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July
31
- Up at 5:30am . .PCd this while watching seagull activity . . did dish washing chores . .BB called to touch base . . bagged and carried the remaining mountain of rubble up the garden and dumped it all in the lane outside my garage, for the neighbour to shift at his leisure. (Only a few hours later he'd shifted it all and it was all gone. Excellent - that really HAS done me a BIG favour.) . . started work on the living room front alcove wall. Stripped the wallpaper off only to find one of the worst sections of wall beneath so far! Half the old paint beneath was flaking off and the wall is nowhere near straight, making my usual routine of plastering and smoothing out the poorly cemented old picture rail scar, pretty much impossible. :o( . . spent hours scraping off flakey paint only to then discover, the rest was pretty much impossible to scrape off!! Uneven wall, half the old paint on, half off - turning into a time consuming nightmare this one!! . . Mum called in with food donations . . carried on trying to scrape the paint off the wall before deciding it really wasn't going to be possible. I was doing more damage than good in the attempt!! . ate a whole pack of Mum donated six miniature pork pies . Eventually gave up with the wall and just slapped a huge amount of filler all over it, in the hope that maybe I'd be able to disguise the uneveness of it all, by just sanding it all down. I suspect not, so I may have to end up using lining paper over that one. Shame. . completely dismantled the upright vacuum cleaner down to all its component parts, and spent hours meticulously cleaning the dust from everything. One of the bushes on the motor seems to be missing it's outermost edges!? I guess I 'could' see if it's possible to get replacements? . eventually put it all back together again and briefly ran it. Well - it's still working at the moment. Put it away to fully dry out before probably eventually ending up using it to destruction . . TVd/guitarred just a little . . ate ham and mayo rolls, crisps, mini pot of rice and chocolate . . TVd until bed at 11pm.
30 - Back up around 8am feeling very blah . .PCd a bit of this . . back to work on the living room, preparing walls and applying huge amounts of filler to the alcove wall. Much of the time consuming work I'm doing here now has nothing to do with the lintel and is simply what I'd be doing for decorating those walls anyway - trying to remedy all the horrors beneath the old textured wallpaper, and the roughly cemented over scar of the old picture rail in particular! That picture rail thing, (trying to make the wall appear flat by scraping , plastering, filling sanding) on EVERY wall in EVERY room, has caused me a HUGE amount of work here!! It all would have taken a fraction of the time if not for that! It'll be a big day of celebration once I've finally worked my way around every wall in the house - but that's a long way off! . . Mum called to say her door had been fixed and the bill came in at just under 200. That still seems like a lot to me, but I guess not worth disputing. . popping up to the car to retrieve the new bag of plaster, the neighbour suggested he'd run his old land-rover down the lane and have have some of my rubble for his hardstanding. Moved my car out of the way and then helped load more than half of the rubble I've created (we'll do the rest - a big heap of blocks and loose rubble piled up next to my conservatory - some other time) into the back of his landrover. He thankfully generously said he didn't require help unloading it, so I quickly returned to my plastering. . filled and plastered the wall at the opposite end of the lintel. Didn't go 'too' badly, despite having found, that wall is all uneven and not straight anyway! Watched plaster dry for a bit before deciding that I could actually probably push on and do the rest across the lintel in between. . wedged in my straight edge piece of timber beneath the lintel as a thickness guide and eventually plastered across it all. Not a perfect result, but certainly good enough to make it work with some sanding etc later. That was much more than I'd imagined I'd get done today, so kinda made up for yesterday. The living-room side of all the work, IS 'starting' to take shape - which is good for my state of mind. What remains for those walls is 'mostly' a monster session of sanding everything down - which will of course absolutely fill the whole house with a layer of white dust. Given my 'burning-out-vacuum' situation, it is tempting to delay progress and actually start decorating a couple of the OTHER walls in there, so I can eventually aim to do the bulk of the sanding in more or less one go! :o( . . eventually called it quits around 7pm and cleared up as best I could without vacuuming . . TVd and drank a glass of red wine while cooking a pizza . . ate pizza, a banana and some chocolate . . TVd until early to bed before 10pm!!!! d
29 - Woke in the night around 2:30am feeling - um - 'troubled'!?? I should check the faggots packet for 'E' numbers perhaps? Actually I was suffering quite a bit of pain from my battered, bruised and maybe a little swollen hands too. Apart from all the cuts, pinches and chunks I've knocked out of them, I DO have an unhealthy habit of trying to use them as hammers kinda! lol . . woken again at 5am (still have the window ajar) by all the seagull noise outside. Got up and PCd this, while watching the more advanced of the two seagull chicks once again doing a few circuits of flight. Heartstopping stuff to watch, because it hasn't really quite got the hang of it yet and there are an awful lot of telephone wires and such - and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be able to take off from ground level if that's where it ended up. . PCd this and got on top of some e-mails etc, for what ended up being several hours!! . .BB called to touch base . . finally got round to putting a 'MOV' format copy of Uncle TJs ashes commital video onto a disc. Coz1 had asked me to do it for someone - um - err - WEEKS ago!! Got all kinda distracted with windows and stuff in between and just kept putting it off - and have had it weighing on my concience. I actually don't even think it plays - pretty sure the file is corrupt in some way. With my equipment and software, I never successfully managed to play it all the way through before the 'quicktime' player always crashed - but I'm just not prepared to waste any more hours over it. . . reluctantly back to the building site and started looking closely at the living room alcove and adjoining walls, trying to form a plan of action about what work is actually required to bring them up paintable. I hate to do it, but I think I'm gonna have a go at leaving the old paint on the walls! Unlike elsewhere, it mostly isn't flaking off, and would be a nightmare to attempt to remove. If it's that well stuck on, then why bother?! Some areas of the walls are also hollow-sounding and really should be hacked off and replastered, but I think I'm also going to have a go at leaving those bits too. Even so - still huge amounts of time consuming work. . laboriously extracted all the old wall plugs and filled all the holes with rammed-in plaster . skimmed over one end of where the lintel was seated. I'm gonna do the plastering on those walls in bits - because I can't plaster! My plan is - if I can alternately get the wall each side of the lintel more or less smooth and level, and back out to the required depth, it should then enable me to use those sections as a guide for finally finding the level for plastering across the lintel and wall above. Having said all of that, today does appear to be something of a day when all the recent work has caught up on me and I'm just feeling completely burned out with it all! I did more sitting staring at it than, acheiving anything today! Even hints of a 'dark mood' descending on me, which for some reason simply hasn't been an issue for actually quite some time. (This is why I've been working so hard and such long hours at stuff. Gotta 'make hay while the sun shines', cause when it doesn't, I can't.) . Mum called in on her way down to see Auntie B and to pick up the disc . . jumped in the car and popped round to buy another 25KG bag of one coat plaster (11.30). A dead baby seagul was laying on the pavement next to the road. Tragic. . stopped at the store on the way home for tobacco and bread rolls . . ate a tin of Mum donated salmon in bread rolls. Just couldn't face doing ANY more work, and ended up just leaving everything where it was and having to go lay down for a nap. . woken (only just!) by Mum calling in on her way back. Auntie B had given her four 50g packs of Golden Virginia for me (left over 'in pockets' from their holiday?), and by the time I staggered to the door, Mum had stuffed them through the letter box. Wow - the one I just bought was up around 12:50 in the shop, so that's quite a bit of money she's just given me. :o) . SO tired, I stumbled straight back to bed and slept through until around 8pm, and even then had trouble waking I was still so tired! . . cleared up some of the mess I'd left from earlier and sure enough, as I'd suspected would happen from the hours of use and abrasive dust, my upright vacuum is about fixin' to burn out the motor. :o( It hasn't worked right since one of the wiper blades snapped some time ago, and I HAVE most certainly had my monies worth out of it, but still a disappointing development. With what I do and the mess I get in while doing it, it isn't something I'm going to be able to do without. I DO of course also have Mums old cylinder one to tide me over, but it uses bags, and they clog with all the dust I create, within seconds of installing a new one, and is therefor just too expensive to contemplate using at the moment. Could have done without that added hassle and expense right now. They aren't cheap! :o( . . unhappily TVd/guitarred the night away . . PCd (vacuums etc) until finally to bed after 4am!! s
28 - Woken around 7:30am by the sounds of the bin men! . . PCd a bit of this, delaying the inevitable prospect of getting back to working on the building site - again! . . I've watched the seagull chicks on the roof opposite quite a bit of late during the working in the living room, and have seen them experimenting with little jumping test flights here and there. Just after uploading this, there was a bit of noise and commotion out there from various gulls, as if they were all shouting encouragement. One of the chicks was aloft - and doing a couple of small circuits of PROPER flight overhead before successfully landing back down on their roof! Yayyyyyy. SUCH a pleasure to see that. SO cool. What a joy that must be for them after all these long weeks. :o) . . very slow getting going again, but eventually drilled and chiseled away the two half protruding end bricks at floor level below the lintel, and got ready to start cutting up pieces of floorboard to glue into the gap all the way across. A small length of tongue and groove timber left over from when I made my TV unit, should be adequate enough for the job and save me going spending money on anything new. It's a lot thinner than the existing floorboards, but the gap I need to fill is only around five inches in width, and there are joists below just either side of that, so it won't be an issue. The floors in the two rooms ARE luckily pretty much at the same level, although several of the ends of the boards are a little bit up and down. Rather than trim the uneven ends of the floorboards to be a straight edge and just slap a straight piece of timber in between, I decided to cut lots of small pieces of the tongue and groove to actually fit around all the irregularities. Since I intended to just glue them in, I figured that way it would wedge and lock everything in place. Just measuring the first bit of timber to cut and Mum called. Her double glazed door mechanism had developed a fault! Damn - I was just getting going! . . dropped everything in an angry mood and raced up Mums to have a quick look. Quickly confirmed there was nothing I could do and it WAS going to be a job for a repairman, before soon returning home. . started the long, LONG, oh SO tedious job of cutting the pieces of timber for the floor. Every single piece had to be cut precisely to fit the piece of irregular gap it was destined to fill - with multiple cuts on each to fit around all the irregular board ends, like a piece of a puzzle!! When I got it right, the piece would wedge and lock into place pretty firmly before even going anywhere near the glue. When I didn't get it quite right, the tongue and groove to the adjacent pieces held it in place sufficient to move onto the next. It took absolutely ages, but eventually I had the whole gap dry-filled from end to end with the interlocking timbers. A total of nineteen individualy cut-to-fit pieces in all!!! Knocked them all back out before applying wood glue to all the faces and then meticulously gluing them all in place, attempting as best I could, to use the little bit of play in the tongue and groove joints to follow the slight undulations and unevenness of the existing old floorboards and get it all as flat as was humanly possible. I ended up pretty pleased with the result. It isn't perfect - it WOULD benefit from a bit of planing or sanding at some time in the future when the adjacent carpets and carpet strips are up and out of the way, but I'm pretty sure that with a bit of carpet on top, even now you wouldn't know there was a join. (More than can be said for a section of the kitchen floor where a wall was removed some time in the past. There is a noticeable slight lump in the floor beneath the carpet tiles where someone botched the job! YET another irritating thing for me to remedy some time in the future!) . that silly bit of floor took much of the day, but I don't regret it. Pretty vital to get that as right as possible I reckon. . pretty much spent the next several hours just clearing up some more of the mess and dust, getting some of my tools stowed back out in the garage, and actually getting the place a bit more habital once again. Even put the line of carpet tiles I'd removed from the kitchen floor, back down - and did lots and LOTS of vacuuming. Moved furniture a bit and brought the three seater sofa in from the conservatory into the living room, and put the two seater out there. I just needed to do all that nonsense for my state of mind kinda. Just to feel a bit more organised and comfortable around the place again, and make me feel as though I'd made some progress, and to encourage me to be able to keep at it! . . called it quits around 8pm and got clean myself . . touched base with Mum. She'd had a repairman in and a part had been ordered. There was some suggestion from her that she could end up with a bill of up to 300!!!????? If that IS how much she is eventually gonna be charged, I think someone somewhere will have to answer some questions! You could have a whole new door - fitted, for less than that! We'll see. :o( . . ate a packet of four microwaved faggots with four pieces of bread and butter and a piece of Mum donated coffee sponge cake . . TVd until bed around 11:30pm.
27 - Disturbed, uncomfortably hot nights sleep. I'd left the windows ajar, so was woken much by seagull noise. . Up around 9am! Did laundry and PCd just a bit of this . . I'm tired and aching. :o( Stripped off wallpaper from one alcove wall and the wall surrounding the lintel in the living room, to enable me to start moving towards actually making it all flat and paintable. That one alcove is a whole week long project in itself! Took ages getting the paper off because of all the papered-over protruding wall plugs I found!! There isn't a square foot of that wall that hasn't had something screwed to it at some point! . unexpectedly lost power at one point!? Oooops!!! Some of the water I was painting onto the wallpaper high up on the wall, to soak it prior to scraping off, had run straight down the wall and had covered the power socket below! It'd shorted and tripped the fusebox breaker!!! The transformer for my portable telephone was rather wet and warm!!! Luckily I got away with it and everything seemed to be working fine once dried off. Yet another of my 'nine lives' gone? . . Took much of the day just to get back to the horrors of those bare walls! . cut a spare piece of rafter timber which had a relatively straight edge, and wedged it in under the lintel, to give me a guide for how much the wall above has to be built back out to match the rest in the living room (rather a lot!). Mixed up a whole bag of sand with cement with the shovel out in the hot garden and set about rendering over the lintel and blocks above. Things did NOT go well!!! I don't think I have EVER had such a problem doing a bit of rendering before! I've no idea why it went so badly. I just could NOT get the damn stuff to stick to the wall!??? It quite literally kept on falling back off. I got in a hell of a mess with it all. A proper DIY 'SOS' nightmare. Sweat was pouring off me and it just went on for hours! I even stopped for a coffee half way through, it went so bad and on for so long! I really was very close to just giving up and throwing away all that cement. Eventually by early evening I managed to get some of it to stick and called it quits. It remains to be seen if I'll be taking it all back off again - or if it'll fall off of its own accord! It's all gonna be covered in plaster anyway, so it doesn't matter it looks a mess - it just needs to stay up there! . that 'hour of cementing' turned into several and really just wore me out and took the wind out of my sails. Is it too late NOT to put a lintel in between those two rooms?!!!!! lol Seriously though - I'm starting to bend under the pressure of all the work I have now to do, to bring the place back to being half habitable. :o( I'm very tired. Seems like I've been doing a lot of work on the place every day for quite a while now, and there really is no end in sight. I really should take a break for a bit, but that's not so easy when you have to live in such a dusty mess all the time, surrounded by it all. Oh well - maybe tomorrow won't go so bad . . eventually cleared up a bit and while sweeping (the carpet!), ended up taking out the line of bricks still protruding up from the floorboards beneath the lintel (because I tripped on one and almost broke my neck at some point). So - now I have a deep trench across the floor, opening me up to the underfloor space! Actually, not as bad as it sounds. Rafters beneath are close-by, either side of that wall, so I may actually just be able to get away with gluing some pieces of floor timber across the narrow gap between the two sets of existing tongue and groove floorboards. The tongue and groove positions in each room DON'T line up, so there is no making it 'seemless' - and of course you can't get that size t&g timber anymore. YET another time consuming part of the work I've got to do - everywhere! . cleared up just 'some' of the mess, hosed down the yard and then eventually cooked and ate a Mum donated suasage roll with chips and gravy. . TVd too tired to move for the rest of the evening. Ate a banana and a miniature iced sponge . . to bed around 11:30pm. Didn't get to sleep straight away because an owl in the trees opposite was hooting for quite a while. lololololol
26 - Up around 8:30am! I WAS very tired. . PCd this for quite a bit of the morning. Today I need to just try and clean up some of the dust and mess I'm in - but I'm feeling prety fragile and tired. My hands especially are aching and sore. . tried taking a better photo of the downstairs with the sun on the trees outside the bay window window, and light streaming in etc, but it just doesn't seem possible to photograph it somehow, because of the extreme backlight etc. Oh well - take it from me, it ain't bad. The kitchen is 'somewhat' brighter now. lol. . extracted the loose bit of block from the upright below the lintel and eventually cemented it back in place. Turned out to be just a small sliver of block. If I'd known that, I would have just got it done yesterday. Actually took great care over that little job in an attempt not to disturb any more of the orginal 'plaster' on the living room side of the new opening. A fair bit of that seems to be in reasonable shape and seems worth patching upto, rather than having to hack it all off. That would have the added advantage of giving me a guide on either side for how much to build the wall back out to find the right (existing) thickness etc. . . very slow getting going but eventually started the long, long job of de-dusting some of the house. It went on for hours. . . Mum called in unexpectedly to see things . . ate three ham and mayo rolls. . . carrying sacks of rubble to temporarily dump up by the car, I finally caught up with the other neighbour (who'd knocked on the wall during the work) and apologised for all the noise. He was fine and smiley about it. Unbeknown to me, not only had he knocked on the wall, but he'd also been calling out and had even called at the door and rung my doorbell!! He wasn't worried so much about the noise - he was far more concerned about what I was actually doing. Apparantly, amongst all the considerable renovations and alterations they've had done in the past, they have had their equivalent of that wall COMPLETELY removed, together with at least one of the firebreasts! He was concerned that I may be doing similar, and that if BOTH of us had done it, it would weaken the 'structural integrity' of the properties or some such! I guess theoretically, if all those walls were taken out, the whole rank could just collapse like a house of cards? The remote possibility of this sort of thing, WAS at least 'part' of the reason why I decided to keep that wall in place and use a concrete lintel. I'm no structural engineer, but the phrase 'retaining lateral stability' kept on popping up in my mind while planning it all. I invited him in to have a look. He seemed VERY happy to see the wall and lintel still in place, and made light of the noise they'd endured. lolol He even suggested he'd have all the rubble I'd produced, to add to the 'hardstanding' he had for one of his vehicles up the lane. He suggested maybe next weekend he'd get his trailer set up by my garage to shift it. Boy - that'd be SO cool (IF it actually happens!). I hadn't realised quite how much rubble I'd produce by just taking down that small bit of wall. MUCH more than I can easily cope with. Getting rid of it all WAS going to be a substantial problem to me. I've a HUGE pile of blocks and debris just stacked up next to the conservatory behind a dangerously loose high wall of removed blocks!!! Just carrying it the length of the garden is painful difficult and exhausting - and there is no alternative! . . finally hosed down some of the dust in the garden and finished off with the unpleasant task of making sure the drain was clear. . called a halt to the cleaning after 9pm. Still lots more to do, but I've made an impression on it all at least . guitarred much of the evening away . . ate kipling apple pies . . TVd/PCd until bed around 2am. s
25 - Woke around 2:15am and couldn't get back to sleep! Bit too hot and humid for comfort - and I seem to feel hot and sore all over. My hands are pretty dinged up - and I have something stuck in my left eye (again!!!!!)! . PCd a bit before eventually back to bed . . Back up again around 8:15am. . PCd a bit and just pottered around before eventually popping up Mums with the birthday card I bought her. The enevlope is covered in dust and has a bit of staining from a cement splash, and when I wrote in it my dinged hands left a couple of spots of blood! lol . coffee and chats in the sun in Mums garden for a bit. Huge numbers of flying ants had chosen today to emerge from various places around her gardens. Here and there the ground was just seething with them. The sky was full of seagulls making the most of the bounty. . Briefly climbed a step ladder and hacked off a couple of bits of Mums palm tree . . back home to start work on my building site again by around 11am. . started the long awkward job of removing the wall beneath the lintel! Actually started off real slow by meticulously measuring everything. The critical position of where the left hand side of the opening will be, to enable a door to fit flat against that bit of wall when open, dictates the position of all the rest. Tried to work it all out on paper (10mm clearance gap to the other wall/door frame trim for safety, 762mm door width and then LESS 25mm for the door frame timber - THAT is where the hole needs to start. Then the width of the hole - 25mm thick door case timber, 5mm gap for hinge, 762mm door width, 5mm gap, 762mm door, 5mm gap for hinge, 25mm thick door case timber - that is where the right hand edge of the hole needs to stop). I DO hope I've got that all about right - although at the end of the day, I guess it isn't absolutely critical at this stage. Everything can be re-jigged one way or another at such time as I eventually come to put in the doors. . rigged up a bit of a plumb line affair with some string and marked the first left-hand vertical on the wall in pencil. Used a bit of offcut timber from the garage, cut to the required opening width, to make setting out of the right hand vertical easier and then marked that. Used my little 4" disc cutter to cut down the lines, from each side in both rooms. Unfortunately that disc cutter won't reach anywhere near through to the other side of the wall, even cutting on both sides!! I really should have gone and rented a larger one I suppose - but I didn't want to.

did most of the work with my cheap electric drill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

. . . pushed on and set about cleaning off and re-using some of the removed concrete blocks and meticulously cut out narrow lengths to start building back up above the lintel in a similar manner to how it all was before i.e. with a single final block 'just' potruding into the gap above the ceilings. Eventually started mixing up bowl after bowl of cement and getting everything fixed in place. It's all VERY rough, and actually less than verticle, and certainly not very 'load worthy', but since it isn't actually taking any load and just has to 'fill the gap', I wasn't gonna worry about it too much. My plan of whipping the car jack out at the last moment and re-supporting the timber noggin in the middle, with a single large concrete block didn't go too well, and as I attempted to slide the block in under the timber, on the wet cement and first line of narrow blocks atop the lintel, it wedged itself in against the timber and got stuck! Somewhere around this critical point of pounding, there was some 'knocking' in complaint from next door, although just out of frsutration than anything more serious I think!! They HAD been subjected to an awful lot of horrendous noise throughout the day!!! However - at such a critical point, with the block stuck in position, I wasn't in the mood for any such silliness. I rather hope they weren't listening or able to hear, because all they got for their knocking was a sharp 'F*** OFF!'. Eventually gave up trying to move the block, and just accepted where it was (actually pretty much under the noggin, but not in the middle of the block as I'd wanted. Oh well - I guess that's not going anywhere then. Filled the resulting awkward space next to it with an upright brick, packed up with a sliver of pounded in slate, just to make sure that nogin was as secure on the wall as it had been before I started. (I AM pretty sure it was an afterthought, just to help take bounce out of the upstairs floors - so it's certainly as good as it was before (if not better), which wasn't that good anyway). Great relief to finally get THAT bit out of the way. .used the disc cutter for the last time in the garden at around 9:20pm to trim another bit of concrete block (and used up the last bit of diamond cutting disc!! I'm gonna need a new one VERY soon!)! Later than my normal curfew for such things, but I was absolutely determined to get that bit of wall above, cemented into place TODAY! By somewhere around 10pm I slapped on the remaining bit of cement in my bucket and called it quits, with the house almost uninhabitable with its layers of black dust on EVERYTHING, and really utterly utterly exhausted!!! . . Well - that's the doorway between the two rooms 'roughed' in. It immediately feels a VERY different space - and so far, for only around 25! VERY weird. I can see how a full-on open-plan arrangement WOULD have been attractive here, but I think I'm right aiming to put in those doors to divide, to give the choice. I guess even once the doors are in place, if I've got all the measurements right, this is pretty much how it'll be when the doors are fully open. It's gonna take some getting used to. (What would the previous occupants make of the place NOW I wonder!) It already feels SO cool to be able to walk from the living-room, straight through into the kitchen for coffee etc, without having to take that absurd circuitous route out through two doors and the hallway. Even without central heating, that living room fire is so warm when turned up, I reckon with both hallway doors shut, it'd cope perfectly with adequately heating the entire downstairs space in the winter (especially since I now have double glazing BOTH front and back). Oh well - we'll see. At the end of the day, it could always now be blocked back up! lolol Just all the other work to do now to make it all look right. (My aim is to make it look 'fairly finished' before even going anywhere near buying doors etc.) Gotta sort the protruding line of bricks in the floor out - lots of rendering and plastering to build the thicknes of the walls back out to where they were - one block half way up the right-hand wall beneath the end of the lintel is loose and needs extracting and re-cementing - etc, etc, etc, etc. Huge amounts of work for the forseeable future - but all do-able. The biggest problem I have right now is the mess I'm in and the thick layers of black brick/cement dust on absolutely everything. It's worse than I'd ever imagined it would be, and is hard to see how I'm actually going to be able to clear it up?!! The new windows already don't look new. Tacky white silicon and black brick dust is not a good combination - and there's no fixing it!!! :o( . I just BET I end up burning out my already dying vacuum - again! . . sat in the middle of the awful mess for ages, hardly able to move. Eventually dragged myself into the shower and then made a gap in the dirt and ate three Mum donated ham rolls, crisps and a mini pot of jam and rice . . to bed shortly after around 1am after nearly falling asleep in the chair.
24 - Up around 7am. . this morning in the garden, a dead young blackbird! :o( . a strange noise from next doors garden had me peer over the fence. Turned out to be a couple of young seagull chicks. In their garden is a large rubber ball, perhaps the type that is used for keep fit? A BIG one. One of those seagull chicks was actually stood atop of it like some sort of circus acrobat! The noise of it moving against a piece of fence was what had drawn my attention. lolololol RACED in to grab the camera, but he was off by the time I got back out. Damn - would have made a brilliant photo that. . I'd already measured up the car the other day, and figured out that if I could get the seats out, I should be able to get the 2.4m lintel in, to transport the short distance back from the builders yard. Had a go at taking the seats out. Turned out to be only six bolts (not even rusted in) and hey presto - all but the drivers eats were out! (Should have taken those back ones out when I had Sally!!) . . drove straight to the builders merchant to see how heavy the lintel was gonna be. Turned out to be actually not 'that' heavy. I was certainly able to pick it up, although I'd still need a hand to lift it up onto a wall. The helpful-as-ever builders yard guy, carried it on his shoulder out to my car and helped me ease it into the car. With the seats out, and the lintel resting in the passenger seat footwell, it actually went straight in without any problem, and I was even able to close the hatch at the back like normal! Also bought three bags of sand and one of cement. 26:50 in total. Unloaded and left the sand and cement in the garage/carport and carried the lintel down and dumped it on the floor of the conservatory. Refitted the car seats and all back to normal before 9am. . with Mum coming later I didn't really feel able to get on with starting the job, so instead I messed around draining down the redundant, eventually to be replaced central heating system for the first time, by means of a short length of hose and the convenient drain plug in the front garden near the gas meter. I've delayed doing this because I haven't a clue how the immersion heater interacts with the maze of pipes that was the heating system - and for the time being, I DO want to retain a working immersion heater as a back up. As far as I can see, draining down the system did not have any impact on the heater (although I haven't tried putting it on). . removed the huge old radiator from the kitchen wall and dumped it out in the back garden. HUGE amount of thick black sludge in that system!! Amazing it worked for as long as it did! . . eventually Mum called in with food donations for a cuppa etc . . as soon as she'd gone I removed the living room radiator and got that out of the way in the garden too. They are gonna take some getting rid of!!! Great big old things I can only just lift! . . used the drill to drill-out all the mortar around it, and eventually succeeded in extracting the first concrete block, at ceiling height next to the strange bit of timber which was being supported by the wall. Had a good look up the gap with a torch, and then proceeded to drill out the concrete block on the other side and have an even better look from both sides. It seems to be simply one of the noggins between the upstairs joists, resting (gently) on the wall by means of a tiny inch wide wooden wedge which has been driven under another piece of packing timber! That isn't doing much at all!? Eventually dared to drill and extract more blocks and then, with a bit of timber wedged against the ceiling below a rafter (just in case), holding my breath I drilled out the blocks supporting the timber. Nothing moved. :o) Just for my piece of mind, I quickly inserted the car jack and applied some positive pressure to the timber noggin. Well - I think we are all clear to 'go for it'!

exchanged words with a neighbour using the excuse of aplogising for the noise, and when he expressed an interest, invited him in to see what I was up to (but also, mostly, so I could ask for his assistance lifting the lintel in at some point). He'd considered making his own place fully open-plan and was VERY interested to hear about how that wall wasn't supporting anything and to see how the place was constructed.

dived under the floor to grab a brick from my 'spare brick collection' and then used the diamond blade disc cutter to slice a couple of appropriate thickness pieces to put on the wall at each end of the lintel, kinda like 'pad stones' but mostly just to raise it up to 'around' the level I needed (actually pretty much based on the standard height existing kitchen door - + 25mmm or so for the timber frame etc etc). Cemented the bricks onto the wall and figured what the hell - if it was possible to get the thing in position today, that would get the need for getting someones help out of the way and free me to carry on with the rest of the work at my own pace. Dashed straight round and asked apologetically if the neighbour would be prepared to help me with the lift in around five minutes. He had no objection, so I raced back to mix a little cement. He soon arrived around 8pm and with very little difficulty helped me pop the lintel into place on a bit of cement. Sadly I hadn't managed to get those bricks at each end quite level (I need a longer spirit level!), although neither was the floor or ceiling so at this stage I didn't really think it mattered 'too' much. Particularly considering the VERY pronounced curve of the pre-stressed lintel. So much so in fact - it almost looks like an arch!! It WILL take a fair bit of skimming and filling-under to get a straight level line for when I eventually fit the frame for doors in the distant future. Slipped a couple of pieces of old bits of flat slate (salvaged from above the old doorway timber which I'd removed) under one end to make it 'somewhat' more level. Just to be on the safe side (or actually just to give me peace of mind) I quickly put the car jack and my piece of packing timber back in place, with just a tiny bit of pressure applied on the jack (the last thing I want to do is overdo it and go and crack that lintel now!). The nieghbour soon left me to it - saying he was jealous and I'd have to help him when he did his. It'd be my pleasure. lol . Used the disc cutter to cut one of the bits of block I'd removed, and made up a couple of pieces to cement in around the ends of the lintel, just to firm everything up a little and lock it in. Despite my exhaustion, if it hadn't been so late, I WOULD have carried on and started building the wall above back up some more. As it was, I called a halt somewhere getting on for 10pm. Well - what a day that turned into! I didn't imagine I'd get THAT done today when I got up this morning. That's the 'hard' and scary bit done! EXCELLENT! Wow - what a mess I'm in! Dust and rubble EVERYWHERE and no point in clearing it up until I'm further progressed - which will likely be several days!. . ate pizza . . TVd a bit, much of the time with the sound off . . showered . . to bed around 12:15am.
23 - Up around 7:15am . .Image of hedghog(s)glancing out of the window as I filled the kettle, I became aware of some weird movement in some of the ivy underneath the pergola. Popped out to have a closer look and was amazed to see TWO hedghogs!!! In broad daylight like that! (The first image I've included here IS of both of them if you look closely. One facing me on the right, one facing away on the left.) I know nothing about hedghogs, so I'm not sure if they were in dispute over territory or if it was an attempt at some sort of mating thing, but they seemed to be persistantly 'shoving into each other' and snorting and huffing and puffing at each other!??? NOT very 'low profile'! Most unusual to see such a thing, particularly in daylight. Eventually one seemed to decide enough was enough (with me watching while drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette only a couple of feet away) and he headed off up the garden, climbed over the small garden 'wall' below the fence, and ultimately disappeared under next doors garden shed. By the time I walked back from up the garden, the other one had disappeared into the ivy and hedge somewhere. What a pleasant start to the day. . PCd a bit of this. Popped back down to make a coffee and briefly went out to top up the bird bath. As I was pouring the water in, I was briefly presented with the sight of the startled mouse in the tree by the bird feeder, only feet from me before he scampered away into the foliage. Great stuff. Never a dull moment, if 'eyes wide open'. :o) . . PCd this most of the morning, frequently disappearing off into my thoughts and just sitting thinking! This being in a building site mess all over again is making me all distracted, up-tight and anxious. It really isn't pleasant. It's gonna get a LOT worse throughout the WHOLE house before it gets better (I can see daylight through the floorboards of BOTH bedrooms, from the gap atop the wall in the kitchen!!!) ! :o( My primary focus of worry seems to have now boiled down to, how do I actually get and manage to handle, the long, heavy, reinforced-concrete lintel I've decided I'm going to use! According to the builders yard the other day, the longest you can get (without having to resort to big lumps of steel) is 2.4 metres. That won't go in MY car even hanging out the back - and frankly I'm sure I wouldn't be able to lift it single handed anyway!!! . Nothing to be done about any of it until Monday now I guess. . . . ate half the remaining rice, peas and chicken concoction with four pieces of bread and butter and some chocolate . . napped until almost 6pm . . PCd briefly . . TVd/guitarred the evening away . . ate the last of the rice and stuff with four pieces of bread and butter and then a couple of kipling apple pies . . to bed around 1:30am. s
22 - Up around 7am . . PCd this for hours with coffees and smokes as a forecast rain shower passed through . . surfed (Wickes) french doors and carefully made notes of measurements before messing around in the kitchen-diner for ages with a tape measure, making marks on the wall between the diner and living room, and trying to imagine what would work, look ok, and be the best 'for the house'. (The last thing I want to do here is make some sort of major alteration which will make the place too personal and 'quirky' and negatively affect the re-sale value!) . eventually, at length, I decided I should at the very least take the thick, dirty, heavily painted old wallpaper off the wall - to see what horrors I would find beneath. It's always been obvious to me, that wall has some serious problems. Tapping all over it on BOTH sides in the diner AND living room had already convinced me all the old plaster had seperated from the brickwork and would likely need hacking off and re-plastering! :o( (The effect on the old 'plaster' of the heat from the radiators mounted on either side perhaps?) . . sure enough, beneath the paper the wall was in a HELL of a state! Cracks, big chunks of loose plaster falling off, a weird papered-over 'lump' in the wall part way across, etc etc. Damn, damn, DAMN! There really was no avoiding it any longer - I was going to have to turn the house into a rubble strewn dusty mess and live on and in a building site for the foreseeable future - again! (All very 'Bristol' like this!) Very depressing way to seem to always be living. :o( . . covered me and the kitchen in dust and rubble and hacked off just enough of the old plaster (which didn't fall off of its own accord) to expose the blockwork in the areas I was particularly interested in - i.e. where I wanted to try to insert a lintel for french doors. . Oh my god! The weird plastered over 'lump' in the wall turned out to be where an old original coonecting doorway had been between the two rooms! The old wooden lintel was still in situe with the doorway beneath blocked up and poorly cemented over - hence the lump in the wall! Finding that saw me come to a halt and just sit looking at it all for ages. That complicates my plans enormously. The length of concrete lintel I had intended to put in, would be pretty much sat on that roughly blocked up doorway. NOT the best of 'footings' to carry the extra load! That's a big problem to me. . REALLY didn't want to get in SUCH a big mess, but eventually decided to 'excavate' further and attempted to remove the coving at ceiling level intact (in the hope I could maybe re-use it when all the re-build was done. I just BET it's a weird size by todays standards, and will be impossible to match new with the old). That didn't work and I broke it into at least three pieces getting some of it off. Eventually hackked off enough plaster to open up a narrow gap at ceiling level as I'd intended. Used one of my favourite tools (an old flat butter knife, with a bit of a bend at the end of the blade! lolol) and pushed it up into the gap and then carefully made my way back and forth across most of the length of the wall. OH MYYYYYY GAWWWDDD! I WAS pretty much right about that wall!!! Apart from a large piece of timber upright, resting on more or less the middle of the wall, as far as my preliminary examinations could determine, there really WAS NOTHING resting on it!!!! It really is NOT a load bearing wall as such - and is pretty much nothing more than a divider for the two downstairs rooms - with the topmost blockwork, 'just' reaching up beyond ceiling height!! OH MYYYYYY GAWWWDDD! That changes EVERYTHING! All my worries and plans about how to sneak a lintel in there without having the house fall down during the work, are now pretty much irrelevant! All I have to do is figure out what that big bit of timber is doing and temporarily support that, then dismantle the wall from the top down block by block (that'd be easy with just a drill, given the nature of the dusty grout between the blocks!) - instal whatever size lintel I choose, and then build it all back up above before finally opening up below. That really IS a WHOLE different ball game. MUCH more 'do-able'. It's even feasable I could more or less remove the whole wall altogether if I so chose! Wow. Well - I'm now in a BIG building site mess, but I think I need to just suddenly stop and sit with this for a while. I need to review what I plan to do, given what may or may not now be possible. At the moment, until I remove my first block, the living room is still intact and untouched. . back to square one with just thinking, measuring, planning, visualising, chain smoking, drinking coffees, sitting blankly looking at walls, thinking outside the box, etc, etc, etc - trying to make a decision about which way to go. . . at length, I don't like the idea of committing to full open plan, even if it does seem to be the preferred way of things these days. (I DO shut all the kitchen doors and open the windows when I'm cooking - chips especially.) I'm leaning in the direction of putting two standard, full width 30inch doors in the wall to act like French doors (eight panel clear glazed - painted white - brass furniture) - opening outwards into the kitchen diner, mounted in such a way (? No or low profile trim surround?) that when FULLY opened, they would 'more or less' (except for handles, skirting, etc) fold back flat against the diner walls on either side (possible if I 'nudged' them to one side, off the natural front-bay-window centre-line by about three inches. The opening arcs still giving enough room in the diner for a decent narrow, rectangular four seater table and chairs I think). I don't quite understand why 'French doors' are always narrower than standard doors, unless it is for the 'look'. Unless you open them both, you always kinda have to squeeze through a bit. Would two full-width regular doors look too 'fat'? Am I missing something more important? BIG decisions! LOTS of work and mess!!! I need to just sit with all this for a bit. I need to be sure . . . touched base with BB/PCd . . sat around 'imagining' some more, but actually feeling all worn out by it! Trying to think stuff through in precise intricate detail and 'rehearsing' parts of the work, seems to be about as tiring as actually doing it! . . . cooked a pan of rice and frozen peas, and another of chicken pieces in chicken soup with a sprinkle of garlic salt. Ate a large plate full with some bread and butter and then some chocolate . . TVd the evening away, struggling to stay awake . . to bed around 11:30pm. s
21 - Up around 6:45am. A badly aching back from all that bending-over-backwards up a step ladder, doing the wiring above my head yesterday! I think I could use a 'day off' actually. Annadin tablet for breakfast . . .so much for having a day off! With decent weather forecast before likely heavy rain showers tomorrow, I thought I'd better have a go at sorting out that 'dripping' capping/trim fixed under the drip edge of the wall between the two sets of front bay windows. Aside from the obvious potential problems it 'could' eventually cause, what I've so far neglected to mention here is that as it drips out, it runs down one of the window panes, and somehow it appears to have become 'polluted' by its contact with the silicon and whatever is behind the capping, and as it runs down the window and dries, it leaves a hard to remove trail of ugly marks on the glass. (VERY hard to remove!!?? I've scrubbed and scrubbed, but can STILL see traces of it! It's like glue!) Can't live with that! . . up the ladder on close examination, it DID appear rainwater had likely got in through a poor silicon seal around some of the offending trim, where it had been stuck onto the drip edge. VERY carefully cut and scraped away all the silicon and eventually successfully removed the pieces of trim, without making 'too' much of a negative impression on everything, other than some lumps of impossible to remove superglue on a bit of trim here and there. (But for that, you'd have never known it was up there.) Sure enough, as I pulled it all away, there was plenty of water trapped in there. . with considerable difficulty working upside down, applied a strong cement/PVA mix to a few areas which needed 'filling up' before it would be possible to paint and seal it all as I intended. . having to leave things for a couple of hours for the cement to go off, and not willing to waste the time (especially with reports on the news of flash floods up north), I carried the ladder all up the street and got it round the back to have a go at looking at the blocked gutter above the conservatory. Started off by checking the guttering I CAN easily get to. All remarkably clear. . getting the ladder set-up OVER the conservatory, to rest on the main house wall was an absolute devil of a job as I knew it would be (I wasn't actually sure it would even be possible!)! Ended up with the ladder opened out almost to its maximum, with one end on the first raised tier of the garden wedged against the bottom of the pergola timber and the other end gradually fed out into thin air until it got too heavy before allowing the end to crash against the wall of the house beneath the guttering, above the conservatory roof! Must have ended up being propped up at LESS than a forty degree angle!! Very bouncy/bendy/scary to climb along. Managed to FINALLY reach the offending bit of guttering - where two 'valleys' from next doors extension intersect and meet the start of my guttering. (Yikes - next doors extension-wall cap-stones were all loosely sat on an innefectual bed of thin, failed mortar!) A big pile of earth and debris and a growing plant was sat in that corner, which had been the cause of my problems (water running over to crash down loudly onto my leaking conservatory roof) in heavy rain! I filled a large bucket while clearing all that debris! That's obviously NEVER been done before! I actually put some of the plant I found growing up there, in the earth in my garden. lolol Good to have finally gotten that done - and prove it IS possible - just! . . did my best at scrubbing, brushing and hosing down all the green algae and debris from my conservatory roof and then swept and cleared all the debris from the lower part of the garden (which can block the drain in heavy rain). . mowed both front and back lawns. First time in ages thanks to the slow growth during all the hot weather . . eventually struggled back out with the ladder and headed off down the lane on the arduous long walk all the way back round the front. Just as I reached the end of the lane (literally), struggling with the weight and awkwardness of the ladder, the nutcase neighbour (the one who'd complained about me filling the lane potholes) pulled up in the street in his car in front of me and started to reverse into the lane - straight at me! He MUST have seen me there, but I assumed he hadn't seen the ladder only feet from his car. I frantically called out 'hold on, hold on' and said I was carrying a ladder and asked him to just pull back forward a couple of feet so I could get out of the lane, swing the end of the ladder around and get out of his way. He seemed to have a problem with that!!!!???? He suggested I should cross over the lane from the side I was on, walk behind his car and go UP the road instead of down the way I was going! I called out I was going DOWN and if he could JUST pull forward a couple of feet I'd be out of his way. He put his car in gear - and promptly started to reverse slowly straight at me! I didn't move and braced myself as the end of the ladder DID actually gently make contact with some part of the right rear of his car - at which point he reluctantly changed gear and pulled forward the couple of feet I needed, to be able to swing the ladder round and awkwardly manage to squeeze past him. As I carried on down the hill, I called out in a VERY annoyed sarcastic tone 'thank you VERY much' and couldn't help adding 'TWAT!' when I thought I was probably out of earshot. Frankly - out of earshot or not, I couldn't care less anymore. That guy is one SERIOUS asshole! That all upset me and sent my mood into an immediate downward spiral . . got the ladder back round the front and rushed a coat of white masonary paint onto the 'almost' dry cementing. EACH portion of all this work, required multiple moves and repositioning of the ladder throughout! . . left paint drying and TVd just a little. . cooked and ate a three egg, cheese and corned beef omlette with four pieces of bread and butter. Image of glimpses of wing walkers on bi planes.TVing I became aware of the sound of persistant 'unusual' aircraft engines, and as I often do when I hear aircraft, stood outside to see if I could see whatever it was. Oh wow - turned out to be a couple of bi-planes! They appeared to be in some sort of huge 'holding pattern' circuit, going round and round a couple of times before at some point as I grabbed my camera, wingwalkers appeared on the wings strapping themselves into their flimsy supports. Soon after they came back round running in from kindof the east, turned on their smoke and then abruptly dived down, in towards the harbour, frustratingly out of my sight below the tree/rooftop level, to commence what turned out to be a display! (Bit breezy for that?!) I couldn't see what they were doing, but the sounds of their engines was quite audible, especially when they were doing some aerobatic manouver or other and 'pulling some G'. Must have been quite a sight down in the harbour or on the breakwater! I've not made a point of keeping up with what is going on, but I AM aware it's lifeboat week this week. Their display must have been part of that. Damn - if I'd known that was gonna happen, I'd have taken a break and gone down to have a look! . . another coat of paint would have been good, but I didn't have the time, so I opened up a new tube of silicon I've had for a while, and got straight down to having a go at sealing the remaining narrow gaps above the windows out front. Got in my usual mess with the stuff, but eventually got it done and figured it would have to do. Beneath the drip strip like it is, except in the windiest of storms, it really 'shouldn't' ever get wet. Fingers crossed. Sadly it HAS left a bit of a dirty looking mark across a bit of the window cladding/trim here and there, where the previous bits were superglued on and where I can't easily get the lumps of glue off. :o( (Hardly noticeable in the grand scheme of things I suppose.) . spent AGES washing down all the windows and removing all traces of the days activity. Scrubbed and scrubbed at the window panes to attempt to remove the marks left by the drip, bit I can STILL see traces of it here and there!!?? :o( Weird. . . around 7pm, despite feeling exhausted, with an hour to go before a bit of TV worth watching, I figured what the hell - and brushed a coat of white emulsion on the dirty looking ceiling of the small kitchen area by the sink/oven etc. Seemed to work ok despite just painting over all the grime. Needs another coat some time but looks much brighter and better already. . It may not look it from these words, but that was a pretty hectic, almost non-stop day, of physically strenuous work! . . TVd . . ate a banana and a couple of kipling apple pies . . touched base with BB . . to bed before midnight.
20 - Up around 7:30am. Cooler and misty . .I really do seem to be on a bit of a roll with this 'working on the house' thing at the moment. Every day I get up and start thinking of the NEXT thing I'd really like to get done. Getting the windows done and having done all the work I have already, really has 'started' to fulfill 'some' of this property's potential. Now I've had the brainwave of maybe french doors between the rooms (I got a list of lintel sizes and prices from the builders merchant yesterday!), I'm absolutely itching to have a go at it - but holding off through - well, frankly fear! It's no small job (on your own) and 'could' all go HORRIBLY wrong! If I could pull it off, this place really would be something QUITE special - even to the extent of having a bit of a 'wow' factor! IF I'm actually gonna do it - then pretty much everything else I may have wished to do around the place has to be put on hold because of the knock on effects. (Like the central heating - it'll have a major impact on the choice and limit the locating of radiators, etc) . . decided to clear the back bedroom of all the remaining dusty computer stuff, with a view to lifting the floor up and doing the re-wiring of both the kitchen lights, to get them off the old radial spur and onto my new lighting ring - but ALSO so I could have a peek under the floor at just exactly what IS that downstairs wall really ACTUALLY supporting (because I know it ISN'T supporting the upstairs floors - the joists run paralell to that wall). . lifted the floors (including a new floorboard to me, in the bathroom) and traced all the radial wires, cut power and removed them all, before putting the power back on for the sake of the freezer. FINALLY I've discovered where the single wire goes into the attic to run all the bedroom lights. It runs up inside the bathroom wall!! That's gonna be awkward. That final piece of the rewiring may have to wait until I 'do' the bathroom. That's a LONG way off!. The new floorboard I'd pulled up in the bathroom was already loose and split, and only held by two nails, so I sanded and cleaned it, then glued the split and left it clamped in the garage to set while I carried on working. .damn! Would you believe it. The ceiling rose/pendant in the kitchen isn't actually a rose!? It's just a plastic plate with no terminals! Inside the cover was a loose terminal block!! Damn damn damn. . walked up the builders yard and bought two new rose and pendant sets for both the kitchen and diner (4.97). .Mum called to touch base and say the window guys had been and gone (very quick!) and she now had a couple of new units and new hinges on her iffy windows. She seemed quite happy. Excellent. :o) . .layed in the new ring main extension and eventually cut power again and got it all hooked up before putting the power back on and then having a go at replacing the existing (disconnected) switch wires. Layed in the new cables and then successfully managed to simply drag them down through my conduit to the switch box, by attaching them to the old wires, lubricating everything with washing up liquid, and then just giving them a damn good pull (carefully - frequently running up and down stairs to feed them through cleanly). . after several hours I finally cut the power and did the 'enjoyable' bit of succesfully connecting it all up. Yayy. That's ALL the downstairs lighting sorted - done properly and on a ring - with a big spur off, running the bedroom lights yet to sort. Pleased. . put a touch of filler in/on the ceiling around the poorly cut holes beneath the new pendants and that was pretty much, job done. With everything else new and clean looking, I took some time to have a go at washing the two filthy old lampshades I inherited with the house. They aren't really 'me' (and look pretty stupid with energy saver lightbulbs in) but I guess they WERE expensive. Ornate glass and brass! I've been meaning to give them a clean ever since I moved in here (somehow I never got round to it, waiting until I decorated the kitchen/diner), because like everything else throughout the house, they appeared to be covered in some weird brown, greasy filth. (I'm convinced they must have had a chip pan fire here or something similar in the past. Surely THAT much muck on EVERYTHING couldn't have been from the previous occupants smoking habit? MY heavy smoking doesn't do THAT to everything!) What was on them really was like thick brown grease! Image of after and before cleaning of twin ornate brass and glass lampshadesAs I began to clean one in a bowl of washing up liquid, using a hard nylon scourer (which I'll probably now have to throw away it's so 'tarred' up!), I was absolutely amazed at what lay beneath all the grime. Hard to believe the people I bought the place from, allowed everything to get in such a state! (You should see the kitchen ceilings! Similar state! It remains to be seen if I'll be able to paint over it all - and if not, then what?! :o| ) I was SO amazed at the transformation, I even stopped to set up a photo - one washed, the other not. lolol . .eventually put them both back up. It's gonna be a little brighter in that kitchen tonight. Now I'm itching to try painting the damn ceilings! . . a heavy rain shower or two passed through during the afternoon, reminding me I need to clear the gutter above the conservatory out back!! Trouble is, until I'm totally finished with the front (and I'm not), I don't want to have to walk the ladder all the way back round again. Todays rain was pretty much straight down - NOT being driven into crevices by the wind, and yet in pretty quick time, that strange drip appeared again, seeping out from the last bit of capping that was put on underneath the top of the living room windows where the lip of the wall above protrudes. THAT pretty much clinches it for me. I think the rain is getting straight in where the capping is, rather than anything more serious from above. That capping should be recessed behind the lip, not actually sat on it. It IS gonna be coming back off - sometime! . . cleared out a bucket-full of aromatic old dust and debris from beneath the bathroom floor before finally screwing the floorboards back down in the back bedroom and drilling and screwing the newly raised one in the bathroom. Vacuumed and tidied up before calling a halt around 8pm. That's a lot of hours spent on just a couple of lights and a bit of wire!!! lolol. . PCd a bit of this. About now is the time when I need to stop watching the cute seagull chicks opposite, to whom I HAVE become rather attached! They're now roaming around all over the MAIN roof of 'their' bungalow, and it won't be long until they start trying to fly proper and will inevitably end up crash landing all over the place. (This is about the time of year when you see the roads littered with sad remains!) I don't want to be a witness to any of that!. . BB called briefly. Said I'd call her back later. . showered . .TVd . . ate ham and mayo rolls, a little lettuce and some chocolate . .failed to touch base with BB before to bed before midnight.
19 - Disturbed sleep (another 'half-woke to escape crying' type dream at one point!) then up around 8am . . PCd over coffee and cigarettes for breakfast, and ended up having a surf of doorbells, trying to understand why the 'mini wired atlanta bell chime' I impulse bought from Focus the other day, was SO expensive at 17.29!!! Well - that'll teach me to rush into something and 'impulse buy' because I needed one right away. As far as I can see, I could have got that same one (which I'm actually not happy with now I've heard it wired up) for a fraction of that price elsewhere - and could have got a completely different one on-line, probably more suitable to me, for just a few pounds! (Could have got the brass illuminated bell push cheaper too!) That all stings a bit. :o( . . did laundry and spent most of the morning balancing my accounts, paying bills and getting on top of outstanding stuff . . couldn't get the temporary doorbell thing out of my head, and after much thought, eventually figured out the best way to fix it up permanently with the least amount of hassle - but I DID need to go buy a surface mount single patress box and an unswitched fused spur plate to do it right. Jumped in the car imagining I'd be heading for the DIY store again, but on the way out thought I'd just check if the local builders merchant had any. As luck would have it, they did (4.46) - so that happily saved me a trip. Carried on round to the local store for some milk and tobacco. . driving back home past the local pub, I happened to glance over and see two women stood next to an old man laying on the floor of the pub car park!?? He did NOT look like a paralytic drunk. Quickly pulled the car in and leapt out to offer assistance. He HAD fallen - and had banged the back of his head on the floor! There was a small pool of blood on the tarmac - a bump and scrape on his head. One of the two women (neither of them youngsters themselves) was holding a tissue to the wound. He MUST have been at least in his eighties. He was conscious and seemed 'ok'. I got down on my knees and supported his back after he succeeded in getting himself into a sitting position. I suggested one of us should go into the pub and call an ambulance. There was some debate about that, because their car WAS within six feet, and the old guy definitely didn't want to be the cause of such a lot of fuss. Under the circumstances I suggested that at the very least, he SHOULD go to hospital for a check up (being a heady injury and all that). The women (one at least was his daughter) said they would drive him to either Torbay or even the local Brixham A&E if he was ok to reach the car. It was apparantly one of his legs which had given way under him, after having lost a bit of feeling. His daughter said something about him having an 'illness' or 'condition' or some such. He assured us he was feeling 'ok' and indicated he was going to try to get up, so I got behind him with my arms under his, and with my hands joined across his chest, and on his daughters count of three, he was successfully lifted to his feet. After only two or three assisted paces, he was resting on their car and was soon sat in the passenger seat. I bid them good luck and left them to it and returned to my car . gettin old is a bugger! :o( . . pulled all the upstairs landing/PC room floor up - AGAIN - and set about altering the doorbell wiring and making things permanent. . must have taken the best part of three or more hours, but in the end I had it all fixed to my satisfaction. The patten box and fused plate was joined into the lighting ring and fixed to a piece of stair/stud wall timber, at ceiling height in the cupboard under the stairs. The transformer neatly mounted alongside - all completely out of sight but fully accessible for whenever the need may arise. The actual bell was mounted more or less directly on the other side of that timber wall, just below cornice level, above the door to the understairs cupboard at the end of the entrance hallway, opposite the kitchen diner door - all wires hidden through the back/under the floor, etc. As I'd wanted - more or less in the middle of the house, equally(ish) audible wherever you are. (Why DO most people put their doorbells near the door? Doesn't make sense.) Aside from the neatness and ease of future maintence etc, (I even labelled some of the wires inside, and pinned the packaging wiring unstructions next to it all - for whoever next owns the house? Most of what I now do here IS with the next owner in mind!!! I have this overwhelming unavoidable feeling, I won't get to be here too long!!) another benefit I 'think' I may have acheived is to actually optimise the volume of the thing. I think in some small measure, the wooden understairs cupboard 'may' be acting a little bit like the body of a guitar - a sound box amplifying the sound. lol Anyway - glad that's all done and dusted and off my mind, and I no longer have to worry about 'are the batteries dead'. Instead, I just have to worry about the illuminated button on all the time and its impact on global warming and my electric bill! It DOES look good though - especially at night. All in all, it must surely have worked out to be the most expensive doorbell instalation possible!!! Even more bizarre when you realise it'll probably only get rung once a week by Mum - and thereafter rarely by the postman! lololololol . . cleared up, vacuumed and pottered a bit, cutting up some fragments of dirty old carpet tiles to temporarily fill the gap in the hallway carpet up to the new front door . . PCd a bit of this . . guitarred a little/TVd . . ate Mum donated pizza, minni trifle and chocolate . . TVd . . ate bowls of co-co pops . . to bed around midnight. s
18 - Up around 8am . . PCd a bit of this, putting off tackling the next task of oh SO many still to do. I guess trying to maybe get the old curtain track back up in the bedroom should be my priority. Trying to creep in and out of bed without being visible to half the town is seriously unpleasant! . . should have been a five minute job really, but of course it took me MANY hours! Had to wash all the old fittings and then the long tracks in the bath with the scrubbing brush, meticulously making sure all the inner grooves were clean. I'm determined NOT to screw anything to the new windows (yet - if ever, if I can get away with it) and intend instead to have a go at supergluing the six track supports to them, using the 5.09 pack of 'Loctite Super Glue 'All Plastics'' I bought in the DIY store, so having them clean and nicely free running is going to be vital to not putting too much load on the weak glued supports. If it doesn't work out, it should be possible to just scrape and clean the glue off without permanently damaging the windows at all. I have in the long distant past tried uperglue on such things before, and they've always ended up failing and falling off eventually. With the newness of the wndows and this special two part, primer and adhesive superglue ("extra strong formulation even for difficult plastics"), and given that the old curtains I have are particularly lightweight, I figured it was worth a go again. . drilled and screwed the old plaster window reveals afresh, to take the end fixings. Now I know how the walls/reveals/windows are constructed, I made sure those two vital fixings were more solid than they've ever been before. Used the three inch long narrow screws I bought in the DIY store the other day specifically for the purpose (2.39 for 9 - one of which at least, was already bent and useless!) to enable me to fix deep into the wall, past the lath and plaster reveals and actually into the brickwork. . after lots and lots of meticulous messing around, including using the hairdryer to gently bend the plastic tracks to fit the new window curves, and fashioning a piece of plastic into a hidden joiner for the two sections of track, and waiting for glue to dry, etc etc, I eventually had the tracks back up and the curtains successfully hung. Yayy. . During this work, I discovered one of the small top windows in the bedroom wouldn't open!!! Eventually got it open by reaching outside through the other window and putting a little gentle pressure on it. Turned out it was getting caught on a small weird plastic insert slotted into the window frame profile. Checked all the other windows and found some had them and some didn't!?? Came to the conclusion they were entirely superfluous, and maybe even just a shipping packer or fitting aid. (With hindsight, I do seem to recall having stumbled on one on the floor, or something very similar, walking down the hallway when the window guys were here.) Took them ALL out and made them all the same. . standing at the windows for much of the day, I saw much of the two seagull chicks. They are gradually getting older and bigger, and 'starting' to look like 'young gulls'. They've even discovered they can now get onto the main roof of the bungalow from 'their' garage roof, and walk about up there - the incentive being, that is where the parents always sit keeping guard, and where they land upon returning from finding food. I saw one chick excercising his developing wings and having a flap, and actually getting a foot or so off the flat garage roof - just. All quite entertaining I find. :o). . ate a Mum donated pastry slice and large sausage roll with crisps . . napped - and actually successfully did so for the first time in ages, until woken by the alarm at 7:15pm. . started the long tedious work of getting the PC desk, PC and all other equipment moved back into the opposite corner of the PC room, back next to the window. A VERY long tedious job because I have lots and lots of bits and pieces, and absolutely eerything is covered in a layer of white dust and needs cleaning! :o( . . with the new windows, for the first time in my life, I'm MUCH more cut off from the outside noises and less liable to hear 'stuff' going on. Nevertheless, working in the hot PC room with the window ajar, I heard enough noise 'of concern' to have me peek outside from the darkened bedroom through the curtains. 'Youths' from next door were assembled outside getting ready to get into one of their cars - and amusing themselves by throwing and sprawling themselves across the bonnet, and who knows what else to make those bangs!? Image of a hedgehogAs I watched, one also lifted the rear wiper blade from the OTHER next-door's car, and left it stuck out off the window at an easily snappable angle! What POSSIBLE pleasure can that have given him? Idiots always suggest 'you were a kid once'. Of course - but I was NEVER THAT stupid! . BB called to touch base briefly. . after several hours I got the minimum of stuff set up and cleaned, then left the PC running a virus scan and went out into the cool of the front garden in the dark for a sit, coffee and smoke. Yayyyyyyy. With the garden semi-illuminated by my outside light, I spotted movement on the lawn. It was a hedgehog out foraging. So, Mum WAS right about that poop in the garden being from a hedgehog. WHAT a joy and priveledge to see. :o) We've made them endangered too now haven't we? . . PCd a bit of this, avoiding carrying on cleaning stuff. Lots and lots more to do, but that's the PC desk back in its rightful place. With the exception of having yet to re-hang the living-room curtains (and the temporary doorbell arrangement), that's me pretty much back to 'pre-windows-project normal'. Phew. :o) . . ate corned beef, mayo and spring onion rolls, crisps and chocolate . . touched base with BB before to bed around 2am.
17 - Up just before 7am. . popping up to the garage I spotted the neighbour and made suitable apologies for the noise last night. All good natured conversation . . vacuumed and put the TV/entertainment unit back into its position in the bay and pretty much put the living room back to normal. . with sunny spells and less of a wind forecast, I got the ladder set up out front and set about finishing off the bits of wall either side of the computer room window. One side was all rough and had a line/lip of raised cement where the old window frame had been, so I used the disc cutter to carefully grind it off all the way down to make it look smoother. Filled a bit before eventually getting a couple of coats of white textured masonary paint on it. Everything dried pretty quick in the sun . . scraped off loose flaking paint from the other side of the window, did a little cementing and eventually got paint on that too. . in between coats of paint when Mum called in with food donations for chats etc . . finished painting little bits and pieces here and there out front before eventually calling it quits for the time being, with a hint of occasional drizzle showers in the air. . ate ham and mayo rolls with crisps late afternoon. Uh oh - there's something not right there!! A persistant drip of water was appearing from inside the little bit of capping which had been placed over the bottom of the outside wall above the living room bay window!! That little bit of capping to finish things off had been the very last bit put up, and which the window guy had seemed somewhat reluctant to do and had suggested I just paint. Somehow, somewhere, in that awful storm we'd had, rain-water had been blown in and had obviously been trapped behind the capping before eventually finding its way out through a bit of a gap in the sealant - very slowly drip by drip!!

considering all that last little bit of capping as a relatively easily removed (replaced or not) 'add-on' , with little concern for it, I dragged the ladder back out and dared to roughly drill three small drain holes in each piece above each of the bay window-panes. I HAD expected a rush of escaping water from at least one of those holes, but that didn't happen. :o( With hindsight, that'll be because of the way they were stuck up on great blobs of sealant, rather than just fixed around the edges, so I actually made those shoddy looking holes for nothing! The drip persisted for quite some time before finally slowing!! Must be a LOT of water in there somewhere. :o( I think I MAY end up removing that little line of capping if the next rain causes a similar symptom! At the very least, it'll need to be removed to figure out where that water is coming from. If it is getting into the wall above, from around the bedroom bay window, seeping down through and 'collecting' - trapped behind the capping, then it's serious and will likely cause a BIG problem to the wall and (already rotted) timbers between the bay windows in time if unattended! All in all, it's a headache and something to very much worry about! :o(

dunno what's the matter with me at the moment. I just don't seem to be able to stop, despite feeling utterly exhausted and 'not quite right' all the time!! Ended up pushing on and having a go at installing the new doorbell. Took the outside light switch off the wall in the hallway and very carefully at length, eventually succeeded in drilling out one of the metal blanks from the back of the socket box, and then drilling a DEEP hole right through the wall, across the cavity (through the wooden wedge the door is fixed to) and into the outer wall to the required depth. The tricky bit was then nervously drilling a hole at right angles, where the doorbell will go, to meet up with the other hole, at exactly the right place to exactly the right depth. As it turned out, I got it right first time! :o) . managed to feed through (and get 'round the corner') a piece of the clear narrow plastic pipe I'd bought yesterday for the purpose, to act as a conduit for the narrow bell-wire. From inside the light switch socket box, it was just a case of thread the thin bell-wire through the pipe to the outside (using a bit of washing up liquid for lubrication), and then thread the other end up through the wall conduit to the underfloor area in the PC bedroom (alongside the light-switch cable). All worked out ok as I'd hoped (with an overlength bit of the plastic pipe protruding from the back of the inside lightswitch box, to act as an extra double bit of safety insulation, which will be able to be pushed up neatly out of the way into the wallconduit when its all done). Having seen how everything on the windows was fixed with sealant, I dug out the remains of an old tube I've had for years and 'fixed' the small bit of pipe in the wall with it. Well - that was the plan anyway. Not sure if that sealant had gone off or what, but it just didn't seem to do the job!! Should have stuck to my original plan of filler and PVA! What I KNOW, WOULD have worked best! I've a horrible feeling I'm eventually gonna have to re-do all of that! . despite the poorly fixed pipe, I pushed on and filled the old doorbell mounting holes outside, got a coat of paint over it all, and eventually had the new illuminated brass doorbell screwed to the wall with its hidden wiring. All the awkward bit done. Yayy. Looks 'proper'. :o) Sadly, all the brick dust from the drilling had fallen onto lots of the white sealant around the door - so despite some gentle cleaning, it already no longer looks like new - already!! :o( . . sat in the kitchen and 'jury rigged' the new transformer, doorbell and switch and made sure it all worked. It did, but now I've heard it for real, I'm not keen on that doorbell! I don't think it's anywhere near loud enough! :o( Oh well - I'm stuck with it now. It'll have do for the time being. Pulled up floorboards and messed around getting the transformer wired into the mains under the PC room floor - before suddenly realising I hadn't thought things through carefully enough and had a made a mistake! I want the actual doorbell at the end of the hallway near the kitchen door - kinda in the middle of the house to give the best chance of hearing it no matter where you are or what you're doing. With the transformer hooked up to the mains under the florboards in the PC room, would have meant doubling up on LONG runs of bell-wire cable. Considerably more than I'd bought - and NOT good for a 1amp transformer!! (they are only a couple of pounds, so I may well end up replacing it in the future with a higher rated one, with the possibility of running TWO actual bells in mind, so it can be heard when up the back garden). All in all, it had turned into a bit of a poorly thought out cock up! Overall - today has definitely turned into a bit of a shitty day! I 'feel' pretty shitty about everything. Decided to do a major botch for the time being (just so I have a doorbell again), and actually rigged up the door bell to work, but sat on the floor in a corner of the PC room, via the bellwire appearing from a gap between the floorboards!!!!! lolol I'm gonna have to revisit almost ALL of this work - but I guess at least the REALLY awkward bit of drilling the cable holes and getting the pipe/conduit through for the actual doorbell is a done deal. The rest is 'just' making it all 'right'. . cleared up a little before just collapsing in front the TV unable to move for ages, but lost in my thoughts/plans and irritated by the TV noise which soon got turned off. . showered off the disc cutter dust and paint splashes and then briefly PCd a little, but actually found myself literally asleep at the keyboard!! Straight to bed whenever that was. s
16 - Up at 8am - in what feels very much like someone elses house! . . painted the wall around the PC room window . . lifted floorboards and started the work to do the new (proper) wiring connections for the porch light. Turned out I didn't have enough lighting mains cable left to do the job! :o( . filled and plastered under the living room window cill and made good . . jumped in the car and drove to buy a reel of lighting cable +. (mains doorbell transformer, and earth shield) all for 30 cash. . nearby Focus DIY store for more buying frenzy, money no object! Bought an illuminated brass doorbell button (9.99) and a 'Mini Wired Atlanta Chimer' (17.29) - to be wired into the mains via the transformer. (not sure why, but I don't like battery doorbells) . back to the electric store for bell-wire. They had none - and then back to the DIY store again for the bell wire (10m @ 6.49) and a reel of 5mm plastic tubing (5.59), before finally heading home with enough 'stuff' to keep me busy for ages!! That doorbell thing is gonna be a whole big project in itself.

quickly ate pate sandwiches and crisps around 4pm . .

got back to doing the wiring and somehow ended up spending the WHOLE rest of the day doing a substantial lighting circuit re-wiring job!!!!! Jeeze - I hadn't intended to do all THAT right now!!!!!! I've not bothered 'too' much about re-wiring the place in respect of the lighting. The sockets ring(s) are 'almost' ALL sorted, but not the lighting. I've just kinda done bits and pieces of it as I've worked my way around doing various alterations. I HAVE altered things so the old radial circuits which remain, are now extending out of a small ring, but there are still lots of original radial branches to get rid of. (I STILL have no idea where the old cables go up into the attic for the bedroom lights!) I HAD intended to just cut into an existing branch for the porch light, but when I came to look (I'd forgotten), things were wired up in such a way that it really made sense to push on and actually extend MY (done properly) new ring, and ditch some of the old radial rubbish that feeds the downstairs lights. .

to cut a VERY long story short, the hallway, porch light and the living room spots and main light are all now on the new ring

had to wire up the main, brass, tripple-bulb living room light to the new ring/rose (left loose under the bedroom floor because of the type of light it is - screwed directly to the ceiling/rafters. Only 'just' enough cable to do it!) by torchlight - with the torch held in my mouth!!

raced to get the floorboards all screwed back down

using the drill like an electric screwdriver to speed things up, I was putting the last floorboard down in my bedroom, so I could put the bed and furniture back in place, around 10:30pm! Next door were apparantly 'disturbed' by the noise and tapped on the wall! Sorry but I had no choice - and WAS just about finished anyway. (Sheesh - the number of times I've been 'disturbed' at all hours, by their always-slammed front door!) I WAS going to clear up and do much needed vacuuming, but figured I'd better not . . BB called to touch base . . tidied up (quietly) just a little, before gently hand sanding the filler and plaster beneath the new living room cill and then getting a coat of emulsion paint on it. Apart from trying to get those walls a bit smoother, that's pretty much it for the time being. Amazing job those window guys did. :o) . . called a halt to the madness around 11:30pm and went and sat on one of the steps out front for a coffee and cigarettes beneath my now working porch light. :o). . PCd this briefly - more 'memory jogger notes' - just not enough hours in the day!
15 - Up at 4:15am!? Not even daylight! This is ridiculous. Why can't I sleep for longer?. . PCd a bit of this before chceking on the rain radar site. Plenty of showers whipping through, but it does look as though we've been dry here for an hour or two. By 5:15am I was out taking advantage of the dry spell between the showers and dared to slap some white textured masonary paint over last night's cementing around the bay window cill!! It's SO windy, from experience, all I need is no rain for half an hour or so and the paint should dry 'just' enough to cope with a bit of rain. The cementing 'botch' I did, DOES appear to have firmed things up a bit, for the time being at least. A few cycles of expansion and contraction in the full glare of prolonged sun will be the real test - and now I've a little paint on, it'll be quickly obvious if it hasn't worked. . . back to PCing just a bit of this. . sat in the living room for a coffee and agonised about all the rough, gappy, poorly cemented bricks around the top of the outside wall beneath the new window cill. Ohhhwwwwwaaaa damn, damn, damn! If I don't do it, it's going to prey on my mind for evermore isn't it! I mean - it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. Come what may, I will NEVER have new windows fitted ever again this lifetime - aside from anything else, because I'll never again be able to afford to! I'll certainly never see the state of those bricks and be able to do something about it ever again. It's now or never. . just after 8am I jumped in the car and raced round to the local builders merchant and paid the 1.86 for a bag of fine sand. . raced to mix up a couple of bowls of pva-mix cement and using rubber gloves quite literally stuffed it into any deserving crevice I could find around the entire bay outer wall top, immediately below the new window cill. Couldn't really reach any further than the join between the top two courses of bricks, so not convinced it made 'all' that much difference in the grand scheme of things. Still - can't have hurt, and I'm able to erase THAT from my mind now, rather than have it return to haunt me (no doubt EVERY time I sat in front of the TV! lololol) . job done and cleared up by around 9:30am. . somewhere around 10am the window guys turned up, 'on finals' oh thank god! :o) Who'd have thought I would have found this entire 'simple' process, oh SO, VERY stressful?!!

received a 100 premium bond win in the mail

in the middle of everything, 'Singing Man' arrived at the door

trouble with the hellish mitred cuts and joins on the inner window cill!!!!!

the slight gap beneath was realistically just a little too large for just caulking, so I elected to finish that off myself some other time (with a 'drift-in' of a little plaster and filler probably). The amount of 'making good' I actually have to do, IS laughably small - mostly outside up the ladder. I'm absolutely AMAZED. Quite delighted - most especially when the final piece of narrow capping was placed over the edges of my rebuilt and FULLY intact reveals, to neatly join everything up and finish it off. Oh thank god I did all that repair/preparatory work! . It really DID look absolutely stunning! With the job not even finished, I'd long since convinced myself that if they suddenly stopped and did nothing more, I'd definitely got my money's worth - so there was no hesitation whatsoever in handing over my cheque for the remaining 3k balance!

Image of my windows, nicely fitted by Universal Windows, Torquay Tel: 01803  311388took some photos of the window guys posing in front of the rather GOOD looking house - thanks to them. lolol :o) It HAS turned out to be a pretty good advert I think.

returned to my front door only to find I couldn't get in!! I was locked out somehow?? Raced back down just in time to stop the window guys leaving.

Ran round the back and climbed into the garden only to find I'd left the back locked up! Damn damn damn. I HAD however left the kitchen window 'ajar'. Managed to open it up and climb in over the sink, and raced through to hopefully be able to open the front door. Aha - THAT'S what it was! The bloody key was in the lock on the inside. Timely lesson - NEVER have a spare key in the lock on the inside like that! If you're gonna lock it, use the key on the keyring you carry if you go anywhere. (Actually - given the dead latch arrangement I've gone for, which stops anyone without a key getting in anyway, it's difficult to imagine when you'd need to lock it on the inside like that (around here)? The window guys left - again! Bet they're thinking I'm a plonker for having that dead latch handle arrangement! I think it's an 'age' /Yale thing. lololol . . began vacuuming at length . . Mum popped down to be suitably impressed. (Damn - my yucky, inherited-with-the-house wireless-doorbell has packed up. She used my new knocker. lol). .rain began to POUR! Big storm rolled in. Thank god I'd not gone up the ladder to make good and paint, a bit of the wall by the PC room window, right away! . vacuumed and moved furniture in the living room sufficient to be able to relax and watch TV - very nearly like normal (except for having the TV unit pulled out a bit, to give access to the bay wall behind, for when I do my finishing off under the new window cill). . . cooked and ate a bacon and cheese pastry slice and chips . . sanded down the filler on the PC room wall around the new window. It's far from smooth and flat, but I'm afraid it's just gonna have to do. I really have had enough of all this 'house/decorating' stuff for a while. I just want everything back where it was as soon as possible and have a break for a bit! . put a first coat of white emulsion on the wall. . touched base with Mum and asked for HER impression of the awful storm that was absolutely battering and drenching the house. She agreed, this WAS about as bad as it sometimes gets. (The forecast said 50mph gusts!) The horizontal rain was absolutely POUNDING aginst the windows AND front door!! It amazed me there were no signs of ANY water penetration at all, from any of the new front of house. WHAT a test for it all, this storm is! Like fate immediately trying to convince me to have faith and relax. :o) (I'm starting to have faith - but relaxing eludes me!) . . drilled the old wooden top reveal and fitted the cleaned blind back up in the PC room, only around half an inch from where it originally was. Sits nicely on the new capping strip which joins the cill to the window when down. Neat. :o) . . PCd just a bit of this for hours as the storm raged, WITHOUT being visible to half the town, with my blind down. lolol. . TVd/PCd until around 1:30am before sneaking into bed under cover of darkness. I SO need to get those curtains back up, but I'm gonna HAVE to figure out what'll be the best way first. I'm REALLY loathed to start having to drill and screw curtain track fitments onto the new windows, but there really does seems to be little choice. Given that, I think I need to shop around and invest in the best quality curtain track that I can afford and which will last. Once that is sorted, I really should also invest in new curtains. The old ones from Bristol I've been making do with, only 'just' manage to reach around that bay. aas
14 - Up at 5am! I'm REALLY starting to suffer from lack of sleep here! This morning there WAS a reason for me waking. I was hearing a weird noise. Oh no! It's turned a bit windy and it turns out there is a problem with the new window in the PC room!!!!!!!! :o( The top vent opener isn't shuting tightly and is letting in a substantial draught - sufficient to actually produce a whistling noise in a strong wind. Oh dear. Thats no good. I can't see any way it can be adjusted! :o( Oh dear. What's this gonna mean? Oh dear, oh dear. :o(. . PCd a bit of this. Aside from the considerable draught, the wind/whistling noise was SO irritating, I found it impossible to concentrate! I'm gonna have a hard time 'being the customer' here, but no way can I live with that from a new window. If it can't be adjusted and has to be replaced, so be it - somehow I'm gonna have to be 'confident' enough to demand that!!!!!!!! This is gonna be VERY difficult for me. Do I mention it straight away when they arrive, or should I wait until later after they've pretty much done the living room bay? :o( . . moved furniture, the TV and all the other equipment and made the living room ready for the chaos. . sanded the touch of filler and painted over the little 'dings' by the cill in the bedroom. . moved all the window guys tools and equipment out of the bedroom and brought it all downstairs. Vacuumed and started puting everything back in its place and making up the bed. Come hell or high water - even with no curtains - I am absolutely going to sleep in MY bed tonight. I'm desperate for a decent sleep. Really desperate!! :o( . .the window guys turned up a little after 10am. I said good morning and then immediately told A that I had a problem, and told him about the whistling draughty window (and my being woken up by it!). He took the news in his stride as though it was an every day event and no problem at all, and said they'd sort it. (I was sick with worry about it for several hours, but eventually in conversation later it became apparant they would change the hinge, which would allegedly solve the problem?) . . finished re-instating my bedroom and got the bed all made up. Briefly glued a bit of peeling off trim on a bedside cabinet. . sat in the kitchen for most of the day just keeping out of the guys way. VERY difficult to just sit there with all the noise of the drilling and hammering etc. Found myself straining to here every last utterance and noise, as if watching through the sounds!! NOT good for the nerves. From what I heard (and no doubt 'imagined' I heard) there was a 'bit' of a problem removing part of the old window frame.

As soon as the old windows were out I went to have a look and take a quick photo. As I appeard to look, J admitted in passing they'd had a couple of bricks come loose as the frames came out. Uh oh. Right in th efront of the bay, a series of five bricks at the top of the outer cill had become seriously dislodged. I didn't say anything much and assumed they'd cement them back in place before continuing. That did NOT happen and they just carried on starting fitting the new window cill to it all!!! On the plus side, to my GREAT relief, the internal reveals which I'd put SO much work into recently, had come through the old frame removal completely intact and all but untouched. Excellent.

Sat back in the kitchen with my ears on stalks, I'm pretty sure I heard those loose bricks being just hammered back into place at one point!!!! Jeeze!!!! :o( Well - based on what I've seen so far, those guys ARE doing a pretty good job. However - if any part of what they've done is worthy of due criticism, THAT absolutely has to be it! I know they are pressed for time, and attending to that would have held EVERYTHING up, but REALLY!!! If left like that, it'll be a problem to me for evermore! (Many years ago when I had wall heaters put in my old house, the fitters were armed with special quick setting cement. You'd have thought window fitters would have large supplies of such stuff for just such an undoubtedly common eventuality!) This is going to be a headache to me. I'm going to HAVE to try to improve that as soon as they are out of the way! :o( They have no idea of the stresses that brickwork is put under by the heating of the direct morning sun in that position. I already have a large reappearing crack down the front of that bay. Oh dear. . .

forcing myself to do 'something' rather than just sit there in the kitchen in a permanent state of panic, I decided to have a go at washing the bkind I'd taken down from the PC room window. Being only a cheap plastic one, I figured it was worth having a go by just opening it all up and dumping it in the bath, and then scrubbing away at it all with a scrubbing brush! It actually worked out ok, although the whole thing seems to have gone a bit of a permanent smokers yellow, so if I decide to reinstate it, I 'may' well end up buying another. The weather had turned to very blustery sunny spells and I was able to dry it off pretty quickly out in the garden. .

disappointingly it eventually became apparant that the work would NOT be finished today.

the window guys left somewhere around 4pm . . touched base with Mum to tell her it would be another day. She popped down briefly to see progress nonetheless. . quickly applied some plaster to a couple of places near the window, to give something for the window guys to fix the trim to tomorrow, rather than have everything all bunged up with masses of caulk. .Image of loose bricks beneath new windowRaced to try to 'beef up' the botched loose bricks beneath the window. Used the disc cutter outside to grind back some now newly protruding brick and then carefully cut a series of (rather too shallow for comfort) grooves where the rough cracks had appeared, and then attempted to drive in a strong cement/PVA mix of fine sand! Definitely a botch but better than leaving it as was (which frankly - sooner or later, would NOT have been an option!!!) ! Put more cement on the inside face of the bricks in the cavity as best I could, in the hope it would firm everything up 'just' enough to stop further movement and the inevitable CONSTANT reappearing of the cracks through the exterior paint. I'm pretty sure it won't do the job, but I suppose I should be thankful they didn't finish everything (the inner cill) today, and I was able to still get into the cavity to give it a shot. :o( . Applied pretty much the last handful of cement (I'm all out of sand) to the two bits of exterior wall where the window cill meets the wall. If I'd had more sand, I would probably have pushed on and cemented around the inside of the cavity of the entire outer window cill to firm it all up! It COULD do with it - in a pretty poor state BEFORE the old frame was removed!! Sadly it's just not really possible to start trying to race around in the morning buying sand, and getting it done in such a short time before the window guys return.

put a quick second coat of exterior paint (black) over the bit of cementing I did yesterday by the doorstep. I HAD hoped to get some paint (white) on the cementing I'd just done, but at 7:30pm it absolutely bucketed down announcing the frequent arrival of heavy showers!! Weird new sounds to get used to, of all the drips cascading down the front of the house from flat roof to cill, to cill, etc. Despite the downpours, I 'think' the cementing I did should survive. Not so sure about the paint by the doorstep! lol . popping out in the rain to check on things at one point, I discovered a suitcase containing some power tool or other, fallen off the path and down in the foliage by the gas meter, missed by the window guys when they left! lol . . PCd a bit of this. I went on-line to have a look at the rain radar website. Looks like 'rain stopped play' for me for tonight! . . sat around for a bit just watching the rain and unable to prevent myself from inspecting all the windows to see if any was obviously getting in. None was as far as I could tell. Couldn't face all the work of moving the heavy TV unit again and re-instating all the cables, only to have to put it all back again tomorrow, so just left everything as it was. First day without watching some TV for as long as I can remember . . cooked chips and a microwaved bacon and cheese pastry slice and ate in silence in the kitchen . .LOTS more HEAVY showers! I BADLY need to get up and clear a gutter at the back of the house directly above the conservatory. I'm not even sure if it's possible to get the ladder up there! . sat around in silence feeling oh SO tired, waiting for darkness. Crept into bed around 10pm. Difficulty getting to sleep. aa
13 - Up around 5:30am again!?? Dunno what's making me wake up at this time all of a sudden? . Thick fog. Annadin for breakfast . . immediately popped out to check on the drain and sure enough - rescued a frog again . . PCd a bit of this . . messed around sanding down a bit of the filler on the PC room reveals, etc. . the weather forecast isn't good! . . the window guys turned up around 9:45am and promptly started work on the bedroom bay windows. In my mind, given the difficulty and horrors they were likely to find, 'the main event'. The old windows were out pretty much within half an hour! Took the opportunity to have a GOOD look at everything whilst it was all exposed. Sadly it wasn't possible to see into the roof area (where the flat bay meets the sloping main) to determine how a bit of rain in particlarly bad weather was managing to penetrate. The timbers of the stud wall below the windows were in an awful long since rotted state, but they'd clearly been that way for a long time, and the rendering that had been put over it all appeared to be generally in good shape, so pointless worrying too much about that. As long as the new windows keep the water out (unlike th eold!), it 'should' be good like is for more years than I'll have left. Withdrew to the living room and apart from making the odd cups of tea for them, and having a peak every now and then, pretty much left them to it today and whiled away the anxious hours in front of the TV. Horrendous just having to sit there like that, with all the awful noise going on overhead. . it rained quite a bit during the day (mostly drizzle-like rather than heavy) but that didn't seem to make any difference to them. . . popped under the floor at one point searching for the missing screw from the door hinge cover, in case it had fallen between the floorboards. It hadn't, so I searched through my collection in the garage and found one that did the job quite adequately. Totally hidden so no point in being 'funny' about that. . . . . .Image of new double glazed upper bay window somewhere around 4pm the window guys left for the day. Vacuumed a little and had a CLOSE look at todays work. Given the major works they'd done today it all looked pretty amazing - however there DID appear to be less of an attention to the little details than yesterday, particularly in respect of their final caulking of all the joins (although I suspect the fact that I'd not in any way done ANY preparatory works on that window at all, HAS had an effect). Several little areas hadn't been caulked or had been done a bit roughly. Tiny details in the grand scheme of things, considering the huge job they'd done, but something which WAS gonna bug me (and which if it was left like that WOULD be something I'd be attending to AFTER they were all finished here and gone for good. Given what I've seen so far, there isn't much I'm gonna have to do. MUCH less than I'd imagined I would!) . . . lay down for a MUCH needed sleep, but yet again I just couldn't and ended up getting back up. . pottered in the front bedroom and sanded down bits of protruding wall where the old inner window cill had left scars. I'm really not up for starting a full-blown redecoration of all that if I can help it, so I think for the time being I'm just going to try to disguise it, paint over it with some emulsion, and make it look 'acceptable'. Ultimately those areas will probably be hidden behind curtains anyway . . moving some of the window guys tools around so I could get to the bit of wall I wanted to mess with, I spotted an open tube of part used caulk (the stuff they use everywhere as a final sealant/make-it-look-good filler). Oooohhhh - dare I? Seemed a shame to waste the opportunity, so (after having put a little emulsion on some walls) I ended up wandering all over the place inserting caulk here and there where I felt it needed it, sorting out pretty much ALL of the little areas I was not entirely happy with (several only visible if you crawl around by the windows looking up, etc. lol). Amongst other things, that happily pretty much finished off the one little area near the front door which had needed plastering etc., so there really is nothing else to do down there but eventually 'decorate' (just painting) some time. :o) . . despite more showers being forecast, the weather had dried up a little so I dared to mix up some strong PVA cement, and patched and filled around the outside of the doorstep. The window guys had said they were gonna do that at the end, but I preferred doing it myself so 'I' would be happy with it. A poorly measured cut on the new door cill when they fitrted the door meant it would need a bit of building out of the wall near the floor to 'properly' disguise it!! . . I hadn't intended to, but with that tube of caulk laying around, I couldn't resist doing the final fitting of my plastic conduit out through the wall to the outside light - and then using a piece of suitable wire harvested from a seldom used (inherited with the house) extension lead, made all the outside connections and caulked/sealed everything in place, leaving the inside wire connections to the fuse plate for some other time (because I have yet to modify the internal wiring under the PC room floor for the switch and supply etc). . even though the door cill cement wasn't yet dry, I dared to put some masonary paint over it already, in the hope it would afford a little protection for whenever the next rain shower came. . finally stopped and ate a couple of ham, cheese, mayo, spring onion, tomato and lettuce rolls with crisps, followed by four Mum donated kipling 'fancies' and some chocolate around 10pm . . sat in the dark in the bedroom for a while, 'being with' my new windows! lol Seems quite a bit quieter in there. :o) I'm SO looking forward to having the windows done in the living room and being able to sit there like that. That's where I spend most of my time, looking directly at/through them behind the TV. . . TVd until bed around midnight. aa
12 - Woke again at 5:30am and couldn't get back to sleep, so got up!!! Raining and cool!!! . . Headachey. Annadin coffee and cigs for 'breakfast' . . PCd/guitarred and wasted the time away until - the window guys called saying there was a problem with the cills! Something along the lines of the bonded cills hadn't been made up by the window manufacturer I think he said. He said they'd be made up by tomorrow no problem, but they were coming anyway to do the small PC room window and front door if that was ok . . they arrived somewhere after 9:15am and quickly got to work cutting out all the old timber and extracting the old aluminium window and door. The 'boss' A. started on the PC room window, while his assistant did the door. Not knowing what to do other than constantly hang around and be a nuisance and in their way (occasionally making cups of coffee), I suggested they make us of me if they could. I WAS asked to help at one point by A as he wrestled and prised the old PC room window out of the wall. Holding one side of the window as he did so, I carelessly allowed a two foot plus long piece of the window frame to fall out of place and go crashing out down to the floor beneath!!!!!! Bloody lucky I didn't hit the guy below! Suffered a 'ding' to the roof over the front door and a 'scrape' to my wooden painted outside handrail, but otherwise got away with it. I WASN'T really asked to 'help' again! lol

slight damage to the PC room window top reveal timber

In conversation at one point, they joked that the assistant doing the door was 'OCD' in nature. From watching him work, I think they were just referring to his 'attention to detail' - which from the point of view of the customer, is JUST what you WANT! One small 'habit' (?) of his I noticed (which I've never done), was when he was usuing a small spirit-level to make sure the inner window cill next to the door was level. He put it on the cill, checked it was level - and then rotated the spirit-level through 180 degrees so he was looking at the other side of it, and checked it was level again. That's kinda like checking the level is level? I'm not complaining. :o)

apart from just a handful of fixing screws, it was all just literally glued in place!!!!!!?

adjusting the three door hinges, they lost one of the hinge cover fixing screws and were unable to fit the cover back on!! :o(

around 3:15pm they left for todayImage of a workman and my new double glazed front door. . vacuumed. . touched base with Mum and she popped down to be suitably impressed. It IS difficult for me to be objective about it because I'm SO uptight about the whole business and now have a familiarity/mental picture of the state of the walls and all the devastation BENEATH all the UPVC, but I HAVE to admit, the finished results really ARE impressive. On the plus side, I WAS right to do all that rushed reconstruction work on the walls around the PC room window and around the front door particularly - and I WAS right to reinstate the old wooden reveal next to the door. It's all made for the minimum amount of capping over, and just looks - right. The hole I laboured to make, for a conduit to take the wire through to the outside light is completely unobstructed and will be something I'll be able to do with ease at my leisure. It's all been finished off SO well, there isn't the vast amount of 'making good' that I'd imagined I'd have to do. In fact - there really is VERY little, considering! Ignoring the outside for the time being - inside there is just a handful of things requiring attention. In the PC room, 1 - the top reveal was slightly partially split and will require (possible dab of glue driven into the split) a bit of sanding off and painting over. 2 - the gaps between the new window cill and side reveals need to be filled/plastered. Ummm - err - that's IT!! That's all (aside from my ongoing trying to make the wall good enough for just painting, but all that has nothing to do with the window fitting). Around the front door (aside from the missing hinge cover screw) there is just ONE single bit of wall which collapsed enough to remain visible after the capping had been applied, and which requires building back up with some plaster. There is really NOTHING else required! Amazing! I really should be able to feel VERY pleased. I am now - for the first time in my life - the owner of a proper, double-glazed front door! It 'may' be psychological, but it already seems to have made a hell of a difference to the feel of the place. It 'feels' less draughty and quieter - more 'homely' already!. . ate Mum donated pate rolls with crisps as soon as mum had gone . . felt woozy and tired and lay down for a while but couldn't sleep again and ended up getting back up and doing the silly fiddly, fiddly job of filling in the gaps between the new PC room window cill and the side reveals. Cut slivers of wood, shaped them to match the reveals and then glued/PVAd/fillered them in place and moulded the filler to suit. All done by 8:30pm. . just couldn't help myself and went ahead and plastered up the one bit of a hole that'd been left in the wall by the new side window next to the front door. (I figured if I did it now - the plaster would have time to go off and they'd be able to apply the tiny bit of caulk it would benefit from, to match-in with the rest.) . the rain started falling rather heavier during this work and it became apparant the problematic back drain was blocked - again. The rain after the dry spell had washed quite a bit of moss and lichen off the roof and it was blocking my drain. While out doing the unpleasant job of clearing it all, it became apparant the weather had enticed all the frogs out, and at least one was trapped in the drain! Rescued it with difficulty eventually and relocated it to the garden . . briefly popped up the store for a pint of milk around 9:45pm. Very weird going in and out of the new front door. Can this really be MY house? It looks so good!! lolol . . TVd . . cooked and ate half a Mum donated pizza . . eventually to bed before 1am.
11 - Up around 7:30am . . waited until after 9am and then sanded down all the filler on the PC room wall. It isn't perfect, but it's not too bad. I think I can live with it more or less like that. Any remaining particularly noticeable imperfections I'll iron out after I've got a little paint on it. Actually - it has occurred to me anyone reading this, may be confused about why it is SUCH a hassle to get smooth paintable walls here, and why I'm SO pleased when I reach a standard more or less fit for just painting. It's because this house (similar to the last one I had) doesn't have modern type plaster on the walls. Instead it has a weird thick, uneven layer of what seems to consist of mostly irregular pieces of course loose sand (lime?), with an incredibly fragile thin 'smooth-ish' top layer covering it (and layers of old paper and flaking paint of course!). Any attempt at sanding out an uneven lump immediately destroys the fragile smooth surface and then the sandy underlayer just starts to fall to bits and make a huge disintegrating hole in the wall surface! (SO loose, you can easily pick at it with a fingernail and eventually reach the underlying blockwork!) Just filling such a hole with some plaster doesn't do the trick, because the plaster will always break away from the crumbling underlayer all around the edges. Every bit of plaster applied to such areas has to therefor be 'blended in' around the edges with filler. That of course then has to be sanded down - and if you don't get it right, the sanding will dislodge more of the crumbling original wall in an adjacent area, and you are starting the whole process all over again! I don't know what this 'old plaster' stuff actually is, (it MUST have been difficult to apply, because it's never straight or smooth) but it's a real nightmare to get looking decent enough for just painting! Its also almost impossible to find ALL the imperfections until AFTER it has received its first coat of paint. Wow - just imagine what it must be like to have a 'new' house with 'proper' plaster on all the walls. Must be SO easy to decorate and do stuff. That's not something I'm ever going to experience in my life. :o| . . used up most of an old tin of undercoat (!) and painted the wall, in order to help 'seal it' (before ultimately applying water based emulsion) and stop that weird yellowing reaction with whatever was once put on there, which yellowed areas of the water-based filler had suggested WAS going to happen! . . .cleared up a bit . . moved the front-patio outside chair and ladder so as to maybe not be 'too' in the way, and briefly trimmed a few of the interfering overhanging branches from the hedge next to the window. . showered and watched a bit of the grand prix while eating a couple of ham, cheese, mayo, spring onion, tomato and lettuce rolls with crisps, followed by a square of chocolate . . napped poorly until around 5pm . . 'dismantled' the front bedroom and moved the bed into a corner with other furniture/stuff heaped up on it. Took down the curtains and dumped them on top of the heap too. . cleared enough of the back bedroom to be able to just about get to the single spare bed to sleep . . PCd briefly and yay - the bank system is back up. Thankfully despite my worries, I was NOT in the red! I really should get on and 'do my accounts' but I'm just not in the mood. Moved a bit around to be 'safe', and left it until after the windows. So - apart from quickly taking the blind down in the PC room (again) at some point, I think I'm done for the time being, and ready to have the window guys come do their thing. Fingers crossed. :o| . . . did dishwashing chores . . TVd and drank the last little bit (less than a glass) of wine, straight from the bottle. . Mum called . . took the blind down off the PC room window . . cooked and ate a plate of just chips with a large amount of tomato sauce, followed by a square of chocolate. . eventually to bed around midnight, only to be unable to sleep for ages. Still tossing and turning and back up to use the bathroom at 1:15am!! d
10 - Up around 8am . . the gunman who'd shot three people, and killed one, and who'd been hiding out has allegedly killed himself in the end. Good. He should have just gone and done that in the first place without shooting the other three!. . sanded down the filler on the PC room wall and covered the house (and PC equipment!) in fine white dust - again! :o( Doesn't matter how much you try to cover stuff up - it's so fine it just drifts everywhere on the air! . applied large amounts more filler (should have done that yesterday!). . the window guy unexpectedly rang at 10:30am. 'The windows are all made up - how does starting work on the bedroom bay on Monday morning sound?' Yayyyy. Excellent. That'll do me. :o) (The bedroom bay is the only one I decided NOT to do ANY preparatory work on, because of the (timber) way it's constructed - so it'll be interesting to see what they make of whatever rotting timber horrors they find, without me having had ANY hand in it). Because I didn't get everything done yesterday that I might have, it's quite probable I won't be able to finish off what I'm doing in the PC room to the point I'd prefer - but I'm not complaining. It's all worked out about right give or take a day or two. Excellent. Now I just have to spend the weekend worrying and racing around doing the final handful of things that need doing - including taking down the bedroom curtains and track, moving the bed out of the way, moving stuff so I can sleep in the cluttered back bedroom (until I get curtains back up) , etc, etc. . smoothed and PVAd the PC room inner window cill . . removed the old timber capping from the stub wall by the front door and after a little preparation, PVAd the cill edges of that too. . . Mum called in with the paper and food donations etc . . ate chunks of cheese, tomato, corned beef, crisps, two pieces of bread and butter, spring onions and then just a little chocolate . . napped until only around 5pm . . vacuumed and de-dusted the PC room enough to fire up the computer, intending to get on top of my long neglected stack of paperwork and bills and make sure my accounts were all straight and in a position to be able to eventually write a big check for the windows. FFS!!!!!! I don't believe it! The bank website was down - AND the phone banking system too! Closed for 'planned maintenance' the recording said. Well why the f*** didn't they inform everyone? So - I can't do ANY of the paperwork I need SO badly to do - over the WHOLE weekend (whatever that actually may mean in practice?!) - and I've a horrible feeling I may actually be incurring some huge financial penalty because I haven't transferred money over to cover outgoings like I should have done because I've been in such and mess and so busy (and may effectively be considered overdrawn!!)! Damn, damn, damn. F***ing banks! VERY irritating inconvenience to ME, but just imagine the impossible mess that must have put SOME people in! Outrageous they can do such a thing. I'm REALLY annoyed. . .guitarred and sat in front the TV all evening, somehow not in the right frame of mind to be getting on with anything I should have been doing! Seem to be rather anxious and up-tight - a feeling somehow aggravated by the day-long noise of the music, ranting and crowd cheering coming from the Happenin' across town. It was VERY loud again, and the strong breeze made it unevenly 'modulate' intermittantly louder. Dreadful to the ear. So loud it interferred with listening to the TV - and with the windows and open wall cavity in the shape they are, there was absolutely no escaping it. Tremendous relief when somewhere around 11pm it all quietened down at last. . ate Mum donated pastry slice, cake, biscuits, bananas and chocolate . . to bed shortly after 12:30am. s
9 - Up around 7:45am . . PCd this . .sat and listened through the whole CD DS had sent me. (VERY rare for me to sit and listen to any music these days.) Ooooh that's good stuff! One of the tracks (9 - One True) caught me by surprise and saw me in tears!! It was about a dog of course. . scraped off the rest of the wallpaper from the wall around the window in the PC room and then scraped a bunch of the underlying flaking paint off. That room was the first one I decorated when I moved in here, as something of an experiment and familiarisation/learning process. It's more than ok for having painted lining paper on the walls, but as time has gone on my standards have changed and I've learned how to end up with a better finish (after lots more work). I really don't want all the extra aggro, but I can't help myself trying to smooth, fill and improve the state of that wall now, in the hope I 'may' be able to simply have it painted rather than have to paper it again. . very hot and somehow began to just run out of steam. I think I've really had enough of all this miserable, filthy scraping and sanding every day!! :o( . . skimmed the inner window cill with a little plaster to smooth it off. It's nowhere near level - but it's never bothered me before so seems pointless spending hours and hours of work trying to cut the bottom of the reveal and wall away to make it possible to be so! . . mid afternoon, right in the middle of everything, somehow I just burned out and came to a grinding halt. I'd had enough. I just couldn't face doing ANY more right now! I'm sick of it. :o( Come on window guys - come do your worst - I need to know what I'm working towards! . worthy of mention here perhaps - if for some reason this whole window thing was to fall through, if the company went bust for instance, I'll be in BIG trouble! The preparatory work I've done, particularly in respect of aiming to have the inner window cills all replaced in UPVC, has meant that in both the living room and 'PC' bedroom I have removed the old cills and fully exposed myself to the cavity between the inner and outer walls of the house! There is NO cavity wall insulation (yet - I intend to have that done soon after the windows are fitted) so in effect I am fully exposed to the outside (like being in little more than a tent). Even with the windows all shut, a dust sheet hung at the PC window the other day was freely blowing backwards and forwards on the substantial breeze blowing up through the cavity!!! If the weather suddenly turns cold and windy, it'll be real unpleasant and difficult to live in here. It would NOT be possible to live like this through a winter!!!!! . . . showered and ate cheese, lettuce, mayo, onion and tomato sandwiches with crisps and then a little chocolate . . napped until the alarm at 7:15pm. .the 'Happenin' was in full swing over in the park with the noise from the stage amps intermitantly blowing across quite loud on the breeze. . TVd/PCd this . . put a little bit of filler on the PC room wall . . guitarred a little/TVd . .ate three mini apple pies . . ate most of a tin of corned beef with a couple of pieces of bread and butter, onions and crisps followed by a bit of chocolate around 12:30am . . PCd surfing mostly internal french doors and fittings until bed around 2am. s
8 - Up just after 7:30am . . PCd reading everything I could find about the laptop again. Loads of stuff about them and just 'that' sort of intermittent problem! Despite that, I still can't quite see what the answer is - if it's best to junk it, or open it up with a soldering-iron in hand?!! I think it's all gonna have to wait until I have more time to play . . pulled off just some of the lining paper from the wall around the PC room window and after having worked carefully with a handheld hacksaw blade for an hour or more, was able to get the blade in freely all the way around the window reveals, as I've done in the living room i.e. theoretically making it possible to remove the entire old window and frame without disturbing the reveals/inner walls etc. More work with the hacksaw blade cutting through a handful of fixing nails and then managed to extract the inner window cill which I've said I want replaced with UPVC (to match all the rest in the house). That revealed the usual horror of bricks collapsed into the cavity on one corner of the inner wall (as left by the previous window fitters), resulting in the 'plaster' all crumbling away leaving a hole - again! :o( Managed to extract some of the loose brick from the cavity and used that to carve with the disc cutterin the garden, a piece to fit the hole, and then cemented it all in place and rebuilt the corner. Used more cement to level off the 'half there' mess which was the top of the inner wall where the window cill sits. . the postman delivered a CD from DS!? 'Seasick Steve - I Started Out With Nothin' And I Still Got Most Of It Left'? . . walked the ladder down the lane and road and all the way round to the front of the house. I DID give it a once and for all bloody good go at getting it THROUGH the house, but it just wasn't going to fit and got stuck at one point, jammed against the hallway bannister and kitchen wall!!!!!! . propped the ladder against the house with an old building block against the bottom legs for safety, and then started the task of altering the outside telephone cable where it comes down the wall before entering the house. It'd been nailed with cable clips to the window frame, so was going to HAVE to move. Rather than leave it for the window guys to do, I'd wanted to do it before they arrive - carefully - so as not to run ANY risk of the cable being broken or severed! At length I managed to successfully disconnect it from the window frame and re-secured it to the wall of the house a couple of inches to one side (not enough slack for any further) - which 'should' be 'just' enough to be in the clear and not be touched when they extract the old window. Having said that, above the window the cable does 'drift' behind some related timber as it goes across the eaves , so they are still going to have to be careful not to trap/damage it! . .dragged the ladder across to the bedroom bay window and at length, after much precarious gymnastics, eventually managed to remove my CCTV camera, all the cables and the wooden mount I'd made for it attached to the bay. Yayyyy. :o) There's still PLENTY to be done - but I'm pretty close to where I'd wanted to be BEFORE they turned up to do the window fitting. All known 'quirks' and obstacles have been removed, and with all the preparations I've made, as far as I can reasonably make possible, it 'should' be a straightforward job for them - just encountering whatever unforseen problems they are used-to encountering!. . felt a bit unwell and HAD to go lay down for a bit around 5pm! Couldn't sleep but felt better for laying down for a bit and eventually got back up and sanded around the reveals and dabbed on a bit of undercoat around the PC room window. Put a little plaster on the wall as part of rebuilding the collapsed cill corner . . vacuummed and cleared up and collapsed in front the TV for just a bit, oh so VERY tired - and aching from my ladder gymnastics . . cooked and ate cod and chips after 10pm . BB called . .TVd just too tired to move, eating chocolate and a handful of small apple pies until bed around 12:30am. s
7 - Woken by the sounds of the bin men earlier, snoozed on then up around 9:15am. Cooler and a hint of 'mizzle' in the air seems to be acting ok - at the moment - touch wood! . . PCd this at length for the first time in about a week. It's been a . . the PC still 'despite everything, my 'mood' has generally been unexpectedly suprisingly 'ok'. .Mum called to touch base and see how tough' few days - but the living room work was going. Mentioned the DVD from Sis2. Mum popped down to borrow it - cause I don't see me having the time/frame of mind to sit and watch it through in the near future. .PCd this - and finally ran all the antivirus checks again just to make sure all was still in orderlookin' ok methinks. :o) . . drank a glass of red wine while cooking cod and chips. In the middle of cooking, the postman delivered . We're a large unexpected parcel!?? Oh wow! Sis2 had sent me her broken laptop. I'd mentioned in a recent mail that if it was no longer of any use to her (she's apparantly been loaned a working one for the forseeable future) I'd like to have it to 'play' with. I had no idea she was gonna box it straight up and send it right over complete with power supplies and travel plug etc. Cost her a small fortune ($75) in postage! Actually lucky it didn't end up me having to pay customs duty on it too! . . ate before having a prod at the laptop. Definitely something horribly wrong - but somehow I DID actually get it to boot up in Windows safe mode (for a while at least before it all froze) - which rather suggests it IS worth spending more time on, just in case I can find out what the problem is. . called Sis2 and said thankyou. :o). . napped until around 7:30pm . . downloaded the laptop manual and read through it all. A Dell Inspiron 1150. Messed around with the laptop for several hours, strange as it may sound, just trying to simply accurately 'define' the symptoms of the fault! Inevitably windows is all messed up and won't run from a normal boot (which 'may' even be fixable just by running a restore) - but that doesn't seem to be what is 'actually' the underlying problem. I haven't quite gotten to the bottom of it yet, but my suspicion is, there is a faulty interaction whenever you attempt to run it from the mains power supply (Sis2 actually ended up with two power supplies - both working, so it isn't actually that). It appears to charge the battery ok - but the machine will freeze and lock solid no matter what you are doing, and not even boot the BIOS, if the mains power supply is connected and turned on! Run it without from only the battery and it appears to be slightly happier (although I've yet to be sure of that). Hmmmm - does that suggest an onboard 'power circuit' hardware problem? What a shame. All other components appear at the moment to be fully functional. .TVd . .booted the laptop in safe mode and safely managed to copy off all Sis2s precious data (via a USB slot and an SD card) and copied it to my main machine for safety, before it's lost for good. . PCd this and that until early. Ended up surfing and reading up on the laptop. It would appear the sort of problem it has (various variations on a theme) is common - and not good news. Eventually to bed after 2am. d
6 - Up around 7:30am . . breakfast in the garden of coffee and cigs. . received a DVD in the mail from Sis2!? 'Avatar'. She must have liked it. To be shared with Mum no doubt? . . connected up (old) PC#2 in the living room and checked that it still worked. It did (although I think the clock battery is failing) so if push comes to shove, I should at least be able to get on-line and do my accounts and check for mails and such. I probably should have surfed and ordered a new PC power supply on-line (cheaper) but I didn't want to end up having to sit around waiting for who knows how long for one to be delivered. I 'need' to get this sorted today, so I know where I stand with the damn thing. . walked down town in the heat to draw out some money and tour charity shops, before intending to go to the local computer shop and maybe (probably) buy a power supply. Typically the computer shop was shut again. I've lost count of the number of times I've walked all the way up to that damn place only to find it shut! SO irritating. Closed for their holidays this time! Grrr . . returned home and eventually headed out in the car, across country heading for PC world (with my motherboard user guide in my pocket for reference). . as PC worlds go, the 'local' one is relatively small, sharing its warehouse with another store. As a result, disappointingly, there was only a very limited selection of power supplies on the shelf - and a big space where they were out of stock, of the one I 'probably' would have gone for given the choice. (500w +) . wandered around looking at everything else (ooh I could use that - I want that - that'd be handy - that's nice, etc, etc) before coming back to the power supplies and then agonising over whether or not to actually take the gamble and buy one. All things considered, given what I do with my PC, I eventually reasoned that I could probably satisfactorily get-by with a lower wattage power supply, because I really don't have lots of peripherals or expansion cards all running at the same time. Another deciding factor (apart from the fact they were out of stock) was the price difference. As is typical of this sort of 'supply and demand' pricing strategy, the 500W power supply that most people would have bought when walking in there(and , was considerably more expensive than the next one down - the 400W. Actually 'almost' getting on for DOUBLE the price three times and more for a for 'slightly' higher wattage still)!!! (It was the same sort of 'price fix' when I looked at electric showers). Of course MEfault. I , in the current situation with the PC, the whole thing was a terrible gamble anyway. It IS possible it isn't the power supply that's at may be just throwing my money away!!!?? Under all these circumstances, all things considered (at length - in the store), spending large amounts on a high wattage one seemed 'undesireable'. Eventually decided 'what the hell, it's only money' (huh??!!!!!) and bought myself a 'High Power Plus 405 Watts PUFP405S ATX2.2 Version Power Supply' for 34.99. I DID have the cheek to ask if I could return it if it didn't correct my problem, but of course the answer was no. . not wanting to waste the petrol, stopped at Sainsburys on the way home and did a major 100+ groceries shop. (Shame really - I'd let supplies run down a bit at home and had planned on maybe experimenting with doing my next shop on-line for the first time, and having it hopefully delivered free, as I believe they do if over a certain amount and delivered 'off peak'). . eventually returned home and unloaded after 2pm . . ate the rest of the reheated rice and chicken goo with two pieces of bread and butter while TVing. . managed to fight off the desire to sleep (just!) and eventually unpacked the new power supply and brought the PC down into the living room to start the careful swap. To save on headaches and mistakes, with both power supplies laying loose around the machine, one by one I literally unplugged one socket from the old and replaced it with the equivalent from the new, until such time as eventually they were all switched. All except one!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't believe it! I could NOT connect the 4-pin ATX +12V plug to the socket on the motherboard - because it wouldn't reach!!!???? I don't believe it! There's nothing particularly unusual about the setup/case I have, but absolutely no way was the lead long enough - by just a couple of inches! FFS !!!!!!!! . what to do? I was NOT prepared to have to pull it all out again and attempt to get the store to take it back (which they'd already said they wouldn't) and then be back to square one all for nothing. Having already 'written off' the 35 stake money, I continued with my 'gamble' and sorted through my collection of old PC junk and eventually found an old set of spare hard-drive power sockets, with some suitable lengths of appropriately coloured wire. Harvested 5inches or so of the wires and then set about the tedious and careful process of one by one, splicing them into the new power supply cables with soldered joins carefully wrapped in insulation tape!!!!! Took a while - just being careful not to mess it up. . At long last I reached the position where I was ready to see if my gamble had been worth it! VERY nervous. Actually just plugged it into a living room socket without anything else attached, with the case still open - and held my breath as I flicked the wallswitch. YAYYYYYYYY. The little warning LED on the motherboard lit up. Yayyyy - that's a good sign. Dared to hit the boot switch and hey presto - all the fans and hard drives successfully span up apparantly attempting to boot (before I quickly aborted and cut the power). Yippeeeeeee. So it WAS indeed the power supply. Oh thank goodness for that! WHAT a relief. . put the case back together and returned the PC to the computer room and hooked up the monitor, keyboard etc and fired it up 'proper', to test all WAS indeed ok. It was (with no signs so far of any 'low power' issues). :o) . put the dodgy surge protector power block extension lead which I think caused all this hassle, firmly in the bin (after having cut off and kept the nice heavy duty cable). . right then. Now the damn thing is working again - let's get serious and have another go at tackling this REALLY nasty virus I've somehow managed to get! . . DS had e-mailed me a link to a 'Malaware' scanner the other day so I figured I'd start with that. . That did NOT do the trick so I resorted to following the actions someone had suggested on the 'techy site' I bumped into the other day i.e -

1) Installed Malwarebytes 1.46. Ran an update and then ran full scans. I allowed it to remove ALL found 'issues'. Reboots etc.
2) Installed Spybot Search and Destroy. Ran full scans and immunized the files that came up etc.
3) Installed Hitman Pro 3.5 Ran an update and then ran a full scan. During this scan it detected "
Possible variant of the TDL3 (alias Alureon) rootkit detected. The device stack of the hard disk is referencing a hidden driver."!!!!!!!!!????Cleaned ALL that came up.

With the PC on the floor running various scans for much of the time, I finally put in the work to completely dismantle the mountains of equipment and stuff in the computer room and dumped it all temporarily in the back bedroom - all over the floor, the bed, everywhere! I need to clear stuff and move the PC desk AWAY from the window, so the window guys can eventually get access to it to do their work. As a temporary measure, I figure I can 'just' move everything into the opposite corner of the tiny room - which will 'just' give enough unobstructed access to do whatever it is they'll need to do. A LOT of hassle and work nonetheless, because of the huge quantities of junk I've accumulated! . . eventually had the desk at least moved, and the PC sat back in its place to carry on with the anti-virus/scanning work. Actually - I forget what order I did what - but I re-did it all several times in various orders, taking HOURS (never mind my 'normal' AVG Free virus software updates and scans!)!!!! At 'some' point along the way, I was eventually clean enough to be able to finally access Microsoft updates - which had previously been blocked by the virus! I downloaded and installed ALL available security updates - AND despite my better judgement, even updated to Internet Explorer 8 along the way as recommended. In the middle of all this, BB called to touch base. Said I'd call her back later. .round and round with scans!!! . . returned BBs call a couple of hours later while running YET another scan by one or other of the 'cleanup' programs - again! I was exhausted and NOT in a particularly good mood - GREATLY exasperated and angered by the nauseating mentality of the pathetic individuals who get pleasure from causing SO much hassle by distributing their viruses. SO much hassle - SUCH a waste of time! :o( . .at length, I went round and round in circles, re-running ALL the scans and cleanups several times!! Finally I 'appeared' to be clean (although now, after all this, - how can you EVER tell so it seems!) but I STILL had major problems! Every time I went on line and attempted to surf, the browser would more often than not, fail to find the website I was attempting to go to, and returned a 'not available/poor connection' type error screen - when I knew full well this was NOT the case!? In sheer desperation, as a final shot before bed, I eventually undid the update to Internet Explorer 8 and reverted back to Internet Explorer 7. Oh wow - that seems to have corrected it. Dare I hope? It 'appears' to be running, acting and surfing ok. Oh please please please. :o) . turned the damned thing off and collapsed into bed around 2:30am.
s
5 - Up around 7am . .sat at the PC for 'breakfast' as usual and - oh NO!!!!! The PC wouldn't turn on!!!???? No signs of life at all! No power!? Nothing whatsoever to do with the virus. Just coincedence and the cruel hand of fate. I 'think' I may know what has happened. When I moved in here, along with the PC desk, I 'inherited' a six socket, surge protected switched extension lead for computer use, complete with phone and aerial sockets too. It's been the way I turn everything on every time I use the PC - by using that one master switch. Of late, I'd come to realise that the on-off switch had started to be a little 'iffy' in it's operation. Once or twice, intermittantly it had become stuck on or off! The other day, when I turned it on, there WAS something of a 'pop' audible - although everything subsequently worked ok. In the middle of all this other work, I unwisely delayed having a look at it and trying to take it apart! Well - I'm not SURE - but I have a growing suspicion that the damned switch has somehow failed and sent a surge into the sockets and attached equipment. Ironically precisely the thing it's designed to protect the equipment from! Oh dear! . quickly checked the fuse in the plug to the PC but it was fine. That's not good. :o( So - I'm now without a (main) PC! That really IS bad news - mostly in respect of my accounts/banking/e-bills etc! That's REALLY worrying - but it's gonna HAVE to wait for a day or two. :o( . .

-//unfinished//-

turned off the electrics at the fuse box and refitted the electric sockets to the living room bay wall . . did laundry . . carried on cleaning as much dust from all over the house as possible using and abusing both clogged vacuums . fitted the retaining screws in the backs of the new socket boxes in the hallway - just to be able to stow away the drill etc. . PVAd the new plaster/leveller on the living room inner window cill . . dashed up the store for milk . . ate Mum donated chicken and stuffing slice rolls, crisps and spring onions. . napped until woken at 6pm by the neighbour's barking dog and phone ringing. . coffee and cigs in the garden while 'writing' this on paper!!. . vacuumed and dedusted my funeral suits . . finally got round to disconnecting and opening up the PC (on the living room carpet) . Tested with a different power chord altogether but absolutely NO signs of life at all. Removed and opened up the PSU case hoping to find a blown fuse. No such luck!! The only fuse present (soldered on the circuit board!) was still intact. What to do? Dare I bank on it being a blown PSU and invest in a new one? :o( . . guitarred briefly . TVd . ate a Mum donated cake slice . . cooked a chicken pieces, chicken soup, onions rice concoction . ate a huge dish full . TVd until almost 2am before finally to bed. s
4 - Up at 7am . working by 8. Cut the power and worked on the walls around the bay window sockets . . sanded filler and new plaster and cut in the four lengths of wall edge bead/timber 'details'. Removed the temporary plastic from the window frames where I'd plastered. That worked nicely. . more filler here and there. . replaced a bit of plastic against the window frame and used a strong filler/pva mix to straigten up the left reveal edge . . started the nightmarish job of vacuuming and de-dusting . . more sanding down . . cut power again and eventually got the first coat of emulsion paint on the bare walls . . more vacuuming and clearing up the mess as the paint dried. . another coat of paint. Actually somewhat disappointing results. Far easier to see all the imperfections with the paint ON. I CAN imrpove things, but little point until the new windows are fitted . . lots more cleaning and de-dusting of everything . . finished up and collapsed around 10pm in front the TV . . showered. drank wine . .ate pizza around midnight. To bed around 1am.
3 - Up around 8am again . . plastered the reveals with lengths of plastic between them and the windows. . Mum called in . . sat in the garden . . ate four Mum donated ham rolls . . Mum called back in with dust sheets. Too late! . . sanded the walls and worked on the 'detailing' at length! BIG dusty mess everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!! . . BB called . . applied more filler here and there starting the really slow 'finishing' of the two side walls, gradually moving towards a paintable finish. . collapsed in a dusty heap in front of the TV around 9:30pm and was just too tired to move for almost two hours!! . .drank a 'splash' of wine from the bottle while cooking chips. Ate a Mum donated mushroom pastrie slice with chips while TVing in the 'relative' clean of the kitchen. . TVd eating chocolate in th ekitchen until to bed around 1am.
2 - Up around 6:30am again . .drove to pick up the fuse plate with neon. 5 . . straight back to commence battle with the bay window walls again. Proper nightmare this has turned into. The walls around the door were nothing compared to this! . . oh no! The seagull chicks were behind the mesh again! In the middle of doing stuff, (at the windows) I kept an eye on them for a while, feeling that I'd have to eventually go knock on the ladies door again. Somewhere along the line one of the parents descended to feed them, and hey presto - they BOTH managed to get out of their own accord! I guess they''ve got a little bigger and more capable - and have found the need to find a way! Throughout the day, they were in and out from behind that mesh several times. lol :o) . . botch reconstruction of the two falling to bits side walls adjoining the windows. Nightmare . . finished 'destruction and removed the final middle bits of the warped old wooden cills . .worked right through non stop until around 8pm before tidying up just a little. More plastering to do but all the botches need to firm up first . . ate a defrosted pepperoni pizza . . TVd/showered/PCd memory jogger notes for this . . MOV file for Coz1. .to bed before 1am

-//unfinished//-
1 - Up around 6:30am . .PCd and blew another hour or more looking up virus info. I SO haven't got time for all this aggro and s**t! :o( From what I've read, this infection IS going to be a bastard to get to the bottom of and remove. One of the symptoms I have experienced (for which there is MUCH discussion on various techy sites) is 'Google Redirects'. You do a search in Google - get a normal list of returns - click on one - get taken to a completely different site to the one you chose (often another search engine or an advert for something else)! From the little I've read, there are several hard-to-identify different types which can cause this, and - antivirus programs WILL NOT find or remove them????!!!!!!????? It's gonna have to wait. :o( I have walls to scrape! . . drove to Focus to buy filler and plaster supplies and a few other odds and ends (21.43). Actually went to the out of town place specifically to go to the electrical place up the road to buy a fused spur plate with a neon BUT without a switch. Something of a rarity - but I've surfed and know they exits. It'll be ideal in the new socket box above the front door for the outside light. If I can't get one, I'll just stick an ordinary plain fuse plate in there, but I figure having one with a neon will be useful as an indicator the light is on. Given next door has an outside light too, only a few feet away, I HAVE been known to leave mine on by mistake, thinking it's his! They didn't have one!! Back to the small store round the corner who didn't have one either but offered to get one in for me, so I took them up on the offer and left them my phone number . . started scraping the walls around 10:30am once I'd got home. Worked right through until around 8pm, only stopping briefly around 3pm to eat four salami rolls. Hellish day! Removed more of the window capping and the two end bits of the window cill as part of the 'it always gets worse before it gets better' - and boy did it!! . the guy from the store called arond 6pm and suprisingly said they now had one of the fuse plates in! How the hell did he manage that? Said I'd pick it up tomorrow . . Concentrated on the walls either side of the bay which actually won't be at all affected by the new windows, and called it quits after having applied plaster and much filler to both, trying to rebuild all the loose collapsing rubbish discoverd beneath the paper! . God I'm in a hell of a mess, with flakes of paint and dust absolutely everywhere - and oh my god I'm tired out. .ended up pretty much collapsed around 8:30pm unable to move watching - wait for it - 'DIY SOS' on the TV - hotly followed by 'Homes From Hell'! lolol I've got my very own going on here right now!! . showered (as it poured with rain) and then PCd briefly. I SO need more food but just haven't the energy to bother making anything! Ate a banana . . TVd and eventually discovered a microwave curry in the freezer so managed to sit around for eight minutes and then ate that before to bed soon after midnight.
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