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<My Diary Archive 2003 My Diary Archive>

1 - Woken late around 9am by the noise of the bin men and then insistant Sally . . . Mum called to confirm receipt of the radio I'd sent - so much for sending it first class post!! Grrr. Laboriously went through how to tune in and set up some of the memories . . . walked and found an as-new, disposable lighter . . . did chores . . . PCd wondering what I could do with more blackberries, and bumped into loads of websites of recipes, and many of those, variations on the cobbler theme! What a lot of cobblers! Ended up putting the remains of the last cobbler in the fridge and making up yet another, but in a slightly different way (mix the melted butter into the batter). Turned out to be definitely an improvement. I think I'm pretty sick of eating blackberries!! . . . PCd a bit looking at camper vans . . . slept for a few hours . . . walked and found a penny . . . BB called . . . TVd/PCd till early. Weather forecast for the next several days is a heatwave! (4/10)a
2 - Woken around 7am by Sally barking as mail was delivered . . .walked . . . walked with Sally up to shop for more BLT ingredients. Found 5p . . . pottered around doing washing chores and such. Got a bee in my bonnet about maybe having the PC in the living room at some point, and ended up carrying down a spare monitor to size things up. Turns out my pine TV/Video unit has warped like a banana!! It doesn't show with just the TV on it, but with something next to the TV it shows real bad! Damn!!!!! I thought I'd put enough wood into it to stop that happening! Damn!Damn!Damn! . . . ended up running out of energy and pottering in the garden a little and then TV/PCing the day away . . . BB called . . . walked and found 2p . . .TVd till late. (4/10)s
Sally dog looking pretty as can be.
3 - Woken around 6:30am by Sally!!! Grrr!! . . . cool dewy morning but not a cloud in the sky. Set off around 7:15am and walked Sally down through Eastville Park and along the Frome Valley walk for squirrel chases, stick throwing, swims, photographs, etc. A beautiful cool morning before the heat of an oh so SUNNY day . . In Oldbury Court every passer by warned me that a big tree was down 'almost' blocking the path. Wow - was it! Managed to clamber through the branches (with difficulty - and Sally only just, eventualy!) and carry on. Came back via a slightly different route to normal and cut along the cycle path in Fishponds to rejoin the big field and then back up through the rugby field. Back home in almost exactly three hours. Found 2p along the way . . . PCd this. Oh NO!!!! I've picked up something nasty on the PC - damn thing occasionaly tries to connect (to IP without me doing anything!!! The virus checker comes up with all clear - but it obviously isn't! I could cry! :o( . . .Chillin in shadesstarted to watch the German Grand Prix on TV (saw the crash) but my head was in my PC, so ended up making backups of all my data files and then trying a restore. It seems to have done the trick - fingers crossed!!! . . . ate yet more BLTs and then TVd/PCd the rest of the 'too hot to do anything' afternoon away. . . guitared briefly in the garden . . . BB called . . .walked in the low sun and sat on the grass with cigarettes for a while. Found a pair of sunglasses on the way. :o) Cheap plastic, and rather small (maybe a kids pair?), but they stay on my head (extendable arms) and seem quite useable. Maybe they'll live in the car . . .TVd feeling too hot . . .ended up drinking a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale and cooking up a tuna pasta bake thing that BB had sent me the instructions for. Worked out ok - resisted eating too much - made me feel even hotter! . . . TVd/PCd till early. (5/10)ad
4 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am . . .mail in the post informing me Sally's booster jabs (?!!!!!) are due. . .walked . . . turned out to be a real hot day with the thermometer showing low 90s F. Sat in the garden for a bit, but too hot. Couldn't muster the energy to do anything and TVd/slept the day away . . . BB called . . . walked and found more lighter parts. SO hot. A group of kids were all milling around as I passed and I could overhear them planning to break into the school. When they saw me approaching they told each other to be quiet, but one unsavoury looking character (ringleader?) would not be quieted and brazenly said "Wha's he gonna do. Ee can't do nuffin!". Depressingly true pretty much, so it seems . . .made up another working lighter . . . TVd till early feeling rather down. (3/10)s
5 - Up just before 7am after a hot uncomfortable night of broken sleep . . .walked in the heat and found 2p and two large hoop earrings! . . . tried to persuade myself to start getting back into the building work, but failed! Too hot - too unpleasant a prospect. . . phoned the vet and got Sally an appointment for 4pm . . . TVd/PCd the day away waiting for four o'clock . . . just stepping out of the house around 3:15pm and BH had just pulled up on his new motorcycle. 'Bad timing' - briefly chatted, bid him goodbye, and headed off over the field to make sure Sally was nice and empty. Carried on walking out of the field and up to the vets in the stifling heat!! . . . a breif wait in the waiting room under an air conditioner - what joy! Sally was very good and we didn't use a muzzle this time. Mentioned to the vet my concerns over the length of her toe nails and the weird little wart like bump hidden in her fur on the base of her tail. He confirmed the lump was a ??????? (gobbeldey gook vetspeak) and was nothing to worry about. A quick once over and he confirmed she was fine. He gave her the jab (unnoticed by her) and then trimmed her nails just a little, as I held onto her. Very soon all done and out of there (once the nice woman on reception had run off and got Sally a treat- and given me a form for ringing up and applying for free six weeks health insurance) after having paid the 32.38 . . . on the way home I detoured into a car sales lott to have a look at a neat looking MPV type vehicle that had caught my eye (being well big enough to sleep in). Unfortunately the car sales guy started trying his thing on me - I made it clear I wasn't buying-just looking and wasting his time. Didn't stop him trying though. Turned out to be a 'grey import' Toyota Estima Lucida (I think?!) from Japan. Really cheap with such high spec at around 4k. An automatic deisel - I like that . . .found 74p in a heap on the pavement on the way back home?! :o) . . . spent the next few hours surfing, reading up on Toyota Estimas. Incredible that they can be SO cheap despite having to be shipped all the way over here from Japan and have things altered to make then road legal here. Says something about how cars in the UK market are dreadfully overpriced. Don't think I'll be buying one - too much hassle/expense getting a service, spares, insurance and such . . . walked . . .rang the number and activated Sally's free six weeks insurance . . . BB called . . . early to bed, exhausted, headachey and hot.(4/10)
6 - Dreadful uncomfortably hot night of tossing and turning - up before 6:30am with a BAD headache! 24C/76F in the PC room already!! . . .drove Sally to the Avon at Hanham for walks/swims/squirrel&rabbit chases etc. Turned out to be cloudy and quite nice and cool for at least a part of the walk. Spotted a large newly fallen branch with a limb that looked nice and straight. Been tempted to have a go at making a walking stick for a while (not sure why - I couldn't be bothered to carry one) so wrestled the limb from the branch and ended up walking all the way back to the car with it and then brought it home . . . trimmed of a bit off from each end of the branch and then left it in the conservatory to start drying out a bit. . .a postcard in the post from IHB in Prague! . . . checked Sally's page on my journal and realised I'm overdue with worming her. Found the vaccination record card I'd fiorgotten to take yesterday, and walked with Sally up to Kingswood. Found 2p. Bought a single dose wormer and then stopped in the vet for the card to be filled out. .Very warm but overcast, so the forecast REALLY high temperatures haven't developed thank goodness. . .back home to find a card - I'd missed the postman trying to deliver something too big for the letterbox? Damn! Gonna have to go get it - leave three hours the card says . . .gave Sally her wormer tablets no problem, wrapped up in some corned beef. Also got round to putting the flea collar on her that I bought a few weeks ago. That should be her all sorted (!!) for a while . . .PCd wasting time and ended up messing around looking for more 'dog music' midi files!! . . . left Sally at home and drove to the Post Office. Sun is out again - absolutely roasting in the car! Oh NO!!!!!!!!!!! What?????? The surface mail parcel I'd sent on 29th July costing 34.35 has been sent back to me, because it doesn't have some of (no indication of what) the required documentation! I'm bloody angry! Drove it straight back to the post office I'd posted it at and acted real hot and bothered. The idiot behind the counter gave me some line about how when they sent it they didn't have the right documentation in the office, so they sent it with what they had!! He said they had the right ones now so he'd send it off for me tomorrow. I kept a 'bit' of a handle on my rage and simply said thank you - but also said I wishd to complain. He gave me a piece of paper with a phone number on it (turned out to be an out of date number of course). . . spent the next hour or so on the phone trying to complain all over the place. All the seperate Post Office businesses made that difficult - ended up logging a complaint with Post Office Counters. No one could tell me whether or not the air mail parcel I'd also sent (28.30), was on it's way to be happily delivered, or was winging it's way back to me as well, because I didn't have a 'CP' number whatever that is! Well I wasn't given one!!!!! F***ing useless. All made me REALLY hot, bothered and angry! I reckon I deserve some refund of postage compensation for all this! :o( Grrrrr . . . lay down to nap but soon half woken by BB leaving an ansaphone message! Tried to sleep but half woken again by me 'dreaming' that PS was leaving a message (but on my old 'clunk click' ansaphone I haven't had for years!). Lo and behold, within a couple of minutes PS called leaving an ansaphone message!!! Spooky. . gave up trying to sleep. Touched base with BB and PS . . .did chores . . walked and sat on the grass over the field in the heat for a while, drinking a tin of red bull from my fridge . . .watered the garden and topped the evaporating pond up . . .noticed with some concern that the inside of Sally's left ear has a coating of dried blood on it!!? She seems to be in no distress so I'll assume unless she acts otherwise, that she maybe just snared it on a twig or some such, and it'll be fine. . . PS popped round for chats till early. . . couldn't sleep and ended up spending the whole night TV/PCing!!! (4/10)s
7 - Ended up feeling a bit light headed from lack of sleep, but so close to Sally's walk time, there was no point in trying to sleep. . . just leaving the house at 7:30am with Sally, LB called down that she had another cat caught frog in a container in her kitchen. Shut Sally back in the house and dashed straight up - there was blood on LBs floor just inside the door!!!? She hadn't noticed, but the poor frog had his right back leg and front left leg all chewed off!!!!!! :o( Relocated the frog to spend the last hours of it's misery in my garden. Gonna have to do refgular pond patrols and hike it straight out as soon as it dies! :o(. . . drove Sally to the Avon at Hanham for walks. Much warmer than yesterday - too warm!! Sally rampaged through the undergrowth chasing rabbits and got absolutely COVERED in those tiny 'stick to fur' seeds. Spent an hour or more throughout the rest of the day here and there laboriously picking several handfulls of them from all over her body, one by one!! . .in the car park as usual was lots of litter strewn on the grass, and amongst it thrown away, a small sealable plastic bag containing a few flecks of cannabis 'bush' residue. Seemed inappropriate to just leave it there so I picked it up and took it home - to dispose of it - um - in the interests of public safety . . . stopped off at Lidl on the way home and joined the 'pre opening special offers day scrum', all stood outside waiting before 9am. Bagged myself a 'Balance Hair Trimming Kit' for 11.99. I think the days of my long hair may well be numbered. I think I'm too old to be looking such a freak. There is only one way to see if I can manage to cut (shave) my own hair with the trimmer and not have to fork out for frequent exhorbitant barbers fees - and that is to try it! We'll see. . . the local sub postmaster arrived at the door with the 'CP' form receipt for re-sending the surface mail parcel!! The paperwork/receipt I should have got in the first place. . . grabbed some muesli breakfast and absolutely exhausted, lay down to try to sleep despite the heat. Woken within 30 minutes by the doorbell and Sally going crazy. Oh no!!! The postman returning the air mail parcel I'd sent, because that too didn't have the appropriate forms on. Jeeze - it took them nine days just to return the bloody thing!? Took it straight round the post office and did more of my Mr Angry. Made me even angrier when they seemed to be unable to accept that THEY had simply made a mistake by not putting the correct forms on - seemed to be trying to blame ParcelForce (ParcelFarce!). Incredible attitude! I left it with them to sort out and post on WITH the correct 'CP' form this time. The postmaster will have to come round again to give me another receipt when they've done it.Grrr, grrr, bloody grrrr. Never again! . . .phoned the Counters Customer Service people and updated my complaint! The woman on the phone started trying to tell me that the 'perishables' I was sending (crisps/biscuits, etc.) weren't allowed anyway and that was probably something to do with them being returned. For goodness sake, that isn't the issue!!!! Total incompetants! . . . PCd this, all hot and bothered and headachey. F****** Post Office - bane of my life! . . .ummd and ahhd and finally managed to summon the courage to have a go at cutting my hair!!!!! Arranged a sheet and mirrors in the living room, and set to. Started with the 'tail' but wow - those scissors could hardly get through it! The new trimmer was useless with such long hair and I had to hack away for ages with the scissors, with some considerable difficulty! Eventually brought my beard trimmer into play as well and made some progress. For safety sake I started off trying to keep it fairly long, to allow for errors, but it eventually ended up just a little longer than I used to wear it - and that was pretty short. 'Number 2' on the barbers trimmer as I recall - number three on the short hair comb on this new one. It'll do - even if it is a bit ragged round the neck at the back where I can't reach/see - even if it does show up my receding hairline and possible developing bald patch !! (Oh the joy of getting older.) In fact I feel really pleased to be free of that nuisance - taking ages to dry, difficulty keeping it clean, long hairs blocking the plughole, always ALWAYS blowing around and getting in my face and having to be plastered down with gel. Oh yes - definitely happy it's gone. I figure one more cut with the new trimmer when my hair grows, and it will have paid for itself already. Cool - and streamlined - and low maintenance - and kinda nice to stroke like velvet!! lol :o) . . .

Before (but always
kept in a 'pony tail')

. . figured I'd start with
the tail . .

How much grey?!!!
Hang on - is that a penny?

Too long for the new
hair trimmer!!!

Got there in the end.
MUCH less hassle.

. . . PCd this. Not sure how come I'm still awake - how many hours is that now - 33ish?!!!!? Energised by cutting my hair off somehow maybe! . . . TVd . . . touched base with BB . . . ate a pile of cheeseburgers . . . walked (keeping a cool head :o) ) and sat over the field with a Red Bull for quite a while waiting for the hot air balloons to drift over from the Ashton Court Balloon Fiesta which is on this weekend. Wind seemed to be in the wrong direction and only saw a few, and those, way of in the distance. According to the news, the weird annoying noises I'd heard in the distance this morning whilst walking Sally along the river through the woods, was some specially composed music which the balloonists had decided to blare out on multiple loud speakers across the city!!! They seemed to think everyone would appreciate waking to that -what selfishness - I think not!!! (Much on the news also about the 'Three Tenors' open air concert tonight in the Royal Crescent, Bath) . . . LB called to touch base . . . TVd till late, incredibly still awake and not feeling 'overly' tired (and certainly not my usual 'exhaustion'), although I am definitely suffering some effects of sleep deprivation - feel kinda wooly headed and my eyes are starting to play tricks and give periferal effects of movement where there are none. VERY hot - 80F/26C in front of the PC. . Decided to destroy the few flecks of cannabis 'bush' residue from the small plastic bag I'd found earlier. Seemed best to burn it - so I burned it whilst watching a bit of 'Conan The Barbarian' on TV - in the interests of public safety of course. :o) . . . to bed a little before midnight. Longest I've ever gone on so little sleep!? (5/10)s
8 - Woken by Sally around 8am . . .walked. A digger and workmen were moving some of the boulders out of the road and back up onto the grass bank at the edge of the field. Won't be long before they are moved again I bet! . Stopped in the local post office and picked up the receipt for them having re-sent my air mail parcel yesterday . . .far too hot for comfort all day, and ended up just sat around TVing/PCing the day away . . .walked in the heat. Quite a few hot air balloons in the air in the distance, but the wind wasn't coming my way and it was so hot the sky was kinda murky and made them hard to see. . . BB called . . . to bed around midnight. (4/10)s
9 - Woken by Sally before 7am . . .e-mail from CC letting people know it looks as though a kidney doner has been found for her hubby, and if all goes to plan he should be in for transplant surgery - um - about now! Tried to think appropriate thoughts . . . walked in the heat! . . . walked with Sally up to shop (to buy a lettuce and tomatoes mostly). Bagged a book from the box labeled 'Free' outside the salvation army charity shop as I walked by. Old recipes for deserts . . . sat in the garden under a parasol for the rest of the morning but SO hot!! Thermometer under the shade of the parasol said 90F!!! FAR too hot for my liking - Sally too I think! . . . BB called . . . saw the thermometer reach 91.5F at one point, before dropping - to the floor!! A light breath of wind dislodged it from the bit of the parasol I'd hung it on, and it crashed to the ground and broke! Swept and hosed the patio down before Sally got into the broken glass and unpleasant looking red liquid splashed everywhere . . . managed to sleep for a few hours . . . walked and found a penny. Plenty of balloons in the distance, but once again not coming our way. That must be linked to this weird hot spell - normally when things are cooler with a more westerly wbreeze, they go right over the top of my house. . . Had to dodge Sally around four or five different mopeds rampaging across the field and all around! Grrrr . . . returned MLs ansaphone call . . . TVd. . . as the fireworks from the balloon fiesta rumbled and flashed in the distance, some sort of dispute arose down a nearby street. Sounded like lots of people involved - lots of foul mouthed shouting, abuse and threats! I actually went and sat on the wall in the front garden for a while to see if I could see the fireworks and to try and make out what the argument was about. Couldn't tell - just hot tempers in hot weather I guess. Lots of loud drunks passing by too. Gave the evening (in my mind) a horrible heavy threatening atmosphere! :o( . . .after my afternoon nap, and with the oppressive heat in the house, I didn't even try getting to sleep. Around 4:45am the sky was beginning to get light and the garden was wonderfully cool. (4/10)s
10 - Set off walking with Sally around 5:15am. Walked down to Eastville Park and along the Frome Valley walk. Sally seemed to really enjoy the cool, and spent a lot of time just laying down in the river. Still actually quite warm and ended up being really misty for a while. Decided to walk the extra mile or so, and climbed up onto Purdown Hill to see if there was a photo opportunity of looking down on the mist. There wasn't - it was a real 'pea souper' up there with clouds of mist drifting by. Bet the balloons couldn't do a mass ascent this morning!! Couldn't even see the motorway just below me! The mansion house occasionaly appeared all impressive from the mist, only to disappear again soon after. No point in taking photos - woukld have just been a 'white out' . . back down to the river and carried on along the walk. As seems to be the habit of fishermen these days, there were piles of rubbish laying around where someone had been fishing. SO much rubbish, that they'd actually not spotted that they'd left some of their tackle behind - and a nice new refillable lighter. Kept the lighter but handed the hooks and floats and such, to a couple of nearby fisherman. Back home by around 8:15am and starting to get real hot again as the sun burned off the mist. Found 6p along the way. . . ate the last of the cobbler which has been sat in the fridge for - how long?!! Wow - that stuff keeps well. . .lay down around 10:30am and slept through until around 4pm, when woken by Sally panting in the heat like a steam train. Just as well - the heatwave reached new heights today and saw the UK officially have a new highest ever recorded temperature - over 100F up in Heathrow (the news said 90F in Bristol - bound to have been hotter than that in my enclosed sheltered back yard). At the same time further up North, there were big thunderstorms, flash flooding and people getting hit by lightening!!? No sign of any storms here - YET. Much more of this and I'll be thinking of saving up for a small, cheap air conditioning unit!!!! A few more days of heatwave forecast yet . . . BB called . . .walked . . . PS popped round for chats till early. (4/10)s
11 - Woken by Sally before 8am . . .walked. Definitely somewhat cooler than of late - but still too warm for comfort! Moan, moan, grumble, moan . . . I've been finding it real hard getting back down to attending to the never ending major DIY project that was all connected with the rising damp and faulty wiring. The living room is only two thirds complete (if that!) but I figure I need to concentrate on the work that will reinstate the wiring loop, and do away with my temporary (and rather dodgey!) make shift arrangement. Finally managed to muster up some energy and overcome the mental block, and started work on the firebreast wall in the kitchen. Spent the day removing the old tiled fire grate (damn those tiles are sharp when they break!! The rising damp was so bad, the iron reinforcing had rusted and made the concrete expand and crumble!!!), stripping off the old dusty plaster from the short wall next to the understairs cupboard, and from the actual firebreast. Very much a re-enactment of what I've already done in the living room, so the horrors that I uncovered weren't 'so' much of a surprise. May be more difficult in the kitchen to actually put in a damp proof course which was a disappointment. Thermometer in the bathroom said mid eighties - far too hot for such work. Don't think I've EVER sweated so much - could have actually rung my T shirt out!!! Ewww. . skipped lunch (too much dust on everything!) and kept at it until I'd completely opened up the old fireplace. The newly revealed, original kitchen fireplace!!Wow - can really imagine some early 1900's coal miners wife cooking on some small range there now. . Gonna have to pour a new concrete floor into the fireplace - like I had to in the living room! Ugggh! I'm not sure - but maybe somehow if I put the arch in a little higher, I could put my stove in there - or better still a new hob and oven. SO much easier if all I had was electric - more difficult relocating the gas supply - I'll have to have a qualified person in to do it at great cost - and if I'm calling them in anyway, I may as well go and get the whole old lead gas pipe through the house replaced!!!!!! Domino effect poverty trap!!! I'd also like to move the understairs cupboard door opening over a few feet, so that part of the wall could also be used for cupboards and a worktop. (If I succeeded in doing that, with an outward opening door, I could make shelves in the cupboard to take all my tools and thereby release the conservatory for a 'proper' sitting area.) It's a very awkward room layout for a kitchen - not enough useable walls!! . . finished up and showered the layers of grime and sweat off me around 7pm . . . BB called . . .walked . . . ate cheese burgers and TVd, but SO VERY tired!! There are thirty four sacks of rubble (and some larger peices of fireplace too big for sacks) awaiting trips to the tip in the front garden - and a new pile of old bricks in the back yard!!!! . . .PS called asking advice about his computer and a possible fault - I couldn't help . . . PCd this . . . to bed around midnight. (4/10)
12 - Tossed and turned during the night with neck and back pain!! Up around 7:15am . . . just waking up with coffee in the cool of the garden and LB called leaving an ansaphone message. Dashed straight up and relocated the rescued frog into my pond . . .walked . . . loaded the car up with around half the sacks of rubble in the front garden and left sally at home and drove to the council tip. Lucky to find almost no queue and was all unloaded and driving back home for another trip pretty soon. Loaded all the rest straight up and returned to the tip and got the nasty chore done . . . did an exploratory bit of chiselling at floor level in the kitchen and figured I should be able to get a damp proof course in there like I did in the living room - albeit with a little more work/difficulty. Got SO hot just doing a bit of chiselling, and had SUCH a nasty headache despite popping annadin tablets, that I soon gave up, skipped lunch, and ended up sitting in the sun in the garden for much of the afternoon. . . PCd/TVd/sat around feeling unwell . . . walked and found 2p. Really didn't feel well at all - hot and cold sweats by the time I returned home and really wanting to just lay down wherever I was and be unconscious!!!? . . . BB called . . . TVd till late feeling just a 'little' better after some food.(4/10)aaa
13 - Tossed and turned lots during the night again and then woken by insistant Sally around 6am!!! Grrrr. Very pleasantly cool in the garden that early. . .walked . . . sat in the garden for a bit . . . PCd/TVd . . .balanced my accounts and used the Royal Mail website to try to track the parcels I've sent. As far as I can tell they are on their way - again! . . . left Sally at home and drove to the DIY store for three sacks of sand (3) and some more damp proof membrane. Really infuriating that I need SO little of that membrane to do what I must, and yet I had to buy a huge 4x12.5m. roll (19.99)!! . quite a novelty being able to drive the car with the window open, now that I have short hair. With long hair, the distraction of the wind blowing it all around meant I never drove with the window open. I do SO prefer short hair - nothing to do with it when I wake up or go out walking - dry almost as soon as I get out of the shower, etc. etc. Much better :o) . . . sat around reading the mass of leaflets on kitchens and such I'd picked up at the DIY store . . . slept for a couple of hours . . . walked and found 7p . . . BB called . . . LB popped down and asked me to remove another frog!!! Caught it, hopping healthily around her bathroom, and relocated it to the pond. . .TVd until bed around 1:30am.(3/10)a
14 - Woken by Sally around 6:30am. Snoozed on until she insisted I wake up around 7:30am . . . walked. Very much cooler - even felt a bit cold in the breeze when I started out . . . felt rather down. Maybe the prospect of living in such a mess and having to do this filthy, nasty, DIY stuff for - um - ever!!! Can't imagine what it must be like to just have a perfect house to live in - and be able to do other things. Tried to sleep but couldn't, and eventually managed to muster the energy to start working on the kitchen wall. Worked through without lunch until around 5pm and succeeded in getting three foot of damp proof course cemented into the wall, under the stairs. Made a hell of a dusty mess in the garden, cutting up pices of brick with the disk cutter. Poor next door neighbour's washing was out on the line - I felt guilty and apologetic - but - well - tough! Needs must.Uh oh - looks as though my drill is about to stop working already!! That didn't last long - maybe my theory about buying a couple of cheap ones instead of one expensive one is a false economy? Things didn't go 'too' badly and I ended up feeling in a rather better humor than earlier . . . BB called . . . walked . . . watered the dusty garden . . . ate double chicken kiev and chips - after I'd made a space in the dust that layers EVERYTHING in the kitchen, including everything in all the drawers and cupboards!!!! . . TVd all exhausted. Around 9:30pm there was a loud bang out in the street. Looked out and saw a youth on a bicycle turning down the street opposite and cycling off. Funny how living here, you get to know the difference in noises in the street and know when something has been broken/vandalised. Couldn't see anything in the dark at first - but then spotted something laying in the gutter just down the road. Left Sally in the garden and wandered down. Someones wing mirror had been smashed to pieces. Picked up all the pieces I could find and knocked on the door of the house outside which the car was parked - asked if it was their car and when they said yes, just handed them all the pieces of their mirror with a grim face. Apparantly it wasn't the first time they'd had that happen outside there!! :o( . . . returned to the TV and watched the extraordinary scenes in New York on the news channel. Huge parts of the US and Canada were without power. Absolute chaos!!! Modern life/society has always seemed SO fragile to me. Doesnt take much for it to all fall apart so it seems. Bit scary that. . . some selfish idiot neighbour down the road had a bonfire going (in the full knowledge it was hot and everyones windows were open!). The house ended up thick with acrid smoke and actualy made me feel rather unwell!! What on earth was he burning?!!!! . . . LB called to touch base and recommend some pub in Bradford on Avon she'd just been to, that sat alongside the river. How long has she known me? Why would I be interested in a pub?!! . It wasn't long before there was another BIG bang outside!!!!! The sound of the bang suggested at the very least that someones car windscreen had been smashed - or maybe even a house window. Big, crunching bang!! Hung up on LB and rushed out (as did LB) - just in time to see a car screeching away up the street. A small crowd developed over and down the street opposite - the street where there had been that big domestic argument on the evening of the ninth. Surely must be connected. Too much of a coincedence. One of them tore up the street in his car presumeably in pursuit, but far too late. Unfortunately it wasn't possible to see what was going on and didn't seem appropriate to wander down just to rubber neck - very frustrating, being nosy like I am. . LB continued to watch from her bedroom window waiting for the police to arrive, but they didn't!?? Wasn't long however before lots of cars DID screech to a halt ouitside and the occupants rush into the house in question! Private war?!!!! :o( . . curiosty got the better of me (and wanting a breath of fresh, bonfire smoke free air) I gave Sally a quick walk round the block and came back past the house down that street. The main front, double glazed living room window, had been smashed by a thrown brick!! LOTS of people inside and more pulling up - extended asian family maybe? Race crime? Where were the police??!!!! . . . TVd until bed around midnight. (3/10)
15 - Woken by Sally around 7am - wish she'd let me sleep on just once!! . . . walked in the cool sun . . . PCd this. All this stuff on the news about the new worm virus - decided it was high time I downloaded all the critical updates for Windows. The last time I tried that I got in a heap of trouble where some of my hardware wouldn't work and I had to reinstall everything. Since then I've not dared to download a single update!!! Very dodgey. Was on line just about to start, and all of a sudden I got that weird 'disconnecting and rebooting in 55 seconds' virus thing!!! Uh oh!!!!! It only did it the once and then seemed to be back to normal - as far as I could tell!!??? Set the machine downloading XP service pack 1 and all the other critical updates. Probably not the best day to do it, what with half the world panicking about the worm. Took absolutely ages! I left the machine running ALL day!!! . . . did laundry chores . . . worked on the kitchen building site. Had to go into the yard and use the angle grinder to cut up bricks at one point - trouble was, I was filthy and the white sheets were out drying on the line. Had no choice but to down tools and quickly have a shower, just so that I could bring the washing in!!! . .every twenty minutes or so throughout the day or as the work allowed, I had to rush upstairs and check on the PC and make sure the connection hadn't dropped out - and if it had, reconnect and start the thing going again. WHAT a pain in the a**!!!!! Up and down, up and down - very tiring. . grabbed a sandwhich to keep me going, late afternoon . . managed to excavate and cement-in some damp proof course under most of the left side of the firebreast. Went 'ok'. . . all done and showered by around 7:30pm - and the PC at last had updated whatever it needed to update. Weird that there was no further sign of a worm attack. Am I infected or not? Hmmm??. . .walked and found a lighter. Sat on the grass over the field for a while watching the sun set and drinking a tin of Red Bull. Stopped for a quick chat to the dog walking school teacher who had more tales of youths throwing lager cans at her, and how she's becoming nervous about setting foot outside her house!! :o( . . .popped up LBs to draw her curtains as she'd requested (she's fed the cats for tonight), only to find they were already drawn! . . . BB called . . . couldn't raise the energy to cook so ate a mass more corned beef, onion and tomatoe sandwhiches . . TVd until bed around midnight, absolutely exhausted. (4/10)
16 - Woken by Sally around 7am . . . walked and found 3p . . .fed LBs cats . . . PCd this . . .got the ladder out and fixed on the roof hook that Dad'd given me ages ago, with the intention of popping up onto the roof and putting a very temporary cover over the kitchen fireplace chimney pot for when it rains. The wheeled ridge hook ladder attachment was really neat and made getting up the roof a good deal easier than scrabbling up the tiles on all fours. Uh oh. Oh no! Oh my god!!!! The roof and all the flashing was in an incredibly bad way. The whole lot on one side was just sat there all cracked and detached from the wall and waiting to crash down onto the conservatory. All the rest wasn't much better!!! Signs of decay on the chimney stack. My roof in a state of collapse - like me!Bits of rubble laying all over the place. I knew it all needed attention (if not for the damp/wiring problem, I WAS gonna have a go at repairs this year. Would have been perfect with all the dry weather we've been having! Sods law.), but I never imagined it had gone this far!!!! I'm in big trouble here. I don't think this is something I can do anything about. I could just about do the bit above the chimney stack myself, but can't get to the bit below without REALLY risking my life, hanging off the edge of the roof. The conservatory means there is no way to put a ladder up there. In fact god knows how a roofing company would be able to get scaffolding up there!!!!!!! From next door's gardens both sides?!!! I'm gonna HAVE to call in a roofing company and give them my savings!! :o( . . parcel taped a piece of plastic over the chimney pot - should keep the rain out long enough for me to finish working under it in the kitchen. . got a carrier bag from the kitchen and filled it up with the loose rubble laying around on the roof! . . What I found up on the roof was a shock - took the wind out of my sails rather! Ended up doing nothing, just sat thinking things through for ages. I don't think I have any choice but to get a firm in to put a new roof on, and hand over my savings! I've been relying on the savings interest to keep me ticking over!!! :o( Feel as though I'm fighting a losing battle with this house. It's turned into, something from a Steven King novel!!! :o( . . . eventually got off my backside and burried my despair, and spent the rest of the 'working' day cementing DPC and bricks back into the kitchen wall. Spent ages more in the garden with the angle grinder, trimming broken bits off and trying to salvage old bricks. The whole party wall behind the firebreast is composed of half bricks, and many of those turn to rubble when touched!! How on earth is this place still standing??!!! Poor neighbour's washing was out again - but I HAD to carry on grinding and covering the neighbourhood in dust. What was it I said the other night about the guy with the bonfire? This time it's ME who is the 'selfish idiot (angle grinding) in the full knowledge it was hot and everyones windows were open' (and there was washing out on lines)!!!!!! :o\ . .in the middle of grinding and BW popped in on his way to the party he'd mentioned the other day on the phone. He took the hint (of me covered in dust, fit to collapse, answering the door wearing sunglasses and dust mask!) and thankfully didn't stay long . .succeeded in 'joining up' the bits of cementing I'd already done and was done and showered by around 6pm. I now have DPC in the wall from the front door, round one side of the house and just up to one side of the kitchen fireplace. God I'm in a big mess, and so, SO tired of it all!! :o( . . .PCd this . . .walked and found 1.02. Several thousand more days like that and I could afford my new roof! . . . fed LBs cats (and missed BB calling) but not the polecats, according to instructions! Apparantly they can 'make do' until she comes back, with whatever she put in there before she went!!!! So be it - I'm not even gonna check on them. :o| . . .BB called . . .cooked up sausage (dust) and chips . . .to bed around 11pm . . . Idi Amin died this day. :o)(4/10)
17 - Woken by Sally 'as usual' . . .walked and found 5p . . . fed LBs cats . . . excavated and cemented back in, some DPC under the last brick on the left pillar of the fireplace. Used the little bit of left over cement to start just a little of the long process of 'repointing, facing and dressing' all the bricks, like I did on the firebreast in the living room. Figured I deserved a break, so only put in around four hours before clearing up and eating a bunch of cheese burgers. Caught my next door neighbour out in the garden and made suitable appologies about all the dust and her washing and such. She said it wasn't a problem - and suggested I should maybe call the council to see if any improvement grants are available for my roof. I'm pretty sure I asked years ago and was told no, but maybe worth a phone call . . .fell asleep for the rest of the afternoon until around 7pm! . . . sat briefly in the garden with Sally who for the first time since I've had her, decided to bark at a couple of passing hot air balloons . . . LB called to say she was back, thank's for feeding the cats, and to say that a police car was outside the house down the road that'd had it's window smashed the other night. . . walked and found 5p. Took a pen and a piece of paper with me and jotted down the name and number of the builders who've been working on a house roof near the field. Knocked on a couple of doors of houses I pass that have recently had nice new roofs put on, and got details of who the company was that did the work. I'm gonna have to start calling builders for quotes - seemed a good idea to see their finished work before I call some. .walked home past the house that'd had the window smashed the other night. Uh oh - looks as though they've now had their bedroom window smashed as well!!!!! . . . PCd this . . . BB called . . . TVd till early. TV quote of the day - 'No one can make you feel inferior, without you're consent'. . . couldn't sleep and ended up TVing/PCing most of the night!! (4/10)s
18 - Woken by Sally 'as usual' after only around four hours sleep! . . .walked . . . PCd and tried to devise a list of what works I think are needed on my roof, to make it easier to explain and discuss. Came up with :
Scaffolding. Remove old tiles, battens and felt. Hack off and remove old render, flashings and cap stones from both buttress walls. Hack out and remove three chimney pots and one 'ridge tile cover'.
New battens, felt and tiles. New white PVC facia and guttering. New lead flashings all round. Fit new drip strip, angled profile cap stones, and re-render both buttress walls (ensuring the join with the neighbour's walls is sound, weatherproof and good). Cement ridge tiles over all four chimney openings and repoint (or angle bead, drip strip and render) all four faces of both chimneys.

. . . Started phoning roofers looking for visits and estimates. One (chosen at random from the local Thompson Directory) said he'd be here within the hour!! Waited feeling all uptight. Incredible the amount of anxiety I'm feeling about all this. Placing myself in the hands of and at the mercy of other people, is what I do worst, especially when I'm gonna have to pay very highly for the priveledge! :o( Ended up feeling sick and having to visit the toilet every few minutes!! Pathetic! Typical of all builders, the 'within the hour' turned into more like two or three! Having said that, when he did turn up he seemed quite professional and I felt 'ok' about him (which I guess goes a long way with trying to decide who to use!?). Shut Sally in the bedroom while he looked around. He seemed very happy to answer all my silly questions and even engaged in a nice conversation about maybe oneday converting my loft for use - even suggested 'why not put some velux windows in while the roof is done'. (Cause of the cost I think!!!) Said he'd drop in (or post) a written estimate within a day or so . . the local council offices called me back and confirmed that, since I wasn't claiming any benefits, didn't have any children, wasn't over the age of sixty, and did have some savings, I didn't qualify for ANY assistance whatsoever. Hmmm. :o| . . . couldn't start any work in the kitchen with the next roofer due around 3:30, so just did some chores and sat around waiting all uptight. . the builder and his mate arrived around 4pm. Didn't feel quite as comfortable with them, but I have no particular reason why. They said they'd work out and drop in or post an estimate in the next few days. . . very, VERY tired. Tried to nap for a while but only managed a 30 minute snooze before having to get back up because my mind was racing over things. Another roofer (the one who's number I'd got from the house that's just had a nice new roof up the road) called and arranged a visit for tomorrow around 9:30am . . .the 'professional' acting roofer from this morning, posted a professional looking estimate through the letter box around 4:45!! Wow - that's good. Hang on though - is it bad? Maybe he has no work and is eager for his next victim!!?!! How are you supposed to make a decision like this? The estimate came out at 3,250 !!!! Ouch! . . . walked . . . BB called . . . TVd till around 11:30pm. (4/10)
19 - Up before 7am . . . walked . . .PCd this until the next roofer (and his workmate) called in around 9:30 - actually at the time he'd said he would. Seemed pleasant enough but not quite as professional as the first guy yesterday. He quickly walked me round the corner to look at another roof they'd (nicely) done. His estimate was verbal and almost exactly the same at around 3,300! He seemed impressed with the look of the pond and all the 'Mind Your Own Business', so I couldn't resist letting him have some. Dug out a clump and sent him off with it in a pot. lol :o) . . . so - what to make of all this. I'm starting to get the impression that there isn't much point in shopping around for prices - it's gonna be around 3.5k - must be pretty standard for such a house/job. So - how do I make a decision about who to go for?!!! I really just don't know!! . . .phoned the first roofing guy and asked him where they'd been working so I could go and see the standard of work they do. He directed me to one they'd just finished which was apparantly very similar to mine. Looked it up on Yahoo maps and left Sally at home and drove to look (after having measured up loads in the kitchen!!). He'd given me the wrong house number but it was pretty obvious which houses had new roofs. One of two? Knocked on doors but no one home!! Damn. Nevertheless, whichever house it was, both roofs looked ok. . drove to the DIY store and bought a 1200mm lintel (5.49), 10 building blocks (8.10) and some butterfly wall ties (3.69). Took off the skin from one knuckle loading the stuff onto a cart and succeeded in leaving my sunglasses behind in the store!!! Happily managed to rush back in and retreive them - STILL my favourite sunglasses - had them since biking days years ago. Stopped off at the pet store next dor and bought 36 tins of Winalot (12.15) and a sack of Pal complete(17.95). . . started further destruction of my kitchen. Unfortunately had to take down the wall cupboards to get access to the understairs wall. Tins and packets of this and that, littering every surface in the kitchen now. Hell of a mess - nowhere to put anything out of the dust and destruction!!!!! Started work on moving the understairs cupboard doorway!!! Exposed the old flimsy load bearing wood lintel and enough of the brickwork to see where I'm going, and carefully removed a couple of bricks where I intend to put in the new doorway (gonna be a lot of work for just some 600mm left of where it is now - haven't decided what width of door to use so I'm aiming for a 30 inch width opening but will probably go for less!). Without owning an acro prop to support that main load bearing wall, it's technically difficult without the house falling down. Figured what I'd do is actually brick up the existing doorway with concrete blocks tied into the adjacent wall, and then carefully remove a few bricks and insert the new lintel. Once that was all cemented in place and supporting the load, I could then hack out the bricks beneath and create the new doorway. A plus for that idea is that it will provide me with a pile of bricks that I can use elsewhere (particularly in the firebreast where I need several to replace broken rubble!!). .Filthy work as usual - dust all over EVERYTHING which is all out and unprotected on worktops! Also had to turn off the electrics for a bit, to hack out the cupboard light switch and cable! Biggest mess I've been in so far!!!!!!! This 'little' job alone, is gonna take around three days - mostly because I daren't cement more than four blocks in height at any one time - gets all wobbly and out of true!!! . . . at some point the second roofers I'd had in, dropped their quote through the door. Blimey!! 4,368!!!!! That's a bit of a difference!!? . . . finished cementing in blocks four high, and showered by around 7:30pm. Uh oh - I'd forgotten to get the vaccuum attachment out of the understairs cupboard before I started bricking it up - can't vaccuum up the dust!! . . . drove with Sally back to knock on the door of the house that'd used the roofer I'm thinking of using. They were in and didn't mind me asking. No particular horror tales other than 'usual' complaints of the builder/scaffolder not keeping appointments!! :o( Nothing much more to be said - it was a nice, new, shiny roof, although as the guy pointed out- it hasn't rained yet!! lol . . drove Sally to Vassals Park for walks and a quick swim. Nice to be out and away from the dust and without the long walk home. Stopped off at Miss Millies for a takeaway chicken meal deal. Couldn't resist buying two because I was SO hungry, but ended up putting one in the fridge for re-heating tomorrow. Damn security camera and TV monitor in the shop revealed I'm going pretty bald on the top of my head!! lolol . . . ate and then knocked on each of the neighbours doors to tell them I'm gonna be having works done on the roof (capping of their party walls) and to confirm that they had no objection to the scaffolders maybe having to drop poles down in their gardens, to bridge across my bathroom and conservatory!!! All ok - one side even rashly offered to assist in payment for the capping of what is actually THEIR wall. I dismissed the idea - although? . . . BB called but the call was interrupted by LB arriving at the door all drunk and upset about some argument with her man. At least she didn't try and drive home this time! She left all covered in dust! lol . . .TVd till bed around midnight. (5/10)
20 - Woken by Sally around 7am . . . walked and found a refillable lighter . . . bit the bullet and phoned the roofing guy and said 'let's do it'!!!!! He said he'd get in touch with the scaffolders - I won't hold my breath. . . a letter from the post office in the mail regarding my complaint about the way my parcels were mislabeled by the local Post Office and returned to me. In so many words, they pretty much said 'tough!'. Outrageous! . . PCd this . . . drove to Wickes and bought another ten building blocks (8.10) - heavy enough for one trip in the car! cemented another four rows of blocks in place. Spent a rediculous amount of time messing around with the angle grinder cutting and trimming blocks to get a good fit and be able to key a couple of bricks in at right angles to the adjacent wall for added strength. Probably could have actually done the whole lot and got the new lintel in as well if I'd worked at it, but it seemed best to resist and allow cement to dry and firm everything up before I do. As usual, the old wooden lintel has shrunk over the years and isn't actually supporting anything at all!! . . somewhere nearby for most of the day, someone was doing 'rock band practice'!!? Really loud (and not very good) drums and electric guitar blasting out across the neighbourhood!! . . Finished up and showered and then ate a re-heated Miss Millies chicken meal . . . slept from around 5pm till 7pm. Really, really didn't want to wake up when the alarm went off. . . BB called . . . walked . . . TVd till late . . . PCd. Jeeze - ten virusy e-mails sent to the website address, all from the same IP ([]) all with SCR or PIF attachments!!!! Took ages to download them, and that costs me phone charges!! Got annoyed and put in the work to fire off an 'abuse' mail to the bellsouth.net ISP. . ended up watching TV and downloading Microsoft updates until around 2am! (4/10)
21 - Woken by Sally around 8am - boy I wanted to sleep for longer! . . .walked in a light drizzle. First rain for ages . . .PCd. Oh my god!!! Forty e-mails on the website mail address!!!!! Forty!!!!!!!!! All bloody virus attachments - sent roughly every twenty minutes from 18:40 on the 20th right through to 05:43 on the 21st - and their STILL coming in!!!!!!!!!!!! Took twelve minutes just to actually download them all!!!!! B******!!!!!!! Even a couple back from systems administrators responding to the pseudo 'from' address, which must have been mine on some they sent out!!!! Grrrrr. This is making my website e-mail unusuable. Wish I could actually get in touch with this person and tell them what is going on, but I presume that isn't possible. All I have to work with on the mail headers is ''from adsl-155-81-74.mia.bellsouth.net ([] helo=BDEBUECKER)' and I can't see how that helps me. . .spent the day cementing in the new lintel and managed to remove enough bricks to rough in a door opening beneath, although I can't finish that until I decide what size of opening I'm gonna have and go buy an appropriate wooden door frame. I'll also have to drain the central heating system and reduce the length of the pipes I put in for draining it!!! Too much going on all at once!!! Exhausting!!!! Having said all that, the more I like what I've done - it just makes sense. Somehow I seem to have massively increased the 'useable' storage area in that understairs cupboard. Once I get some shelves built in there I'll be able to stash away LOADS of stuff. Maybe like BB suggested, I should use it as a larder type thing. Very pleased. . . tidied up and moved all the dusty bricks out onto the patio and showered by around 6pm. Damn - my hose pipe has sprung a leak!! God I'm tired. :o( . .Getting worried also about the amount of bricks and junk littering the patio - gonna be awkward when scaffolders arrive for the roof work!! . . . . another 27 virus e-mails to download - took around ten minutes!!! ! Even tried phoning the mailers ISP in the states but just ansaphones all the time. If they don't move on this it's gonna get to the point where I don't dare check for mail on the website address - because I wouldn't be able to justify the expense downloading all the rubbish. A virus mail every twenty minutes or so - how many is that a day?Wonder if maybe I should call MY ISP and see if they can shut down my mail account for a while so they all bounce back? Bloody nuisance - and MOST annoying is that people getting some of them may think they are actually from me, because of the dummy 'from' field!!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrr. I don't need this s***!! . . .walked. Popped up the local store for milk and heard a bang and some shouting as I approached. A 'couple' having a domestic - but what was the bang? As they stormed by, the guy saying he was gonna pack up his stuff and leave, I spotted something all broken laying in the street by the video store. Couldn't resist popping over the road and having a look. Turned out to be a video with a 'for sale' sticker on it. Oooer - porn video - 'Ben Dover'!!!! Well, I guess if you are gonna have an argument with your girlfriend, buying such a video is a pretty good way to guarantee some shouting. lol Returned the broken video to the store (rather than leave it laying in the street) and carried on buying my milk . . . BB called . . .TVd until bed. (4/10)a
22 - Woken by Sally just after 6am - she has an upset stomach, again, and pretty soon after needed to use the garden! . . .another 34 virus mails - 10 minutes of downloading (phone charges)! . . . walked . . . spent the day working on the new kitchen alcove wall and ended up using the angle grinder to chase out two floor to ceiling grooves for wiring conduit. Everything everwhere covered in fine red dust!!! This is definitrely THE worst mess I've EVER been in here. An absolutely exhausting days work which saw me end up feeling pretty unwell!! After a shower I ended up falling asleep in the chair in front the TV!! Woke feeling awful more. . .walked and got sausage and chips because of the impossible mess in the kitchen, and because I simply didn't have the energy to prepare anything. . . BB called . . .felt a little less ill as the evening wore on. Plenty on the news about the new 'so-big' virus threatening to cause mayhem. Caused mayhem for me for a bit. . . exhausted to bed around midnight. (4/10)
23 - Woken early by Sally. . .yippee. My website ISP has implemented virus checking and I'm no longer getting those virus mails - just small 'receipts' to confirm an infected e-mail has been deleted. Excellent! Hmmmm? Surely if they ALL did that, at the point of send and receive, then there wouldn't be any viruses would there? . . . walked . . . left Sally at home and drove to shop. Uh oh - the right front indicator on the car is - um - on the blink (no pun intended!). Parked up in the multi storey car park and jumped out to check on the indicators and they all suddenly started working ok again? . deposited and withdrew my latest 50 premium bond win and then rushed around buying food supplies to see me safely through (the bank holiday monday and ) another several day. So much building stuff going constantly through my head I seem to be finding it difficult to concentrate like normal - and OH how my mind seizes upon a piece of music (usually Clapton or Hendrix) and goes round and round with it!!! Like water torture! I seem to be going a bit weird! So weird - when I returned to the car (with the second load of shopping ) I discovered I'd put the crook lock on, locked all the doors, but left the drivers window wide open!!!. . . dropped off the shopping and then drove to Wickes for 3 more bags of sand (3), one of cement (2.59) and a wood door frame for a 27 inch wide door opening (12.99). . . cemented up straightish edges in the new alcove to aim for when I render. . . messed with the understairs door opening and ended up using the angle grinder again, making more huge clouds of choking dust as I cut off bricks to suit the 27 inch opening I've decided on. Cemented in a few pieces cut to size with the grinder. Gonna have to buy a new expensive diamond cutting disk again pretty soon - that'll be the third I've worn away!! . . . finsihed and cleaned myself up late. Walked after 8pm. Very warm. Sally seems a bit better. Treated her to LOTS of ball throwing to wear her out after a hard day of boredom. Got sausage and chips takeaway on the way home because there was just too much dust and mess all over the kitchen to be able to make any food!!! . .BB called . . .TVd . . . lots of noise from abusive drunks rampaging up the street. Couldn't help myself watching for a while through the bedroom blind, as a particularly loud nasty sounding guy came staggering up the road with his friend. As I watched he stumbled towards my car and then he veered off and punched next doors car trunk!! Went out to look once he'd carried on up the street, and sure enough he'd dented the trunk! Eventually managed to raise my sleeping neighbour, but he didn't seem 'particularly' upset, and said there wasn't any point in going off in pursuit because after all, the police wouldn't come out if they were called for something like that!!!!! True I guess, but it seems so, SO wrong to me that we must simply be silent victims of such obnoxious, costly behaviour! . . . to bed before midnight but woken within half an hour or so by more loud drunks slowly passing by. Too slowly for comfort - got up and peered through the blind. A guy stood talking to a drunk woman who had taken it upon herself to sit on that same neighbours car!!! Not his night I guess. . . .ended up TVing/PCing all uptight waiting for the next drunken yob incident until after 4am! (4/10)
24 - Woken by Sally around 9am! . . . walked . . . figured on having a light day on the building works and set about just cementing back in, a couple of bricks where I intend to put new socket boxes, in the 'new' kitchen alcove. One just above floor level and the other just above (if I've measured up right!) where I intend to eventually have a counter top. Didn't take 'too' long cutting pieces to fit out on the garden with the angle grinder, and cementing them in. Couldn't resist stripping back some of the wall next to the new undertsairs cupboard doorway and emptying everything out of the other wall cupboard and taking that down. As luck would have it, the wires to the light switch were well out of the way, so I 'just' had enough room to temporarily refit two of the double wallcupboards back to the wall. Didn't go well and took a good few hours. . LB called asking for help with her kitchen sink/plug!? I probably appeared a bit short tempered (jeeze I've more than enough on my plate!) but said I'd give her five minutes and I'd be up. The screw which holds the plug assembly together and water tight had pretty much rusted away!! Told her to go get a new one (they are only a few pounds and can be bought in any DIY store) and call me later and I'd fit it for her . . got the cupboards back on the wall (while watching the Hungarian Grand Prix) and then set about trying to wash the layers of dust off everything and put tins of food and such back in the cupboards, away from further dust attack. Took hours and hours! Took the opportunity to inspect what tins and packets I've had stored in there all these years and throw some out (to make much needed space more than anything.) Amazing how some of that stuff had 'best before' dates going back to 1999!!! . . suddenly spotted the ansaphone had taken a message whilst I was drilling - LB a couple of hours ago saying she'd bought what she needed. Popped up and fitted it without too much hassle . . .more dust cleaning and vacuuming. Put a bunch of dusty clothes in the laundry - including the face masks I've been wearing to save me inhaling the dust. I imagine they should be thrown away, but they seem to clean up quite well and what with having a beard, they don't do too much good anyway. Plenty of handkerchiefs the colour of red brick! Ewwww. . . called a halt to the cleaning (loads more to do) and showered around 5pm . . . made up a sandwhich and ate for the first time today! And I was planning on having a light day!!! Humph! . . . walked.Oh no! Sally is still 'runny'! . . . PCd this for the first time in a few days. Amazing with all this building work how the days are just running into one. I can't really remember what I did just yesterday!!! . . .BB called . . . TVD but so VERY tired. To bed before 11pm. (4/10)
25 - Woken by Sally around 2am needing to use the garden! Woken by her again around 5:30am although I'm not sure why because she didn't seem to need the garden. Tried to get back to sleep but couldn't (Grrrr - damn dog!) and eventually got up a little after 6am . . .figured Sally has been neglected these last few days, having to keep out of my way while I do building stuff, so I planned to drive her to the Avon at Hanham for walks. All loaded up in the car ready to go and - uh oh!!! The car wouldn’t start!!! Tried and tried and it just wouldn’t, and started to sound as though I was making the battery tired with all the turning over. Oh jeeze – now what?! Got Sally back out of the car and walked round the local field, definitely feeling rather fed up and as though too much is happening all at once. What on earth do I do if the car won't start? . . . got my socket set out and had one last go at starting the car before taking spark plugs out and such, but strangely it started, as though nothing was wrong at all!?. . . spent several hours and managed a ‘shortcut’ to cement a couple of socket boxes into the kitchen alcove wall . . . ate BLT sandwhiches around 5pm . . . slept until woken by the alarm around 7pm . . . walked . . . touched base with BB . . .started the car just to make sure it was ok. I wonder if it was just a weird combination of being parked for a day or so in the heat, and the fuel had evaporated from the fuel pump or some such? . . . ate more BLT sandwhiches . . . TVd/PCd till around 2am. (4/10)s
26 - Woke late around 8:45! . . . walked . . .pulled up floorboards in the bedroom to have a go at putting in the conduits for the wiring in the kitchen alcove, but typically the one I needed up was a full length one and would have been real tough to get up. Used the angle grinder imitating a circular saw, and managed to cut the board at a joist and get up just the end I needed. Things went pretty ok and although it was a long tedious business, I managed to get all the conduit cemented into the wall, and even firm up a bit of the wall, ready for building up flat with layers of render. Always feels very satisfying to reach this point - to know that with the minimum of effort, I can now hook up another two new power sockets (although I must resist until the whole wall is finished or they'll just be in the way - SO much easier to render and plaster and get it all flat, without the live wires in place). Only drawback to the day's acheivement was getting some grit in my left eye! No matter how I rubbed it (I rubbed the eyelid raw with my rough sandpaper like hands!), and no matter how much I tried to wash it out, I couldn't fix it and spent the rest of the day with a watering closing eye!!! Nasty. Think I may have scratched the surface of my eye - again!!! . . . celebrated a good job done by getting clean and trimming my hair! Wow - grown quite a bit already! . . .managed to resist sleep and treated Sally to a walk all the way down to the boating lake at Eastville Park. Forgot my cigarettes and ended up sitting by the lake for a half an hour or so wanting a cigarette lots. Amazing huge great carp jumped clear out of the water, all golden in the low sun, right in front of me. My version of (Buddhist?) fishing - no need to go armed with lots of equipment and bait and try to actually torture the poor creature by getting a hook of metal through it's lip and hauling it out of the water to suffocate. Instead - just go sit by your chosen swim, and sit and patiently look, and look, and look, until you've 'caught one by sight alone. :o) . . . BB called . . . TVd till late. (5/10)s
27 - Up around 7:45am. Couldn't open my left eye!!! Ouch - all gummed up - still in a pretty bad way and feels very gritty!!! . . .sat in the garden with a coffee and cigarette and thought I heard the phone. Dashed in and picked up as a scaffolder was calling to introduce himself!? Apparantly the builder had asked him to call for some reason? 'Well - as soon as possible as far as I am concerned' I told him . . . walked . . .figured if the scaffolder was calling, then it was high time I started trying to sort out all the rubbish I have laying around and do trips to teh tip to clear some space. Spent an hour or so wrestling with the trio of bike frames I've had laying on the patio, stripping off all the parts that may be of use (cutting off some with the angle grinder!!) prior to throwing the rest away. Right in the middle of all this the phone rang - rushed in and picked up on the scaffolder again. They were just having their breakfast and would be here within half an hour!!!!! Oh jeeze!!! What a mess!!! Dashed around like a mad thing throwing tools and heaps of bike bits out of the way into the conservatory-moved all the garden chairs and table into the kitchen-moved lots of pieces of wood and metal off the patio and into the kitchen-climbed the garden fence and started trying to remove the fence panel next to the house to allow access to next door-called on both neighbours to warn them and request access to their back gardens, but neither were in-etc, etc, etc!!! True to their word at around 11:15am the scaffolding lorry arrived. (Advanced Scaffolding (Midlands) Ltd) Dashed out and moved the car down the road so they could park outside. Walked them through the house and showed them the 'difficulties' with having to bridge the conservatory and not having access to either neighbours garden, but they said that was no problem and hey presto were soon putting up their construction out front. I apologised about all the 'stuff' littering the place and said I'd move whatever they wanted moving out of the way, but it soon became pretty clear it was only me who was in the way, so I retreated and nervously hid inside as they got on with it. VERY nervously when I could hear them saying they'd 'pinch' onto the bay! There isn't much holding that bay window up-certainly wouldn't help support scaffolding! I know from experience (although never having had scaffolding before, I don't know what experience - maybe when next door had some once) there WILL be at least, some 'minor' damage to sort out once the scaffolding has gone. Already I can see bits of the front of the house are gonna have to be repaired/repainted!!! Sally dealt with all the turmoil quite well and soon stopped her barking and growling when I let her sit at the bedroom windows to watch - inches from the four working scaffolders. The scaffolding out front was straightfoward enough and up in around half an hour or so. Out back I managed to get the completely rotten, in need of replacing, fence panel down and hopped into next doors garden and moved a couple of push bikes and things out of the way so two poles could be placed in their garden next to my bathroom. All of the rest of the construction was put up pretty much on my bathroom roof (blimey - I hope the way I built it, is up to that!!) and next doors kitchen parapet wall!!!! scaffolding front and backThat parapet wall is in pretty bad shape already and really NOT structuraly sound - BIG cracks all over it where the top row of bricks is threatening to fall!! Seems a bit of a dodgey way to put up scaffolding to me - although they DID bolt it to the small 'mast' which used to carry my ham radio antenna, which IS very securely bolted to the wall of the house (despite all the cracks which have appeared in the wall over the years!). .kept out of the way and took the opportunity to call the other building companies I'd had in for estimates, and out of courtesy left ansaphone messages telling them I wasn't using them and thanking them for their interest . . by 12:40pm they were all done and gone. . . loaded the car up with bags of rubble and bits of bike frame and did a trip to the council tip . . . tidied up just a little. Not happy having that fence panel gone - not used to being overlooked in my garden! Feel very observed!!!. . . , ate and fell asleep for an hour or so. The worry of all this going on seems to have exhausted me! Woken by next door calling saying she'd seen the scaffolding out front and asking if she should move her pushbikes out back. I explained I'd only been given half an hours notice of them arriving and had already been in her garden and done so, and it was all done!! . . . PCd this. Checked on my e-mails and had 170 mails on the website account!!! More usual is maybe one every couple of days! Almost all were small and from the ISP saying a virus had been intercepted (oh thank god they implemented that recently) – some were from companies attempting to return virus mails allegedly sent from me – which of course they weren’t. It’s THAT which bugs me most about these viruses – that people (who don’t examine the mail properties and see who REALLY sent it) may think I am responsible!! Bet I’m on plenty of peoples blocked list as a result. Grrrrr. . . walked and found 10p. Had to hang on to Sally and dodge the two mopeds racing along the footpath! ‘Close-up’ photo opportunity – followed by their offensive gestures and shouted abuse of course!! Silly of me not to take the shot after they’d gone by, to get their numbers – and then see how the ‘local community police officer’ would get out of doing anything about that! Hmmph . . Another photo opportunity with Sally and a discarded almost full bottle of coke. Thirsty work that, running after a ball. :o) . . .TVd . . . BB called . . . TVd till bed around midnight. (4/10)s
28 - Up just before 7am. Eye is still in bad shape!!? . . .PCd. Another seventy or so virus mails intercepted by the ISP!!! It's a wonder the internet is still running with all this nonsense e-mail traffic going on . . . walked and found a penny. Strolling back home all casual and - oh my god - the roofers ( T. ILES ROOFING ) had started work on my roof already!! Didn't expect them for another few days! So much for going up in the loft and moving and covering all the stuff I have stored up there!! Embarassed I wasn't here when they arrived. Told them I thought they'd be a couple of days yet and then quickly had a word about them fitting four skylight 'velux' windows so I can oneday do a loft conversion. It'll cost me another 1400+!!! What the hell - I've been mulling this over since the estimate (even longer - since I first moved in here and poked my head up in the roofspace!) - it would be crazy not to now, in the full knowledge that one day I definitely want to. I can definitely handle making a suspended floor up there given a way to get the rafters into the loft. The only thing that has stopped me doing so already was getting the rafters up there - getting them round the stairwell and through the loft hatch inside the house meant they were about a foot shorter than what I need. Told them to fit the windows. Unfortunately 'Terry'll have to order them (they 'should' take a couple of days to come) and that may delay their completion of the job. Oh well. . made them all a cup of coffee as Sally barked and grumbled, and then we both hid inside well out of the way of all the banging and falling masonary!! This is gonna be a strain just hiding out of the way for a week or so! Don't feel able to get on with any kitchen works with all this going on. Wish I could just go sit on a chimney pot and watch!! This work is a good twenty years overdue - it'll be neat when it's over and done with, even if things will be much tighter moneywise . . .PCd this . . . TVd, sat around, infrequently made coffee and supplied chocolate biscuits. I think I've underestimated how stressful I'd find this. Developed an agonising headache on top of my painful eye, and at times absolutely felt as though I was gonna burst - kinda panic attackish I guess. Horrible, horrible, horrible just sitting here with everything going on and not being able to escape it or sleep!!! Hellofamess!Around 10:50am a lorry load of tiles, battens, lead, sand, cement, roof felt arrived and using it's crane, dropped off three pallets of the stuff in the street outside the house, where of course they will remain until the roof windows turn up!! All the old roof was stripped off and a 'temporary' placing of the new roofing felt put in place to give a temporary defence against the weather. When they all drove off for a short lunch break, I had my first chance to see what was going on. Hang on! I thought they were supposed to be replacing that broken rafter, not just leaving it in place?!!! Hmmm!!! Managed to muster the courage to mention it later and pointed it out and they said they'd attend to it tomorrow. Hmm - I guess they're gonna try and get away with replacing as little of the wood as possible. I'm gonna be forced into playing 'supervisor' - which of course I am ill equipped to do. :o( . . by 4pm they were gone - which was more than can be said for my roof! Almost all my old tiles were stacked against my garden wall out on the pavement!!! Wow - is THAT a health and safety hazard!! Can they really expect to get away with that?! SUCH a relief to just have them gone, no matter how much of a dreadful state everything is in with a mountainous pile of rubbish in the front garden and rubble all over the bathroom and conservatory roof! . . popped up into the roofspace and chalk marked some rafters which I think 'should' be replaced. Amazing new roof felt - lets the light through. First chance to have a real good look around my attic. Uh oh - that purlin looks rotten at the end!! Oh well - too late to start talking about having that replaced - it'll have to do. If I convert that attic space as I have in mind, it wont really matter. Just a big bloody nightmare, all of it! :o( . . .lay down to try and nap but my headache kept me awake!? Just about maye slipping off when Sally started barking. The next door neighbour had popped in to ask if I'd see if the roofer would do a quote for her kitchen roof (since they seem to have gotton on with my job pretty quick). Said I'd have a word next time I see the boss 'Terry', although yesterday he was only here part of the day before leaving it to his two workmen . . so much for sleeping. Sat around rubbing my eye and feeling really down and headachey. Felt even more down and despairing when I saw the weather forecast. Forecast was for heavy showers with the possibility of localised flooding!!!! Typical!!! We've had a no rain heatwave for weeks - the minute I have my roof taken off it rains. :o( . . .walked with dark thoughts and found a penny. Stopped off for sausage and chips takeaway, just to get food over and done with . . . BB called but I really wasn't in the mood for having to talk at all. . . in bed by 9:15pm to toss and turn in discomfort for quite a while. Wow - today was some BAD headachey day! (3/10)aaaa
29 - Sure enough - woken around 12:30am by the sound of rain. The temporary roof covering was somehow directing drips down directly onto the empty tins of dog food I have in the recycle bin in the front garden. Chinese water torture!!! Ding, ding, ding-ding, DING!!!! Arrrrggggh! Dragged on some clothes and poked my head out of the door and moved the recycle bin away from the drips! To hell with looking to see where rain water may be coming in - there's nothing I can do about it. Straight back to bed . . . Up before 6:30am. Still raining quite hard. STILL got a bad eye!!??? I'm really starting to worry about this eye - like maybe I have something actually stuck in it. I'm pretty sure that time I stuck the yucca in my eye, it was all recovering faster than this!!! :o( . . . 140 virus mail intercepts this morning. SO tedious having to deal with this nonsense every day. The drawback of the ISP intervention and filtering, is that their system doesn't tell me the actual originating IP address. Instead it just tells me the contents of the 'From:' field which of course isn't who they are really from!. . .walked in the rain . . . roofers arrived pretty late. Figured I'd just try and ignore them (apart from making coffee, supplying biscuits, holding Sally back as they used the loo, etc. ) and get on with a little cementing in the kitchen. I think they spent the short time they were here today, loading most of the old tiles into the skip which was delivered, and hauling the new ones up onto the scaffolding. I started 'repointing' and cementing up, some of the kitchen fireplace. The right hand side of the fireplace, where the gas and back boiler pipes were put through the bricks, is in a hell of a state, with more gaps and rubble than bricks!! Never ceases to amaze me how some of this stuff hasn't collapsed!! Ended the day cutting up bits of brick with the grinder and cementing them in place, to try and 'firm' some of it up. So little brick there, it is gonna be real difficult to actually cement in replacement bricks!! . .BB called talking about flight prices. . . the roofers disappeared pretty early. God what a mess everywhere - a preservative treatment container was blown from the scaffolding onto the conservatory roof at one point and one of them had left his shirt hung up on the scaffolding out in the rain showers!! Couldn't resist getting up onto the bathroom roof and clearing away the rubble and debris from the conservatory roof, with a view to spreading out a blanket over it for protection from more falling debris. Two cracked tiles on the bathroom roof were not unexpected - good job I have spares!! Found a cigarette burn on the plastic conservatory roof!! Grrrr. That's just bloody outrageous carelessness! Hosed down the roof and confirmed the burn is just on the surface and doesn't let in water. Gonna have to mention that to them - but not worth a big dispute! Covered the conservatory roof with the huge decorators sheet I once found out in the road, and managed to hook down the roofers shirt and bring it in out of the weather. . . walked. Impressive sunset. Ended up sat chatting for a time to the teacher/alcoholic/dog walker woman . . . by the time I got back from the walk, my eye was giving me serious trouble!? Weird how it can be 'acceptable' for ages then suddenly get really bad and need to be closed and watering. . .ate/TVd/rubbed my eye until bed before 11pm. (4/10)aa
30 - Up just before 7am with a real puffy swollen eye!!? A few more days like this and I'm gonna have to visit the eye hospital again!!!! :o( . . .walked. Walking up the field like normal along the overgrown fence next to the builders yard, and there was a funny bird call type noise coming from the hedge. Thought it sounded like a funny bird, but thought little more of it and carried on. Just then Sally stopped and started looking into the undergrowth. Figured it was worthy of a closer look so walked back down and ‘shook’ the undergrowth in the expectation a bird would fly out. Nothing flew out and the noise eventually continued?? There's something furry in there!Focused in on where it was coming from, and pushed my way into the mass of undergrowth to try and see what it was. Uh oh – there was something furry in there, right in deep, down next to the wire fence!!!! Thought it was maybe a sick fox since there has been evidence of a den nearby. Dropped the poop scoop bag I was carrying, on the grass, and shooshed Sally back out of the way and started trying to climb in through the nettles, thorns and undergrowth. Tough going and all the tougher trying to make sure that none of the branches I was standing on, poked into the hardly moving, gently moaning, furry mess laying in against the fence.Dog in a real bad way! Oh my god – it was a dog – in a bad, BAD way!!! Managed to reach it and as gently as I could, struggled to pick it up and make my way back out of the tangled mess I was in, trying to protect it from the thorns. The poor little creature gave little movement other than to bite hold of a vine with its mouth and hang on, just to make my exit all the more difficult! Eventually got us both out and layed the poor shivering, stinking, sore-covered mess on the grass for Sally to have a quick sniff at. It couldn’t even stand! Oh no!!! Oh jeeze!!!!!!! What to do??!! Took my camera and all the other stuff out of my shirt pockets, stuffed them into pockets all over my combat trousers and took off my shirt to wrap ‘her’ in. Dead dog dying :o(Managed to hook Sally’s lead onto my belt and get the little dog wrapped up in my arms and quickly headed home, all the while with the little dog gripping a piece of my shirt in it’s jaws. Tough walk home! . layed the little dog on the kitchen floor and tried dripping a couple of tablespoons of water into the side of it’s mouth but it didn’t seem interested or able. Terrible grumblings of its stomach were audible! It seemed pretty obvious – I had NO doubt - this dog wasn’t gonna make it. :o( Phoned the vet and was recommended to take it to the local PDSA across town. Checked that Sally was ok about having a sick dog laying in the kitchen, and dashed out and started the car – just to make sure it was gonna start!! LB saw me dashing around – I hurriedly explained and she said she’d come for the ride. Eased the dog, wrapped in my shirt and an old blanket, into the passenger seat foot well and quickly headed off, with LB in the back offering much needed directions. (The skip lorry was just arriving to take away the skip of tiles and leave an empty skip as we pulled away.) at the PDSAFound the PDSA - raced in to explain – carried the dog in. The duty vet gave her the once over and confirmed in very short time, that under such circumstances, with such an old dog, they would probably put her down out of her misery. No happy ending. C’est la vie, c'est la mort. :o| . . Retrieved my stinking shirt, gave my number, name and address, and headed home. Tough drive home – my bad eye was giving me trouble, seemed overly light sensitive in the sun and kept closing!!! . . . the empty skip that had been delivered had been left at a weird angle protruding out into the street!! Managed to move it around a little with LB’s help. Weird start to a day! . . PCd this as I put all my dog smelling clothes through the wash. 170 virus mail intercepts this morning!!! Is this gonna go on for ever more?!!! Grrrrrr. Harder to tell now the ISP is intercepting them, but seems to be something to do with - 'Received: from pcp02041240pcs.rtchrd01.md.comcast.net ([] helo=CP)'. . . and yet more abuse in my guestbook from that RM* (-/ detail removed by request 19th January 04/-) individual. Bizarre!? Checked and he was quite right that the Acne treatments review wasn't there any more (nor indeed was his own site?). Seems like the acne site has relocated to http://www.mankinddirect.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductID=21926 . Dropped him a polite e-mail pointing this out, asking him not to post further abuse on my guestbook, and suggesting he avoid my site entirely . . .decided to have a day off from the building site . . . called the PDSA to put my mind to rest, and it was confirmed that the dog was 'put down' almost immediately this morning. LB called soon after asking what I knew and I told her . . . grabbed a sandwhich and fell asleep for a couple of hours until around 6pm . . Actually received an e-mail reply from that RM* (-/ detail removed by request 19th January 04 /-) person- “I'm glad you take a mature approach to this, I was initially annoyed that you decided to rite that stuff about me rather than to me, so I'm sorry for any insult caused. I now know what you mean about the acne treatments thing - that entry wasnt actually written by me - was someone messing around at my expense. Don't reply to this. R “ Uhuh :o| . . . some girl was walking down the road with a large handbag over her shoulder which caught on one of the old roof tiles piled up on the pavement. The tile fell to the ground and broke all into pieces – the noise was what drew my attention to it. I dashed out only to find she had simply ignored the mess she’d just made and had carried on walking!! People are just weird! Cleared up after her. Pretty worried about all that stuff piled up out there and what the night time drunks are liable to make of it! I can well imagine them playing frisby with roof tiles!! . . .walked. Unhappy unsettling feeling walking round the field all the while thinking about the poor little dog. On reflection, I think I recall hearing unusual noises from that undergrowth for a day or so! :o( Located the poop bag I’d dropped this morning and tying up that loose end, put it in a poop scoop bin. Overwhelming feeling throughout the day of what an excellent dog Sally has turned in to and how lucky and privileged I am to have her. Walking back from the field, LB saw me and popped out and offered me some cold meat and ‘exotic’ pork and leak sausages she didn’t have room for in her freezer, and as a thank you for messing with her sink waste the other day. Ate sausages and bread and butter for tea. . . BB called . . . TVd till early. Some time after midnight some ‘kids’ all drinking from beer cans were shouting and hammering on next doors front door, calling out for the woman’s son. She’s told me before now that he has a hard time at the local school – presumably because he seems to be actually relatively respectful and well brought up! Felt sorry for her and him. I don’t think she answered the door (MUST have been scary) and they eventually all ran off laughing. I WAS ready for bed – once again, not for the first time, I re-dressed and sat around all up tight ready to dash out and deal with whatever may have occurred. As it happened, nothing did, but I ended up all awake TVing/PCing all night. Fired off an 'abuse' e-mail to comcast.net to try and stop all these virus mails I'm getting. (4/10)as
31 - Up after 9am after only a couple of hours sleep . . . walked . . . couldn’t face doing any cementing with the prospect of getting more dust in my still bad eye, and ended up going back to bed and eventually falling asleep for the majority of the day . . . cooked up the last of LB’s donated sausages with chips . . . PCd this . . . walked . . . PS back from his holidays popped round for chats till early. . TVd till bed around 1am. (4/10)as