the cheap, given the small number that would actually be sold, it'd never be cost effective. Hell - I can think of all sorts of obstacles. I also felt obliged to point out, although I've never seen it, I am aware that a souvenir DVD of the area DOES actually already exist! . . During the conversation it transpired I'd never given him a copy of the Xmas DVD (I bumped into him during the filming of the parade, and may have been a bit rude when I casually dismissed (from experience) his suggestion I should zoom in on the star in the sky above the parade!). .burned and printed the Xmas DVD and popped up with Sally and dropped it in a little later . . skipped the walk . . . PCd/guitarred. The conversation about music etc earlier got me all 'wound up' and frustrated again. LOTS!!! I am in need of writing my OWN music. I want to do it BAD! Given the ongoing YouTube censoring of (some of the best) of my videos, I just can't see the point in doing any more until I can escape that sort of censoring/control. God knows I can do at least three chords on the guitar - I've written 'lyrics/poems' in the past (doesn't matter how bad they were - at least they were MINE) - why the hell can't I actually make my head work in that way (like DC can so easily) and write a bloody song of my own??!!! Arrrrgggggghhhhh!!!! It's got to happen. It's going to have to. It's only a matter of time - if it kills me!!!!!!! . touched base with BB . . guitarred for hours. . defrosted and ate a pastie with crisps in the early hours before to bed around 2:30am. s
28 - Up around 6:15am! PCd a bit of this . . .walked in the sun, but boy what a strong cold northish wind. .Stopped at the builders store for another pot of Gripfill wood glue (£5.44)on the way back. I'm almost out of the stuff and although I may have finished doing the stairs handrail, I haven't yet tackled all the really badly squeaking/creaking stair treads! There's something horribly wrong with the 'square' at the top of the stairs in particular - it's been creaking really badly (actually movement detectable underfoot!) ever since I moved in!!! I may have to make use of mother later when she pops in, and get her to walk up and down on it so I can look at whats going on from in the cupboard underneath! . . PCd . . did dish washing chores . .Mum popped in with food donations for chats and 'compulsory stair walking'! Unfortunately I couldn't detect anything particularly noticeable going on from the cupboard under the stairs, so like it or not, I'm going to have to pull the carpet up. That's not a good thing because it's pretty ropey, and is even a couple of different scraps all stuck down in that particular area! :o( . . ate Mum donated ham, mayo and lettuce rolls with crisps and chocolate . . napped for a few hours . . skipped the evening walk. TVd/guitarred for hours. Actually did so with the camcorder running in the corner of the room at one point!! Not 'quite' as egotistical-weird as it sounds. I just wanted to be able to play it back later while not being absorbed in trying to do it, to be able to make an assessment of how it REALLY actually sounds. For some reason, while I'm actually trying to play some little twiddle or other, I can't really hear how it sounds. Hard to explain. All part of my 'I'll never be able to play anything because my head doesn't work in that way, and I certainly can't do two things at once' affliction. . touched base breifly with BB . . TVd/guitarred. . ate bowls of cornflakes, buttered golden syrup cake and chocolate. . somehow ended up PCing until ridiculously early, listening to my earlier recording, surfing looking at cheap electro acoustic guitars and 'stick-on' pickups, and then watching more guitar lesson type videos on Youtube before finally to bed with the birdsong! s
27 - Up around 7am . .walked. . worked on the stairs handrail and laboriously cut lots of matchstick sized angled slivers of wood to fill the gaps around the spindles in the underside recess. Hellish long fiddly job. All done and glued in place eventually, which pretty much finishes off the actual construction phase of all that, apart from a lot of sanding down prior to painting - but that can wait because it's more of a just a 'decorating' type of thing. Celebrated by actually clearing up and putting away all the tools that have been littering the kitchen for ages, and then vacuumed around the place a little . . ate ham sandwiches, crisps and chocolate. . sat around/TVd/PCd . . drove to walk . . got tipsy on a glass of red wine while cooking two burgers and chips. Ate big followed by chocolate. . TVd . . almost fell asleep on the sofa again and actually was in bed by 10:30pm leaving the ansaphone to talk to BB!! d
26 - Up around 7:15am . .PCd a bit of this waiting for 8am and time to call the Indesit people. . oops. Damn. They actually don't open until 8:30am!. . quickly drove to walk. Dashed there, dashed round and dashed back, and all within about a half an hour. . Called the Indesit people and attempted to explain that their automated notification system hadn't worked - again, and that maybe they should check on it. As seems typical with this sort of thing, whoever was on the phone didn't seem capable of accepting that they had a problem and got all defensive/aggressive and said it was probably something to do with MY phone!!! Since I have a regular BT phone line that seems a bit difficult to accept, but even if it IS to do with my phone, then they should look at their notification system and identify why it isn't bloody well working for some of their customers! (It's just poor 'error trapping' in the program isn't it? Not rocket science.) When pushed, the woman let me know the delivery slot was between 9 and 12am (so I hadn't just missed them) . . glued and clamped the last two 'full sized' pieces of timber infill between the spindles, into the underside of the stair handrail and then pottered around clearing up a little before PCing a bit of this - waiting. . .at almost exactly 11am the lorry turned up and the oven exchange was done! (Oops - neglected to include the wire rack handles with the returned oven!) . . altered and clipped in place the extension lead and fitted the replacement all ok and then (after checking with a pencil through the grill that the fan was rotating freely!!) went for the initial heat up. Actually figured out how to set the microwave clock after all this time - and all of a sudden it seems so obvious and simple, I don't know why I had a problem with it!? . .Busied myself breaking up all the polystyrene packaging and clearing up while the oven heated. That's filled the bin up already, and its two weeks till its emptied again! . horrible choking smell from the oven again. Really makes me feel sick! Despite that, everything appears to be ok. . breifly touched base with Mum and then walked with Sally down town to buy a pizza again, so I can do a direct comparison test of how THIS one is working compared to the last one . . popped in a cheap store while down there and bought myself a £1.49 feather duster! lol Such is the number of fine cobwebs that appear on the ceilings and walls down here, it seems to be a pretty indispensible thing to have. Not sure I inderstand why it is so different here, but I didn't get anywhere near this amount back in Bristol. .bought two pizzas in the Somerfield store because they were on offer and then walked home to cook one. By the time I got home, I had a niggling feeling I'd been charged too much. Checked the receipt and sure enough I'd paid full price for both (which was actually 60p each more than I could have bought them in Tesco just down the road!!!!!) . . cooked the pizza as per the box instructions, exactly as I did the other day, and sure enough this time everything was ok and it cooked perfectly in the time expected. Ate . . walked back down town with Sally, to check on the price of the pizzas, expecting to get some money back. Caught out in a heavy shower. Turns out it was MY error, although I'm convinced the price ticket had been moved to the shelf above in the time it took me to get back down there! It was certainly misleading and it really bugged me I'd effectively thrown away £1.20 for nothing. :o( . . walked back via the harbor and BGdns. Actually did a little 'off road' exploring in BGdns and had a look at a couple of difficult to reach gun emplacements I've never looked at before, which I think may have been partially dug out relatively recently. Had to climb up and down a slippery steep muddy bank, uncomfortably near the cliff edge! The wall around one of those emplacements appeared to have been constructed from hessian sacks of concrete. Over the decades the sacks have rotted away and disappeared, leaving the textured sack shapes of the concrete behind. Interesting effect. . found a tent up in the graffitti covered upper gun emplacement (homeless person?) which stopped me poking around too much! . received another bag of left over meat from K in passing . . napped but somehow only for less than an hour or so. Woke still with my nasty stress headache . .TVd/guitarred for ages . . ate ham sandwiches and crisps, chocolate, buttered golden syrup cake and biscuits . . touched base with BB . . TVd/guitarred until bed around 1am. saa
25 - Up around 8am again. .walked . .put a screw in the bottom of each of the front door handrail spindles and then sanded it down and eventually used up the last of the tin of undercoat and got a coating on it all. Unfortunately rain is forecast for the next few days, so I hope that'll be enough to protect it for a while. It think it DOES look 'twee' though! Having said that, I've tried to remember what it was like walking up to the front door that first time when I came for the viewing before I bought the house. When I come to sell the house (thanks to previous events, I'm sadly stuck with the feeling I should be able to at a moments notice if needs be!) , I think that gives a MUCH better first impression of the place. It does however draw your attention much to the original/temporary/unfinished rail on the other side now, which IS going to have to be sorted out at some point in the future, although no matter how much time I spend sitting looking at it plotting through possible alternatives, I can't quite figure out how it should be done! . I'm NOT going to do it, but I HAVE surfed looking at what is available. Imagine a small solar cell mounted on the black wall beneath the satellite dish, with discretely hidden wiring running to five miniature LEDs counter sunk into that new bottom (or even top) rail? Almost tempted! . . received a call at midday from the Indesit people. I'm really not sure why they called. They reiterated I'd receive an automated call some time to tell me what delivery slot my oven was due to be delivered in tomorrow. Fearing I wouldn't get one again, I asked between what times they delivered. Any time between 7am and 7pm!!! . .started work on cutting up the 'fill' timbers for the underside of the stairs handrail. That crown handrail has a recess for fitting the spindles, and to finish it all off properly, the recess has to be filled up (as has the original one up on the landing). It isn't particularly necessary on the rails outside by the front door because you never get down low enough to see under there, but with the main stairs handrail, it 'leaps out at you' every time you walk past it coming out of the kitchen! Found a couple of pieces of wood in my ever growing collection of offcuts in the garage, which were more or less the right depth (an awkward to work thin 8mm or so!). Until just the other day, those timber scraps had been what the microwave has been sat on in the kitchen unit, to raise it up above one of the ugly screwed on pieces of wood so the door would open. Funny how much of a kick I can get from being able to 'recycle' things like that! . Took absolutely ages cutting up the first awkward one. Had to make all sorts of ridiculous designer 'hollows' in it with the electric drill and a grinding attachment, for it to be able to fit flush over a couple of hidden fixing screws in the underside of the newel post, which were not fully countersunk! Got just slightly quicker with cutting out the rest. . Got a couple glued and clamped in place before calling it quits, feeling tired, hungry, headachey and not too good . . ate ham rolls, crisps and biscuits . . napped fitfully for a couple of hours until the alarm at 6pm. Woke feeling still a bit headachey. .drove to walk . . cut more slivers of wood for under the stairs handrail and eventually got a couple more glued in place by around 10pm. . touched base with BB . . ate left over beef and pork and four pieces of bread and butter and some chocolate. . TVd until bed at 1am. So - once again, I haven't received word of a delivery slot from Indesit like they assured me on several occasions I would. I have a suspicion their system is geared for mobile phones, and if you don't have one, you simply don't get the message! a
24 - Up around 8am . .called Indesit to confirm the model etc and they confirmed the replacement would be sent out on Thursday, and I'd receive an automated call/message the day before to confirm the delivery slot . .walked and returned home with a bin bag of left over food from K, some of which is fit for me to eat apparantly. .mowed the lawns . .sat in the front garden with coffee and cigarettes trying to make my mind up about the handrail up to the front door. Eventually decided, despite my reservations about it possibly rather looking too 'twee', the easiest way to just get the thing over and done with would be to buy the ornate decking spindles from the diy store. They are so cheap, it wouldn't be much less if I did it in plain timber! Left Sally at home and drove to the diy store. Bought a tin of undercoat and one of gloss (£4.99 each), another decking handrail (£5.99) and 4 colonial spindles (£9.96), - and on impulse a 'switched 3 way plug adaptor' thingy (£7.99). I've never seen one of those before. It's like a regular block adapter so you can plug three things into one socket, but it actually has small individual neon lit switches on the front for each of the outlets. I can find a use for that with my current arrangement of leads and sockets in the PC room, for things I don't always want to have on. In fact - I wonder if you can get individual plugs with such a switch on? That would be useful in certain bizarre scenarios I can envisage. . . stopped to fill up with gas at Sainsburys on the way home (28.11ltrs @ £25). Trip meter reading was 163miles (39744-5 total mileage). That's only around 26 miles per gallon!! (Oh well - usual thing of small trips, sitting around warming up, etc, and of course there was an MOT during this tank full, with presumably plenty of sitting around running doing emissions tests etc.) I think its now fair to assume, despite being a small car and all, I'm never going to get very good mileage out of it. . spent the rest of the day right through until around 6pm working on fixing the bottom rail and spindles to the outside handrail. Lots of awkward angled cuts on everything! Got the bottom rail screwed and glued in place and then probably spent as much time just sitting looking at it trying to decide what would be most appropriate in terms of positioning of the detailing/spacing etc, as doing the work! Eventually decided, did all the nasty angled cutting and finally got it all just glued in place. . .walked. Cold wind. . . ate huge amounts of K donated pork meat with chips . .Tvd (yet another Darwin program, prompting more 'meaning of life' deep thinking) struggling to stay awake. VERY tired and could easily have gone to bed at 9pm! . . touched base with BB . . ate buttered Chelsea buns . . TVd until bed around 11:30pm or earlier.
23 - Up around 8:30am . . walked and then carried on down town to visit the excellent little 'tools' stall in the undercover market. I finally wore out another cutting blade on my disc cutter, when I was mounting the handrail posts on the outside wall the other day, and I've seen them for sale at that market stall. Sure enough, I managed to get a new 'Rolson' 115mm diamond cutting blade for a remarkable £2.50. . rang the Sainsburys help line around 11am and explained about the oven. They put me through to the Indesit people and after a brief explanation, they suggested there should be no problem with me getting a replacement, and they'd call me back soon. Oh yeah - we'll see! . . PCd this. .turned into one of those lackluster days when I just couldn't get going and simply wanted to return to sleep. Ate Mum donated ham and cheese rolls and a mini trifle and then napped. . half woken by the ansaphone taking a call. Slept on fitfully dreaming and then back up around 5pm. . the ansaphone call had been from the 'Indesit' people wanting to arrange a delivery day for a replacement oven, and requiring that I confirm the model type etc. 0. Immediately tried to call them back only to find their office closed at 5pm and I'd 'just' missed it. Grrrr . . TVd . . Mum called to say she'd had the Indesit people call her with the same message too (despite me having made it clear I'd previously given the wrong number and what my actual number was!). HATE all this sort of messing about. It's precisely why I paid that extra £10 for the next day delivery - to try and avoid a prolonged bunch of hassle. :o(. . drove to walk and stopped off at the local store for a few supplies on the way home. Turned into quite a few supplies because they had a bunch of tempting stuff with 'reduced' (near the sell by date) stickers on again! Even tempted into buying a huge pack of four large pork chops, now I have an oven - ish, although I put them in the freezer. I don't think it would be fair to start cooking stuff like that before I return that oven, and I also intend to speak to Mum about how she does such things. I'm determined to learn EXACTLY how she manages to cook them like she does. All previous attempts throughout my life have always failed to match the delicious results she always seems to effortlessly get. (Its all about the fat bit on the edge. When she cooks them, it just melts in your mouth. When I do them, you have to chew it and or give it to the dog!) . . PCd this . .TVd/guitarred . . touched base with BB . . ate two Chelsea buns and bowls of cornflakes . . TVd until bed around 1am.
22 - Back up around 8am. .walked. A beautiful summers day type morning. Large amounts of debris had unusually been washed up on the local beach by the strong Northerly breeze and waves. Had a bit of a wander along having a look through the rubbish. A nice looking stereo speaker was there and would have been worth salvaging if not for the water damage. Sat around in BGdns for ages before eventually joining another dog walker who suggested a walk through part of the woods. As we were setting off, we were suddenly joined by another dog walker who she knew and I didn't. He had a cute enough little dog but oh my god, it just didn't stop running around and barking - all the time. It drove me nuts, as did the snails pace walking speed they maintained as they chatted. In very short order I felt excrutiatingly awkward, mostly walking a little way ahead as they dawdled, and very quickly regretted having set off with them. I eventually said I was going to do the FULL walk all down through the woods to the beach etc and extricated myself from my discomfort and headed off apace with Sally, leaving them behind. What a relief to be just me and her again. . down in the woods, suprisingly all the beer cans and debris had been cleared up - and a downed tree which has been blocking the path for a while had also been removed. I guess they've had workmen down there. . touched base with Mum and said happy mothers day . . sat in the sun in the back and front gardens guitarring a bit . . drank a glasss of wine while cooking a ham ring and chips. Ate with two pieces of bread and butter followed by a bar of Mum donated turkish delight and biscuits while TVing the news. Jade Goody died this day. The saturation news coverage of her death seemed quite bizarre to me. They even had a religious nut on camera (a bishop I think it was!) saying she was comparable to Lady Di and how the effect she'd had on the population had been one of 'biblical proportions'! ? Has he missed most of her TV appearances? Based on what I've seen of her, (her lack of intelligence aside) she was just an unpleasant yob, famous for nothing more than being so. A sad, sad reflection of what our society has become, that she is now hailed as a major roll model, and even the prime minister felt obliged to comment on her 'bravery'!? Bizarre. (Actually - I have a bit of a problem with this 'bravery' term, when used in such circumstances. What behavior specifically is looked upon as 'brave' when facing a terminal illness, about which you can do nothing? (The absurd notion of 'fighting' a terminal illness, is another thing I take issue over. Is passive acceptance not 'brave'?) Or perhaps more to the point, what would be considered to be NOT brave and therefor disapproved of? I'd hate to get it wrong and be branded a coward after I die!!????? ) . . napped for a couple of hours . . sanded down and painted undercoat on all the new stair parts. Wow - that uses up a suprising amount of paint!. . TVd/PCd this . . touched base with BB . . TVd . . cut my hair/beard etc. . TVd/PCd. . ate ham rolls, crisps and chocolate around 2am before eventually to bed some time later! sd
21 - Up just after 7am. .walked. Found a small amount of Sampson hand rolling tobacco in a pouch left overnight (wet with dew) on one of the seats. Not my brand but welcome nonetheless. I've run out of duty free stocks, and I'm embarassed to admit, am currently smoking 'recycled' tobacco, 'reclaimed' from my already smoked cigarette ends!!! Makes for a strong and deadly brew! One can only imagine how much condensed tar and nicotine that stuff contains! Smoking it of course makes me cough more, and it definitely has a slightly unsettling effect on my stomach, and there are times when it can cause a perceived pain in my head (specifically on the left side slightly forward of and a couple of inches above the ear)!!!! Amazing I've lasted this long really, considering the abuse I've subjected myself to over the years. . drilled and nailed the bottoms of the stair handrail uprights just to make doubly sure they'd stay put, before dabbing on a bit of filler here and there . . cleared up just a little and did dishwashing chores until Mum arrived. . chats and a cuppa out in the sunny back garden and then more sitting in the sun in the front garden. At one point while looking at the staircase work, I mentioned the smoke detector casualty and put the battery back in to prove it was broken. Hey presto, it appears to be back up and running all ok - suitably tested by blowing tobacco smoke into it. . ate a Mum donated large pork and egg pie with crisps and then some chocolate . . napped for a few hours until around 7pm . . drove to walk. Actually a rather strong northerly breeze blowing making if feel quite unpleasant. As I drove up by BGdns I was forced to drive around a trio of young girls walking down the middle of the street. One was still carrying a large glass drink bottle, which was promptly launched over the high fence into the allotments as I got out of the car. As I got Sally out , one of the girls was saying things like what a big dog and how she liked dogs and then she called out to me and said 'can I do you're dog up the ass'! For gods sake. Stupid little tramp. That ruined the simple pleasure of my evening walk - much. :o( Just imagine what the world is gonna be like when all these nauseating idiots grow up. Jeeze - pass the dog ends!. . JK called to touch base . . TVd . .touched base with BB . . TVd/PCd/ate mum donated doughnuts/guitarred most of the night away until deep into early before bed. s
20 - Up around 7am. .rushed out to get the walk done and then settled in back at home by 8:15am to sit around waiting for the oven delivery. According to the e-mail confirmation of my order, I was supposed to have received a phone call yesterday (anywhere up to 9:30pm) telling me which four hour slot it would be delivered in today. I haven't received a call!? . . PCd this . . Mum called to let me know she'd just received a call from Sainsburys saying there was a delay but it would be delivered by 1am. Ooops - I must have put in the wrong phone number when I was under the stress of filling out the purchase order on line! lol . . PCd this all morning. Called it quits here around 12:30pm and still no sign of my oven! . . Mum called to say it was on its way lol . . sure enough, it arrived at 12:45pm. Got the delivery guys to just drop it on the floor of the kitchen and leave the unpacking etc to me. Carefully, nervously unpacked it and eventually managed to lift it up and slot it temporarily into a space in the kitchen unit. Yayyy - it fits. Phew. :o). . the old kitchen unit was designed, it would appear, to take an eye level double oven, and when I moved in here I inherited a strange/ugly arrangement of odd bits of wood screwed to it here and there to make it work(ish!) with the old single oven and big old microwave!! After much thinking I decided to have a go at repositioning the unit shelves and moving stuff around in an attempt to make it look more fitted and as though it was meant to be. First thing to do was cut the electric and move the power socket, which was going to become inaccessable behind where I now intended to attempt to mount the oven. Simply cut a quick hole in the back hardboard of the cupboard above, big enough to get the plugs through from the back, and temporarily left the socket loose and very accessible in there - without having to get serious with ANY rewiring. .swapped a rather tired and bowed looking shelf upon which the old oven was sat, with a pristine shelf from above a drawer lower down and managed to screw a large piece of facia to it in such a way that it straightened out the bow. Screwed the 'pristine' shelf back in position above and then, with an aching back and not quite enough strength in my upper body to be able to do it without great difficulty, eventually managed to hoist the oven onto it into its new position - only to find I didn't have enough hands to be able to thread the power lead and 13 amp plug up the back and through to the socket as I did so! ( I specificaly chose this oven because it is the type which can be plugged into a regular 13amp socket). Damn! Had to pull it straight back out and carefully lower the thing back down to the kitchen floor! . Quickly cut the string off my nail clippers (what I'd been using as a make shift plumb line while building the bannister on the stairs), and dropped that down the back of the unit from the new hole in the cupboard above, and tied it to the end of the power lead. Hoisted the oven back into position and then managed to haul the plug and lead up and through to the socket on the end of the string. :o) Yep - I think that new arrangement's going to work. . Mum arrived in the middle of all my chaos of packaging and tools and stuff from cupboards strewn around all over the kitchen. It was only then I realised the hinged cupboard door above the oven actually hit the oven. DAMN!!! Had to take it all out again and drill holes and modify the height of the shelf position, all for the sake of about 5mm! Mum advisably got out of my way and left me to it. . got there in the end and bit the bullet and actually put in the final four fixing screws in the front of the oven and made it secure. .more sitting back looking at it and thinking and planning what would and wouldn't maybe work. In an ideal world I could probably have done with another shelf on which to sit the microwave (which I decided would be rather ok immediately under the oven). Actually scouted about looking to see if I had anything which would do, but I didn't. Eventually decided the best most pleasing to the eye answer would be, if I moved the shelf I had and the bottom drawer UP, and just left the remaining unavoidable gap beneath at very low level - which could actually be rather useful for storing some stuff maybe (potatoes as it turns out. I DID measure up and make sure I could get two tins of canned food in there, one on top of the other, but I neglected to take into account a bit of a lip on the underside of the drawer, so it's a bit too much of a squeeze to be able to do that in practice. I could raise it, but it's not really worth all the work at the moment). Set about the alterations and eventually had it all sorted and in place - only to find that the short flex on the microwave wasn't long enough to reach the power socket!! Arrrgh. An unused short extension lead I inherited with the house soon sorted that out, with the same 'pull it through with the string' trick (although I may re-visit that arrangement slightly in the near future, just to make absolutely certain it isn't in any way at risk of being exposed to too much heat the way it's routed). Yayyyy. That looks pretty damned ok, and does away with all those rediculous ugly bits of screwed on wood I've been having to look at. :o) (won't look as good if I get a new, smaller microwave of course, but that big old one almost looks as though it's a 'built-in' and made for the job! :o) If only I could figure out how the hell to set the clock!!??? Never before have I failed to figure out how - on anything!). . cleared away all the tools and debris, broke all the packaging up and filled my bins and then sat down for a coffee and cigarettes and a little 'light reading'. The oven manual!! Actually, as these things go, there was very little in it to read. It neglected to mention that the clock HAS to be set before the thing will turn on (which is a shame because I HAD gotten into the habit of turning all that sort of unecessary stuff off (microwave), to save on the elctric bill! I won't be doing that if I have to reset the clock every time!) The first chapter of the 'Start-up and use' section of the manual stated - "The first time you use your appliance, heat the empty oven with its door closed at its maximum temperature for at least half an hour. Ensure that the room is well ventilated before switching the oven off and opening the oven door. The appliance may produce a slightly unpleasant odour caused by the burning away of protective substances used during the manufacturing process." I eventually nervously turned it on and did as it instructed (my electric bill is gonna be huge now isn't it!). Wow - it did smell - bad - a lot!!. . just to prove I could, and because it seemed the best way to christen it, I grilled a piece of toast and then touched base with Mum to confirm all 'appeared' to be in order (apart from the smell!) and to report I was eating buttered toast as we spoke. :o) . . walked with a rucsac and went down town and bought a £2 deep pan pepperoni pizza and some cheap, £1.16 chicken drumsticks in the new Tesco express store that's opened up where Woolworths used to be (I can't be bothered to walk around all the aisles checking, but various dog walkers have assured me it is all very much more expensive than any of the other local stores). Back via BGdns and sits watching the rabbits and bats. . nervously fired up the oven and followed the instructions on the pizza box to cook the pizza, after having added a bit of extra grated cheese of course. .the last time I used an oven, two years ago shortly after having moved in here, the old one I inherited had proven itself to be faulty by suddenly tripping the fuse box and cutting all the power in the house. Strangely that must have made a deeper impact on me than I imagine - I have to confess I slipped a torch into my pocket as I waited for my pizza to cook, just in case! . . things didn't seem to be going quite right. I spent much of the half hour (or less) it should have taken, staring worridly through the glass oven door. It didn't seem to be cooking very quickly and the 'chemical' burning smell appeared to be getting no better (potentially threatening the taste of the pizza - which I couldn't smell at all!). The manual for the setting I was using (which incidentaly had a completely different set of instructions for doing a pizza, to those on the pizza box) said that 'the fan' should come on and stay on throughout the cooking. Now - I've never had one of these electric ovens before, so had no idea what to expect. Certainly a fan WAS blowing somewhere, but there was certainly no movement from the big round thing inside which looked as though it was the fan that SHOULD be moving. As time went on, I became more and more convinced that something wasn't right - but wasn't sure. The smell which was now pretty thick and stuck in my nose, appeared to me to be more than just 'the burning away of protective substances'. It smelled much more like the sort of smell you get when you burn out the coils on an electric motor!!!!! Eventually the pizza WAS done and I ate - but I wasn't happy with things. . returned a little while later and put the chicken drumsticks in to cook, with a similar slow/smelly result causing concern. Ultimately the drumsticks were done enough to safely eat, but in my opinion they defintely weren't cooked as much as they should have been. All in all, it was NOT a happy meal. . mulled things over and ended up back out in the kitchen with the manual, trying all sorts of different power and heat settings, looking for the 'difference in operation' between them. I eventually came to the conclusion (I think I could hear an abnormal hum), that big round thing at the back WAS the fan that SHOULD have been moving and wasn't!!!!!!!!!!!! After things had cooled down, I gingerly had a prod through the grill at the blades of the fan with a pencil, just to make sure it WAS a fan and not just a dummy design of fixed ducting. After a bit of 'crunchy' movement, it started to rotate!!!!! From then on, when appropriate heat and power settings were selected, the fan DID start to rotate as it was supposed to! WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT! £260+ for a brand new oven, only to presumably partially burn out the fan motor within hours of receipt. :o( I can't live with that! I'll be afraid to go near the damn thing! Here we go then. I'm going to have to ring up the supplier and attempt to explain all of that, in the hope of getting a replacement oven. WHAT an absolute bugger! :o( Why is it so often thus? I live in absolute fear of buying anything new, because this sort of thing is SO often liable to happen. You just buy into a load of greif for ages. So - Monday I'll be calling Sainsburys then. :o( So much for getting any pleasure out of having an oven again after two years without! . . TVD rather pissed off, with the accrid smell of burning electrical windings filling the house - and my nose and beard so it seemed! . . touched base with BB . . TVd until bed around 1am. s
19 - Up at 6am!. . walked early under a beautiful cloudless blue sky. .balanced my accounts - during which my lower front tooth which has been all loose for ages, suddenly just fell out, with just a finger of encouragement!! lol Oh well - one less thing! . renewed my car tax on line and then, with things looking not 'too' bad (considering my recent 'could have been worse' gas bill - no unforseen expenses car MOT pass - two months of no council tax paymnts - water bill refund, etc) bit the bullet, transferred savings over and went on line and ordered an oven (and even elected to pay an extra £10 for next day delivery)!!!!!! Indesit FIE56KB built in single stainless steel oven for £237 + £29.33 next day delivery. According to my online search, it wasn't entirely the cheapest deal out there for the one I'd decided on (NOT the most basic and cheapest), but they were all pretty similar and because of the next day delivery thing and because I've somehow ended up with a Nectar card and it'll earn me points, I figured I may as well go with Sainsburys. I've been two years without an oven now! I look forward to re-heating my first pizza (assuming it'll fit in the unit ok!!!!!!! It WILL be touch and go - although I DO have contigency plans all worked out for such an event) . .walked with Sally down town to draw some cash out and tour charity shops etc. Bumped into JK while I was down there so he ended up sitting outside of a couple of stores with Sally while I did what I had to do. Turned into a successful sortie. Scored an unused stainless steel hip flask in a presentation box for £5. A ridiculous extravagance, but it's been something I've had in my mind for a while to look out for. I fancy the idea of very occasionally wandering down to the woods or BGdns and being able to have a small sup of wine while there (I'm really not a beer lover and hate having to carry cans - and a single glass of wine is more than enough for me). I actually got one of the old women in the shop to fill it with water and then pour it into a cup, so I could attempt to establish if it was actually going to be big enough, since it's of course really designed for much stronger spirits, rather than wine (5 ounce stamped on the base). Worth a go I figured, and quite possibly re-saleable if I regret it (assuming red wine won't stain the seals). . in one of the other charity shops I scored a pair of brand new and unused, cheap, 'George' (thats Asda isn't it?) training shoes for £4 . bought some loaves of bread and ten burgers and got a free bone for Sally before heading back home in the blazing sun, feeling quite pleased with myself. . gave Sally her bone and then ate garlic sausage (75p from the butchers) sandwiches with crisps for the first time in ages. . I'd intended to maybe drive to the DIY store for a bottom rail and an undecided number of spindles for the new left side hand rail up to the front door, but couldn't manage it and ended up napping for an hour or so, all dreaming heavily . . PCd a bit of this . . walked and test drove my new hip flask. Sat in BGdns for ages, smoking cigs and supping red wine as night fell. :o) Decadent! BB has suggested I should wake up every day and say to myself, 'hot diggedy dog, how lucky I am.' Well - yeah - I'm feeling it right now. Hot diggedy dog, how lucky I AM! . . Mum called to touch base and say how VERY much the birthday card had been appreciated by Auntie M. :o) I've a horrible feeling I'm gonna have to be trying to print out more copies of old photos for her at some point. I've no particular objection other than it is SO much hassle getting a decent result of such stuff from my printer, what with the ink and expensive photo paper and all. . TVd the last in the excellent thought provoking 'Darwin' series . . LB (drunk) called to touch base. . touched base with BB . . ate ham, and mayo sandwiches, crisps, mini chocolate rolls and chocolate biscuits. . TVd until bed around 1:45am. ds
18 - Up around 8am. Misty out. . walked. Actually pretty cold in the greyness . .did laundry chores and - so much for having a break - ended up working on and fitting the final few staircase spindles. Took them straight up to meet the ceiling, but cut them into the timber on the side to be flush. Had to use the disc cutter to grind away the angled cuts in the upstairs floor timber. Worked out rather ok, but a casualty of the operation was the smoke alarm I inherited with the house, which is actually mounted right next to where I was working! All that grinding of timber created a fine, penetrating, choking wood smoke which set the alarm off (I had to disconnect the battery to shut it up). Sadly, it appears the thing has become choked, and no amount of blowing into it will clear it, and any attempt to reconnect the battery results in the alarm going off straight away - and continuing!! Guess I'd better buy a new one some time. . eventually got the job done and got the final spindles all glued/PVA/fillered in place. I think it'll look ok once filled and painted white to match the rest. So - I now have a bannister/handrail like I should have had when I moved in!! If I'd known it was all gonna be SO time consuming to reinstate it, I think I may not have bothered! Lots more needs to be done on it to make it more secure and finish it off, but I guess it's pretty much there now. I hope whoever ends up with THIS house, appreciates it! . . walked . .JK called breifly . . drank a glass of wine while cooking a ham ring, two fried eggs and chips. Ate with two pieces of bread and butter followed by a little chocolate. .TVd but oh SO tired. Woken by BB calling just after 10pm!? I'd fallen asleep on the setee in front of the TV! Straight to bed, trying not to wake on the way. d
17 - Up before 7am. .PCd this a little . . walked. Another gloriously sunny blue sky day . . laboriously cut a few staircase spindles and got them glued them in place. While the glue dried on those I turned my attention back to the outside handrails and put in the hours of sanding the botched old rail down in preparation for undercoat painting. Took much longer than I'd intended after it became apparant most of the old paint was going to be flaking off! Eventually discovered the best way to remove almost all of the old paint along the entire rail was to carefully scrape down it with my lock knife (which still sits beside me as I watch TV every night). . Eventually called it quits and slapped a heavy undercoat of paint on it all. . back to the inside staircase and managed to get the remaining 'full height' spindles cut and glued in place (using a plumb line made of a piece of string and my nail clippers!!) , just leaving the topmost reducing in height ones to do. Decided to call it quits at that for the time being and have a bit of a break. I need to sit and look at that top bit for a while to figure out the best way to do it. Not sure if I should just take the spindles straight up to the ceiling, or maybe put in a small piece of detailing to make it look better? It may not show in the standard of work I acheive (I've NEVER been any good at woodwork - getting straight/close fitting/mitered cuts etc) but I AM in my own way a terrible perfectionist. It's a hellish affliction. Makes every job you do SO much more time consuming and difficult!!! . . drove to walk. Suprisingly cold (single figures) after the warm (swelteringly hot working by the front door actually) sun earlier in the day. . stopped off in the store on the way home for milk and a few supplies . . cooked four large cheese burgers with fried onion and then gorged on far too much at once. . TVd . .touched base briefly with BB . . ate biscuits and chocolate . . to bed around midnight. s
16 - Up around 7:45am. . walked . . worked on handrails until around 5pm! Actually did the alterations/botch in the front garden to make do with the existing hand rail on the right hand side. Got it all fixed in place, although I'm really NOT happy with the result at all. I probably should have just gone for all the work in replacing it all completely, but I still haven't decided how would look/be best!! :o( I haven't even decided whether or not I want to put in a bottom rail and spindles on the left hand side. The more I look at it, the more I think it IS gonna have to be done, although I'm worried about making it look - um - kinda too 'twee'. . . called it quits on that while glue dried and had a go at a couple of spindles up the staircase inside. That turned out to be a slow and agonising job. Because I didn't get the rail in perfectly level with the stairs, each one is a 'slightly' different length and they'll all have to be measured and cut to fit individually!! What a pain! . . walked the woods. Biggest mess of beer cans and litter I've ever seen down there. A group of youths were down on the beach entertaining themselves by playing with the litter!! They'd mounted a large glass vodka type bottle on top of one of the two metal posts, and were all throwing pebbles in an attempt to smash it! Tossers!. . ate chopped bacon, onion and grated cheese all melted together in bread rolls followed by some chocolate. . had intended to do some typing on the journal and maybe even sort out some paperwork, but after eating I was just too tired to move. . TVd . . to bed before 11pm.
15 - Up around 8am. . walked. K told me that a part time work opportunity may be available at the golf club where he does the same sort of job. Given all the amazing left over food he always comes up with, I'd joked on more than one occassion that if a job there ever arose, he should let me know. That kinda called my bluff! Definitely tempting - but - umm - err - no. I'm not 'yet' so hard up I HAVE to get something. I'm gonna stick with my master plan of attempting to carry on as I am, and eek out a simple existance (of poverty!) until Sally is gone. That job would have been odd, sometimes long hours, here and there whenever. I've maintained the same walk/life routine with Sally for years now - I'm not prepared to just throw that away for minimum wage and some left overs. Not quite - not yet. . Came home with a tupperware of beef and chicken from K, which he said should be ok for me to eat. .worked on the other side of the handrails up to the front door. Incredibly hot working in the sun trap of the front patio. Removal of one of the old existing rail posts was suprisingly easy, and it pretty much just pulled the anchor bolts straight out! I would have happily left it in place as a temporary measure, but it was too close to the wall to be able to get the drill in behind it to fasten the new half newel post to the wall. After a lot of hassle trying to straighten the wonkey wall with the grinder, finally managed to get the other half newel post fixed to the wall. That post is a 'permanent' feature now - the handrail on that side is NOT going to be, but I don't want to have to replace it all at the moment, so I'm going to just alter things a little and leave all the old stuff in place. It's going to take some thinking through and working out exactly what I want to replace it all with. Because of the various different steps, the patio, the awkward barely accessible gas meter, the bin storage area, etc, etc it's difficult to come up with a plan that'll look right. I'm a lover of symmetry, and that just isn't in any way a possibility with those rails. . . The old rail was mounted on the side of the posts by L shaped handrail brackets which seemed silly and rather ugly. Cut and altered the tops of the posts so the rail will eventually just screw to the tops. Unfortunately one of the old posts was an inch or so too short so I ended up calling it quits after having nailed and glued a small wedge shaped piece in place to bring it up to around the correct height. . showered off the layers of angle grinder dust . . drove to walk. Funnily enough, doing all this work has made me feel kinda up, and I had actually agonised over whether or not I could face taking the guitar with me to sit in BGdns and twiddle for a while. I decided I just couldn't do it - because of what 'people might think'! Something along the lines of, if you have enough nerve to sit around somewhere in public with a guitar, you absolutely MUST be able to actually play something on it! I however cannot, and that just seems too embarassing to contemplate. Yeah, I know - a bit crazy - but then that's me ain't it! Well - down near the cove, overlooking the gentle waves as the sun set red in the sky, a young guy and girl had a guitar each and he was trying to teach her some. I couldn't help but stick my nose in some, and he actually allowed me to have a bit of a strum on his strangely plasticy guitar. lol He COULD play stuff! . . sat in the front garden breifly guitarring a bit. . touched base with Mum . . quickly fired off an e-mail to Sis2 as requested by Mum, to let her see the card/old photos. . ate the large plate of K donated beef and chicken with four pieces of bread and butter and then some chocolate . .TVd . . BB called breifly . .TVd until bed at midnight. s
14 - Up around 7:30am. . walked . . measured up and then walked to the local builders yard and cleared out their stock of timber do to the bannister uprights (5x 44.5mmx21mmx2.4m @ £11.34) . .sanded down the new outside rail and posts all morning. Stood up at one point and bashed straight into the middle of the rail and fractured the glued (and nailed) ends! Drilled in two screws at one end to try and firm it back up. Damn! . . I'd 'just' started painting it when Mum arrived. She had to hang around while I finished the first protective undercoat, and ended up busying herself by doing some of my dishwashing!! lol. .chats and given the thumbs up about the card design . . all the recent toil suddenly caught up on me and I felt exhausted. Ate a Mum donated chicken and mushroom pastry slice, crisps, banana and chocolate and then just had to go lay down. . napped until around 6pm, only to wake still feeling tired, and too tired to face having to go walking . . PCd on the card for Mum and eventually after the usual hassle of lots of wasted paper and ink, managed to print a decent one out. Walked up Mums and let her have it straight away. . guitarred/TVd . . ate ham rolls, crisps, a whole pack of Mum donated jam tarts, chocolate and some biscuits! Guess I was hungry. . TVd until bed around 2am. s
13 - Up around 8am again. . walked and then back via the builders store for filler and PVA supplies (£8) . .got straight to work on 'finishing' the first of the half newel posts. Had to trim and sand to size the timber spacing and cut a bit here and there to make it snuggly fit the house wall. Eventually got it secured to the wall with screws and a skim of filler/PVA adhesive mix. That won't be coming off for a few years. . cut drilled and embedded the section of re-bar into the other newel post before eventually getting that PVAd etc in place, with just one single fixing screw to lock it all in place. Worked out really nicely and as sturdy as it could ever possibly be. . phoned the Jewsons store (more than once throughout the early afternoon before finally getting an answer) and was told the crown rail was in. Left Sally at home and walked straight there and bought the crown handrail 2.1m @ £14.88 . . worked at fitting the rail up the main staircase. Really difficult and worrying doing all the angled cuts by hand. One mistake and I'd have to start all over again and go buy another length!! Git it done ok-ish in the end, but it turns out I didn't get it quite right and have ended up with it being maybe an inch higher at the high end! It'll have to do. It doesn't show to the eye or to the feel as you run your hand up it. . . drove to walk after 7:30pm. . couldn't help myself and ended up back outside cutting and fixing the handrail up to the door until gone 9pm! The 'late' noise had both neighbours (good naturedly) come out to see what was going on!! . . cleared up some of the mess around the place . . ate corned beef sandwiches, a tin of baked beans and some grated cheese. .PCd the card for Mum and eventually ended up with a reasonable version for her approval before I try printing it out on expensive photo paper. . .touched base with BB. . exhausted to bed around 1:30am.
12 - Up around 8am . . walked . . left Sally at home and walked to the not-so-close Jewsons builders yard again, looking to buy a length of 'crown' handrail for the main staircase. Last week when I'd gone in looking to get some, it was all out of stock and they'd said it would be in by now. Predictably it wasn't. I asked the guy who was there when they'd be getting some. His bizarre response was that he didn't know. I pointed out this was no good to me and impatiently asked if I could order it. Even more bizarrely this saw him get all defensive/aggressive as though I was being completely unreasonable!!!!???? Did my best to defuse the situation and thankfully the guy behind the till who appeared to be a little more in control, suggested they could get some from some other store (because someone else was wanting some too), and they should have it there by mid afternoon tomorrow. I demanded their phone number before I left, to enable me to call tomorrow rather than waste my time going there for nothing again! Returned home - irritated. . . worked on the front hand rail project. Nervously used the electric circular saw and eventually succesfully split one of the the newel posts into two halves. It is my intention to mount those halves as a permanent 'detail' on the wall of the house either side of the front door. Used the angle grinder to prepare the positions on the house wall. Not quite as simple as it sounds because part of the wall is rendered - a bit of jutting out brick acts as a drip bead - and the wall beneath that is slightly recessed. The jutting out brick had to be cut away, and then a bit of packing out had to be done to the timber to accomodate the lower recessed part!!!!Hot in the sun. . cut glued and nailed spacer timbers to the bottom of the back of the split posts and then called it quits as the glue dried . . showered off the angle grinder dust . . walked with Sally and stopped in the local store for a can of redbull. Back outside hooking up Sally, a woman came out of the store with a carrier bag of cans of alcohol, asking if the woman in front of her had left them behind by mistake. She hadn't. What that meant was, the woman with the bag was outside of the store, with a bag of alcohol that wasn't hers - and nobody was particularly interested. I jockingly suggested she was oustide the store now, with the bag - she should just keep going! I'm not sure if she did or not. lol . . walked the woods and sat amongst the trees for ages drinking my Redbull. . not far up the road the other day, on the piece of grass verge that ALL the local dogs have to sniff and scent mark at, I spotted a hypodermic syringe! Worryingly actually the second one I've come across nearby recently, although the first was actually in the street in two pieces minus the needle. This one however was sat in the grass complete with the needle, and the needle was pointing straight up!!! A little distance from home and not wanting to be lumbered with it, I'd simply carefully picked it up and left it on the top of someones gate/wall pillar, assuming they'd perhaps put it in their bin. They hadn't. When I set off walking this evening, some total idiot had knocked it off the pillar back into the grass! On the way home, I retrieved the empty Redbull tin from my pocket and popped the needle into the tin before crushing the tin around it and then putting it in the bin when I got home! . . . touched base with Mum . . cooked and ate two burgers, onion and chips. . TVd the fascinating two hours of Darwin programs . . Mum called to talk about the programs for half an hour . . JK called to touch base . . TVd until bed around 1am. s
11 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 7am . . walked . . worked on the newel post carving small slivers of floorboard thick wedges to glue in place all around where it disappears through the floor, down to the noggin beneath. No way is THAT gonna work loose and wobble like next doors, although ther IS a suprising amount of flex in that timber. Understandable I guess when you consider that given the 'colonial' style 'turning', it IS only two and a quarter inches in diameter at its thinnest point! Maybe a bit thin for the use I've put it to - but I can't see me ever trying to slide down the bannister or any such nonsense. lol . . . PCd and scanned in all the old photos Mum gave me the other day, for doing a birthday card for her to give to her lifelong friend for her 75th birthday. Really weird looking at those old black white photos of my Mum (and some of dad) and her friend, aged seventeen in swimsuits at the Bristol Lido! (WHAT an outrageous short sighted loss that was, when whatever idiots it was, decided they'd have that filled in and built on! Should never have been allowed!!) Took ages to decide on the best scan settings, and then actually scan them all in at a really high resolution, etc. . walked up Mums to return all the precious old photos and to discuss what she actually had in mind for a design for the card. Of course not understanding anything about such things, what she had in mind simply wasn't going to actually be possible. Happily she eventually came up with an alternative idea which was actually much simpler and should be quite do-able. . while giving her time to think, I hung out in her garden with Sally and a cigarette. Turned out there was the remains of a dead pigeon in her garden!!! Bagged it up and binned it. Spent a while watching the masses of newts in her garden pond. It was absolutely heaving with them - and even a little frog spawn. I SO need to get some water in MY garden somewhere somehow. .sketched out a plan of the card Mum had designed and headed home . . ate corned beef sandwiches, crisps, chocolate and biscuits around 4pm. . napped. . walked . .ate a packet of Mum donated Victoria slices. . TVd and guitarred for hours . JK called to touch base . .ate some chunks of chopped ham and pork and cheese with crisps, a banana and a little chocolate. . TVd until almost 2am before bed. s
10 - Woken around 6:30 by Sally barking briefly at something. . walked . . started working on the main stairs newel post and somehow worked at it, under the floor, under the stairs, etc, etc, pretty much non stop through until around 5:30pm!!! I DID manage to get it pretty much fixed in place and I think it's going to look okish. . . the neighbour knocked on the window and happily returned my car keys. It'd passed the MOT (£40) no problem. Yayyyyy. Always SUCH a relief. :o) Quickly retreived the car from outside his garage and went through the fiddly process of putting all the back seats up and safely burying the seat belts, and turning it back into a two seat mobile dog kennel. . drove to walk. . walked and stopped along the way in the near dark to watch what I assume was a song thrush high up in a tree singing the most amazing complex song. Eventually it flew off and I followed it's trajectory as it did so. Just as it disappeared out of sight behind the tree line above me, right there in the sky, all of a sudden and just for a breif moment was THE most amazing shooting star I've ever seen. An orange ball of flame with an apparant green plasma effect around it - and then it was gone. Superb. . drank a glass of wine and TVd . .touched base with Mum . . cooked and ate two cheeseburgers and chips followed by a couple of squares of chocolate . .TVd all aching back and utterly exhausted . . early to bed around 11pm!! d
9 - Up around 6:45am again!?? . .PCd a bit of this. Yet more of my videos on YouTube have been blocked! :o( What a terrible waste of time all those hours of work were. I fully understand the issues around musical copyright and all that, but it still doesn't quite sit right with me somehow that I spent SO much money on my music collection over the years, only to find I've effectively just paid a 'rental to listen to' kinda. I have absolutely no right whatsoever to make any other use of any of it. I can't imagine every spending another penny on actually buying any music ever again in my life. . walked . . used the angle grinder to partially prepare where I want to put a post to take the new handrail in the front garden. It really can only go in one place because of the layout of the steps and front patio. I figured if I cut out a small section of each of the adjoining paving slabs and drill a hole to take a piece of re-bar cemented into the ground, the post would slot down into/onto that and be pretty much self supporting and solid. (Actually something similar to a job I once successfully did when I made alterations to my sisters decking back in Bristol years ago.) . . postman delivered my gas bill while I was out there working! Rushed to open it and see the bad news. Ouch. £107.33! That's the biggest gas bill I've ever had. Ok - it may not seem much by other peoples standards, especially after all the cold weather we've had this winter, but lets face it - I HAVE spent the last few months mostly freezing to try to keep the cost down! Still seems like a lot to me - although I must confess, after all the doom and gloom on the news of late, I had begun to imagine it could have been much worse. I guess on balance I should be content with that. :o| . . left Sally at home and drove to the DIY store for another deck newel post (£8.99) (having decided I AM going to use one of those on the main staircase! That 4x4 timber I bought was a waste of money then. :o( ) and to another nearby builders store for some LONG screws (actually ended up with 10x 140mm window anchors @ £5.17). .stopped at home for a coffee and then walked with Sally via BGdns towards town. As I'd planned, down at the new fish dock building site, I called through the fence to a nearby workman (who'd just backed his huge fork lift into the safety fence pole and was out examining the result!) and asked if I could possibly have a piece of surplus re-bar from the skip. He happily obliged and sorted out a nice foot+ long section of 15mm diameter. Perfect. . :o) Bought ten burgers and scored a free bone for Sally in the butchers and then carried on to the little DIY store in town and bought a pair of quarter turn tap valves for Mums kitchen sink tap. Only £10.99!!? With hingsight I wonder if they mis-priced those. I was expecting double that based on the prices I've seen on-line and been quoted in those stores we toured around Paignton last week. .gave Sally her bone in the garden while collecting up a small handful of tools and then left Sally at home and walked to Mums. With everything so recently worked on, swapping the valves actually WAS more or less the five minute job it should have been - and actually made easier by being able to use the stop-tap on her newly fitted water meter in the street rather than struggle with the worryingly dodgy stop-tap in the house. . ate ham rolls , crisps and chocolate. . napped until around 6pm. . next door knocked on the window and said he could get the car in for the MOT tomorrow, so I quickly met him round the back and handed the car over. .skipped the evening walk as rain set in . . dabbled with working on the stair newel post (I need to cut some awkward pieces of wood to nail/glue/screw in place to firm everything up before I can think about actually fixing the post in place), but decided it was going to be rather awkward and it was too late to start making so much noise. . guitarred/TVd . cooked and ate chips with fried chopped ham and pork. . TVd until bed around 1am. s
8 - Up around 7am. . sat in the sun in the garden for coffee and cigs. . walked in the warm sun. Beautiful spring like morning. Seemed to get colder and breezier and then started to cloud over as I sat in Bgdns for a couple of cigarettes . . difficulty getting the energy to do anything after not enough sleep, but eventually left Sally at home and drove to the local Garden centre for a quick look around and then on to the DIY store to buy two decking newel posts and a handrail (£23.97) . I'm gonna put a new rail out in the front garden, along the left hand side of the steps up to the front door! It's something I could quite easily carry on without, but it really should have something there for a bit better safety - and as much as anything else, because Mum is getting older and a little more tottery and could probably use it when she visits! . Just missed by a tin of varnish at the checkout, which someone dropped! It opened up and splashed out all over the place. .drove home in the rain showers and brought all the timber into the house to dry out a little. Having one of those posts 'in my hands' it was possible to put it in place and try to visualise what it may look like as the bottom newel post for my main staircase. I'm determined to attempt to keep things in the house 'consistent' with the rest of the few 'period features' that actually do exist (there aren't many! These houses were just thrown together it appears) but I reckon that post looks much better than just a straight piece of 4x4, even if it is a bit rough in finish and smaller in cross section. I think I'm gonna give one of those a go. Shame I already cut out the floorboards for the 4x4. . . ate Mum donated ham rolls, crisps, biscuits and chocolate . . napped until around 6pm . . JK and Mum called to touch base . . TVd and ate Mum donated lemon sponge slices. . touched base with BB . . ate fried chopped ham and pork sandwiches, biscuits and chocolate . .TVd until around 1am before bed. s
7 - Up around 6:45am. . walked . . vacuumed and washed the car a bit, 'de-dogged' it and put the rear seats back down and the seat belts back in place etc. . next door had the car into his garage for a quick pre-MOT once over, including having a damn good look around all underneath using his inspection pit. He replaced one of the number plate bulbs and proved his tip about temporarily improving the green and dull looking plastic headlights by giving them a once over with a dab of 'T -Cut'. Apparantly it all looked pretty ok and he reckoned it shouldn't have a problem getting through the test, which he said he'd try to arrange some time next week for me, at the place where he works and he'd drive it in for me. Cool. . . Mum called in with the paper and food donations for a cup of tea and chats. She isn't happy with her now screw valve kitchen taps, and we agreed that despite the old tap really needing to be replaced, she was happy to invest yet more money in some quarter turn valves to make it more or less back as it was. I said I'd get round to it. . . ate Mum donated pork pie, sausage rolls and crisps with some chocolate . .napped until around 7pm . . walked . . touched base with BB . . TVd/PCd until early before bed.
6 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up just after 7am . .walked and carried on down town to finally bank the water company cheque, tour charity shops and pop in the local diy stores. Bought another nylon toilet cistern lever with an offset centre (£1.13) to put on Mums some time. . .left Sally at home and popped up Mums only to find the offset angle is different to the original, and would have caused more hassles if I'd tried to fit it, so I didn't!! What a niggling pain! . . carried on to the builders yard and bought a big lump of 100mmx100mm x 2.4m timber (£7.36) for use as a replacement bannister newel post and walked it home over my shoulder . .worked at removing the old post stub and making the floor ready to accept the new piece of timber. Had to actually cut and split the original stub into pieces to remove it. Used the sharp edge of the garden tool I recently found and put a handle on, to just hack away down the grain and split it up!! Cut through the floorboards and put in a heavy duty noggin between the rafters beneath for the post to sit on and be secured to, in the hope that would make it really solid and never prone to becoming loose. . JK called to touch base . . turns out that piece of timber I bought is soaking wet!!! It must have been stood out in that builders yard in all the winter rain, grain end up, and seems to have soaked up the water like blotting paper!!! It's actually too wet to sand down!!! I'm gonna have to have it sit around for ages before I can actually carry on and fit it permanently. That's maybe just as well, because it gives me time to reconsider. Even though a plain lump of 4x4 was what was used originally, and that's what I should use to match the upper post at the top of the staircase to keep everything matching and as though it was original, I'm not sure it looks very nice. Hmmm? Worked through until around 5pm . . walked . . cooked and ate a huge four cheeseburgers. . TVd . .BB called to touch base . . ate kipling tarts and chocolate, too tired to move with an aching back . . to bed around 1am. s
5 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up just before 8am again. . PCd this . .walked . . felt pretty down and lacking in energy yet again, and really didn't want to do anything but return to the oblivian of sleep! Tried to force myself to do something, and ended up under the floor checking things were all ok and exploring where I'd maybe like to put in an electrical socket sometime, and how the remains of the cut-off bannister newel post is affixed to the bottom of the stairs. Turns out the post was just nailed to the side of the stairs and onto the floorboards, rather than through and attached to a floor joist or similar (No wonder next door's had become all wobbly!). That should actually make it much 'easier' to remove than I'd thought. I was just sat on the stairs and proddding around the post and scraping away old paint when Mum called! Things were not right with the toilet and ! Arrrgh. Ended up grabbing tools and going straight up there to look at it, actually rather annoyed at not being able to get on with my own stuff . . couldn't for the life of me see how it was in any way possible for the flow rate to actually be altered. In desperation I changed the rubber washer (had to walk all the way home and back to get one) even though it really didn't look as though it needed it. It 'may' have speeded up the fill a little, but it's still really remarkably slow compared to mine??. .ate a Mum donated chicken and mushroom pastry slice, crisps and biscuits. . napped until around 6pm. .walked . . TVd watching more of the 'Darwin' season on BBC2. Excellent stuff. Ate kipling apple tarts. . touched base with BB. . ate bacon sandwiches and chocolate. . TVd until bed around 1am. s
4 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 8am. . PCd this . .walked . .touched base with Mum to see what had broken and needed doing today! Nothing at the moment thankfully, although her toilet cystern is allegedly filling really slowly now (despite me not having in ANY way touched THAT part of the mechanism! Probably my fault that - I remarked on how slow it seemed at filling when I was there, so now she's noticing.) . . left Sally at home and drove to the council tip (successfully navigating the diversion this time) with a couple of bin loads of garden refuse . . toured the nearby DIY store for ages looking at everything before eventually returning home. Weird weather of sunny spells and periods of hail and sleety rain. . drank three quarters of a glass of wine and ate two cheeseburgers, chips and a little chocolate . . napped until the alarm at 7pm . . drove to walk after having a quick word with my mechanic neighbor about having a look at the car some time prior to getting an MOT done on it. . TVd . . ate a Mum donated jam and cream sponge and a little chocolate . . touched base with BB . . TVd until bed around 1:30am.
3 - Up around 8:20am, headachey. .walked in a strong breeze. One of the dog walkers recounted how yesterday when the council bin men turned up to empty the bins, they'd made complaining dereogatory comments about whoever had once again dumped refuse sacks of rubbish by the bin! (i.e. all the rubbish I'd gone to the trouble of picking up all around the place - which dare I say is what they are actually paid to do and largely don't!). Apparantly the dog walker had then put them right on what is was and where it had come from, and had a 'bit of a go' about how they never pick up down on the beach, etc, despite being fully aware of the effects of the 'party season' down there. Nice one. Wish I'd had the chance to witness that conversation. .eventually returned home with another plastic container containing some scraps for Sally from K . .sucked an aannadin tablet and sat around feeling a bit yucky and not up for doing anything at all as the forecast rain began to fall. .Mum reluctantly called saying she had a problem with her toilet handle! Would you believe it! Why on earth is everything breaking all at once like this??!! :o( . left Sally at home and reluctantly popped straight up to have a look because Mum was threatening to call in a plumber to save me the bother!!. .turned out Mum already had a couple of replacement nylon actuating arms to replace the fractured one (???), so I put in the work to take it all apart, clean it up and then replace it. Once again, a five minute job turned into hours of messing about trying to free corroded parts, etc, etc. The new arms Mum had were a one size fits all type which required cutting off the end to have it fit, but it also was formed in a slightly different angle once fitted to the handle, so the wire hook down to the actual cystern valve assembly no longer reached!! Why are these things always such a niggling hassle rather than a straight 'just do it'.Had to fashion a replacement out of a piece of old coat hanger!!. probably spent most of my time on searching through all dads jars in the garage trying to find a washer, to fit on a part of the handle which needed spacing out a little just to make it all more secure and less wobbly. Ended up trying to file and sandpaper one down so it was thin enough to take up the slack without being too tight.Took ages especially when I couldn't find any sandpaper etc. SO difficult doing anything like that, without MY little world of tools and bits and pieces back home in MY garage!! Ended up having to try to make do with some sort of cosmetic 'sandpaper' Mum found in one of her bedroom drawers! Ridiculous. . turns out the big threaded 'nut' assembly which goes through the china through which the handle slides, is actually broken and will require replacing when I can get out to find/buy one some time. In fact- when you study the whole thing, it's incredible to me we've had the same design of handle etc on those toilets for SO many years. They are designed in such a way that they are just BOUND to break because of the repeated stresses involved and corrosion prone parts. Crazy design to have a handle only supported at one end, with a lever at the other end of a long unsupported shaft. It's bound to wear and break eventually isn't it. . ended up with it all working ok again for the time being - I hope! something of an argument again, before eventually quite literally being FORCED to leave with a £20 note in my pocket as payment for my trouble!!. . ate bacon sandwiches and a little chocolate feeling SO headachey and tired. . napped as the wind and rain battered the house, until around 7pm only to wake still feeling a bit headachey and yucky!? . .skipped the evening walk . . TVd . .touched base with BB . . ate a tin of sausages in baked beans with grated cheese, a banana, some chocolate and biscuits . . to bed around 2am. saa
2 - Up around 7am, woken I think by the light from the newly risen sun in a clear blue sky. As forecast it seems to have got quite a bit colder again, with condensation on all the windows . . PCd a bit of this. .walked. Blimey - ice on the cars, although it didn't feel that cold as the sun shone! . . washed down all the skip-salvaged pieces of PVC tongue and groove I've had in the garage for the last year or more and then sorted out the two most unmarked bits and eventually used the electric jig saw to cut them to the measurements of Mums bath panel. Bit nerve wracking because I really only had enough of the stuff to have one go at it, so had to get it right first time! . . loaded up a rucksack with tools and bits and pieces I may need and then walked with Sally and the PVC lengths to Mums to see if it was gonna work. . had to sand of a sliver here and there on an edge or two (using a couple of bits of sand paper and fine wet and dry from my newly sorted and plastic-boxed collection of indispensible old partly used sandpaper bits) , and move a wooden strip screwed to the floor, in by a centimeter or so (to where it used to be once before according to the old screw holes I simply re-used), and hey presto - the bits I'd cut fitted pretty damn well, without even gluing them together OR screwing it in place at all!! The carpet tiles flew straight back down and actually pretty much held the whole thing in place. Hardly seemed much point in trying to glue the two interlocking pieces together or doing anything else and risk messing it up. With the t&g detailing running horizontally, it actually looked pretty good if I say so myself. Hell - I prefer that to what 'I' have in MY bathroom!! Got Mum in to have a look and I think she was pretty pleased. We agreed that we would pretty much leave it like that to see how it 'behaves', rather than start trying to glue the join and secure it in place with screws or some such. I reckon if it was touched with a line of white bath sealant some time in the future, down each end where it rather snuggly meets the tiled wall etc, that would be more than enough to secure it in place and it'd be job done. Cool. And all for nothing. :o) Quite pleased with that. I think Mum must have been too, because she actually dared to ask if I'd consider decorating (just painting) the bathroom for her sometime! She is always reluctant because 'she doesn't want to give me the bother' especially considering all the work I have to do around my own place. That IS true, but of course god knows I really SHOULD be doing stuff for Mum now (especially considering how much food she keeps buying for me and lugging all the way down here every Saturday!). Without Dad around now to do all that 'guy' stuff around the place, it really IS starting to look a little 'tired' here and there. I hadn't even noticed until Mum mentioned it, but there is mildew and plenty of peeling paint and cracks on the ceiling of her bathroom - never mind all the other little things around the place I've spotted that DO need attention!! I managed not to mention it and sow the seeds of yet more worry, but her toilet handle mechanism inside the cistern etc is going to require attention in the near future. It's fractured and the retaining screw all rusted in place etc. (I had a sneaky peek in there when I went to the loo, because it didn't feel quite right. Finger tightened the loose handle nut!). And then there is the broken hinge on her side gate, and, and, and - arrrrggghhh!!! It's all gonna be a full time job - on top of the full time job that MY house should be if I dared to start work on it all! :o( . . eventually managed to make my escape, WITHOUT taking any of the money which Mum always seems to try and thrust at me whenever I do anything at all, no matter how little! So - the 'five minute job' of rectifying a leaking tap or two, has finally been more or less accomplished after what? Four days of pi**ing about?!! Sheesh! . . vacuumed and cleared up the mess I'd made in my kitchen by measuring and cutting up the PVC on the kitchen table! . . ate mini cheddars, three ham and cheese rolls, a banana and a little chocolate. . napped until around 5pm. Woke overheating and feeling rather unwell again. I'm gonna have to think about napping wrapped in something other than that winter duvet unless things really get colder again. . walked a little early to sit in BGdns for cigarettes and couple of small cups of thermos coffee as the sun set . . PCd this - at length, for hours! . .didn't feel particularly hungry and ended up just eating a whole packet of Mum donated jelly babies while TVing before eventually to bed around 1:11am.
1 - Woken by Sally coming upstairs and into the bedroom around 7:15am! . . walked and couldn't help myself heading straight for the beach to clear up the inevitable mess from last nights gathering. Actually, the mess and trail of beer cans and broken bottles etc, started way before getting anywhere near the woods or the beach!! Near the 'museum' building, a decorative glazed ceramic flower pot or something similar had been smashed and all the signs from the museum were torn down and strewn around. . picked up debris all along the way on my way to the beach, stamping every beer can flat, so as to be able to stand any chance of being able to actually carry them all. . collected up carriers full as best I could from all over the beach and surrounds before sitting amongst yet more beer cans in the woods for a cigarette break! Actually went 'out of my way' to clear up as much as I could find, finally including a beer can that had been 'spiked' onto a branch of a bush up a slippery slope near where I always stop for a quiet sit and a cigarette in the woods. Having to look at THAT one has been a source of irritation to me for MONTHS!! . returned to the beach and put everything into a bulging refuse sack again before repeating yesterdays difficult struggle, carrying the heavy load all the way back up the cliff path and then all the way back to BGdns to be dumped next to the refuse bin. So much physical effort was involved in carrying that heavy sack (and another bulging carrier bag full) I actually ended up overheating in too many layers and feeling a bit unwell in the emerging morning sun. The usual mix of anger and satisfaction once acheived. 'Payment' on this occasion - a full can of Strongbow and a cheap, immitation gold necklace! An immitation pearl necklace broke as I was showing a dog walker in BGdns, so that ended up in the bin (except for all the 'pearls' which bounced around all over the floor!). A Samsung headphone lead for a mobile phone or some such, I left on top of the bin in view for someone to maybe make use of. . . pottered briefly in the garage before suddenly realising I maybe had enough tongue and grrove PVC cladding pieces (salvaged from a neighbours skip over a year ago) to perhaps be able to construct a reasonable looking/functioning bath panel for Mum - assuming she could live with the look of it, and assuming I could join two bits together securely/rigidly enough and cut it to fit neatly/snugly enough. Oooh oooh. . walked up Mums with Sally and two small t&g offcuts to have a look to see how it would 'maybe' work. . Oh wow - the profile of one edge of that tongue and groove, fits beneath that bath, straight into the panel clips like a glove! I'm gonna HAVE to have a go at making one out of that. If I'm unsuccessful or Mum doesn't like my finished article, THEN she can start lashing out £££s for a new one and someone to get it, and come and cut and fit it as she's been threatening. .returned home and experimented with how easy the stuff is to cut and then had a go at joining two bits together with a filler/PVA mix. . such a nice day, I sat in the garden guitarring (quietly) for a bit. . drank the last of the wine left over from when PS was here and cooked and ate four sasusages and chips . . napped until around 6:30pm . . TVd and watched the first of a new series on BBC about a guy with his dog setting up for a crofters life on the west coast of Scotland (which of course was one of my fantasies when I was back in Bristol.) All very idealic - but then, it was always sunny? Which 'week' was that? Lets see him doing all that when they have some proper Scottish WEATHER! . . touched base with BB . .ate ham rolls and biscuits. . TVd until bed around 1:30am. sd