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<My Diary Archive 2003 My Diary Archive>

April
1 - Up around 8am . . . walked and found 2p. Something weird in the field. Someone had taken it upon themselves to dig a whole bunch of holes in the middle of the field and pile the turfs up in a small mound about a foot or more high!!? Kinda looked like maybe some irresponsible twit with a metal detector maybe? . . spent a hard day on the building site. Mum called in the middle of it all (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-) I was in the middle of cementing so said I'd have to talk to her later. Excavated around the fireplace and removed the old flaking piece of slate that was underneath the old breast. Turns out there is nothing but wet earth beneath it!!!! Big hole in the living room cement floor! That is gonna take 'at least' half a dozen bags of concrete to fill to a reasonable depth - big job! One step forward, ten back! Managed to take out a couple of bricks in one corner the fireplace and get a damp proof course in, before cementing them back up. Didn't finish up until around 7pm! . . . touched base with Mum . . . SH popped in . . . IHB called asking about ISPs and if the one he'd chosen was any good -wise?! How the hell should I know?! . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd till bed around 11pm. (4/10)as
2 - Woken by Sally's wet nose around 6:30am! Snoozed on till around 7:30am . . .walked. Spent five minutes or so, dismantling the small pile of earth some idiot had left and trying to put pieces of turf and dirt back in all the holes they'd made all over the place! Musta looked weird but ended up slightly better than if I hadn't although unless it rains real soon it'll all die. . . left Sally at home and drove to Sainsburys at Emersons Green to shop. Developed a real nasty, eye watering headache as the day wore on! . . .at last managed to persuade myself to balance my accounts and catch up on outstanding bills and such, that have been piling up whilst I've been concentrating on all the cementing over the last few weeks. Things are tight! As from 7th April, my pension income has increased to 379 per month. A 1.7% increase linked to the RPI and inflation. That would be fine if not for an OUTRAGEOUS 68 per month (after single occupier discount) council tax bill with an increase from last year of 9.3% - and the year before that, it was an increase of 6%!!!!!!!!!!! And the most irritating part of the deal is that a proportion of the tax goes towards funding the police (who are largely abscent in this area and too busy to come and arrest lawbreakers when I call them!) , and that portion has increased by an incredible 33.9%. So - just to sit here in the ghetto, in my 'unfit for human habitation building site', I have to pay 68 per month!!! If they continue like this, purely as a result of this tax, in a few years I wont be able to afford to live on my pension!! Outrageous . . . ran out of steam with my headache and tried to sleep it off for a couple of hours in the afternoon, but to no avail!! . . . sat around feeling really not good. Walked late and found 2p . . . PCd this, but with difficulty because of my stress type headache (which actually started to ease just a little as I typed - as usual by evening it gets better). Almost at times like having had a stroke - typing all the wrong keys, unable to remember words, etc!!! Weird. . .BB called . . . TVd before bed, eventually feeling better.(3/10)aaa
3 - Walked and found 3p . . . cemented in the new socket boxes and conduit to them, in the alcove to the left of the fireplace. Long and difficult job!! Doing one is bad enough trying to get it all square and level, but doing five with eight seperate conduits was hell! Very pleased when it was done. . . walked . . . touched base with BB . . . PS popped round for chats till early. (4/10)as
4 - Walked and found 2p . . . really didn't want to do any cementing and sat just looking at all the work I've to do until around midday before deciding to just do little bit and cement back in a brick or two on top of the damp proof course in the fireplace. Ended up mixing up too much cement and not wanting to waste it kinda got forced into doing more than I had the energy for - cosmeticaly 'dressed' more of the rough bricks on the firebreast. Took hours and didn't finish up till gone 6pm!! . . . walked and found 2p. Some small kid walking along in front of me was strangely carrying some large peice of tree!? As I watched he heaved it into the road and walked on leaving it there!!! Grrrr. Bit my tongue and just walked on by, grimacing at him and rather pleased that he seemed afraid of Sally. Walking down the field with Sally I became aware of someone walking down the street on the other side of the fence. I looked again and saw a guy walking along with a protesting girl under his arm in a headlock!!!! He kept on walking for quite a distance! She didn't seem happy!!!! I started walking towards him trying to look threatening and shouted out 'Let her go!'. He did so, but kept his arm around her shoulder. The girl looked at me all smiling and laughing. I felt foolish, but I guess I'd rather feel foolish than have to live with myself if I hadn't said something and it had turned out to be what it looked like. . . BB called . . . TVd exhausted and unable to move until bed around 11:30pm. Didn't even get round to turning the PC on at all today!!! I'm SO overwhelmed and exhausted with all this work I have to do, that I can hardly find time to turn the thing on these days let alone do long overdue e-mails! (4/10)as
5 - Woken around 7:30am by my poor battered hands itching!? . . . walked and found 4p. Got talking to one of my next door neighbours as I returned home. The one who has an OCD type hang up about the locks on her doors. Sat in the garden the other day, I heard her lock her conservatory door and then proceed to check it was locked by unlocking it and relocking it six times! She then within minutes came back on three seperate occasions and did it three times more each time before she was content it was safe for her to go have a shower! I've seen her stood at her front door for at least ten minutes doing a similar thing. We got talking about DIY and damp problems and such and I ended up inviting her in, to see from the hole by my fireplace how the bricks are just resting on damp earth. Took the opportunity to make appropriate apologies for all the dust and noise from my building siteSockets in the alcove . . and a big hole in the floor!. . .checked on the pond like usual of late. Definitely some little tiny tadpoles swimming about. Not many considering how much spawn there was, and frankly they look a bit premature, but they are giving life a go for the moment at least. Excellent. :o) Gonna have to continue being careful of toxic splashes when I hose down after cement mixing. . . . put Sky News on the TV (astonishing/awful footage of the first American armoured patrol through the streets of Baghdad) and set to with the drill around 10:30am and excavated the rest of the bricks beneath the back of the fireplace. Got some damp proof course in and all cemented back up by around 5pm. That's more than 75% of the fireplace DPC done - after that it'll be a matter of excavating out the damp earth from the hole in front and mixing up huge amounts of concrete to put a floor back in! Kinda just got used to throwing my cigarette ends in the hole. Isn't there some ancient tradition about putting a coin under a fireplace for good luck - or is that maybe under a doorstep? Maybe I'll put a penny in when I do it. I'm fast approaching a point in all this work where I'm gonna have to figure out some way of rigging up a temporary wiring loop so I can cut off the old dodgey one and lose it under the concrete. Real awkward - I really, REALLY don't want to have to wire up ANY of the new sockets until ALL the cementing and plastering is done around them, and I also don't want to waste any of the expensive cable! :o( What day is it? Blimey - it's April! It was sunny again today - I mostly missed it. I'm tired of all this and yet I can't just sit and look at it without thinking about it and then feeling guilty if I haven't done anything on it! Arrrrgh. . . PCd this . . .walked and found 3p. Bumped into the lady from last year who gave Sally the bandana. She was walking a different dog. Apparently hers had been diagnosed with leukemia and was put down not long after I last saw her sometime last year. She was walking someone elses dog. She was keen on getting another but the dogs home wouldn't even entertain the idea of her having one of theirs because she lives in a flat and works all day. The fact that she lives right next to the field and has a neighbour who will willingly pop in and walk the dog during the day didn't matter. Shame. . was just leaving the field and a group of 'kids' called out asking if I had a light. I said yes and walked on over to let them use my lighter. Incredibly they weren't quite ready for it yet so I ended up stood there waiting for one of them to finish rolling the joint he was making!!!! Rather 'brazen' behaviour despite the fact that smoking dope has been largely decriminalised of late. I certainly felt really uneasy stood there with them on a street corner as they 'skinned up' in full view of the world! Eventually it was done and I let them use my lighter. Seemed only reasonable to suggest (jokingly) I should have a bit! Haven't had any 'bush' for a while. One quick draw and I bid them farewell. Bizarre. Stopped off for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home. REALLY enjoyed those chips. :o) . . .BB called . . .TVd till late. (4/10)aaas
6 - Woken by Sally around 8:30am . . .walked . . . sat till late looking at the building site and REALLY not wanting to do any of it. Mum called to touch base . . . started stripping off the dust (old plaster!?) from the other alcove on the right hand side of the fireplace. Mum called again saying she'd just spoken with Sis2 who was in hospital!!!!!!!???? Apparently she'd been in a car accident. She'd been sideswiped by someone blowing through a red traffic light. She had a broken pelvis and was on morphine in some hospital somewhere!!!!!!!! Unfortunately Mum was so taken aback by this news she didn't get a phone number or the name of the hospital or anything! Oh jeeze! :o( Nothing to be done until Sis2 gets in touch again and we get more details I guess. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-). . . finished stripping off the alcove wall and then cemented in the last brick on top of a damp proof course under the firebreast. Finished up around 5:30pm . . . PS called to say 'tonight?'. Said yes and then called him back as my mind wandered doing some dish washing. I remembered they had a pet fish - asked if he could spare some fish flake food. I figure those tadpoles in my pond could maybe use a diet supplement - although they may be vegetarian? Not sure . . .walked . . . touched base with BB . . . PS popped round for chats . . DS called! :o) It's been a while since we chatted like that, although I confess my lifestyle is such that I really didn't have much to talk about except bricks and what I'd seen on TV recently! lol . . .watched the ('smashing') grand prix highlights before bed around 1:30am. (4/10)s
7 - Up around 7:30am . . . turned the TV on and watched a split screen as in one half of the screen the Iraq information minister claimed the Iraqis were killing all the Americans and pushing them out of their country whilst in the other half it showed a LIVE broadcast of an enormous column of American tanks and fighting vehicles happily parked apparently with impunity less than a mile away on the main parade under the famous crossed swords!! Bizarre. I can't help but REALLY want that nauseating, lieing Information minister's smile wiped off his face! His lies are costing lives . . . a cool wind but blue sky and sunny. Drove Sally to the Avon at Hanham for walks. Came back carrying four bricks from the woods! . . . dropped Sally off and finally mustered the courage to put four bags of earth/dust from the fireplace in the back of the car and drive to the field. Parked up and then carried the bags two at a time across to where the huge puddle is (now dry - almost two feet deep in places!) and dumped them in the hole and scuffed the earth around with my feet. Felt so, SO conspicuous and guilty but I just HAD to do it. As it happens it hardly made a dent in the huge hole and was fairly unnoticeable once done. Found 5p. . . touched base with Mum who'd heard nothing more from Sis2!!! . . .sat in the garden in the sun for a while with the washing machine doing chores . . . PCd and started looking up phone numbers of hospitals and police and such around where Sis2 lives. Called five different hospitals but no trace of her!!? Tried calling her local police but no answer (just like here!!). Eventually got through to her place of work and they DID have a number for the hospital she was at. Called her. She sounded pretty 'morphined up' but kinda ok considering. She'd been sideswiped on the drivers side. It DEFINITELY wasn't her fault and WAS witnessed, thank goodness. She had fractured her pelvis in two places and was layed up in a bed and although she had managed to get up once with the aid of a zimmer frame, she was gonna be pretty immobile for quite some time. I joked that it was a pretty drastic thing to do to get us back talking again!! Cut the conversation short cause I wanted to call worrying Mum and let her know the number to call to speak to Sis2. Called Mum and then touched base with Sis1 and let her know the number too. Mum called me back soon after saying they'd spoken and she seemed ok - they'd cut the call short cause nurses were bringing Sis2 a much needed coffee. . . sat in the garden some more after putting the washing out to dry and dropping some fish food in the pond. The snails will eat it if the tadpoles don't. . .sat around happily doing literally nothing! Decided NOT to give blood today as had been scheduled - frankly I feel so tired I don't think I can spare it. . .slept for a couple of hours . . . walked and found 2p . . . BB called . . . Mum called to confirm she'd spoken with Sis2 again and that she seemed ok and was maybe gonna be transfered to some nursing type place for a while rather than be sent home . . . TVd mostly watching the news till bed around midnight. (4/10)a
8 - Up around 7:30am again. Dentist day!!! :o( . . .walked and found 3p . . .washed ALL my clothes!!!! The conduit I've put up the wall that exits under the floor beneath my built in clothes cupboard in the bedroom, seems to have acted like a chimney to all the angle grinder dust in the living room - EVERYTHING in that cupboard is absolutely caked with a layer of brick dust!! . . . dug four more sacks of earth from the hole in the floor in the fireplace and drove and dumped them in the big puddle over the field. It made little impression on the puddle. Pretty crazy behaviour I guess, but that puddle and I have some history. It's more or less been there for about twenty years!!! My first dog, Sheba, ran into the muddy water, many years ago, and gashed her leg (a veign) on some submerged broken glass and ended up having to be rushed to the vet. Didn't have a car at the time so, as I recall, I had to phone Dad and get him to race up and pick us both up and rush us there for expensive emergency surgery! He didn't want her blood all over his car so she ended up with a freezer bag tied tightly over her heavily bleeding leg! :o| . . . cleaned up and drove to the dentist for my 12:30 appointment - actually got to see her some time after 1pm. Apparantly my badly broken tooth does need to be pulled out but she didn't have the special tools needed so she'll contact the dental hospital and make an appointment for me to have it pulled out there!! I'll be notified when, by post. Uggh! A bit of a painful clean and that was that (13.68 on the NHS) - I told her not to bother making my tooth less jagged -I'm kinda used to it as it is by now. .drove back via the DIY store and bought six bags of concrete (14.40). . . couldn't face doing any work - napped for an hour or so before being woken by some door to door salesman type person! Grrr . . . LB called asking if I'd feed her cats this weekend whilst she goes to visit her grandfather who has just had heart bypass surgery. Said ok. Uggh!. . walked and found 7p . . . BB called . . . TVd till around 1am (3/10)as
9 - Up about the same time again. . . BB called . . . walked. Found a set of keys on the grass. Stood there examining them looking for any way of finding the loser, when a young woman pushing a pram approached across the grass asking if I'd just found her keys. Lucky. . A burned out moped in the field!! . . put the TV on the news channel all day and watched Iraq reach the 'tipping point'. Excavated more of the fireplace hole in the floor and then layed in a bunch of broken bricks as a kinda hardcore. Spent AGES messing around with sheets of plastic damp proof course and taping them in place! Stopped to watch the TV as American tanks arrived at the hotel all the camera crews and reporters were staying at. Decided that the six bags of concrete I had probably wouldn't be enough, especially after they'd 'shrunk'. Never ceases to amaze me how dry mixed cement and concrete always seems to shrink to about two thirds the volume once you add the water!?? Drove to the DIY store and bought another three sacks (7.20). Mixed up six sacks of cement out on the patio. Real hard back breaking work. Thought back to the last time I'd had to mix up such a large amount - when I actually poured the patio - Dad had come up to help and did most of the work. Felt funny. .carried the concrete in a bucket at a time and dumped it into the hole in the floor. Stopped briefly to watch the toppling of Saddams statue, live as it happened. Nice one. Amazing to be able to watch such scenes - live! Tipping over to the point of anarchy! . .sure enough the six sacks of cement (which really looked as though it would be too much) had shrunk and I ended up dashing out and mixing up another two which ended up 'just' being enough-ish!!! Burried a shiny penny I'd found yesterday, in the cement 'for luck', or tradition, or whatever? Cleaned up and exhausted by 6pm. Moved the setee carefully over the wet cement to keep Sally away from it - real tempting to get her to make a paw print in the cement, but decided against it. Returned IHBs ansaphone call and begrudgingly agreed to pop over later and set up the PC he'd managed to get for nothing from his work. An old 233mhz. . .called BB . . . walked and stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home because I was pushed for time . . . left Sally at home and drove to IHB and played PC. Format his almost empty hard drive, installed windows, set up his modem, set him up on line with a free ISP as a starter. Lots of the usual niggley crash here, crash there, but got there in the end. Left him to it, let myself out (he was too busy surfing 'you know what' to see me out!), and was home around 11:30pm . . . PCd this before bed around 1:30am. (4/10)a
10 - Woken by Sally laying on my arm and licking my pillow around 7:30am! Recently missed an ansaphone call from LB-something about a fish?!? Called her back - one of her cats had brought a gold fish back into her house! She was about to pop it in her bin when it moved. She'd put it in her sink, in tap water and wanted to put it in my pond!! She's had this sort of thing happen before, and that fish hadn't survived so I imagined this one wouldn't either. Didn't want to put it in my pond in case it brought some sort of infection/fungus that would kill the tadpoles. Said I'd have it down here in a bowl during the day to keep it away from her cats, so popped up and picked up her large plastic mixing bowl with the gold fish floundering in it. Just like last time, the poor fish was alive but unable to swim upright for any length of time, and it just lay on its side. I imagine that some sharp cat claw or tooth has punctured whatever internal organ regulates its buoyancy - swim bladder is it? I imagine it'll be dead by evening - almost tempted to make a quicker job of it - but I can't, so I left it in the bowl of water in the kitchen. LB called after she reached work and confirmed that if it survives she's found a home for it with someone at work! . . .walked . . .sorted out some 'unusable' from my pile of 'bits of bricks' collection out on the patio and filled another sack for disposal. Walked Sally around the block and knocked on the door of the house that I'd seen had a pile of rubble in their front yard, complete with some nice old bricks thrown some. Explained to the guy what I was after and although he was hesitant because he said he was intending to build a wall in his garden, he asked me how many I wanted. I said 10 and he said ok. Excellent. Dropped Sally back home and drove back round with the car and cheakily picked ten of the best looking bricks from the pile and drove them home. Spent a while out on the patio chiseling the old mortar and plaster off them and cleaning them up. I think the house they came from was built later than mine - SO much better bricks than this house is built with!!? . . . swept and bagged up all the rubble and then loaded the car up with all the sacks that I've been piling up in the front garden. Filled the car up completely - even had a pile of rubble in the passenger seat footwell. Not much movement on the suspension - overdid it a bit really! . . Drove very carefully to the council tip and unloaded all the sacks of rubble in their skip. Drove home and quickly popped the last two sacks of earth into the back of the car and dashed round the field and dumped them in the puddle. . Good to have all the rubbish gone for the time being - until I make some more! . . . sat for ages watching the concrete dry! SO glad that job is done . . . grabbed a bit to eat and inevitably fell asleep all afternoon, not waking until around 5:30pm . . .LB popped in and removed the fish which was still trying to survive although largely lying at the bottom of the bowl on is side! :o( . . . walked and found a penny . . . BB called . . . TVd/watched cement dry until bed around 11:30pm (4/10)as
11 - Woken at 7am by LB calling!!! Her damn cats had caught a frog and it was under her settee - popped up and got it and relocated it to my garden, although experience suggests the way it is acting it wont survive. It managed to get in the pond at least - gonna have to keep an eye on the pond and make sure it is quickly removed when it does die. Damn cats, killing everything in sight - can't stand them - although - I guess I shouldn't be too critical. If Sally had her way I guess she'd be out at night and bring me back dead cats, rabbits - and sheep!! . . . icy out! Weird weather - sunbathing one minute, freezing the next! . . . PCd this . . . walked and took a picture of Sally pretending the currently dry puddle, my private land-fill site, was still full of water.Sally in the puddle/landfill Found 4p . . .touched base with Mum to hear the latest on Sis2 before maybe calling her later. Good job I did - apparently she's moved out of the hospital and into some sort of recovery place. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-) Arrrrgh!!! . . .put in a few hours on the fireplace and cemented in two courses of bricks on the new concrete, to raise the fireplace opening up away from the floor kinda. .Looked out the window at some point and spotted something weird laying in the road with cars having to drive around it!? Had a look and found what appeared to be some big decorator style dust sheets that must have fallen off the back of some passing builder/decorators truck??? Could be useful I guess. :o) . . cleaning up my tools in the yard and my next door neighbour called over the fence asking if I had a microwave!? They'd bought some boxes of microwave chips they didn't like and wondered if I wanted them. Never refuse a free meal - thank you very much. Actually turned out to be the tiniest portions I've ever seen, so ended up having to have two boxes to get anywhere near a decent portion. . .Touched base with Sis1. . . slept for an hour or so, then woken by the alarm . . . walked and found a penny. Didn't bother wheeling the dumped pushbike home cause it appeared to be a really small childsize frame, although it appeared to be in full working order. . . pulled the now dead frog out of the pond and popped it in the bin in one of Sally's poop scoop bags. :o( . . . PCd this . . . Mum called to tell me she'd spoken to Sis2 earlier and how she was in a bit of a state and really not happy in the recovery place (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-) She'd managed to somehow get home!! . . . BB called . . .suddenly remembered I should be feeding LBs cats, but couldn't remember when! Popped up and had a look but figured they had enough food and water for this evening . . . TVd till early. (4/10)as
12 - Up around 8am . . . walked and found a penny . . . fed LBs cats (after having given all the bowls a much needed wash out!) . . . popped out into the lane to see what old concrete slabs were out there. Measured up and figured I had my answer for what to use as the fireplace base. Must have put those slabs out there around the time I made the garden step - I put it out there, I guess it's reasonable that I could have it back . . . really, really didn't want to start any work on the building site and ended up just sitting and looking at it until around midday before mustering the energy to get on with rendering the wall next to the bay window. Mixed up FAR too much cement and trapped myself into doing far more than I'd bargained/had the energy for. Built up the alcove wall as well, gradually getting it level. Ended up still with lots of cement left over so hacked off a bit of the cement render I'd already done next to the door which had cracked and seperated from the wall enough to require re-doing. STILL cement left over, so ended up dumping it and a few bricks into the bottom of the fireplace - I was gonna fill it with concrete but that'll save me buying another bag at least. All exciting, fascinating stuff - NOT!!!!!! :o( Hosed down and cleared up by around 6pm . . .walked and found 6p . . . fed Sally, fed LBs cats, fed me . . .BB called from atop a volcano!!. . . TVd, unable to move or muster the energy to do anything else. Early to bed a little after 10:30pm! (4/10)a
13 - Woke around 6am but managed to snooze on until 7:45 . . .breezy out and the forecast is for rain - hasn't rained for ages. Walked and found a plastic water bottle thingy that'll go in a push bike carrier . . . fed LBs cats . . . difficulty getting going again but eventually forced myself to mix up the last bag of concrete I have left, and poured it into the bottom of the fireplace. Chased out the old dust mortar on the right hand side of the firebreast and then mixed up the last of the sand I have left and repointed it. Think I need to stop and let things dry out a bit - there must be gallons of water in all this cement and concrete needing to evaporate out . . . reports on the news that the missing American POWs had been released! Amazing - I was convinced they'd be dead and gone by now . . . walked. The kids push bike that I saw over there the other day was still there, moved into some bushes! . . .So much for the forecast rain - some in the air but it didn't even wet the ground. Took the risk and topped up the pond with tap water. . . PCd this . . . LB called to say thank you for feeding the cats and to say she was home . . BB called . . . PS popped round for chats till early. . . to bed around 1am. (4/10)as
14 - Up just before 7am . . .walked . . . left Sally at home and drove to buy three more sacks of sand (3), one of cement (2.49), one of PAL complete dog food (17.95) and some chewy treat things (12.99) for Sally . . . returned Mums ansaphone call. She said uncle TJ had called and was back in the country and already knew all about Sis2s situation?!! Guess Coz1 mentioned it after reading it here - that didn't go down well with her!! Heard all about how Sis2 was doing - (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-). . . sat around doing nothing, intending to have at least a day, maybe several, off from the building site living room. Eventually took my angle grinder all to pieces and tried to de-dust it and re-grease all the gears. I think it's on its way out - making unusual noises like the bearings have worn, and some evidence on the gears of pitting and wear. :o( . . .fell asleep for a couple of hours . . . walked and found a penny . . . touched base with Mum. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-)the prospect of me bringing her back up to Bristol for a day on the weekend (I REALLY don't want to have to do that driving in the nightmarish bank holiday traffic, but feel I have to!!! ) - to attend Sis1s 'family get together', (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-). . . BB called . . . TVd . . . PCd briefly before bed around 2am. (4/10)a
15 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am . . .walked and found 2p. Extraordinarily warm out - like a proper summer’s day . . .PCd this . . . ended up working on the living room for the rest of the day! Actually managed to achieve the targets I’d set for myself. Rendered up the left alcove, used the left over cement to cosmetically straighten and tidy up the left side of the fireplace opening, and prepared the wall next to the door for plastering by coating it in liquid damp proof solution blinded with sand. Had a REALLY bad headache all day, despite popping Annadins throughout . . . . .CC called to touch base and to tell me she’d copied this and that ‘must have’ program onto a CD for me. Very nice of her, but I hardly have time to continue doing my journal at the moment, let alone do anything else! . . . walked. Stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home. Spotted what appeared to be the remains of a dumped pushbike in the lane behind the shops. Wandered over to have a look – just a frame and some brake parts and such left on it but it did have a chain so I figured it may be worth grabbing in case I could fit all the bits from the other one on to it. Started struggling home with Sally and chips in one hand and holding onto the bike frame over my shoulder with the other! Struggling down the road, a ‘youth’ on a pushbike came cycling up and started talking. He’d been stripping bits off the frame, had returned for more and was disappointed to see me walking off with it. I told him he should have just taken it all because I was having what was left. :o\ He didn’t complain but did insist on cycling along beside me talking about cycle parts!! ‘You live there then do you’ he said as I struggled into my garden!! Didn’t like him being so interested in where I lived!!? . . .checked out the bike frame out on the patio – actually the little that was left on the frame wasn’t much good and I somewhat regretted being now lumbered with its disposal . . . BB called . . . sat in the garden for a while in the warm quiet of the night, as at last my headache eased . . . TVd and watched cement dry until early, wanting to stay awake to appreciate not having a headache! (4/10)aaaaa
16 - Up around 7:30am. Summers day sunny and warm, just like the forecast predicted . . .walked and found another wooly hat and a penny. Returned home to find my mail and an envelope from 'The Court Service'!!!!!???? Uh-oh. Nervously opened it fearing I'd been caught speeding or something? Blimey!!!! 'Jury Service'. I've been chosen for jury service!!! Bloody hell!!!!!!! Gotta fill the form out and return it within seven days and then assuming everything is in order I have to attend the main courts in Bristol in June. Blimey. I hadn't expected anything like that. Pretty anxious about the whole thing. :o( . . . touched base with Mum . . . made up a dummy hearth stone out of a piece of chipboard to get the size right and use it as a template. Dug one of the old paving stones out of the lane, cleaned it up and then set about cutting it to size with the angle grinder. Ended up having to cut three sides and having to go half depth on each face of the slab because the angle grinder blade wasn't deep enough! Hard, nasty, dusty business in blazing hot sunshine. Got there in the end and just plonked it in the fireplace without cementing it in - not keen on how it looks - wasted effort. :o( . . returned Mums ansaphone call. (-/content removed post 19th April 03 /-). . . called Sis2 to touch base. She seems to be doing ok. Once again the conversation descended into upset and Sis2 insisted on raking over the nasty things I've said to her and my bad behaviour during the Dad thing and how she found it totally unacceptable that her private business and my unfair criticism of her, which she has no opportunity to challenge, is written up in my journal for all to see. I managed to end the call being 'civil' but feeling really pissed off and drained. Why did I call?:o( . . .started trying to plaster the small wall next to the door. It didn't go well - in fact it went terribly. Big disaster - gonna have to try and skim over it again! I don't think I'm THAT bad a plasterer - I suspect it is this trying to plaster onto the sand blinded damp proof solution that is causing the difficulty. Right in the middle of the plastering disaster the door bell went. Oh jeeze - it was that 'youth' on the pushbike from last night. He'd come to tell me there was another bike frame dumped somewhere up round the corner!!! Nice of him I guess but I REALLY don't want to have someone like him knocking at my door like that! I said thank you but explained I was in the middle of plastering, and said goodbye! . . . collection of dumped bike bitsended up having REAL trouble holding off schizoid thoughts and very down mood - hadn't eaten all day so grabbed a sandwhich around 5pm. Set the alarm and slept for a couple of hours . . . walked. Found a hard nylon dog ball, a tennis ball, an absorbant windscreen demister pad and a penny! Couldn't resist taking Sally and going to have a look at where the youth had said the bike was dumped. Ended up carrying it home over my shoulder!!! Somewhere along the line I figure if I keep doing this when the opportunity arises, I'll end up with a free working mountainbike - eventually!!! :o) . . . BB called . . . smashed a dish all over the kitchen (never had one break into SO many tiny sharp pieces before?) and had to frantically vaccuum all over whilst keeping Sally away!! Ended up washing dishes and cooking some stew stuff and didn't sit down to eat big until around midnight! . . . TVd and watched lumpy plaster dry . . . PCd this till gone 2am. Not the best of days. (3/10)aa
17 - Up around 7:30am again after not enough sleep! . . .drove Sally to the river Avon at Hanham for walks. River was incredibly high - never seen it so high without rain - in fact damn good job it hasn't rained for a while or there would have been some flooding. Must be a REAL high spring tide (tidal effects as far as the lock gates at Keynsham apparently!) - the river was actually flowing in the wrong direction (upstream!) and huge amounts of flotsum and debris were being carried along at walking pace. Only another couple of inches and it would have burst its banks!! Can actually be quite a scary river! By the time I'd walked along and back through the woods it had turned back round and was flowing in the usual direction. Lots of stuff floating by and couldn't resist 'having a go' for a football for Sally to play with. Very precarious leaning off the bank with a long stick, but managed to get it in the end with only some cuts, scrapes and nettle stings on my arms as payment. Sally enjoyed playing with it for a short time, and unusually actually carried it quite a distance, before getting bored with the idea - I kicked it back to the car and took it home. Gosh it was warm out - something like mid twenties C/seventies F today - incredible for April!! . . . stopped off at the DIY store to buy another 5 litre container of damp proof membrane liquid (6.99) and a new wire brush (1.49) for cleaning up bricks prior to rendering. . . grabbed a quick bite of breakfast and then walked with Sally up to Kingswood to draw out some cash and buy some bread and cigarette papers. Found a penny. Very hot and busy with people all over the place - yuk! Sally handled it pretty well and even allowed a couple of young (fearless/stupid?) girls to come up and stroke her, with only a hint of throaty growl. Came straight home and sat in the garden for a while deciding to have a day off from the building site . . . put some white sheets and stuff through the washing machine only to have them come out with little black spots on them!!? Almost looks like spots of damp proof membrane liquid!!!? How is that possible? Have I maybe contaminated my washing machine by washing my work clothes and dust sheets at some point? Damn!! Me and white things really don't go together! . . . ate another load of yesterdays stew concoction then fell asleep for a few hours, eventually waking in a sweat. Forecast is for much colder (more normal) by Saturday. . .returned PS ansaphone message and said see ya later . . . walked . . . PC seems to be acting funny - ran the virus checker across it and turned up another trojan virus!!!! Grrr. . . . BB called . . . my garden 'night sun' PIR light bulb, appears to have blown! :o( . . . PS popped round for chats till early . . . another piece of my bad tooth fell out!! With a bit of luck, by the time my hospital appointment arrives it'll all have fallen out anyway! (4/10)as
18 - Woken by Sally around 8am . . .BB called . . . walked and found a penny . . . Sis1 called to touch base . . . filled out my Jury Service form and walked with Sally and popped it in the post box . . . repotted a couple of the fir trees in the garden using what has turned out to be the excellent compost from the bottom of my 'compost dustbin'. Think I've left it too late for one of the fir trees that seems to be mostly dead. Repotted the yucca too, wearing safety sunglasses! . . . looked out the front window and spotted a neighbour's car had been broken in to!! The passenger door had been bent away from the frame to allow the thieves access. Dunno why they always seem to pick on Vauxhall Cavaliers? Popped up and knocked on their door to tell them but they'd already been told by another neighbour earlier. Funny how they just left it like that - I would have gone out immediately to try and bend it back. Grabbed a quick picture 'for the record'. . . LB called to touch base. She'd been out and bought some of those wireless solar charging garden lights that I've seen advertised and have been sorely tempted to investigate. Told her I really need to see those working at night some time . . . pottered around tidying up just a little and doing washing and such. Finally got round to washing the couple of single duvets Sis1 had given me from where she works. Did them in the bath, treading grapes style. Cleanest feet I've had in a while! . . . walked . . . BB called . . . TVd till early, really in the mood to be alone and quiet. LB called saying come and have a look at her lights, but I didn't. (4/10)as
19 - Woken by Sally just before 8am . . . walked and found a penny. Wow is it different weather today. Half the temperatures we've recently had, and blowing a real cold wind! Amazing how it can change like that. . .checked the tyre pressures, oil and water levels on the car. Figured Mum wouldn't be keen on spending so many hours driving around tomorrow in such a dirty, dusty, dog smelling car, so put Sallys duvet cover through the wash and set about vaccuuming the inside and washing the outside of the car. Just throwing buckets of water over it to wash off the soap when AC pulled up to say hi in passing, and ended up popping in for coffee and chats. Conversation inevitably turned to the living room building site. He offered expert technical advice on my cable TV/phone installation plans and before he left, ended up offering me a gift of reels of cable, screws, phone socket, cable splitters etc, etc, etc from the back of his van!! Brilliant!!!! Exactly what I needed and was worrying about having to shortly buy. :o) . . .finished off cleaning the car and grabbed a couple of hours much needed sleep . . . walked a little early. Forgot to take any money and had to return home before popping back round for a sausage and chips takeaway . . . showered and packed some stuff for the Mum visit. Called her to touch base and confirm I was leaving shortly and to ask if I'd left a pillow down there or did I have to bring one. Out of the blue Mum seemed all primed and ready to explode, and set about having a go at me about whatever nasty things I had put on my journal about her, how I'd had a go at her during Dads death about how I didn't feel welcome down there, and how she demanded that she be able to read it all!! Uh oh! (-/content removed/-) She said I'd better come down and 'talk' about it. I really didn't want to, but felt duty bound because Sis1 was expecting us both to turn up tomorrow. Trapped!. . (-/content removed/-) . . .the two hour trip down was horrible, my mind turning everything over, feeling as though I was driving myself to my own execution!! Arrived at Mums around 11pm and installed Sally in the garage before going in to face the unpleasant atmosphere. . . (-/content removed/-). . .I only managed to drink half of my cup of coffee before the argument soon got started. I said I really didn't want to have to go through this - not now! . . .
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-/content removed/-) . . .
I explained that what I'd written I'd done in the belief that she would never read it!! I said I was sorry that it had caused such upset, I absolutely would NOT facilitate her reading it, I couldn't undo what had been done, I WOULD delete it. That wasn't good enough and Mum kept on about how she was a private person and how she imagined 'everyone' (basically Uncle TJ/Coz1) were rubbing their hands with glee reading all her private business. Being in the wrong ( as of course am I always ) I tried SO hard to just sit there and take it, but it all got to be just too much
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-/content removed/-) . . .
. . . Guess it must be true then. That was it - the 'tipping point' - the trigger. My paranoia turned it into what a loathsome, unpleasant burden my prescence must have been for them all, all these years. I couldn't say anything without causing yet more damage to everyone. The prospect of having to languish in such an atmosphere in her company over the next couple of days, let alone ever again, was more than I could bear!!! I HAD been the cause of this argument - but I hadn't MADE it happen - not now. Terrible timing!! :o( It was surely
absolutely inevitable what would be the outcome - I said 'That's it. I'm outa here. I'll let Sis1 know what's going on.' and I left. . I loaded Sally and bags into the car, locked everything back up, dabbled with posting my set of her keys back through the letterbox (but decided that would be too melodramatic and hurtful) and was on the road like a bat outta hell. . . had that same weird feeling about me that I had when I left work never to return, no matter what the consequences. A kind of elated relief - in the full knowledge that some time later I'd pay the emotional price and have a 'deadly down' about it. Nothing could undo this - it'd been a long time coming - I wouldn't be going back there. I was severing the bonds of 'obligation and duty' that had held me tied to them all, all these years. . . stopped off in a layby and rang Sis1 on the mobile and told her there had been a 'development' and that I had walked out and wouldn't be bringing Mum up tomorrow. If she wanted her there, she'd have to go and get her herself. I hung up and turned the phone off. . .stopped for petrol then drove all the way straight home. Unloaded the car around 1:30am then turned the PC straight on and true to my word (end of an era!! :o( ) , I deleted the website index page and all my journal pages - enough to make it appear gone and largley inaccesable. Further deleting will take longer - and I'm really not sure I can do it!!. . .disconnected the phones and submerged into a mood of 'fuck em all'. Wow - if not for BB I could have the phone line removed and save all that expense! Hmmmm? Could even do without the car again now? We'll see. . . . eventually to bed but difficulty sleeping. Guess I'm the bad guy for ever more now. (4/10)
aa

---All on line journal entries prior to this date have been 'amended'---

20 - Woken by Sally . . . walked . . . TVd, smoked, agonised, slept the day off . . . walked . . . TVd, smoked, agonised and slept some more until eventually to bed around 2am. (2/10)ass
21 - Up around 8:15am . . . walked . . . nasty headache. Sat around, TVd, lay down to nap only for someone to ring the doorbell and for Sally to explode into loud guard dog barking. Left her to it and pretended I wasn't in - IHB popped a note through the door saying he had PC problems and needed assistance. Uggh! . . . PCd, organising stuff and trying to decide what to delete . . .doorbell rang and Sally barked loads again! Peeked out through the bedroom curtains and saw the woman from down the road walking away looking flustered as though something was up!!? Popped out and called after her - turned out she was just trying to dispose of some huge weed that was growing in her front yard and needed help getting it out of the ground!!!!???? Weird. Popped down with my spade and quickly dug it out, popped it in her bin and excused myself after making idiot like clumsy joking comments about sexual equality and such :o| . . . slept . . . walked . . . TVd . . . to bed in the early hours. (2/10)as
22 - Touched base with BB . . . walked . . . sat around tortured by my thoughts. . . slept all afternoon and woke in the middle of some weird dream where I was going on a motorcycle ride with other bikes with Dad riding pillion on the back of the one in front!. . . walked and found 5p . . . BB called . . . to bed around 1:30am. (2/10)as
23 - Woken by Sally around 8am . . . drove to the river Avon at Hanham for walks and long sits with cigarettes in the woods . . . sat in the garden in the sun . . . PCd briefly . . . found a screwed up dollar bill in the bedroom!! . . . TVd/sat around . . . slept late afternoon until around 8pm!! . . . walked . . . BB called . . .TVd/PCd until around 2am. (2/10)a
24 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am . . .PCd this . . . walked in the first rain in ages . . . dabbled just a little with the building site living room. Put the first coat of rubberised DPC on the alcove walls and managed to temporarily hack out and move the mains socket in the other alcove, out of the way to allow me to start working on that one. . . soon ran out of steam and slept for a couple of hours to escape myself. . . walked (rain all stopped already) and found a penny. Stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home . . . PS popped round for chats till early . . . couldn't sleep, dwelling on my madness and saw 4am!! Weird that some neighbour somewhere was gently hammering at that time of the morning - made Sally woof a little!! (3/10)as
25 - Up late near 9am! . . . walked in the light rain . . .tried to PC this and make a decision about the website but next door was hammering against the kitchen wall SO loud I couldn't concentrate! :o( . . .put another coat of rubberised DPC on the alcove wall and 'blinded' it with sand as a plaster key . . .things had quietened down next door so I lay down to try and nap but couldn't sleep. . . left Sally at home and drove to shop. 3x12 mixed tins of Winalot for 12.15 . . . set the alarm and slept for a couple of hours . . . walked and found 2p. Lots of 'unruly' groups of people all making their way to some party or other - there'll be trouble in the night for sure!! . . . BB called . . .LB called asking questions about gas cookers! She'd got a new second hand one from a friend but the igniter to the grill and cooker didn't seem to be working. Popped up briefly to have a quick look although I made it clear, gas is the one thing I wont mess with. Some amusement and laughing as I put my head in her gas oven! Kinda sums up how I'm feeling right now. Nothing I could do - looks like the electric igniters aren't working. Real scarey that she'd actually fitted the thing in herself the other day and checked for leaks with a match!!! Resisted preaching 'too' much. Had a quick look at her blue, solar charging garden lights. Just as I'd thought - they were SO dull as to be pretty useless. I won't be buying any of those then. . . TVd till late. (3/10)as
26 - Up around 7:30am . . .jeeze do I have a headache!! . . . walked and found 2p. Part of the 'new' (waste of money - people are bound to climb over it) school fence was all hanging dangerously over the pavement with part of the wall!!! Shouted across to the janitor but, he already knew, had called someone out, and confirmed it was 'kids in the night' that had done it! He joked about how they should electrify the fence - I agreed - and wasn't joking!! That is gonna cost a pretty sum - another increase in my council tax?!! Grrrr! :o( . . . sat around all lifeless popping annadins. Tried to sleep but failed . . . Mum left an unhappy message on the ansaphone saying she wanted me to call. I cannot. I can't think of a single thing to say about my current behaviour (uncontrollable need to distance!) that wouldn't be hurtful to her and cause more upset. . . . popped more annadins and managed to sleep for a couple of hours . . . sat in the conservatory for an hour or more just watching it rain . . . finally got round to the RAM page I'd been intending to do for ages (years?) - trouble is I've forgotten all the thoughts I wanted to recall. Easy come easy go. Put it on the index page instead of the 'for-sale' stuff (I can't bring myself to actually indulge in the 'contact' with potential buyers!!). Decided to actually upload the pages. I can't explain why but I'm not done with that f*****g website yet! Still can't decide what the hell to do about my journal. :o( . . .walked . . . BB called - very unhappy. Her new laptop has crashed and stayed that way!! Tried to start making suggestions but just couldn't remember enough DOS commands to make a go of it! :o( . . . TVd/PCd till around 4am! (3/10)a
27 - Woken by Sally around 8:30am. Strange mood of understanding of my madness came over me as I sat in the conservatory with coffee and cigarettes, complete with what a 'normal' person would do to sort it all out, but I just can't, because I'm not - and it didn't last . . . walked . . . PCd trying to figure out which way to go with the journal but ended up just going round and round in circles and getting nowhere! If I 'censor' all that must be censored, it has no 'meaning' or 'value' - none at all, and it's all been for nothing!!!. . .slept for a few hours . . . walked . . . BB called and yet again had to endure my self indulgent, one track mind conversation. She can sure talk some sense - but I'm too locked into myself to act on it . . . PS popped round for chats till early. (3/10)as
28 - Woken around 7am by weird noises which turned out to be some neighbours kid trying to start his moped . . . sat in the conservatory trapped in my thoughts watching it rain . . . walked in a light drizzle and big wind . . .popped out to have a quick look at the tadpoles and spotted a poor frog stranded on the patio hiding behind the hosepipe! Quickly relocated to the pond . . . got a letter from the dental hospital. Opened it expecting an appointment but instead it was a form and unstamped return envelope asking me to confirm I still wanted treatment!!?? Of course I bloody do!!? . . . plastered one of the alcove walls - usual disasterous mess! Ok - I can't plaster and probably never will. :o( . . . started trying to sort out some paperwork and finances. Read a leaflet from the cable comany and figured I would be better off signing up for an international rates deal,(3 a month and then 2p per minute to the USA instead of the current outrageous 16.5p per minute!!!) so called them and did the business. Couldn't help myself enquiring and was told it would cost 25 to change my phone number. Hmmm? . . . called BB on my new cheap rate to touch base. Good job - ended up on the phone for ages trying to suss out what may be wrong with her PC. Got nowhere and eventually had to give up . . . ran out of awake and slept for a couple of hours . . .walked and found 3p . . . PCd till late. I'm gonna upload - something!? Year zero? Or maybe everything and be damned. What an incredible blow by blow documented example of uncontroled schizoid avoidance at its most absurd and damaging. What an asshole! I'm SO tired of always ending up being in the wrong and having to apologise for that which I am - I really can't do it anymore - so much easier to have no one left to end up having to apologise to. :o( . . . finally ate around 12:30am. TVd before bed around 2am. Disturbed sleep, waking here and there.(3/10)a
29 - Up around 8am . . .sun before the rain clouds so drove Sally to the Avon at Hanham for walks. I didn't do it!She disappeared off into the trees at some point and was gone for longer than I'm comfortable with before returning all happy looking with a dead woodpigeon in her mouth!!!! Arrrggghhh!! Pretty obvious from the state it was in that something else had killed it and she'd just managed to find it somewhere. Pretty worrying nonetheless - could have been infected or poisoned or who knows what! Thankfully she didn't take too much persuading to drop it and leave it behind, after having had a lick at the bloody bits!! Eeewwww! . . . balanced my accounts and moved some money from my savings to pay for the tobacco CC was good enough to get for me. . Ansaphone message from Uncle TJ asking me to try and get hold of a couple of copies of a local newspaper (Western Daily Press) because someone they knew was in it! Hmm?! . . Walked with Sally round the post office and posted my reply to the dental hospital and then drew out some money from my bank account using their new electronic at the counter withdrawl system - pretty painless. . walked on down to the doctors to try and sort out why they think I am with a different doctor to the one I've seen for the last ten years or more! Ended up in some bizarre argument where they were trying to persuade me I HAD to stay on the list of someone I've never seen!!?? Think they ended up lying that it was all sorted to just get me out the door. Detoured here and there and walked at least a couple of miles popping in every newsagent I could think of but not a single one of them had any copies of the Western Daily Press left. Eventually gave up and returned home only to find another ansaphone mesage from Uncle TJ saying they'd arranged something with someone else and I shouldn't bother! Suits me - saves me agonsing over returning their call - or more likely not. . . PCd trying to salvage any of my journal that didn't encroach on others privacy! There isn't much!! :o( . . . BB called. Someone called at the door during the call - I didn't answer and let Sally take care of it . . . finally succumbed to hunger and ended up eating a lunch around 4pm - sausage and baked beans eaten with a spoon from the tin, and a bag of crisps! Haven't a single dish or plate or piece of cutlery left, that doesn't need washing up!! Just can't seem to face the chore of doing it!! . . . just about to lay down to nap and IHB popped in to talk PC problems and ask my opinion of a CV he was attempting. I wasn't much help - what the hell do I know about CVs!!! He should at least ask a guy who HAS a job and presumably once did a good one!! . . . PCd this . . . walked and stopped for sausage and chips takeaway . . . left Sally at home and drove to IHBs and had a go at sorting out some of his PC problems. I wasn't much help and absolutely couldn't get ANY sign of life out of his printer, no matter what I did!? Left IHBs and drove over to CCs using the directions I'd scribbled down from Yahoo/maps. Found the road ok but ended up wandering around in the rain in the dark failing to actually find her house before having to call her on the mobile. Gave her the 35 for the 10x50g packs of duty free Golden Virginia tobacco - somewhere around half the shop price I think. :o) Had a look at lots of their 'toys' and how fast their broadband connection is - it's fast. . . ended up driving home around midnight feeling kinda poor and rather down. . . TVd . . . to bed around 2am. (3/10)a
30 - Woken by Sally around 8am . . . walked and found 3p . . . another FHM magazine delivered in the post!? Rang the subscription number and got to the bottom of it - apparantly BW had paid for a years subscription for me in January!!?? Oh dear - very generous - but I do wish he hadn't! I think it's the sort of magazine that 'one of the lads/blokes' would get - and I'm most certainly NOT one of the lads or blokes, and never have been . . . plastered up the other wall in the outer alcove as heavy rain and thunder and lightening raged outside. Another messy disaster - although - 'slightly' better than the previous? So - quick - what did I do different?!!!! I guess it was less water than I have added to the mix of late, and I used an electric mixer attachment in my drill to mix it up better. Hmmm?. . . actually managed to persuade myself to wash and wipe all the dishes - took hours! . . . gone 2pm and just in the middle of cooking some chips when BH popped in for coffee for the first time in years! It was him who'd called yesterday. Nothing seems to have changed too much - him cruising around and wheeler dealing and such. I'm pretty sure I'm not the person he imagines I am - and never was. . . slept until evening . . . walked . . . BB called . . . TVd/PCd till early and then couldn't sleep! Saw 4:45am on the clock and lay there listening to 'blackbird singing in the dead of night'. (3/10)as
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