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August
1 - Woken by Sally 'clatter' around 7am. Headachey. (I'd forgotten about that. When I'm not on prozac, I get a lot more (daily?) headaches for some reason!?? Increased subconscious stress maybe?) . . walked in the sun . . ate a banana and then PCd this at length, crunching an annadin tablet, putting off having to get back to sanding down the filler on the back bedroom walls! Uggh . . . sanded! Much. All this DIY - it's enough to turn you grey! Clouds of white dust on everything everywhere again - still - again - more. Despite the mess, the walls ended up being not 'too' bad. Concentrated on two bits of different walls and dabbed on just a little more filler here and there on the odd imperfections/bits I'd missed. I'm gonna do this room in a piecemeal weird way, rather than just get on and do it all at once - the reason being the electrics. The single original socket in this room is on the stud wall RIGHT next to the thermostat control on the bottom right, of the radiator by the door. Not particularly safe (being so close to a potential water source) and in a completely unuseable location - so it simply needs to go. Because of all the dust and mess etc, I need the door shut while I work at it all, so I don't want to have to resort to having trailing extension leads going out of the room to bring power to my tools. So - what I've decided to do, is concentrate on the parts of the two stud walls where I'm going to put in new double power sockets (and a couple of singles for phone/? etc.), and actually get those areas wallpapered and pretty much 'done', so I can hook up and 'commision' the sockets before removing the old original one. Makes sense to me - I think. . . eventually called it quits around 2pm, showered and then ate Mum donated corned beef and mayo sandwiches with crisps and a little chocolate. . no word from Mum yet?!? . . walked with Sally up to see what was happening at Mums. Turned out, the workmen had not 'that' long been gone - they were finished! Amazing - although poor Mum looked as stressed and worn out, as if she'd done it all herself!! 'Compulsive self reliance' is something we both share, and having workmen in to mess with your world, and having to relinquish 'control' like that, IS a hellish experience for us (I know only too well from when I had my roof repaired!). . messed around sweeping up a little and washing away some of the dust in the garden, before playing with the 'Chinese puzzle' which was the stuck down lino tiles which had been taken up by the workman in the kitchen. He hadn't numbered them so they could go back down the way they came up (like I had the carpet tiles the other day), and unfortunately several of them were trimmed to fit a certain way! I think I got there in the end by carefully studying the glue marks and dirt! They didn't go back down particularly well because of all the sawdust stuck in the adhesive - but they'll do for the time being. Frankly, neither Mum nor I imagined that they'd be able to be replaced at all, so that was a bonus. All in all - despite a bit of tiling/boxing in of pipes being required in the kitchen beneath the new boiler (and of course you can't get those tiles any more), and ignoring all the things I would have had done differently, I reckon Mum had escaped major disruption miraculously! So much so, despite her exhaustion and need to sit with multiple cups of tea, I was eager to get on and replace all her living room furniture and just get it done, so she'd be almost 'whole' right there and then - complete with a nice new boiler. Mum recovered sufficiently to agree and a within an hour or so, the furniture was pretty much all back in place and the stereo, TV, DVD, video etc, all wired up and tested working ok (although I have a suspicion the TV aerial in the attic 'may' have been 'touched' when the vent pipe was put through the roof - TV picture was grottier than I could live with, but Mum insisted it was ok and quite often does that in different weather conditions!). Eventually left her to it - very close to being back to usual. What a relief - for us both! :o) . . walked. Ended up coming home in a really angry mood! Some complete idiot in their wisdom, has installed a railing around the seats under the roof in Bgdns where I and SO many others usually sit and admire the panoramic view. The idiocy about it (aside from the fact that it just is NOT in ANY way necessary for ANYONE'S safety and is a total waste of money) is that it has been positioned at just the perfect height to completely spoil the view when sat on the seats. No matter how you slouch or sit upright, you spend your whole time trying to peer over or under the railing!! One of the best, most enjoyable 'sitting down' views in the whole town, destroyed for everyone just like that! F***ing idiots! If they hadn't welded the ends of the rail to the metal roof supports, I'd have taken my socket set down there and bl**dy well removed/vandalised it myself! GRRrrrrrr!! So - I won't be sitting there any more. :o( They'd have been far better off spending that money on new, metal anti-vandal seating in the pill boxes/gun emplacements!! Have I really moved down here, just in time to see it all go to pot? I SO hope not! . . sanded a little bit of the filler in the bedroom and then 'sized' the two bits of wall with wallpaper paste. HAD to get that done today, so it could dry overnight, otherwise that would have cost me another days delay. Finished up around 10pm . . ate bowls of cornflakes and a banana . TVd . . to bed around 11:30pm. ga
2 - Woke just before 8am!. . . walked in the rain . . touched base with Mum to check all was ok and she'd had a nice hot bath! lolol . . wallpapered part of both stud walls (only two and a fiddley bit drops on one wall, one and a fiddley bit on the other). Unscrewed and lifted floorboards in the front bedroom and on the landing and, to cut a long awkward story short, successfully fitted and wired up the two new double power sockets in the back bedroom. The 'bonus' of the days work was, I was also able to connect up the phone socket in there using the last of a bit of the extension wire I have laying around. So - working phone sockets (all of them those expensive ones with built in broadband filters) in every bedroom now. Ha. Flexible. :o) On top of all that, I was also able to remove the original single socket from the wall and a good chunk of the original wiring, complete with one of the nasty under floorboard junction boxes. In fact - the two ends of my monster 'spur' where I've rewired the bedrooms, are now both accessible from the raised/loose floorboard sections under the landing carpet. What that means is, it's 'only' (!!) a matter of running two new lengths of cable up from the fusebox in the 'nearby' understairs cupboard, to actually complete the new first floor loop. Yayy. It's long slow hard work, but I'm getting there. Sadly I've run out of cable so I can't do any more until I've bought some (and I am a little 'scared' of my new unfamiliar fuse box. I've yet to figure out how it dismantles and how to connect the loops in - without killing myself in the process!! Unlike back in Bristol, the only main 'off' switch for this house, appears to be a part of the fusebox rather than a totally seperate (safer?) isolation switch!) Finished up around 5pm by using wood glue to stick some bits of wallboard into the hole left by the original socket. Every time I've put in a new socket, I've kept the bit of wallboard I've cut out (I have a 'collection'), for just such jobs. A bit of filler and smoothing over and you'll never know there was a hole there. All in all, I was very happy with the results of the days work (and even filled up two carrier bags clearing up ancient debris from under the floorboards! Found one of the old original ('bakolite'?) light switches under there, complete with the circular wooden wall mounting plate! Think I may have to remove all the old paint from it, clean it up, and keep it as a souvenir somewhere. You just HAVE to be impressed by the quality of all such old stuff, compared to todays mass produced, short lifespan, plastic rubbish). I always get a really satisfied kick out of actually connecting up new sockets and having them all working when I'm finished. I even find satisfaction in the 'familiarity' I now have with doing them (after having done so many over the years) and almost actually look forward to doing them - hold the wire in the palm of my hand; cut down the outer with a stanley knife the width of my hand and then spread it back like a banana skin before 'nicking' it off; bare each of the wire ends about a finger-width long (using the stanley knife to cut cleanly/precisely around the sleeves before twist and pulling each off with a thumb and forefinger. Proper wire cutters/strippers seem to have a habit of slightly stretching the sleeve and giving a less tidy/uniform end); use one type of pliers to hold the two ends of like wires in the loop adjacent to each other and another pair of pliers to tightly twist them together before locating them in the back of the switch plate, the perfect depth with no bare wire showing; etc, etc, etc. Really satisfying to me. I should have been an electrician or some similar trade, where I kinda 'create' stuff. . . rewarded myself for todays progress by doing the long walk with Sally through the woods and then down onto the beach to sit for ages leaning against a rock, supping a can of Stella and smoking a cigarette or two. . . eventually headed back feeling a bit tipsy and sobered up by cooking and eating a tin of sausages in baked beans, three fried eggs, three rashers of bacon, four pieces of bread and butter and then of course a little chocolate. . struggled to stay awake waiting for BBs call time, but almost fell asleep on the floor next to Sally and just HAD to give up - and was in bed before 10pm!! Woken briefly some time later by BB calling. gd
3 - Woke earlier and then up around 6:15am . . .walked . . sat around in the garden with coffee and cigarettes but eventually persuaded myself that heading off to the DIY store for 'supplies' would be a good thing to do, because I can't make a 'great' deal more progress until I have more filler, wallpaper, etc. and particularly another reel of 2.5mm twin and earth mains cable (which I know is gonna be real expensive because of the ever rising price of copper, what with the explosion of the economy in China and all that). . left Sally at home and set off in the car around 8:30am. As I'd hoped, it was still early enough to escape the usual queues of traffic, and incredibly it was 'almost' a clear run. Drove past the DIY store and explored the nearby industrial estate, looking for the electrical supplies (to the trade) place I knew was up there somewhere, assuming such a place would be cheaper than Focus. They had cable, allegedly on special offer, BUT for 100 meter reels! As I said to the really friendly/helpful guy behind the counter - "Blimey - I'm only doing ONE house! I'll have to buy another house to make it worthwhile!". Ummd and ahhd a bit but eventually decided to go for it. Including the VAT, it came to 41.12 - but the nice guy said 40 would do and (I was paying cash) that was all he took from me!! :o) So - I guess I'll not have to buy any more of that, this lifetime then. (Who knows, it 'may' even be enough to one day, as is my intention-hopefully, have a go at routing power up to the garage somehow (although I'd always figured armoured cable would be better for that, even if it's in carefully placed, surface mounted plastic conduit - which is what I figured I'd end up having to do, because of the amount of garden which is tiered/cemented/paved/planted etc.)). . back to Focus and spent another 46.50 on plaster, filler, switches, socket boxes, wallpaper adhesive, three more rolls of lining paper, tube of clear sealant (for a 'proper' go at sealing the outside of the bay windows at some point when the weather is prolonged good and I have the energy), etc etc etc!!! Right then - enough to keep me busy for ages. On my income/budget, that all seems like a hell of a lot of money to me - but I guess in the grand scheme of things, and particularly in view of the difference it makes to the house (adding value? 'Functionality' and homeliness for sure!) it really isn't much at all, and is WELL worth the investment . .back home and applied just a bit of filler to a couple of the walls (mostly to the 'scar' where the original power socket used to be) before deciding to 'have a day off from it' because I just did not want to get all mucky and exhausted again today. . ate a couple of bananas throughout the day. The thing with these bananas - they are pretty much the only fruit I REALLY like (and my falling-out teeth can now manage!). When I go shopping, I always have to buy stuff in bulk, in order not to have to go shopping too often. Bit of a bad move when it comes to bananas. The whole bunch(s) all go ripe around the same time, so I then have to try and eat them all up real quick over a couple of days before they go off!. . . pottered around, PCd/TVd the day away until it was time to leave Sally at home and head off to see the counsellor (and apologise - again - for not having read the book yet!) . . deliberately set off a little early to give me time to check out a charity shop or two again. Popped into a high street butchers shop (a 'proper' one (with the smell of sawdust?) like used to be everywhere before the supermarkets killed them all off) on the spur of the moment, on the offchance they may have some bones for Sally. Given the number of dog owners down this way, it seemed unlikely, but worth a shot. The butcher seemed kindof - um - 'evasive'!? Something to do with all the new safety rules and regulations about discarding animal waste. Apparantly some specialist firm collects it all and they all have to sign for it etc, etc. Nevertheless, once he'd convinced me I wasn't going to get any, he dashed out the back and returned with a couple of eight inch long really fresh, bloody bones, and sealed them in a bag for me - and cheerily bid me farewell. He didn't even ask any payment - which I was expecting to have to give! Cool. Lucky Sally. :o) (Felt guilty I didn't buy anything in there! 'Next' time?) . . in to the doctors to see the poor counsellor and engage in my usual hour of seemingly pointless verbal diarrhoea about all manner of nothing! Uh oh - I think she's accepted I'm liable not to get round to reading that book she gave me - so she asked for it back (next week) but gave me a different one to borrow!! 'Overcoming Low Self Esteem Self-Help Course' by Melanie Fennell. Part one of a 3-part programme based on Cognitive Behavioural Techniques. . . straight back home (to sneak the bones past Sally and put them in the fridge for later) and sat in the garden and read for a bit. Yep - that's more like it. I think she's 'on the money' with this book. Far more relevant to the root of my issues I think (although with it's spaces for writing in answers to questions, and 'thoughts arising', it does seem a little - um - 'childish' or 'Big Dummy's Guide' ish somehow for my 'liking'!). This one I probably WILL read - and am already eager to get my hands on parts two and three! . . . walked (trying to think - 'I'm OK'. lolol) . stopped off for milk on the way home and bought a pack of three of those delicious but expensive 'Warburtons' finger sandwich bread rolls. Mums fault that. She keeps on buying them for me and I've now got a real taste for them. Wonderful bread. Trouble is, for the price of one pack of those, I could FILL my freezer with my usual cheap loaves of bread from Sainsburys!! . . ate the rolls, buttered, and spread with microwaved chopped onion in butter with melted grated cheese, and with a slice of bacon in each. Mmm mmm. . gave Sally her bone out in the garden. She VERY much appreciated it and it was gone in no time. She then got all bouncy, woofy and playful as if to convey her thanks for the treat. lol . . would you believe it! The first time in absolutely ages I score some bones for Sally, it turns out from the news, there has been another outbreak of foot and mouth disease in this country - over Sussex way I think! I trust that can't be passed to dogs! I'll never understand why this country is in such a mess. (actually - yes I will. Obviously people's selfishness, greed, corruption, appathy, etc. ) The place is full of guns, drugs, illegal immigrants, etc, etc - and now foot and mouth again. It's a b****y ISLAND for chrissakes! How hard can it be, if you REALLY wanna make it so? Crazy . . BB called to touch base . . TVd/PCd/listened to music and ate chocolate/Mr Kipling slices and biscuits until bed after midnight. gs
4 - Up around 7am . . walked . . sat in the front garden for a coffee and cigarette but as is so often the case, spotted brambles and stuff growing up all over the place, so ended up dabbling with just a little bit of pruning with the secateurs for a few minutes . . PCd this. Where the hell is that damn battery charger I ordered off e-Bay?!! I'm starting to get concerned - despite the e-mail they sent me saying it would be delayed by the Royal Mail strike action. I thought that strike was odd days here and there. I've had plenty of other mail (bills) this week via the postman!! . .PCd the morning away, not eager to get back to working on the bedroom. The next thing I have to tackle is removing the radiator :o( and I don't want to be half way through it all when Mum pops in. . . Mum popped in with the paper and food donations and for a coffee and chats - for a couple of hours! . . ate Mum donated sausage rolls with two bags of crisps, the last of the ripe bananas and a little chocolate . . couldn't resist and napped (I've been trying not to of late), for what turned in to a good three hours, until around 6pm!!. . . walked and sat around for a bit in BGdns looking at the view through my pocket binoculars. . 'sat' in semi meditation mode, on the grass in the back garden for a while . . PCd this . . Mum called to let me know the name and type of her new boiler as I'd suggested, so I can look it up on the net some time. Somehow her call turned into an hour long chat - and an argument about the date it'd be next Sunday!! Turns out it was ME who was in error. I don't even know what day it is anymore. I was absolutely certain and insistant that it was Sunday today!!?? Not! . . BB called to touch base . . ate Mum donated Warburtons rolls with ham around 11pm. Somewhere not 'too' far away, there is a traction-engine steam fair on this weekend. At around 11pm, they did what I guess is their equivalent of a hot air balloon 'night glow', or a firework display, or some such. They were all blowing their steam whistles! All oldy worldy noises of different tones and character, drifting across on the night air. Weird . . TVd/PCd until bed in the early hours. g
5 - Woken earlier by 'Sally clatter' and then by her insisting I got up around 7:30am . . walked in the heat as the early morning mist quickly burned off . . gave Sally her other bone. She polished it off completely and it was all gone save a couple of little pieces left on the lawn, in around the time it took me to drink a coffee and smoke a cigarette while watching her pleasure! . . PCd this and surfed looking up Mums boiler . . .pottered around unable to force myself into the back bedroom to carry on with the work. Just too hot and nice a day. . ended up sat in the garden for ages scraping off the old layers of paint (same original 'yellow' colour I'm finding on many of the walls) from the old light switch I'd found under the floorboards. Terrible waste of time and effort, but for some reason I was determined to clean it all up and have it look almost original!?? I even found myself in danger of using a little left over floor varnish to varnish the wooden base plate - but I managed to resist! . . briefly managed to unscrew the 'pretty, pretty' house number plate from the wall by the front door, and then scraped down the resulting mess before applying some filler. . trimmed my hair/beard etc. out in the garden. . TVd/PCd the day away . ate a couple of toffee/chocolate biscuity things . .sanded down the filler (which had dried almost instantly in the sun) on the outside wall and slapped on a little white textured masonary paint, to try and blend it in to the rest of the wall (without having to suddenly paint the whole house!) . . walked . . assembled necessary tools and spirit level and such on the front steps by the door and then ended up agonizing for a rediculous amount of time about where to locate the cheap black plastic house numbers I'd bought ages ago. Finally made a decision about the height and position (good god, does it really matter that much?!) and drilled and fixed the numbers. In the middle of all this I got chatting to the neighbour, got onto PCs and photos, and ended up quickly having to have a break and drag him in up to the computer, to show him the 'ULead Cool 360' program that enables one to do those panoramic/360 degree images. He was suitably impressed (it IS a wonderful little program) so I promised to let him have a copy some time (although it IS downloadable from the net if you look hard enough) and maybe also some of my music collection. I've got a lot of time for that neighbour. Genuine nice generous guy I think. In the middle of all that, Mum called! "Not noWwww!!!" . eventually got back to the house numbers and rushed to get them all screwed to the wall before taking them back off to allow me to put another coat of paint on. Chained three (!) extension leads together, and managed to get the electric drill to reach down to the front gate (just!). Quickly mounted the original house number plate onto the garden wall next to the front gate (as is largely the custom down this way - presumably because of the distance the houses are from the road, and the difficulty posed seeing many of the house numbers). . with thick clouds rolling in threatening rain, I raced back up to the house to quickly slap on another coat of paint. . cleared up and called it quits way past 9pm. Collapsed with a coffee onto the seat in the front garden in the dwindling light and briefly called Mum back to apologise for putting her off earlier. Watched the swooping bat for a while :o) . . blimey, I've hardly eaten today (and don't feel particularly hungry now!??). I had that plate I didn't particularly want. It just seemed the obvious way to 'get rid of it'. (imagine that up in Bristol next to the pavement like that. It wouldn't last a week before being vandalised and destroyed!) . . ate grated cheese, mayo and Mum donated corned beef in sandwiches with two bags of crisps - as the rain began to fall!! Oh dear - hope that (water soluble!) paint will still be on the wall in the morning!. . BB called to touch base . . TVd briefly until bed before midnight. g
6 - Up around 7:30am . .Well - the garden path isn't covered in paint and the house wall looks ok, so I guess I just managed to get it done in time for that rain we had . . walked in the hot sun . .PCd this . .screwed the new house numbers back on the wall. Much plainer and more austere kinda, but far more 'functional' and easier to see I think, (once a postman, always a bit of a postman?) - and frankly just more what I'm comfortable with. Silly little time consuming thing, but it's little things like that which all add up to making it MY 'home'. There are a million and one such things to do hanging over my head and rather weighing me down - never mind all the major redecorating and such!! It's all a bit daunting. ALWAYS such a lot needing to be done, on my mind even if I'm just sat TVing and not doing it (which actually seems to be something I'm doing less and less of!) Really does feel as though the house is a full time job at the moment. :o/ . .took the radiator off the wall in the back bedroom - eventually!!! I thought it was all going ok until I realised that the water I'd drained off into containers and then into a bucket, was far more than the radiator could contain! Turns out one of the isolation valves was stuck slightly open - and I was deep into helping drain the flooding in Yorkshire! . . on one of my trips up to the garage for some tool or other, I paced out the garden - heel to toe, because my feet are pretty much a foot long! B****Y hell! That's gotta be a 100 foot rear garden! That'll take some wire to provide power to the garage - especially if it's a loop!! Crikey! BIG plot of land!! . . removed all the layers of paper and paint which were behind the radiator, and sanded and filled as necessary, etc, etc . . delayed getting in the shower for a cigarette. Good job. The postman arrived at the door with my new expensive battery charger. Yayyy. At LAST!! I was really starting to wonder if I'd been ripped off. . weird - not a scrap of any writing in the box. No specifications or instructions - nothing. Oh well - I guess it's pretty straight forward - a switch for selecting NiCads/Alkaline/NiMH - load it up with batteries and just plug it in. Put a couple on charge and ate Mum donated salad with some crisps, a couple of bread crusts, some cheese and then a rather large number of chocolate biscuits! . . blimey! Has that charger really charged those batteries already? That was REALLY quick. Boy, they're hot. . tested the batteries in my camera and sure enough, they appeared to be fully charged. That's amazing. Nice charger. :o) . . napped until after 6pm!! . . walked . . sanded down filler and managed to get a 'size' of wallpaper paste on the bedroom wall. . . TVd . . touched base with BB . . .TVd/PCd until deep into early whilst having a simultaneous battery charging frenzy, of just about every rechargeable battery I have - in everything!! gs
7 - Woken earlier by 'Sally clatter' and then up around 8am . . walked. Stopped off at the local builders merchant on the way home and bought a strip of plaster edge bead for a or so. Sadly, I think I'm going to have to use it to try and get a decent edge on the poorly constructed immersion heater cupboard in that back bedroom. :o( . . wallpapered the rest of the 'radiator' stud wall, in the back bedroom . . vacuumed much dust and dog hair from the downstairs carpets. . experimented for the first time with some wallpaper paste in the hypodermic syringe I'd found on the beach, and had a go at sticking down some of the raised/bubbled bits of painted lining paper in the front bedroom and PC room. It eventually proved to be not a 'complete' success because I didn't really know what I was doing, but it worked partially - and certainly enough to know that it WILL work when I next have a more careful go. Brilliant. Neat trick. So - I'd always thought it WOULD work - that 'sharp' is now going to be a vital part of my decorating kit. :o) . . ate a tin of sausage in baked beans, with grated cheese and four pieces of bread crusts and butter . . napped for maybe a couple of hours until around 5:30pm . .came-to with a coffee and cigarette before straight back to the back bedroom to do just a little more sanding of filler (I fill the gaps between poorly fitting drops of lining paper!), before then being able to get the first coat of white emulsion on the wall . .walked after 7pm . . coffee and cigarette before straight back to the bedroom to put another coat of emulsion on the wall until around 10pm . . ate bowls of very sugary muesli . .touched base with BB . . TVd until bed - although when I say 'TVd', I actually ended up listening to the 'Planet Rock' radio channel (Sky 0110) for ages. Made a pleasant change. . difficulty getting to sleep. g
8 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 7:15am . . walked in the sun . . put another coat of paint on the bedroom wall and then decided to pop up Mums and do one of her jobs while the paint dried . .sorted out a couple of tools and some filler etc and then walked with Sally up to Mums, to have a go at smoothing off, blending in and then painting the scar on the outside of the back of the house, where her old combi-boiler flue was removed and roughly cemented up. The old, OLD container of house paint in her garage, was still quite useable so it was all systems go. All went ok and after a few hours (and several cups of coffee, sitting in the shade in the garden chatting with Mum while dabs of filler/paint dried) , with two coats of paint on the scar and some careful 'Bob Ross' type blending-in of the fresh paint to the rest of the surrounding wall, it really was pretty hard to tell where the scar was. Nice one. Mum seemed happy with the result - which resulted in me being given a packet of ham to take home, and then after a heated argument (which involved Mum stuffing her hand in to my pocket while my hands were full!!), I also came away with a crisp new 20 note!!!!!! Dunno how to stop her doing this - giving money and food and stuff all the time. I pointed out during the argument that it wasn't fair on Sis1/Sis2 - not 'equal' as everything always has to be, but she had a 'reasonable-ish' explanation of why it was, given other things. Oh well. Short of getting 'physical' and having a 'domestic', I can't really stop her - so I guess I should just be grateful - and I AM . . .ate Mum donated ham sandwiches with a couple of bags of crisps and then some toffee-chocolate biscuits . . put the radiator back on the bedroom wall and reconnected it without any hassle. Ran the heating up to running temperature (how come I always end up having to do that on a hot sunny day?!!) to confirm it was all working ok and without any leaks. Even the slow leak/dampness on the joint on the radiator in the front bedroom seems to have corroded itself sealed at the moment! :o) . Well - that's the 'awkward' wall (light switch/power points/radiator) in the back bedroom mostly sorted. Just all the rest to do now. . escaped the heat of the house and quickly cut both front and back lawns - AGAIN!! . . .walked early just after 5pm, the long walk with Sally and a can of Stella, and sat in the woods and then on the beach for ages. Much throwing of sticks and Sally swimming. .just setting off to return via the steep cliff path as usual, Sally acted all weird as though she was following a scent or new where she was going or something. One beer the merrier - I figured I'd let her lead the way, and we headed off over the rocks (where I'd seen those kids get stuck/cut off by the tide a couple of weeks ago). Sally was impressive, clambering over big boulders and crevices with her short legs. Definitely MUCH easier for me. It wasn't long before she'realised she couldn't follow me over a large watery fissure. Much coaxing got her to accept the idea of going down and swimming straight across, instead of following my rock climbing, drier route. "This Is The Life" - or not?By this stage, I'd determined that come what may, I was going to reach the tiny inaccessible beach between the two coves and have a look at that for the first time, before continuing on across the rocky shoreline/ shortcut to the next cove - IF it was in any way possible. Bad move. To cut a long story short, Sally had a hard time but seemed excited by the unusual detour she'd suggested and made it in the end, and I ended up squelching all the way home after having had to walk through the water! Having said that, it WAS a hell of a short cut (only do-able at low tide, and no, I don't think I'll be doing that again in a hurry!)! Amusing though. More hysterical laughter could be heard - from a weird beard walking through the waves. lol . .stopped off at the local store on the way home and bought a 50g pack of Golden Virginia tobacco for 11. Scored a half price pack of Warburtons rolls from the reduced basket, and couldn't resist taking advantage of their special offer on the large (pint) cans of Stella Artois - 8 for 8.50!! That's REALLY cheap isn't it? Especially compared to whatever it was I was drinking in the pub the other day!! So - that's Mums 20 gone then. . .changed into dry socks . TVd . . PCd this. I took a photo back in November, of a sad looking boat down in the harbor - covered in gunge, full of junk, high and dry, etc, etc. I HAD intended to, but I don't think I ever got round to using it here. At the time, it seemed to kinda sum up MY life. The reason I am minded to include it here now, is because it really does NOT sum up how I'm feeling at the moment. I'm 'up'. I'm definitely UP right now. :o) I'm having a ball. Maybe I should go down to the marina and take another photo of a half decent shiny speedboat to put here instead? I love it here in my new home (I can see it's potential and given time AM making it happen) and in this place where the majority of people I come in contact with are simply 'decent' and respectful. This is the longest period of sustained 'upness' (albeit only a couple of weeks is it now?) I've experienced for as long as I can remember (in the last ten years?). Certainly the longest period of time (in my life?) when I've not had to endure some 'unpleasantness' of one type or another intruding into my life from someone (it WAS daily back in Bristol!) . I'm a bit scared. Scared that tomorrow it'll be done with - or is perhaps the prelude to some horrible major psychological 'crash' epsiode - or is a side effect of some terminal health problem - or is simply the short lived 'bounce' from coming off the prozac cold turkey, etc etc - but right now, every day, I work at mentally trying to encourage the feeling. I'm not 'religious', but I'm counting my 'blessings' kinda, and deliberately keep trying to do so. I'm UP - yayyyyyy - up 'on the crest of a wave', and I'm gonna keep trying to surf it for as long as I possibly can. So - right now - yeah - damn right I've been lucky!!

-/unfinished/-. .

TVd/PCd. How bizarre. I'd hardly finished typing here about the battery charger and not getting any documentation with it, and then I receive an unsolicited e-mail from the seller, with a word document attachment of the instructions! . . ate bowls of light brown sugar and milk, with a couple of corn flakes . . BB called to touch base . . TVd until bed around midnight. gsd
9 - Woken around 7am by Sally coming up to the bedroom to escape the helicopter like noise from my dodgy fridge! . . walked in the sun . . put laundry on and PCd while it did its cycle. That's the trouble with having white bed linen and doing lots of DIY/gardening - end up with lots of hard to remove blood on everything from the various cuts and scrapes on my hands and arms, etc. .balanced my accounts and also went on line and registered to 'plant a sapling' with the Woodland Trust, on Mums behalf. It was advertised on a leaflet she got with her new boiler, and she seemed keen on the idea, so I did it for her. (If I end up with a bunch of junk mail as a result, I'll be miffed!). . did more laundry. . popped out and read the water meter in the street. Damn. I'm using more than my monthly direct debit is gonna cover at this rate! Hopefully once I stop using so much washing down buckets and tools and paint brushes etc, it'll settle back down to within what I'm paying or pretty close. .read the rest of the small 'self esteem Part 1' book the counsellor had loaned me. Right - that's my 'homework' taken care of! (The other book on social phobia, I'm NOT going to finish reading (I am of the considered opinion that the one cancels out the other) and will return as requested this week). . ate ham rolls and two bags of crisps . . . napped . . walked. Typical - I didn't take my binoculars or camera. Visible on the horizon was the bow of the MSC Napoli being towed away by a tug, for breaking up in Ireland apparantly. .sat in the back garden and did a little bit of 'cross legged' meditation style 'sitting'. Loosely 'mindfulness of breathing' based, but largely just 'going with the flow' of feeling ok. .did a bit more on the shallow step in the front garden. Still amazes me I can sit in the front garden like that (without the inevitability of either physical or verbal attack). I made a 'bit' of a conscious note of how much traffic there was out there (comparing it to the nightmare of the race-track like, drunken passerby infested street back in Bristol). I was sat out there for 'at least' an hour all told in the end (until dark and the bats were swooping and doing aerobatics), and I can't recall a single pedestrian - and on average there was maybe one car per quarter of an hour, and two of those were taxis). What a different world. What joy. . BB called to touch base while I was sat on the bench in the front garden (as the next door neighbour returned from somewhere or other). . PCd and burned a data CD for next door of the ULead Cool 360 program, and just to fill the disc up (because he'd mentioned he was into them), also dumped my entire Dire Straits MP3 collection on there. Popped round and gave it to him . . PCd for hours listening to all manner of music on the PC while supping a mug (did I REALLY leave ALL my drinks glasses behind in Bristol?!??) of red wine ( one of those 'cheap' Sainsburys boxes), until early . .ate biscuits and touched base with BB around 2am, not feeling sleepy at all (watching 'Cops' epsiodes on TV. In a 'classic' episode the other night, the cops were called to a domestic disturbance at a house in 'Food Street'. When they called at the door, they discovered the (multi coloured) occupants had been having a food fight, and were wearing the entire contents of their freezer and all their food cupboards! You just couldn't make this stuff up could you! ). . eventually to bed because I thought I should, even though still not feeling particularly tired!!?? . . couldn't sleep and tossed and turned for ages before having a broken nights sleep, waking up on several occasions!? gd
10 - Up late around 8:30am! . . . walked in the hot sun . .commensurate with my current 'elevated' mood, (which in itself is actually a little worrying, because I can't recall being this 'up' for the longest time. Possibly even back before I had my major 'breakdown' and crashed out of work! It's almost like a 'manic' phase. I'm expecting the blackness of depression to re-emerge, with a vengence, at any moment!), I made a slight modification to the 'My New Home' page and added a sound sample I bumped into last night, while listening to much music on the PC lol . .worked in the back bedroom scraping off more wallpaper and lifting a couple of small sections of already cut floorboard, near the walls where I want to put in more sockets. Removed the rough patchwork of pieces of skirting from the firebreast wall. Nasty little area that. It's gonna require quite a bit of patching of the plaster, a weird narrow sliver of a new bit of floorboard and a whole new bit of skirting - never mind putting in the sockets and conduits!! :o( I'm hoping that rough bit of timber I scored from that nearby garden the other day (proven to be narrower than my floorboards and no use for that) will enable me to attempt to 'make up' a couple of metres of skirting! . . showered (eeek - cold water! Damn - thought it'd still be warm from running up the heating for nothing the other day) and then ate a tomato with cheese, two bags of crisps and liver sausage sandwiches, followed by a chocolate biscuit or several. Ooh - that's another thing - I seem to have put on a bit of weight. I'm up around 11st now (not a huge amount for a six footer, but is about the heaviest I've ever gone - in the past when I've given up smoking!) . . TVd the news until it was time to leave Sally at home and head down to the counsellor. . town was heaving with people. Unpleasant - not least of all because of the amount of female flesh on display in the hot sun!! Didn't know where it was safe to look! Not easy being a guy in hot sunny weather. . no dog bones in either of the butchers shops I asked in. :o( . .in to the doctors to see the counsellor and report my current 'up'ness - which actually seemed to make it more difficult to know what to talk about! lol . . .

. . . briefly shopped in a grocers on the way back home . . tried real hard not to, but after almost falling asleep in a chair in the garden, I eventually HAD to lay down, and napped for an hour or so until woken by the phone ringing with no message left . . walked around 7:30pm . . PCd this . .TVd and pottered around a bit and then ended up digging in some of my old boxes for my plastic letter-stencils. It's no good - I'm just going to HAVE to have a go at making up a name plate for the house, to go on the garden gate (as is common down this way). The gate actually hase a blank space designed into it, complete with mounting holes, for the purpose - and staring at that space at least four times every day, I've found myself increasingly wanting to fill it!! So - how exactly DO you make up a name plate for a house? I've been looking at all those I pass, and it looks pretty much as though you either buy some letters, or you have one made up professionally. (That or you devote the rest of your life to learning how to do precision wood carving!!) I'd thought and thought about the different ways to attempt to do it, before having a brainwave the other day. I have some spare cork tiles (from my PC unit 'noticeboard' project). It 'should' be relatively easy to cut some letters out of one of those, glue them onto a piece of wood, paint it all weatherproof, and 'Bob's your uncle'? So - I was up until gone midnight at the kitchen table, with stencils, scissors and a stanley knife cutting out letters!!!! . . TVd until eventually to bed around 2am. g
11 - Up around 7:30am . . .walked in the sun. . cut out a chunk of wood from the long piece I'd slavaged from that guys garden, sanded it all down and fashioned it into a 'backing plate' for the housename letters. Spent ages sat at the table in the garden under the pergola, carefully gluing the letters onto the wood with a fine tipped paintbrush and a can of Unibond adhesive, before putting it in the glare of the sun to quickly dry . . sat around . .did dish washing chores . . Mum popped in with the paper and food donations, for chats and coffee for a few hours. Ate a couple of small sausage rolls with coffee. 'Paced' out the front garden as I was seeing Mum off. Blimey - 100 foot rear, 50 front!! . . Put a coat of the left over 'diamond hard' floor varnish on the house nameplate, in the hope of helping make it weatherproof-ish! lol . .exchanged the ocassional word with the neighbour about this and that. . It'd crossed my mind the other day when in conversation with him about MP3s and his car stereo which he didn't think played them etc. In one of my boxes, I still have that rather ok, Goodmans, removable front, MP3 car stereo which was left on the pavement outside my house once, which I handed in to the police and then eventually had back when no one came to claim it. I tested it once and it worked, but I could never bring myself to actually put in all the work to cut into/modify the wiring loom on the car to fit it. On top of that, when I drive anywhere, the 'state of my mind' is now such, I can hardly stand to have any extra noise going on at all. Something to do with that weird 'sensory overload' thing. There's more than enough going on, just keeping the car on the road without crashing into stuff, without having to be listening to extra stuff! If I AM in the mood, I'll just have th eradio on for a little while. So - I eventually dug out the radio from a box (I'd bumped into it when finding my letter stencils the other day) and offered it to the neighbour to play with , on the understanding I'd have it back if he didn't use it. One less thing. I still have many unopened boxes (and nowhere to put them!!). I have more than I need and AM going to seek to rectify that - in time. . sat around in the sun/shade. Meditated/strummed the guitar - just whiled away the day out in the garden under a totally clear blue sky, doing nothing, occasionaly watching varnish dry! . .brushed on a coat of smooth black Hammerite onto the nameplate and left it in the sun to dry for an hour or so . . TVd and couldn't resist any longer and ate delicious Mum donated smoked ham rolls (3? !!!!!) with a couple of bags of crisps and some chocolate around 5pm . . put another coat of Hammerite on the nameplate. Damn - a bit of 'wrinkling' (as is SO often likely to happen with a second coat of smooth Hammerite. It probably dried out really quick in the sun and I should have got the second coat on sooner. HATE having to try and do more than just one coat of that evil stuff - ever since getting into an awful crinkley mess spraying it on the petrol tank of one of my bikes once, before I had any idea that the timing between coats was SO absolutely critical. It'll also often 'react' like that, to layers of old paint you are trying to cover! ) . . walked and ended up chatting to one of the lady dog walkers for ages. Blimey - who'd have imagined she was almost eighty!!! She walks her dog every day, twice a day, further than I do Sally! . .sat in the back garden, back at the table under the pergola, supping from a tin of Stella, painting some white one-coat paint onto the top surface of the letters on the nameplate with a small, fine haired, artists-type paintbrush. I've wasted some hours on some crazy stuff in my time, but this sure has to rank up there amongst them! lol Strangely satisfying 'test of the techniques' nonetheless. If it works out, and survives some weather for a period of time at least, then I know how 'easy' it is to reproduce it or something similar/better - for next to no cost. To be honest, if I'd not marked the wood with pencilled guidelines for getting the letters in line, and had been a bit more careful about cutting out the letters (or gotten myself a proper smaller bladed sharp 'modellers' knife - like they were selling for about a in a bargain bucket in Focus!) - the 'natural' look of the thing with just the layer of varnish was actually pretty nice. Anyway - enough of all that! WHAT a waste of a day!! lolololol Makes me laugh. . TVd and ate four Mum donated Mr Kipling cherry tarts. I HAD been intending to sit in the garden and look for the meteor showers ('Perseid'?), but clouds started to roll in and I was SO tired, I didn't bother . . BB called to find me tipsy and struggling to stay awake - again! . . TVd until bed just after 11pm. gd
12 - Up around 7:30am . .it'd rained a little in the night. Walked in sunny spells with threatening clouds up above. . sat in the front garden with a coffee and summoned the nerve to actually screw the nameplate to the front gate!!! lololol Embarassing! lololol. . . PCd this. Uh oh - found myself looking out of the window, hoping to spot someone passing by and looking at the name plate with a thoughtful/amused/confused/disapproving frown!!! lolololololol How funny. Little things please little minds. In reality of course, it's 'invisible' to everyone but me. (Or maybe not? Saw the neighbour pause before driving off smiling! lolol). Have I actually said here what it's all about? I'm sure I have at some point. It's actually the words from some bluesey type song or other (or several - which I think I actually do NOT have in my collection - by anyone!?). The gist of the whole line is - "I'm so low, down looks up, to me" which of course appealed to me when I heard it - hence using 'DownLooksUp' as various buddy names and e-mail adresses and such over the years. It just seemed the obvious/natural choice if I was going to be pathetic and sad enough to actually put a name to my house (a desire I've never had before!?)! lolol On top of that of course, the actual layout of this house, with its commanding position above the pavement etc - well, it just seems even MORE appropriate - and I reckon the name can work on many levels, i.e - what I've just explained ; literal, down there looking up at it ; my 'down times' are now looking-up ; etc etc. lolololololol Whatever. Works for me. :o) . .got serious with working in the back bedroom and using the disc cutter, drill and various hammers and chisels, succeeded in cutting out the recesses for a total of five socket boxes and conduit (two double power and three singles) in the firebreast and adjacent alcove walls. Finally rough plastered four of them in place. Couldn't do all five because I need to buy yet more socket boxes! Called it quits by around 5pm. Good progress. :o) . . . walked the long walk through the woods and down to the cove. Along the way, I passed a full sized fire extinguisher laying in the undergrowth!? Blimey - 'home from home' again! Detoured on the way back and retrieved it and carried it down to the holiday camp, which is where I imagined it must have come from. Handed it in for 'disposal' to someone in the restaurant there (although they were reluctant to have it because it wasn't theirs!). . walking back up through BGdns as usual, a couple of 'sleeping rough' guys were in the main gun emplacement. They were cooking up some rather fine smelling meat (actually looked like quite a feast) on a gas camping stove. They seemed unusually friendly and chatty, and when they saw Sally (after having asked if it was ok), one of them rushed back into the shadows to retrieve a large lamb shoulder bone for her! Ended up having to sit and chat while she ate the bone! Not sure I fully got quite who those guys were or what they were doing there - but I think it was something like a holiday to do some fishing!!!? (they had a couple of rods with them!) The chattier of the two guys was rather short but VERY stocky. He used to be a horse racing jockey, and had also done some boxing, and was more recently a jockey trainer up in Yorkshire somewhere. His nick name (which given his appearance was SO fitting) was apparantly 'Pit Bull'. Bizarrely he even had a dog collar with a name tag on it in his pocket, which apparantly he would somethimes wear (I got the impression, when he'd drunk enough and could be persuaded to put it on!!). His chatty outgoing nature seemed to have enabled him to immediately form relationships with various locals, and they had 'an arrangement' with a local butcher for the meat supplies, knew someone who got them duty free tobacco, and also knew some trawlermen who would let them have some fish, and if they had more than met their needs, knew a resteraunt they could sell the remainder to!!! I stumbled over asking why it was they were sleeping rough. He said that someone he knew, or he'd trained as a jockey, or something like that, had been killed in an accident and as a result he was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. He couldn't stand to live 'indoors' because he found the walls and roof kinda closing in on him. WHAT an extraordinary character he was. . . listened to Music on the PC . . BB called . .ate chips and salad . .TVd. . .put one of the garden recliner chairs right up the top of the garden by the line post, to sit and watch the meteor shower. It's the only place in the garden that I can completely exclude ALL sources of surrounding light pollution (at least, that is, when the neighbours' blinding garage PIR light isn't on. He came out of his garage and set it off at one point, so it amused me to call out, with a sort of London-ish accent, "Put that ruddy lide'out!". I think you have to be a certain age to understand that. Either very old, or at the least, old enough that you've watched every episode of 'Dads Army'. I think the neighbour got it, and he stopped in the dark for a bit of a chat while watching the sky. With the exception of a couple of passing clouds, it was perfect meteor watching conditions. It seemed like a lot of waiting in between, but I have to confess, it WAS worth the wait. A few of those meteors were definitely THE best and most spectacular I have EVER seen, with long effervescent trails streaking across the sky. Special moment, suiting my mood. :o) (How is it that the astronauts on the shuttle/space station are safe and not smashed to bits by the meteors? Don't understand that.) . . eventually back in after midnight and PCd until early before bed. sg
13 - Woken by restless Sally clattering around at about 7:15am . . .walked. Popped in the builders yard on the way home and bought a couple of single socket boxes . . received the call from the doctor I'd asked for the other day (apparantly this 'phone consultation' thing is new, being trialed - and judged a success) and explained why(ish) and apologised for, not having contacted the man who's name he'd given me who helps people get back into work. Updated him on my current situation/improved mood and my decision to come off the prozac, explained that it was quite possible in the future I'd need to return to it if that was ok - and basically tied up what I felt was that loose end. . worked in the back bedroom, plastered in one of the single sockets and started the hard grind of whittling away at reconstructing the walls and getting all the holes and imperfections filled and ready for decorating. Cut up a couple of lengths of that old timber I'd salvaged, out in the garden with the circular saw, and ended up with the 'roughs' for having a go at making up some skirting board, and for patching up the awkward sliver of floor that needs to be done by the firebreast. . ate liver sausage sandwiches with crisps and chocolate biscuits . . napped for around three hours!!! . . walked later than usual. Sally got more bones from the sleeping rough guys. . TVd . . BB called . . ended up messing around on the living room floor, measuring and marking up the timber for my attempt at making up a skirting board.
14 - Up around 7:45am. Very windy and rainy. Uh oh - much rain ingress on the window cill in the living room, dripping down from above!! Must still be getting in the upstairs windows pretty bad. That's bad news! :o( . . some days I really, REALLY don't want to have to go walk. This was one of them. Eventually changed into shorts under waterproofs (because my waterproofs all leak, so it seemed pointless getting all my clothes soaked) and braved the storm. Nasty and very glad to get back. Oh no! Some of the exterior paint on the wall where I patched up and replaced the house number sign with simpler numbers, has bubbled and wrinkled up, and come away from the wall!! Damn, damn, damn! I knew I should have spent more time on that and put on lots more paint! The rain has penetrated the paint and soaked into the bit of filler I used there, and its THAT which has 'come away'. I'd suspected that could be a possibility (hence leaving it as a test, before patching up the large section of shared wall on the other side of the door which is in a hell of a state where I pulled away all the damaging ivy!). Oh well - I'll be returning to have another go at that when the weather allows. Disappointing. :o( . . .PCd this and also ended up surfing a few news sites, reading about the murder of Cheshire father Garry Newlove by a bunch of yobs who he'd challenged after they'd damaged a vehicle in his garden. That all got to me quite a bit. I was able to envisage/imagine the events - in great detail, because - well, 'been there, seen that, done that' - on several occasions! That could so easily have been my fate. Much sorrow and anger. :o( . . . Mum called to touch base . . worked in the garage for hours with various hand tools and managed to fashion up an acceptably matching piece of three feet long skirting board for the bedroom firebreast wall. 'Botched up' the required sliver of 'filler' floorboard and mounted the skirting above it . . TVd/PCd . . walked. Once again, the sleeping rough guys (four of them now - one of them ex army, sometime German Shepherd dog handler) were cooking up their evening meat in the gun emplacement, and Sally was treated to a huge rack of bones and then various other bits as the guys ate their chops or whatever it was they were eating. Ended up having to sit and wait while Sally gorged on it all. I was offered a 'bevvy' and some of the food by the guys (all pretty drunk I think) , but declined. For 'sleeping rough guys', they sure did seem a pleasant and generous bunch. Very strange. A part of me will always be somewhat envious of such peoples ability to be able to just travel around and survive like that, with almost nothing. In this day and age of mindless violent yobs particularly, it seems extraordinarily risky. . . eventually managed to get a very full Sally to withdraw, and we carried on with the rest of the walk as darkness began to fall. Sally chased rabbits. With hindsight, chasing rabbits after having eaten SUCH a huge amount of bones, was probably a VERY bad thing to do. On the way back home, just after having passed the local pub, she threw up!!! Lots! Eeeewww!!! I'm sorry to admit, I just carried on walking and left it all behind (to be blamed on some drunk from the pub perhaps?)!. . stopped off at a local store and bought a small 25g pouch of tobacco and some milk, and was seduced by some bread rolls and a pack of cooked beef and even a rather expensive bottle of 'Mars' milk drink . .ate the whole pack of beef, slightly warmed in the microwave in the buttered bread rolls, followed by some chocolate and the Mars drink. Decadent. :o). . BB called . . TVd struggling to stay awake until bed around 12:30am.
15 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 7:15am. . walked and got caught out in a shower and soaked . . PCd just a bit of this (memory jogger notes) before back to work in the back bedroom. Somehow turned into another mammoth eight hours straight of almost non stop work, without stopping to eat - anything! Filling, sanding, scraping, painting, putting the plaster edge bead on the cupboard, plastered it up, fashioned another length of skirting for around the bottom of the cupboard etc etc. Didn't stop until gone 6pm!! . . walked. Ended up walking home carrying a bag of bones for Sally from the 'sleeping rough' guys rather than let her have them there and run the risk of being sick on the way back again. (I also wanted to kinda reassert my position as 'pack leader' to her, by being the one who gives her the bones. She's been getting a bit 'willfull' since this bone thing started, and rushes round the walk to get to the gun emplacement as quick as possible to see what she can scavenge - and then happily ignores my calls for her to come as I walk on!) . .cooked up a pack of six rashers of Mum donated bacon with chips, two fried eggs and four pieces of bread and butter for a much needed feast. .gave Sally her bones out in the garden once I was done . . TVd . .ate biscuits . . BB called . . TVd too tired to move, until eventually mustered the energy to go to bed around 12:30am. s
16 - Woken by restless Sally clatter several times earlier, then finally up around 8:15am . .wow my back is stiff and aching! Walked . . another day in the back bedroom whittling away at the million and one little things that take up SO much time. Lots more filling and sanding. Cut and fixed pieces of wood to a couple of joists, to support the already cut and unsupported bit of floorboard near the firebreast. Cut and fixed my made up skirting board to the bottom, and round the corner, of the immersion heater cupboard. It's not 'perfect', but it's good enough to fool the eye, and who but me is gonna be studying the skirtings in such microscopic detail! Tiny detail, but (together with the straight edge I've fixed down the corner of it) it makes that rough cupboard look much more a part of the room rather than an amateur thrown together late addition. (All that effort spent on making that cupboard look better, in the full knowledge that at some point in the future when I can replace the central heating system with a combi boiler, it'll all be torn out and done away with! The same of course for all the time and effort I'm spending, decorating around the widnows!). . finally called it quits on trying to make good the firebreast and finished up around 4pm by painting on a 'size' of wallpaper paste. . .ate marmite, mayo, cheese, onion, tomato and lettuce sandwiches with crisps and then some chocolate biscuits . . lay down for an hour or so, kinda snoozing but didn't really actually get to sleep for some reason . . walked. The gun emplacement was empty of the 'sleeping rough' guys, so no bones for disappointed Sally this evening . . coffee and cigarettes in the garden before back to the bedroom to put up a couple of bits of lining paper, from the stud wall, up to the opposite edge of the firebreast. That's probably something like two thirds of the walls lined now - slowly oh SO slowly pushing the decorating/reconstruction back towards the window wall. . TVd and drank a mug of red wine . . touched base with BB . . ate bowls of corn flakes before bed before 1am. sdg
17 - Up around 7:15am . . walked and cleared up some of the huge amounts of beer cans all over the place. The 'sleeping rough' weren't there again, so I guess they've moved on to their next place of abode? What a weird existance they must lead. Stopped off in the local builders yard for yet more filler and a couple of single socket blanks on the way home. . dabbed on a tiny amount of filler to wallpaper joins and then PCd just enough of this to be able to type it up some other time . . Mum called to touch base . . turned my attention to the back 'window' wall in the bedroom, removed the curtain rail and then scraped off all the remaining woodchip wallpaper from everywhere. Blimey - there are some cracks in that wall!! Worse than that, as far as I can tell, there's almost nothing actually holding the old double glazed window unit in place in the wall!!!!!!!! The whole thing'll move!!!! I suspected there was 'something' funny about that area from some really windy weather back in the winter making a weird noise in the wall thereabouts. The internal PVC wind cill is also bowed like a banana and loose. :o( That's all gonna take some thinking about/sorting! Incredible what some people will simply woodchip over!??? . . put a coat of white emulsion on the newly hung lining paper. . ate four defrosted sausage rolls with crisps . . left Sally at home and walked down town. Scored a long sleeved black sweat shirt (of the type I live in these days) in a charity shop for 3.50. . in to see the councellor and to report that my recent 'up', frankly 'manic' phase, seems to have subsided back down to a more usual 'blah' . .
. . straight back home to recover with a coffee and cigarettes before putting another coat of emulsion on the 'done bit' of the bedroom wall . . walked . . 'prodded' this and that in the bedroom but just couldn't bring myself to do anything serious, and soon ended up in front of the TV with a can of Sainsburys own extra strong lager. I've discovered a couple more digital radio stations on the satellite system worth listening to. 'Arrow Rock' seems to play a bunch of decent classic rock stuff from the seventies etc. (
Ooooh, I haven't heard that Deep Purple track for years, oooh or that one, oooooh gotta turn it up briefly for that guitar solo, etc, etc. Sorry neighbours!! lol :o) ) . . BB called . .ate defrosted roast chicken with four pieces of bread and butter . . TVd until bed before midnight. Lots on the news about the investigation into the shooting of that Hells Angel - shot in the head while doing high speed down the motorway on his Harley while returning from the Bulldog Bash. (Bizarre - but actually probably not a 'bad way to go' from the point of view of being an Angel). What seems particularly weird to me is some of the reporting which is being done about the guy. "Police described (him) as a "hard-working, friendly but private person" and was an active church member when he was younger and still living in Canada. A statement read out by the London Chapter of the Hells Angels said: "To those who knew him, (he) stood out in the crowd as a true gentleman. "(His) charming personality (and) quick-witted humour always kept everyone smiling." etc, etc. Blimey - an all round Mr Nice Guy huh? Yeah right. That's JUST the sort of person that makes a Hells Angel ain't it. The mafia could learn a thing or two from their PR machine! gd
18 - Up in the night to close the window and stop the curtains noisily blowing around in the gale . . up around 7:15am . .walked in the wind and drizzle. Impressive sight of a 'tall ship' leaving the harbour. One of the sleeping rough guys was there and said the rest had all moved round the bay to somewhere in Tqy. . Further on, a mixed group of 'youths' were assembled under the roof by the seats, cooking up sausages on a gas stove!? Much difficulty getting Sally to leave them. . PCd and registered my electoral roll details on line. Ooops - how long have I had that letter laying around?!!! . .PCd this for ages, trying to catch up, as the wind and rain battered the house. .tidied up just a little before interrupted by Mum calling in as usual . . surfed a bit during her visit looking up stuff for her etc, but then all of a sudden the PC made a weird hard disk click and hung, requiring the power to be cut before attempting a re-boot. Uh oh. I've got a problem!!!!! Mum thankfully made a hasty exit as I got all short tempered and ratty. .Not sure what actually caused it (hardware or virusy type thing) but disconnecting the mobile rack hard drive seemed to settle things down a bit, and after Windows did a bit of weird stuff like asking for the XP Installation disc to be put in the DVD drive to replace some missing files (!!????), the thing seemed to stabalise and work ok again. Phew. Thank goodness. Last thing I needed with SO much 'house' stuff to do, was to lose a bunch of stuff and have to spend days re-installing everything - again!. . ate Mum donated ham rolls with crisps and then some chocolate. Couldn't help myself and napped. Didn't wake until gone 6pm!! . . walked . . BB called . . PCd until early with cigarettes, coffees and biscuits. Wrote down everything on my electrical consumer unit and had a go at looking it up on the net. No sign of it anywhere, but I did bump into plenty of stuff which gave me a better understanding of that type of unit. Hmmm - looks to me as though for some reason, the circuits in this house have been wired up in a weird way. The downstairs sockets (the few there currently are) have been hooked up to the 16Amp breaker!??? Should be a 32Amp I reckon. Wonder why? Is something else (unmarked) using the apparantly spare 32Amp breaker? Won't know until I have the nerve to open up and look inside the unit. . surfed a little of the local 'What's On' stuff and found out what that tall ship I saw this morning was all about. Apparantly two of them, crewed by kids are 'racing' against each other in the bay this weekend! In fact, there appears to be loads of stuff going on all over the place around here, all the time, especially now during 'the season'! . Eventually to bed somewhere near 4am!!! gas
19 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 8am . . walked with my camera (damn - the camcorder batteries are flat!). Walked down towards the harbour hoping to see the tall ships and maybe get a shot or two. A little after 9am, both ships were making ready to be pushed out into the bay by the pilot boat with the big engine. Ended up running up and down a little, trying to get a couple of nice shots with my camera as one of them left the harbour. (Turned out I'd wasted my time and energy. Crappy photos, bad light, etc.) Lots of people around in BGdns armed with fancy cameras, all waiting to watch them sail. The roof over the seats in BGdns has been vandalised again and many of the new slates have been torn off and smashed up - again. :o( . didn't feel able to 'waste' too much decorating time to stand and wait and watch, so I left them all to it and headed home. . worked in the back bedroom and did some serious sanding down of filler. HUGE amounts of dust as usual, hardly able to see across the room. . Sally's barking let me know someone had rung the doorbell. Turned out to be the neighbour. Uh oh. His son had announced to him their bathroom was full of smoke! Oh blimey - that's not smoke, that's the filler dust!!!! Invited him in all apologetic, and took him up into the bedroom and showed him the weird hole I'd discovered in the back corner of the room beneath the floorboards. MUST be getting through there. Turns out the hole was in fact a couple of missing bricks in BOTH parts of the party wall, effectively connecting the underfloorboard spaces of both houses! The dust I was creating was getting down between my boards, and with the window open in my bedroom AND the window open in their bathroom, the wind was blowing the dust straight through and it was coming up through the small gaps around their water pipes etc. Sorry. That'll take some cleaning up! (lol) So - another job I'm gonna have to attend to - cement/brick up that gap at some point! Nasty awkward little job that'll be. . temporarily stuffed an old 'Sally' sheet into the gap to allow me to finish off the bit of sanding I still wanted to do. .part of the reason the back bedroom window frame was now so poorly sealed into the wall was probably because the frame jams when opened or closed - and obviously nothing had ever been done about it! I ended up having a go at slightly 'sanding down' a part of the jamming outer drip-cill, but it didn't make a lot of difference. Only later on did I discover that there were actually a series of adjustment screws hidden away on the hinges, and with a very quick and easy turn of a screwdriver, the problem was completely solved! . .removed a section of the useless, hardened, shrunk and cracked sealant from around the window frame and experimented filling the gap and 'firming things up' by using a mix of neat PVA and filler. The theory being, the PVA would adhere to both the window frame and the adjacent wood/wall, and the whole thing would set hard and fast. Time will tell. . ate three bread crusts with half a going-off iceburg lettuce, cheese, tomato, crisps etc, and then a little chocolate. Napped until gone 6pm . . walked. Blimey - feels really quite cold in that wind, and is definitely getting darker noticeably earlier. That'll be summer all done with already then! :o( . . Mum called to touch base and say she'd spoken with Sis2 who was back in the states and had been offered a job which she was about to start!!! Blimey - where did that all come from, all of a sudden?! . .PCd . ended up back in the bedroom poking at this and that around the window until around 10pm . . Bb called . . ate defrosted sausage rolls with crisps and biscuits . . TVd until bed around midnight. ga
20 - Up around 8am to the sound of torrential rain . . walked in full rubber gear. Sally and my feet got utterly drenched. Stopped off to buy more PVA at the builders yard (1ltr@5.58). . with the 'filler/PVA mix' test around the window looking like a success, I went ahead and filled around more or less the whole of the window. Time consuming/fiddley. .incredible heavy rain and wind as I worked. Proper deluge actually had me stop to go look out of the front windows to watch. . 'firmed up' a bit of the immersion heater cupboard timbers next to the window wall. It's such an uneven mess it's gonna need plastering. :o( . with almost no difficulty at all, I pulled off the loose and uneven PVC window cill, intending to do whatever was required to level it and re-seat it secure. Uh oh. Oh dear!! WHAT a mess that revealed! Loose/missing bricks, loose dusty cement, and even one full brick loosely wedged, dangerously hanging in the wall cavity! Bugger!! No wonder the wall plaster was alll cracked and in a bad state beneath that window. In places, it was only the plaster which was actually making up the wall!! Damn, damn, damn! A little 'gift' left behind by the bloody 'Gerry' window installers! Is it any wonder I So HATE having workmen in to do anything, when that is the likely standard of their rushed work. .with no choice, I changed out of my overalls and got the car running, to go and buy sand, cement and bricks from the local builders yard. Just before setting off I saw and exchanged a word with the neighbour, and mentioned the problems I'd encountered and where I was rushing off to. As luck would have it, he directed me to a pile of old bricks up for grabs, laying in the undergrowth of the lane (populated by at least one small frog). Grabbed a few before heading off to buy the bags of 3x sand and 1x cement (9.81). The neighbour also mentioned there had been traffic chaos earlier on with roads blocked by flash flooding as a result of the heavy downpour. He'd had to drive miles out the wrong direction, just to get out of town! . .Weird, course-grained, greyish sand in that builders yard!? Not the easiest stuff to work with. . measured and cut reclaimed bricks as necessary and hastily bricked up the inner house wall under the window cill, before leaving it to dry with the wall cavity fully exposed to the inside of the house! Spidery, breezy and chilly. . Exhausted and aching back. Didn't need all this hassle, just for some decorating!! That turned into a hard days work! . . . walked and stopped off for milk and a few (going out of date/half price) supplies (and tobacco. 2x50g packs at 11 each.) at the store on the way home . . drank a tall can of Stella. . BB called briefly . .TVd and ate a large plate of going off lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, crisps, pork pies and two pieces of bread and butter followed by chocolate . . TVd until bed before 11pm. ga
21 - Up at 7:30am . . walked in the sun and cool breeze. There is STILL a bunch of stuff left by the homeless guys, now sat in rainwatter puddles, in the corner of the gun emplacement! I don't see them coming back for whatever is in all those bags. . so - back to the back-bedroom window! Briefly called on next door (nbr1) and warned them I was about to re-seat the window cill, would be using the disc cutter, and with the wall-cavity fully open they should do whatever they could to prevent the dust getting in!! As it turned out, I didn't actually need to use the cutter much at all to have a chance at remedying the banana curve shape the cill had been. Probably not the right thing to do, but I re-seated the PVC cill on a bed of plaster, mixed with a large amount of PVA. Attempted to get it flat and level (and stop it flexing!) by clamping it to a large piece of timber with the spirit level layed alongside, with another piece of timber propping it up in the middle, at the right height from the floor. All a bit of a 'bodge', but it seemed to work out ok-ish. I won't know for sure until it all dries out and I dare to remove the timber. If when I do, it seperates from the PVA/plaster and springs back up in the middle into a banana shape, I'll be VERY upset! Aside from anything else, it must have cost me 5+ in PVA and plaster! . . spotted that a neighbour a couple of doors away was having a new TV aerial put up by a rigger. With him 'trapped on the roof - at my mercy', I asked questions. The new aerial installation he was doing was gonna cost in the region of 200! Looking across at my aerial, he confirmed that the weird extra box I'd spotted with my binoculars was either an amplifier (no power to it, so probably not) or a splitter (even though there is only one downlead. Plenty enough signal.). He told me how he clips the downlead in place across the tiles, to stop it blowing back and forth in the wind and eventually breaking (like I suspect mine has), by just using spare lashing-kit wire fashioned into clips and pushed up under the tiles. All in all, a very useful conversation for when I finally make it up on the roof and try and replace the downlead(s?) on mine, and get it back useable again. Happily helpful and friendly down this way, seems to be more the norm than otherwise. 'Peer-pressure' like, it rubs off and encourages one to feel free to be the same. . more plastering and filling and lots of time consuming little jobs before calling it quits for the day, 'early' around 3:30pm. Unless anything else crops up (not including the nasty bricking-up of the gap in the party wall beneath the floorboards, which can wait for a bit), it's largely a matter of 'just' plastering/filling and sanding of all the remaining walls, to get them ready for papering now. .ate an out of date chicken and mushroom pastry slice with two bags of crisps and then a few chocolate biscuits. . napped until around 6pm . .walked. There seemed to be a lot of noise drifting in every now and then on the breeze. A dog walker had mentioned it, and I'd seen signs posted here and there, so I guess it was the noise from the visiting funfair, somewhere up on the green. Dabbled with the idea of having a look, but decided against it and ended up doing a bit of a detour (actually not 'that' much of one, in a 'circular' kinda way) and walked down town on the way back home instead for a change. The low sun was doing that 'lighting up the far side of town' thing it does, also highlighting the spectacular glowing timbers and rigging of the two tall ships, still moored together alongside the fish dock.'Just' popping along to buy some chips on the way home! The harbour area was all hussle and bussle busy, with everything still open (7 o'clockish). Got tempted by the multiple smells of food, and stopped at a takeaway and treated myself to my first jumbo sausage and chips (2.50 for a rather small amount) for absolutely ages, for 'old times sake'. Sat at one of the seats on the harbourside to eat, watching the world go by (including a large group on an organised 'Ghost' tour!?) . Hmmm - there's a song there somewhere isn't there? ('Dock Of The Bay') . Gave Sally the last couple of chips and half an inch of sausage, as 'usual'. Suddenly became aware that a large empty space had developed all around me!!!!? Thankfully a possible paranoid episode was avoided when I realised the true reason why. A small group of uniformed Salvation Army type people were assembling right behind me, getting all ready to sing along to some amplified hymn music or such. (Some young guy (why wasn't he at the fair, or smashing stuff up, being abusive, drinking and doing drugs somewhere like a 'normal' young person??) even asked if I'd like to be joining in because they needed some help with the singing!! EEEkkk!!!) Run awAYYyyyy! Headed home - quickly. It's just SO weird. I still can't believe I actually live here (and am 'allowed' to do so?)! That walk - to 'pop' down and get sausage and chips and pass all that scenery on the way. It's just incredible. Compare that to what I'd face popping down to the local chip shop back in Bristol. Incredible. Just incredible. A really weird feeling, opening the gate and walking up the front garden. (I should say 'my', not 'the', shouldn't I! Still haven't quite 'got it' yet have I!). . Mum called to touch base . . PCd this at length until late, just before early. . uh oh. The PC audibly 'clicked' from a hard drive and then just froze again! :o( . .touched base with BB . . PCd until early (once I'd persuaded it to boot back up!) but the problem didn't re-occur. Perhaps coincidentally, there seem to be a sudden huge number of daily virus attacks via e-mail, intercepted by the ISP!? g
22 - Up at 8am . . walked in the sun. Much debris/litter/bottles all around and more tiles torn from the roof in BGdns. . on the way back, I finally got round to going in to the nearby house being renovated, with the rubbish skip in the driveway. On top of the skip was a huge plastic paint tub complete with lid (and some other stuff of interest). Called at the doorbell but there was no answer despite someone obviously being around. Eventually an old guy peered round from scaffolding on the back of the house, and I was able to ask if I could have the tub.

empty paint tub

window cill appears to be ok . . .PCd briefly . . worked at the bedroom walls. Bloody hell - that PVA/filler mix is like concrete. Real hard to sand down!

ate six bread corned beef. . .napped until almost 7pm. . . walked.

fayre

cornflakes . . to bed by 11pm. g

23 - Up at 6am . . walked. Spotted a frisby washed up on the beach in F.Cove so walked down to retrieve it for Sally to maybe have a play with (although she hardly ever 'plays' like that these days - or is that me?). Turned out the frisby was a cheap one of a 'hard' plastic construction, and one throw is all I got out of it before Sally destroyed it with some biting. Found a jacket and frisby

Stopped in at the skip and asked if I could have the other containers. The answer was no!

. .stopped in at the local DIY store for more filler and sandpaper. With a possibly slightly dripping jacket in my hand I mentioned where I'd just found it. The guy behind the counter saw the name tag and suggested it was a good one, of the type favoured by the yachting fraternity. .

worked in the bedroom having a filler frenzy for hours, bit by bit patching up all the walls and trying to get them flat enough for papering. Finally plastered up the side of the immersion heater cupboard before getting cleaned up around 4pm. . ate sausage rolls, tomato, cheese onion and crisps . . napped for an hour or so . . walked. Skip was 'covered'

. . straight back to the bedroom to sand everything down and attempt to get near the final finishing. Bashed the window cill with the sander!

put a bit more filler on the wall to straighten up the edge near the window before calling it a day around 10:30pm . . touched base with BB . . ate bowls of muesli before bed around 12:30am. g
24 - Up around 6:30am . .walked . . worked in the bedroom. Called a halt waiting for filler and stuff to dry and sat in the garden with the counsellors book, in an attempt to read as much of them as possible before handing them back, in the full knowledge I won't have time to finish them . . ate marmite and salad sandwiches with crisps and some chocolate. . read a little more and at least managed to finish book two of three before leaving Sally at home and walking down town (via all the charity shops) to see the councellor. In one of the shops, I found a cheap circular white plastic mirror I'd spotted a week or so ago, was still there. I'd regretted not having bought it before. It was only 3 so I bagged it. Back in Bristol I had a similar rectangular affair mounted on the wall above the bath near the shower head, to enable me to trim under my beard and such while showering. Inevitably the mirror eventually gets a bit tatty, being doused with soap and water all the time, but for only 3 I figured it was ideal for putting up like that again. Actually, since it is designed to be hung on a single mounting screw, being circular is even better than what I had before and won't have to be continually straightened up on the wall. .

in to see the counsellor for the final appointment. Returned the books etc.

. . walked - the long walk through the woods for some beach sitting before returning via the shops for milk and a reduced/out of date pork pie for only 20p. . wallpapered from around 8pm until 11:30pm!! Ran out of paper with a few more drops to do. :o( Only getting four drops a roll?. . touched base with BB before grabbing some cheese, pork pie, crisps and a couple of crusts after midnight! Eventually exhausted to bed but couldn't get to sleep!? Seemed to be as much to do with my aching back as anything else. Back up at 1:30am taking a couple of asprins. gaa
25 - Up around 7:30am. Cloudless blue sky. . walked. Walked on down to town and hung around until 9am before heading to the 'decorating' shop, on the offchance they'd have some 1200 grade lining paper in there. They did (2.34). Excellent. Saves me the nightmare of attempting to get to the DIY store in the car in the holiday traffic. Funny walk into town along the waters edge. A bank holiday weekend with SUCH good weather - lots of people were about, all busying themselves with getting their various types of boat ready for the days 'play'. Weird. Seems like the whole area has taken on the air of some sort of enormous theme park . back to touch some of the bad paper joins with filler and then to hang a couple more pieces on the wall. That's all of the papering done, except for around the immersion heater cupboard door where it still needs some filling/smoothing off . . Mum popped in around midday with the paper and 'food donations' and had a coffee and chats for a couple of hours. . ate Mum donated sausage roll and pastry slice with crisps before fitfully napping the afternoon away until around 6pm . . . walked . . sat in the garden for a while before ending up on the PC listening to music ("Suuummertiiiime - and the living is eeeeasy") until the damn thing froze again and I had to cut the power. Definitely a hardware (hard disk) fault developing. :o( . . BB called. . TVd and ate Mum donated Warburtons ham rolls . . TVd/PCd until bed around 1:30am. s
26 - Up around 8:30am! . . . walked . . sat around in the garden for a bit before working at the bedroom again. More sanding of filler etc before finally being in a position to put a size of paste on the immersion heater cupboard walls. . I've had a rectangular tub of expensive looking Dulux one-coat white emulsion laying around the place since I moved in, left by the previous occupants. I think they used it with lots of filler, to go round the place just before they finally moved out, to fill up all the many, many holes in all the walls where they took down all their nick nacks and 'things' screwed up everywhere. Thought it was time I actually opened the tub to see how much was left and if it was in any way still useable. Allowing for some evaporation over time, it was around three quarters full, and looked pretty useable (with the addition of a little water). Ended up 'just' being enough (literally down to the last brush load (the nature of the paint/ceiling was such it was best to use the large paste brush rather than the roller)) to emulsion the back bedroom ceiling! Nice one. :o) Blimey - how different 'more expensive' emulsion paint is, to the cheap watery rubbish I've been using everywhere. I think that may be why when I paint the walls, I've been getting those 'bubbles' appearing in the lining paper. The stuff is just too watery. . Somehow worked right through the day without hardly stopping until gone 6pm! Even got round to popping a hole in the bathroom wall over the bath at the tap end, and hung the circular charity-shop mirror. Showered and trimmed under my beard (because I now could) using the mirror. . . walked late. Still brilliant cloudless weather. . made full use of not having eaten a thing all day, and sat in the garden with a tall can of Stella, chilling out and feeling relatively happy with having broken the back of all the work in that back bedroom. With the exception of the bathroom, that's all the previous occupants choice of bold colour pretty much removed from all the walls now. Damn - I've put a lot of work into that one room! No wonder almost nobody reads my journal any more. It's just an unending boring saga of sanding and filler! lol . . sat in the garden until dark, and even made noises with the guitar for a bit. . BB called to touch base . . finally ate a couple of pieces of bread and butter, with two bags of crisps, lettuce, tomato, cheese and onion and then a bunch of biscuits. . TVd (although couldn't find ANYTHING worth watching anywhere - so as usual ended up watching the news channel and reading the text news) until bed around 11:30pm. d
27 - Up at 6am for some reason. Coffee cigarettes and sunrise in the cool of the front garden. Cool. :o) . . walked . . dabbed some filler on yesterdays wallpaper joins and managed to 'injected' some more PVA into the hairline gap beneath the end of the window cill. Little things to dry out before I sand down all the little lines of filler and am in a position to paint . . PCd this . .mowed the lawns. Overdue - as is trimming all the hedges, but that'll have to wait for some other time. .mounted on next doors garage wall, under my car port roof is a long wooden shelf at head height for some reason. I unscrewed it and took it down. Yep - I thought so. That piece of timber is floorboard size (gold dust!) , and isn't in bad shape at all. Maybe that'll replace a 'patchwork' section of small cut pieces in the house somewhere although I'm not sure it'll clean up enough to be a varnished one. It looks a bit 'weatherd' on one side, and already varnished on the other. . spent ages sanding down all the little lines of filler and attending to lots of little details before at last getting a coat of paint on the three walls. . TVd/PCd sat around waiting for the paint to dry. Really could have used a nap, but like the neighbour had 'warned' me, his daughter was having a group of her friends around. They appeared to be having a water fight with some local lads and one of the girls seemed to need to scream a lot in the process. Strange behavior. Very hypersonic and LOUD! Just the one girl!? Interesting to ponder the evolutionary basis for such behavior!! . . cooked up a pack of Mum donated bacon with a couple of eggs and ate with four pieces of bread and butter . . walked . . put another coat of paint on the walls (which although they'd benefit from another coat, I think is gonna just have to do. I've had enough of it!). .called it quits and fit to collapse by around 10:30pm . . BB called . . ate a banana, some chocolate and a couple of biscuits while collapsed in front of the TV before bed just before 1am.
28 - Up just before 8am . . . walked . . PCd a bit of this. Left the machine running deleting temporary files and such, and somewhere along the line it crashed and froze again! :o( It's reached the point where I loath turning it on! I'm gonna HAVE to sort out another hard drive and try replacing the 'C' drive, which of course means having to spend hours swapping stuff and then reinstalling absolutely everything from scratch - again! I've SO much to do around the house, I just don't want to have to waste the time! . . worked in the back bedroom and succesfully wired up all the sockets and identified enough of the existing wiring (labelling wires with my CD marker pen, at strategic points here and there under floorboards etc.) to know what I need to do to drop down to the fuse box and create the ring. Even had the nerve to take the front of the fuse box off and see how all that is wired up. Do-able, but still a bit scary. . Decided to leave the 'final' bit of the wiring down to the fuse box, for some other time. All that can now be done from under the landing floor, so I figure I may as well push on with the bedroom and attend to the floor, aiming once again for a varnish finish if i can manage it (despite really not wanting to have to do all those days of scrubbing/sanding work - again! :o( ) . . spent a couple of hours scrubbing floorboards. Uggh. Called it quits around 4pm and ate a tin of baked beans with some onion, grated cheese and four pieces of bread and butter. . napped for a couple of hours until around 7pm . . walked . . dragged the small wheelie-bin out from the back garden and transferred alll the bags of rubbish from the regular bin into it. I've sneaked in a lot of debris and rubble from under the bedroom floorboards, and I figure the weight of it in the 'normal' bin could cause 'questions' to be asked. In the wheelie-bin, I'm sure it'll just be tipped unnoticed. . scoured the house looking for more stuff to throw away, to top the bin up. Sorting rubbish out from under the stairs (a vast collection of redundant vaccuum cleaner hoses and fittings, no longer worth keeping) I noticed a movement under the carpet. Ooh. Oooh. Pulled the stapled-down scrap of carpet up and revealed a small oh so VERY small scrap of loose chipboard filling a hole in the flloorboards. Managed to prise it out and YAYYYYY! Access to the underfloor void. EXCELLENT! I'd been dying to have a look under there (to see how easy it may be to do re-wiring and such downstairs - and in the hope I may be able to use it for storage). Getting under that floor is key to my making this house really 'come alive' with all the phone/PC/TV/outside power and lighting/etc. circuits I want to do (to make it all as 'functional' as was my house in Bristol - and maybe then some). Wow. Lots of space. Something like a two feet plus drop to sloping ground level at the 'hatch' (in the middle of the house), with a good foot at the back wall, and at least four at the front! LOTS of rubble, bricks, pipes and wires - and especially cobwebs. Shame about the positioning of some of those pipes. It's THOSE which restrict the size of the tiny access hole. SO small in fact, I wasn't even sure it would be possible to get down there. I couldn't resist. I just HAD to have a go. So, around 10:30pm I was back donning my overalls, and armed with my cigarettes and two torches (it crossed my mind to take the phone, in case I got 'in trouble', but didn't bother in the end), I went 'potholing'. Getting through the hatch was a real 'arms above your head' type squeeze, being oh SO careful not to knock the pipes on either side. Once under, very VERY carefully, I explored. Real potholing stuff some of it, scary, squeezing through little gaps, wriggling on your back or belly, trying not to knock the precarious looking unsupported bricks above, which were actually supposed to be supporting floor timbers!!! The big disappointment was that there is currently no way to squeeze through into the main void beneath the living room - which is of course precisely the room I initially need to get underneath the most! So - the first job under there is gonna be try and cut out bricks and make an access through into that part! Nasty.

eventually managed to squeeze back out through the hole. The more I become familiar with this house like this, the more 'comfortable' I am about it, and the more of it seems like 'a bolt on' to a big manageable box. How daunting and frightening it all seemed when I first moved in. Much less so now (with the exception of the weird plumbing). Boy - the things you could do with this place if you had the money and vision. MUCH potential. . showered off cobwebs and dust . . returned BBs call and touched base . . TVd and ate bowls of muesli, but couldn't stop my mind racing and rehearsing how to do things under the floor! Ended up writing out a LONG list of things to buy at the DIY store! To bed after 1:30am. g
29 - Up just before 7am . . . walked and cleared up four carrier bags of litter and mostly glass bottles. Found a pair of womens sunglasses, with eyepieces SO huge, they make the wearer look like a traditional large eyed 'alien' or some such. . PCd a bit of this. Watched as the bin was happily emptied - and even the two old folding metal garden chair frames (I've kept the cushions, which fit, for use on the better plastic recliners I inherited with the house) I'd put out on the offchance, were also happily thrown in the back of the lorry. :o) . PCd more of this but soon gave up and uploaded it half done. I just can't waste the time on it (although probably should while the PC is still working!!). To be honest, given that as far as I can tell, only one person ever reads it any more, there seems little point. Can't blame anyone of course. I HAVE become boring haven't I. lol :o) No more of the 'soap' like, incessant/daily nonsense to tell about as it was up in Bristol. I could just do a blanket entry for the first year or so - "DIYd my new house into my new home". I like being boring. It's just such exhausting, time consuming work!! lolol . .

soaked in a bowl of water and then put a short, badly warped section of floorboard, under the back wheel of the car in the hope the weight would straighten it out a little. Left it there overnight. .washed floorboard pieces out in the back garden . . Mum popped in . . washed more floorboards . . ate Mum donated pastie and salad and cheese, and two pieces of bread and butter . . napped. Woken - confused, and wondering what the hell was happening - by the Red Arrows doing an air display real close. Spectacular. .PS called to touch base and suggest a vist in a week or so. Now the 'pressure's on'!! I need to get that back bedroom at least 'useable' by the time he comes down! . .walked . . scrubbed floorboards until 10:15pm . . surfed e-bay and wandered around the house measuring windows. BB called to touch base . . attempted to PC to order a couple of cheap venetian blinds, but the intermittantly faulty machine wouldn't have it and just kept freezing!! :o( To bed after 1am.
30 - Up just after 6am . . .walked. Spotted a dog running loose on the way back and ended up going in pursuit for a bit, but no way would it come close and I eventually lost sight of it . . PCd and successfully ordered a couple of cheap venetian blinds - one for the back bedroom window and one for the small window next to the front door (23.95). . the floorboard section I put under the car wasn't improved by the experience at all! Not one little bit! That's gonna be a problem. :o( . . on my knees scrubbing the floorboards all day, with a two inch long wire brush and a butter knife to remove old splashed paint! . . Finished the 'initial' scrub of the whole floor by around 4pm. Exhausted and aching. Ate Mum donated ham in rolls with some crisps . .napped for a couple of hours until woken by the phone but no message left. . walked . . washed the 'shelf' from the carport out in the garden, but sadly it is definitely a different colour. . TVd with a tin of stella with SUCH aching hands! . . BB called . . ate bowls of cornflakes . TVd until bed around midnight or later. d
31 - Up around 7:45am . . .walked. Picked up a little litter and found a tin of lager and a lighter. . Stopped in at the builders yard for more wood glue, and as luck would have it, discovered a successfull alternative to the screws I've been using on the floorboards (13.42). Thought I was gonna have trouble matching those. That little builders yard is excellent. SO very, VERY handy having it right there like that. :o) . . spent the whole day working on the floorboards again. Much of that time was spent undoing what had been done by the plumbers at some time in the past. They had a habit of cutting through the floorboards where they had to raise them, next to the joists rather than carefuly on top of them. They then used a nailed on piece of batton to re-lay them. Trouble with that was, they didn't pay enough attention to making it nice and sturdy and permanent, nor did they bother too much with making sure it was absolutely at the same level as the surrounding boards. Many (all?) of them were a fraction lower than they should be, and often the battons were also pretty loose!! Anyway - took a while replacing all of those - properly! Also took ages trying to straighten up their rough and wiggley cuts. Used the disc cutter/hack saw blade/sand paper to grind back the wiggles to neat straight lines on both faces of the joins before moving one or both pieces of the boards up to bridge the resulting gap. Also sadly had no choice but to use the 'shelf' I'd found under the car port as a floorboard, to replace a line of warped and damaged pieces. It currently remains a 'slightly' different colour to the rest, but I'm just gonna have to live with that. . SH phoned at some point during all this work, and shortly after, dropped in on his Harley with his new lady (I gave her the sunglasses I'd found) for a coffee to say hi. :o) . . mid afternoon the delivery guy dropped off the blinds I'd ordered. . did all the pre-drilling/countersinking work and screwed back down almost all of the raised sections of floorboard. Yep - it isn't perfect, but I think I'm going to be able to varnish that floor too. . another appearance in the sky of the red arrows around 6pm while I was hanging the blind at the window. Hmmm. Not too sure about that blind there. It could do with being just a little longer and I had to hang it well away from the window because of the weird inward opening/narrow clearances business. Nevertheless for only 10, it was a quick and easy way of making the room immediately useable at night, and will certainly do nicely for the time being. . . walked and stopped at the store on the way home looking for something quick and easy to eat (and 2x50g tobacco at 11 each!!!!). . ate a large pork pie with some lettuce and crisps . . touched base with BB . . TVd until bed around midnight. s
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