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<My Diary Archive 2005 My Diary Archive>

31 - Up at 7am. Wow - I'm stiff and aching! :o( . . .touched base with BB . . . walked and found a large 'Body Shop' hairbrush under the hedge. That'll do nicely for a bit of Sally grooming. . . put in just a couple of hours work in the attic doing more nailed and glued noggins. Called it quits around 12:30pm and went to watch a bit of the Hungarian Grand Prix on TV. That leaves only three more noggins to do (unless I decide more are necessary). Unfortunately, that joist that bowed would not straighten out, so I'm gonna have to plane quite a bit off the top of it, along much of its length, to bring it back in line. That'll be tricky and delay things for a while. :o( . . .showered. . TVd . . . ate corned beef, mayo, onion and tomato sandwiches with two bags of crisps . . . napped for a couple of hours until woken around 4:30pm by LB dropping off some left over cake desert thing. :o) Can't help but suspect I'm being 'groomed' for another session of having to feed her animals soon! God - how ungrateful I am!! :o(. . . PCd a bit of this . . . walked and found a nice rubber ball and a rubber toy for Sally. . .couldn't resist getting back up in the attic and doing those last three noggins and then had a go at planing down that banana shaped joist. Wow - god bless power tools. That electric plane I bought made pretty short work of that. :o) LOTS more to do, but theoretically, if I caved in and gave up now, I'm more or less in a position to at least lay the floor down up there. Need to start thinking seriously about extending the ring main up there and where I'm gonna put in power/phone/TV etc. sockets. Without a definite use in mind for that space up there, I really am having trouble trying to envisage requirements and decide if/where to put them. Also have to keep in the back of my mind, a possible route for some maybe future extension to my central heating circuits. Think I need to get on top of clearing out all that rubble and coal dust from the top of the ceilings before I go much further. Nasty! :o( . . . showered . . . TVd with a small bottle of beer. . . touched base with BB . . . ate the LB donated desert and then multiple bowls of co-co pops with masses of milk . . . TVd/PCd until bed around 12:30am. pasd
30 - Woke around 8:30am in time to hear Sally coming upstairs to wake me up . . .walked. A little mud covered dog was out running loose but he wouldn't come to me, and eventually ran off to take his chances on the main road!! :o( . Well - that big pile of rubbish has now been broken up and strewn around an even wider area by the yobs. WHAT a mess - and half the field is covered with more of that polystyrene insulation from the building site, which people seem to take great delight in breaking up into small enough pieces to blow around absolutely everywhere, making the field look as though it is covered in a layer of snow! Must have been party time over the field last night - beer cans and coke bottles and such all over the place. Did litter duty and found two full, unopened cans of Blackthorne cider as payment for my trouble. The red '50 Cent' baseball cap, I put on a fence pole for someone else to have. . . . overheard a neighbour talking to LB out in their back gardens. He'd just seen two huge rats - and having just returned from holiday, has found they've eaten all his fishing bait in his garden shed!! Well - I gotta say it - I don't think it is just a coincedence that occurred next door to LB. Her garden (particularly all around the rabbit hutches) is covered in a couple of inches depth of rotting cat/rabbit food and pooh etc, etc. Those rats must be VERY well fed. If I was that neighbour - I'd use that as an excuse to call the RSPCA and environmental health people in on LB! . . . PCd this - and that's half the day gone already!!. . .worked in the attic at trying to get the last four joist hanger rebates cut into the brickwork with the disc cutter, for the last two floor joists front and back. Nasty - working in the confined space in the corner between the roof and the bedroom ceilings, much of the time on my back working upside down kinda. Exhausted and filthy and 3pm before I'd even prepared the way for one! :o(. . somewhere in the middle of things, Sally barking let me know I'd not heard the doorbell ring from up there. It was LB calling in with a bag of six 'special' spicy sausages for me!? Cool. :o) Broached the subject of having overheard her neighbour talking earlier. Turns out that she thinks he mistook two of her young rabbits running loose in the garden for rats! That's a weird mistake to make!? Poor LB - I wanted to show her what I was in the middle of doing and kinda forced her to start climbing the ladder up into the loft to look. Apparantly she 'isn't good with ladders', and only climbed half way up before climbing back down without having seen my floor handiwork - but making approving noises nonetheless. lol . .ate a banana at some point in an attempt to shake off that weird unpleasant shakey feeling you get, when you've exerted yourself and haven't eaten for a while! . . all done and had the two joists cemented into position by around 7pm . . . showered and then walked. Sat on a boulder for a cigarette and then just felt SO tired, ended up sitting there for ages before being able to muster the strength to get up and walk home . . . touched base briefly with BB . . . drank a glass of red wine as I cooked up all six of the large sausages LB had donated. Ate sausages with four pieces of bread and butter . . . touched base with BB but almost too tired to talk . . . TVd . . . ate a tray of jaffa cakes . . . in bed asleep long before midnight. pds
29 - Woken by Sally earlier then again around 7:30am. Grrr - I SO need more sleep! :o( . . . walked . . . left Sally at home and drove to Wickes for more joist hangers, wood glue, nails and screws. On to ASDA for just a few groceries and of course a couple of roast chickens. Terribly upset when it turned out they had none of the small cheap chickens ready. Went without. :o( Stopped off at Lidl in Hanham and stocked up on cheap Jaffa Cakes and potatoes . . . ate early - corned beef, mayo, onion and tomato sandwiches with two bags of crisps around 11:30am. . somewhere around midday, the timber delivery guy turned up. Blimey - did I order THAT much?!!! And that doesn't even include the eight four by fours! Moved the car and helped the guy unload everything and stack it all up in the house. Disappointing quality of the 12 x 4" x 2" x 4.8m timber. All pretty warped and nasty - but good enough for what I want it for I guess - not worth rejecting. I think almost all of that is gonna end up being cut up into metre length 'bracing', so It'll do. One of the four 7"x2"x4.8m lengths was SO badly warped, I DID ask him to bring a replacement when he next comes - and actually asked if he'd bring two, to also replace that badly warped bit I already have and can't use. . spent the next four hours or so, feeding all those joists through the bathroom window and precariously up the outside of the house to the roof, and in through the skylight. Exhausting. Absolutely soaked in sweat! Got there in the end - and also managed to get that long warped bit I'm hoping to replace, back down and into the living room. I think getting those lengths back down, is worse than getting them up there! . . I'd strangely just assumed those big floor boards would fit up there no problem. Actually, turned out to be touch and go getting them up the stairs and through the doorway into the back bedroom. Only 'just' - and boy, are they heavy! Getting them up there seems to include making my left shin bleed every time!? Good job I ordered the water resistant stuff - all getting covered in sweat and blood!! Managed to get nine of them up there and loosely layed on the rafters, to give me a more secure working area for doing the rest of the work. Oh WHAT a joy, to be able to walk around up there without worrying quite so much about falling through the ceiling - and even though they are all still loose, it all feels more strong and secure than either of my 'bouncing' bedroom floors!!! . Moved the remaining chipboard sheets into a heap in the living room and put the setee on top of the pile, to enable Sally and I to actually get in to the room!! Wow - nice timing - all done before a sprinkle of drizzle. Ended up not feeling well at all. Showered and collapsed into bed, around 5pm - I just HAD to lay down for a bit! Think I overdid that a bit. . . back up around 6pm (woken by the noise of a cooing wood pigeon near the open bedroom window! I've started feeding the birds (only ever get wood pigeons!) again over the last few days) feeling a little better but rather achey . . . walked. A couple of young kids were having a bit of a panic inside the school railings. I think they'd ridden their pushbikes in there to play tennis in the school tennis courts (as many do - even when the school grounds are shut) and they'd ended up getting locked in. They were desparately trying to figure out how to get their heavy pushbikes over the railings. One was calling his Mum on his mobile to explain their predicament. Bin man to the rescue! :o) Climbed the wall up onto the railings and managed to lift their bikes over and get them back down onto the ground without 'too' much damage to my aching back (being all macho like I was, the pain of which I couldn't let show)! They were good natured and appreciative. I made some parting joke about how their mother had probably said on the phone, don't be talking to the strange man! Made a real nice change from the usual yobbish nonsense I'm exposed to. .had a closer look at the big pile of rubbish that someone has just dumped on the pavement near the entrance to the field. Huge cardboard box, massive plastic bags and lots of polystyrene packaging and such - all that comes with a new 32" Widescreen TV - and then some. For goodness sake!!!! There was an address label on one of the bags! What idiots. A house a couple of streets away. Wow - SO tempting to bring the car round, load it all up and then dump it all back in the garden of that address - and maybe even donate the contents of one of the poop scoop bins from the field - all of which are overflowing because they haven't been emptied in days!!? . .ate corned beef, mayo, onion and tomato sandwiches with two bags of crisps - again . . . PS popped round for chats till early. TVd the news channel quite a bit . . touched base with BB . . . PCd briefly before bed around 1:15am. Remarkable day on the news. All the failed London suicide bombers have been caught! Nice one. How extraordinarily strange it seemed, when an eye witness spoke of the arrest of a couple of them, and told of how worried they were for their own safety and wanted assurances they wouldn't be shot by the police! What pathetic losers they are! Failed suicide bombers - failed human beings! . . . trouble sleeping, after having read a guestbook entry on the site which expressed concern about the wall loadings etc of my attic project. I've already tried to think it all through - but ended up having to do so yet again - in exquisite detail. I'm really fairly certain I'm not putting undue stress on any of the structure. I'm in the middle of a terrace of houses. The existing upstairs floor and ceiling rafters run from two supporting walls in the middle of the house (either side of the stairs) to the front and back outside walls of the house. Those two main supporting walls either side of the stairs are incredibly single brick (4" wide?) construction!!! In effect - just a huge pile of bricks!!! Amazing the house is still standing. Wouldn't take much more than a few good kicks to have the whole house collapse, I'm sure (except for the kitchen wall where I've already done the work to put in reinforced concrete lintels, tied into the side walls!)! For this reason (AND because of other complicating factors about how the main roof is constructed utilising the front (only!!???) bedroom ceiling rafters to form the soffit (there is NO soffit at the back!!??) ) it was pretty clear I couldn't add much (if any) load to those walls - never mind the front and back outside walls (full of windows and doors and existing old WOODEN lintels - where I haven't already replaced them with reinforced concrete). So - and don't tell anybody, because I just KNOW there is some building regulation that ABSOLUTELY forbids it - I've strung the attic floor joists from side wall to side wall! Each joist is held by seperate metal joist hangers, cemented into the brickwork at each end at 16" centres (just slightly more than that at each firebreast, to afford a 'pinch' around the stacks) - and the two main double bolted/glued together joists which support a T beam and one end of a few shorter ones (to allow the ladder/stair access well) , are also cemented directly into the brickwork (4"+) at one end, hard up against the chimney protrusions. Everything all tied together with nailed AND glued noggins. NO way can there be any freaky 'horizontal' movement - particularly because of the way it ties in around the chimney stacks. So - it's all about pure vertical weight - transferred into the SIDE walls. The side walls are double brick with something akin to a rubble filled 'almost cavity' between - with what appears to be random courses of cross/tie bricks here and there throughout (and a chimney stack front and back). In effect - one brick is mine - the other brick is my neighbours. Of course there are no windows or doors in these walls - so - those main dividing walls are effectively only holding up their own weight AND the weight of 'some' of the roof, by virtue of the four (bowed and rotten) roof purlings, two front and two back. Those 4 purlings are to be replaced, or at the very least 'beefed up', with the weird 8 x 4"x4" timbers I've ordered - all braced together with nailed and glued 4"x2". That'll also give a 'stand off' from the existing roof timbers and felt which will allow a void behind new insulation/vapour barrier/foil backed plasterboard, for ventilation from the soffit. Bit hard to explain - but in short - no way can I see those side walls bowing. If they do - I'll take out half the houses in the street with me - domino effect! No way. And - just to be a bit silly - if you consider that in years gone by I've had the weight of a couple of dismantled motorbikes in the bedrooms, and an attic FULL of junk- and I'm hoping to remove sacks more of that dusty debris from the attic ceilings before I finally 'fix' the floor up there - I'm almost taking OUT as much weight as I'm putting in - kinda - well - almost!! I'm pretty convinced what I'm doing is 'safe'. Safe enough to outlive me anyway (barring earthquakes and tornadoes!) . The scariest bit about my plans, is how I'm gonna attempt to do the roof supports. The existing two MAIN (rotten/bowed) purlins are massive lumps of wood in excess of 8" deep- BUT - they've been cemented into the side walls, verticaly!! Given the roof is angled and as such, so are all the 'sagging' forces, I reckon that means they are actually acting as little more than 3" supports in that dimension!! THAT would explain why they bowed and why those other two purlins were added at a later date, higher up to share the load - but even those are only around three or four inches deep in the critical dimension. So - I'm planning to insert four replacements (if I can!!!) of 4" square timbers aproximately a meter apart, or less lower down,(dictated by the size of the skylights), all braced together with 4"x2" timber, on each slope of the roof - from the inside!! Arrrgh STOP thinking!! Sleep. ps
28 - Woken by Sally somewhere around 4am. She acted as though she needed to use the garden, but when I let her out, she just lay down out there and looked back at me! Grrr. . . woken by Sally again around 7:30am! Hmmm - I think maybe she DID need to 'go'. . . walked. As I was leaving the field, a couple of repulsive little yobs started throwing the poop bags from the poop scoop bin around the place. One, without hesitation, even threw a bag of poop straight onto the windscreen of a JCB digger that was working on the roadworks nearby! The driver was facing the other way, so didn't notice - until he had to remove it later no doubt! (The 'emergency vehicles only' road is currently blocked off by the road works. Something to do with the drains for the new houses on the building site I think. A massively deep excavation was made and a huge concrete manhole type affair constructed beneath the ground.). . .PCd this . . .dabbled with my accounts and transferred 500 of my savings over into my current account. Measured up in the attic and then called the timber merchant around midday and ordered a whole bunch of stuff!! 409.83!!! Yikes. The majority should be with me tomorrow afternoon - the eight, odd sized, 4"x4"x4.8m beams (I intend to use as extra spread-the-load 'bracing' for the inside of the roof ) are rather unusual (yeah - ain't they!!!!!! Haven't a clue if what I'm planning is gonna work!!!) and should be with me Monday - or later! So. Done. Should hopefully have a big pile of timber piled up through the house again by tomorrow evening!! Uggh. :o/ . . .balanced my accounts . . .did dishwashing chores . . . ate a bowl of muesli . . . napped for a couple of hours . . .walked. Stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home . . .Mum and Sis2 called talking about lawn mowers. Sis2 has hired a car so I think they'll be out tomorrow buying the one they've seen . . . TVd . . . BB called . . . ate buttered golden syrup cake . . . TV/PCd briefly before bed in the early hours and then tossed and turned for ages before sleep. Blimey - someone has loaned Northern Ireland a brain cell! The IRA announced a cessation to their terrorist activities this day. Uhuh - so - wonder what the breakaway group who will continue to murder will be called? ps
27 - Disturbed sleep - think I was actually a bit cold, still sleeping only under a sheet. Woken by Sally around 7:45am . . . walked in the drizzle. Heavy rain forecast for the next few days. Found a penny. . PCd this with the TV news on next to me - took most of the morning!. . . tried to motivate myself to get on with the attic project, but somehow I seem to have run out of energy and just don't want to have to 'suffer' the work! I think it's actually got more to do with the fact that I have to work out what I need, order it and and then have it all delivered again. Dunno why having to deal with stuff like that (and be 'in the hands of others') is so, SO offputting to me. I even went on line looking up roof racks and such (in order to be able to just go and get what I want, when I want) but they were SO expensive - suprisingly so - so that's out of the question!! I did at least call the timber merchant and confirm they do the (relatively expensive!) 22mm thick, 'P5' water resistant, 8ftx2ft chipboard flooring I think I'm gonna go for. 'Just' need to re-measure everything and try and work out how many. . . ate corned beef sandwiches with three bags of crisps. . .napped . . .walked . . . TVd . . . BB called . . . ate corned beef, onion, lettuce, mayo and tomato sandwiches with two bags of crisps, jaffa cakes and bowls of co-co pops . . . TVd until bed around midnight. pasd
26 - Woken by BB calling around 8:30am . . . touched base with BB . . .walked . . . sat around in front of the TV, not feeling as though I had the energy to do anything at all! Ended up laying back down for a nap around 11:15am . . . woken by BB leaving an ansaphone message around 4:15pm!! (What IS this? A plot to make sure I'm sleep deprived and putty in her hands? lol ) Called her back - and moaned. :o) . . . ate corned beef sandwiches, three bags of crisps, the last two bananas and piles of biscuits. Ended up laying back down - again!! Probably would even have fallen asleep again, if not for being drawn to the windows trying to figure out who was letting off fireworks somewhere in the neighbourhood!!?? . . . walked . . . sat in the garden a little. . .touched base briefly with Mum/Sis2 . . .touched base with BB . . .TVd . . ate half a buttered golden syrup cake and then bowls of co-co pops before bed around midnight. ps
25 - Woke at 7am. Nasty back ache still! Annadin tablet, coffee and cigarettes for breakfast - again! . . . walked . . .loaded the car up and eventually on the road with Sally around 10:15am. . roads were surprisingly not 'too' busy at all and it was an ok drive down - until the usual Newton Abbot bottleneck, 'car park'! . sat in the queue for ages until all of a sudden there was a weird smell? Oh no!! I recognise that smell!! The car was overheating!! The guage had made its way into the red zone!! Damn, damn, damn!!!!?? I don't think the cooling fan was coming on - again - despite having 'recently' fitted that new sensor switch and confirmed it WAS working!? :o( Luckily the traffic kept moving just enough to allow the car to cool off a little, and the guage sink back to just off the red danger area. Putting the in car heater blower on, seemed to assist slightly. Something to worry about for the drive home! :o( . . . arrived at Mums at getting on for 1pm. . .Sally was all excited when I let her out of the car and seemed delighted to be there and see Mum and Sis2. Mum eventually treated her to the two pork pies she'd bought for her. :o) . .Sis1 arrived within the hour. . left Sally safely in the garage and all drove in Sis1s car (flashy sporty two door - very cramped in the back!) down into town and went for a meal at a familiar place near the harbour. I had a trhree course meal deal of meat pate starter, steak in red wine sauce with fries and all the trimmings, chocolate fudge cake and coffee for around 16 - all paid for by Mum of course!! Sis1 fancied a glass or two of wine so I agreed to drive us all home. . toured a few of the (charity) shops before all heading back to the car. Wow - that car'd take a bit of getting used to, to drive! Couldn't see much out of the rear window at all - and the clutch was VERY different to what I'm used to. The pedal had to be almost completely released before the clutch engaged. Ended up doing lots of engine revving as I reversed out of the car park (desperately trying to find the 'bite' point) - like some posing boy racer type! Powerful car! Managed to soon pull up, back outside Mums without accident. . . HAD to lay down for a while in the garage, in an attempt to shake my agonising (stress?) headache, which a handful of annadin tablets hadn't touched! Couldn't sleep and my feet ended up resting on Mums lawnmower - which got me all thinking about how she'd said it was broken. Ended up messing with it and adjusting this and that with some of Dads tools. She definitely needs a new one - but she should be able to use that one for just a little longer. Very tempting to bring it home and try and do a proper renovation on it - but I have enough on my plate. . . left Sis1 to have a nap and walked Sally with Mum and Sis2 down to Battery Gardens. . sat around chatting and looking at the views etc in between walking Sally and letting her have a bit of a romp in the sea chasing pebbles and such . . .back to Mums for coffee and chats. It appears I am not the only one who is being sadly turned more 'right wing' by the recent bombings etc. . Mum gave me a handful of black T shirts she'd scored from charity shops and insisted I take the 50 she'd put with them, as payment for petrol and all the CDs, DVDs, postage etc. I've been sending her. . . loaded up, goodbyes, and on the road in a hint of drizzle around 11pm. .very tired and my erratic driving showed it! Drank a tin of Red Bull as soon as I reached the fast dual carriageway at Newton Abbot. Did the trick (god that stuff is SO useful) and soon felt much more alert and in control. .worryingly kept a close watch on the temperature guage, but speeding along in the cool night air, it was fine. . speeding along over Telegraph Hill I suddenly saw a deer (a 'proper' big one) eating grass right next to the road!! Wow - first time I've ever seen one of those there. So - those road signs that warn of deer, are for real. Held my breath with my heart in my mouth as I passed. I was going too quick and saw it too late to take ANY avoiding action. Passed by, with it no more than six feet from the car - but as far as I could tell, it just carried on eating the grass. Lucky. Could have been a real nasty accident - and I didn't fancy having to try and cook that! . . on the motorway, the flashing warning signs that everyone ignors, were indicating a 50mph speed limit, for no apparant reason - for miles! Encouraged me to slow from my usual cruising speed of 80mph down to 70mph for quite a few miles. Slowed a little more when I saw a blue flashing police light approaching from the far distance in my mirror. Wow - he must have been doing around 150mph straddling the two outside lanes as he blew past me. Over the next quarter of an hour or so, another two or three police cars went flying by at similar speeds and quickly disappeared into the distance. Couldn't help speeding up a little in the hope of seeing what was going on. . Yikes! A bit of heavy braking as I joined the slow moving bunch of traffic, being held up by a police car. One of those rolling road block type deals, to keep us all safely away from whatever they were dealing with, up ahead. Wasn't long before we were 'released' and all rubbernecked as we slowly drove past the half a dozen police cars and one scruffy looking white van that were all parked up on the hard shoulder (past a stretch of road covered in swervy skid marks). Guess they got their man. :o) Nice one. Hope he 'slips over' on the way to the cells! . .off the motorway at Patchway and wound my way across and home by around 1:15am . . returned Mums ansaphone message (saying she was still up) and confirmed safe arrival. . . tried to call BB but only ansaphones . . . eventually to bed some time after 2am. paaaa
24 - Woken before 7am by next doors dog out in the yard barking! Grrr. :o( . . .walked in the rain . . . cleared up a little of the attic junk laying around in the bedrooms and managed to find a storage place for some of it. . .checked the oil, water and tyre pressures on the car . . . sewed up the split pocket linings on my sleeveless multi pocketed jacket . . did laundry . . .left Sally at home and drove to buy a birthday card and a box of chocolates for Mum, and to fill the car up with petrol. Parked up in Kingswood and looked in the handful of stores that were open, but strangely couldn't find a single card I was happy with, and none of the shops had any boxes of Milk Tray! Annoying. . . ended up having to drive in the drizzle all the way on down to ASDA at Longwell Green. Uh oh - big queues just to get into the car park! Eventually parked up and bought a card, box of Milk Tray chocolates and a couple of cans of Red Bull energy drink before back to the car and filling up with petrol on the way out.(35.67 ltrs @ 31) Ouch - blimey - that's a dent in my finances! . . . TVd and watched most of the German Grand Prix . . .ate bananas and bowls of co-co pops . . . napped until around 6pm . . . walked . . .had a small beer and pottered in the garden a little. Ended up pulling and cutting all the reeds out of the pond and then chopping them all up and cramming them in the compost bin. Several gruesome looking 'skins' of hatched dragonflys left behind on those reeds. That MUST be the reason all the pond tadpoles have disappeared. Yayyy - saw a little frog the size of my little finger nail swim across the pond. I suspect that is one that has made its way out of the 'nursery' bucket. That bucket is STILL teeming with healthy enough looking tadpoles (and just one or two starting to look like little tailed frogs/toads) all gorging on the lettuce I keep putting in, although I DID see a dead one floating in there the other day! :o( I had intended to return all of them to the main pond, the minute I saw one of them dead, but I've decided not to, because that bucket is definitely safer for them (despite the odd casualty) than the main pond. On top of that - the tadpole that was floating and dead, was being eaten by the survivors! Didn't know they did that! Blimey - hope I don't walk out there one day and find that bucket full of ONE very large, satisfied looking tadpole, and all the rest gone! :o/ . . . TVd. . . ate roast potatoes, chicken and a pint of gravy . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd and watched a cute film 'Hearts In Atlantis' until bed around 1am. Trouble sleeping with a back ache. pasd
23 - Tossed and turned for hours and couldn't get to sleep, and something - um - 'unsociable' going on with my stomach!!? Not that long until I'd have to be up walking Sally, so seemed little point in persevering. Got back up around 4:30am and TVd . . walked Sally early but felt a bit weird and woozy. . . lay back down to sleep a little after 7am . . . woken by Sis1 leaving an ansaphone message around 10am and saying she was planning to visit Mum next week- and was gonna stay over the night. . . called her back and touched base . . . peeled up the whole bag of potatoes I've had laying in the kitchen for too long, and which are sprouting and going off. Put them all in the oven to roast, with some crushed garlic. . . put laundry on and then PCd this. . . cleared up around the place just a little . . . BB called . . . ate grated cheese and onion on toast x 4 . . . eventually back to sleep until around 6pm . . . walked. As I was heading out of the sun towards the shaded boulders to sit for my cigarette, one of the dog walkers made it clear he was heading for me and wanted a word! Uh oh? Turned out he'd seen a bunch of kids playing on the building site and knew I usually carry a phone. I'd not seen the kids, and was rather reluctant to have to make yet another call so I said he was welcome to use my phone if HE wanted to do the reporting to the police (for what it's worth!). Amusing to sit and listen as he made his call. Don't think he's done that too many times. All ended up sat on boulders with other dog walkers (five in total I think) and all sat there predictably discussing how bad things have got, how dumb and uncontrolled the kids are these days, how the police never turn out despite our high council tax, etc, etc, etc. Purely by coincidence, just then, a private mobile scurity service van turned up, to give the building site a quick once over. The dog walker guy ran over to him and told him about the kids. As the security guy drove back down the road, opened up the gates and let himself in, we watched as the group of five kids ran across the yard and re-emerged out through the gap in the fence (complete with their push bikes!!). They all stood around with their hoods up watching as the security guy drove around the yard towards the fence. One of them at one point actually half heartedly threw something at his van!! Eventually the kids strolled off across the field and the dog walkers carried on walking their dogs. I sat around for a while longer with another cigarette, interested to see if the police were gonna turn up. They didn't. Eventually headed home and ended up walking a little distance behind a couple of the little yobs. They joined up with another group (some very young - ten upwards?) and all hung around on a street corner. I had to walk past them on my usual return route, and as I approached them I could see they were all crowded around and sorting/sharing out several baggies of cannabis (like the one I recently found laying in the street!!). It amused me to suddenly stop and join their circle and stare at the centre of their attention. They hardly seemed to care although one or two DID say 'quick - put it away'. I lamely gave a quick token 'lecture' about the dangers and asked if they'd seen that recent TV program that strongly suggested a link between young cannabis use and later life schizophrenia - and then left them to it, after having been asked if I wanted to buy some (10 a baggie)! With hindsight I guess I could (should?) have reported it to the police - but it just seemed so pointless to try. It IS frightening to think that kids that young are smoking SUCH strong stuff. That stuff I found, is SO strong - the smallest little bit seems to have an almost anaesthetic effect!! Gotta treat it with 'great respect' - like I bet they don't! Common sense suggests it is BOUND to mess up their mental development. :o( . . . Sis2 and Mum called to touch base!!? Turns out Sis2 has flown in and arrived at Mums for a surprise visit!! . . . BB called . . . ate half a chicken with four pieces of bread and butter and the last of the coleslaw . . . TVd (mostly the news) until bed around midnight. Turns out that guy the police executed on the tube, WAS in fact, allegedly completely innocent!!!! Society's worst nightmare. :o( It's mindboggling to attempt to imagine the amazingly different life stories, of just a handful of those all drawn together by these recent events, and how those diverse lives all came to 'converge' in such awful circumstances and tragedy, in such a time and place. The would be suicide bombers - the bomb victims - the 'execution' victim - the armed policemen - witnesses - relatives, etc etc. Boy - you could make a hell of a book/film out of that - lots of seemingly unconnected parallel stories (tempting to include a london pigeon or two!) - all ending at or around 'convergence'. Be a real tearjerker. :o( pas
22 - Up around 8:30am . . . walked. As I said good morning in passing, one of the teachers outside the school made some comment about it being the last day of term. I mentioned my house had been egged again. 'Did you call the police?' she said. Get real!! She's got no idea what it's like to live round here, has she. :o( Found a rather ok pair of sunglasses under a hedge, when I was trying to retrieve Sally's runaway ball. . .dabbled just a little with bagging up more dust in the attic but soon ended up back in front of the TV news channel watching ever more madness. . well - looks like the reality of things is now in full view. According to the early reports, the police publicly 'executed' a terrorist suspect on the underground!! :o( Worrying implications - but then again, if you run from the police when told to stop, to hell with you and good riddence . . .TVd . . . walked. As I approached the field, a couple of kids ran off after having set fire to a pile of rubbish (including lots of the polystyrene insulation material from the building site, still littering all of the field!!) Stamped it out before continuing my walk. Stamped it out again as I finished my walk, because they'd relit it. Dumb kids. I mean - it's polystyrene insulation material used in house construction - all fire resistant these days ain't it. Didn't do much else but smoulder a little. . as I sat for my cigarette, a larger bunch of kids approached including the ones who'd originally set the fire. Probably just paranoia, but somehow I kinda got the impression they'd called up 'reinforcements' on their mobile phones!! . .finished my cigarette and headed home, which prompted calls of abuse and 'bin man' after me!! :o( . . found an empty Laura Ashley purse and a really cheap, gawdy, gold look earring! Stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home . . . touched base briefly with BB . . . PS popped round for chats till early . . . touched base with BB . . sat in the garden before to bed in the early hours. pass
21 - Woken by Sally at 7:30am . . . .walked and found 2p . . . climbed up into the attic and sat around for a while trying to plan the next steps. I think I'm gonna leave it all until at least next week, because there's nothing much I can do until I get more timber delivered. Made a start of the long nasty job of clearing up some of the masses of rubble, dust and debris that absolutely covers the top of the ceilings, between the bowing old ceiling joists (under the old loose fibreglass insulation - which I want to try and retain for the time being). Not 'really' necessary, but I figure it'd be best before I start laying new insulation and trapping it all in when I put the new floor down. Blimey - no wonder those ceiling joists are bowed! Filled up four sacks with rubble and what appears to be largely soot, and that was only two runs between the joists across only one of the bedroom ceilings!! Incredible. Got in a terrible filthy mess and made very little progress. That dust up there is SO fine - it drifts around in the air and has ended up covering everything everywhere - including the PC and everything in the bedroom! :o( Inhaled a whole bunch, despite wearing my dust mask (the filter of which really needs replacing - badly!). I wonder - is that dust actually, over a hundred years of accumulated chimney smoke and such, from when everyone around here burned coal? Amazing quantities of it up there! Not sure if I can face trying to clear it all. . . ended up giving up around 1pm when the radio started talking about more 'incidents' in London!!! . . TVd . . . touched base briefly with Mum . . . BB called . . . ended up watching the TV news for much of the rest of the day. The world seems to be increasingly full of lunatics, intent on causing misery and suffering, and all in the name of religion!!! If there was a god, who would HE seek forgiveness from? Grrrr. God bless Darwin! <button it!>. . ate half a chicken with four pieces of bread and butter with coleslaw . . . TVd/PCd . . .walked and found 3p . . . TVd . . . BB called . . ate a banana and some buttered Golden Syrup cake. . . at 9:30pm, as I was in the middle of watching a documentary account of the Beslan seige horror, some passing bunch of yobs threw an egg at the house (from over the road opposite I think), hitting the upstairs bedroom window with a frightening thud! :o( If I didn't have double glazing, I reckon that would have smashed the window! Took me a while to realise what the noise was, by which time the yobs were way on down the street and pretty much out of sight. Ended up driving round the block a couple of times in the car, but perhaps thankfully (cause I WAS pretty annoyed and ready for trouble), I couldn't spot them anywhere. Ended up having to drag out and unravel my long hosepipe and hose down the front of the house, before the egg dried to glue. . . ended up sat around and looking out of darkened windows for the next several hours, 'on guard'. :o( Miserable. I guess maybe they were celebrating that absurd legal ruling that's just been made. Apparantly some young teenage boy (what on earth sort of politically correct idiot parents must he have - and what a nice law abiding area they must live in!) had won a legal challenge to the power of the police in certain troublesome 'curfew' areas, to disperse groups of young troublemaking yobs and take them home. Apparantly that is againts the 'human rights' of the kids!!!!! The lunatics HAVE taken over the asylum. . . touched base with BB . . . eventually to bed after 1am. pas
20 - Woken late around 8:30am by Sally . . . walked and found a carrier bag containing a large cream coloured bath towel (looks unusued!?) and two bottles of white spirit!!??? How on earth did that strange little collection end up hidden in the nettles? One of the other dog walkers suggested an aborted arson attack, which would never have occurred to me. Oh well - all pretty useful to me for nothing, thank you very much. :o) . . .PCd this . . .sorted through some of the stuff I'd brought down from the attic which seems to be littering the whole house. Tried to be really ruthless but didn't really manage to get rid of any of it, except a small pile of four ring binders and a briefcase from my post office days, which I think I should really return from whence they came, some time! . . . left Sally at home and drove to Staple Hill police station and handed in the mobile phone I'd found. Took a ridiculous amount of time for the officer on the desk to book it in on their system and just print me out a receipt. A small queue formed behind me. Unpleasant feeling having to stand there surrounded by people reporting in for their bail and such!! :o( . Drove on to Kingswood and queued up in the post office and handed in the four ring binders and briefcase . . stopped off in the building society and banked my latest PSB win . . . drove to Longwell Green and toured the DIY stores checking out the chipboard flooring. All pretty much around the same price, and all probably too big to get in the car. God I miss having a roof rack. :o( Wonder if the timber merchant do sheets of chipboard flooring as well? Maybe I could have all the timber and flooring I need delivered at the same time? I think I'll start enquiring next week, once Mum's birthday is out of the way. Bought Sally food and a couple of bags of bird food supplies in the pet store . . in the vicinity so drove to ASDA and shopped - and of course was seduced by the two roast chickens for around 4 deal again. . . ate half a roast chicken with four pieces of bread and butter and a whole bunch of coleslaw. . . lay down for a 'bit' of a nap. Didn't wake until woken by Sally after 8pm!!!! . . . walked late . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd. . . ate bowls of co-co pops . . . TVd/PCd briefly before bed around 2am. 'Star Trek' Engineer Scotty (James Doohan) died this day. pas
19 - Up at 6:30am . . .Foundwalked and found a mobile phone by the seat near the swings!! Cute little thing. A Samsung SGH-E800 sliding front type - with a camera I think - on the 'O2' network. Unfortunately it demanded a PIN number when I turned it on - and similar when I tried my own SIM card in it. . PCd and looked up the helpline number of O2 and gave them a call explaining I was trying to return it to the rightful owner. Unfortunately, the woman on the line did her job right, and explained she couldn't give me any information on the owner because of the Data Protection Act. She did however, do as I asked and look at her records to see if they had a registered owner on their system. Apparantly it's a pay as you go and unregistered, so no way could they help returning it, even if I posted it to them!! Oh well. Shame. Gonna be another trip to a police station some time, to hand it in. Waste of time that'll be I'm sure. I mean - like the police have time to mess around with such nonsense! Sadly, the O2 person indicated that even if I was to eventually get the phone back if it wasn't claimed, I'd not be able to use it because it would be permanently blocked somehow (and of course I don't have a charger etc. anyway). :o( . .hmm? Looks as though there is a fault with my guestbook. Can't add anything!!? Oh well - at least that means I don't have to go on there two or three times a day and remove those blasted poker site adverts that keep appearing on it! . . . worked in the attic cutting, gluing and nailing more noggins. Thought I'd be clever with the last couple of joists to nail in permanent - flipped them over before I nailed them in, to compensate for any sagging which may have occured while I've been working up there and they've been drying out in the extreme heat. Bad move. One of them (actually one of the first I hung) has sagged like a banana!! Didn't notice until I'd already nailed it in (with those nails that won't come out!) and was about to do the noggins. Both ends are perfectly level with everything else, but the middle is about half an inch (or more!!) above where it should be now!! Even with all my weight on the middle of that one joist, it wouldn't get in line enough to nail in the noggins. Damn, damn, damn! Well, if I HAVE to, I guess I can plane it down. :o( Before I am forced to do that, I guess I may as well delay things (I badly need a break!) and stack up some heavy stuff on that one joist, to see if it'll maybe settle back down true. . finished all the rest of the noggins except for the connections to that one joist, and then stacked up all the tools on it and called it quits for a while. I wonder if maybe damping it with a spray of water would help? No - probably just twist!! Let's give it a day or so before I get that drastic. I guess I 'could' grind off the heads of the nails and replace that joist. I'm (at least) one short of a complete floor anyway, because of that one which warped so bad I couldn't use it. I WILL be ordering more timber to be delivered - as soon as I make a final decision about how I'm gonna do the inner roof supports and what minimum size supporting 'structural' beams I can get away with. If I can possibly get away with it, I want to make the roof sides totally self supporting by spreading the load - without the need for large verticle support 'walls' where the existing (rotten!!) purlins are - which will absolutely maximise the 'visible' (although not very useable in the corners) floor area. It's a trade off with loss of head space/stoarge cupboards!! I need to make a decision - and that'll take hours of just sitting up there with coffee and cigarettes looking at it and thinking it all through. And what am I gonna use this space for? Why am I doing all this? I dunno!!!????!!!! lol. It just 'needed to be done', ever since I first looked up there. The more I look at it - the more tempting it is to have it all done out white with pine trim, do both firebreasts in that weird cement wash I've done in the living room and kitchen, and then just leave it more or less empty. Just a large empty space - to sit - with a view out the skylights. :o) lolol. There is SO much more work (and ) to do, it's daunting! :o( . . incredibly loud noise of a moped with a defective exhaust drew me to the window to see what it was. Turned out to be a stolen moped without an exhaust silencer and without a numberplate. The kid riding it was not wearing a helmet but WAS wearing a black ski mask to cover his face!! Grrrr . . .ate the last three bananas before they went off. . . napped for a couple of hours until around 3pm but woke with the same headachey feeling. . .pcd a bit more of this . . .surfed loft conversion sites, concentrating on council building and fire regulations!! Blimey - there are SO many building regulations these days it's ridiculous. In fact - the whole rest of the house is an old death trap according to that information, so I don't think I'm gonna worry about it 'too' much. . walked between mopeds and found a penny. Stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home. . oh good grief! Next door's boyfriend has got himself one of those miniature racing style motorbikes!! Saw him getting it out of the back of his works van and then noisily starting it up outside. That explains the noise that kept me awake last night. Well - he's gone down in my estimation. Guess these bikes are the latest craze/fad/fashion accessory. As he was out there starting it up, I was watching the news channel which was reporting on immense suffering and thousands of deaths from hunger in Niger, after drout and plagues of locusts!! I really just don't know how to live in this world. :o( . . BB called to touch base . . . TVd . . . ate half a buttered Golden Syrup cake . . . ate bowls of co-co pops . . . TVd/PCd some more until early. paasd
18 - The suspended attic floor projectUp around 6am!? Think I was woken by some neighbourly noise maybe. .nice and cool in the garden so early. Coffee and annadin tablet for breakfast. I'm very achey! :o( . .walked. Collected up all the bits of smashed up mini motorbike fairing from all over the grass and put them back in the bin. .almost back home and right opposite, a car window had been smashed and the radio stolen. Big mess. :o( Called at the neighbour's door and gave them the bad news. Dunno how they can handle it - seems as though they've had more than their fair share of such incidents. They haven't had that car long. :o( With hindsight, I think I may have heard that happen when I was on the phone with BB around 11pm. I'd thought I'd heard someome let off a firework while we were talking. . started work on doing the final fix, and the noggins on the attic floor project. Blimey - a sprinkle of light rain! Seems like I haven't seen any rain for absolutely ages. Didn't last long. Actually - the way I'm doing those noggins (nailed AND glued), is pretty damn time consuming. Only done around two thirds (or less depending on whether I add some more) by the time I ran out of energy (and nice nails) around 4pm. I'm really, REALLY tired. :o( Sat around up there for quite a while with a coffee and cigarettes, able for the first time, to appreciate the progress I've made. Almost time to start thinking about buying some floor. Think I'm gonna go the nasty/cheap 'sheets of chipboard' route . . .cleaned up and lay down for a nap, but only managed to toss and turn and snooze for almost a couple of hours. I think I'm a bit dehydrated, and/or suffering from black attic-dust inhalation. . .PCd a bit of this . . .walked and found 9p. Carried on round the kebab shop and treated myself to a kebab and chips . . . .BB called . . .briefly returned Mums ansaphone call about a TV show to watch . . TVd. . . cut my hair/trimmed my beard etc. . . in bed by 11pm but trouble getting to sleep, because someone nearby was trying to start up the engine (and failing) of one of those miniature motorbikes!!!? Grrr. pa
17 - Up around 7:30am . . . walked and found 3p. A couple of carrier bags blowin around the field, so did litter duty and filled them up. Idiots have torn down the other rugby goal post and left it resting on the building site fence and hanging over into the site! The first post and the cross bar was destroyed by someone quite some time ago. Nobody seemed to care and the metal crossbar tube seemed to be gradually making its way out of the field - so one day I ended up dragging it all the way back towards the clubhouse and dumping it on the ground there. Eventually someone took the hint and moved it within their security fence. Now that pitch is presumably unusable with no goal posts at one end. Can't understand why the members of that club don't look after 'their' field. In fact - it's quite the opposite. Any time they do training or actually have any function over there, masses of litter and debris are just left laying all over the place once they've gone. .had a closer look in the long grass and as I'd suspected, that mini motorcycle fairing WAS still there. PCd a bit of this . . . Mum called to touch base . . .PCd more of this but ran out of steam and gave up around midday . . . so much for my 'day off'! Ended up working in the attic cementing in the last three full length joists. Should have been four, but one of those pieces of wood has warped and twisted SO much, it's no use! :o( Guess I'll be able to cut it up and use it for some of the 'noggins'. God it was hot up there today - sweat was just pouring off me! . actually spent a while bringing all the stuff I have stored up there, down and out of the way - although of course both bedrooms are now full of clutter and junk. I need to go back through all that stuff and ruthlessly decide what can be thrown away - although I've already pretty much done that in the past. A whole bunch of that stuff is definitely sellable and can't be just thrown out. . worked through until around 6pm before cleaning up and collapsing with exhaustion . . . walked. I guess I'm gonna have to just accept, that it is perfectly normal in todays society, to have go-peds and miniature motorbikes racing around wherever they please, all the time!! :o( A family were sat on the grass over the field, with the (idiot) parents looking on, as their kids buzzed around between playing children and walking dogs, on a miniature trail bike!! . . detoured at the bottom of the field and took some little pleasure in retrieving that mini motorcycle fairing from the long grass, and carried it to the waste bin (been burned again) by the swings, and left it noticeably on top of the charred rubbish. That'll be the end of THAT then. . sat on a boulder for my cigarette watching two kids on go-peds and yet another on a miniature trail bike, racing around at remarkable speeds. Very amusing when one of the kids on a go-ped, fell off on the grass next to the cycle path, when it suddenly stopped dead in it's tracks. No sympathy whatsoever for his hurt, throttle wrist! Somehow even more amusing, when I realised he'd fallen off because the machine had hit the deep furrow in the mud, baked hard by the sun, made by that stolen dumped car back on the 8th of February. Tee hee. :o/. . touched base with BB. Yes I AM aware that my outrage at people's behaviour over that field, has become something of an unhealthy obsession! Been that way for a while. It just seems to be getting worse and worse. I don't include 'everything' I see going on, here!!!! :o(. . . ate an oven cooked frozen pizza . . . touched base with BB some more. . . ate bowls of co-co pops . . . to bed before midnight. Ted Heath died this day. ps
16 - Up around 7:30am . . . walked. Definitely cooler thank goodness. Ha - that miniature motorbike fairing was still laying in the grass. I just bet my intuition was right. Bet that bike WAS stolen! :o( . . . straight to work in the attic and managed to get the last three short joists cut, nailed, glued and cemented into position by mid afternoon. . . ate a banana and then a small defrosted steak and kidney pie with two bags of crisps followed by a handful of biscuits . . . napped until around 5:30pm . . . intended to PC a bit of this but instead ended up having to do a system restore, in an attempt (hopefully successful?!!) to escape something nasty I seem to have picked up. How the hell is that possible? I've hardly touched the machine for weeks, so it seems. :o( . . .PS called . . walked just a little earlier than usual. Found 10p and nine king sized cigarettes strangely sprinkled around on the grass. Hello? Where's that mini motorcycle fairing gone? Someone's moved it. .that same bunch of trashy girls from last night were hanging around all drunk again near the seat with a couple of guys, which meant I couldn't sit there for my cigarette!!! . sat on a boulder near the entrance to the field in some shade for my smoke. Way off in the distance, one of those girls could again very clearly be seen, dropping her trousers and pants and squatting behind some nettles!! Weird thing was - she'd moved away from the group she was with so as to be out of sight from them, but had actually chosen a very noticeable spot in full view of the entire rest of the field!!! Go figure. . . just enough time before PS gets here to maybe acheive the targets I've set for myself today? I have three more of those long wooden joists still stacked up from the living room through to the kitchen - and I'm tired of having to squeeze past them. Dragged the ladders out and raced to get them through the bathroom window, up onto the roof and fed in through the skylight. Managed it within about half an hour, but oh boy did I get hot! Sweat absolutely pouring off me - all my clothes soaked - but happily acheived all I'd wanted to get done today!! Even brought one section of the ladder through the skylight as well, to give me a better climb into the attic than that old rickety loft ladder I've been using. :o) Maybe - just maybe I'll have a day off tomorrow? . . showered and then raced to fix something to eat. . BB called only to be told I'd have to call her back - again! Made up four more of those cheese salad, garlic and coriander pitta bread things, with vinegar. PS arrived in the middle of me chopping and mixing stuff. . ate three before finally accepting that the green colouration on the pitta bread, WAS mould and not the garlic or corianader!!! Blimey - they went off quick. Or did they? When did I buy them? What day is it? Tasted like an old leather jacket!! . . . TVd, coffee and biscuits with PS until around 12:30am . . .ate multiple bowls of co-co pops with a pint of milk (far too much!) around 1am . . . touched base with BB before straight to bed around 1:30am. ps
15 - Woken around 2:35am by LB calling!!?? Let the ansaphone take it - something about her having been woken by some noise of a 'domestic' going on up the street. Tried to get back to sleep (still in the back bedroom) but soon started to hear whatever the noise was, out the front and up the street! Got up and peeked through the front window but couldn't see up that far. Weird noise. Sounded like a whole bunch of stuff (wood?) being broken up. Even weirder - it just carried on and carried on, and no one seemed to be doing anything about it!!! Grrrr! Ended up getting my clothes on and standing in the front garden peering up the road for a while, although I STILL couldn't see who was doing what, because of a large tree in someones garden (and LBs dreadfully overgrown hedge of course!). Incredible the whole neighbourhood hadn't been woken - then again, maybe it had, but no one wanted to run the risk of trying to do anything about it! I ended up leaving Sally in the front garden and nervously slowly walking up the street in my slippers, to see what the hell was going on, before deciding if a call to the police was warranted. . as I walked up there, I spotted at least a couple of woken neighbours (and LB of course) peeking out of their darkened windows! Turned out to be a young woman picking up the gravel (bigger than gravel - more 'stones') from a front garden and hurling handfulls of them at the front of the house. The weird noise was the clatter of these stones hitting the double glazed window and then the bay roof and pavement (MUST have hit that parked car too!) as they all tumbled back down. I asked her if she was ok. The story was, she'd been out (singing!? 'Jazz' apparantly - oh dear. :o( ) had been delivered back home, but had forgotten her keys and was locked out. She was trying to wake her boyfriend who was allegedly in there asleep (still? The rest of the bloody street's awake!). There was some suggestion (contrary to mine that he was probably drunk!) that he may have taken some sleeping tablets to get to sleep. How come NONE of the windows were open, despite the heatwave. Weird. Difficult position. Difficult to believe everything she was saying under the circumstances. She'd already had a go at pushing in the front door from the look of it, although hadn't succeeded. All that was holding it was a little Yale catch - the deadbolts were not engaged. I reckon I could have forced that open pretty easily - with one good shove - but - no. No way was I gonna start breaking into someones house, on her say so. I don't recall ever having seen her before - I didn't know she'd lived there for three years (although - such is the nature of todays society, especially around here, so it seems. All crammed into little boxes right next to each other, and yet never speak!) . What to do? What to do? I suggested maybe she could try waking him up by phoning him. Did I have a phone? I suggested she could use mine at home so we walked the short distance back. (actually - naively trusting of her!) Her call did not wake her boyfriend and she simply suceeded in getting her own ansaphone. The easiest way out of all this nonsense seemed to be for her to be put up somewhere for the night and sort it all out in the morning. I WAS going to make the offer, but it seemed terribly 'inappropriate' that she should maybe stay at my place so I ended up back on the phone to LB who offered to let her sleep there (as long as we could all get back to sleep, because she had to be up for work in three hours!). Excellent. Escorted 'J' back up the road and briefly introduced her to LB before heading back home. . Very awake. Sat in the garden for a while with a coffee. Touched base with BB . . .tossed and turned for ages before eventually back to sleep with daylight and birdsong behind the curtains. . . up around 8am. Definitely just a 'little' cooler today - oh thank goodness. LB called from work to 'debrief'. Apparantly J had slept on the sofa and then this morning LB walked with her up to her house and they'd managed to wake her guy and get her back in. I said I thought she was drunk despite her denials - LB said she was acting just the same this morning when she woke, so maybe she is just a 'dipsy' sort of girl!? Weird. Very weird . . . walked and found 2p . . . put in a few hours working in the attic and nailed, glued and cemented in, three of the short rafters. . called a halt and cleaned up around 12:30pm . . .ate a banana . . walked with Sally all the way to the doctors surgery to pick up my repeat fluoxetine prescription. Damn - hadn't even considered they may shut for lunch!! Sat around in some hot shade for quarter of an hour waiting for them to re-open before soon heading back home with my 'happy-tab' supplies. . . ate the last half a chicken with four pieces of bread and butter, lots of salt and a pint of cold water from the fridge . . . napped until around 5:30pm . . . PCd a bit of this . . .walked. Some guy was riding around the field on one of those miniature racing motorbikes. Can't understand why anyone would want to be seen dead on one of those. VERY pleasing when he fell off at one point. I confess I did a bit of deliberately loud laughing. :o/ I wasn't laughing a little later when I discovered what appeared to be the broken fairing from that bike, dumped in the long grass. That's not normal. Who in their right mind would just leave that behind and keep riding around on their 'toy', if they'd just crashed it and broken the fairing off? Oooh - betcha that's a stolen bike! Betcha, betcha, betcha!!! Seems SO pointless calling the police about anything these days - I tried really hard to just ignore my suspicions. Sat on a boulder in some shade for a cigarette, but I just couldn't let it go. Ended up walking back across the field, past where the guy was now parked sat on the grass with three girls, and tried to look all unnoticeable as I sat on the bench with my back to them and rolled another cigarette. Acting as though I was aimlessly wasting time walking my dog in the heat, I walked over and sat on one of the swings and gently swung back and forth facing the group across on the grass. I couldn't help it - I was convinced my suspicions were accurate - I fired up my phone and called the police, and explained the situation and asked if it was worth me trying to report it. The woman on the phone was very understanding - said YES and took all the details. I made my usual comments about were they gonna bother turning out (because I'd stick around and show them where the fairing had been dumped) - the operator was honest and said they were very busy and it was unlikely!! . . I sat around for ages. The guy ('Simon') rode off on the bike at one point, but I'd overheard him asking if any of the girls wanted cigarettes so clearly he was riding to the local shop and intending to return. While he was gone, the group of girls (all very young and obviously drunk, and - well - 'trash', sadly, well describes their behaviour!) split up. Two walked off across the field somewhere and the third then very loudly announced (to who?) she 'had to have a piss' and proceeded to do so in fairly plain view nearby!! Eeew! . . the guy on the motorbike eventually returned and the group ended up changing position and moving in my direction, which kinda forced me to move away. It'd been well over half an hour. Decided enough was enough and clearly the police weren't turning up. Sat on a boulder near the entrance to the field for a final cigarette before heading home. Just then, the guy on the motorbike appeared from the bottom of the field and proceeded to ride across the field heading for the cycle path and the exit, straight towards me. Bizarrely as he approached, he stopped the engine and made some comment to me about how rough the ground was!!!? My reply was just to stare at him from behind my sunglasses I think. "You don't approve?" he said! Can't really recall what I said, but somehow, I ended up (rediculously) blurting out "Is it stolen?". He assured me it wasn't - but in such a way as to be completely unconvincing. I mentioned the fairing dumped in the grass. His excuse was he'd just broken it - he was gonna leave it there until he came back in his mates car to pick it up later. WHAT utter nonsense! If there was ANY truth to that at all, he would have taken great care in hiding the fairing, not just leave it laying noticeable near the path like that. He quickly restarted the bike, drove across the grass, down the cycle path, across the pavement, over the emergency vehicles only road, back up onto the pavement and sped along until out of sight! Grrrrr. Why aren't there ever enough police! :o( Oh well - guess it'll be interesting to see if that fairing has been removed by the morning. (Found myself actually tempted to go and smash it up myself, as it surely will be by some of the local yobs very soon!!) . .on the way back from the field I saw a local builder guy coming out to water his hanging baskets or something, and collared him, said I hoped he didn't mind, then started asking him stupid questions about my roof and what in his professional opinion was the minimum size support lintel(s) I could get away with using. Predictably he started talking about iron girders and massive tree trunks and all sorts of stuff I've no intention of doing. Not a helpful conversation. . . back at home, the police switchboard woman I'd spoken to earlier, called to apologise because the police were so busy and hadn't attended. Weird - although, that DID make me feel a 'little' less frustrated for some strange reason. . . BB called . . .TVd . . . sat in the garden . . . ate bowls of cornflakes before bed. ps
14 - Up around 7am . . . walked. Did litter duty and ended up coming home with a nice stainless steel fork and another pint beer glass!!!?. . . glued and nailed in the 'T' joist and then started the job of cutting the grooves in the brickwork for the next six joist hangers. Stopped around 11:30am and sat in front the TV for a bit, waiting for the 'midday two minutes silence'. Sat quietly, in sombre mood out in the front garden for the two minutes . . .Only managed to cut in three 'notches' with the grinder and cut the lengths of wood before succumbing to the heat and having to stop without having acheived my goal. ( I WAS at least able to cut those joists to length in the front garden and carry them up into the attic through the house as I'd suspected I could, rather than have to do the precarious roof trip. :o) ) That's the worst thing about doing this attic work. Not so much the work, but the constant battle with heat exhaustion!! . . .ate a banana . . . napped with the fan on until around 6pm. . . walked. Blimey - can it be true? Looked as though that building site had a security guy on duty. . .cooled off in the garden with a small beer . . did the mountain of dishwashing chores, for the first time in ages, because there was nothing left to eat on! . . . LB called just as the TV show I was planning to watch started at 9pm. Managed to get straight off the phone - and then very briefly called her back and suggested she watch the show, because it was all going on down near where her family home is in Cornwall. . BB called but I was determined to catch that show and eat, so I said I'd talk later. . . TVd (people making a house out of an old steel barge) and ate half a chicken with four pieces of bread and butter, lots of salt and a pint of cold water from the fridge . . . sat in the garden trying to get cool . . . ate bowls of co-co pops . . . struggled to stay awake until BB called back, after midnight. Straight to bed once I was off the phone. psd
13 - Up around 7:15am. Feels 'too' hot already! I've had enough of all this heat. :o(. . . walked . . . received a 50 premium bond win in the mail . . . just another day of filthy hot work in the attic. Knocked through the back bedroom cupboard ceiling, sawed off one of the existing old joists and opened it all up through into the attic. Lots of black dust and sacks of debris!! THAT is gonna be my new access up there. Wow - should have done that years ago. SO much easier to climb up through there, rather than try and squeeze through that rediculously narrow old loft hatch at the top of the stairs. Moved the bed across the room and put it against the firebreast, to enable me to open that cupboard door fully and easily get all my tools and buckets etc up there as necessary. .made up a third (shorter) glued and bolted together, double joist beam which will be the 'load' bearing 'T' piece between the other two, from which, six short joists will hang. Called it quits pretty early and left that beam, undisturbed, to set. . . napped . . .TVd the news. Touched base with Mum and told her about the death of the local radio presenter Roger Bennet. She remembered having listened to him. . . walked in the hot. . . BB called. Dunno why but somehow in the conversation, talking about my attic work, I suddenly realised I'd overlooked something. I was half hoping I could put a pretty decent staircase up there, by kinda hiding part of it inside the front bedroom cupboards. Turns out the cupboards aren't really wide enough - so that ain't gonna work! Think I'm gonna end up being stuck with little better than a ladder!! A dog free room?! :o( . . . TVd . . . sat in the garden. ps
12 - Up around 8am . . . walked in the heat. A poor gull over the field, living out its last day, was wadling around with a broken wing. :o( Thankfully I spotted it before Sally did, and I managed to get her on her lead before she ran in for the kill - although perhaps that would have been kinder to the poor bird - especially in this heat - there's no way it'll be able to find anything to drink. I resisted the temptation to go catch it - and just walked away after having sat and sadly watched it for a while trying to figure out 'if it knows'. :o( . . . PCd this - with the desk fan on full blowing at the PC! SO hot already! Definitely gonna have, more or less, a day off from the attic project . .dashed out when the bin men arrived and asked if I was allowed to put my two bags of rubble in the lorry. No. :o( . . . Mum called to touch base . . .checked my current account balance - Arrgh!! Oh NO!!!! I've gone 18 overdrawn for a day!!! Been so busy and absorbed in doing all this attic work, I've not moved some money arround in my accounts as I should have. Phoned the bank in a desperate bid to stop being hit with charges but too late. That's gonna cost me at least 5!!!!!!!! Grrrrrr - that's two ready cooked chickens! :o( . . . left Sally at home and drove up to Kingswood. Withdrew most of the money from my building society account and then shopped a little in Sainsburys. Drove on to Wickes at Longwell Green and bought six more joist hangers - but this time, the type that are nailed into position and used to hang joists from joists. Probably 'over-engineering', but I also invested in two bags of special 'grippy' nails. The type that have textured shafts and which WILL not pull back out once nailed in. . . impressed by the price of the last couple of chickens I bought there, and because it wasn't much further to drive, I carried on to ASDA at Longwell Green and did a fairly major shop for groceries and such. . .ate half a chicken and four pieces of bread and butter . . .watched the TV news. Blimey - that London bombing investigation is sure now (thankfully) moving quick. Lots of cordons and house searches up in Yorkshire!! . . . napped . . . watched the news. . . walked in the sweltering heat and found 5p. . .drank a small beer . . . touched base briefly with BB before the advertised, special, CSI program was due on. Turned out to be cancelled because of todays developments in the news and the story line apparantly. . . ate multiple bowls of co-co pops and then a tray of jaffa cakes. . . touched base with BB . . . sat in the garden after having hosed it all down . . . to bed around 1:30am to toss and turn for ages in the uncomfortable heat. Even got out of bed at one point and moved the desk fan closer to the bed and pointing directly at me!! Eventually to sleep in the early hours. psd
11 - Woken by Sally around 5am. She needed to use the garden. First major stomach upset for a while . . eventually managed to get back to sleep until around 7:30am. . . walked and found a penny. . . just another 8 hour day of hellish work in the 90 degree + attic - but I DID acheive the targets I'd set for myself. Hacked out the rest of the rebates in the brickwork at one end, and enlarged the existing( !? From temporary supports when they built the house maybe?) gap in the brickwork at the other ready for the twin big beams. Bolted AND glued up the double joist beams and then treated myself to a little lunch for a change, whilst the glue dried. . ate the rest of the tuna and mayo in sandwiches with two bags of crisps and several pints of water, and ended up sitting down and watching all the way through until 3pm, some dreadfully slushy film with Kirsty Ally as a paraplegic!! Had a happy ending-ish (apart from still needing the wheels!). . bashed on with the attic work and eventually managed to get BOTH heavy, double joist beams cemented into position by around 6pm. Miscalculated the amount of cement to mix and ended up throwing half of it away! HATE wasting it (the materials but more so, the hard manual labour in mixing it - and of course the increasing number of bags of rubble I have to dispose of!) like that! Those two beams are a milestone in the 'project'. Another six short ones are gonna be linked to them - although I'll probably add a couple of pillars from the supporting wall beneath, just to be on the safe side. If anything, because I don't really know what I'm doing, like I did with the bathroom roof, I'll probably over-engineer everything for peace of mind. The neat thing about the next eight joists I'm gonna be cutting to (shorter) length is, I should be able to measure up, cut them downstairs and then bring them up through the house, rather than do that awful 'up the scaffold pole onto the roof' trip. :o) .. .walked around 8pm, drinking a tin of Red Bull, and found a penny . . .put on some laundry and then raced around with the vacuum, clearing up some of the debris laying around all over the place. Very hot - very tired. . BB called . . .sat in the garden for hours in only shorts, trying to stay cool. Hosed down the garden to encourage the frogs to go hunting to give me something to watch. 'At least' three seem to be permanent residents :o) . . . ate corned beef, onion and tomato ketchup (!?) sandwiches with two bags of crisps long after midnight . . .eventually to bed with the desk fan on again. p
10 - Woken around 8am by BB calling. . . walked. Fed LBs animals . .worked on the back, double joist bolted together, 'load-ish bearing' beam. Spent a couple of hours in the blazing heat on the patio, using the disc cutter and the arc welder to fashion two custom 'double width' joist hangers out of four singles. Worked out rather well (despite my awful welding). :o) I HAD hoped to be able to remove half the wall and just cement these beams into the brickwork, but I changed my mind once I'd cut the lengths and realised just how much of the wall I'd have to remove to be able to swing them into position. Seemed easier to do a compromise, and use a rebated joist hanger at one end. It'll do - it can't be going anywhere. . Eventually just gave up and stopped in the middle of things without acheiving any of the targets I'd set for myself. Just too damn hot, dirty and tired to carry on. . . napped for a couple of hours with the desk fan on . . . walked. More kids on the building site. Called the police (who actually answered the phone pretty quickly today) - but who didn't attend again. . touched base with BB . . . TVd . . . sat in the garden . . . ate bowls of cornflakes and then tuna and mayo sandwiches with a bag of crisps. . . to bed around 1am. ps
9 - Up around 7:30am . . . walked. Lots of thick polystyrene insulation sheets from the building site were broken up and strewn all over the field! Don't think I'll be doing 'litter duty' for a while! . . . fed LBs animals (by agreement, after my initial refusal, I only do the morning feed) and couldn't help myself putting in some considerable amount of time attempting to clear the masses of green mould from the inside of the water bottle on the one of the cages that has the most rabbits in. Another batch of young!! According to LB, because they can kinda 'store' fertilised eggs until the first brood is grown!? Can rabbits do that? . . . spent the day working in the attic and suceeded in cementing in, just another two rafters! This is slow going - and hard, hot, grimey work. :o( The only good thing about it is, at the moment, I can simply leave all the mess up there, close the loft hatch and walk away from it, without the whole rest of the house being covered in dust (with the exception of the living room fireplace! All that hammering and messing around on the firebreast up there, is seeing handfulls of debris falling down into the fireplace and out over the carpert again! More daily vacuuming!) . With all the skylights open, it's also pretty well ventilated for when I use the disc cutter on the bricks. . . worked through without eating until gone 6pm . . . walked and treated myself to a kebab and chips . . BB called . . . PS popped round for chats until early . . . touched base with BB . . . oh SO tired but oh SO hot and thirsty. Ended up sat in the garden with coffees until after 1:30am before bed. ps
8 - Woken by Sally around 8am . . . walked. Actually - when did that happen? I hadn't even noticed! Over the last few days or so, that temporary fencing that had been erected around the old mine ventilation shaft ('my hole'), has finally been removed. . Oh NO!!! Sally NO!!!!!!!!!!! I don't believe it. She caught and swiftly killed another wood pigeon!! Bitch!!! (Thank goodness the news said that recent surveys have revealed that the wood pigeon is now the most commonly seen bird in Britain, and is regarded as something of a pest!!) I've taken to loudly clapping my hands every time we walk down that end of the field, in the hope that the noise will frighten off any pigeons that may be on the ground beneath that overhanging foliage. I've actually started to be concerned that the people in those nearby houses may start to get irritated at that nutcase walking by who claps his hands and makes all that noise all the time! Well - so much for the clapping idea! That didn't work. :o( Call (kill) of the wild?!!!!I dragged Sally away from the dead pigeon ('almost' comical with feathers stuck to the side of her mouth) and sat on the nearby seat for my cigarette. What to do? Just leave it there? Bin it? No way am I gonna cook it - no way! . . Sally was eager to return to her kill. Against my better judgement, I allowed her to. Nothing fills her more full of life than that call of the wild and a hunt - and a kill. Morbidly perhaps, I was intrigued to know just exactly what Sally would do with it. Presumably all her life she's been fed dog food, the odd bone and such. She shouldn't know - but instinct took over I guess. She very happily ate a fair bit of that pigeon, feathers and all, before I called a halt to the embarassing scene. That's breakfast then! Not sure what to do about all this. Am I developing (encouraging!) a dangerous dog, thats getting a taste for killing and that may start to become a liability?!! I'd hate the thought of having to walk her with a muzzle on - or worse!!! Dunno what to do. :o( . . . the drive belt for the turbinette vacuum attachment arrived in the mail from Mum. Oooh - fingers crossed, it looks like a match. . dug out the old unit and managed to fit the belt but - no - that's not right! Too tight. :o( Turned out to have one tooth less than the old belt. . touched base with Mum and gave her the bad news . . .drove to the doctors surgery and dropped in my repeat fluoxetine perscription form. Drove on to Wickes at Longwell Green and invested 33.80 in twenty 175x50mm joist hangers, and 13.16 in sixteen square cup 10x130mm carriage bolts for the attic floor project . . . worked in the attic, took my time getting it all level and such, and eventually cemented in the first of the suspended floor rafters. I'm gonna put the first two across from each of the firebreasts - front and back. That'll give me a decent 15+ft spread between them, across which I can make a level, and aim for that with all the rest of the joists. And, if I get things right, temporarily I 'should' be able to lift those joists back up out of the hangers to enable any necessary shimming and levelling before I nail them in permanent. . . hot filthy exhausting work! Wouldn't be so bad if anything in this house was remotely level - but nothing is. That means I have to use the disc cutter and various drill bits to cut in each of the joist hangers - some between bricks - some INTO the bricks!! Nasty. . .called a halt once that first beam was in, to allow the cement to go off without being disturbed. Those joists are such long heavy lumps of wood, it's impossible to work up there without bashing everything as I move them, around - and I don't want to go and ruin that important first joist before it's solid. . showered off the layers of black all over me and then napped after a couple of chocolate biscuits. . . walked. Hmmm - from the secondary pile of feathers a little distance away, it appears something cleared up after Sally and ate the rest of the pigeon! . .couldn't resist acheiving todays target I'd set for myself, and ended up back up in the attic, getting everythging as level as I could, before cementing in that important second rafter. . . returned BBs call . . . ate half a chicken with four pieces of bread and butter . . . TVd . . . ate the last of the co-co pops . . TVd until almost 2am before bed. ps
7 - Woke at some ridiculously early hour, snoozed on, then up around 6:45am. Dunno why but I haven't been sleeping well at all for the last several days. :o( . . .walked and found 2p . . . set up an extension power lead from a socket in the bedroom and via the cupboard up into the attic. I can leave that plugged in for the forseeable future. Put the old radio from the bedroom up there to keep me company when I work. . . put in a couple of hours doing the preliminary drilling/disc cutting work for cutting in the first four joist hangers. Gotta take my time over this - the positioning of those first two joists is absolutely critical (to make sure they are level in every direction) , and will of course dictate all the rest. Started to lose interest when it started to become clear from the radio that serious s**t was happening in London!! :o( . . stopped work for a bit and ended up sat in front of the TV news channel, watching the chaos unfold. . touched base with Mum, who was just getting the bus into town to pick up the turbinette vacuum attachment drive belt the shop had ordered in, which 'should' (fingers crossed) replace my broken one . . . messed around in the attic a little more but no longer had any stomach for the grimey work and eventually cleaned myself up and just sat watching the horror on the news . . . BB called . . . ate a couple of chocolate biscuits with coffee and then napped for a couple of hours. . . walked and found a penny. Much warmer this evening . . sat in the garden briefly. Strangely quiet. I think the great tits have flown the nest. Quite glad I wasn't around to see it. Bet the local cats and magpies had a field day! Bon chance! . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd and ate half a cold chicken with four pieces of bread and butter and then a tray of jaffa cakes . . .TVd mostly the news until bed around 2am. I can't work out whether or not these terrorists are incredibly stupid (actually mad - who in their right mind would conspire to cause such suffering?), or rather more clever than I can appreciate and carefully playing some horrific bloody chess game which actually 'could' acheive some unknown goal!!!! pas
6 - Woken by insistant Sally before 7am! :o( . . . walked. Detoured on the way home and stopped off at the building site in the hope of telling someone about the kids last night and in an attempt to encourage them to block up the hole in the fence. I told someone who said he'd pass it on, but I doubt anyone on site, cares! . . .PCd this. . .Got ladders out - stood in the garden looking up - tested the weight of the joists -climbed into the attic – all trying to figure out how the hell I’m gonna get those awkward, heavy things up there! Oh no! Some of that brick paint on the very top of the chimney has all flaked in the sun already!! Bet that is where I had to rush the job. Ho hum. :o( On the upside, I think I've spotted the weakness in the lead flashing that may have allowed that bit of damp in during that thunderstorm the other day. More roof climbing in due course. :o( . . I guess before I go sacrificing part of my ‘bottom of the stairs ceiling’, in the desperate hope they’ll fit up that way, I really should at least have a go at dragging one up on to the roof – just to make sure it actually isn’t possible! Optimistically opened up the attic skylight in preparation. Managed to use my wooden step ladder inside the house as a support, and fed one of the lumps of wood through the narrow top opener of my bathroom window. Left it resting on the ladder and the window frame, and then quickly ran out into the garden to lift it through (risking the window pane cracking under the weight!). Climbed up onto the bathroom roof and immediately broke another tile!! Grrr - fast running out of spares. Hauled it up onto the bathroom roof without 'too' much difficulty and propped it up at an angle against one of the protruding scaffold pole (old aerial mast) clips, secure enough to enable me to climb up the pole next to it, onto the main roof. Using that same scaffold clip (happily just above the protruding guttering) as a point of leverage, I was able to move the wooden joist into a suitable position for lifting it straight up (only just strong enough to do that!), before leaning it in towards the skylight, using the scaffold pole and that same clip as an anchor point for my right foot, and then using my right knee as the fulcrum to feed the end through into the skylight. Just inside the skylight is one of my main roof support purlins (eventually to be replaced and moved) and I managed to get the joist in on top of that, which saved the skylight from damage. It also turned out to be almost exactly the same level as the very top of the scaffold pole! By hanging onto the pole and standing up on the very edge of the roof, I was again, JUST strong enough to be able to lift the end of the joist up and perch it precariously on the very top of the pole!!!! (actually - my head was quite useful for the final adjustments of that operation!). Despite how windy it was, and despite how it looks, because of the weight of the joist, it was actually 'reasonably' stable in this position. Stable enough to nervously race back down off the roof, climb into the attic, and finally see if I could actually get that huge length, in. The centre of gravity of that wooden joist was just outside the skylight - just out of reach, so that initial first drag off the top of the supporting scaffold pole was a bit of a heart stopper, as it teetered in space, pivoting on the purlin wanting to drop back down outside!! By dragging it inside, and feeding it carefully to the side of the skylight, and then diagonally deep into the opposite side of the attic, I DID IT!! YYYYAAAAAYYYYYYYYY!!!!! :o) Bloody scary - bloody difficult - but it's do-able! Yayyyyyy. Very tired, shaking, hot and sweaty - but elated! So - that's one. Another seventeen to go - and plenty more in the future!! :o( . . .I did a couple more. Soon realised I wasn't strong enough to keep going and do it all in one go, so set myself a target of doing ten - which should also keep the extra weight on the existing ceilings down to a safe level until I've strung them and suspended them (slightly safely above the ceilings) from the supporting walls. SUCH a shame I couldn't easily replace those ceilings with these new joists - I'm losing a good few inches of head space - but that would have meant the whole top of the house, from the bedroom floors up, being replaced, professionally at HUGE cost. I'm guessing - but I figure somewhere around 600 will give me a comfortably 'useable' floorspace up there. . a slow exhausting business - get one piece of wood up there - stop and recover with a drink and a cigarette in front the TV news channel - next length of wood. Reached number ten and had it propped up against the scaffold pole, with me on the roof ready for the main lift, when Sally started barking as someone called at the door!! Those two pieces of wood that needed replacing maybe? Raced down off the roof as fast as I could go and sure enough, the delivery guy was just putting the first one in my front garden as I'd suggested he should do if I wasn't around. True to his word. Nice one. Was bringing in the second length of wood from the truck and stacking it in the living room just as they made the announcement on the news that London had been successful in its bid to host the 2012 olympics. Seemed to make lots of people really jubilant - I'm not sure I understand why! I was just jubilant to eventually get that tenth length of timber up in the attic. . . Sat around in the attic for quite a while visualising where to start the work - but not today. Too tired . . .ate sandwiches and napped (poorly) around 4pm . . . walked and found a penny. Just as I was heading back out of the field, some of that same group of kids from last night together with some others were all heading for the break in the building site fence. Sure enough, they all went inside to play around on the equipment and scaffolding etc. Against my better judgement I figured I'd call the police again, to give them the chance to turn up, because they hadn't bothered last night. Usual nonsense of being on hold for ages. By the time I actually got through and 'made my report' - I'd been on the phone for eleven minutes. I succeeded in alienating the phone operator by my frustrated attitude and comments about how long I'd been on hold and I bet they wouldn't turn out anyway, just like yesterday! She said they were VERY busy ('manic') tonight . . I felt obliged to wait there in case they DID turn up, so sat around on a boulder smoking cigarettes - for a little over half an hour!! Eventually the kids all reappeared from the yard having done their thing. By this time I was unexpectedly freezing! Very cold wind blowing - my hands were turning a strange blue colour! Headed home in disgust at the poor police response again. Only later on the news did I see a report about a demonstration by G8 activists, causing traffic chaos and hassle in the centre of Bristol this evening. Ok - guess the police DID have their hands rather full of more important matters. Weird how it's all connected like that - all the police being used to police that demonstraion must have meant a widespread increase in unchallenged lawlessness all over the place. Wonder how those crazy demonstrators (although I do in principal agree with their anti globalisation sentiments) justify that in their arguments?. . . BB called. Told her I'd call her back. LB called a minute later - my number by mistake. And then yet another call, but once again with no message left and number witheld. I suspect my number has somehow ended up on one of those (they should be banned!) automated sales dialling systems. Grrrr. . . touched base with BB . . . TVd . . . ate multiple bowls of co-co pops and then to bed at midnight. pa
5 - Up at 6:30am with the alarm . . .walked early . . . sat around waiting for my lumber to be delivered. Used the time to sort out some more of the MP3s and assimilate them into my collection. . .Mum called with the news that one of the shops she'd been into, may have been able to get hold of a replacement drive belt for my old (favourite) turbinette vacuum attachment. Retrieved the broken one from the car, measured up and called Mum back and confirmed it looked as though maybe it WAS the right size (although - are the teeth the same spacing/size?). She'll pick it up next time she's in that part of town . . .come midday it was raining and I was all uptight and headachey and still no sign of my 'AM' delivery! Grrrr. Phoned the builders merchant and was told they were just being strapped down onto the truck and would be with me in quarter of an hour. Timberrrrrr!!!Some time after 12:30 the truck finally arrived. Helped unload it all (in the rain) and made two stacks through from the living room into the kitchen - with 'just' enough space for me and Sally to get past. Blimey - they're heavy! Uh oh - two of those lengths were so twisted and warped they were no use for anything. The delivery guy said he'd drop off a couple of replacements tomorrow 'some time'. Uhuh - we'll see. . . touched base with Mum . . . left Sally at home and drove to Wickes at Longwell Green to look at everything and then eventually bought four joist hangers for 6.76. Stopped off in Asda and bought two ready cooked chickens. Blimey - even cheaper there, although maybe a bit smaller than I've been used to . . . ate half a chicken with four pieces of bread and butter. Far too tired to attempt to do anything today - and the weather is too wet and windy to even consider it. . napped for a couple of hours but woke with the same nasty headachey feeling . . .hmmmm? Now I actually have the timber here and know what I'm dealing with, and know how heavy and unweildy each length is, I'm pretty sure my plan of feeding it through into the attic via the roof skylights is COMPLETELY out of the question!!!!! Poor weather forecast for the next couple of days so I think I'm gonna just have to sit and re-think my plan of action for a bit. This is gonna take a bit of figuring out. Don't even think having someone to help, would actually help much! May have to resort back to my alternative plan of removing a part of the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs, in the hope that would enable me to feed the lengths up through the floor of the bedroom and thence into the attic. Trouble is - no matter how much I try and measure up to see if it could work - because of the angles and such involved, I won't know whether or not it really is possible until I try it - and that may mean sacrificing that ceiling section for nothing!! :o( . . . walked. Here we go then - four teenage kids had gained access to the new building site via the same old hole in the fence, and as I walked Sally around the field were 'playing' in the cab of a huge mobile crane that was parked on site! Attempted to call the police but ended up on hold for so long I gave up. Walked round the field and still they were in there doing whatever they wanted, so I ended up sitting on a boulder and calling the police again. Eventually after being on hold for ages (good god - even the police have one of those phone systems that apologises for putting you on hold and then plays music at you while you fume for ages!) at long, long last I was put through and made my report - at 7:20pm. I sat on my boulder and smoked cigarettes and listened to the sounds of stuff being smashed up on the site. At 7:56pm the three boys and one girl appeared in the distance, back out into the field, via the hole in the fence. They stood around chatting for a bit before splitting up and all going their seperate ways. The police did NOT attend. Made me feel kinda humiliated to have to just stand by powerlessly and watch like that, after having wasted more money on a pointless, ignored phone call. (Maybe all the local police have been drafted up to Scotland to attend the inevitable 'G8 Activist' (anarchist dick-head) riots?) Ended up returning home to squeeze into the house past my unmanageable pile of timber, feeling very fed up with things in general. :o( . . . touched base with BB who turned out to be in an equally miserable mood, albeit for rather better reasons! . . . ate the other half of the chicken with another four pieces of bread and butter . . . TVd until bed around midnight. Exhausted but trouble getting to sleep again! :o( paaas
4 - Woke around 7am to the sound of the rain falling on the conservatory roof. . .walked - luckily after the rain had stopped . . . pawed over the phone books and called a handful of timber supply merchants getting quotes for 20 pieces of 7"x2"x4.8meter lengths of timber, for the start of my suspended attic floor project. Very nervous - not even sure I can get such lengths of rafter up there!!!?? (If I can't, I'll have to spend a fortune on more wood and heaps of 'carriage bolts' and do it in smaller, joined lengths!) Unfortunately it seems to be taking up all my thoughts at the moment, so the sooner I bite the bullet and attempt to make a start the better - just to have my 'mind' back! They all seemed to quote around about the same price, so not much point in shopping round. Do it, do it, just DO IT - for goodness sake!!! Arbitrarily called Kellaway Builders in Staple Hill back, and placed an order with my credit card. 189.69 including VAT and delivery, and should be with me tomorrow. Shame the forecast is for lots of rain all week! Worry worry worry. I guess I'll have to temporarily attempt to stack it all in the living room and through into the kitchen, until I can walk it all one by one round the back and up the lane and then attempt to get it into the attic via the roof and skylights!!!!! Worry, worry, worry - although - on reflection - most of my worrying is simply because I'm being forced into dealing with and being reliant on other people - i.e. the timber supplier. Once the timber is delivered and I'm back to just getting on with it on my own, in my own funny way, in my own good time - I'll be a lot happier. Until then - I'll just remain all up tight! . . .pottered in the garden a little more and cut off the tops of all the reeds in the pond and put them in the bin . . . cooked a couple of frozen peppered beef steak thingys with chips for lunch . . .TVd . . .BIG thunderstorm again - about as bad as it gets. Popped up in the attic and found a little bit of water ingress on the back of the front chimney stack! THAT is getting in round the lead flashing thanks to the roofers poor work! Humm? :o( . . .lay down to nap only to be dragged down to the front door by one of those really, REALLY annoying people trying to get me to change energy supplier and take dual fuel discounts and all that. I lay back down to have my nap but he'd left the front gate ajar and the wind was gently rocking it, the noise of which set Sally off gently barking! Gave up trying to sleep and ended up back on the PC assimilating a few more of DSs converted MP3 files and retagging them etc etc. . . LB called asking if I'd feed her zoo over the weekend. I said sorry, no - I'm gonna be doing building work in the attic! She then called back - and somehow I was emotionally blackmailed into saying 'probably yes - but ask me again after my timber delivery'! Grrrr :o( . . . PCd some more . . . walked . . .touched base with BB . . .ate corned beef sandwiches, crisps and biscuits . . . TVd. Watched a bit of the coverage of the US latest high profile space project. They fired a probe into a passing comet! Typical of the yanks - just gotta be shooting at stuff all the time! lol . . . TVd until bed around midnight. All up tight about the timber delivery and tossed and turned and couldn't get to sleep for another hour or so! :o( p
3 - Woke around 7:30am but snoozed on for just a little . . .walked . . . PCd and put in a couple of hours on assimilating the DS donated music which I've converted down to a slightly lower quality . . . pottered in the garden and added some of the overgrowing stuff from the raised borders and the pond to the compost bin. Well - as far as I can see, there is no sign of any tadpoles left in the pond!!!??? The ones in my bucket nursery still seem to be doing ok - so - there MUST be something (dragonfly larvae?) in that pond eating them! :o( . . . cooked up four tiny cheeseburgers for lunch . . . watched the start of the French Grand Prix but just HAD to lay down. Lay down for a nap around 1:30pm and didn't wake (with a headache) until around 6pm!! . . .walked . . . sat in the garden with a coffee and smoke and ended up on my knees by the pond until my coffee got cold. Well - there ARE just a handful of tadpoles surviving in the pond still - but - wooo woooo - some of those in the safety of my 'nursery bucket' are sprouting limbs!! Yayyyy - first time I've ever seen THAT in my garden! Looks like that nursery bucket and the supplies of lettuce I've been putting in there WAS a good idea. :o) At least a couple with tiny back legs, one really small one with all four limbs but still looking like a complete tadpole with its tail. Weird how the fattest, largest, don't have any limbs yet. Wonder if it's because I have a mixture of toads and frogs in there? Gonna be SO pleased if they survive to crawl away. :o) I wonder if the trouble with the main pond is connected to all those overgrown reeds that spring up out of the water every year? Maybe without the reeds, the dragonflies wouldn't have anywhere to land and lay? Think those reeds are gonna have to go. . . touched base with BB . . . sat around in a weird 'just want to be quiet' mood . . . PCd some of the MP3s . . . listened to a little music . . TVd and ate masses of bowls of co-co pops until bed around midnight. paas
2 - Woke around 7am . . .walked in the drizzle. All of a sudden, half way round the field, Sally saw what I imagine was a cat and took off after it, straight out of the field, across a road and up a lane, ignoring my frantic calls!!!!!! :o( Grrr. Ran after her between the traffic and eventually got her back (but only because the cat had disappeared over a high wall!) That was the end of THAT walk! Dragged her straight home on a very short leash and shut her safely out in the conservatory for a while, to allow my temper to cool. Grrrr. :o( . . . PCd and started converting a bunch of the MP3 tracks DS has sent me, down to a slightly lower quality/better compression. . blimey - gonna take ages - convert to WAV and then back to MP3 and then rebuild all the tag information!! :o( . . . left the PC working ALL day, with a desk fan blowing at it! . . . TVd and watched a few snippets of the Live 8 concert . . . ate corned beef, cheese, lettuce, onion, mayo and tomato sandwiches with two bags of crisps for lunch . . . lay down to nap next to the buzzing PC only to be disturbed by a strange beeping. Oh no! Running out of disk space - because of the massive size of those WAV files!!!!!! Franticaly deleted some stuff and then set the conversion back to MP3 going, at around 4pm . . . napped for a couple of hours . . . walked - and put Sally on her lead along the side of the field where she ran out this morning!. . . touched base with BB . . . PS popped round for chats and to watch a bunch of the 'Live 8' performances on TV. Wow - the highlight for me just HAD to be Pink Floyd. Fantastic performance! . . . ate biscuits . . .Was just about to lay down to sleep next to the STILL working PC when - uh oh - the PC suddenly unexpectedly stopped the MP3 conversions, before it had done them all??!!!! Damn - it appears that some of the WAV conversions failed when I ran out of disk space, and the MP3 conversions were refused as a result!! Damn - that's gonna take a bit of sorting out! :o( . . . eventually to bed around 2pm. pass
1 - Woke around 7:30am . . . more heavy showers . . . walked and found a penny and a lighter . . . felt a bit 'blah' and just sat around TVing PCing and listening to music and such all day . . .Mum called to confirm receipt of my DVDs package . . .experimented in the garden with a tape recorder and then the MP3 player, attempting to record the increasing noise coming from the bird box. The MP3 player, left hanging near the bird box, did a surprisingly good job (119KB - titnest.mp3 ). With the volume turned way up, you can even 'just' make out the sound of the pitter patter of the wings of the visiting parent flying away to seek more grubs. :o) . . . ate bowls of cornflakes late afternoon . . lay down for a quick nap only to eventually wake up around 8pm!. . . touched base briefly with BB . . . walked late and found a little tobacco in a pack. Not my brand but enough for a few smokes . . TVd . . . cooked a four egg bacon, onion, cheese omlette and ate it with four pieces of bread and butter around 11pm . . . TVd until bed around 12:30am. . Couldn't sleep for ages and even 'had' to get back up to look out the front bedroom window at the noisy passing drunks at one point! Eventually to sleep way past 1am. pa