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1 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am. . . walked in a light drizzle. More rumours circulating amongst the dog walkers that the go-ahead has been given to fencing off part of the field to exclude dogs, for a childrens play area. I hate constantly raking over rumours. I await concrete developments with interest . . .PCd this. I'm aching all over pretty bad - not sure I can face doing any work in the attic today - and of course those large 4x4" timber beams are supposed to be delivered some time today!! :o( . . .put in a few hours in the attic filling up more sacks of dust, rubble and debris. . dragged a few more of the large chipboard floorboards up there and temporarily spread them around enough to give me a pretty good working floor. Couldn't really get on with anything much with power tools just in case I didn't hear the doorbell when the timber arrived. . . called the timber merchant around 2:30pm asking if the timber WAS gonna be delivered today! They assured me yes - 'later'. . too tired to do anything else, so showered and cleaned up. Only just out of the shower and the truck arrived with my timber! Rushed to get my shoes and gloves on and move the car. Stood at the back of the truck waiting for the driver to unstrap it all, a Chinese girl walking past, suddenly stopped and in terrible pigeon English, managed to somehow ask if we were interested in buying some DVDs!!!!!!!!!!!????? Huh? Bizarre! Under the circumstances (and particularly because I had a lorry load of timber to unload) I had no interest whatsoever in a bunch of counterfeit DVDs, and didn't even look at the titles or ask how much. I actually somehow started 'joking' about how she could be arrested! THEN she pulled out a packet of cigarettes and a pack of Golden Virginia hand rolling tobacco! Uh oh - Golden Virginia - MY brand!!! I asked her how much for the tobacco. 4 per pack. Yikes - that's pretty cheap. I asked her how many she had. Bit of trouble understanding her but she pointed to her rucksack implying she had more. I apologised to the truck driver (who didn't mind the delay at all) and rushed in to see how much cash I had in my wallet. Unusually I had exactly 40 - left over from my visit to Mum. Dashed back out and bought a pack of 10 x 50g pouches (duty free from Holland it appears). An unexpected expense, but less than half the shop price - which overcame my shame and guilt at having bought 'contraband' from someone most likely to be an illegal imigrant - fresh out of the back of a lorry!! :o( Hard to understand her broken English, but I got the impression she was trying to tell me she'd be passing by (calling in?!!!!!) again next week! No, no, no. Um - I don't smoke that much! Eventually she carried on her way, walking down the street with her rucksack and carrier bags of goods! . According to the truck driver - she walks miles doing that - 'she comes in our place' he said - and that's a fair few miles away! Bizarre. Just absolutely bizarre. What on earth has happened to this country - that it should be full of illegal immigrants, walking the streets making a living from selling contraband - AND - perhaps more worrying - that I would be willing to quietly buy it????!!!!!! . .these recent London suicide bombings have encouraged politicans in particular, to talk about protecting and defending the 'British way of life'. You know what? I don't know what that is!! I'm pretty sure, it's already irretrievably long gone. :o( . . Unloaded all the timber (8 x 4"x4" and two 7"x2" - one to replace the propeller like warped one I handed back) and stacked it up in the kitchen and through the house. Damn - just a little bit too long - can't close the bathroom door! Blimey - the 'volume' of wood in each of those beams, isn't THAT much different to what I've already handled, but they felt a whole lot heavier!! Yikes - getting those up into the attic on my own is gonna be tough! Also - they aren't as straight as I'd wanted. Plenty bowed already - although - the more I try and think it through, the more inclined I am to think that 'could' actually be useful!! If I put the direction of bow, parallel with the roof slope - as long as I get them firmly anchored at the ends and all tied together - it should be better at supporting the weight shouldn't it? Is that right? How come we never got taught this sort of stuff at school! :o(. . . Very tired. Ate a banana and then napped for an hour or so . . .cooked up a frozen meat pizza with extra onion, tomota and cheese topping. . . .walked in the drizzle and found 5p . . . TVd and ate bowls of co-co pops . . . BB called to touch base . . . TVd/PCd until around 2am. ps
2 - Woken with a headache by Sally around 7:30am. . . walked and found 5p . . . sat in the garden with coffee looking up at the roof trying to plan how to get those heavy bits of timber up there! :o( Hmmm - think I have a plan. . climbed up onto the bathroom roof and cut off about a foot of the bottom of the scaffold pole bolted to the back of the house. Started off with the disc cutter but eventually turned to an old hack-saw, when I realised the sparks from the grinder were heading off in the direction of next door's plastic conservatory roof (despite trying to use my body as a sheild!! Sometimes I'm just too thin!). Back down on the patio, ground off all the paint and rust from the cut off section and used a file to smooth it all off as best I could. Dug the carrier bag of rusty scaffold clips I've been keeping for years, out of the understairs cupboard and spent a while with a wire brush on the drill, derusting, oiling and freeing up the clamp threads and nuts. Eventually climbed up and clamped the new piece at right angles onto the existing pole, about a foot above the gutter. THAT will be a very much more sturdy 'pivot point' for dragging the wood up. Very hot and sunny! . . opened up the attic skylight and layed old blankets over the edge for protection. Measured a length of timber (damn-my best tape measure return spring has broken, and I can't retract and roll the measure up anymore!) and put a noticeable mark around the mid point, so I'd know where the centre of gravity was. Strange, but the timber didn't feel 'quite' as heavy as it did yesterday. Squeezed a length out through the bathroom window and hauled it up onto the bathroom roof and propped it up as vertically as I could, against my new pivot point. Wow - the midpoint wasn't 'that' far from the pivot. Cool - this could work. .stood on the edge of the main roof and hauled the timber and rotated it around the pivot, which worked just perfectly. The hardest most worrying part was lifting the heavy timber off the pivot so I could feed the end in through the skylight - and then having to lift the whole lot onto the very top of the scaffold pole. Too heavy to just push up with my weak arms - had to try and get it onto my shoulder and then stand up!!! Hard to explain - harder to do - but not 'too' bad! (Should have made those alterations to that scaffold pole before I took any of the wood up there!). . Managed to get four of the beams up into the attic without as much difficulty as I'd imagined - although absolutely exhausting! Absolutely drenched in sweat again. Too hot. I'm gonna have to leave those other four for another day. In fact - I think I may have a few days off from all this hard graft! It's starting to get to me. Gave up, cleaned up, vacuumed sawdust and then ate tuna, onion and mayo sandwiches with six pieces of bread and butter and two bags of crisps. . . tried to stay awake long enough to give BB an early morning call but failed and HAD to nap around 2:30pm . . . woke just after 6pm! Felt headachey and yukky. . .walked . . .TVd and ate tuna, onion and mayo sandwiches with six pieces of bread and butter and two more bags of crisps followed by a tray of jaffa cakes . . .BB called . . . returned Mum and Sis2s ansaphone message and touched base and wished Sis2 luck with her journey home to Toronto tomorrow (and the next day). Gave them both details of the Toronoto airport plane crash on the news channel in front of me! . . . sat in the garden with coffee around 1am . . . felt too awake for sleep and TVd/PCd until eventually to bed long after 2am. paaas
3 - Woken by Sally around 8am . . . walked. Did a little litter duty and found 7p. Not far from home, LB was walking along the road towards me (on a dubious 'sickie'!) worried about a dog running loose (although mostly worried it could find and kill her cats.) . Aha - I'd just seen the one she was on about. As I'd walked along with Sally, a loose dog had spotted us and disappeared off into someones garden. It is not unusual for a couple of (irresponsible) people in that street to allow their dogs to wander around loose - presumably because they think they don't go 'much' further than the end of their drive!? I'm not sure who actually has a dog along there - because I NEVER see them walking them around or over the field. I'd assumed THAT dog lived in THAT house. No. That WAS the one LB had seen running around the streets!!! Walked back with LB, and sure enough, the dog was still there in that persons driveway - and it looked as though there were fences stopping it getting out. It looked like a youngster, but a little jumpy and scary looking nonetheless! It definitely did NOT want to come too near Sally - who started making things worse by barking and straining on her leash to go meet it! Oh dear - s'pose I'd better have a go at catching it then. LB, stood near a passer by who'd stopped to watch, hung onto to Sallys lead (with difficulty) as I wandered up the persons driveway towards the stray (no collar or tag) , admittedly a little worried cause - well - it did appear to be 'one of those' (Rottweiler?)! Crouched down on the floor a little way from it and kept up a chatter of my best non threatening silly voice, like one does to animals and very small children. (That wound Sally up and she barked and straigned on her leash a load. Poor LB.) Dunno where I picked up this sort of behaviour, but it seems to work kinda like horse whispering. If the dog can't easily just run off, eventually it's curiosity seems to get the better of it and it'll come over for a sniff - all the more likely if you also rustle a plastic bag (poop scoop bag in this case) like it may contain food. My first attempt at grabbing it, was hasty and clumsy, and it gave my hand a bit of a nip, which I thankfully mostly avoided. It was clearly a fear thing, and didn't really mean it. Shortly after, with plenty more baby talk from me, it came back over for a sniff and I was able to stroke it and rub its ear and that was that. It seemed to like the contact and actually ended up leaning against me as I sneaked the short strap I always carry (for tieing Sally's lead to stuff), around its neck. Gotcha. :o) The guy who'd stopped to watch, dashed off to a house nearby to get a choke chain he had (his dog had recently died) and soon enough, the chain was on and my short strap was acting as a lead. LB walked Sally back as I struggled with the pulling stray on my short tether attached to the choke chain. Without much persuading I managed to get it to hop straight into the back of my car. Another stray dog.LB said she'd come too, so she went to lock her house while I put Sally safely inside mine (after having asked the stray to please NOT eat my car while I was gone!). Back out to the car with Sally's lead, the stray was sat in the front passenger seat!! Got the lead on it, pushed it into the back of the car and told LB to pull its lead around the seat to stop it climbing over us and into the front, which it insisted on trying to do as we drove! Wow - that dog needed a bath! Phew! By the time I was parked up outside Staple Hill police station (yet again!), the dog was sat pretty much on the hand brake between me and LB - and we all smelled about the same!!!!! Went into the reception counter and handed the dog in. Very cute intelligent dog. Even put its front paws up on the counter when I encouraged it to do so, so the nice lady clerk could cooh, oooh and ahhhh at it. :o) Took a couple of quick photos before we were lead through to the dog cells. Already one other in custody, awaiting the dog pound pick up. SO sad. LB ascertained from the staff, it'll cost the owner 10 if the dog is quickly reclaimed from the cells - 60 if it's already gone to the pound!! Ouch. But - serves them right! Caring for any animal in this environment is a MASSIVE responsibility, and one of the most basic duties of that, is ensuring the thing can't/won't just run off on its own! . drove home. LB asked if I was ok to do the morning feed of her animals this weekend. Hah - I knew it! Yeah - ok. :o( . . Quickly walked back down the street and handed the guy back his choke chain, with thanks. . PCd and checked my journal and photos for 14th December 2003, because I was convinced of 'deja vue'. No - it ISN'T the same dog. That was a male. This one was a female. . .Sally couldn't wait to give me a damn good sniffing when I got in. . did laundry to get rid of the lingering dog smell! Yuk - it's in my beard!! . . . dismantled my broken tape measure and found - it's broken and staying that way! :o( . . .PCd this. Yep - think I'm having some time off from the attic project. .showered - and used the scrubbing brush on my beard! . . . ate the last of the tuna, onion and mayo in sandwiches with two bags of cheese and onion crisps. . . touched base with BB briefly . . . napped . . .woke around 7pm! . . .walked . . . TVd and watched 'Your Life In Their Hands' - heavy documentary about a spinal surgeon! In the middle of the program the phone rang - "Hello is that Mr Jones? This is the police from Trinity Road." Yikes! Whassup? What have I done? The woman asked if I was the person who had reported finding a dog earlier. Yes. "Do you still have the dog in your house?" she asked. WHAT?!!! NOoooo - I explained I'd handed it in to Staple Hill Police station! She said she'd get BACK on the phone to them!!? I took the opportunity of telling her that she'd made me all worried now, and asked if she'd be so kind as to call me back and let me know the outcome. Within around five minutes she called me back and confirmed it was just a breakdown of communication and that the dog HAD been picked up from Staple Hill police station by South Gloucestershire animal control. Someone (actually from not that far just up the road and round the corner) had apparantly reported a missing dog and she'd put two and two together. Excellent. Even better when she said the owner reporting the loss DID seem to be very upset. So - I guess they get to get their dog back. Lucky. :o) Gave my earnest thanks to the lady on the phone, for being good enough to call me back and let me know. Intriguing. Wonder what sort of police communication system is in place, that enables the whole district force to know if a stray dog has been handed in somewhere? All the more intriguing and bizarre when you consider, I've called the police about stolen motorbikes and such being used over the field, and they haven't responded! Strange world. Gone bananas. . ate three bananas . . .ate bowls of co-co pops . . . to bed around midnight. paas
4 - Up around 7am . . .Coffee, cigarettes and annadin tablet for breakfast in the garden. Uh oh - bad lower back pain! Difficulty straightening up! . . . walked and then carried on walking and headed up Kingswood to draw some money out of my savings. Shopped a little and checked out a couple of charity shops on the way home . . . left Sally at home and drove to Wickes at Longwell Green. Bought four joist hangers and a cheap tape measure. Drove on round to ASDA and bought myself a couple of ready cooked chickens and a few other bits and pieces . . . ate early around 11:30am, half a chicken with four pieces of bread and butter and half a tub of cheap coleslaw . . .napped until woken around 4pm by the phone ringing but no message left. . . checked the weather forecast, topped up with Annadin tablets and then walked around 4:30pm with Sally, the long walk down to Eastville Park, along the river, up onto Purdown, back down to Snuff Mills, along the river into Vassals park and then back home along the roads through Fishponds. So much for the 'sunny spells' weather forecast! Ended up walking most of the route in light rain, without a coat - although it was actually warm enough not to be unpleasant! Found 2p. Back home by around 7:45pm . . . got a phone call from someone (actually in India I think!?) trying to sell me '3G' or something. I've recently become convinced from the number of 'dead' phone calls I'm getting, that I've somehow ended up on someones database for cold sales calls. Grrrr. :o( Immediately got stroppy with the guy on the phone (before I'd even really grasped what he wanted) and sought his personal assurance that he would see to it my number was removed from their database. I have no doubt at all that he won't/can't but I figured it was worth winding him up and maybe having some little affect on his conscience anyway. It sure got rid of him pretty quickly. Within five minutes I was feeling all guilty because the news channel was showing the horrific poverty and flooding in India! A meter of rainfall in one day?!!!! Good grief! . . . TVd . . . Mum called to touch base and say Sis2 had confirmed safe arrival back in Canada . . . touched base with BB . . . ate bowls of cornflakes . . . TVd until bed around 11pm. paas
5 - Up around 6:30am!? Think I'm thirsty. . .PCd a bit of this. Still got nasty lower back pain - but seems maybe just a little better than yesterday - although, I'm not really waiting to find out. Coffee and annadin tablet(s) for breakfast . . . touched base with BB . . .walked and found 2p. . Went up and fed LBs animals. (I only have to do the mornings - I think it's her mans teenage kids who are doing the evenings). What should have been an unpleasant five minute job, (uggh - the smell!!) turned into more like half an hour, trying to clean out the poor rabbits water bottles. I've never seen so much green and black mould growing on the inside of an animals drinking water bottle! (That big bottle can't have been cleaned out since I last did it, the last time I fed her animals!) Found something like a big wooden cocktail stick in a kitchen drawer (couldn't see the chopstick I used last time!) and managed to scrape off most of it from the inside of all the bottles - and got 'most' of the rest off by stuffing a wash cloth down in there and turning and turning for ages. Outrageous! Oh those poor animals. And those cages are all stinking and rotten and absolutely falling to bits! Grrrrr. As per her instructions - I didn't even go near the ferrets. God knows what state they are gonna be in again! :o( . . . PCd this . . .worked in the attic and set about attempting to position the first two 4x4 lintel beams beneath the roof slope - one front, one back, level with the bottom of the skylights. Decided it would be best to actually excavate bricks at each end and embed the wood into the brickwork - despite being in line with the chimney breast at one end. Where I needed to put them, happily coincided with the unused bedroom chimney flues, so it didn't seem inappropriate to bed them in with almost a full brick overlap. Nevertheless it seemed prudent to ensure the flue end of the wood was NOT exposed to the inside of the flue (because it does have an air vent to the outside which could allow some damp penetration, and who knows what some future person may decide to do with those chimneys!) , so it meant laboriously cutting up thin 'plates' of brick to be cemented in, bit by bit behind the wood. Wow - the poor state of those chimney stacks/flues is incredible! There is so little holding it all up, and there is a very obvious connection of gaps between the poor brickwork (held together with only dust) between the front and back flues. Ended up with more dust and debris making its way into the living room fireplace while I worked. Makes me wonder how I didn't get killed by the fumes from my old gas fire in the living room, leaking through into the front flue and thereby up into the bedroom via the air vent in the sealed up fireplace! Should have been sleeved! So much for the safety standards of the gas board back then when they fitted it. All makes me more inclined to think about having some sort of decorative electric fire in the living room some time. I think it's also a good idea to have at least something in the house that can give heat without having to rely solely on the gas supply - best to have an emergency stand-by alternative, 'just in case'. . .Uh oh! On the other wall, at the front when I removed 'my' brick, I found myself seeing daylight!!!??? I was 'inside' next doors unused bedroom flue!!!!!!! Yikes! Must have resulted in a bunch of dust and debris falling down!! If they have a decorative fireplace in their bedroom (pretty sure they don't - think it's been bricked up from what I can remember when I was invited in to look around) it'll be an awful mess, if my living room fireplace is anything to go by! VERY suprised that bit of wall is only one brick thick - and because that chimney isn't capped, I'm gonna have to keep an eye on possible damp penetration there! :o( Things got even more worrying when I excavated the same wall at the back, where the neighbour long ago had their chimney stack completely removed. Without question, where I removed 'my' brick, it should have been a double brick wall, because the buttress wall and coping stones are only a couple of feet above. It wasn't!!!!!!! I could see one of next doors joists!!!!!!!! Oh jeeze!!!!!!!!???? How is that possible? Wow - I'd love to see what their builders have done up there, and ensure it is safe and sound!! There was some evidence of what could have been a lintel holding stuff up above - but I resisted the temptation to go get a torch and really peer into next doors attic! It didn't seem right to do so! Whatever has been done up there - it isn't 'right' leaving a good part of the wall only one brick wide! No matter what risks I take with what I'm doing, I wouldn't have done THAT! To add to my worries, and increasing feeling of minor panic, there appeared to be a slight draw of air through from that hole and I'm pretty sure I could smell air freshener or incence sticks or perfume or something coming through. A weird 'clean' smell - SO unlike my dusty, Sally, cigarette smelling house. Jeeze!!!!!!!!! . . Raced to cut up plates of brick and carefully cement them in the holes to seal them back up (without them simply falling straight through and disappearing to who knows where!), but still give a decent depth of footing for the 4x4 timber. :o( Nightmare!!! REALLY worried about any impact I may have had on next door in terms of bits of falling rubble, cement and particularly drifting fine brick dust from the disc cutter! :o( They appear to have been on holiday for a while - gonna have to have a word when they return!. . . had both 4x4 beams in place, the access to next door safely sealed and cemented, and called a halt around 5pm. Phew. Nasty! <worry>. . . cleaned up and then left Sally at home and drove to Wickes for three bags of sand (3.27), one of cement (3.19), two airbricks (4.70 - I WAS going to put these in the unused flues of the chimney breasts in the attic for ventilation but now, 'may' not because of the state of the flues) and two packs of 50, 5x100mm easy drive screws 11.85!. . . walked and found 17p. . . ate half a chicken, half a tub of coleslaw and four pieces of bread and butter . . . touched base with BB. . . sat in the garden . . . TVd . . . lots of late night noise in the street saw me sat on guard at a darkened bedroom window for a while. Amongst a bunch of rowdy passers by, a young kid was riding down the middle of the road on one of those small push bikes (the type used for jumps and acrobatics). He was riding along, down the middle of the road, in the dark, inside a huge cardboard box!!? (A BIG box - once contained a cement mixer!) Dunno how he managed it really - all you could see was a box on wheels! Kinda funny - but you could guarantee that box would be just left laying in the street somewhere pretty soon.. . . exhausted to bed around 11:30pm. ps
6 - Up around 6:30am again!?. . . walked doing litter duty and found a lighter. Sure enough, a big cardboard box was laying dumped on the pavement round the corner! . . fed LBs animals. The big cage with the majority of rabbits in it had no water left - and as soon as I filled up the bottle, they all queued up for a drink as though they were dehydrated! :o( I've little faith in whoever does the evening feed, doing the job right. Nor do they pull LBs curtains like she wants them to!! Sorted through LBs cupboards and found a suitable dish - filled it with water and added it to the rabbit cage. . . spent the whole day in the attic, although seemed to have great difficulty in actually getting on with things. Must have spent as much time just sitting around up there chain smoking as I did actually doing any work! Cemented in the first front 4x4 and then dabbled with scraping out and then regrouting/cement washing half of the back chimney stack, in the same manner I did the ones downstairs. . . lay down for about an hours nap around 5pm . . . walked. Kids playing on the school roof 'almost' had me calling the police - but I resisted. . .back up in the attic briefly with a little more cement and thin slivers of brick, to 'close off' the hole at the chimney end of the 4x4. Vacuumed up all the debris in the living room and wire brushed the cement off my Buddha . . . touched base with BB . . . sat in the garden. Someone in the neighborhood was having a party - and someone at the party was a pretty damn good guitar player - but all a bit loud for that time of night, especially considering they were so far away I couldn't even see the house! . . . ate half a chicken, four pieces of bread and butter and half a tub of coleslaw . . . eventually to bed (after I'd closed the window to attempt to reduce the noise of the party to an ignorable level) at getting on for 1am. pas
7 - Up around 7:30am. . . walked doing litter duty . . . fed LBs animals and yet again the cage with the majority of rabbits in it had no water left - and as soon as I filled up the bottle, they all queued up for a drink! :o( Oh dear. No matter how I try and think things through, I just can't see how I can do anything about the way LB keeps her animals - without causing a really horrible scene/atmosphere/making an enemy. I've known LB for MANY years, and she has always been VERY nice and generous towards me and everyone else she comes in contact with. BB has pointed out that, it is 'inappropriate' of me to continually criticise her here! I've tried on more than one occasion to openly 'criticise' the way she keeps her pets, but she always gets defensive and has excuses and - well - responds in a way which makes me withdraw from the attempt (because I just can't handle that sort of - um - atmosphere - 'confrontation'?). God knows I've tried to positively encourage her to give them all away to new homes, or at least keep her animals in better conditions (all that work I did on the polecat house - I gave her the phone number of someone advertising a new rabbit hutch, of which nothing came. I even spotted what looked like an unused rabbit hutch in someones garden last time I walked Sally down to Eastville Park, and seriously considered asking if I could have it and maybe drive down with the car to pick it up and then repair and modify it to better suit her requirements). But - why should I be all responsible for - um - everything!!!!? At the end of the day, in my opinion (and I've never had such pets so I don't actually KNOW) if you don't clean such animals out on at least a daily basis, no matter what they are kept in will become filthy, wet, rotten and fall to bits! (If it were up to me - I'd carefully plan and build a big new 'hutch' construction out of building blocks and waterproofed cement, with clever slopes and mechanisms for cleaning out, nice solid food and water containers etc, etc, etc! Not difficult - and probably cheaper than buying a new wooden one.) Despite their living conditions of which I am SO critical - those animals ARE obviously cared for by her, in her own way. They ARE well fed and continue to look relatively healthy. . I DO try, as best I can, to do what I consider is the 'right thing' to do, with regard to most things. Nevertheless, I AM human, and I AM deeply flawed - and sometimes I just DON'T do the right thing. I just don't see how I can do anything about the living conditions of those animals (IF I should!?). If I were to report the situation to the RSPCA or similar, because probably few people even know those animals are there, it would be pretty obvious who'd done so! (although - I 'may' have devised a devious plan!) I just can't handle that prospect. Things would have to be worse (casualties?!!!!) before I go that route. :o( Tis' an agonising dilemma for me. Maybe BBs right - I just need to shut up about it! . . . sat in the garden with a coffee and noticed next door was out hanging washing. Took the opportunity of calling out, stood on my pile of bricks and peered over the fence, and broached the subject of possible dust and debris falling down their fireplaces. Thankfully, they'd noticed nothing and their house was NOT full of dust. Phew! :o) Ok - pretend I never mentioned it. :o) . . . PCd a bit of this. . . more work in the attic, removing bricks and preparing the way for the next two 4x4s. The positioning of these two was 'relatively' easy in comparison to all the rest I still need to do. Had the holes made and the beams resting in position, but caved in around 3:30pm and just HAD to go get cleaned up and lay down for a bit. Tried to nap but couldn't. Too much noise from ice cream vans and kids playing and noisy car stereos, and, and!! Actually - I haven't been sleeping too well of late. . . got back up and ate corned beef and tomato sandwiches with two bags of crisps and then a bunch of biscuits. . . walked . . . back up in the attic and partially cemented in one of the beams. Stopped before clearing up and stood and leaned on the edge of the skylight with a cigarette and watched the gold red sunset. Very pleasant. . cleaned up and then returned BBs call while drinking a small bottle of beer. . .sat in the garden watching the frogs. Incredibly one had a go at a HUGE slug - but didn't succeed in eating it. Well - it WAS about the size of the frog! . . . TVd and watched a bit of 'Aliens' yet again. . . ate bowls of co-co pops before bed around 1:30am. pasd
8 - Woken by Sally early, but managed to growl her away and snoozed on until up around 8am. . .walked . . . returned Mums ansaphone call from yesterday. . .well - I'm pretty sure I saw LBs car back outside her house last night, but unusually she hasn't called to say she's home and thanks for feeding the animals!? (bloody hell - hope someone hasn't put her in front of a computer and shown her this!!) The possibility she wasn't back preyed on my mind a bit, so I felt obliged to sneak up (she'd be at work) and check the animals were all fully watered and ok. They were. . . cut up more bits of brick to-fit with the disc cutter and then cemented them in around the four 4x4 beams to make them all fully secure . . . fit for collapse around 3pm. Cleaned up and napped . . . walked. Bumped into AO walking her dog. She joked that she'd turned into me!? Turns out she'd been walking her dog the other day when she suddenly found a bunch of stuff dumped in the grass. She'd taken it to a small nearby 'part time' police station (what a nonsense useless PR excercise those are!) to hand it all in, but had found it closed. Something about the size of a car radio - but NOT a car radio - it had a plug in power supply and two antennae coming out of the back. Wow - that peaked my interest (CB? HAM radio maybe? Oooh, oooh.) Ended up accompanying her back home and having a look. To start with there were a pair of rather nice looking black, Sony, amplified PC type speakers (nothing to do with the other unit). Despite 'some' familiarity with radio equipment from my CB HAM days etc, I couldn't for the life of me figure out what that other device was. Taxi receiver maybe? J and AO didn't seem to care too much and were happy for me to take it all home and have a play with it to try and figure out what it was. . . TVd . . . BB called . . .was going to wait until tomorrow but ended up not being able to resist and experimented with the 'stuff' AO had found. Dug out my pair of old car speakers (nice black heavy things I just can't bare to part with, and which have been useful on more than one occasion) and wired them up to the unit before nervously plugging it in and turning it on, to see what would happen (mindful of that very amusing 'Only Fools And Horses' TV episode, where Del boy got hold of what he thought was a TV satellite dish, but which turned out to be am ILS beacon for aircraft, and which caused air traffic control chaos and low flying aircraft to be directed towards 'Nelson Mandella House'. lol :o) ). Well - whatever it was, powered up ok, but didn't seem to do anything else (as far as I knew!!), despite me changing channels and settings etc. Turned it all safely back off and headed for the PC. Surfed and looked up what was written on the front of the black box (Trantec S10) and instantly discovered what it was. A ridiculously pricey school teacher type radio microphone receiver/amplifier. Tried out the PC speakers only to find that the right hand one wasn't working. Took it apart and tested it with the multitester etc, and confirmed that the actual loud speaker itself was defective/dead. Oh well - now I know - I can give it all back to AO to hand in to a police station. Hmmm - it's probably been nicked from a school somewhere. I can almost picture some teachers tech support room somewhere with a pair of handed in broken speakers and that receiver amp sat on a desk, before someone broke in during the long summer holiday and stole them. :o( . . .ate the last half a chicken and coleslaw with four pieces of bread and butter . . . sat in the garden. . . TVd until bed. ps
9 - Up around 6:45am. . . walked . . . worked in the attic doing most of the re-grouting on the front chimney stack until around 2pm. More of a cosmetic operation than anything structural. I just wanted to get it done - to reduce the amount of old dusty grout that keeps falling off the stack, to give me somewhere to apply bits of left over cement when cementing other areas, to more readily show if any rain penetrates - but perhaps mostly to make a 'visual difference', to make it look as though I'm making progress, to encourage me to keep going! I'm aching all over and feeling pretty tired of the hard labour, day in day out. :o( Pretty sure I've figured out why the top of the old ceilings appear to be covered in layers of coal dust. Markings on the brickwork of that stack, indicate that some time in the past when coal fires were burned below, smoke leaked through the gaps between the bricks and dust mortar and into the loft space!! . . cleaned up and ate corned beef, mayo, onion, tomato and lettuce sandwiches with three bags of crisps around 2:30pm . . . napped until around 6:15pm . . . walked. It's the balloon fiesta this weekend. Plenty of hot air ballons drifting over real low tonight. Sat in the attic with a coffee and cigarettes visualising all the work I have to do. Stood at the open skylights and watched the hot air ballons and the sunset. I'm not wrong, having a go at putting a room up there. It really is SO cool to be able to lean on the edge of the skylights and look out. Nowhere else in this house is it possible to actually see any distance. These old houses are all so crammed in and 'on top of each other', it is almost claustrophobic only being able to see about as far as the other side of the street. Up there, I can see 'big' sky, distance, and even a horizon! I LIKE it! :o) Couldn't resist having a quick scrape of some of the loose grout on one of the walls before I came back down. . . touched base with BB . . . drank 'most' of one of the cans of cider I'd found over the field - but I'm really not a cider lover and eventually ended up pouring the last, warm third down the sink. . . . sat in the garden. Hosed the plants and fed lettuce to the garden snails, pond snails and the remaining tadpoles in the bucket nursery. Took the risk with the tap water and topped the pond up with the hose. I really can't figure out the mechanics of how that pond can have an intermittant leak (nor locate the leak!) - but in this dry weather the leak seems to be worse. The pond settles back to a level around six or eight inches below the top (still have a spare roof tile propped in a corner to allow stuff to crawl out). I SO need to empty it all out and insert a second skin liner - but I just can't face the death and destruction of all the inhabitants which that would mean. . . PCd a bit of this and surfed until early . . . back in front the TV news channel eating bowls of co-co pops around 2am! Touched base with BB before bed. pd
10 - Woken by Sally (with difficulty) around 7:30am. Well - that's not enough sleep! Maybe I WILL actually have a day off from the attic building site today . . walked doing litter duty, picking up all the drinks bottles and debris left by last nights rugby training idiots. Found another refillable lighter. Found a local school, kids pullover with the school motif on it. Left it hanging on the school railings. On the way back from the field a little black dog was roaming around loose in the roads. Didn't really want to have to bother with yet another one, but when it almost got hit by a car I figured I had to. Tied Sally to a lamp post and started encouraging it over to me from the middle of the road, but Sally started getting all barky which set the other one all barking. All of a sudden from a nearby house, alerted by the barking, what turned out to be the owner came out and told his dog to get back in the garden! Grrrr. . .PCd this. Oh dear - everything's covered in a layer of brick dust from the attic - and half the letters have worn off my keyboard again! Damn - wish I'd learned te typo!! . . .did some laundry. . .ate corned beef, cheese, onion, mayo, tomato and lettuce sandwiches with two bags of crisps around 1:30pm and then napped. . . woken around 7pm by the music of an ice cream van right outside (or parked next to my bed, it was so loud!). . . walked a bit later than usual . . . touched base with BB . . . sat in the garden for a short while and then ended up sat up in the attic, just drinking coffee, smoking, looking at stuff and thinking things through, for almost a couple of hours!! . . . PCd and ended up surfing party wall, loft conversion and building/fire regulation type sites until the early hours (how sad am I?!!). Bumped into an amusing article. lol Weird how the police don't bother to turn out for stolen mopeds and such, but WILL arrest you for doing bad DIY (and of course in London they may execute you for your poor dress sense if you wear a thick coat on the underground on a hot day!) :o/ . . .defrosted and ate a couple of chicken and mushroom pastry slices with two bags of crisps around 2am before bed. pas
11 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am. . .walked . . .started work on the attic building site around 10am. Time to get the last four 4x4s, still stacked up in the kitchen up into the attic. Fed them through the bathroom window and then manhandled them up over the bathroom roof, onto the main roof and into the attic via the skylight. Did the same with the last two 7x2s as well. Nice to have that mess out of the way and be able to close my bathroom door again. 'Bit the bullet' and started working at cutting out the rebates in the brick walls to take the top two 4x4 timbers above the skylights. I've been kinda putting off getting on with this crucial milestone, because I just knew it was gonna be hell cutting out those rebates because of the way the bricks were aligned. Until these timbers are in place, nothing much else can progress. Once they ARE in place, I can set about actually fixing the three 4x4s on each roof slope to the rafters, and then eventually think about removing the first of the OLD support timbers. The top of the two old support timbers, actually runs right across the middle of the skylights, both front and back!!! It's gonna be SUCH a joy to finally have that out of the way. Well - as it turned out, it didn't go 'too' badly. Kept at it all day and actually got both timbers, one front one back, cemented in place. Felt a bit unwell and fit for collapse around 6pm . . . vacuumed up, showered and then walked. With that nasty job happily done, and not having eaten a thing all day, I thought I'd treat myself to a kebab and chips. Walked the extra on the way back from the field, the long way round to the kebab shop, only to find it was shut!! Grrrrr. That is BOTH local chip shops closed (for holidays?) at the same time!! :o( . . . Mum called to touch base and suggest a TV show to watch later - but I'll be watching the other channel - 'A New Life In The Country' with a couple making a luxury house out of an old church. . .defrosted some roast chicken and roast potatoes . . touched base with BB but was SO tired I wasn't up for much of a conversation, and seemed to be in a particularly grouchy mood because I wasn't all full of kebab like I'd planned! . . . ate my big roast chicken meal with a full pint of gravy while watching my TV show . . . ended up popping up in the attic for a quick sit. It's the opening day of the balloon fiesta at Ashton Court (sadly/typically too windy for any balloon flights) and they were apparantly having a 'night glow' tonight. Fireworks too as it turned out - I could actually see them in the distance from my skylight! Cool. . . returned BBs ansaphone call . . . early to bed, oh SO exhausted, before 11pm. Difficulty sleeping (again!!) and tossed and turned for quite a while. ps
12 - Woken by Sally at 6am!! Grrrr. Blimey - I feel achey, headachey and a bit fragile. :o( Coffee, cigarettes and annadin tablet for breakfast in the cool of the garden . . .PCd this . . . walked. . . yayy - 100 PSB win in the mail. :o) Cool - that'll buy some more screws and cement! . . . worked in the attic but had a 'relatively' light day. Because the existing old roof timbers are slightly bowed, and there really is nothing I can do to remedy that, it's gonna be necessary to 'shim' a lot of the roof joists with different sized wooden wedges, to ensure they are supported by the rather straighter new 4x4 supports. Not 'all' of those timbers need shimming - but lots do. There are 12 roof joists and will eventually be 8 supporting 4x4s. That's a maximum possible 96 individually sized and cut shims!!!!! What a time consuming drag! Succeeded in doing enough to almost complete the sets for two of the 4x4s on the front roof slope- and then used lots of wood glue to fix them in position. Called an early halt and left the glue to harden . . received two ansaphone messages from LB at some point during the day while I was up in the attic working. Something about her wanting me to be available for when the cable company calls in her place late this afternoon to fix her fault. I gotta be honest - I just didn't want to have to bother! I'd called a hault to the days work because I was feeling SO tired and really, REALLY needed a nap. I wasn't gonna forgo that to have to wait around for the damn cable company to 'maybe' turn up! Ignored the ansaphone messages and actually turned the ringers off before I napped, just in case she called back and woke me up. . . ate garlic sausage, cheese, mayo and tomato sandwiches with two bags of crisps . . . napped. . . woke around 6pm . . . walked. Saw LB as I was returning and had a quick word to apologise for not having returned her calls, explaining I was in the attic and then wasn't feeling so good and was asleep (and when I finally DID attempt to return her calls, her home phone appeared to have been cut off - apparantly prior to her changing supplier) . . . sat in the attic for a while, planning and visualising. . . touched base with BB . . . sat in the garden, TVd, PCd until early.pas
13 - Woken by Sally around 6:45am!! . . .breakfast of coffee, cigarettes and annadin tablet in the garden again. . . walked. I don't believe it. Yet another (different) dog running loose, dangerously in the main road. Tied Sally to a lamppost while I tried to coax it over, but Sally's barking saw it run off! Ended up wandering down the road after it!! What WAS that car driver thinking of, blowing her horn at it as it wandered down the road! Somewhere along the line it dodged down a driveway and into someones back garden. No idea if it lived there or if it was just cutting through to get away from the weird guy following it! (Although - there WAS one of those stickers on one of the windows of that house saying 'A Dog's For Life Not Just For Christmas'. Tried knocking at the door several times for quite a while but no answer. The dog seemed to have disappeared somewhere, so I eventually carried on with my normal walk!! . . . PCd a bit of this . . . back up working in the attic around 10am. Put in some of the long screws to fix the roof rafters to my new supporting 4x4 supports, through the glued shims. As forecast, it rained. Well - no sign of any reaching inside the attic. :o) . . With both lower front 4x4 supports now fully in position, I figured it was time to do 'an exploratory' on the main front, rotten, banana shaped purlin which I'm gonna replace with another 4x4. Exposed the nails from the roof rafters by removing the stupid bit of spacer wood that someone had put in to try and remedy the bow. Held my breath, crossed my fingers and then hacksawed through all the nails and bent the ends down out of the way. Nothing moved - nothing even creaked. Cool. So - my roof no longer uses that dreadful rotten old purlin! Yayyyy. :o) Cut through both ends of the wood at an angle so that it would still sit there like a big wedge, and then finally lifted it out. Good grief! That's a HUGE lump of wood - but it weighs SO much less than any of the new ones I've been handling - goes to show how much of it was rotten and eaten by long despatched woodworm!! Amazing it was able to actually hold the roof up! . . a HUGE amount of exhausting hard work, but to cut a long story short, I managed to get another 4x4 cemented in, more or less in the same place. The trouble with having two roof slopes, is knowing that I'll have to face doing that all over again with the back one!! :o( . . Tidied up just a little and showered around 6:30pm. God I'm tired. . . walked in a brief shower. Could SO easily have fallen asleep on the seat over the field!! Very hard to get up and walk back home! Very gratified to turn the corner and find the house still had a roof on it. :o) . . ate garlic sausage, cheese, mayo, onion, lettuce and tomato sandwichs and three bags of crisps . . . touched base with BB but was almost too tired to speak . . . TVd, struggling to stay awake to watch 'Road Wars' at 10pm. . . ate bowls of cornflakes before to bed just after 11pm. pas
14 - Woke around 6:30am. Wow - I'm stiff and aching - um - all over!! Can hardly move! :o( . . .walked . . . back up in the attic intending to finish the shimming of ALL four front 4x4s to enable me to get them all glued, screwed and fixed. Once that is done, I'll be able to tie them all together with noggins of 4x2, and THEN, finally be in a position have a go at removing that old purlin that sits across the skylights. I just can't wait to get that one out of the way - but I MUST resist until absolutely everything else on that slope is fixed and firm. . one of the crucial things about doing DIY is health and safety - and how you can ignore it completely!!!! Oooops. Ouch!!!Well - getting those shims to snuggly fit was a bit of a job. The electric saw is pretty good at cutting them from scrap wood, even really narrow ones down to around two or three millimeters in depth. Unfortunately most were a weird shape and had to be planed down here and there to adequately fill the gap. I knew I was dicing with death - but I couldn't figure out how else to do it. I was grinding those shims down to size by running them over the bottom of the upturned electric plane!!! Well - it was just GOING to happen wasn't it! One of those bits of wood got picked up by the blade, was spat out, and so too was a good piece of the top of my finger. :o( BLOODY HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Um - errr - ouch? I trust that weird white bit is just subcutaneous fat and isn't the bone!!!!! :o( . .splattered more blood all over my new flooring, dropped everything and raced back downstairs to deal with the damage. Actually - my thumb was ideally placed to stick in the wound and stop the bleeding until I was over a sink. Looks pretty bad - but hopefully it'll eventually heal of its own accord without any intervention. Nothing much to be done with it really except cover it up and hope for the best. Dug out the plasters BB thankfully bought when she was here (I never buy any myself) and wrapped one of the longer ones around the wound. Dug out the pile of old rubber 'Marigold' washing up gloves Mum donated for my cementing works, and cut off the little finger of one of them and managed to squeeze that on top for protection. . . finished gluing the shims and then figured I'd better get cleaned up and sit around for the rest of the day and feel sorry for my finger! Wonder if I'll still have the same fingerprint when (IF!!!!) it grows back?. . . PCd this (ouch - ouch - ouch - for gods sake use another finger!!) while watching Paula Radcliffe win some marathon or other on the TV - without her crying or peeing in front of millions of people on the way! . . . ate defrosted chicken and mushroom pastry slices with the last two bags of crisps in the house . . . napped through the pain from my finger until around 6pm. (It IS painful, but in comparison to my usual daily back pain and leg joint pain etc, is nothing much to be too concerned about! Does that give a better of idea of how bad my back, neck and legs ache?) . . . walked. . .popped up in the attic around 7:45pm with my tripod and had a bit of a go at doing a panoramic image (9 shots) of the view from one of the front skylights.9 shot panoramic image of the view from my front skylight
Despite the stiff breeze, there WAS a mass balloon ascent from the fiesta at Ashton Court (distant horizon centre) but sadly the breeze took them all sort of south-ish. You can't see them in the picture at this resolution, but to the left, the distant sky is full of little black silhouettes. . . touched base with BB . . . TVd . . .put a new plaster on my finger in an attempt (fruitless as it turned out) to protect my white sheets from leaking blood. Ate bowls of co-co pops before to bed around 11pm.
15 - Woken by Sally at 6am. Grrrr. :o( Actually - I lay there for a while pretending to still be asleep, just to see what she'd do. She absolutely insisted, noisily wagging her tail (so it banged against the door/bed/radiator) and pushing her nose into me!! Funny dog - when she thinks it's time for me to get up, it's time to get up!!. .ewww! My finger looks a mess. Actually, it clearly didn't like being covered in the plaster all night. It'd gone that werid texture and colour your skin goes when it's been in water too long! That's why I never buy plasters. I've somehow learned long ago that the best thing for any wound (which doesn't require a hospital) is to just leave it open to the air and let nature take its course. I think I'm a pretty good clotter and healer - well - certainly a bit of a clott! :o/ Despite the plaster, my once white bed sheets were in a terrible mess. Actually, I rather suspect most of that blood staining is from other parts of my body. It's been SO hot doing all this work, I've unusually taken to doing it just wearing some old sport/football type shorts and a T-shirt. Not much protection, and I'm absolutely covered in scrapes, cuts and grazes all over my body - arms and legs in particular. I've also developed a back which looks as though it's been punished with a 'cat of nine tails'! The reason for that is two fold. Firstly, for some strange reason, I seem to continually misjudge where the wood beams are on the roof slopes. Working under them I keep standing up at the wrong time and have the sharp wooden edge of the beams dig into my back! Secondly - I'm still using the ladder in the 'bedroom cupboard' to climb up there all the time. I'm determined to leave opening that up and putting a more permananet steep stairway in (and a partition wall across the back bedroom), until almost the very last thing I do - so I can just shut that cupboard door (as protection against the disc cutter dust etc) and leave the rest of the house unscathed. Once (if!?) I know things have worked out up there successfully, and once I've insulated and sealed the attic againts the liberal draughts - that door and the section of wall above it will go - but until then, what that means is, almost every time I climb up that ladder, I catch my back on the top of the cupboard door frame as I squeeze past! Ouch. . . walked. . . worked in the attic and set about measuring, cutting and gluing in position, most of the noggins to join and firm up all the front roof slope 4x4s. I'll nail them all in, some other time. That wood glue is brilliant stuff and really DOES dry harder than the wood. .cleaned up and PCd briefly before collapsing into bed for an hour or so. . .walked and found 5p. . . ate garlic sausage, mayo, cheese, tomato, onion and lettuce sandwiches - no crisps left! :o( . . touched base briefly with Mum to see how the VJ Day party thing she'd been roped into going to and helping out at had gone. Was quite weird to hear her say how it'd gone 'ok' but she'd found herself in a state of near panic at times, trapped into being around all those people. She couldn't wait to get back home - safe - quiet - alone. Wow - we are SO alike!!! <shudder!> I absolutely understood those feelings completely. I explained I knew what that was like, and how several years ago now, I'd decided I simply wasn't prepared to put myself through any such 'gatherings' in the future. I've done all that in the past, forcing myself to go to pubs, discos, parties, bike runs, bar-b-queues etc, etc. It was NEVER pleasant - always a feat of endurance, only being there because I felt I 'should', like 'other people'. Well - I've learned - I'm simply NOT like those other people, and no amount of forcing myself and pretending, is gonna make me so. I'd much rather spend that time quietly alone in contemplation thank you very much. Sadly - I seem to need the daily fluoxetine to be able to be comfortable with that decision! :o(. . . BB called . . . TVd until bed around midnight. pad
16 - Woken by Sally around 6:30am. . . walked and found another cheap gold effect horse shoe shaped earring . . . left Sally at home and drove to Wicks for supplies of glue, screws, sand and cement. . . worked in the attic and spent a ridiculous amount of time just putting in ten of twelve ceiling supports. Actually cut an angled bit out of the ends of each piece so that when I screwed and glued them to the sides of the roof rafters, the bit that overlapped would fit between the front and back rafters like a wedge, preventing any possibility of movement. Took ages doing all those angled cuts. Ended up figuring out some crazy way of temporarily screwing each length of wood to a small piece of scrap and then using the electric saw to cut all the rebates out. Decided to do that ceiling bit now, to firm things up with the miniature 'A' frame before having a go at removing the second old front purlin. In fact - I think I should maybe shim, glue and screw all the roof joists to the back top 4x4 before I do it - that way everything will be fully braced, against any tendency for the top of the front slope to sag or collapse!! Wow - it isn't easy suddenly trying to be a structural engineer!! SO hard to imagine all the forces and which directions they may go in. On more than one occasion, I've seriously considered laboriously constructing matchstick models, and applying scaled test loads!!!. . . exhausted as usual, showered and napped around 4pm. Woken around 5pm by local kids a couple of doors up making an awful din - again! Dunno what they do in that kids back yard, but it always seems to involve large amounts of persistant hammering! . . . ate a couple of bowls of muesli to stop me feeling so shaky and iffy. . .TVd . . . PCd just a bit of this . . . walked. That local house that often has a skip outside (the one I got my computer chair from - which I'm still happily using), had another skip - and in it there were some rather nice tongue and groove bits of wood and a wood saw thrown away! Hmmm - gonna have to keep an eye on what appears in there - maybe I should rescue that saw and see if it's any use? Intended to pick it up on the way back from the field, but forgot all about it. . . touched base with BB . . . discovered a long forgotten golden syrup cake in the cupboard and ate half of it with butter and a coffee. :o) . . eventually to bed around midnight, still feeling rather full of muesli!! pas
17 - Up around 6:30am again. Seems to be a new routine!?. . . walked. Damn - someone has had that old wood saw I had my eye on, out of that neighbours skip. :o( Oh well. .carried on walking down the roads towards the field, crossed the main road and was just heading round the corner when there it was, just laying on the pavement!! The saw!!! Someone had picked it out of the skip, walked it all the way there and then just dropped it again! Bizarre. Walked Sally and filled my usual couple of carrier bags of 'litter duty' whilst carrying the saw around with me! . . . a quick coffee in the cool of the garden before straight back up in the attic to cut and glue the rear slope, top 4x4 shims. I doubt any builder would have spent the time doing all that - but I figure it is absolutely desireable, if not 'totally' necessary. What dictated which joists needed a shim between them and the underlying supporting 4x4, was whether or not I could slide the thin bendy blade of an old butter knife right through the gap. In some cases, the knife WOULD go in (at least half way), but the gap was SO narrow that cutting a shim of wood was out of the question. Lots of wood glue and a piece of cardboard was the answer! Sounds crazy, but that wood glue dries SO hard, if you can drive enough of it into the gap with a paint brush, it acts like a pretty good and very strong filler on its own. Reminds me of a rediculous craze which went round school when I was a kid. We all had old wooden lift up top desks - much covered in gouges writing and graffiti. It became a popular pass time, to use the sharp point of a compass, over a considerble period of time/number of lessons, to dig and excavate out a hole in the desk top. A hole which would eventually succesfully be dug clean through the desk top - which would then give great satisfaction as a place to park your pencil!! Bizarre. Dunno why the teachers didn't crack down on that with much greater speed and force. Maybe cause the desks were all soon to be replaced with tables? At some point it WAS made a disciplinary issue. Uh oh!! It was around then I first learned the delights of that sort of wood glue. As meticulously as I'd dug out the hole over an extended period of time, I proceeded to fill it back up with drops of that wood glue - I think prevented from dripping straight through, by a piece of cellotape on the underside. In time - I'd filled the hole and 'almost' had a nice smooth finish. lololol . . so - I've used much glue on those shims - and it's worked out really well. And as for the cut up slivers of cardboard on those really narrow gaps - what better to use than the packet from some Lidl Jaffa Cakes. Well - it was either gonna be that or co-co pops wasn't it? lol :o). . . Progress. I tried to resist, just a little longer. I tried really hard - but I eventually figured what the hell - just go for it. Spent ages cutting through the nails of the remaining old purlin on the front slope, using several bare hack saw blades, held in an increasingly bloody hand! Even the wood saw I'd found this morning came in handy - although I now know why it was in the skip. The blade lock fails under high pressure and allows the blade to rotate! Stupid plastic lock studs are worn away - although - a drilled hole and a minute metal peg would see it quite serviceable again. . at length, the purlin was no longer attached to the roof rafters. Even succeeded in removing the entire length of possibly re-useable wood, by just cutting off a couple of inches from one wall end. Cool. :o) Very nerve wracking, but everything appeared to remain pretty solid - although I DID leave the thin old upright (supposed to prevent sagging by transferring some load to the top of the ceiling rafters atop the load bearing walls in the middle of the house either side the staircase. All this work I've done is really all about simply being able to remove those two bits of wood - so I can have the room fully open and put the floor down!) in place for a while longer, just in case. . . quickly started tieing in the top 4x4 with 4x2, glued and screwed/nailed either side of the skylights. Appears to all be fairly solid. Everything glued - every joist where it crosses a 4x4 is double screwed, one screw on top, one underneath at opposing angles to 'pinch' the wood and ensure it can't be pulled away by the wind. YaYYYYY. Another mile stone. At last those skylights are now unobstructed and I can look out of them and open them in both ways as I should be able to. Lots more yet to do. Think I'll put big 'X's in either side of the skylights. Haven't finished the 'noggins' yet and haven't put all of them in, because I've not yet decided how I'm gonna finish off the wall ends so I've left the last ones out so I can fit the drill in if I need to. Deliberately put the noggins between the roof joists so when I come to insulate, the joists will hold the insulation away from the felt and allow a gap for ventilation/air circulation. Now the old purlins are out of the way, I can FINALLY see exactly how warped and bent the roof is, and how out of line that has made those 4x4s across the slope. I knew it would be out - and fully expected to have to put in many more hours 'shimming' large areas across the underside of the slope to level it all off (to the eye - nothing in this house is actually level - it is a fatal mistake making anything new, actually level) prior to fitting plasterboard. Well - sadly - they are almost acceptably in line except for the left side of the one 4x4 at the bottom of the skylights!! :o( Hmmm. Oh well. . . defrosted and ate a couple of chicken and mushroom pastry slices around 3pm and then napped for an hour or so . . . walked. Oh dear! Every time I set foot outside the house, I now look at the front of the house to see if I have been egged - AND now look at the roof to make sure it hasn't collapsed - yet! :o(. . couldn't help myself!! Back up in the attic and put in all the remaining screws on the top rear 4x4 and did just a handful more shims on one of the others and then got a little more bloody with a hand held hacksaw blade cutting off a couple of nails and finally -FINALLY - removed the old front upright. Now THAT is what I'm after. A big unobstructed space. Oh yes. :o) . . TVd . . . touched base with BB . . .ate the other half of the golden syrup cake. . .defrosted/microwaved and ate two steak and kidney pastry pies before bed around midnight.ps
18 - Woken by Sally around 6:30am. . . walked . . . put in a few hours in the attic and glued up the remaining shims on the two lower 4x4s on the back slope, either side of the big main purlin. Once that is all dried and I've put all the screws in, It should all be self supporting enough to start the work of removing the purlin and replacing it with the last 4x4. All a carbon copy of the front slope - more or less - allowing for the fact that everything is in a slightly different position, because there is no soffit on the back, and the skylights are actually a couple of inches lower on the slope!!! (bless those roofers! Hah! :o( ) . . . PCd a bit of this. . . Something on the radio earlier about a bank holiday, while I was working in the attic. Is that this weekend? Blimey - what day is it? I've been SO focused on doing all this work, I've totally lost ALL track of time!!!!! . . cleaned up, left Sally at home and drove to ASDA at Longwell Green, to do a pretty major shop. Ended up spending over 70 on just groceries!!! Well - THAT many packets of co-co pops don't come too cheap I guess. :o/ . . . back home and unloaded everything (but STILL not the sand and cement I bought the other day! Haven't mustered the energy to carry all that in yet.) . . . ate half a chicken, four pieces of bread and butter and half a tub of coleslaw - followed by half a tray of cheap ASDAs own Jaffa Cakes, just to see how good they were. They weren't bad, but sadly not as nice as those from Lidl. . .napped for a couple of hours. . . woken around 4:30pm all overheating and headachey, by the sound of next doors dog barking for quite a while. . . PCd this (and searched for 'purlings' and corrected some of my many spelling mistakes. lololololol. Actually - I reckon my vocabulary is fairly good (by todays standards!) - but my spelling IS pretty bad. It's just too much hassle for me to re-type everything so I can spell check it - cause I type all this WYSIWYG straight into 'Frontpage Express' which I don't think has a spell checker - AND of course, all the letters have worn off my keyboard because of all the brick dust!!) . . . walked late . . . back up in the attic and put in all the remaining screws on the 4x4s on the back slope and then just sat around for quite a while looking at 'the space'. . . trimmed my hair and my beard for the first time in ages (WAS starting to look like a mountain man!) and then vacuumed (much sawdust) all around the house before cleaning myself up with a shower . . . TVd . . . ate bowls of co-co pops and the rest of the tray of ASDA jaffa cakes . . . BB called . . . TVd/PCD until bed around 1:30am. paa
19 - Up around 7am . . .pulling the curtains, I spotted the sporty little car of a neighbours boyfriend, parked down the road, with a huge traffic cone plonked square in the middle of the roof! More idiots in the night. Sadly - I couldn't help but smile. It DID look SO funny. They hadn't damaged it at all - just kinda humiliated it! lolol . . .walked. Just then the neighbour came out to go to work, so I helped her lift the heavy cone of her boyfriends car roof. Straight up and off - with a little difficulty - to prevent any scratching of the paint. . . worked in the attic at removing the main purlin from the back slope. That piece of wood is actually in far better condition than the front one was. Almost no rot and still 'relatively' straight - which made the job of getting the hacksaw blade in between the purlin and the rafters, to cut through the old rusty nails, even more difficult, exhausting and time consuming! :o( Got there in the end and eventually cut it out. Considerably heavier than the front one was. Uh oh. Good grief!!! A huge gap in the brickwork above where the purlin sat on the party wall, was revealed!!! I could see through into next doors attic, AND through to the underside of their roof tiles, and even a gap in the cement above their lead flashing!! Easily see straight through to daylight all over the place!!! Incredible. Amazing there hasn't been masses of water penetration through there - although 'usually' the rain blows in from the west and doesn't really hit that rear slope too hard. Damn. Damn, damn and damn. . spent ages trying to work through the purlin hole I'd opened up, sizing up bricks and cutting up other bits of brick with the disc cutter, and making up enough to rebuild that entire bit of next doors 'missing' wall!!! Eventually managed to cement it all up (although god knows what it may look like from the other side). A total of five, bricks and large pieces of brick!!! A BIG bit of missing wall! What on earth were those guys thinking when they 'threw' these houses together?!! That's made a dent in my 'oddly sized old brick' collection! (new bricks are SO much smaller in every dimension, and makes for much difficulty when I need to replace an old one - hence NEVER disposing of ANY old bricks or even 'pieces' of brick). . . LB called in to ask me to feed her animals over the weekend - but I'd 'just' mixed up another batch of cement (answered the door wearing bright yellow marigolds) and wasn't going to be interrupted, so I just said 'yes, yes, YESss!' to whatever she was asking and then pretty much shut the door in her face! . .eventually managed to get the last 4x4 cemented in position to replace that old purlin. A hard won battle! VERY tired and aching. 'Just' enough energy left to finally bring in the three bags of sand and one of cement from the car and stack it all up in the conservatory . . ate Danish salami and mayo sandwiches with two bags of crisps. . .napped for a couple of hours . . .TVd and ended up delaying Sally's walk and watching a repeat of some show where they got (brilliant) artists to do a portrait of Mo Mowlam. . . walked late and found a penny . . .back home to find an ansaphone message from LB asking if I'd go up and check that the rabbits were covered over. Popped up and quickly covered them. . . TVd. . .BB called. . . TVd and ate half a chicken, four pieces of bread and butter and half a tub of coleslaw. . . eventually to bed around 12:30am. Couldn't sleep for some reason and tossed and turned for absolutely ages, deep into early, trying to escape my aching back and sore finger! :o( Politician Mo Mowlam died this day. pas
20 - Up around 6:30am . . .walked and did litter duty and ended up coming home with a Guinness pint beer glass! . . . went up LBs and fed her animals. Instructions were that the ferrets wouldn't require anything, but I had a quick look in their house just to make sure. As I'm walking back along the path I almost stepped on something!!?? What on earth??!!!! There was a very young baby something just laying on the path. Oh my god - it's still alive!! Hard to tell but it looked like a baby rabbit to me. How on earth is that possible? No way could it have come from one of LBs cages, no matter how rotten and falling to bits they are. On closer examination as I held it in my hand and tried to warm it up, it looked pretty likely that one of her cats had caught it somewhere and brought it back. I do NOT like cats - much for this sort of reason! A cat caught baby 'thing' - not long for this world. :o( On closer examination I think I could make out some teeth marks, and there was blood around the nose. :o( What to do????!!! Raced home and lay it in a tupperware on a bed of soft toilet paper. Dabbled with trying to drip a little water on its lips with a kitchen tissue, but without much success. Seemed to be having difficulty breathing rather than want a drink. It was exhaling blood spatter from its nose. It clearly wasn't gonna survive, was it. . tried calling LB at her parents house, just to check that she had no baby rabbits laying around anywhere. (She was out on her dad's boat!) She soon called me back and confirmed it wasn't anything of hers and was most likely brought in by one of her cats. In her experience she said, whatever it was would NOT survive. She suggested I "just throw it over the fence and forget about it". Good grief!! And THAT from someone who keeps animals! Jeeze! . .all very weird. I confess - I DID actually wander up the back lane as far as LBs fence, just to make sure there wasn't any sign of a pile of dead baby rabbits !! Thankfully there was not!. . called at her neighbours door (who I know has rabbits) and asked if it was maybe theirs (in the hope I could leave the problem with them). It wasn't theirs. . agonised over the poor little thing for a while. It was gonna die, no doubt about it. I couldn't just sit there and watch it slowly die. Would be kinder to reduce the suffering and hasten that outcome somehow - but how? Drown it? Wring its neck? Tie it up in an airtight freezer bag? Give it to Sally? No no no no!!!!!!! I just can't. Ended up jumping in the car with it (and my wallet just in case!) and drove to my local vet to ask them to humanely put it down, out of its misery. The receptionist took it out to see a vet and then returned with my empty tupperware, saying he was 'just doing it now'. Thankfully there was no mention of requiring any payment. Took the opportunity while I was in there, of finally getting round to booking Sally in for this afternoon, for her annual booster jabs. They'd sent me a reminder letter a little while ago, but I'd been putting it off, reluctant to take the time out from the attic work. . . PCd this. Guess I'll be having an unexpected day off from the attic project today then. Shame. I was eager to push on and get that last old purlin out as soon as possible. I can measure the tasks I have to do, to reach that point, in 'days'. One day to shim and glue. One day to screw and noggin. One day to remove the last old purlin and upright - and maybe cement up the holes. If I'd known how much work all this was gonna be - I may not have tackled it!! I'm also under no illusions about what I'm doing. I have no doubt that in time, all those 4x4s and associated timber work, WILL sag and bend inwards under the weight of the roof and the wind and weather etc etc. It's just a matter of how much and how soon. Those old purlins did the job for over a hundred years (the main one was original - the upper one was a later addition). I've more or less doubled the purlins (tied them all together) and spread the weight across the walls a bit more. I'm banking on it all going 'badly' banana shaped, one way or another, AFTER I'm done with the place! Fingers crossed. At the end of the day - if it all goes horribly wrong - I'll just have to reinstated some cross supports down to the supporting walls in the centre of the house. . .the vet called asking if they could re-schedule Sally's appointment, which actually suited me fine. Re-arranged for Monday . . . up in the attic and cut and glued the shims on that last 4x4. Had intended to try and get on and do some other stuff up there, but I ended up just too damn tired. . . ate Danish salami, lettuce and mayo sandwiches with two bags of crisps . . . napped for a couple of hours until around 5pm . . . TVd . . . touched base briefly with Mum to suggest a film to watch on TV later . . .walked and found 11p. . . went up LBs to feed her animals. After I'd fed the cats I figured I'd have a damn good look around in the garden for any real evidence of - um - well - 'my suspicions'. Hang on!!!??? What the hell???????? Oh no!!!!! Oh NOOOOooo!! In the bigger of the rabbit cages was a small squirming wriggling baby rabbit. Another one!! So it WAS one of hers this morning! I could hardly believe what I was seeing. It squirmed and wriggled and eventually, because it was SO small, somehow 'fell' out of a gap in the front of the rotten cage and then ended up squirming away across the path!! That must have been exactly what happened to the other one this morning - until it was 'played with' by one of her cats!! For f**** sake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Put the poor little thing in the kitchen on a tea towel in a large tupperware , and then figured I'd better put a plate on top, just in case her cats got interested! What the hell do I do? What the hell do I do?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fought off the adult rabbits (varying sizes - I counted in excess of eight in that one cage!) and managed to open the rotten cage enough to have a bit of a look around to try and see if there were any more babies. Hard to tell amongst all that debris while trying to stop all the rabbits leaping out, but I couldn't see any more. Raced home with the tupperware and baby rabbit and called PS (who'd called earlier saying 'tonight?') and asked his advice about what to do - because I know his wife is supremely caring and knowledgeable on such matters. The upshot of the conversation was, its only chance for survival was to be returned to and confined with the parent. Trouble with that is - which one of the eight plus, was the parent - and there was nowhere else to put them, seperate from the rest. Damn!! DAMN LB!!! There was little choice - I was simply going to have to return it to the cage with all the rest and let it take its chances. :o( Returned to LBs armed with a screwdriver set, put the baby back in the cage, and did my best to alter the scraps of wood that had been screwed to the front of the rotting cage to stop the doors opening, so that they'd close a bit tighter (gonna need a screwdriver every time I feed them now! Ripped my bad finger back open for some more bleeding!:o( ) and prevent the thing from falling out again! Rammed in a load of rotting straw into any remaining gaps - covered them over for the night - and got the hell out of there. VERY angry! VERY, VERY angry. That's it. That's bloody well IT! That's 'the tipping point'. I'm gonna have to explore my 'devious plan' on Monday. LB has to be stopped from keeping animals like this. :o( . . . PS popped round for chats till early - complete with a leaflet on caring for rabbits! lol . . he'd bought me some duty free tobacco on the return from his holiday. He'd also bought a bunch of counterfeit DVDs while he was there, so we ended up watching the new 'War Of The Worlds' film (at first with Turkish subtitles, before I figured out how to turn them off! The sound was too quiet, and some of the pictures appeared blurred and overexposed - but at no stage did we ever see anyone standing up in the rows in front! lol) Absolutely absurd storyline. Just a vehicle for truly impressive effects. Strangely, some of the horror they were depicting, made me think very much of the holocaust!!?. . . ate bowls of co-co pops . . . tried calling BB back several times but only got ansaphones and eventually gave up and headed for bed around 1:30am. pas
21 - Up around 7:15am . . .walked doing litter duty and found a pack containing eight cigarettes. . .read PS leaflet on keeping rabbits. Snippets - "A rabbit will make a good pet for a family with a garden and enough time to give it daily care and attention. They are clean intelligent and friendly, and if properly looked after, can make rewarding company. Rabbits will live for 6-8 years. If your rabbit is kept outside, he should have a well insulated and waterproof wooden hutch with a solid floor and wire front. The hutch should be positioned out of direct sunlight and cold draughts and in a place where you will regularly see him as rabbits love attention and become lonely if isolated. The hutch should be as large as you can afford or have space for. There must be room for the rabbit to move around and it must be high enough for him to stand up on his back feet. The hutch must also be well protected from cats and dogs. Ideally there should be a run either attached to the hutch or in a seperate part of the garden. Rabbits can breed from 4 months. Length of pregnancy is 30-32 days. Average litter size is 4-12 rabbits. Young are born blind and hairless and should not be touched for 72 hours. Adult rabbits are best housed sperately, as 2 males or 2 females will often fight and a pair will breed. If you keep one rabbit on its own it will need much more of your time. Avoid sudden changes in diet and temperature and keep bedding clean and dry. The hutch should be scrubbed out once a week with warm water and a mild disinfectant. The feeding bowl and water bottle should be cleaned daily. Rabbits are clean animals and will wash themselves like cats, however, rabbits love a daily grooming session." Hmmm - definitely a mistake reading that before going up to be tortured by LBs flagrant disregard for - um - well - all of it pretty much! Even the amounts of food I'm supposed to put in each of the cages doesn't make sense, given the numbers in each!!!! Heartbreaking. :o( . . eventually, reluctantly up LBs to do the feed. It was difficult to accurately do - but I counted a total of 11 rabbits in that bottom cage - but no sign whatsoever of the baby - or any others from 'an average litter'!! :o( Horror. . . sat in the garden with a coffee and decided to have a day off from the attic and try and do something about the leaking pond (despite the inevitable causing of much death to the occupants. :o( Hell - I'm stepped in blood so deep this weekend anyway - may as well just get on and do it!) Maybe if I paint down to below the current water level, below where the leak must be, with some of that rubberised vapour barrier paint like I've used on all walls in the house, it'll hold water for a while longer?. .emptied out the old dustbin from under the stairs, washed it all out with the washing up sponge and the hose, and then started moving buckets of water complete with all the plant and animal life, from the pond to the dustbin. Errrr - where do leaches come from? How have I got leaches in there? Filled the dustbin up (yayyy - a baby frog - about the size of my little fingernail. That's probably the fourth or fifth I've seen, succesfully reared in my bucket nursery. :o) ) , which was enough to lower the level in the pond enough to have a good overlap area to cover with the rubber paint. Wow - the bottom of that pond is absolutely choked by all the roots of those reeds! Right - that's it - they have to go. Terribly difficult because of the incredible weight, but eventually I managed to drag the entire mass out of the pond in one go. A HUGE great pond shaped slab of roots and disgusting smelling decomposing silt!! SO heavy! Only just able to drag it across onto the garden. Undoubtedly full of creatures destined for death - but I actually couldn't see many to rescue. Hosed the mass down in the hope of washing awy some of the silt, and then left it to dry out a little in the sun. Later on I used a large old saw to cut it up into manageable chunks. Filled five sacks!!! Added to the pile, awaiting disposal in the front garden! . . Dried the revealed sides of the pond as best I could with a towel and tissues and then left it to fully dry in the air for a while. . Mum called to touch base . . . painted on the first coat of rubberised DPC. Left that to dry and popped up in the attic and drilled and screwed all the screws into the last 4x4 on the back slope. . . another coat on the pond and then did dish washing. No small feat! PS has been on holiday for two weeks in Turkey. I still hadn't washed his coffeee mug since he was last here! It was deeply buried beneath every single other used/unwashed plate, dish and bowl I own!!! I've just been too busy doing the attic to bother with washing up - and then when I have had a moment to get it done, I've just been too damn tired to stand up for so long! I've got into the awful slobbish, unhealthy and 'Men Behaving Badly' habit of just swilling off a plate, bowl, spoon etc under the tap when I 'need' to eat something! And that, after Sally has licked them all clean!! Ewwww!! lolol I figure I've built up a pretty good resistance to infections and stuff. . . back on my knees in the garden and put a third and final thick coat of the rubber DPC on the top foot of the pond. . . ate a banana and TVd briefly . . . napped for an hour or so. Painful finger. Obviously not keen on so much immersion in pond water!. . .woke feeling shakey through lack of food. Ate a mass of chocolate biscuits. Well - I'd only 'just' washed up! Didn't want to start making more to do already. Easier to go without food! . . bucketed most of the contents of the dustbin back into the pond, before tipping the last bit in. Damn - made the water cloudy as hell! Filled the pond up to overflowing with the hose. Right then - time will tell. . . walked . . . popped up LBs with my screwdriver set to feed the animals. Hang on - the door is unlocked?!! Oooops - did I not lock it earlier? Walked in and then got a shock as LB called out from the kitchen. She's home? I thought I had to do the feeds until tomorrow? Oh well - thank goodness that's over with. I was a bit taken aback to find her there like that, and unfortunately opened my big mouth and somehow told her it WAS one of her rabbits I'd found the other morning. I ranted on about how it wasn't right to keep animals in such conditions, to cause such suffering, etc, etc. She denied my accusations of neglect - and 'argued'!! What the hell is there to argue about? I very soon 'curtly' withdrew after saying that was the last time I'd ever be feeding her animals! Never again! She DID say thank you for having done them this time as I left. Damn. DAMN, DAMN, DAMN! Me and my big mouth! I've blown it. Now there is absolutely NO WAY I can call in the RSPCA, without her immediately knowing it was me who'd done so! Fool! Should have kept my mouth shut! My 'devious' plan, to make it look as though it wasn't anything to do with me, was to attempt to see if the dogs home keeps old records of who has some of their animals. I think LB once had either a cat or a rabbit or the polecats or something from them. If she was still on their records, I could have suggested they visit her to inspect the conditions of her current pets, under the guise of a 'routine follow up visit'. That way, ill feelings towards me would be avoided - and maybe she'd be encouraged to look after them better - or better still, hand them over to be re-homed! I've blown it! Very unhappy. :o( . . . Mum called to say she'd had a call from Sis2 in Baharain and everything was looking good!. . . sat in the garden with a coffee, all wound up and up tight about the LBs animals dilemma. Overheard little snippets of some of next doors boyfriends' conversation. Blah, blah, blah, - something about someone being done under the firearms act - blah, blah, blah - "you can't shoot on common land. You'll get done really bad" - blah, blah, blah - "have a go at that pigeon". Shortly afterwards, there was the loud crack of what I assume was an airgun being fired from their bedroom window!!!!! I despair! I just f***ing despair! There was another shot. :o( At this point I wandered down the garden glaring up at him - as he shut the window. Not sure - but I think he was aiming towards the big tree across the gardens in the distance - behind which are more houses of course!! F***ing idiot. If I ever hear just ONE more shot from that gun, without a word to him, I'm calling the police! God I feel as though I am trapped in a world of barbarians. :o( So - that's HIM pigeon holed (discarded) in my mind. He looks like a grown man, but with his top-down fancy car, his wetsuits and water ski-ing, his boats, his miniature moped, mobile phone glued to his ear, etc etc. - he's nothing more than a child. A foolish immature child! Why doesn't SHE see through that? Arrrrgh!! . . . Actually, that shooting thing on top of the LB thing got to me. It all got to me. Every little thing 'gets to me'. I smoked a little bit of that 'stuff' I' found - and unusually, it was NOT a good 'trip'. I felt more 'alone in a crowd' than I have done for a very long while - and felt VERY much as though I'd had enough of it all - but I don't blame the smoke for that. . . needed to, pretty bad, so touched base with BB . . . TVd . . . ate half a chicken with four peices of bread and butter and half a tub of coleslaw followed by some rather good cheap ASDA chocolate . . . TVd until bed around midnight. pas
22 - Up around 6:30am . . .straight down to nervously look out at the pond. The level has dropped just a little, but seems to be ok-ish. Fingers crossed. . .walked in a light drizzle - and then heavy rain without leggings! Got drenched. :o( Found a penny . . .dug out Sally's vaccination record, checked my current account was still in credit, TVd a bit and then walked with Sally in the heavy rain up to Kingswood. A brief wait for it to open outside the building society and then banked my latest PSB win and withdrew 50. Carried on down to the vet for Sally's 9:20am appointment. Funny how she knew where we were heading and kinda pulled to lead the way into the vets. :o) Unusually once we were called into the little examining room, she acted all nervous and indicated she wanted back out. Poor little woof! Held her head and kept up a stream of reassuring baby talk into her ear as the vet gave her the booster jab. Weighed her (uhoh - put on a couple of kilos over this last year!) and then that was that. Muchado about nothing - and 32.90 thank you very much. . . back home I (still) felt in a bit of a weird mood and just sat around a bit. Actually - my mind was still locked into mulling over and over and over, what to do about the 'LBs animals' situation. The 'right' thing to do, would be to simply have the courage of my convictions and report things to the RSPCA - in the full knowledge that LB would immediately know it was me who'd done so. Trouble is - for some reason I can't quite get to the bottom of - I'm just loathed to do that. Kinda like - I just don't want to create the inevitable bad feeling towards me, which that would mean. I don't like it - and I don't much like me as a result - but I think I'm going to do, absolutely nothing (except 'distance' from LB of course)! So - I am more the mouse than 'man'. :o( . . .Ate a bowl of muesli and a banana and then just HAD to go lay down for a while!??. . . . woke around 2pm! . . . TVd and sat around feeling fed up (actually really rather down) and not up to really doing anything. Tried to force myself to do something - anything! - and ended up pottering around doing ridiculous nonsense. Last time I was in ASDA, I bought myself a new belt pouch (the belt loop on the one I've been using, recently snapped) to carry my camera and phone when I'm just walking in a 'T' shirt in the summer, and haven't my usual wealth of pockets. Unfortunately, the belt loop has been stitched to favour a narrow belt in the top position - and I always wear a wide 'webbing' one with my combat trousers, and the lower position of the wider loop meant the pouch awkwardly hung off my belt at an angle. I individually unpicked the stitches with a needle (blimey - my injured finger hurt like hell when I accidentally stuck the needle straight into the wound!) and used a razor blade to cut through them, and eventually succeeded in undoing them all and having a really wide belt loop which is just perfect for my needs. Inspired by this success, I then laboriously unpicked the stupid sewn on, postage stamp sized logo, and made the pouch a preferable, anonimous black. Woo, woo. Don't stop me now. I'm on a role! (How sad am I!!!) Got some pliers and a small flat screwdriver and eventually succeeded in removing the zip fastener and then replacing it the other way round. Now the zip closes to my front - which is just, far better for how I use it, and if I were to ever forget to close it (as if!) - I'd more likely see. So - NOW I have the pouch I want. :o). . what next? Ha - my cigarette tobacco tin! That's been annoying me for the last couple of years. It's a small old 50g tin of some tobacco or other I've never smoked, still with the painted on logo all over the lid. Dug out the container of paint remover from my tool cabinet. Blimey - is that a temperature thing? The tin can it was in was all under pressure like a balloon! As I undid the lid, a miniature explosive decompression, filled the air with a fine mist of paintsripper!! Evil stuff! I hate it. Always has a weird (almost allergic) effect on the backs of my hands - kinda makes a few of the hairs all stand up on end. VERY weird effect. Painted it all over the lid of my tobacco tin and then after a suitable wait, used a little wire wool to quickly remove all the old painted logo, and end up with a plain, bright, shiny silver tin. :o) Even fits in my belt pouch with my camera and phone, if I get them all in there a particular way round. . silly stuff. Weird. Kinda like doing some DIY on my comfort zone maybe?!!! lol . . . weather had brightened up, as forecast, into a pretty sunny day. Right - I pretty much feed Sally the same amount of food as I always have - and yet she's gained weight this last year. MUST be because I've been doing all this DIY and haven't given her as many of those good long walks as usual. Outta do a long walk - and I could test drive my new, 'new' belt pouch! lol . . set off with Sally around 4:30pm. The way LBs animals are kept, remained prominant in my mind. I have a silly habit with Sally, when I'm intending to do a long river walk and she doesn't yet know. I'll walk her to the local field like normal - let her off her lead - and then call her sternly straight back to me. Then I'll instruct her to come to heal and sit. At this point, I kneel down beside her, put my arm in a domineering 'alpha male' way over her shoulders - amd whisper in her ear - "Do you want to do the BIG walk?". The answer is - always - very bouncy and waggy, sometimes barky, and she rushes backwards and forwards off in the different direction we go, when we are heading out on the big walk. :o) Why do I do that? Cause it's kinda like giving her a nice suprise - before the event. It kinda proves there is 'someone' in there. There is a 'communication' between us, at that moment. Extraordinary. Wonderful. And what a joy and delight to have the power to make someone SO happy. <Buddhist moment!!!> Why are people SO immune to others' suffering? . on the way down to Eastville park, I had to cross the busy main road, and used the pedestrian controlled crossing like usual. As a result of stopping the queue of traffic, a moped rider had an accident behind me with a sickening crunch of plastic. Didn't actually see what happened - but he got up alright, rubbing his leg as he ran to pick up his heap of broken plastic. I think the incident happened in the bus lane - and it looked to me like the moped rider was probably as much at fault as the car - and if they'd both driven within the law, the thing wouldn't have happened. Then again - if I hadn't crossed the road right then, it wouldn't have happened would it! Oh well - that's one pratt on a moped off the road - 'something' good came of it. Maybe I should stitch a small picture of a moped on my belt pouch - like notches - to keep score. :o) . .sat on a bench down by the lake and smoked a cigarette in the peace and quiet - but not for long. Given the number of people with children and dogs and the like, out for a pleasant stroll around the lake, I was rather suprised the little yob on the off-road motorcycle with a raucous exhaust, actually decided to carry on along the path around the lake! As I am prone to do, I pulled out my camera as he came along, and pretended (I had it on the wrong function) to take a photo of him. This caused him to instantly pull up his hood, and swerve towards me (I was sat down low on a bench), and try to kick me in the head as he rode past! It's reaching the point where nothing suprises me any more. That didn't particularly. I simply ended up having the usual detailed day dreams (worrying from a mental health point of view) about what I would like to do to him given these (ridiculous) circumstances, or those, etc, etc (mostly involving the lake - others involving removing and throwing into the woods, the spark plug cap!!). Luckily for us both, he just carried on, rampaging through the woods upsetting absolutely everyone within sight and earshot. I carried on along the river. Down to Snuff Mills, Oldbury Court, several long cigarette sits by the river - and then eventually back home via the roads of Fishponds . . . next door popped in to deliver the cheap 5 bag of chocolate I'd asked her to get me the other day from where she works. It amused me to call her 'sweet thing' (cause she was delivering my sweets) - I think that worried her! lol . . .sat in the garden with a coffee and miniature bar of Cadburys 'Flake' (all in soft focus and slow motion to the strains of "only the crumb-li-est flake-i-est cho-o-oc-late", etc etc lolol) . Hmmm - that pond water is STILL looking really rather brown and cloudy! Hope that is just that fine grained sludge in suspension and NOT some pollution from the rubber paint stuff!! . . TVd. . .PCd a bit of this . . . BB called - briefly - from the 'emergency room', apparantly just going in for a brain scan. Do WHAT!!! Do bloody WHAT?!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok - she'd said she had a headache the other day, but I didn't realise it was anything out of the ordinary!! She'd gone to have her blood pressure taken earlier, explained stuff to the nurse, and then was advised to get straight down to the emergency room for tests and scans!!!! THAT changed my mood! Imagined all sorts of horror. Thought of Dad quite a bit. Imagined - um - er - well - you can probably imagine! :o( Put the TV back on next to me at the PC, only to immediately find someone on the channel talking about something in someones brain!! Oh jeeze - guess I'd better listen to whatever they are saying, just in case I may find it 'useful' for 'a' future. Turned out the growth they were talking about, was an 'alien implant'! lololololol Yeah - right - that'll be it then. Turned the TV off. . . ate the last half a chicken, four pieces of bread and butter and the last of the coleslaw and then a bunch of chocolate. . .eventually to bed in the early hours. pas
23 - Up after 7am. Coffee and cigarettes in the garden - putting off calling BB, because I really didn't want to hear any bad news! :o( I think I have come to rely on BB 'being there', more than I know. BB called to say all the scans had been done and everything looked as though it was ok-ish. Something weird about a burst cyst in her head - but nothing much to worry about because apparantly it's quite common!!!! Well, I've never heard of that! Made me think of Dad - and that old horror film when I was a kid, called 'Scanners'!! lol . . walked. One less poop scoop bin this morning - set fire to in the night! :o(. . . more coffee and cigarettes in the garden. Weird - that tobacco I bought on the street from that Chinese immigrant - tastes 'different' to normal!! . . Aha - looks as though the pond water IS slowly, oh SO slowly starting to clear. Still seems to be holding water ok, so, with a bit of luck, that rubberised coating has done the trick for a while longer. :o) . . . up in the attic and used the electric circular saw to cut up all the now redundant old chipboard wardrobe doors etc. I've been using as loft flooring for the last few years. Also cut up into 'Fiesta hatchback sized chunks', the two old main lintels. I WAS thinking about keeping those big old bits of wood and maybe making something out of them (meditation seat for sitting cross legged on the floor maybe? I sat on one of those at the meditation centre once - literally an angled plank of wood only a couple of inches off the floor, but couldn't believe how perfect and incredibly comfortable it was. Better than any cushion.) but I figure I've enough work on my plate without messing around with such stuff. . loaded everything into the back of the car, including all the sacks of dust, rubble and pond debris I've had stacked in the front garden for a while. Left Sally at home and drove to the council tip and disposed of it all. Couldn't resist reaching over the loading bay and rescuing a short length of 4x2" from the top of the wood heap that someone had thrown away. That'll do me a noggin somewhere. :o) As usual - SUCH a nice feeling driving back from the tip with it all gone. . . back up in the attic and cut and glued all the noggins to join the three lower 4x4s on the rear roof slope. So - tomorrow, when that's all dried, I'll be ready to attempt to remove that last old purlin. . .cleaned up and then ate two defrosted pasties with three bags of crisps, a banana and then far too much chocolate . . . napped. Didn't wake until around 7:15pm!! . . . walked. Aha - at last! The chance to have a word with someone going into that house round the corner with the skip outside. The skip full of neat 'stuff' - including a rusty battered old CEMENT MIXER!!! Been walking past that for the last couple of days, every time I walk Sally - wondering if I should take the risk of lumbering myself with it in the hope that maybe I could get it working enough to use it a bit. That's probably one of the worst things about all this DIY I've been doing (and still need to do). The manual mixing of loads of cement. I even looked at the price of cement mixers the last time I was in the DIY store - but far too expensive - and I wouldn't want to have to keep one laying around for ever. The guy confirmed it 'should' still be working - but was dumped because the mixing 'bowl' had split. He had no objection to my having it. If it IS only a small split in the 'bowl', maybe I could weld it up? (Damn - see - I should never have sold my MIG welder! The ARC welder will simply burn away that thinness of old battered, rusty metal.). . dropped Sally off at home and then returned to the skip with a pair of old gloves, and dragged the really heavy old mixer out. Yep - it's split along the seam - but it's GOTTA be worth a go. If it doesn't work out, it'll just be another trip to the tip. Dragged the rusty cement covered thing all the way home (a little embarassed), dumped it in the front garden and then returned for what appeared to be some sort of stand - although, I think some vital part of the stand is sadly missing. Gave Sally her food and then dragged the mixer round into the back garden. Removed the broken plug, fitted a new one, and then nervously plugged it in. Nothing. Bugger! Oh well. :o( Five minutes later, looking over the wreck to see how I could dismantle it before throwing it away, I discovered the on-off switch under a rusty plate. Plugged it in - turned it on - it worked! ALLllll right. :o) So - how do I fix that split in the metal bowl. Hmmmm - maybe even some weird piece of metal plate - rivetted to the outside - with some sort of waterproof stuff sandwiched between would do sufficiently to make 'some' use of it? Hmm? . . covered the electrics with a bin liner and bungy and left it sat out on the patio . . . touched base with BB . . .touched base with Mum . . . sat in the garden . . . PCd a bit of this until deep into the early hours. There's probably more - but I only have the patience/endurance to type 'so' much - and in the grand scheme of things - what IS the point in ANY of it? None I believe . . . ate a banana then eventually to bed around 3am, only to find difficulty getting to sleep!! ps
24 - Up before 7am. . .walked and got caught out by the heavy rain before reaching back home. Wet again! Found 7p. . .did the hard graft to take out the last of the old lintels on the back roof slope and then cut and glued the connecting 4x2s either side of the skylights, just like I've done on the front slope. So - the last of the big milestones for a while. I now have a large unobstructed space beneath the 'self supporting' roof. :o) Pretty windy outside - not a bad loading test for my new roof supports. Didn't even hear a creak. :o). . . ate two defrosted pasties with two bags of crisps and then a banana. Napped around 1:30pm. .woken around 4pm by some door to door salesmen or other. Grrrr. I really AM gonna have to put one of those 'old mannish' notes near the doorbell saying no sales callers! . . . ended up back up in the attic cementing up the easier of one of the holes where the old lintels used to sit. Three more to do, and all far more difficult because of all the missing bricks and holes through into next door, that have been revealed! :o( Spent a while clearing up, up there, bagging more rubble, dust and sawdust. . . walked and found 2p . . .touched base with BB . . . TVd . . . ate bowls of co-co pops before bed. pas
25 - Up around 6am. . .touched base with BB . . .walked . . .up in the attic again. Tidied up a bit and carried two more floorboard sheets up there to improve the coverage of the temporary flooring - now the lintel supports are out of the way . . cemented up the three main holes in the walls where the lintels had been and where all the missing bricks were revealed. Hard work right through until around 5pm!. . . napped until around 7:15pm! . . .BIG rainstorm just as I was about to walk! Walked in waterproofs. Stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home, now the chip shop is open again after their two weeks holiday. . .touched base with BB . . . TVd until bed around midnight. ps
26 - Up around 7:20am. . .walked. . .PCd and played a little music while having a gentle go at working out the measurements for a flight of stairs up into the attic. I don't believe it! That cheap tape measure I bought in Wickes - the return spring has broken already! :o( Dismantled it and attempted to remedy the problem but to no avail. Cheap rubbish! Grrrr. Wonder if I still have the receipt?. . . ended up out on the patio having a go at fixing up the cement mixer. Spent AGES scraping off huge amounts of old caked on cement and then wire brushing it with the drill - once I'd got the drill working again!! It'd suddenly just stopped working. Turned out to be just the plug. The screw that clamps the negative wire had become really loose and almost undone completely! It ISN'T my imagination - I'm certain my theory about that sort of thing happening is right. I reckon over time, the 'pulsating' of the alternating current somehow actually loosens the screws. I always do them up as firmly as I dare, but on several occasions on different plugs and wall sockets, I've found them to end up all loose like that! I think it is not a bad idea to check them every now and then - but that's such a hassle with the wall sockets. I wonder if that is why the post office engineers did (annual?) safety checks on such things when I worked there. They put dated safety stickers on everything so they knew when they'd last done it. . Never had a go at 'panel beating' before, but had a go on the abused and battered bowl of that cement mixer. Improved things quite a bit but jeeze, WHAT a noise!! My ears ended up ringing and whistling like I'd been to a Motorhead concert! Poor neighbours - lots of banging, scraping, drilling, welding, grinding noise - all day!! :o/ Boy WHAT a hassle - but eventually managed to weld up the mixing bowl on the cement mixer with my arc welder. Terrible welds because the metal was SO thin. Burned lots of holes straight through and then had to try and fill them back up! Got through a bunch of old welding rods. Ended up with quite a mess - and probably as much slag in the welds as metal- but it seemed to be 'firmer' and should hold for a while longer with luck. Filled the bowl with water from the hose pipe. There WERE maybe half a dozen leaks - but just sort of 'runs' rather than 'squirts' - not 'that' bad. In fact - I reckon the first attempt at mixing a load of cement would happily plug those pin holes. Nevertheless, I still had some of that 'Plastic Padding' leak fix stuff left from when I had a go at fixing a hole in the pond a few years ago, so I mixed some of that up and smeared it all over the outside of the welded seam. Even actually put some on the inside to smooth off the gaps, in the full knowledge that most would probably be worn away by a mix of cement. Even had to re-weld the blades on the inside of the bowl because they'd both rusted and come away from the sides. Lots of hassle, trying to get my head and shoulders inside the mixer to do the welds!! Not healthy! Called it quits around 6:30pm!! A lot of hard mucky work, but I've just GOT to give it my best shot haven't I. I mean - it's a cement mixer for goodness sake!! For nothing!!. . . Vandalised cars!cleaned up and then walked. Good grief - now what? Just down the road and round the corner, a police car was parked up near a couple of other parked cars (no sign of the police). Both cars had apparantly been vandalised!!?? One in particular (the one in front of the police car) had all the side windows, windscreen and lights all smashed. On the opposite side of the road, another'd had its rear window smashed, exactly where that car had been smashed up before with building blocks , on the 12th February!! Some sort of vendetta? Or just the same idiot yobs? Worrying! :o( Surely - that must have taken a time to do - it's a pretty busy road in broad daylight - someone MUST have seen who did it!. .Oh dear. Looks as though Sally has her latest stomach upset. Bet I get woken in the night, tonight. :o(. . . defrosted roast chicken and potatoes . . . BB called . . . ate roast chicken, potatoes and a pint of gravy and then HUGE amounts of chocolate. Almost fell asleep on the living room floor! . . to bed before 11pm. . . Woken by Sally around 2:30am needing to use the garden. Couldn't get back to sleep and then was roused by Sally again around 3:15am! Ended up watching TV and drinking coffee and eating biscuits until around 4am before eventually back to sleep!! pas
27 - Up around 8am. . .walked. . .left Sally at home and set off to drive to the DIY stores at Longwell Green. Rather than turn the car around like I usually would, I decided to drive round the block, so I would pass the house with the skip outside where I got the cement mixer. Sooner or later I need to catch that guy outside his house and have a word. Yayyyy. As luck would have it, there he was. Pulled up all double parked, leaped out and asked him about the cement mixer stand. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out how it was supposed to work, and was pretty sure I had something missing. (Although of course it really wasn't totally necessary, to make use of it. Just easier, higher.) Good natured guy – seems to do up houses for a living, (with a Porchse Boxter in the garage!) so he has a different attitude about ‘stuff’. I joked that my house was full of his old stuff – my PC speakers, PC chair and the cement mixer! lol He confirmed there WAS another bit of the stand in the skip somewhere. In I went rummaging around and eventually succeeded in pulling out the rusting mass of cement which was apparently the other part. In conversation he confirmed that ‘time is money’ to him – so he hasn’t got time to mess around trying to fix old cement mixers (the new one he bought, isn’t as good as that old one) or sell some of the stuff he throws in this skip – which suits me fine. :o) I asked him for instance, why he was throwing out that rather new looking builders bucket I had my eye on. ‘Cause it’s dirty’ he said!! Weird. I’ll have that too then, thank you very much. lololol . . .drove to Wickes and bought a 50m spool of heavy duty 1.5mm lighting cable for 9.99. . Looked all over the place for some ‘Hammerite’ type paint for use on the cement mixer. I really wanted orange – like all such equipment is painted – and at a push would have settled for yellow, but neither were available. Went in the two other big DIY stores nearby, but still no sign of the colour I wanted. Bought the ceiling rose I'd forgotten to buy in Wickes. Oh well – to hell with the colour – just buy some paint and get it protected against the rust. BB had joked that I’d probably end up painting it white – like I do everything! I really didn’t want to - but - well – ok then. Bought a big tin of smooth white Ronseal 'No Rust' for 12.46 in B&Q!! . . . Cleaned out my 'came up like new' builders bucket. :o) White? A 'white' cement mixer?!!!! <Shudder>Worked on the mixer for the rest of the day, chiselling, scraping and wire brushing off ancient layers of cement, and trying to de-rust bits and pieces enough to get some protective paint back on. Actually - kinda lost sight of what I was doing and got bogged down in 'restore' mode, like I used to do with my motorbikes. Started getting a bit fanatical about the rust. If it's rusty - wire brush it and paint it - never mind if it actually needs it to be functional! By the end of the day, I’d succeeded in at least protecting the ‘mixing bowl’ and one or two other small parts – and had almost used up the entire tin of paint already!!! Looks VERY silly white- but it WILL be easier to detect rust and splits etc.! I need to resist doing any more work on it, until I’ve actually tried mixing a load of cement, to make sure it won’t fall apart. I may yet be wasting my time. Trouble is, I'm not really in a position in terms of progress anywhere, to use a big load of cement just at the moment, and I think smaller amounts are still best done by hand in a bucket. . walked. Hadn't eaten all day (again!) so treated myself to a kebab and chips takeaway on the way home . . . BB called to touch base briefly. . . PS popped round for chats. He brought his Turkish counterfeit DVDs again, so we ended up watching "The Hitch-hikers Guide To The Galaxy" film. Not sure if it was just the mood I was in or what – but I thought that film was absolute tedious rubbish. Preferred the old TV series. Terrible difficulty staying awake. Would have been in bed by 11pm if not for PS. BB called briefly. Straight to bed around 12:30am as soon as PS had stepped out the door! Dunno what's going on with me, but I seem to have been SO busy of late. Not enough hours in the day (and not enough energy) to do all I want to do!!pas
28 - Up around 7:30am. . .walked. . .sat in the garden with a coffee. Uh oh!! Oh no!! Looks like the pond level has dropped again. :o( Ok - no more time consuming attempts at temporary repairs. It'll have to wait for a major overhaul/new liner fit some time in the future. . . PCd this . . .sat around . . ate sandwiches . . . napped . . . walked. Rebuilt the fence and signs around all the roadworks near the field which brainless yobs keep destroying! . . . sat in the garden and drank a glass of wine. Filled the pond up with the hose. . . TVd . . .BB called . . . sat in the garden and then up in the attic a bit . . . put in a bit of time with some graph paper trying to work out a plan for a staircase up into the attic . . . ate chicken and mushroom pastry slices and chocolate before bed around 1am. ps
29 - Woken by Sally around 7:10am. . .pond is low again. :o( . . . walked and yet again put all the roadworks signs and the big fence back up. . .coffee in the garden. Wow – that pond seems to be losing water from at least the top half, worse than ever! :o( . . . put in a couple of hours working in the attic and put in the big ‘X’ pieces of 4 by 2 between the skylights front and back . . . ate sandwiches . . . napped . . .walked . . . touched base with BB . . . ate bowls of co-co pops before bed around midnight. ps
30 - Up around 7am. . .walked and found 3p. . . sat in the garden with a coffee and cigarettes looking at the state of the draining pond. It’s no good – I couldn't help myself having just ONE more go at a temporary repair. Dragged the old dustbin back out from under the stairs and set it up in the garden next to the pond, together with a large collection of buckets and old paint containers etc, etc. On my knees bailing with a bucket and eventually succeeded in removing almost all the remaining water from the pond. Ushered three adult frogs to safety in the little frog ‘caves’ I built in around the pond. Found one fingernail sized one in the water and took special care over relocating that one to the dustbin. Ended up with a horrific amount of foul smelling toxic black sludge left in the bottom of the pond! Horrible stuff and such fine particles, the water in the dustbin and buckets was SO cloudy, it was pretty clear all the pond life was having trouble – um – breathing I guess! :o( Eventually laboriously scooped it all out into buckets with a coffee mug, and then wiped it all clean with an old car sponge! Probably should have tipped it out all over the garden, but I didn’t want to consign to death whatever may still be alive in the sludge. Ended up tipping it out on the patio and washing it down the drain in the corner with the hose pipe, rescuing the odd water snail as they appeared. Uh oh – very quickly ended up with a blocked drain!! Damn. There is a ‘U’ bend trap in that drain, in the corner of the patio, so I never worry ‘too’ much about just hosing stuff down there – including whenever I mix up a load of cement! Inevitably it WILL eventually block, so depending on what I’ve been up to, maybe once or twice a year, I have to unblock it and dispose of the debris. So – in the middle of all the pond chaos, I had to get the ladder out, climb up and undo the single screw which holds the gutter/downpipe connection. That enables me to quickly lift the downpipe out and then pull up the grill cover of the drain and get my hand in. Ewwww. Yucky! Yep – I guess I HAVE been mixing quite a bit of cement of late. Pulled out handfuls of the stuff (all nicely formed into the shape of the trap) before I was good for squirting the hose down there until it was all clear and clean and ready for all putting back. . Oh dear. On close ‘fingertip’ examination, that old fibre glass pond liner is pretty much beyond salvage! A huge crack was visible right across where I once used that leak fix stuff on it! That rubberised paint (actually rather predictably) was a wasted effort and was peeling off all over the place, where the water had got in behind it. :o( What to do? I am absolutely NOT prepared to do without a pond. There are few things in this world that I can readily identify as giving me ‘pleasure’ – but having a pond to sit by, with frogs and stuff to keep me entertained, is definitely one of them. In an ideal world, I guess I’d have a cement lined pond, but I just can’t face the prospect of all that work. And at the end of the day, if my patio concrete is anything to go by, it’d probably end up developing one or two big expansion cracks and then leak! So – despite really not liking the idea (because they only ever seem to have a relatively short lifespan) I guess I’m gonna have to go the ‘plastic liner’ route. Dabbled with the idea of going and buying a proper one, but eventually figured (despite the risks because it is rather thinner than a proper liner) I may as well attempt to use some of that roll of damp proof membrane I still have stashed away under the stairs, because I certainly won’t be needing it all when I eventually (if ever!) get back round to finishing off the DPC work in the kitchen. . lay a huge piece of the plastic in the pond (on top of the existing liner) and started filling it up with the hose, while attempting to make sure it bedded in ok. Managed to ‘peel back’ the earth and greenery from all around the pond and mostly managed to wrap the trimmed edges of the plastic in under the lip of the old fibre glass liner, before laying the earth and greenery all back down. Seemed to end up looking ok. . poured all the buckets straight back in and then baled the dustbin back. Lifted out masses of the pond weed by hand. Oh no! Stuck to some of that weed was the little frog I’d relocated earlier – lifeless. :o( Such a shame. Felt awful. Put the poor little thing on the bank next to the pond, but he was definitely dead. :o( Finally got the water level in the dustbin down low enough to be able to pour the rest straight into the pond. Terrible amounts of that horrible sludge suspended in the water. All the pond life seemed to migrate to near the surface. Masses of squirming wriggling things. Ewwww. And HUGE numbers of those little light coloured leaches ‘waving’ around!! Blimey – more like a swamp than a pond!! NOT healthy! . . . hosed everything down and lay all the containers in the sun to dry and then spent ages just looking into the pond. Hang on. Oh my god!! That little frog had come back to life, and was sat there recovering, albeit looking rather shell shocked. How cool is that. SO pleased. :o) Eventually while my back was turned, he disappeared. :o) . . a while later there was a loud ‘plopp’ and one of the adult frogs had come out of his cave and jumped into the water. Blimey – it’s that one with a foot and hand missing. How long ago was it I relocated him to the pond from – um – was that one rescued from LBs cats? That is SO cool – that he’s managed to survive. :o) . .oh well – lets see how long the water stays in this time. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if that plastic isn’t designed to be exposed to UV light and will deteriorate pretty quickly. Fingers crossed. . . ate multiple bowls of cornflakes with masses of sugar and then lay down for a couple of hours nap . . . woke after 7pm feeling a bit yukky and still very tired. . .walked late. . .watched quite a bit of the news about the devastation caused in the US by hurricane Katrina. . . touched base with BB . . . returned Mums ansaphone call . . . sat in the garden and then TVd. The cable company have changed things and are now calling their TV ‘Teleport’!? The one good thing about it from my point of view is that they have a ‘replay’ option on the menu. Basically, on demand repeats of some of the programs that have been on in recent days. Sadly I have no control over what programs they include, but they DO include a whole bunch of reality cop shows –‘Street Crime UK’. So – when I’m in the mood to TV and am bored by what’s on, I can call one of those up on demand – and pause it, when I need to go and get co-co pops or more chocolate. :o) . . . ate danish salami sandwiches and two bags of crisps and then some chocolate. To bed a little after midnight. pa
31 - Woken by Sally before 7am. . . BB called briefly. . . walked. Retrieved a bunch of wood drill bits from the guys skip down the road, to add to my drill bit collection. :o) . . . PCd a bit of this . . . did laundry and dishwashing chores and gently tidied up around the place, just a bit. Strangely pleasurable just pottering around after all the recent hard graft . . cooked up four beefburgers with chips for lunch. . . napped . . . woken just before 5pm by a thunder and lightning storm. Climbed up into the attic to see what I could see. Spotted a few pretty spectacular forks of lightning from up there. I guess the only sort of weather I’ve not seen from those skylights now is snow – that should be pretty cool. :o). . . vacuumed, tidied up a little more and put another load of laundry on . . . walked after the storm had passed. VERY warm out. . . PCd a bit of this but these days I seem to be finding it more and more difficult to sit at the PC - and will do anything but!. . . touched base with BB . . . sat in the garden . . . TVd. . . ate garlic sausage and lettuce sandwiches with two bags of crisps, a tray of jaffa cakes and then a bunch of chocolate before bed around 1:30am. ps