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30 - Woke at 5am and couldn't get back to sleep so got up!! I don't wish to seem ungrateful for all the good weather we've been having, but I sure could use it being cooler, just so I can get a decent nights sleep! . . PCd this with coffee and cigarettes for hours . .put the first coat of emulsion on the walls around the front door . . PCd and tried to sort out my car insurance. The renewal is due in a few days and the auto-renewal notice I've had from DirectLine is demanding a 25% increase over what I paid last year!!! Surfed a comparison website and came up with a bunch of cheaper quotes (even the cheapest was around 6% up on last year!?) before ringing directline in order to get them to explain how they could justify such an increase and in and attempt to persuade them to reduce the price. (Funny how their recent TV advert makes a big deal of them NOT appearing on any comparison website. Perhaps the REAL reason is they are NOT competitive!) Their cumbersom answering system announced they were receiving a high number of calls and I'd have to wait! I did - for over twenty minutes!! At length after being passed around and having to wait even longer, the best they would do was drop their price by £10 or so - which was STILL more than many of their competitors - so finally in disgust at being blatantly screwed like that, I cancelled the renewal and said I'd go elsewhere. (I wonder if their high number of calls was because many people were doing the same? The LONG phone call has cost me a bunch!) . . spent a lot of time looking out of the window watching the seagull chicks today! . . Mum called . . eventually went on line and 'signed up' with the AA who came out about the cheapest. All I want is the cheapest - the car's worth almost nothing and I really hardly ever use it any more. I'm 'almost' tempted to actually take it off the road altogether and save on the costs! :o( . during all this messing around I became increasingly convinced (something has been subtly 'amiss' for a few days) that my computer has become infected with something very nasty!!!!!!!!! I'm normally SO VERY careful, but something unexpected happened the other day while surfing (I 'think' to do with 'Sun Microsystems, Java') and ever since I've had a bad feeling things aren't right, DESPITE my fully up-to-date AVG antivirus software scans coming back ok. It wasn't long before it became obvious I WAS infected - with something?????!!! BUGGER!!! This is the last thing I have time for right now - and my old trick of swapping hard disks and re-installing everything as a last resort, really is no longer something I can actually do! (I've too much data I want to keep on too many hard disks to be able to quickly sort it all out - and some of the software I rely on is 'fragile' and only works because of various long ago discarded (no longer available?) updates and patches!) Damn damn damn damn damn! :o( . Wasted HOURS desperately going round and round in circles trying to find out what's going on - but really to no avail. Descended into a foul, foul, frustrated, hate the world mood. Having finally made the transition to on-line banking, and with SO many of my household bills now relying on the PC, this is a pretty dire situation. (How about the car insurance I just bought on-line - are my card details now 'compromised'?) This just highlights to me the fragility of the world we are all now living in. The more we ALL (must?) rely on the PC for everything - the easier it is for our whole world to fall into chaos at the click of a mouse! :o( . . despairingly left the PC running yet another FULL virus scan (takes around an hour!) and put another coat of emulsion on the walls around the door. That will do for THAT bit of wall! . . round and round in circles with the PC getting increasingly down! . . . ate mayo, lettuce, onion, grated cheese sandwiches with crisps . . napped until around 6:30pm . . PCd yet more and replaced my AVG software with the very latest version (9) and then set a scan going - again! Nothing I'm doing is helping!!! I wonder just how many people's machines are infected like this (or worse!), and they actually have absolutely no idea and just carry on regardless? It MUST be many thousands (or even millions worldwide?) - surely? . . eventually just HAD to give up and turned the bloody PC off in absolute disgust! . . TVd briefly before not wishing to have wasted almost the whole day, set about removing the curtains and old curtain track from the living room bay window. Moved a few things out of the immediate firing line (including removing my indoor outdoor thermometer) , put a couple of old sheets down as a token gesture, and then set about stripping off the thick textured wallpaper from JUST the length of wall either side of the windows. Ohhh myyyy god! Hardly unexpected but boy what a mess and lot of work I've now to do! I'd love to meet whoever it was who put up all that wallpaper - ontop of uneven walls, cracks, bare cement filler, flaking paint, etc etc etc!!! They MUST have been simply nuts. . disappointingly the 'reveals' up to the windows weren't actually timber here! They are pieces of plasterboard - broken, loose and rotted out in some small areas! That's a shame. I'm certainly not going to replace them before they come, so the window guys are just gonna have to work round all that. I may be able to 'firm' them up a bit. Apart from that - (so far) it was all pretty much the horror I've faced before, which I know I can 'make good'. Well - that's the next week or so all mapped out for me then. Scraping off old layers of paint and trying to plaster, fill and smooth the wall! :o( . .Scraped paint until around 10pm. . TVd amongst the mess. (A neat new series on a remarkable veterinary surgeon saw me get tearful) It's a whole new concept for me, getting into a 'building site mess', WITHOUT having to clear up at the end of every session with a dog in mind. . ate bowls of cornflakes before briefly PCing some more and then to bed long after 1am.
29 - Poor night sleep (woken at one point by the sound of rain. The seagull chicks first?) then up around 7:30am . . PCd this . . worked on the wall around the door. Sanded everything down and covered everywhere in white dust - again! Used a stanley knife and metal ruler to meticulously, inch by inch, cut-in the little 'detail' recess down the length of the rear face of the round edged reveal, where it meets the new plaster. After removing all the old wallpaper wherever I've done any work, this sort of little original detail has been revealed all around the house on ALL the wall corners and around all the window reveals, etc. They've always been in a bit of a mess and it's taken me ages to tidy them all up where I've found them, but especially given I'm into plain white walls everywhere, having that tiny little original detail makes quite a difference to the finished result in my opinion. Far better than just trying to cover them up. It wasn't until today that I think I now actually understand WHY they exist. Having plastered up to the rounded edge of the wooden reveal, as the plaster (and timber) dried and shrank, an inevitable rough crack in the plaster appeared right down the wall next to the timber where the two meet. By cutting in that little groove (literally the profile of the tip of a stanley knife blade run down perpendicular to the face of the timber) and re-exposing the 'roundedness' of the timber edge, the hairline crack is pushed down into the bottom of the groove and effectively just completely disappears. After a gentle sanding and a coat of paint, it just looks like a neat bit of detailing. How they used to do things before the advent of metal plaster skim/edge bead I guess? . anyway, that went ok-ish so it now looks like it originally did and 'almost' matches all the rest. The joining horizontal detail ABOVE the door was in a terrible mess and had to be laboriously 'rebuilt' along its entire length using a strong filler/PVA mix, the edge of the plastering trowel and a very steady hand. . left things drying (VERY hot in the house so only a few hours), got cleaned up and made ready to pop up the store for milk and a few supplies. Just as I was about to leave I spotted a woodpigeon in the garden, attempting to find relief from the heat. SUCH comical birds. All 'fluffed up', it was just sat in the water in the middle of the bird bath, half asleep! lol Hillarious sight. Raced for the camera but my movements at the window were spotted and saw it move, so I sadly missed the shot. :o( It really was quite uncomfortably hot and humid today. The blackbird relaxing on the front lawn for much of the day appeared to be feeling the heat a bit. lolol Both seagull chicks appear to be doing ok. . briefly popped up the store for some milk etc. Stopped by the builders yard on the way back and invested £6.26 on another litre of PVA . . opened a bottle and drank a glass of wine while cooking two cheeseburgers and chips around 2pm. I was just about to sit down and eat when the window guy called just wanting to confirm that all the windows had outside cills. ALL - yes. . ate . . napped but only managed an hour or so. Too hot for comfort. At least 25C. Can't sleep with the windows open - too much outside (Subaru exhausts and seagull) noise. . felt rather yucky but eventually recovered enough in some shade in the garden to return to the wall and sand down some more. Still a few areas that could be better, but I eventually figured enough was enough. Cleared up all the mess and vacuumed as much dust as possible before eventually slapping an undercoat on all the reveals/detailing - AND on some of the wall in an attempt to seal it, where indications are it's gonna do that weird 'staining through the emulsion' thing again. So - there we go. After a coat or two of emulsion on the walls, that's pretty much done with for the time being. It isn't as perfect as I'd aim for if I was just 'decorating', but it's certainly an improvement on what was there before (it could hardly be worse!) , and it is my hope that looking as good and sound and original as it does, it will 'encourage' the window guys to 'take care' when they fit the door, and give them something decent to 'join up to', AND minimise the amount of 'capping over to hide it' that will be required. It remains to be seen how much of all this work will have been for nothing and will be destroyed when they (somehow!?) tear the old door and frame out and cram in the new!! :o( I HAVE been careful not to join any of what I've done to the old door frame, and it IS possible to insert a hacksaw blade in the gap and run it ALL the way around between the two. . . TVd the evening away . . ate a whole pack of Mum donated fruit tarts! . . to bed around 1am. ds
28 - Woke at 5:30am, snoozed on then woken again by some post being delivered at 7:30am. .sunny and hot again. Coffee and cigarettes in the cool of the garden before PCing this briefly . . prepared and then plastered up the remaining bit of wall by the door (not very well as it turned out - but good enough) and then spent an absurd amount of time tending to associated bits and pieces here and there - sanding, gluing, filling, etc, etc - although admittedly spending as much time just looking at the plaster dry as doing it! It's pretty much 'just' a matter of lots of time consuming sanding down and multiple applications of filler to rebuild a bit of original looking recess detailing around the reveals now. With luck, it should eventually be good enough to simply paint over it all and leave it, pending the new door. Just one more small bit of the house 'sorted' and revealed from beneath the thick textured wallpaper that was poorly put up everywhere to cover all the roughness and untended problems beneath. Despite the lack of central heating and unusable fire in the kitchen (and especially the awful untouched bathroom with its multiple tile designs), I think overall the place has a much better 'immediate impression' and feel to it, and is generally now far more sellable than when I bought it. It's certainly more 'functional' in terms of all the power sockets and light switches I've put in (with maybe just a handful more to do - eventually). It's amazing how much of all that conduit I got for nothing, I've actually gotten through! I've only a couple of lengths left! . . ate mum donated salami and mayo rolls, crisps and chocolate . . napped late . . trouble waking up despite the alarm and didn't re-surface until around 8:30pm! Pointless bothering really - still felt SO tired, I just TVd the night away hardly moving. . ate a bit of mum donated cake and a banana before to bed around 1am.
27 - Back up around 9:30am, woken by next doors phone ringing at length . . the sea mist had burned back to full sun already. VERY warm (24 degrees C in the living room - lots more outside) as forecast. Far too hot to do anything much other than just sit around in the shade today I think - maybe watching plaster dry for a bit ? lol . . ok - so much for that plan! Couldn't face wasting the day and somehow ended up having a go at making the alterations to the bit of hall wall above the front door, to ultimately enable me to get a cable back through to the outside light - but this time, done 'properly'! Cut out a recess for a socket box (which will be for a fuse) and knocked out one of the rear holes making it possible to get a cable through to the outside light. The problem with this is, I'm not sure where the new door will end up - so it 'could' end up blocking the route I've made!!! If it wasn't for this uncertainty, I would have installed a piece of conduit from the back of the socket box, out through the wall to within inches of the light and had it all fixed in place and ready to go. Cut in a channel to take conduit up the short bit of wall, through the ceiling and up into the underfloorboards area of the computer room (which is where all the wiring proper will be done, to hook it up to the switch I put in the other day, etc, etc). LOTS of awkward, hot work, mostly with the drill but also a little with the disc cutter (face mask, goggles and ear protectors, etc). To cut a long story short, I somehow managed to get the socket box and conduit all rough plastered in place. VERY pleased (even if there is a big question mark hanging over it all, depending on what happens when the door is fitted!). Pushed on and even got the old timber reveal very firmly fixed back on the wall. There's still much to do, but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel (quite literally if you look through the hole at the back of the new socket box! lol). In fact, I can see that it's actually going to look a lot better than it did before, because of the removal of all the thick ugly cladding that had been put over all the old mess. It's 'almost' a shame I'm having the new door because the clean lines of what I'm going to end up with, after a bit more plastering and work (I fully intend to actually take things to the 'decorating stage' BEFORE the new door is fitted - but not actually 'finish' UP to the old door frame!), probably won't be possible with the new door in place! :o| It's all very worrying! . called it quits, cleared up and showered at around 8pm! A long hard days work! . . ate a Mum donated pizza and a banana . . the seagull chicks are still doing ok . . PCd this briefly, VERY ready for bed already! . .TVd and sat in the cool of the garden briefly before to bed at 11:30pm.
26 - Up at 6am . .PCd for over an hour catching up on the local newspaper-website articles. A recent (annual?) story about protective parent seagulls dive bombing people while protecting their chicks, had resulted in the usual flood of 'kill them/cull the vermin' comments from readers. So weird they don't see themselves as the agressive vermin that need culling! . .sat in the back garden for a bit, with coffee and cigs, in the cool before the heat, listening to the birdsong, etc. A stunning morning. VERY pleasant. Felt 'ok' . . pottered around doing laundry and cleaning up (dust on EVERYTHING!) just a little . . popped to the window to check on the seagull chicks on the garage roof opposite and - damn! I'd been completely wrong yesterday!!????? The mesh was all STILL there exactly as it was. How bizarre is THAT! Must have just been a trick of the evening light yesterday. (Or AM I going senile already?! Proves what they say about the unreliablity of eye witness testimony doesn't it!) And I was SO convinced it was gone - it really WAS completely invisible - even to the camcorder on zoom! The chicks 'chilling in the shade' must have been nestled RIGHT up against it! What a disappointment. So - back to worrying about them again! . .ate a banana . . sanded down a bit of the new plaster on the wall by the door, to improve the vertical and get it about as accurate as possible. Put what I hope will be the final skim of plaster on it, and made it as flat and straight as I reasonably could (more than adequate for covering over with the reveal timber). . did a little more sanding of the timber before putting an undercoat of paint on it out in the blazing sun in the garden . . Mum called in with food donations etc. Showed her the chicks video (and the amazing hummingbird and cat/crow pass alongs BB sent me) and both stood at the window watching them for a bit, before sitting in the shade in the back garden for ages with coffee chatting. Much of the time we were out there, we were accompanied by a big fluffed-up wood pigeon, who seemed content to just sit around for ages. It really does seem to be a 'time of plenty' for several species of bird at the moment. It's a joy to see them being able to take it a bit easy for a while. One particular male blackbird, flat on the floor in the blazing sun, with its wings spread wide and feathers all fluffed up, has almost become something of a 'fixture' on the parched brown lawn out front. It appears at least a handful of birds have come to rely on the birdbath out back for a drink, so I'm filling that up most mornings with a kettlefull of water. (That'll cost me - given our water bills!). . ate Mum donated chicken and stuffing slice rolls, crisps and some chocolate . . napped until around 6:30pm . . guitarred in the garden very briefly . . TVd . .ate a tin of meatballs in gravy with four pieces of bread and butter . . TVd but unless you're into sport or Glastonbury, there really was absolutely nothing else on worth watching AT ALL (even on the news channel)!! I DID attempt to force myself to watch a bit of the Glastonbury coverage, but it wasn't my choice of music and just felt like a chore. I'll never understand how SO many people can 'enjoy' all being herded together tike that! Utterly horrendous - and in this heat!!! What DID strike me from the coverage was the number of chinese lanterns being sent up into the sky. Half the fields of Somerset must be affected by their scattered remains! (I've seen a lot around here the last week or so too) . . TVd/PCd the night away until daylight (and a sea mist blanketing the town) before eventually tired enough for sleep - once again under just a sheet, as I have been of late. s
25 - Woken around 8:45am by the window guy calling the ansaphone. Called him back within minutes and confirmed the details of my door choice. Right - that should be that then. . the gull chicks were safely freely roaming the garage roof - destined to be sat there in FULL sun for most of the day - with something of a heatwave forecast for days! Incredible how they can survive. (There is another nest with at least one chick on a neighbours chimney stack, in FULL sun from dawn to dusk!) That's probably why they ended up trapped - they were seeking the shade of the gutter? Very anxiety inducing to watch them constantly patroling along the mesh, occasionally pecking at it! They really are liable to end up getting stuck again. . . put a lumpy, very rough 'blobb' of plaster down the wall next to the front door, in an attempt to make up a 'vertical' to aim for. Once that's gone off and hardened, I should be able to skim that bit of the wall one more time, and end up with it good straight and flat enough for mounting a reveal back on. . messed around in the garden with the rough old, door reveal timber, extracting all the old nails and sanding it down, etc. Applied a little glue and clamped a small split bit, and then laboriously filled all the holes, knocks and missing chunks with some filler/PVA mix. . around 2:30pm the postman called at the door - with my brass urn. Yayy. Phew - that's a relief. (According to the postmark - I have a strong suspicion it was only posted yesterday! lol) Turns out it IS actually pretty cheap (kinda as expected). Certainly nowhere near the quality of the little one I found. The screw top on the new one is very nearly useless, the threads are so poor! Got straight to work grinding away at it with my wet and dry paper. Took ages, and I can still 'just about' see where the engraving of the cats face was from a few stubborn little marks, but it polished up 'reasonably' well in the end. (The before and after photos I've included here, don't really do it justice because of the weird reflections, but I guess that's a good sign?) I may yet put more work into it to improve the finish still further. I am as yet undecided about whether or not I actually WILL put Sally's ashes in it, but if I do, suprisingly I think it WILL actually accomodate all of her ashes, despite it being LESS than 6" tall - when it was falsely advertised as 6.75"!!!! (I'm sure I don't actually have ALL of her.) . . sanded down the front-door reveal timber and applied just a dab more pva/filler here and there. A bit more sanding and some paint, and I think it's quite good enough to fix back in place (once I've squared off and smoothed down the wall with some more plaster) - and despite the window guy saying just leave it off, I think I AM going to put it back in place as soon as I can (if for no other reason, so I can plaster up to it and finish off the other adjacent face of the wall, where I've put in the new light switch box and conduits). . Called it quits for the day around 6:30pm and vacuumed just a little. . Hadn't checked on the seagull chicks for hours and when I did - hey presto, all the mesh had been removed some time during the day! Nice one. Good on the lady. She must have rushed out and got someone to do it! (Actually - I was mistaken - the mesh WAS still there! See tomorrows entry) The chicks were chillin-out in the shade beneath the guttering. :o) . . PCd a bit of this . . cooked and ate frozen pizza with extra grated cheese followed by a couple of bananas and chocolate . . TVd. Spectacular full moon rose into the sky from just behind the TV screen. . struggled to stay awake until early to bed at 11pm.
24 - Back up around 8:30am . .PCd over cigarettes and coffee (and yes - I'm afraid I DID end up watching the video - again!!!? Inspite of all its flaws - I am SO very pleased to have been able to produce that. It's SUCH a shame I'll never be an overweight rich person with an expensive motor boat to play with. If I was - I'd get great satisfaction from doing that 'committal at sea' service for nothing (accepting ANY amount of donation anyone cared to offer) - and I'd have the whole boat festooned with strategically placed cameras to record EVERYTHING for a keepsake DVD!) . . grabbed door brochures and stood out in the street trying desperately to make up my mind before walking a hot circuitous route to Mums, looking at everyones front doors as I went (stopping occasionaly to compare the brochure pictures to 'in-the-flesh' doors!) . . sat in Mums garden with her and sought HER opinion about what door would suit the house etc. Not really much help! Ended up both inside with coffee and biscuits - while watching the video - again!!! (Apparantly Mums watched it many times too! lol) Wow - it sure looked better on a 'proper' (Sony widescreen) TV! . . eventually returned home to kneel in the front garden with the brochure. Actually holding the pictures up at arms length and closing one eye enabled me to imagine things a little better. (If I had more time, I'd play cut and paste 'mock ups' with photos on the PC!) Eventually just got tired of the indecision and settled on one which I imagined would work, and then tried phoning the window guy. His wife answered. I attempted to explain my choice, but I was awful worried about 'chinese whispers' and wanted to confirm a couple of small details, so it was agreed she'd get him to call me back 'when he comes in' . . PCd a bit of this. God it's hot again! I SO need more sleep! . . ate ham, mayo, chopped spring onion and lettuce sandwiches with crisps, a banana and a little chocolate . . napped until around 5:30pm . . just pottering around and glancing out of the window at some point, I noticed a couple of new seagull chicks on the attached garage roof of one of the bungalows opposite. Very scruffy and cute and making that plaintive sound they do. I know they are there every year, but somehow they always seem to sit 'just' out of sight behind a huge hedge/tree (that's sadly why I never managed to make a video out of them). Hang on a minute - uhoh - something didn't look right! Grabbed the camcorder and trying to prop it still against the top bit of my living room window frame, zoomed in for a better look. Oh no! That isn't right!!!! The owner of the bungalow had long ago had some sort of plastic mesh strung on wires all along the top of the garage roof, immediately beneath the overhanging guttering of the main roof, in an attempt to keep the seagulls away and stop them nesting there. It never worked. Somehow those chicks appeared to have become trapped BEHIND the mesh! Ended up watching for ages and it eventually became apparant that WAS what had happened and they WERE stuck there unable to get back out. I kept watch for a LONG time (in the hope they COULD find their own way back out) and saw the parents on at least two occasions, descend onto the garage roof and regurgitate food for them (actually saw a whole small fish appear at one point!). The poor (starving/thirsty?) chicks couldn't get out to reach the food - so the parent ended up eating it again before flying off!!!!! :o( . . tried to call the window guy (who didn't phone) to get the 'door thing' squared away, but only got an ansaphone, so didn't. That's a day wasted then! . . did dish washing chores while frequently stopping in the middle of things to walk back into the living room to anxiously check on the (were they - still - really?) trapped chicks. Eventually finished dishwashing chores only to end up stood at the bedroom window trying to film a bit of the chicks. I couldn't help myself - I WAS going to have to go knock on the old lady's door and ask if I could sort them out - and in so doing I figured if I could show her some video on the camcorder screen, she'd see how cute they were and the predicament they were in, and be more inclined to let me try to free them. (Too many people REALLY dislike seagulls. I think the only thing wrong with seagulls is people!) . . called at her door and (once she'd figure out who the hell I was (i.e. 'the man with the German Shepherd'! - errr actually no, not any more I'm afraid. :o( I'm just the guy who lives opposite. The one you never see.)) showed her the clip and explained why I was being a nuisance. She wasn't exactly 'a fan' of seagulls, but thankfully she couldn't just stand by and ignore their suffering. She asked what we should do. "Should we call the RSPCA?" she said. lol. I asked if she had a ladder (if not - I'd have walked mine round!), at which she opened her garage to reveal a full length heavy old wooden one AND a very tall lightweight aluminium set of steps, all neatly hanging in a couple of home made wooden racks. EXCELLENT! In no time at all I was on the steps and then taking the single easy step up onto her garage roof (which I already laboriously checked from down below, WAS pretty solid). Bungalow roofs are SUCH a walk in the park. Keeping a VERY wary eye out for the chicks parents (I think one very large, sharp complaining adult on the main roof nearby WAS one!!!!) I quickly did a reconnaissance of the mesh and discovered several of the old metal supports for it had rusted away, enabling the wire and mesh strung on it, to swing inwards, which would have probably been how they pushed their way in. Trouble was - once in, the mesh would spring back like a trap door , trapping them in behind it - exactly what had obviously happened! Managed to usher the chicks along to one end so they had no escape and then managed to lift the wire and mesh and reach in and quickly grab one, and drag it out to be just plonked onto the expanse of garage roof next to me. That went well. The second chick was a little more feisty and was having none of it. It headed straight off up the other end of it's garage-length prison cell. There was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing along the length of the mesh, tapping with my fingers, before I finally managed to corrall it back at the other end where I could reach in once again. As I grabbed it, it 'screamed' a bit which was rather upsetting - but I soon happily freed it. Crept back along the garage roof towards the stepladder, desperately trying not to scare them into jumping off, which WAS a real danger! As a token gesture of thanks to the old lady, I couldn't resist quickly clearing a few handfulls of moss, plants and other debris from her rather full rainwater gutter. Tried to use the debris to prop the mesh up more securely, but that didn't really work, and the whole situation is unfortunately very likely to simply re-occur when those chicks go exploring again!!! :o( Returned everything to where it should be, thanked the lady and headed home to look out of the window some more. .within less than five minutes, one of the parents returned and regurgitated a much appreciated meal for them. Phew. Thank goodness for that. :o) Guess I'll be involuntarily looking out there first thing every morning - and at various other times - checking on them now!!! :o( . . tried to TV but - oh dear! This is starting to appear very 'unhealthy'! - ended up watching the committal video over and over - again!!!!!!!??????? . . LB called. Oh dear - she has YET more 'health concerns'!! :o( . . PCd a bit of this. Hmmm - no reply, as HAD been promised by the e-bay urn seller! :o( ffs . . actually - after having spent ages typing this, while going for a capture image of the chicks to use here, I figured what the hell and instead put in the time to knock up a bit of a video out of the tiny snip of footage I took. Uploaded it to Youtube around 1:45am. It's So simple - bet it gets a bunch of hits! lololol . . touched base with BB. . ate ham etc sandwiches again after 3am and then to bed around 4am. s
23 - Up at 6:45am. .PCd a bit of this before ending up watching yesterdays video SEVERAL times 'in the cold light of day'. I think it works - pretty damn well. . (Needless to say?) I WON'T be putting it on Youtube of course! . . PCd this until somewhere around 9:45am when the window guy turned up to measure etc. All very matter of fact, not at all phased by MY wall nightmare, etc, etc. He measured everything up and that was that, with the exception of me wanting a day to decided what type of front door I want (using his brochure as a guide). I may have to walk the streets looking at peoples doors! lol . He asked for aroundabout a 10% cheque deposit - which made me awful uneasy - but I guess it's a two way street with such things? Couldn't really expect him to order and have made, a bunch of windows etc without 'committing' to him in some way, financially. Wrote out a £450 cheque (leaving the £3K to pay)! First actual 'cheque' I've written in several years! . . just sat around doing nothing, needing to take it easy and just 'recharge' a bit . .PCd a bit and got round to mailing the e-bay urn supplier enquiring if he'd received my previous mail and asking when I'd receive the urn! I'm beginning to have a bad feeling about this! . . drank the last glass and maybe a little bit, from the bottle of wine, while cooking two burgers with mayo in buttered bread rolls and chips. . ate and then napped around 3pm . . woken after 7pm by Mum phoning and getting my ansaphone . came-to and then touched base with Mum. She'd spoken with Auntie B. They'd allegedly all watched the video I'd done and it had been - 'well received'. EXCELLENT. Makes a nice change to get some proper positive feedback about one! Prompted by the call. I ended up burning a DVD for myself and then watching it again on the TV in the comfort of the living room. . TVd a bit for only an hour before ending up watching the video yet again - and then again - and again, and again, and again!!!! Don't ask me what was going on in my head as I did so, but somehow I ended up watching it over and over until gone midnight!!!!!? Somehow every time I watched it, I had a completely different far ranging emotional 'trip' going on in my thoughts. The video/music just seemed to be a catalyst and very acceptable 'companion' whilst having all those thoughts. Hard to explain. Amongst MANY other things, I have the sense that in some strange hard-to-verbalise way, I witnessed and filmed quite a bit of 'love' on that day. Very strange evening. Poor neighbours - must have thought the 'needle had got stuck'! lol . . ate the remaining Mum donated cream with bowls of co-co pops . . pawed over the double glazing door brochure, completely UNABLE to decide what sort of door to have!? . . PCd a bit of this after 1:30am. Received a reply from the e-bay urn supplier. 'This item has been posted to you, I will get tracking deails out tomorrow and email you back'. I trust all is in order then - or does that suggest it's missing in transit? :o( . . grabbed some screen captures from the committal video and e-mailed them to Sis2 to 'keep her in the loop'. . touched base with BB before eventually to bed getting on for 4am as daylight grew in the sky. sd
22 - Up at 7:30am. .PCd this . the window guy called at 8:25am aplologising for not having called yesterday and said he'd probably call in tomorrow afternoon with brochures to discuss door styles, measure up etc. I mentioned the 'problems' I have with the wall and that I was doing 'repairs'. Nothing I said seemed to worry him in any way! Given that, and yesterdays 'works' had turned out 'ok', and everything was still drying out and hardening up, I decided that the pressure was off a little for the time being - and as th etime began to approach, reconsidered going out to have a look at Uncle Ts ashes committal set for 10am+. Coz1 was apparantly NOT going on the boat, and was allegedly going to sit on a particular seat by the Berry Head hotel and take photos of the exact location of the ashes/committal. I figured if a photo record like that was desireable (and I know from Mums reaction to some of the videos I made up of Dad after he was gone, that there IS a place for such records as part of the grieving process, even if they are seldom if ever looked at again in the future), then I really ought to give it a go with my camcorder. I also knew from Mums behavior in our recent conversations, that she really DID probably want to go watch, despite what she may have said (when I showed reticence). Eventually belatedly decided to go for it. . . called Mum and agreed to pick her up 'in minutes'. Charged camera batteries and such for as long as I dared and then raced around grabbing cameras, tripod and what I needed before jumping in the car and going to pick up Mum. .raced through town and luckily managed to get the car into the one remaining parking spot on the road just overlooking the end of the breakwater. Took up position by the seat overlooking the breakwater and everything, and got the camcorder all set up while scanning the entire marina looking for distant signs of possible related activity. Beautiful day. All sunny calm and blue with a gentle cooling breeze. It couldn't have been any better for it. . eventually spotted Coz1 (oh my god - it could almost have been Uncle TJ! He really IS the spitting image of him at times!) walking along past the breakwater hard, and shouted down to attract his attention. He briefly made his way up to join us for a while and let us know they were all gathering and would be making their way along the marina pontoons shortly. He gave us details about where he'd be during the actual committal, before he carried on his walk along to the location. . not long after, I managed to catch sight of Auntie B and the assembled group in the distance as they crossed the footbridge and began to descend down onto the marina pontoons, and started trying to film in ernest. . the boat they were aiming for was about as far away from land as was possible, and the long walk out there took them ages. Lost sight of them all on more than one occasion because they were SO far away and lost amongst all the clutter of masts and boats. Once on board they then apparantly had to have a little safety talk and don lifejackets etc. . at long last the boat headed out of the marina and set off out of the harbour and round the end of the breakwater, etc. Filmed for as long as I dared before then picking up the tripod and quite literally running as fast as I could, back to the car to quickly drive at dangerous speeds along to dump and leap out of the car, in the hotel car park. Left Mum to find her own way and raced off with the camera and tripod. Immediately spotted Coz1 near 'the seat' , and the boat just offshore right in front of him. Filmed as best I could (while Mum watched from 'the' seat) and miraculously 'just' about managed to get the 'money shot' - the 'actual' dropping of the 'sea urn' into the water. (A third of all local cremations involve taking ashes to sea. Sea urns are manufactured with the environment in mind. The tree bark used to make the paper is from the mulberry tree and is harvested in such a way that the tree continues to grow, undamaged. They float on the water for about five minutes, then sink and disintegrate on the sea floor within about 20 minutes.) Allegedly the boat thing (MV 'Encourager') IS a 'charity' , although negotiations are apparantly conducted over a 'suitable donation', which has been suggested to me 'can' amount to actually rather a lot (£££s)! Well - it IS a BIG EXPENSIVE motor boat, with two 'crew', and no doubt doesn't do much to the gallon - and the trip DOES include an after committal cruise around the bay. . leaving the camera on the tripod recording the boat going in circles at one point, I dashed off across the grass and exchanged words with a couple of dog walkers I'd not seen for ages, and let them know about Sally . .eventually the boat headed off across the bay, and that was that. Goodbye Uncle TJ. :o( It's not my choice, but I have to admit - for a 'seagoing' person, it WAS a rather cool way to be scattered - with nice seats and the hotel patio for drinks and coffee right nearby for the bereaved to come and spend time in reflection, etc. Yeah - not bad at all. . . dropped off Coz1 on the way, then both returned home for a coffee in the back garden before heading into the computer to transfer video files, and see what I'd actually managed to capture of the mornings proceedings. Turned out I'd captured just enough to actually be able to 'do' something with it. I certainly hadn't intended to, but the more of the footage I reviewed, the more it seemed 'appropriate' to actually put in the effort to make a 'suitably edited MUSIC video' of it!! Oh dear - I can feel hours and hours of 'hard labour' coming on!! . 'encouraged' Mum quickly out of the door to walk home and then set about trying to make a suitable video out of the footage - set to three different music tracks. Acker Bilk's 'Stranger On the Shore' for the group 'preamble' out through the marina to the boat (actually downloaded from YouTube because I didn't have it in my collection!); Louis Armstrong's 'Its A Wonderful World' as the boat exited the harbour and headed out across the sunny blue bay. (Both those tracks were used during the recent funeral service - so that seemed right);finally the Brixham Male Voice Choir singing 'My Heart Will Go On' (extended slightly with difficulty) for during the actual ashes committal. As always during my video editing thing, I got 'emotionaly involved' with the subject during the process, and I have to confess to being brought to tears on MORE than one occasion as the results unfolded and I had to keep on playing it over and over and observe all the little details!! Hard to keep working through bleary eyes! . at some point the window guy phoned and brought forward his proposed visit to tomorrow morning . . The video editing/build took ALL the rest of the day, non stop (constant chain smoking and coffee drinking) until around 7pm before I eventually ended up with a rough but watchable video concept. Touching base with Mum on a couple of occassions to get/check details of this and that during the process, I let her know I had a working concept and she popped back down to view it. (I needed a second opinion - to make sure it was 'ok' and in appropriate taste, and not liable to be in any way taken as a bad thing, etc, etc!) She seemed to think it was lovely and said she'd have loved to have had it if it was her/dad etc. . put in more time (after having had to delete a bunch of old precious videos to free up hard drive space!) and at length by around 9:45pm had a copy committed to a DVD. Raced down to proof watch it on the TV/DVD player. Good enough methinks. :o) Burned and labelled a whole bunch of copies (for everyone who would maybe be interested) and then raced out of the house around 10:15pm, dropped one off at Mums and then raced down to pop the rest through Coz1s letterbox. He's gonna be leaving town and resuming his life on Thursday, so I figured if I could get them to him today, it'd give him time to distribute them if/as appropriate before he leaves - also, given the mess I'm in in the house, and the window guy coming tomorrow etc etc - I just needed to get the whole thing wrapped up and done-with TODAY! . felt really weird being down town at night - and especially 'alone'. I didn't like it! . . the lights were still on at Coz1s so I knocked at the door and with little more than a couple of words, handed over the envelope of DVDs and carried on my way. Phew. Thank god that's over and done with! . hot sweaty, staggering around a bit because of lack of food, being a bit 'ill' along the way (too much chain smoking!), I eventually made my way up to BGdns to collapse and recover a bit on one of the seats in the cool dark. Well - so much for my 'heart/lung/chest-pain' health concerns! After a day of only coffee and cigarettes, and after all that racing around and the final 'run' down town and then the climb back up to the seat - I really should have had a heart attack along the way if I was going to! Sat there for ages (and another cigarette of course) before feeling sufficiently recovered to eventually head back home (actually unable to walk a straight line on the way like I was drunk!! Lack of food I think!) . . found an 'England' car flag in the road on the way back which I figured I'd hang on to - until such time as an occasion arises to make use of it, which doesn't in any way involve overpaid losers playing silly games!. . eventually home around 11:30pm . . finally ate corned beef, grated cheese, mayo and lettuce sandwiches, crisps, a banana and some chocolate while TVing around midnight. . exhausted to bed around 1am.
21 - Up around 7:45am. . .phoned the window company and said I wanted them to do the work. A woman answered the phone and said the guy would call me back this afternoon. He didn't! . . reluctantly back to work on the wall by the door. .Mum called after having spoken with auntie B asking if I wanted to attend UncleTJs 'ashes scattering' tomorrow. I say 'scattering' but what is actually happening is his ashes are being comitted to the sea! I had no idea such a thing existed (until I was told/shown at the funeral the other day) but apparantly the ashes are supplied back in some sort of bio degradeable/disolvable 'packet'. A local motor cruiser (charity?) takes a small party out into the bay and the packet/ashes are put overboard and committed to the sea. 'I' didn't think it really my place to be there for that, and up to my eyeballs in collapsing wall horror, I told Mum I wouldn't be going. . plastered the lower conduit in place from the switch box to under the floor. Had difficulty motivating myself to carry on, and sat around watching plaster dry for an unhealthy amount of time! Eventually somehow got going again and moved furniture around in the computer bedroom, lifted a floorboard and then set about trying to run in the conduit from the switchbox UP to under the floor. Thankfully managed to cut the channel up the wall with the disc cutter, without any more of the wall collapsing, thanks only no doubt, to the bit of 'emergency' cementing I'd done yesterday. Much dust in the house again. So much in the hallway at one point, I quite literally could only see a foot or so in front of my face! Had to stop work and go and disconnect the smoke alarm which went off. Eventually had the conduit plastered in place. What a relief. So - it's now 'just' (!!!) a case of bit by bit trying to load up the wall with layers of cement, to build it all back out to where it's supposed to be and try and make it all level and straight etc, etc. Difficult job . . cleared some of the mess and tools and vacuumed as much of the dust as I could . putting the floorboard back down in the computer room, one of the screws snapped off half way in! That's a bugger - and is gonna be quite a little job to attempt to rectify. :o( That'll have to wait for some other time . .showered. Felt really very unwell (actually for much of the day - again!) and really had no choice but to just go lay down for a bit around 5pm. (I don't wish to seem melodramatic - but - I've had a growing suspicion/conviction of late that my unhealthy lifestyle is catching up with me. There seems to be someything 'going on' in the left side of my chest. Intermittant needle like pains and discomfort. If I was anyone else, I'd probably be giving up smoking and going to the doctor for X-rays and cardiograms and such! I am NOT anyone else. . They ended the funeral the other day by playing Louis Armstrong 'Its A Wonderful World' music. That didn't 'work' for me. I've never found it to be so - thanks to humanity!) Couldn't sleep and ended up getting back up within the hour. . cooked three bacon, eggs and chips and ate . . eventually dared to mix up a bunch more cement/PVA mix and applied it to the wall by the door up until almost 9pm. . Mum called again asling how things were going and confirming I wasn't going tomorrow . . PCd briefly. I'm really starting to wonder if - um - I actually exist! The window guy didn't call - the urn I ordered (and paid for) has STILL not arrived - all the recent e-mails I fired off haven't resulted in a single word of acknowledgement! Humph. .. TVd . .ate Mum donated strawberries and cream . TVd until bed at 11:30pm.
20 - Up around 7am. Clear blue and sunny again. .sat around before eventually mustering the courage to have a look at the loose old cladding and right hand reveal and wall around the front door. It was clear there was something 'not good' going on under there, and with a new door looming some time in the future, I figured it was high time I got to the bottom of it. No way was I prepared to just leave it in the hope the fitters of the new door would somehow miraculously rectify whatever was going on beneath. Aside from that, there was also the issue of the outside porch-light cable. The wire had simply been brought up through a hole in the floor of the hallway OVER the skirting board, and then disappeared behind the loose bit of cladding that ran up the side of the door - to the poorly positioned switch up the wall and then somehow emerged by the outside light. That's all needed re-routing and doing properly since before I moved in! Even if I'd decided to just leave everything for the window/door guys to discover and work around, at the very least, it would be absolutely necessary to disconect the power from that cable while they worked.
I really should have tackled all this LONG ago!
removed the thin bits of timber cladding to find the original timber reveal beneath, in a poor state and LOOSE! - together with the cable for the outside light roughly nailed to the top of it, before disppearing in and out of the wall (through a bit of plastered-in plastic carrier bag!!) into the switch!!!!!!!!
Two clout nails actually THROUGH the wire!!!! Bloody hell!!!! Death trap!
Under the floor to disconect the power to the light and then just pulled the wire down through, to be thrown away at a later date. Disconnected the old redundant wire from the light outside but was unable to pull it through so just ended up having to cut it off. No matter what - it's gonna be difficult to get a cable back to that!! Any attempt to do so will probably now have to wait until AFTER a new door is fitted! It may well be not worth the risk of damaging a new door frame!
HAD to remove the old loose reveal timber - only to find collapsing rubble and carrier bags holding the wall together beneath again!!! SHIT!
Drilled out a new recess for the outside lightswitch box (a couple of inches lower than the original, to match all the rest of the switches I've done throughout the house). Used the disc cutter to chase a groove down the wall for conduit to go under the floor. My idea for that switch is to have conduit go down under the floor, AND more go UP to the ceiling and under the bedroom floor. If I can do that, dropping DOWN under the floor it'll make eventual wiring of some much needed garden/path lights pretty easy (I've already put in a spare socket box for a fuse on the small stub wall, with exactly that in mind), and going UP make an eventual attempt at getting a cable back through to the porch light 'somewhat' less of a big nightmare task.
The whole corner piece of the wall fell off!!! Bugger!!! There goes my guide for where the existing reveal was!!. .
Everything was so loose and falling apart, I had no choice but to abort trying to put the conduit in the wall and instead, rough plastered the switch box into the wall and then put a little cement here and there trying to firm things up and starting the LONG job of trying to build it back up/out to take the reveal in its original position. This is gonna take days of work!!!! I really don't want to delay organising the new windows, so concentrating on getting the wall built back out just so I can re-instate the old wood reveal is increasingly urgent!
My own private little nightmare - AGAIN! Dust everywhere!! :o(
What on earth would the window guys have done if they'd revealed all this I wonder? Just capped over it all and hidden it I bet? How on earth they are going to remove the old door and fit a new one without half the walls around collapsing (including the work I'm now doing!) is beyond me! :o(
Called it quits for today and
cleared up a little around 8pm . . showered . . drank a glass of
red wine while cooking a Mum donated pizza . . ate . .TVd . . to
bed before midnight. d
19 - Up around 9:45am, headachey. . .guitarred in the garden a bit. Didn't bother going down to see the trawler race. The sounds of all the hooting horns were plainly audible in the distance. . .exchanged a few brief words with a neighbor, quickly cut down a bit of a tree that's been growing up in an inappropriate place in the hedge between us, then left him my loppers to borrow to do more of his. . . Mum called in for chats etc. Headachey and tired, I really wasn't in the mood. Same old stories, over and over - always!! :o| . . ate Mum donated chicken and stuffing rolls, crisps and chocolate. . napped . . popped up the store for milk. On the way back through the deserted industrial estate I was repeatedly dive bombed by a seagull! Jeeze - it 'almost' made contact with my head the first time it did it! I felt it!! Actually quite worrying. Just raising my hand above my head as I walked, seemed to put it off enough to keep a safe distance between us during it's subsequent swooping 'bombing runs'! . (spotted a notice on a 'unit' suggesting that window-quote-company-number-1 is is shut down on a two week family holiday! I guess that's why they haven't sent me a quote? That's gonna cost them the work.) . . sat around/PCd this . . TVd . . ate Mum donated chicken and stuffing rolls with spring onion and lettuce, crisps and chocolate. . to bed around 1am. sa
18 - Up around 7:45am . . PCd a bit . . sat in the garden for a bit. Sunny and VERY warm. . trimmed my hair, beard, etc . . sorted through the old clothes I'd finally brought down from mums the other day and made sure they were still wearable. . dug out my ironing board, and once I'd eventually managed to find my iron, ironed a shirt! First time I've done that in quite literally YEARS!! Many years in fact! I just never wear stuff that needs ironing any more - or if I do wear something that really 'should' be ironed, I've no reason to bother doing so. .in the middle of steam-ironing my white shirt, I got a phone call from - wait for it - the BBC!!!!???? Huh? Turned out they were just checking that I had no objection to them 'perhaps' making use of some of the 'seagull eating a plastic bag' footage I took. They'd got a copy and my details from the MCS, and suggested they may make use of it on one of their 'One Show's which will be featuring an item on the MCS beach cleanup thingy. I was of course delighted that it may be of use (and YET again made it clear I make no copyright type 'claim' to the footage, and have no objection to it being 'appropriately' used wherever by whoever - although I would like to know where, if it is.) I did remark in the conversation, because of the disturbing and upsetting nature of the footage, I was rather suprised they would want to air it on national TV - and especially 'The One Show'! (I think I actually said "after all, it's a bit much to stomach - no pun intended"!) The guy on the phone suggested they'd probably just use a small snip, and then a cut and voice-over type thing saying 'you can guess what happened next'! If it actually happens - he suggested it would be on-air aroundabout Friday 17th September. Well - lets hope so. Lets hope that bird's agonising slow death will have been for 'something' - no matter how ultimately ineffectual! . finished ironing my shirt and tie and then polished a pair of covered in dust, not worn for years, 'proper' shoes, dug out from deep at the back of the cupboard under the stairs. . dragged the extension lead down the garden and set about vacuuming out the car! All full of bits of rubble, dust and Sally hair, getting in that all dressed in black would not have worked out well for either me or Mum! . . wasn't at all hungry (actually quite uptight) but figured I MUST eat something, just to make sure my stomach didn't start making loads of embarassing empty growling noises during the service later! . . ate a bowl of rice concoction, two pieces of bread and butter and a bar of chocolate. . eventually got all dressed-up in my long ago charity-shop bought 'Men In Black' outfit. Looked ok I think. Haven't dressed up like that and worn a suit and tie etc since Dads funeral! It all felt very unnatural and - um - 'fragile' (all too easily ruined). Too hot for such an outfit really - but I'm a bit old fashioned when it comes to the ritual of a funeral, and couldn't envisage wearing anything else. .drove to pick up Mum around 2pm and then headed for Uncle Ts 2:30pm funeral service. . . /felt kinda like 'the end of the 'Joneses - proper'' . Grandma and her sons. End of an era. / . . I'm not sure how many funerals it takes before you just kinda get used to them. I haven't seen that many. Still all emotionally 'open' regarding my own 'stuff', and very affected by seeing the distress of some of the immediate family (ALL unobtrusively 'observable' from our seating position!), I was unable to prevent myself from shedding some tears here and there!! Embarassing. . . . (a recently retired neighbour, as I'd suspected from things I'd seen, HAD got himself a part time job at the funeral place. He couldn't stand the 'boredom' of retirement. There he was all ready to drive the family back in the limo! lol Had a brief chat, and let him know why I was there - and that I'd recently lost Sally, etc.) . neither Mum nor I relished the prospect of the after service 'do' . The 'socialising' bit!! <shudder!> (Mum WOULD have if 'the widow' had appeared to need support - and of course I would have if Mum had wanted to - but it didn't appear at all 'necessary'.) We said a few awkward goodbyes and quickly headed home - 'safe'. Returned with Mum to sit in my garden for a cuppa and chats (once I'd immediately changed back in to comfy sweat shirt and combat trousers. Ahhhh). . . almost managed to have a short thirty minute nap before being woken by the ansaphone taking a call - and then couldn't get to sleep . . TVd the whole evening away feeling uptight, restless and wanting to escape (me) - as usual! . . ate the last of the rice concoction with chips . . TVd . . PCd a bit of this . .touched base with BB . . TVd/PCd until bed after daylight.
17 - Woke at 5:25am, snoozed on then up around 7:15am feeling really rather unwell with back and/or chest pain!! . . annadin for breakfast . . PCd this for ages . . eventually mustered what it took and walked up the road and knocked on the door of the house which has had double glazing and a conservatory and roof done by the window guy who's given me a quote. Did my bestest, polite 'mr nice guy' act (which although an act (as everything is when I have to interact with 'people'), IS actually pretty much a slightly laboured reflection of what really IS beneath my 'weird' exterior) and explained why I was there. Eventually the woman even invited me in to have a look around! (Risky! I WOULD make a good con-man. SO easy, when you've spent your whole life 'acting' your parts! lol) Wow - nice, much altered/extended place. They've got some money! Suffice it to say, the woman had not a bad word to say about the window company. They came when they said they would and they did the business. It all looked pretty good. I confirmed in joking she wasn't a relative of the window guy, and then further joked, she was a better salesman than he was, as I left. . popped round the store for some supplies on the way home . . forced myself out and walked down town to tour charity shops. Bought a couple of slim, hard glasses cases for £1 in a charity shop. . they didn't mean it in a bad way, but the women in a charity shop who always used to give Sally treats and cooo over her, remarked on how 'bad' I looked (without her)!!! lolololol No arguing with that I guess. Does it really 'show' that much?! . . walked back via the harbour (had to witness a guy clubbing a fish to death he'd just caught!) and eventually BGdns for a sit and a cigarette beneath the roof. (Broken tiles on the floor indicated yobs had been vandalising YET more of the still unrepaired/rotting-as-a-result roof recently!) . . ended up chatting to an old, OLD looking guy who turned up walking a gorgeous young, excited by everything, labrador puppy dog. He'd been married for fifty years - and lost his wife in November. It'd been hard - and he'd decided to get himself a dog again. Seemed like a good move. :o) Somewhere to put the 'love with nowhere to go'. Made me feel a bit jealous. Funny how I was able to genuinely engage in conversation about his loss etc, hopefully without appearing - um - condescending or flippant. 'It's a year of firsts' he said. The first Spring without, the first flowers in the garden without (and 'she' did all the flowers), etc, etc. I understood what he meant perfectly - and felt for him greatly. THAT sort of a conversation I have time for - especially when having the opportunity to simultaniously stroke a tail wagging (peeing a bit with excitement) puppy! I imagine the dog WILL outlive him, but he'd considered that. His sons family had land up north (and had recently lost both their dogs to old age) and were eager to meet the new 'family member'. It all made me feel soft and slushy. I eventually had my last 'go' on his puppy and bid him farewell. He said he'd maybe see ME around - WITH another dog! Hmmmm!!! :o| . . briefly returned Mums ansaphone call and touched base. .touched base with Sis1 and suggested 'the family' may wish to consider delaying their departure on Saturday - because I think it's trawler race day and 'I' think it's worth (them) taking a look at the spectacle - especially considering the current fantastic weather. . drank wine while PCing this . .cooked a big pot of long grain rice, chopped bacon, turkey and onion, frozen peas, a tin of chicken soup and just to get it out of the way and not waste it - a two years past the sell-by date tin of condensed mushroom soup (actually bought by BB when she was here I think - maybe even back in Bristol!!!!) . .ate a huge dish full with bread and butter rolls and then a little chocolate. Too much! . . . napped . . sat in the garden and then watered a few plants with water from the butt . . TVd/PCd. Ended up involuntarily surfing dog rescue sites yet again!! In the abscence of an e-mail address to contact, somehow ended up phoning a local-ish German Shepherd Rescue Centre co-ordinator person!! I keep seeing the same dogs on the site, and simply wanted to find out if it WAS actually updated to show the real situation, or if other dogs were going through the system without appearing on it. Somehow ended up having quite a long conversation!!! Suffice it to say, the site DOES pretty much reflect reality. Ended up asking - although I may not seek to have a rescue dog from them, would it be possible to have a 'home check' done (as is required by them for re-homing), 'just in case'. Got an e-mail address from her and fired off my details, for them to maybe do whatever it is they do. I have to admit - perhaps unwisely, I included a link to here in my mail!!!!!!!!! (That'll probably guarantee they run a mile and won't get back to me! Humph!) . I'm not in any great hurry particularly, and despite always saying I'd never have another dog after Sally (because I'd put SO much into having her and was exhausted by it) - I think I have to accept that sooner or later, one way or another, I AM most likely going to attempt to build a partnership with another (assuming my own health allows!). Looking back - I can hardly believe I had the 'nerve' to get Sally. I don't know HOW I did it! (Was it the prozac?) Perhaps I just have a better idea now of actually what it means and how much it'll take and how enormous the decision is. It's HUGE - for me. I'm not one of these weird people that seems to take a dog on, then just throw it away if they get pregnant or develop an allergy, or some such even more trivial reason. For me it's more like an old fashioned 'marriage'! For richer for poorer, in sickness and in health - till death DO us part! . somehow ended up watching just a bit of some of the old videos of Sally - and having a good cry as a result. Why not - figured it'd be a good thing if I was all cried out before going to tomorrows funeral!!!! . . just for the hell of it, I knocked up and fired off a couple more e-mails. I'd bumped into details on the net of a woman who I believe was the original breeder of Sally! The details were ambiguous and suggested she'd moved a couple of times and maybe got married, so I fired off mails to two different e-mail addresses on the offchance maybe one would reach her. I just figured - if I was her and I'd reared loads of puppies over the years, it would be really quite interesting to suddenly get an e-mail out of the blue ten years down the line, letting you know all about the life of one of those puppies and the weirdo who'd owned it and how deeply loved it had been, where it had ended up, youtube videos, journal photos, etc, etc. Who knows? . . . ate a bowl of rice goo and rolls again followed by a couple of chocolate mini rolls . . to bed around 2am. asd
16 - Awful disturbed/broken sleep and then back up at 9:15am . . PCd . . Sis1 called from Mums to say she was there. . popped up in the car for a cuppa and chats in the sun in the garden. . Ate Mum made ham sandwiches, pickled onions and crisps . Sis1 was all up for me going with them both to see the rest of the family over in Paington in their holiday apartment. I'm sure it appeared terribly insulting - but I just couldn't face doing so, and have reached a point in my life where I'm no longer prepared to force myself to, just because I perceive I'm supposed to, to keep everyone else happy. :o( Even with family - I just couldn't bear the prospect of being around 'people' - being 'trapped' there, and HAVING to engage in 'trivial' conversations about stuff that has abolutely no relevance or 'meaning' for me - only to ultimately return home feeling utterly worthless and s**t, despite having made all that effort!!!! :o( . . . eventually loaded all the clothes (funeral outfit?) I'd left in a cupboard at Mums for the last few years, into the car and returned home. . not sure what it was about the normal inncocent conversations we'd had, but somehow I ended up returning home feeling more down and hopeless than ever! There's something about hearing about other people just getting on with their lives, and finding some 'enjoyment' in them, which seems to always make me feel SO much worse and my unique situation so utterly hopeless. SO - 'frustrating'! I'm fully aware that with the house I have, in the position it is - and overall, the unique position that 'I' am in generally, I really AM so very, VERY lucky. Plenty of people would give their right arms for what I have - and yet the one thing which has consistantly eluded me throughout my entire life is the ability to actually feel just SOME contentment and happiness. I SHOULD be able to feel that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone else seems to - even in much worse cirumstances!! I'm almost fifty for christs sake - and yet still seem to carry all the angst of an immature child - and a deep, underlying, pervasive 'discontent' and overwhelming despair!!! Am I really gonna spend the few years I have left, ALWAYS feeling this way and NEVER experiencing - 'peace'? In fact - it seems as the years pass by, this feeling is getting worse and more pressing, and I'm kinda losing 'my grip' on it (particularly of late of course)! What the hell AM I supposed to do? What's it gonna take? I just don't know. I really just don't know. :o( . . received the written quote for the windows in the mail, from the guy who'd phoned yesterday. He DOES seem 'hungry' for the job. I like that - although of course it 'could' be a sign of exactly the company to avoid! Who knows? How are you EVER supposed to tell? All this 'quotes' nonsense really IS just crystal ball gazing isn't it! Can't understand why quote-company-No.1 hasn't been able/hasn't bothered to do the same as promptly? Really irritating just sitting around waiting on them like this. I fail to understand why I ALWAYS seem to end up encountering such behavior EVERY time I am forced to seek contact with 'people'. I'd have loved to have been self-employed at something somehow - but I guess if I ever had been, I'd have probably worked myself to death years ago, attempting to maintain my (impossible (for everyone else)?) standards. . . napped through the phone ringing (Sis1 threatening to pop in with family - but she didn't) until around 7pm. .tried to return her call and left a message for Sis1 . . guitarred just a little and TVd . . Mum called to touch base later than usual after 10pm? I think she just needed to share her joy and excitement with - 'someone'. She was apparantly sat in her darkened kitchen (incredibly still 'quite' light out) watching a couple of hedgehogs foraging around her garden, drinking from the birdwater tray, and picking up the bits of cheese and peanuts that remained from the deluge she throws out there for the birds throughout every day. Nice one. Jealous. :o) There HAS been a suggestion from some poop, that I 'may' have had some visit my gardens both front and back, but I've never seen them. . . ate Mum donated chocolate, a pack of mini cheddars, pastry slice and strawberries and cream . . back to bed just before 1am. s
15 - Back up at 9:30am, too awake (and sunny) to sleep, and too tired to do anything. . PCd this - and 'you know what' again, ALL morning!!!!!!! . received a call from the window company asking if I was still 'clear' for their sales visit tomorrow!? Well yes- that's what we arranged isn't it? They sure know how to put me off! . . dared to go on e-bay and spent a wadd of cash! Why not? What the hell does it matter? Nothing much does right now, or for the forseeable future, the mood I'm in! :o( Spent £32 on a 'medium' sized pet cremation urn (6.75" tall, in the full knowledge it WILL be too small for ALL of Sally's ashes), in the hope that I would be able to do a similar 'grinding' job on it - to remove the brushed brass finish and 'etched' CAT FACE it comes with!!!!!! Ewwwww! lolol If it doesn't work out, I guess I could let LB have it maybe. She admitted on the phone the other day to having more than one lot of cats ashes stored beneath her bed! I've found nothing else anywhere, which comes close in terms of size/price/finish, so I figured it's worth a shot - just to get the absurd idea/obsession which I just CAN'T get out of my head, FINALLY layed to rest!! . . . One thing worthy of mentioning aroundabout now, which I don't believe I've really remarked on before - and perhaps I shouldn't because it'll make me look like a nutter! Hard to explain - and I'm not going to go into 'too' much embarassing detail - but kinda 'psychologically', ever since my 'breakdown' back when I worked for the post office, I occasionally/infrequently 'allowed' myself to counjour with a character/piece of mental imagery, which 'some' with such beliefs would suggest was - dare I say it - a spirit guide!!!!! EEEk!!! lol I don't go for all that hocus pocus of course, and yet there WAS something about this imagery which really did seem somehow 'independant' of me in some way! I EVEN had a name for him!! On the rare occsions (usually in VERY dark times!) I 'allowed' myself to think 'in that direction', the character would briefly 'spontaneously/instantly' be imagined in such an unexpected way as to force a smile, even through tears. BELIEVE me - this is NOT as crazy as it sounds!! lololol Anyway - the reason I mention it here? I have recently found the character/piece of mental imagery is no longer present to be called upon. That, I find - 'unsettling'. A commentary on my 'broken spirit' perhaps? Make of all that what you will! :o| Nurse? NURSE! lololol . . at 13:45pm the damned window company called again, this time saying there'd been a hickup with their appointments diary for Wednesday and they were wanting to reschedule. Right - that's it! They can f*** off! I told them not to bother and no thanks. FFS! 'Europlas' by the way. :o( . .How bizarre! Seconds later, just as I was typing this and typing 'they can F off', the phone rang again! This time it was from quote company number 2 actually giving me his price (for the whole front of house)! £3,450. I resisted saying 'ok, just do it'. I really should wait a little longer and see what company-number-1 have to say. If they delay - I'm just gonna go with this guy - and repent at my leisure.. . . right - how much wine do I have left? Three bottles left so opened one and drank a glass of red while cooking a Mum donated pizza and watching Star Trek on TV! Ate . . napped - eventually until almost 7pm . . returned Mums ansaphone call re Sis1 visiting tomorrow . . TVd the evening away. .ate a bowl of Mum donated strawberries and cream with MUCH sugar . . PCd after midnight. Received an e-mail from the urn company asking if I wanted any engraving done on it (because free engraving was apparantly part of the deal, and I'd not requested any). Damn - hate it when things are delayed like that. Replied saying no thanks - as plain as possible please - and even minus the cats face would have been preferable (although I'm sure sadly THAT is NOT negotiable)! . . PCd much of the night away again before eventually to bed around 3am or later. d
14 - Up at 8am. . PCd . . mum called with details of when and where for Uncle Ts funeral on Friday. :o( . . somehow PCd all morning until almost midday - and yes, much of that time WAS spent looking at dogs again!! :o( . . sat around feeling miserable and tearful! I seem to have gone a bit 'backwards' of late, in terms of my trying to get over Sally. :o( I need to avoid looking at all those dog adverts! . . desperately tried to force myself to do something and ended up quickly fitting the 'new' toilet roll holder to the bathroom wall and removing the old. It just so happened there was a timber upright in the stud wall, pretty much near to where one needed to be, so it was just a case of put the screws in and hey presto - that'll do. Removed the old and just roughly filled the screw holes with some filler for the time being . . ate corned beef and mayo sandwiches, a bag of mini cheddars and some chocolate . . took a LONG nap through until around 7pm! (Woke from another 'running around looking and calling for Sally' dream! :o( ) . . TVd/sat around, feeling pretty down and dire! . . ate a couple of Mum donated buttered buns . . TVd/PCd the night away until daylight again. Yes - I WAS drawn to surf dog adverts for some of that time. It's like an unhealthy addiction! I don't think there are 'that' many (on rescue sites at least) I haven't seen now. Every search I do seems to come up with already visited links, and now 'familiar' dogs!! Many only re-home in their immediate locality, so would be out of the question anyway. Amongst few other things, I've begun to realise that what is probably holding me back from 'seriously' considering getting another some time (if not right away!), is the money - the possibility of not being able to meet the expense of possible future health problems. :o( I WAS so VERY lucky with Sally. With hindsight, she really wasn't 'far' off perfect you know. Unrealistic to expect anywhere near that from another. . . eventually to bed at actually getting on for 5am!
13 - Up at 8:30am. . sunny again . Mum called at 9am to let me know Uncle T had died last night. :o( . . we weren't in any way close - but I found myself crying nonetheless. . .PCd this . .as I'd suspected may happen, the dead grass snake was still laying in the middle of the lawn, avoided by everything. Unceremoniously dumped it in the overgrowth up alongside the lane. . sat in the garden in the sun for a bit, yet again unable to muster the energy or enthusiasm to do anything. Popping back into the living room at some point, I was once again confronted by the green enamelled keepsake urn I found last year, in which I've put some of Sally's hair. It's a nice shape, but god I SO hate that speckley green part enamelled finish. It's just SO not me. I've been long since dabbling with the idea of maybe having a go at removing the enamel and just trying to smooth it all off and polish it. Despite me having 'picked it up' for nothing, the fact that it's sold for an extortionate £30 has been putting me off having a go, lest I should make a mess of it. Well - somehow I figured I'd dare to experiment with just the screw on top while sat out in the garden. I reasoned that even if it didn't go well and I made a mess of the top, the design would maybe allow me to get away with it. Dug out my collection of different grades of old wet and dry abrasive paper, and set about laboriously rubbing the top down by hand!! Took ages but actually went ok. So well in fact, I decided to risk pushing on with the rest of it (after having carefully removed Sally's hair with a pair of tweezers and put it all safely in a wine glass!). It took MANY hours to remove all the enamel and polish out the four circular lathe marks and the few odd dings I found beneath the enamel, but by around 3:30pm I'd accomplished my goal. (Would have only taken five minutes on a lathe!) A plain polished brass urn, much more in keeping with the rest of the objects in the room. (I've included before and after photos here. If you look closely - you can see me reflected in the polished brass, taking the photo of it on the mantelpiece in the living room. Not a bad finish eh? It could be better - but I think around five hours spent on it already is more than enough - and admittedly beyond borderline weird!!! lololol ) I guess it's a matter of taste - but I know which I prefer. Never mind what I've put in it - it is now for me a MUCH more desireable and attractive object, in and of itself. Very pleased. :o) If only I could find one similar, larger, to put her ashes in. Maybe I should look on the net again, and consider buying a yucky enamelled one for similar treatment? . . BB called to touch base . . drank the last of a bottle of wine (just over a glass) and got tipsy on it and an empty stomach, while PCing this . . ate a large lump of defrosted K donated 'dog food' beef, peas, chips and gravy. I still have HUGE amounts of K donated food crammed into the freezer! . LB called to touch base. Let her know about Sally. She cried . . .cut my hair/beard etc . . PCd before having a shower, and found myself looking at dog ads for rehoming, for ages yet again!!! I don't think I'm actually serious about rushing straight out and getting another - it's just something I find myself doing rather a lot - keeping an eye on 'who' is about looking for a home as it were - just in case! It's actually not an easy thing to do. Awful sad to see the pictures and read some of the stories behind them. Staffie/terrier type dogs appear to be really VERY common - which I suspect is a reflection of todays 'trophy dog' yob culture. Unfortunately they just aren't 'my' sort of dog. Lots of others are already really very old (older than Sally already!!)! It'd take an awful special sort of person to take on one of those - in the full knowledge they'll get all the expense of health problems and have to face losing them in only a year or two!! Other younger dogs have pre-existing health problems requiring ongoing expensive vet treatment for the entirety of their lives! Once again - that'd take a special sort of person - with money to burn! Not me! . It's all so heartbreaking!!! . . TVd and ate a pack of jaffa cakes . . to bed at 1am. d
12 - Back up around 9am before the alarm after only a couple of hours sleep!!. . sunny . ate a banana . the first window guy turned up precisely at 10am as arranged. (A big name, national company, sure to be the most expensive but considered worth getting one of my quotes from - for 'balanace'.) I'd assumed he'd be in and out of here pretty quick, just like the first guy I had in (actually quicker, now I had less questions to ask), but just to ensure there'd be no embarassing overlap, I immediately let him know I had someone else turning up in an hour. THAT suprisingly pretty much stopped him in his tracks!? Apparantly he'd need 'at least' an hour an a half with me! Huh? All I want is a quote? Apparantly he was gonna give me a whole 'presentation' type deal, show me bits of windows, explain why they were so much better (and more expensive), etc, etc! In short, it looked as though he was gonna do a 'salesman' type trip on me! This appeared to be confirmed when at some point he asked WHEN I would be wanting to do the work and then started warning about VAT rates changing etc - obviously trying to 'apply pressure' for a quick sign up. I (hopefully) made it clear that such tactics absolutely WILL NOT work with ME! Nevertheless, I agreed he should return to do his 'feature length' presentation on Wednesday. Uggh. :o( Quite honestly, I think he's shot himself in the foot already, and has convinced me not to go anywhere near THAT company! . . did dish washing chores while waiting for the next guy to turn up . . I think he 'may' have had difficulty finding the place, and called on his mobile before eventually arriving some time after the agreed 11am. This guy was (thankfully) very much more like the first I'd had in. A local family run business - just getting straight down to business without trying to pressurise or do a 'salesman' thing on me. He showed me some photos of things they'd done, let me know of a couple of nearby houses they'd done, then got straight on with a quick walk around and measure-up, to enable him to go off and calculate a quote - which he'd let me have in a few days. His 'ballpark' estimate for my 'fantasy conservatory' option was once again around £5k. . in advance of actually having the quotes of the bottom-line prices, in terms of differentiating between the two, there seemed little difference between him and the first company I'd had in - with the exception that he could maybe do the work sooner. All in all, it pretty much confirmed to me that at the end of the day, they are all doing the same thing with the same materials etc. 'A-rated' glass is glass, PVC is PVC, a window is a window (and all quite likely coming from the same initial manufacturere/source etc - as everything does these days. Despite what we may believe about the alleged 'infinite choices' in our modern consumerist world, there really is very little actual 'variety' once you scratch under the surface (unless you are rich and can afford 'bespoke'). My recent pokings around on the internet looking for body warmers and cremation earns and such like, have revealed how much of the stuff stocked in all the different shops and outlets at wildly varying prices, is actually identical and coming from the very same actual manufacturers/source (much of it in India and China, etc.). Globalisation and all that. It may well have (temproraily) driven down prices etc - but the hidden cost IS a reduction in competition and choice, and the death of all the small, customer-care driven, 'quality' produce, family-run type businesses (reflected in our 'carbon copy' high streets of exactly the same shops across the country!). I've begun to believe this is a high price to pay for the cheap (quality) mass produced stuff, we now have no choice but to surround ourselves with! Blah blah blah!) . Just exactly what CAN the more expensive companies do SO different to warrant such a higher price? That's why they need 'salesmen' to apply pressure tactics? I HATE salesmen. If you have a decent 'product', you don't need to 'sell' it - just advertise where people can get it! . I am as yet undecided, but (once I get the 'salesman' guy out of the way on Wednesday) I'm not sure it's worth ME getting any more quotes! . God I HATE all this sort of s***! . . finished dish washing chores and then quickly mowed the lawns . . Mum called in with the paper and food donations for chats etc. - complete with some 'road-kill'!!!!!????? I heard the gate and opened the door as she started coming up the front path - waving what appeared to be a snake in her left hand asking 'Is this real?'!!!!!!!!! Blimey - if it had been an adder or some such, Mum could have been in big trouble! lol Turned out it was in fact a 'grass snake' lizard. She'd apparantly found it on the path just up the road. Around a foot in length, it WAS a real one! As I took it from her and quickly re-located it to the safety of the back garden, it became clear that it was already dead. Internally it was kinda snapped in two different places along its silky smooth body! How terrible sad. :o( Eventually left it in the middle of the lawn, in the hope 'something' would eventually benefit from its death and maybe have a free meal (although I had a suspicion since it appears snake-like, maybe the gulls, birds and other animals would instinctively steer well clear?). .chats and a cuppa etc until mid afternoon. . ate Mum donated turkey slice rolls, a pack of mini cheddars and just a little chocolate . . napped until woken before the alarm around 6:30pm by a 'youth' from next door shouting out 'come on England' for no apparant reason. Pratt. . TVd. . during the advert breaks after the 7:30 kick off, I DID occasionaly turn over to ITV just to see what the score was in the football match between England and USA. I didn't really need to bother - easy to tell what the score was from the noise from next door! :o( For what it's worth - it ended as a 1-1 draw. Sadly I missed the US scoring their goal. I really REALLY wanted them to score another, and win, just so I could cheer loudly and be heard by next door! All a pathetic irrelavance. . TVd/sat quietly in the dark of the conservatory (as the noise of fireworks from the Gay Pride events across the bay were plainly audible) /PCd a bit of this . . TVd more . .ate a Mum donated sponge cake and two-gone off bananas before eventually to bed around 2am. a
11 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 8:30am . . PCd this for hours - avoiding making phone calls - and then PCd looking at dogs yet again!!!!!!!!! (actually - I have a confession to make. I did yesterday actually attempt to phone a private advert which had been placed on a couple of sites on the internet within the last day or two, which gave details of someone 'local' allegedly wanting to re-home (sell!) their GSD bitch!! Turned out one of the sites that listed the adverts, actually prevented immediately getting in touch without registering/paying, etc. The other forced me to leave an ansaphone message via some sort of interim re-routing phone number! I DID leave a message asking them to call me back - which is why I DIDN'T nap immediately after the window guy called yesterday, just in case they did. Suffice it to say - they didn't call - and this morning, the on-line adverts appear to have been removed. So be it. ). . finally phoned a couple more window companies and arranged a quote visit for tomorrow morning at 10am and 11am. I wonder if anyone (I'm sure 'some' people must do) has the balls to arrange for lots of companies all to turn up at the same time and fight it out? lol . . drank wine while cooking burgers and chips. Ate two mayo and cheese burgers with chips . . napped until I woke from a dream around 6pm! (In the dream, I was explaining to my surviving dog of a pair (?), that Sally had died and was 'All gone. All gone.' - and that was why I'd been upset of late - because I missed her. At this point in the explanation I began to cry, so woke (with actual stinging eyes!) to avoid the crying!!) . aimlessly sat around and TVd the night away. Absolute RUBBISH on TV ALL the time these days - and NOW I have saturation coverage of the South African World Cup football nonsense to contend with, which interests me not one jot! . . TVd . . PCd briefly to confirm the width of a pair of eight-panel glazed internal French doors (from Wickes) and then ended up turning the TV off and spending a large amount of time wandering around measuring and putting a few pencil marks on both sides of the wall between the living room and kitchen! Even shut myself in the living room and moved furniture around trying to imagine ALL possible alternatives, including moving the existing absurdly placed living room door, which seems to be demanding to be moved no matter WHAT plan you attempt to come up with in there! I've never before known a room (house!) to be SUCH a hassle to actually put furniture in, in such a way that it all 'works'. It's hard to explain, but it really isn't possible to even get the two seater sofa and single chair I currently have in there, set up in such a way that it feels as though it works and isn't all crammed in awkwardly! (This 'may' be largely due to my absolute insistance that the TV and all associated equipment MUST be with its back to the light in the bay window, with me directly facing it and out). Bizzarrely - if I was to sacrifice 'the wall' and put in the double French doors (painted white with brass fittings I imagine), it 'hardly' makes any difference to the awkwardness of everything!? It WOULD however open the place up in terms of light and feel, and could actually make for quite a spectacular/desireable feature (particularly when it comes to selling the place). You'd be able to see right through the house from the front garden to the back!! I guess if I attempted to do it, and succeeded, I could always still put a sofa across them and not actually use them for the time being, and still greatly benefit from the light in the dark kitchen? Frankly - given my increasingly reclusive lifestyle, I could aim to ditch all the old hand-me-down furniture I have, and just eventually opt for a couple (or even just one?!) of those (expensive!) swivel arm chair and footstool sets that are advertised everywhere. Suffice it to say - given that the amount of 'lintel' /construction work for both would be broadly similar, I think the 'porthole' window idea is now out and I'm starting to think french doors instead - despite the knock-on effect of then probably having to invest LARGE sums of money in weird 'up the wall' designer radiators, because there's also an issue about how/where to site those in these infuriatingly awkward rooms!!!! . . plotted/TVd/PCd until well after sunrise before eventually to bed at around 6am or later!! I actually left it SO late, I dabbled with the idea of just staying up, but figured two or three hours sleep was better than none. Set the alarm for 9:15am to make sure I was awake for the window guy at 10am. ds
10 - Back up around 9am after only a handful of hours sleep!!. . PCd and ended up on-line - looking at dogs for re-homing! NOT for the first time!!!!! :o| . .phoned just one of the double glazing companies (THE most local, whos work I've seen around about) around 11am and asked for a quote. He said he'd call in 'in a couple of hours' - this afternoon. . vacuumed and de-haired/dusted the bedroom a little . . PCd this until around 3pm. VERY up tight and headachey as usual, 'just' waiting for someone to call in! Damn I need food/sleep! Where the hell IS that window guy?! . . TVd and ate a banana. . some time after 4pm the window guy called, shortly before finally arriving with an assistant. Being my first quote proper, he indulged all my silly questions and concerns and seemed happy to explain things I was unsure about. It's only the whole FRONT of the house with its broken/leakey single glazed aluminium windows and door I currently need done. With its double, five panel bay windows, that's the expensive, 'difficult' bit, completely beyond any sort of DIY attempt. The back of the house with its handful of more 'straightforward' windows, WAS long ago double glazed, and although some are 'broken' and it ALL really needs replacing, that can wait until such time as I figure out exactly what is going where in terms of 'possible' alterations. Key to plans for the back are how I plan to replace the rotting, leaking, thin timber constructed 'conservatory' - AND how a future central heating boiler flue outlet and all the waste and soil stack pipes may interact with all that! Once the guy had finished measuring up for the quote at the front, he was also happy to waste a bit of his time and have a look at the conservatory and discuss what I termed 'future fantasy' options. (I made it clear I wouldn't be holding him to it, but asked for 'ballpark' figures just so I had SOME idea about what I was facing. It was 'something' like the front of the house all done for around £5k, and a 'fantasy conservatory' option coming in at under another £5k, depending on how awkward I make my plans! Enormous sums of money for me (leaving just enough to get/do central heating) - my 'savings'/security - and when they're gone, they're gone, with no means of EVER building them back up (except 'maybe' ultimately a small inheritance when Mum dies?)! :o| Having said that, my whole world is largely 'within these walls' , and I really don't think as I'm getting older I can face enduring another cold draughty winter like I just had - so doing the front at least, is I think a must! ). To be honest - I kinda liked his no-nonsense attitude, but who am I to tell! ('Almost' tempting to just say 'yes, do it' - to spare me the agony of having to get more, really seemingly pointless quotes!!) Apparantly he'd be putting together a 'proper' quote and I'll get it in the mail. They're 'busy' so if I went with them, it'd be a good couple of months before the work could be done. He was out of here (oh WHAT a relief!) by around 5pm . . ate ham, cheese and mayo rolls . . TVd . . messed around briefly trying to clean some old marks from a couple of the carpet tiles in the hallway. In the absence of a dog, it's still a novelty being able to keep the place relatively clean. . TVd . . ate bowls of co-co pops . . TVd the whole evening away struggling to stay awake . . to bed just before midnight. saa
9 - Woken at 7:30am by the sounds of the bin men - up shortly after . . pottered around and finally got round to sorting through a bunch of local newspapers I'd been saving to extract the local window-company adverts from. Cut out a small handful of relavent adverts before binning the papers. All well and good, but I know me - I'm still probably gonna put it off and put it off and find absolutely anything and everything to do INSTEAD of actually getting round to calling some of them for quotes, and get bogged down in all that 'shark infested' nightmare, etc. This is SO difficult for me! :o( . . Mum called to touch base and keep me updated on Uncle T developments. STILL ongoing!!! Poor, poor family! I can only 'begin' to imagine the hell they are all going through for SO long! :o( With hindsight, the way Dad went was kinda, 'relatively' ok, and 'fairly' quick and painless. . wandered down town (putting off calling window companies!) to draw out some cash and buy a couple of loaves of bread, etc. Toured charity shops etc. Ended up doing what for ME was a bit of a shopping frenzy! Bought a handful of burgers from the butcher and a stainless steel toothbrush holder (50p) and toilet roll holder (£1.50) from 'second-hand' stalls that were set up under the old fish market roof in the harbour. Thats all a small part of trying to gradually turn the bathroom fittings into a matching steel/chrome type (prior to investing in 'proper' stuff, if and when I finally get round to re-tiling/re-plumbing it all!). The toilet roll holder I inherited with the house is a dark wood and brass type! Very yucky for a bathroom and just doesn't match anything (except an equally yucky bathroom cabinet!). Trouble is, because of the flimsy stud wall on which the toilet roll holder is mounted, just fitting the new one 'properly' is going to be a bit of a 'project', involving opening the wall up and putting in a decent bit of timber to screw it to! Uggh. . invested yet more money in some 'reading' glasses from one of the regular stalls in the indoor market! My eyes are getting SO (intermitantly!??) bad, I can hardly read the TV schedules in the paper Mum gives me any more, never mind miniscule cooking instructions on grocery labels, etc!! They were selling two pairs for £5 in the market, so after trying a couple on and finding I COULD read the small print on the labels, I figured what the hell and went for it and bought two the same. I need to start trying to remember to carry a pair whenever I go out shopping in the future! (I guess I need to start looking for some hard cases for them in the charity shops next time I tour.) . lastly, I absurdly threw away £2.50 on a brass ornament in a charity shop, for adding to my living room collection! Like I need more brass stuff?!!! lol I just couldn't resist it - for that price. It was a heavy screw top money box in the shape of a pillarbox. I've tried to stop buying any more brass and just keep it down to stuff that 'means' something to me - sentimental like. Like the brass handbell Dad made from an old Small Street (Bristol) Post Office alarm bell with a handle made from a wooden windowlight chord handle, and the clanger made from a 9mm bullet which I used to collect (from the Pilning rifle range); or the small, two and a quarter inch calibre shell casing grandma used to own, etc, etc. I figured the new pillarbox could - um - well - kinda represent my early days in the post office when I did a short stint as a postman. lolol Dunno what it is about the stuff, but I DO really like brass. I've recently started using my old 'Brass No. 5' petrol lighter(s) again - because it just feels SO nice to hold it in your hand. Kinda like a warm pebble. Almost always in my left hand when watching TV! . . drank a glass of red wine (opened a new bottle) and polished the new pillarbox while the oven cooked a Mum donated pizza. Ate . . napped for only an hour or so. (Woke from YET another of my repeating 'running around frantically looking for a dog which had run off' type nightmares! ). . sat around aimlessly and frustrated for a bit before mustering the energy to walk to BGdns for a sit in the sunny spells . .sat on top of my favourite gun emplacement for a bit. Just a distance below was a seagull, sat in an 'unusual' position, not far from a bunch of noisy guys fishing from the rocks. It eventually became apparant, the beautiful, poor suffering bird had a broken wing!! Ohhhh jeeze! :o( I seem to have become EVEN more emotionally 'fragile' than I've EVER been before, and appear to have developed a very near ZERO tolerance for being able to bear witnessing 'suffering' - in nature most especially!! (Recent news reporting of the ongoing BP oil leak disaster in the gulf of mexico, seems to always 'casually' include horrific scenes of oil covered dying birds! I can't bear it. The slightest mention of BP or the oil leak - I have to change channel real quick!) . there was no practical way of doing anything about the seagull - and even if I HAD had a go at catching it and succeeded, I'd have just ended up being trapped into racing around all over the place only to end up being instrumental in YET another euthansia case!! My sit there overlooking the scene was NOT pleasant - and even less so when the damn bird dragged itself along one of the paths and then got 'kinda' attacked by a passing dog!!! Agony to watch. Just agony. :o( With a frantic flapping of broken wing, somehow the gull defended itself (more than once!!) and eventually the dog just carried on its way!! (Strange dog? Sally absolutely WOULD have made VERY short work of that gull! A quick crunch, crunch. Under the circumstances - I think I may have let her too! :o( ) Soon after the dog incident the gull disappeared over the rocks down below and out of my sight. (Out of sight out of mind? NO! Not! I wish! :o( ) . one of the several guys fishing on the rocks seemed to have a golden touch and during the time I was sat there, he caught perhaps up to a dozen (mackerel I think). That 'hurt me' to watch too! The suffering of the fish!! I just don't know where to put all this hurt! It's overwhelming. It's enough to make me not want to go out at all, anywhere, ever!!!!!!!!! :o( . Eventually couldn't take any more and headed off. Glancing back, I could just see the head of the poor seagull poking up from the rocks below, sat 'patiently' suffering and waiting for the oh so slow arrival of callous, indifferent death! :o( . . drank more wine . TVd polishing more of the living room brass which hasn't seen a decent polish for ages . . sat in the garden for a bit. A huge buzzing moth attracted to the floodlight ended up crash landing into a nearby spiders web! The BIG spider darted out and started reeling in the struggling moth - and even another smaller one which incidentally got caught up in the melee!!!!! That was MY fault for putting the light on! I couldn't bear to watch/listen and had to retreat back in to TV some more. :o( . . . ate the last of the Mum donated strawberries and cream with much sugar . . TVd/PCd until finally to bed after daylight! dda
8 - Poor broken sleep then up around 7:45am. . achey! . . PCd/sat around/did laundry and vacuuming chores/TVd . . ate defrosted 'dog food' beef with chips and a little chocolate . . aimlessly sat around and did absolutely nothing throughout the rest of the day! . . PCd/TVd . . ate a vinegar doused chopped salad with grated cheese and four pieces of bread and butter around 10:30pm . . to bed around midnight. a
7 - Up around 8:15am. . . I'd long ago told K I'd have all the tarmac type rubble he'd produced when re-doing his driveway, for adding to the lane out back. I've been putting off getting it for months and have been feeling increasingly guilty about it, because it's all been in three ton bags blocking part of his drive all that time, thanks to me asking him to hang on to it! It's the last sort of 'loose end' from my dog walking days which needed tying up. I so, SO didn't want to, but with a cooler overcast sky and rain forecast for later, I somehow mustered the energy to load the car up with loads of buckets and plastic containers and some gloves, and set off to start shifting it all. Would you believe it - I finally get round to going to deal with it, only to discover one of the bags had already gone! K was out but his wife confirmed one lot had been used by him to fill a hole in his back garden - but the rest WAS still up for grabs. Started the unpleasant business of loading it all by hand into the buckets before overloading the car and driving it back home to dump on the hardstanding under my car port. I lost count of the number of trips I made!! It WAS several - before finally being able to 'just' about lift the remaining amount IN the two ton bags into the back of the car. Returned the two empty bags to K and then finally returned home to set about the long unpleasant business of breaking it all up into chippings with the lump hammer. Put in around three or four hours on that before it was eventually all done. Once all broken down like that, it probably amounted to a single full ton bag in quantity!! Used the car to transport it in several trips by bucket loads back up the lane, and pretty much dumped the whole lot outside of one particular neighbour's driveway, where their frequent in and out with cars and trailer had deeply rutted the ground. Smoothed it all out to appropriate levels with the stiff sweeping brush as the rain began to fall quite heavily. Should make life a 'bit' easier for them. As usual - the lane easily swallowed up the amount I put there, with hardly any noticeable improvement! You really could 'lose' TONS more out there (if you could get hold of any) - but I imagine, except for an occasional breeze block I still have laying around for specific potholes which WILL reappear in the future, that'll be the last of it I do. VERY glad to have got that out of the way and off my mind. (I'm sure K is pleased to have a clear driveway - at last!!) Only one blister and a very aching right hand and back. Felt tired but 'uplifted' by the excertion. . showered off the layers of dusty grime and got clean . . ate ham, mayo, spring onion and lettuce rolls, a packet of mini cheddars and some chocolate . . lay down for a nap but couldn't sleep and eventually gave up and got back up. . sat in the conservatory watching the heavy rain for a while . . restlessly TVd the evening away as rain poured . . ate Mum donated strawberries and cream with much sugar . . to bed around 1am.
6 - Up at 10:30am. .pottered in the front garden and finally emptied out a huge, heavy, long concrete planter that's been stuck unmovable on the patio pretty much since I moved in. Both the little miniature fir trees that were planted in it are largely brown and probably fit for the compost heap/tip, but I put the better of the two in a space in a neraby border and the other in a large pot out back, just in case they survive and come back to life. Even empty, I could only 'just' pick up the planter and carry it through the house to be dumped with all the rest in my enormous (largely unwanted) collection in my 'dumping ground' up by the garage. Watered pots and aimlessly pottered around a bit before coming to a grinding halt yet again, and then just sitting around feeling up-tight, not wanting to do ANYTHING, and ready for sleep again already! :o( . . .ate tuna, may and spring onions in (gone off and yucky!) bread rolls . . napped . . PCd/TVd . . returned BBs call . .to bed around 2am. s
5 - Up at 8:30am. .mowed the lawns and pottered in the garden emptying out dead plants from bone dry pots, etc. Showers and a deterioration in the fantastic weather we've been having are forecast for the next few days. Mum arrived with food donations for chats and a cuppa early afternoon . . ate the last of the rice concoction with four pieces of bread and butter . . napped until the alarm at 6:30pm . . felt incredibly warm and humid (although probably the internal effect of lots of bread and rice!). Sat in the garden. Some joker in a light aircraft was buzzing around, much of the time 'just' above the rooftops, in the 'death zone' (so called I believe, because ANY sort of technical trouble would have meant an immediate plunge into the ground (and houses!) and death, with absolutely NO time for any sort of forced landing/ avoiding action at such a low altitude!)! No WAY could that have been 'legal'! No way! It was SO low, I was even moved to race in and grab the camcorder to get a shot or two, before it disappeared below the horizon as it similarly 'buzzed' Dartmouth! (Having a look on the net at a later time, it appears to have been an 'Ikarus C42 Cyclone FB100' registration G-CEDC - which I 'think' is actually maybe classed as a 'self build' microlight? Appears to be owned by local 'Peter Dewis Ashley' the director of 'Central Garages Torbay Ltd'! What a cool way to spend your evening. How the other half live! ) . . . .drank the last of the bottle of wine and TVd. SO humid! . Sat on the step out front for the 9:50pm fireworks (actually started at 10pm) marking the end of Heritage Week. Several chinese lanterns being sent up from over Berry Head way (again! Frequent of late.), very quickly drifting away on the high breeze. Local news reports not long ago had a plea from farmers asking people not to set them off, because they were dropping in their fields and the debris/litter and (allegedly) the wire framework (I didn't think they had any?) was a danger to their livestock etc. I'll go along with that - I think they really SHOULD be banned from sale!! . for me, the fireworks were all about the sound this evening. It was all warm and pleasant, and still and quiet in the twilight dark of the garden, with bats circling low overhead and huge moths wings clattering and buzzing in the hedges, with the occasional distant murmering of quiet conversations from someones small evening garden gathering. At 10pm the bells of the church clock in the distance began to chime, and then, after a far off flash behind the big tree in that direction, the first of the firework explosions seemingly leisurely made its way to my ear from down in the harbour. With the first of the explosions, all the roosting seagulls in town took to startled flight with a crescendo of calls of alarm competing with the fireworks as they flew overhead seeking peace and safety. This carried on for however long it did before the obligatory final volley of big, loud, high in the sky fireworks. A brief lull and then drifting in on the breeze, the distant roar of the cheering crowds - and then silence once more. . Poor seagulls and other wildlife! I felt like the only person in the world who cared about that!! :o( . . ate a pack of Mum donated jaffa cakes . . TVd/PCd through until daylight before to bed. das
4 - Up around 8am. . headachey . did laundry . . popped up the shops for a few supplies. . drank wine and cooked up a big pot of rice concoction. Frozen peas, rice, chopped onion in butter, chopped turkey pieces and a tin of chicken soup. Ate a large dishfull with four pieces of bread and butter and then a banana . . napped . . guitarred. Drove to BGdns and guitarred some more. An old couple with a dog were just leaving a seat as I arrived, and as I took to the seat they exchanged a word or two. Turned out the old guy had once made a living from playing guitar! I handed him my guitar and amongst other things (as I made to roll a cigarette) he actually played and sang part of Bob Dylan's 'Rainy Day Woman No. 12 & 35' (Everybody Must Get Stoned)!!!! Some people make it look SO easy!! Guitarred my usual twiddles on the seat and grass until around 9pm :o( . . TVd . . ate a duplicate of the meal earlier together with a banana and some chocolate . . TVd and actually ended up watching an entire film - which is a pretty rare event for me these days. 'Dog Soldiers'. (Modern day blood and guts werewolf tale!) I can't stand to watch any sort of horror film usually, but something about this one caught my interest. Turned out there were 'some' hillarious little funny bits in it. . ate co-co pops and TVd the film until gone 2:30am before eventually to bed. daas
3 - Up around 7:45am. . PCd this - slowly, until around 9:30am! . .surfed watches. . aimlessly guitarred/Tvd/PCd the whole day away again. . PS called. I called-off his proposed visit this weekend . . eventually to bed around 3am maybe. Skipped food completely today, because I just couldn't be bothered and didn't feel particularly hungry for anything I have in the house! Just coffee and cigarettes. Oh dear, oh dear. :o( s
2 - Woke earlier (noise of bin men?), snoozed on then up around 7:45am. . PCd the morning away. I 'did' start messing around with the demolition video I shot yesterday, before becoming overwhelmed with the utter pointlessness of it! . . Mum called to say the Uncle T situation was - 'ongoing'! :o( . . wandered around aimlessly. Guitarred . ate ham rolls and crisps. Awful stuff on the news about some taxi driver guy in Cumbria who'd 'snapped' and gone on a shooting spree killing a dozen people or so! (I assign NO significance to it - but my coincedental nightmare of yesterday (detailed and uploaded before these events) DID give me pause for thought!!) . .napped. SUCH a pleasure to just 'let go' and have some hours disappear!. .guitarred/TVd . . ate bowls of cornflakes before to bed around 2am.
1 - Woke in the night after only a couple of hours, from YET another nightmare. Why do my dreams only ever seem to be 'nightmares'? (Someone in strange garb was 'pursuing me' around some buildings, trying to shoot me. They missed. As I dodged them and ran to escape I bizzarly called out 'missed me'!) I actually woke because I was talking in my sleep!!!!!? I actually called out 'missed me' in a weird, unsettling, horribly slurred voice! The SOUND of me calling that out is what woke me! Weird! I wonder how much talking in my sleep I do? Maybe that's why Sally never chose to sleep in the bedroom with me? I'd always assumed it was because I snore - but she did too, so it was mutually acceptable she didn't. . . up around 8:45am. Plenty rain. Plenty pain from the fingers on my left hand! !:o( . . sorted out overdue paperwork and balanced my accounts. Touched base with Mum and thanked her for the gift of money I found she'd put into my (and each of my sisters) account. (She'd wanted to pay for the Sally vet and cremation costs, etc.). . listened to James Taylor's 'Fire and Rain' on the PC and determined (as usual!) that the chord sequence I'd been trying to learn had absolutely NOTHING to do with what he actually did on the records! Surfed guitar tab again and actually found a 'proper' one, which was totally different and FAR more difficult (impossible for me) to do! Back to square one with that then! :o( . . discovered that the MCS people had used the seagull/bag footage I'd sent them, to knock up their own edited version (on Youtube) which had been put on their website. In the accompanying blurb on their website, they'd credited me (by name and location!) with having filmed it!!!!! It'd had a lot more hits than either of mine, so that's a good thing. . somewhere after 4pm, with the weather having turned to sunny spells, somehow mustered up the energy and 'forced' myself to go for a walk - because I have a constant awful feeling of uptightness and 'discontent', and feel guilty and that I 'should' be 'doing' 'something'!!! 'SOMETHING' - and yet I can't envisage ANYTHING that I 'want' to do! :o( . . . Headed through town (bought a tin of Redbull) and for the old fish market to see what music was on as part of the heritage festival. Sat around for a bit listening to the three piece '44Gun' - an old-time American Appalachian Mountain string band, with fiddle, guitar and banjo. Very few people around. Donated a £ in the collection buckets. . not sure who or why, but some old guy was filming stuff - in an 'official' looking capacity. Expensive manfrotto tripod, (broadcast quality?)HD camera and other expensive kit (possible seperate sound recorder device?). He seemed to be grabbing occasional 'bites' here and there, rather than actually trying to record all of what was happening as I would have done (and DID a couple of years ago!). Made me feel jealous - and pointless. . spent most of my sit there drinking my redbull, intently watching the guitarist, trying to work out (and failing) what the hell he was doing to make such neat sounds. They eventually stopped for a break so I carried on walking, intending to head for a sit in BGdns. On the way past the fish quay, demolition of the last bits of the old fish market were in full swing - behind the new building which seems to have sprung up since I last took any notice! (One more day and I guess the old should all be gone?) Hung around and filmed for a bit, kinda for old times sake, but got no satisfaction at all from doing so. Just ended up getting really achey and cold - and my eyes a bit clouded from all the dust! (My watch stopped working again - as it always seems to when I get really cold! I AM going to have to buy me a new one!) . .eventually wandered back the way I'd come and sat on the edge of the harbour in the sun, trying to warm up a bit and just watching the tide coming in beneath my feet - waiting for the next band to set up and start playing. Felt awkward, out of place and noticeably alone, and got NO pleasure from sitting there AT ALL! :o( . forced myself to awkwardly, self consciously sit and watch a bit of the John Shillito Select Six jazz set before eventually escaping away to BGdns . .sat for a bit in BGdns (let a couple of dog walkers know Sally was gone) before eventually heading back, getting in at what turned out to be around 8:30pm. All in all, a thoroughly pointless and unsatisfying outing, which left me feeling worse than if I'd not bothered! . . drank wine and ate a Mum donated pizza. . guitarred just a little and TVd until bed around midnight. d