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<My Diary Archive 2003 My Diary Archive>

1 - Up around 7am. Would have been Dad's birthday today. :o| . . . walked and found a penny. . .more work on the kitchen fireplace. Didn't go well at all!! :o( Ended up with a load of the infill from the void, suddenly collapsing and pouring out! I just bet that stuff is supporting the bricked up fireplace in the bedroom above. Nothing I can do about it!! Managed with great difficulty to cement in some bricks and close off the void so that nothing else can collapse out! Actually that part of the nightmare didn't go too badly and will probably end up being more sturdy than I'd imagined it would be. Left holes to cement in a couple more bricks to finish it off once everything has cured a bit. Almost out of sand! Wonder if I can return the sacks of concrete I bought and don't yet need, and exchange them for sand and cement? . . bagged up all the infill debris, but it turned out to be a slow job when it turned into something of an archeological dig! In that debris were pieces of blue ornate pottery, some leather scraps from some old shoe or boot, and the pieces from a couple of old white clay pipes! Amazing! Filled at least four sacks which I added to the ten or so others awaiting disposal in the front garden!! Mustered my nerve and filled the car with all the sacks of rubble and debris and drove round the field intending to dump it all in the worn away 'path' I walk every day. Damn! The schoolkids were still on their lunch break (at two o'clock?) and were all over the place. Couldn't possibly do my illegal 'fly tipping' with so many people around. Drove back home and wasted time having a coffee before setting off again, wearing a hat and checked shirt and with a spade to make me look as much like a bona fide workman as possible! My heart was pounding, my legs were shaking, the field was nearly deserted - 'he who dares..' - I put my hazard warning lights on, carefully drove up over the pavement at the bottom and followed the route the council truck takes that empties all the poop scoop bins! Didn't realise how uneven that field was until I had to try and drive across it! Didn't fancy getting stuck so took it real slow and careful. Drove over to the worn away slope and hollow and reversed back up to it. Brazenly opened the back of the car, propped my spade up against the car to make it look as though I was 'doing offical business', and as quickly as I could, dumped out all the sacks of rubble into the hollow. Spread all the debris out with the spade and was soon done. It looked a mess and rather disappointingly hadn't made any impression at all on the hollow. That hollow and slope would benefit from tons more, to make the walk up it, less of a slippery ankle twisting climb!! I got back in the car as various dog walkers were approaching, and continuing my act of 'I'm doing nothing wrong', stopped to roll and light a cigarette, before slowly driving back across the field with the hazard lights on. In my mirror I could see a dog walker stopped at the top of the slope, looking down disapprovingly!! I guess if I'd seen someone do what I just did, I too would have disapproved, although it may have been that he was just waiting for his dog to finish excitedly sniffing around the new piles of vacuumed up dust and rubble that must have smelt very much of Sally! My defence is that I genuinely believe, that bit of 'path' needs building back up. Illegal motorcycle riders, kids on pushbikes and daily foot traffic from dog walkers and school kids, has worn it away and the rain has 'washed it out' and made it a very awkward climb, especially walking Sally on a dark rainy night in winter!! I still feel real guilty about doing it of course. :o\ Some prolonged heavy rain would help make it all 'disappear'. . As I turned the corner on the grass and headed slowly for the kerb, right in front of me pulling out of the road that runs alongside the field was a police van!!!! I couldn't believe it!! All the illegality, madness and mayhem that goes on round here, and you never see any police - the minute I do something illegal and there they are!!!!! I carried on my bluff and drove straight on across the grass towards the van - it turned out of the road and drove off! Phew!! Thank goodness for that. Raced home feeling guilty as hell, and half expecting someone may have made a note of my registration number and an official knock on the door some time!! . . . cleared up, grabbed a sandwhich and lay down to nap. Couldn't sleep and Sally seemed to be acting restless. Got back up and let her out into the garden - she immediately had to release her latest upset stomach!! I praised her as usual and made such a fuss of her being so good, she dashed back out and had a pee before exictedly dashing back in for more praise! lol :o) . . . PCd and looked up a list of dog boarding kennels for 'if' (when!) I need to go into hospital. Phoned the vet and asked for recommendations. They suggested The Cottage Kennels and Cattery at Hambrook. Rang them and was told 8.50 per day, but they get real overbooked around Christmas and close during January! Hmm! :o( . . . walked . . . LB left an ansaphone message saying she'd be going to France in a couple of weeks if I wanted her to get some duty free tobacco. . . touched base with BB . . . TVd till bed around 11pm. (4/10)a
2 - Up around 7am. . . walked and found a penny . . . PCd this . . . rang the DIY store and they confirmed I could return and exchange the bags of concrete . . .loaded the car up in the rain, left Sally at home and went and exchanged the four sacks of concrete for four of sand, one of cement and a tub of unibond, paying some more for the difference. Popped into the adjacent pet store and spent 47.14 on 48 tins of Winalot (16.20), a 15kg sack of PAL complete (17.95) and 10 rawhide chewy treats (12.99!!!!!) for Sally!!!! She eats better than I do!! . .drove home and 'carefully' unloaded everything, trying not to have my 'innards' explode out everywhere!! :o\ . . . walked with Sally up to Kingswood to draw out some savings to give to LB for her duty free tobacco run, and to shop. Foremost in my mind was buying supplies of Horlicks night time drink sachets. Seem to have developed a real liking for having a cup of Horlicks with a spoonful of sugar before bed!? Found 2p . . .cooked up BLT sandwhiches, followed those with a couple of jam doughnuts, and then lay down for a nap for a couple of hours . . . balanced my accounts. Wow - I've been spending some money of late! Most of it in the DIY store!! . . . walked. Just near the rugby club building in the near dark and suddenly Sally saw a cat in the long grass. Off she went, ignoring my frantic calls completely. She raced in pursuit across the crowded car park and straight out, across and down the road!!!!!! That cat chasing is gonna be the death of her! :o( Me too, running down that slope and over recently dumped rubble, in the dark like that! When she finally came back, I confess I slapped her on the nose! She knows all about 'Sally NO! You do NOT chase cats!' - we've practiced loads - EVERY time we see one - and of course 'GOOD girl' when she 'almost' ignores one! I leashed her up and roughly marched her straight home and out into the back yard for some solitary confinement, and moreover, to let my temper cool. Grrrrr! . . .touched base with BB . . . TVd/PCd till early. (4/10)s
3 - Up around 8am. . . walked . . .popped round a local post office with Sally - but not the usual one. I'm boycotting that one in protest at the nonsense I had to endure when I posted those expensive overseas parcels that came straight back to me recently. BOTH local Post Offices are soon due for closure!! Will then have to walk a mile or two to the next nearest!! . . .dropped Sally off at home and walked round the local builders yard and bought a couple of angle beads . . . intended to start messing with the fireplce some more, but couldn't face it and suddenly realised I have to pause and give serious thought to what sockets and switches I need to build into it, and where to put them, especially if I'm gonna try and include some sort of expel-air fan in the flue at some point!! Sat in the garden with a coffee and cigarettes and the DIY store catalogue, but it was no help at all. Suddenly spotted a one and a half legged frog trapped on the patio! Relocated it to the pond. Then suddenly spotted some blood on Sally's nose?!!!!!! Turned out to be a cut on her left leg, on that pad, kinda where her wrist is!!! She must have run across some of the masses of broken glass over the field this morning!! Bit of a 'flap' where the cut is, but it doesn't look bad enough for a vet visit. :o( Poor old woofy! . . . PCd this with a headache. . .cooked up BLT sandwhiches and was just finishing them when IHB popped in for a coffee and chats. He didn't seem particularly happy with his lot, but better than the last time he popped in. . . managed to nap for around an hour but woken by Sally barking as the free local paper was pushed through the letterbox . . . sawed up the bits of wood I used as the fireplace arch former, and put them in the bin . . . walked and found 4p . . . did a little bit of sewing repairs to some of my clothes, most of which seem to be turning into rags! . . . BB called to touch base . . . TVd till around midnight. . . lost track of how many times I was woken in the night by noisy drunken people passing by!! :o( (4/10)aa
4 - Up around 7am. . . drove sally to the River Avon at Hanham for walks. Her cut pad (which already looks better) doesn't seem to be worrying her at all, apart from a bit of licking now and then. . toured the Longwell Green DIY stores before returning home, looking at extractor fans and trying to get an idea of what wiring would be necessary to put one in my firebreast. Really not sure it would be a good idea to just vent stuff up the chimney like that. Would it cause condensation/damp problems? Dunno - think I'm gonna aim to do it anyway . . . couldn't face getting serious with the disc cutter and the firebreast (don't feel comfortable making all that noise on a weekend when the poor neighbours are home) and messed around all day clearing up some of the rubble, dust and mess in the understairs cupboard and desperately trying to throw some of the stuff in there away. Decided at last to throw away the ancient spherical vacuum cleaner I've kept for years for vacuuming up building rubble and debris, with my home made re-useable bag. Managed to make enough space in the cupboard to have a look at the supporting wall on the kitchen side, which I have yet to try put a damp proof course under. All very much complicated by the radiator and central heating pipes which are all screwed to that wall. I've yet to remove the bottom two courses of bricks from the new doorway opening because they are supporting and protecting a couple of feet of central heating pipe and the drain plugs. Can't put the new wood door frame in position and finish off that doorway until I've sorted all that out. Means draining the central heating system and altering the pipes - and that kitchen radiator would benefit from being moved maybe an inch or two to the left - LOADS of hassle, just for a couple of inches - and it's now cold enough at night for needing the heating on (although I've not done so yet this year, to save on the running costs)!! Did an exploratory excavation of one of the bricks, and found a missing brick sized gap in the wall anyway!! Good greif!! And that concrete understairs cupboard floor, slopes away SO much, it appears to be about an inch or two lower than the kitchen floor!! Oh dear, oh dear! This nightmare is never ending! Gave up, cleared up and overfilled a carrier bag (inside two others for support) with the dust and rubble. . . had a go at darning the holes in a pair of socks!! Bit of a mess but seems to work. :o) . . . waited until it was almost dark just after 7pm and then, struggling with the heavy carrier bag, walked Sally. The bag was empty when I returned home. Found 2p. . .cooked up four 'tall' cheeseburgers with lettuce and tomatoe and ate big . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd till early. Wanted to go to bed earlier but some lunatic (I just BET it was the same house that had the loud 'band practice' the other week) was having a firework display in their back garden. Those were not small fireworks - extremely loud explosions right overhead!! Pretty windy too. Those new 'mushroom' caps on the chimney pots seem to make a lot of noise when it's windy, that echos down the firebreasts with a bit of a roar!!! :o\ (4/10)s
5 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am. . .walked. Beautiful clear sunny sky, but rather cold with traces of frost on the seat over the field. Found 6p . . .PCd this . . .Mum called to touch base. Everyone seems ok. She's decided to go visit Sis2 in the states!!! . . . mustered the energy to cement the last brick and a half, up into the right hand firebreast throat. Temporarily wedged it in place to set, with a long piece of rafter I salvaged from the skip when the roofers were here. . . defrosted the fridge . . . napped for an hour or so . . . walked in a bit of drizzle . . .touched base with BB . . . PS popped round for chats till early. . . TVd/PCd till earlier. Some nice guest book entries today - and one not so nice, which preyed on my mind and made me uneasy. Unfortunate how my 'lack of self worth/paranoid mind' somehow 'passes over' the pleasant entries and only takes on board and dwells on the negatives! (4/10)s
6 - Woken by Sally around 8am. . .walked. Found 4p. One of the dog walkers gave another recommendation for a boarding kennel. Not gonna start worrying too much about all that until I have some dates. . . PCd this . . .wrestled for a few hours with the kitchen fireplace. Started cementing up the bottom of the left hand chimney throat a little to make it more symetrical and almost match the right hand one. A lot of work and pretty much a thankless task since only a midget would ever be able to look up and see it! Did the same 'hold it in place with a rafter' trick. Managed to extract appropriate bricks and cement in a couple of recesses for socket boxes. The top one, which will hopefully accomodate the wiring for an extractor fan, was a real pain to do because it is a foot or so above the arch, actually up the chimney!! The depth of the opening was less than the length of the drill and bit, so I couldn't get the drill in there except at a ludicrous angle! Succeeded in breaking one of the bits! :o( So - the next job to do, when I can face the horrible dust everywhere mess, is to cut out the channels for all the conduit with the disc cutter. Uggh! And where on earth am I gonna site the switch for the extractor fan? I think it's gonna HAVE to be on the right hand inside wall of the fireplace, 'perhaps' rather too near where I intend to place the hob!! (A foot or so away from the flames - is that enough?). . .ate sandwhiches and fell asleep for an hour or so . . . walked in the wind and rain showers, and deposited another carrier bag of brick dust over the field. Found 2p . . . popped up LBs and handed over some money for her to hopefully get me some duty free tobacco when she goes to France in a week or so . . .PCd this . . .touched base with BB . . . TVd till bed around midnight.(4/10)s
7 - Up around 7:20am . . . walked and found 3p - seperate pennies, each about ten feet apart. I felt like a crow following breadcrumbs!. . .received some helpfull feedback from the site confirming that venting stuff up the chimney will probably cause condensation in the flue, and whatever goes up will likely 'rain' back down. I've no outside walls in the kitchen to extract through (because of the conservatory), and the construction of the chimney means I can't make the opening high enough to get a recirculating hood in there, so even if it isn't advisable, I AM gonna continue with the plan to put in the wiring for an eventual fan up the chimney. :o| I guess if it does cause problems, I'll just go back to having no extraction at all - like I've been living with all these years anyway - and maybe put a light up there instead? . . . skipped breakfast, bit the bullet and spent the day with the disc cutter, cutting channels for electrical conduit and cutting in the position for the extractor switch. BIG mess - too much mess and dust to have any lunch!! Actually managed to cement in the switch box and conduit before calling a halt and tidying up. . showered and once again had to use the nail/scrubbing brush all over my body and face to remove the layers of grime!! . . . walked with a heavy ruck sack of brick dust and rubble to deposit in the 'land fill' over the field. How on earth those WW2 prisoners of war managed to excavate huge escape tunnels and dispose of all the earth via bags down their trousers, is just amazing to me!! With rugby players over there practicing (shouting and swearing) under spotlights, it felt about as risky as I loitered in the shadows and tipped out my bag!! . Found a penny . . . finally cooked up some chips and ate just before 9pm! . . . touched base with BB . . .TVd till bed around midnight. (4/10)
8 - Up around 7:30am . . . walked and found 2p . . . PCd this . . .god I feel tired! Not sure I can face doing 'bulding work' today (ever again!)! . . .managed to force myself to get on with it and succeeded in cementing in the angle bead, bottom socket box and conduits in the back wall of the fireplace. Was all ready to clear up and go and sleep but figured I may as well carry on and try and cement in the conduits and high socket box for the fan. Measured off the last bit of conduit I have and cut it off to length - or not!!! Guess I must have been tired and careless - cut the damn thing about 5mm too short!! Grrrr! Just couldn't face jumping in the car and rushing out to buy another length, so that mistake kinda cost me another day of waiting for cement to dry. VERY weird smell from that fireplace when I make the bricks wet!!!??? Cemented up a couple of verticals either side of the fireplace opening. These wonky walls are SO uneven that I have to kinda find a 'high average' of where the bricks stick out to, aim to render flat to that level, render up a couple of thin verticals with the spirit level, and then use a flat edge run down between those verticals to find the handful of places that stick out too much and grind those back with the disc cutter!!!!! Big nightmare. Can't imagine another house anywhere needing this sort of nonsense, just to try and get a reasonably flat wall! Seem to have used up yet another expensive diamond edged cutting disk too!! Amazing how they eventually just wear away like that - about 10mm of a 110mm diameter, steel and diamond studded disk, just all turned to dust, a fair proportion of which I am breathing in, despite the face masks I wear!! Diamond studded lungs?. . . walked and found 2p. Back home and noticed I'd trodden in some mud and as I'd walked it had marked the bottom of my trouser leg. Hang on - that isn't mud!!!!! Ewww! Ewww! Eeeeeeeewww!!!!!! That is SO aggravating. The lengths I go to, to clean up after Sally, and I go and walk in someone elses dog poop and get it all over my clothes!!! Hosed myself down on the patio and ended up having a laundry frenzy!. . .touched base with BB . . . TVd till early to bed around 10:45pm. (4/10)
9 - Up around 6:45am . . .drove to the river Avon at Hanham for walks, swims, rabbit chases, etc. Stopped at Lidel on the way to the DIY store. I am gonna HAVE to stop going in that store! I'm starting to 'impulse buy' and I really can't afford to!!! The last time I went in there I ended up buying a lighter, of all things! I have a huge selection of salvaged lighters that I keep picking up, but the one they were selling for just over 1 was 'windproof'. One of those that lights like a miniature blow torch. I've wanted one of those for a while. Fed up with sitting on the seat over the field in a breeze and having to try and light my cigarette 'inside' my coat! It actually works really well, no matter how windy. This time it was a 'Wireless Weather Station'. (Like I need one of those!!) All electronic with a remote wireless sensor for outdoor and indoor temperature readings and complete with a barometer and forecast utility - and all for just 10!! Very silly - but I bought the last one on the shelf - they had gone like hot cakes. . carried on to the DIY store and bought two lengths of conduit (2.98) and another diamond cutting disk (19.99) . . . back home, Sally seemed to be in a most unusual, funny puppy like mood, racing around the house and even barking at me all playfully. I hardly recognised her!?? Seemed to wipe the smile off her face (me too) when I announced I was gonna do 'building works' and shut her safely out of the kitchen. Used the new cutting disk to grind back the protruding areas in the fireplace. Big dusty mess as usual. Tried to forsee all the grinding/cutting work I need to do in the immediate future, so i could get it all over and done with and try and keep the place clear of dust for a while. Ground out a groove next to the fireplace that I imagine should take the gas supply pipe when I have that done. . 'measured twice (or more!!) and cut once' the conduit for the last socket box in the fireplace. Got it all cemented in ok. Ok except for that weird smell coming from the bricks!! Actually almost overpowering at times - kinda acrid, choking smell!!??? What on earth IS that? Something there somehow is reacting with the water!!???? It eases off as it drys. . . spent most of the afternoon vacuuming and trying to de-dust. I think I am gonna have a few days off from this building stuff. . BB called . . . ate around 5pm and then couldn't help sleeping for an hour or so . . .walked . . . PS popped round for chats till early. Funny how the living room seems to be near a degree cooler than the back of the house. PS figured the smell coming from the wet bricks in the fireplace was ammonia! Shame I failed chemistry - if I knew the chemical formula for ammonia, I guess I could work out what is on those bricks, that with the addition of H2O, makes ammonia. Um, err, or something like that? (4/10)s
10 - Up after 8am . . .walked and found a penny. One of the dog walkers called me over and said she may have spoken to a woman who may have been the owner of the old dog I found that was put down. Did I still have the photos? Well - yes - but not on paper! The woman had apparantly lost an old dog - unfortunately she couldn't tell me where the woman lived, so that was a fat lot of good. Would have been nice to tie up that loose end. . . PCd this . . . definitely having a day off from DIY stuff! Don't feel so good actually. . lay down to nap and ended up sleeping through until mid afternoon, when woken by hunger! Cooked and ate. . .cleared up a little of the layers of dust here and there but ended up feeling pretty down and fed up with the state I'm living in! :o( . . . walked and found 5p. . . de-dusted 'some' of the bathroom . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd till late. (3/10)aa
11 - Woke around 6am but managed to snooze on until woken by Sally after 7am. . .walked. Cool sunny morning with the forecast of a good weekend . . . received a letter from Cossham Hospital acknowledging a referral from my doctor, requesting an outpatient appointment for me to be seen by a consultant in the department of general surgery, but telling me ‘the waiting time for this speciality is approximately 20 weeks’. Apparently they’ll write to me before that time, asking me to ring to arrange a convenient date for an appointment! Why didn’t they just put me in a slot and tell me when to turn up, instead of wasting money sending such a pointless letter? So much for all that nonsense the politicians have been telling us, about reducing waiting times! Seems a pretty long wait JUST for a consultation. Assuming I need surgery, I can’t even imagine how long I’ll have to wait for THAT!! At least I guess I don’t need to worry about the recommended boarding kennels being closed in January. January 2005 maybe!! :o| . . .skipped breakfast and cemented a brick into the left hand chimney throat. A couple of awkward shaped pieces yet to do up there, and then it'll be more or less how I want it. Put a thin skim of render over the weird smelling bricks in the back of the fireplace. .20 degrees Celcius out! Like a summers day! . . almost caved in and stopped for the day but managed to keep going, skipped lunch and ended up draining and removing the central heating radiator from the stairs wall. Hacked off (actually prodded it with a chisel and it pretty much fell off!!) the old dust render under the kitchen worktop, just enough to reveal the bottom couple of rows of bricks. Actually had to hack off the cement from years ago where I just patched the bottom of the wall up and put on new skirting boards. Bloody hard work - but kinda satisfying finding that the cementing I've done in the past, was SO hard and well stuck to the bricks - gives me some confidence in all this work I'm now doing. This all may be hell, but I AM right in giving it a go. That wall is SO damp, the wall paper (and some of the underlying 'plaster'!) just stripped straight off with a gentle tug, and the central heating pipes where they go through the wall, are all green with corrosion after only a few years in situ! . .spent a ridiculous amount of time out in the garden, breaking up the resultant cement and debris into gravel sized chunks for furtive disposal over the field. Some of the stuff I've already dumped over there is clearly too chunky and looks bad - the smaller stuff looks fine, isn't bad to walk on, and will 'disappear' into the slope come winter mud and rain. This IS a bit weird!! :o) . . Tidied and cleaned up around 5pm. In pretty good shape to start putting a damp proof course under that wall now. Feel much happier with it all, than I did yesterday. Dunno why? . . . cooked and ate . . . walked after dark with a heavy ruck sack. Some young idiot on a moped came haring down the road without any lights on, drove straight into the field, up over the grass and took off straight across the grass towards the other side of the field, only feet from me!! Luckily Sally was off safely sniffing some poop behind me - I couldn't resist running forward a couple of paces and pretending I was gonna push him off!! He carried on, blowing his horn and shouting abuse at me, as he raced at top speed across the grass, back onto the cycle path, across the pavemet and then straight out into the road and away, still with no lights on!!? Some people deserve to be an 'RTA' statistic! That silly conversation I've had with BB about her getting me a Tazer and smuggling it over when she comes, had better remain a fantasy! If I had one, I'd bloody well use it!!!! Seemed kinda quiet out. There was some qualifying, England versus Turkey football match on, and it seemed as though lots of people were in watching it. The rugby club building even had some sort of barbeque tent up outside. As I walked around the field in the dark, it sounded as though someone may have scored, because from the rugby club in one direction, and from the pub in the other direction, a huge resounding cheer went up!! I can’t fathom it. Why care? What does it matter? What difference to ones life does the fact that this team or that team won when playing some ball game or other? I’ll never get it. It’s been headline news for days, that some player or other (paid 50K per week!!!!!!!!!?) was excluded from the game because he missed a drug test! Why would anyone care – and yet not care that rapes, murders, etc, are so common as not to be mentioned! Arrrrggghhhh!!!!!!!! Oh yes – I’ve turned into a grumpy old man! But it isn’t just a case of reaching a certain age. I may be saying the same things as my father used to say, and no doubt his father before him, - but I’m sure saying them about 'different' stuff. Emptied my ruck sack - feels SO good and light on my feet when it's empty! A group of yobs were sat on the seat so I couldn't stop in my usual place for a cigarette - they found it necessary to call out and then swear at me when I ignored them as I passed by in the dark! :o( Pleasantly warm evening (or worked up a sweat carrying the ruck sack) - sat on one of the boulders near the entrance to the feild for a smoke. A couple of kids on skateboards strangely walked up and started chatting!! Actually turned out to be a couple of 'decent' kids. One used to go to the local school but was moved to another, several miles away, when he was beaten up by the bullies! The other told me tales about how rough that school is, how drugs are freely available, and how you daren't take a mobile phone to school because you'll be mugged in the corridors!! He seemed to know disapprovingly all about how the kids over there will steal a car, drive somewhere to sit and do their drugs, and will then torch the car! Kinda decent kids - lives made miserable by the yobs and being trapped in that school for losers. Some politician in the news was made to apologise for saying he’d rather go begging in the street than let his kids go to some such school near where he lived. I fail to understand why he had to apologise – misguided political correctness - some schools really are like that and the sooner people accept that, the sooner they’ll maybe start to try and do something about the idiots that make them that way. Or is it them who are the idiots?Arrrrggghhh! . . .touched base with BB . . . wonderful hour listening to a 'live from Newcastle' radio broadcast of Sheryl Crow in concert. Wow is she talented. Never mind those insipid manufactured boy and girl band commercial 'products', or those gangster rappers who seem to be able to do little more than play other peoples records and grunt and say 'yeeeah' over the top of them - give me a real, talented singer-songwriter any day . . . TVd but became aware, unusualy late, of a loud knock on the woman next doors' front door. Funny how you get a feel for the neighbours ways, even though you almost never talk to them. Sure enough, as I listened, it was another call from some unsavoury, unwelcome bully, from the school of her son. He was asking for her son. There was some exchange of words and then she was telling him repeatedly to go away. He gave her some abuse, but DID go away - just as I was gathering my coat and phone and putting my shoes on! I absolutely do NOT want to get dragged into something like that, whereby my house may become a target for such people, but in conversation with her after the last such episode, I did make it clear that if she ever needed help she sould bang on the wall! I'm afraid she'll have to deal with a lot more than 'just' that, before I get in the middle of the nonsense. Spent a while sat with Sally looking out of the darkened bedroom window, after he passed by a little later and shouted out some abuse . . TVd (frequently listening out with the sound off!) till bed before midnight . . . woken by LB calling briefly around 12:30am! She'd had a 'girly night' with her friends and had lots of food left over if I wanted it. Filled the fridge with various plates and dishes. Nice one. :o) Ended up eating a plate of small sausage rolls before going back to bed some time after 1am. (5/10)as
12 - Up around 7am. Pretty cold out . . . walked with a ruck sack. Felt even more conspicuous and guilty in daylight! . . . cemented in three bricks and some DPC into the kitchen stairs wall adjacent to the new doorway opening. . .ate a huge plate of LBs chicken curry left overs . . . slept for a couple of hours . . . walked with a heavy ruck sack . . . PCd this . . . touched base with BB . . .TVd/PCd till early. (4/10)a
13 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am. . .walked and found ‘The Simpsons Film Festival’ video cassette just laying on a drain cover in the gutter!? Weird! Found a penny . . . left Sally at home and drove to Lidl to have a look at this morning’s special offers. Oh dear – that store is gonna be the financial ruin of me!!! Ended up buying a pair of rather decent leather walking boots for 14.99 and an electric toothbrush (I’ve heard good things about them and need something to encourage me to take better care of my teeth) for 12.99. Drove on to the DIY store and finally invested in a high grade dust mask for 10. Bought a couple of plumbing bits and pieces and a new bottle of gas for my blow lamp, for having a go at altering the central heating pipes in the understairs cupboard . . .put an old pair of leaky, treadless boots in the bin. Polished the new boots to 'black out' the nauseating white stitching. Played around and put a brass screw on the outside of the sandstone bay window column and mounted the sensor for my ‘weather station’, high up by the top of the window, out of reach of idiots, out of direct sunlight and hopefully fairly sheltered from the rain. Dunno why but I really do like to know what the temperature is - to kinda 'justify' whether I'm feeling hot or cold, because I can sometimes feel frozen (seems related to my mood) on the warmest of days, and yet if anyone should visit, I immediately feel warmer or too hot!?? Useful for knowing how much to wear when preparing to walk Sally, too . . . drained the central heating system and cut off the drain plug ends of the pipes that protrude across the new understairs doorway. Actually turned out that, as a temporary measure, I could leave the radiator in its existing position and maybe just about get away with soldering the drain plugs back onto the cut off pipes, with a protrusion into the doorway of maybe only a quarter of an inch or less – so those fittings I’d just spent 6.50 on were unnecessary!! Can’t very well reposition the radiator and do all the altered pipe work until I know where the newly rendered/plastered wall level will be, and I definitely can’t get all that done until after BBs visit because of the chaos involved in having to remove all the worktops and wall cupboards – and of course there is the kitchen doorway on that wall which I just know is gonna need loads of work, replacing of an old wooden lintel, widening by an inch or two, new door frame and door, etc!!! Uggghh!!! It’s never ending!. . . BB called to touch base. . .refilled the central heating system up to pressure and franticly ran around looking for the expected leaks. Wow – there aren’t any, except for a slight weep from the bottom screw fitting on the radiator. Excellent. Fired up the boiler and – uh oh! ‘Overheat lock out’!!? The reset button wouldn’t work!!!! Ended up taking the front off the boiler to find that the reset button was broken. Despite that, somewhere along the way, it HAD reset. I guess for the time being, so long as it doesn’t overheat (which of course in normal running it shouldn’t), I can ignore the fact that the switch is broken. Another expensive job for the gas man when I call one in!! :o( Ran the system up on maximum and made a very hot house for a while, just to check everything was ok (apart from the weeping radiator). Knocked out the few bricks at the bottom of the understairs doorway. Wow – those floor levels are massively different!! That’s gonna take a bit of sorting out – another big cement pouring opportunity some time in the future!!! Cleared and cleaned up and showered by around 6pm . . . briefly watched a bit of the Simpsons – nothing wrong with that video, although since they are on TV just about every day, I guess there isn’t much point in it . . . walked with a ruck sack full of the broken down rubble that today’s building work produced. The bathroom scales said it weighed 30lbs. Wouldn’t want to try carrying anything much heavier – certainly not with a suspected hernia anyway! Hot work – and complaining twinges from my weak left knee in particular! Found 3p . . . touched base with Mum who’d left an ansaphone message with another dog boarding kennel recommendation, from someone. . . finally ate for the first time today at around 9pm, and had a large plate of LBs left over chicken curry. Blimey – enough left for YET another meal! . . . TVd until earlyish to bed around 11pm. (4/10)a
14 - Up around 7am again . . . walked, wearing-in my new leather boots. Found 6p. A group of schoolgirls started talking about the dog and asking her name as we walked across the field. Good grief - one of those early teenage girls seemed to be smoking a joint on the way to school!!! I made some comment or other about it and her answer confirmed that's exactly what it was!! Jeeze - there's a time and a place for such things. What on earth sort of a life is she gonna end up with?!!! Ok - so now the grumpy old man firmly believes there should be compulsory drug testing in schools!!! Wonder if the report cards these days say stuff like 'could do better but smokes too many spliffs'!. . . tried out the new electric tooth brush, now it's been charged for 16 hours as per the instructions. Hmmm - not sure I like it. An acquired taste I guess. Couldn't help feeling like I wanted to give my teeth a good old fashioned brushing after I'd finished with it, and without a power socket in the bathroom, having it plugged in somewhere else is gonna be inconvenient to say the least. . . . did dusty laundry and PCd this, wasting time until my 6 monthly check up appointment at the dentist . . . just brushing my teeth again immediately before leaving the house and the sound of the water going down the waste pipe was definitely not quite right. Dashed out onto the patio to check and sure enough, the drain had backed up slightly. I'd suspected as much for a while now, and had marked it down as a job soon to be done. All that hosing down of the cement and dust out on the patio, was sure to fill the drain trap up sooner or later. So - that's this afternoons work!! . . . left sally at home and drove to the dentist at Hanham. On the way, rounding a nasty bend, I became aware of an old lady stood on the pavement next to her husband who was laying on the floor and trying to get up!!! There was something gratifying about all the near accidents that happened as decent people in cars swerved all over the place and dangerously pulled up intending to rush over and help. Made me think of Mum and Dad! Someone had managed to swerve in and pull up right next to them, so I pulled back into traffic (narrowly avoiding an accident because I was too busy watching them in my mirror!) and carried on. Waited in the waiting room for around 30 minutes after my appointment time before being called in. She gave me the once over, allegedly descaled and polished my teeth, and within five minutes I was back at the desk being charged 14.12 . . .ate the last of LBs left over curry . . . removed the rainwater downpipe from the bathroom roof and managed to disconnect the outlet from the bathroom sink and lift the drain cover and get my hand in there. Wow - sure needed doing! Almost completely blocked - full of sand and gravel and black yucky stuff. Haven't cleared that for a LONG time. Cleared it all out by hand, scraped away layers of soft washed away cement debris from the patio concrete (half an inch deep in places!), lifted the manhole cover to check all was in order, and eventually put everything back in place. Figured it best to check the kitchen drain too (covered as part of the floor in the conservatory) so lifted that and cleared out the yukky fatty residue that always seems to end up lining such pipes. I think I need to empty the trap under the kitchen sink at some point too, but I'll probably wait for that one to block up as well, before I bother. . .showered and then lay down and napped, but only managed an hour or less . . .just about to PC this and the phone rang. Turned out to be some sort of automated calling system trying to tell me I need to take out a car loan!!?? Hung up on it of course, but for several seconds afterwards, each time I picked the receiver up, the damn thing was still there! First time I've had anything like that! They better not start making a habit of that! . . .walked with a ruck sack of damp sandy debris . . .touched base with BB . . .TVd till bed around midnight. (4/10)
15 - Up just after 7:30am . . .pretty cold (7c) sunny morning. Walked and found 6p . . . Got an unexpected ’lets chat’ type e-mail from a lady as a result of some MSN profile or other of mine, that I didn’t know was publicly visible! Not sure if it was genuine or maybe some scam to get me to sign up on some dating site or other? Spent a while on the PC looking into it (wow – is that really her photo? Foxy!!) and then trying to make sure that my profile details were deleted! Made me think through a bunch of stuff. I won’t respond of course – me and BB ‘have a thiiing, go-in onnnn’. :o) It is also true to say that, after a period of dabbling with on-line ‘relationships’, I have learned that I am no more able to engage in or maintain such ‘friendships’ and correspondence in cyber space (with the exception of BB), than I am in real life. Quite some time ago, I made a conscious decision not to engage in any further such attempts – ever. Almost all e-mails and such from former acquaintances, unfortunately end up going rudely unanswered. I am deep in, the most reclusive and schizoid phase of my life to date!! When I first learned of Schizoid and Avoidant personality disorders, it was my conclusion that a schizoid was an avoidant that had found ‘some’ ‘peace’ in their state, and was 'relatively' ‘content’ to be that way!! It seemed reasonable to leave some of the agonising contradictions of avoidance behind and aim to achieve that state. I think I’m closer to my schizoid diagnosis than I’ve ever been – and - well – that’ll do. I've a house to rebuild! :o| . . . cemented some damp proof course under another three bricks of the kitchen/stairs/supporting wall. Local radio news reported the finding of a body floating in Eastville boating lake yesterday morning!!! Wow - thank goodness I didn't walk Sally down there yesterday morning as I'd been tempted to! That'll figure in my mind now, every time I walk her down that way, I bet. :o( Turned out she was a mother of two and a prostitute and had been beaten to death and somehow ended up in the lake!!! Don't understand why prostitutes are so often the victims of such horror. I'd have thought that any guy finding it 'necessary' to go to a prostitute, would be eternally grateful for the 'service' they provide, and would show them the utmost respect and gratitude! . . Used the grinder out on the patio to cut the couple of awkward shapes needed to fill in the gaps in the fireplace throat and cemented those in place. Used the lump hammer to crush up some of the resultant rubble and did the same to a couple of useless old fractured bricks and filled my ruck sack for later . . . grabbed some sandwiches and napped for an hour . . . walked and emptied the ruck sack . . .did piled up dishwashing chores . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd/PCd till early. China put a man in space this day. (4/10)s
16 - Up just after 8am . . .walked and found 3p. About the same as yesterday but felt really cold in the wind . . .PCd this . . .cut up some bits of wood and then scoured the house trying to be ruthless in what to throw away. Filled the bin up. . . left Sally at home and drove to do a big shop . . .ate and fitfully slept for less than a couple of hours . . .touched base with BB . . . walked. Lots of kids were over there doing rugby club training. On the way back down the field it appeared they had finished and were in the club building. As I rounded the tree and made my way to the bottom bit of the field, in the darkness I could make out a huge number of ‘kids’ all running across the field in a mob, with one of them shouting out “beat him to death”!!! As I made my way across towards the seat, they all streamed back and headed off in the direction of the rugby club building. I sat with a cigarette and asked a crowd of girls as they passed by, what had just happened there. Something about rival groups from different areas – someone had ended up hurt with a bleeding face/lip, but apparently they’d “got the wrong one” anyway!!! Jeezuz!!! Can’t even walk the dog without being exposed to mob violence now!! Mobs ALWAYS seem to end up ‘getting the wrong one’! Can’t understand how people learn to behave in such ways. Somewhere along the line I learned at an early age how fragile the human body actually is – how a single punch to the head can cause death! Only recently on the local news was another such case - a guy got hit when trying to stop some group of yobs from stealing his cycle. He appeared not to be seriously hurt, went home to bed – was found dead in his bed from a brain haemorrhage, when he hadn't been seen some days later! It MUST be, that TV and movies have some blame – I can’t recall a single film where for instance a saloon brawl resulted in the haemorrhaging death of John Wayne! Instead, everyone can be beaten to a bloody pulp, and miraculously be totally recovered without a scratch, seconds later. It doesn’t happen that way – I know!! :o( . . . PS popped round for chats till early.(4/10)s
17 - Woken by Sally at 8am . . . . walked and found 8p . . .balanced my accounts . . . cemented in DPC under another two bricks of the kitchen stairs wall. The last couple of bricks that are adjacent to the bottom of the stairs are gonna be difficult to say the least - or even impossible!! Messed around starting to prepare the understairs doorway for eventual fitting of the wooden doorframe. Had to touch one or two bits with the disc cutter, being all careful wearing a mask and glasses. Had to trim off a tiny awkward piece of one of the understairs wooden shelves and figured the disc cutter was the easiest way. All of a sudden as I was cutting, I hit a nail and simultaneously had something fly into my left eye! Oh no!!! OH NO!!!!! I’d been so intent on just getting the awkward job done, I’d forgotten to put my safety goggles back on (hard to see through them when they get covered in dust)!! In a heartbeat I had visions of having to go back to the eye hospital and explain how I’d ended up with a piece of metal in my eye – again, and have to go through all that agony - again!! Idiot, idiot, idiot!! To hell with that – I dashed out onto the patio, grabbed the hosepipe, and squirted it with as much force as I could stand, into my eye to wash it all out. Bloody hurt!! Seemed to do the trick though. Lucky escape. Idiot!! . . . not sure how door frames are ‘supposed’ to be fitted when you are talking about a rough opening in brick. The bathroom one I think I fitted in pieces and it wasn’t overly successful. Figured this time I’d actually nail and glue the thing together, make sure it was all square, and then hold it together with battens. That way I could offer the finished frame into the wonky opening knowing it would be about square and true, no matter what the walls were doing. Nailed, glued and battened the frame and left it to dry in the living room overnight. Crushed up some rubble with the lump hammer and filled my ruck sack. . .walked with a heavy ruck sack and found a penny . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd till late.(4/10)s
18 - Woken by Sally barking at the postman around 8am. Three 50 premium bond wins!! :o) . . .walked - once round the field and then back up the top intending to head for Kingswood and the building society. Found a music CD - "Ether" on the grass? Crossed the road and found a 20 note in the gutter outside the pub!!! Yayyyy :o) Banked the bond wins. Stopped off in a local plumbing shop to ask about gas fitments for cookers. It IS a standard fitment, but what surprised me was that it was for a 15mm pipe! I thought it was gonna have to be 22mm? Damn - I'm really gonna have to get over this mental block that it's become and start calling gas fitters for estimates. When they come out to do the estimate they should be able to tell me what I need to know to be able to do the appropriate preparatory works. Returned home - found 11p along the way. Blimey - profitable day. Lucky guy. :o) Should help with some of the outrageous 'Lidl' spending I've been doing of late. . . played the 'Ether' Cd I'd found. Eww, ewww, EWWWW!!!!! My worst nightmare - gangster rap!! YeeeeUKKKK!!! Gonna have to give that away to someone. . . screwed the under stairs cupboard doorframe in place, and cemented around it. Took until around 6pm before cleaning up and showering!! . . . popped up LBs and picked up the twenty packs of duty free Golden Virginia she'd bought for me. Worked out at 3.75 per pack - lots less than half of what it costs in the shops! :o) . . . PCd this . . .walked with a ruck sack. Treated myself to an expensive kebab and chips takeaway (4.40!). . .touched base with BB . . . TVd till late. (4/10)s
19 - Up around 7:30am. . . walked and then carried on and did the long walk down to Eastville Park and along the Frome Valley to Vassals park and back. Sunny but real ear tingling cold in the breeze. Very autumnal with a golden carpet of fallen leaves on the ground. The lake at Eastville Park where the woman had been murdered looked kinda normal with dog walkers, joggers, fishermen, etc - but one of the seats was all covered in bouquets of flowers with sad notes attached. Stopped for a while on a different seat and had a cigarette. Impossible to stop my mind wandering and imagining what those trees and ducks had witnessed a few nights before. :o( No one deserves to die in that way - except perhaps for the person that would actually do such a thing! A group of people all dressed in Sunday best bearing more bouquets made their way slowly around the lake as Sally and I headed off. Found a penny and a soft dog ball. Home by around 11:30am very achey and tired . . .ate blt sandwhiches and slept for a couple of hours . . . trimmed my hair . . . walked . . .briefly touched base with BB . . . PS popped round for chats till early. Nothing on TV so ended up watching some of the David Blaine nonsense as he was let out of his suspended perspex box after 44 days without food. Funny thing was - they made all that song and dance about how he was starving and had lost weight, but when they weighed him, he was still 14lbs heavier than I am!! (4/10)s
20 - Up around 7am . . . walked. My outdoor temperature sensor says just above five degrees celcius, but felt SO much colder in the biting northerly wind!! . . .like it or not, all this DIY work is gonna grind to a chaotic standstill unless I get the gas supply all sorted! Cut in a small rebate with the disk cutter for a pipe in the kitchen fireplace. Moved stuff around in the bedrooms and pulled up some floor boards trying to get a feel for where a completely new supply could be routed. Only one place it can really go and the old fireplace hearth stone in the front bedroom is in the way!! Should have removed that years ago when the fireplace was bricked up but it was such a nasty awkward job it seemed easier to leave it there. Lifted the slab and managed to haul it out onto the patio. Filled four sacks of dusty debris, and ended up with an enormous hole, bigger than 2ft by 3ft in the bedroom floor!! Trouble with that, as I discovered when I did the one in the back bedroom, is the depth of the old floor boards. Can't get wood that thickness anymore so you have to rig up a new latice of joists to take some boards that are thinner but will be at the same level as the existing floor when done! Nightmare! Any one of these jobs I'm doing would be a big enough job in itself. Having all this all going on at once is just overwhelming at times. Temporarily layed an old wardrobe door over the hole. Ended up feeling really down and overwhelmed about everything. There isn't a room in the house now that isn't a part of the building site and thick with dust. Everything now depends on getting this new gas supply thing sorted out, and the worst part about that is I'm gonna be dictated to by whatever Corgi registered gas fitter, I have to get in to do the work. :o( . . . walked with a heavy ruck sack . . . touched base with BB but I was grouchy and not very chatty. . . TVd till late.(3/10)s
21 - Woke just after 6am but managed to sleep on until waking with a headache around 7:45am . . .walked. Only a few degrees above zero and a layer of white frost covering the field . . .PCd this . . .left Sally at home and drove to the DIY store to buy a few copper plumbing fittings and one of those little tools for cutting pipes. The time I've spent wrestling with hacksaws over the years - that tool does the job in seconds! Brilliant - well worth the money. . .terrible painful headache! Popped annadin tablets lots! Walked round the local plumbing store and bought 4x3mtr lengths of 22mm pipe, 1mtr of 15mm and a wall plate for attaching a cooker, and wallked it all home. Quickly determined the elbow wall plate wasn't what I wanted so walked all the way back and managed to swap it for a solderless in-line plate. Cut lengths and dummy dry fitted the pipes in the kitchen. Pulled floor boards and managed to get two of the 3mtr lengths into the cavity beneath the floor - a difficult enough task in itself! The joists that held the hearth stone in the front bedroom needed drilling to feed the pipe through. Just started making the hole and the drill broke!!! Arrrggghh!!! Took it apart and found the bearings had all worn away (probably because of all the dust!). That's that then! Felt all headachey and nauseaus and just couldn't face getting in the car and going back to the DIY stores. Gave up. Grabbed a bite to eat and then lay down to sleep for a few hours . . . walked with a heavy rucksack, feeling miserable. Stopped for a sausage and chips takeaway on the way home because I just couldn't face cooking anything. Arrived back home to see some disturbance up the street and what looked like someone being taken away by the police! LB had left an ansaphone message about a 'domestic' that had been going on outside. She popped down before I'd even got my coat off. Apparantly some guy had been arguing with a girl up and down the street and he'd ended up hitting on her!!! Some guys had come out of houses down an adjacent street and pulled him off her and the police had been called!! Wow - thank goodness I was out and didn't get all involved in that! . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd till late. (3/10)aaaa
22 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am . . . drove to the River Avon at Hanham for walks. Detoured to Lidl on the way home to see if any of the cheap chisel/hammer/drills were left, that I've been walking past these last couple of weeks. Of course they were now all gone! Typical - knew I'd regret not getting one. Drove on to the big B&Q DIY store and bought another drill, the same as the one that just wore out. The price on the shelf said something like 17 but when I went to the checkout the guy charged me 14.29? I queried it but he said something about 'offers' and maintained he was right! I paid and got my receipt and then walked back to look at the price tickets on the shelf. I WAS right - but I'm not gonna complain at gettng it cheaper. It may break pretty soon like the other, but considering all the drill bits it comes with and how much abuse the last one put up with, it'll do. Almost went back and bought another, but resisted. As I left the store the alarm went off!!!! God I hate it when that happens - makes me feel SO guilty even when I'm absolutely not! The security guard checked me out and looked at my receipt - I went through ok - the bag containing the drill set off the alarms!? He said something about maybe there was a manufacturers security tag in the box, he handed it to me and off I went. I BET their computer got it all wrong and the setting off the alarms was all connected to getting the thing cheaper than I should have. Damn - should have bought two! . . . back home, Sally was once again in that weird racing around hyperactive mood!!?? Wonder if there is something weird in the water down Hanham?!! She's also absolutely COVERED in those sticky bud things!!. Vaccuumed up lots of dusty debris from under the floor boards and then used the new drill to put in a couple of holes in the joists in the bedroom where the old hearth stone had been. Difficult to know what a plumber will require - where he'll want the pipe joins to be for ease of fitting! Suddenly decided I couldn't go on, and figured I had absolutely no choice but to call a plumber and try and get one in for a free estimate and advice. . tried calling the gas company to see if I had any recourse for them only putting in a 15mm supply pipe when they moved the gas meter. Spent fifteen minutes on the phone before I could even manage to actually talk to a human! And then of course they were no help at all - put me on hold for another five minutes then came back and denied all responsibility! Grrrr . . . picked a plumber at random from the local free paper (well - almost at random - chose one called Terry!!!!???? I'm called Terry, I had a roofer called Terry, may as well call a gas fitter called Terry!!??) Spoke to hs wife I think - he's all booked up for a week or so but they're local so he may be able to pop in on his way home - they'll call me back after lunch. Hmmm - here we go then - bet he doesn't. :o( . . .sat around waiting with the ansaphone off. Cooked up a stew, ate, fell asleep for a couple of hours - there was no phone call. God I get SO angry and frankly paranoid when people say they'll call at a specific time and then just can't be bothered. . .walked . . . BB called to find me in a foul mood with lots of foul language directed at gas fitters in particular and people in general!! . . .TVd/PCd till early.(3/10)s
23 - Up after 8am . . .walked and found a penny. . . tried phoning a handful of gas fitters. No answer/changed number/ansaphone/'can't fit you in for three weeks'/etc, etc!!!!! For goodness sake! . . .ended up calling the 'Terry' gas fitter number again - the woman called me back pretty quick and said she'd make an appointment for him to pop in and see me at 11am on Saturday, and as a guide it would be 'no less' than 150 to 200 to do what I'd described!! . . . decided that there is no point in plastering the back wall of the kitchen fireplace because if everything works out as I have in mind, it'll be tiled anyway - so unibonded and rendered it up to the new level so that the gas cooker socket can eventually be screwed to it. Misjudged the amount of cement and ended up throwing a huge amount away! God I hate wasting it like that - usually deliberately leave some areas of regrouting here and there unfinished, so I can use up the odd amounts as they arise, but I've reached a point where little progress can be made until this gas headache is sorted. I guess tomorrow will have to be largely spent moving furniture and lifting and cutting floorboards in the bedrooms to expose all the pipe runs for the fitter to see, although if he's just gonna be 'surveying' I guess there is no rush for that! . . . ate and slept for a couple of hours . . . walked and deposited the last rucksack of rubble for a while, in my private land fill over the field . . .ruthlessly threw out some more stuff and filled the bin up for tomorrow. Finally threw out a huge cushion I've had laying around for years that my sister made. I've tried using it to sit on but it really wasn't any good, all over filled with scrap bits of foam. It was so big, if I'd just jammed it down into the bin, they wouldn't have been able to tip it out, so I had to open it up and empty all the bits of loose foam into the bin!! Very full! . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd till late. Reports on the news that the police have arrested 'for questioning' a guy for the prostitute murder down Eastville Park - also two nineteen year olds over the death of the skydiver in the summer who's rip cords had both been deliberately severed. They were his friends!! They carried his coffin!!! Could it have been them?!!! Jeeze! (4/10)
24 - Up around 7:30am . . .thermometer says only 2 degrees celcius outside (14 in the living room!). Layers of frost and ice on all the cars . . .news report that the arrested guy has been charged with the murder of the woman in the park. If he's found guilty, they should just tie him to one of those trees for a couple of hours - that'll take care of everything!! :o| . . . walked. The lady over the field called me over - she'd been looking out for me for the last couple of days - she'd managed to get hold of the phone number of the woman who 'may' be the owner of the dog I found that was put down. It'll be good to lay that to rest one way or the other. .stopped off to buy a couple of birthday cards on the way home. .got home to find the bins had been emptied and pieces of scrap foam rubber blowing in the breeze all up and down the street!!! lol . . . PCd this. Damn! My virus software updates have run out and I need to 'buy' more on line!! . . Uh oh - Sally was sick - in the bathroom! - because I had the door to the conservatory closed to try and keep the cold out. Poor woofer - cooed and made a fuss of her as I cleared up. Damn dog - thrown up stuff she found and ate over the field - again!! Wow - that bathroom carpet REALLY needs to go and be replaced by some lino, but I just can't face yet another job to do right now!! . . .Concorde makes it's last commercial flight this day. When I was a kid in the Air Training Corps and all interested in aircraft and maybe joining the RAF, I used to go plane spotting out at the Filton runway. It was a long cycle for a young kid on a push bike, but armed with my binoculars and air band radio, I was rewarded by seeing a few Concordes in my time. Because the runway stretches at a right angle right up to the busy A38, the police used to arrive and close the road whenever one took off or landed. One day they didn’t, so a couple of other plane spotting kids and I stood with our pushbikes, right next to the chain link fence, only a few hundred yards or so right behind it! As the big engines throttled up and it started to roll, the roaring warm blast of the paraffin smelling exhaust battered us. Our pushbikes propped against the fence were blown over, and a trophy book of spotted aircraft registration numbers, left by one of the boys on his saddle, was blown across the road and away, never to be seen again. It’s a beautiful aircraft. Never mind that it’s old and not economically viable. It is one of that rare breed of manufactured things that just looks absolutely right, and it can stir the emotions to see it fly. Tis a sad day I think.:o( . . .prepared my laptop with photos of the dog and called the number the woman had given me. Had to leave an ansaphone message! . . . lifted floorboards and managed to expose enough of the gas pipes and where I want the new ones to go to hopefully be enough. The lady partner of the missing dog owner called and ended up saying she'd pop round to see the photos on the PC. Just after 2pm she arrived and I let her see the photos and briefly confirmed the details of how I'd found it and what happened, etc. She confirmed it WAS her partners dog - he'd had her for around 13 years. She'd somehow got out and gone missing on the Tuesday before I found her. Her guy was a builder and apparantly goes into the local builders yard, right next to where I found it, all the time! She thanked me for putting their minds at ease and suggested she'd bend the truth a little and tell her partner the dog hadn't suffered. Glad that loose end is all tied up. . .grabbed a sandwich . . . ended up watching the live TV broadcasts of the last commercial flight landings of three Concords at Heathrow. Watched half of the program with the sound off, listening out for it passing on its flight path overhead. Eventually somewhere around 3:40pm I could just hear the distant sharp rumble. Funny how you get to know the sound of Concorde as opposed to any other aircraft, even though it is thousands of feet up – kinda like knowing the difference between a Ferrari and a Ford Escort! Dashed out into the front garden but too much cloud to see it. Raced through into the back garden and sure enough, there it was. A tiny silver ‘v‘shape high overhead, slightly further south than is more usual, making its final flight from New York to Heathrow. Kinda satisfying to see it this one last time. Watched them all land on TV and then napped for a couple of hours . . . walked. Intended to get sausage and chips takeaway on the way home, but the queue in the chip shop was so long I couldn’t face it. . . touched base with BB . . . realised I’d forgotten to post the letter I’d put in my pocket when I walked, so decided to walk back round the post box and get some chips after all. . . TVd/PCd till early. (4/10)s
25 - Woken by Sally around 8am . . .walked. Another frosty morning. Another real nasty headache and annadin popping to no avail! . .pulled up carpets and loosened floorboards and made everything ready for the gas man to look at. Wasted time doing dishwashing chores and such until 11am. True to his word (and that goes a long way with me these days, so rare is it) at almost exactly 11am he turned up. Walked him through everything and he seemed to be quite happy with what I presented and was suggesting. The bill should come in at around 200 and he can do it Monday!!!! Yayyyyyy. Excellent. :o) Oh I do SO hope so. Can't help thinking he had a bit of a smile on his face when he left cause there can't be many jobs he does where SO much of it has already been done and where all the floor boards and such are already lifted all ready to go. I've already layed in around 30 of new pipes and fittings for him! Easy money! Never mind though - if it's done on Monday I'll be very smiley. . spent a few hours notching the joists in the front bedroom to take the new pipe, vaccuuming under floorboards and then painting a coat of rubberised DPC in the channel I cut down the wall of the kitchen, through the bricks and up into the fireplace. Touched base early with BB . . Tomorrow I may gently chisel out some of the cement around the gas pipe where it enters the front wall of the house - that is gonna be the hardest part of his job to get done and may well be a stumbling block yet! Want to unibond the fireplace back wall too before he comes, although that cement isn't cured yet!. . cooked and ate . . . fitfully slept for an hour or so . . . walked feeling a bit nauseas. . . PCd this . . .touched base with BB . . . TVd/PCd till early - or maybe even earlier cause the clocks changed. actually put in the effort to set up some e-mail rules to help me sort out and automatically delete all the nauseating ("Free Tiny Teen F*** And S*** Movies")!!! :o( junk mail I keep getting - mostly from the old school website which I really think I should let die since there has been no interest in contributing to it at all.(4/10)aaaa
26 - Woken by Sally around 7am. She doesn't know about the clocks changing and thought it was later! . . .walked in the sunny frost. LB was calling leaving an ansaphone message as I walked back in. Some idiot drunk had left someone elses garden gate in LBs garden!! Any excuse for a walk when you have a dog - wandered up the street with Sally looking for a matching garden gate post without a gate. knocked on the door of a house a few hundred yards up the road and sure enough it was theirs. I offered to go get it but the old guy wandered down in his slippers and took it away . . .spent a time out on the patio with the disk cutter, grinding fresh edges on the blades of my masonary chisels and the old broken screw drivers without handles that I use as chisels. Those old screw drivers are just SO perfect for delicate precision chipping away of masonary. Got the ladder out and used them to carefully chip away around where the gas pipe enters the house. Worked wonderfully and within quarter of an hour I was all done and the pipe was nicely loose in the hole. That'll be real easy for the plumber now. .unibonded the fireplace back wall using some left over 5 to 1 mix I'd sealed in a marked container a while ago. Dunno what went wrong but I think maybe the water had evaporated somewhat and it was stronger than it should have been! The wall ended up a mottled white!!? It'll do - actually - my render covered in white mottled unibond is about as good and flat as the old 'plaster' walls, never mind the plaster!! . . . pottered around for hours messing with the gas cooker LB gave me that I'm gonna have fitted as a temporary measure, until I finish the whole kitchen and save up for a fitted replacement. Dismantled the doors and swapped the slightly broken handle (a sqeeze of super glue helped) on the oven door for the one on the grill which doesn't require as much force to open it. Made a mental note to keep the handles from the old oven when I throw it out - if necessary they would be very easily fitted to the new one - and they are metal rather than nasty breakable plastic. . . grabbed some sandwhiches and slept for an hour or so before being woken by PS leaving an ansaphone message . . . ate/walked/set alarms/PCd this . . . touched base with BB . . . PS popped round for chats till early. (4/10)s
27 - Woken by one of the alarms before 7am . . . walked and found 11p. . . raced around lifting carpets and boards and making ready for the gas man. True to his word he turned up around 9:30. Being all up tight and waiting, I spotted him pull up and had time to shut Sally and her food bowls out in the conservatory with the door to the garden open, before he got to the front door. We started off with a coffee and a chat and he seemed more than relaxed about getting started despite my anxiety about it all. Probably proof that it really was gonna be a simple job by his standards, thanks to all the prep work I’d done. When he did eventually indicate he was gonna start, he suggested he was gonna start inside with all the pipes, but I expressed my concern that the main pipe in through the wall from the outside meter was gonna be the hard bit because of the proximity of electric cables and such . Being all experienced and confident he obviously didn’t see it that way but seemed more than happy to bend over backwards to keep me happy, so he started with that instead. In very little time without much hassle he’d enlarged the hole and soldered in the new sleeved pipe! Cool. To cut a long story short, it all went REALLY well! I made it clear he should tell me to go away, if my following him around ‘like a dog’ and making suggestions annoyed him, but he really didn’t seem to mind at all. Somehow we got chatting. We chatted lots – about everything!!!? A fascinating guy with fascinating tales of a difficult life. Turned out he was a body builder. I hadn’t noticed until he said, and then realised that his forearms, just visible protruding from his slightly rolled up sleeves, were about as thick as my neck!! He could ‘handle himself’, and had been forced to, lots, despite now being an apparently very non violent sort! He apparently had (what I call ‘hocus pocus’) spiritual type beliefs, and I’m sure some with those beliefs would call him an ‘old soul’. I’m pretty sure it was probably only a half a day’s work (if that) but what with all the chatting and cups of coffee, it lasted longer. It was a joy to watch him solder all the joints, and there was clearly not a doubt in his mind that every one of them was perfect and gas tight, first go. He even seemed more than happy to give me the benefit of some of his experience and was almost teaching me how to do things as he went! Some time early afternoon he drove off to buy the new type of bayonet hose and fittings for the gas cooker. While he was gone I managed to move the old cooker and remove the old disconnected gas pipe that came down from the ceiling. When he returned, despite the awkwardness of what I was asking for, he soldered up all the fittings in the fireplace, pushed the new LB donated little cooker into place, and was pretty much done. That little cooker looked SO funny and small in that fireplace I couldn’t help bursting into laughter. He pressurised the system at the meter outside and seemed to go out of his way to show me how to use the test equipment. Apparently the law dictates that something like a 2 millibar drop in pressure (leak!!) over a minute, once the system has stabilised, is the standard, above which it would be unacceptable. It did drop a bit! He took the time to test and retest while eliminating different appliances, and proved that there was ever so slight leakage in the central heating boiler/wall heater valves. Sadly he steers well clear of appliances so I couldn’t get him to attend to the broken overheat reset switch which was a shame. Turned out in the end to be something less than a half millibar drop over two minutes or more, which he said was negligible. He was insistent that I should understand what was going on so that I would have peace of mind. I’ve never known any tradesman to have SUCH a good attitude! If he was happy to sign off his work with his Corgi registered papers, then that was good enough for me. Turned everything back on and confirmed everything was working, including the new cooker. :o) He wrote me the Corgi paperwork (for insurance purposes apparently?), I gave him a cheque for 162.63 (a part of me really wanted to give him more!!) and then he was away at around 4:45pm, after having given me a whole roll of tape for taping up the pipes before I render over them. EXCELLENT! :o) If anyone ever needs a plumber, I know a very good one I can fully recommend. . cleared up and vacuumed where the old cooker has been for the last twenty years or more. Wow – twenty year old chips and grease?!! Eeewww! That took some cleaning up! Phoned the council to arrange free collection of the old gas cooker. Expected it to be a long wait as usual but they announced they were in the area this Thursday!! Blimey! Rushed out and removed the handles from the cooker and then dragged it, with difficulty, through the house and into the front garden. Got all paranoid about gas leaks but it turned out to be the smell from the old cut off pipes I’d put in the bin. Moved the fridge and microwave over to where the old cooker had been, vacuumed more layers of dust and then spent ages screwing floorboards back down in the bedrooms and finally moving furniture back in place. Showered and done by around 7:15pm. . . opened the morning mail. A card from mum together with a little money ‘for a meal’ and some free music CDs she’d got with her weekend paper. . . walked and found a penny. Really wanted to cook something on the new cooker but figured it was late and I really should treat myself with Mum’s money so stopped off for a kebab and chips. . . touched base with BB. . . touched base with Mum . . . TVd till late. It’s SO good to have that gas business all done. It’s the only bit of this house renovating business that was a serious headache to me, not something I can do, and totally out of my control. Now it’s done, I can carry on - everything else is down to me when I can get round to it. SUCH a relief. Bit confusing in the kitchen – after SO long with the same layout, I seem to spend a lot of time wandering around lost, trying to put rubbish in the fridge or milk in mid air in an empty corner! :o) Poor Sally is gonna have to get used to having her bowls somewhere else too - although she has had practice. As I’ve been doing all this dusty work, she’s had them temporarily moved around the kitchen, into the living room, the conservatory, and even the garden at times! . . . All in all, a very satisfactory birthday. :o) (4/10)
28 - Woken by Sally around 7am. . . walked . . . put some cement and made good around the new gas pipe sleeve where it comes in through the house wall . . . quickly listened to a few of the tracks on the CDs mum had sent up . . . The new cooker position in the building sitefigured it was high time I put a photo of the kitchen building site on the journal, now that some little progress has been made (gotta be real economical with photos these days because of my having run out of webspace on the site ISP!). Camera just can’t get the shot because of the focal length of the lens, so ended up having to take three and try and stitch them together. Makes everything look wonky, but I guess it gives an idea of where I’m at. What I eventually have in mind is the fire breast probably painted white, with a work surface right the way across, with built in cupboards, oven and hob, and some wall cupboards in each alcove either side at about the level of the arch, with another worksurface, sink, washing machine, cupboards etc along the adjacent wall forming a large ‘L’ shape – all white. Yeah – takes some imagining!!! :o\ Think I’m gonna do nothing for a while – I need a break from it all! It's SO hard living in it while ya try and do it - can't wait till I start work on that other wall and have to do without the sink and washing machine for a while!!!! Next year! :o( . . . PCd this . . .rushed things and got a coat of masonary paint on the new cement around the pipe before the rains come. Forecast is for the first proper rain for months, over the next week or so. . . cooked up some bacon, beans and eggs for lunch, just to use the new stove. Seems to be smaller on top than the old one - hard to get all my pans on there at once. Sure seems to cook better though, and SUCH a joy to be able to ignite the burners with a touch of the button - the old cooker igniter has been unreliable for years and I've had to light the burners with a lighter almost every time. Seemed strangely 'slippery', with the frying pans skating around precariously, but I guess that is just because it's clean and not covered in layers of cooked on grease like the old one!. . . received the parcel of gifts BB had sent :o) . . . napped for an hour or two . . .woke feeling headachey! Walked in rubber in the rain. . . cooked a pizza in the oven. It's a very 'basic' little stove and I'm not so keen on having to get on my hands and knees to get stuff in and out of the oven right down at floor level, but it'll do. . . . touched base with BB . . . grilled some toast just to test that the grill does the business. It does. . . TVd till late. (4/10)aas
29 - Up around 7:30am. . . walked . . .cloudy but sunny spells. Popped the step ladder outside and put another thick drippy coat of textured masonary paint all over the cement and gas pipe . . . PCd this. The usual nauseating clutch of sex junk mail but two in particular really got my back up. One from IP advertising "10-13 years girls work online"!!!!!!! Put in the effort and mailed an abuse report to the 'iana.org' ISP for all the good it will no doubt do. The other from IP advertising "Free Dutch Teens none over 17"!!!!!!! Mailed an abuse report to the 'comcast.net' ISP - AGAIN!! That comcast ISP seems to be the largest source of this sort of filth and other trouble. Maybe I should research if it is possible to inform the police by e-mail?! Bet there aren't many people who actually go to the bother of reporting these mails (takes quite a time to look up the real source IP on ARIN and then construct the complaint mail with all the header info and such) - so much easier to just delete them with a click and pretend it isn't happening. I wonder if the ISPs actually look at such abuse complaint mails or if they are automatically deleted? Grrrr. . .Uploaded my journal and did my normal check to make sure it was there, and I had a sex site pop up appear!!!!!! Huh? Tested and tested and checked and made certain no HTML had suddenly appeared on my journal and STILL the pop up kept appearing every time I went from my journal to my homepage!!!! Oh no!!!! Somehow messing around with those nasty mails I’ve picked up something – I think – somehow???!!!! Panicked a bit thinking that maybe anyone visiting my site will suddenly have sex site pop ups appearing and I’d be responsible!! Arrrgggghhh!!!!!! Thankfully a system restore seems to have resolved the problem so it must just have been on my pc and NOT on any of the webpages. Phew! Unless someone somewhere takes a stand, passes some laws and stops all this, the internet and on-line home pc use, is fast gonna become completely useless for everyone!!! Grrrrrrrr! :o( . . . cooked up my first batch of chips on the new stove for lunch. That’s just about ‘broken in’ everything I normally do with a stove. . . touched base with BB . . . surfed a bit trying to look up how much the collection of BSH magazines (custom motorcycle mag.) I have, may be worth. Not much so it seems (despite having issue 1) – and how on earth could I ship such a heavy load even if anyone DID want to buy them? Clutter, clutter everywhere! . . . napped for a couple of hours. Seem to have slipped into winter hibernation/always wanting more sleep mode. . . walked between rain showers and found a penny . . . was just about to maybe start cutting a piece of tin off the old stove in the garden when I found a baking tin that fits very neatly up the kitchen fireplace, to temporarily stop dust and debris falling down the flue onto the cooker and into my cooking food. Seems to happen most when it rains, despite those 'mushroom' caps that were fitted!!!? Thought that would stop it! :o( . . . TVd . . . touched base with BB . . .vaccumed 'some' of the layers of dust from stuff in the PC bedroom . . . TVd/PCd till early. (4/10)a
30 - Woken at 8am by Sally having a gentle woof as the council guys removed the old cooker from the garden. Goodbye old greasy friend . . walked in sunny spells and found a penny. Big rain forecast for later . . . breifly popped the step ladder outside again and put another thick drippy coat of textured masonary paint all over the cement and gas pipe. Think that'll do, enough to keep the rain out. . . balanced my accounts and sorted out loads of paperwork trying to throw stuff away and got things a little straighter than of late. Booked up the car for a service (although I really 'shouldn't' afford it!) and the MOT in a couple of weeks. Called the guy I used to use when I was working - a friend of MLs. Don't want to use the garage I used last year - I have no faith in them after they put on the new steering joint without making sure the steering wheel was straight! Developed a real nasty headache! Dunno how I used to do PCing and paperwork eight hours + a day when I worked - always a headache! . . .used some old debit card receipts to build a small smokey fire in an old brass pot in the living room fireplace, to test how useable the fireplace is. Succeeded in filling the living room with smoke! So much for the 'draw' on that fireplace!!! I think it's just gonna end up being an ornamental fireplace - maybe with a light up there shining down. . . grabbed a sandwhich and lay down to try and sleep off the headache which was SO bad, it was actually making my eyes water! Couldn't sleep and then BB called leaving an ansaphone message. Gave up, got up, called her back to touch base . . . felt a little better towards evening and got the urge to retrieve the electric guitar and amp from the attic. Doesn't seem to have suffered too much from being up there in the cold damp atmosphere. Still works. A bit crackly. Still needs some switch cleaner or a new toggle switch. Made some awful (not too loud) noise for a while. Yep - still can't play a note! Still looks real pretty. . . walked in rubber in big rain and wind. Why on earth would anyone want to be over the field in all that wet and cold doing rugby training?! Seems more of the macho about that, than sense to me. . . a torrential downpour battered the house. Ain't ever gonna get much heavier rain than that! The new roof appears to be waterproof - more than can be said for the fireplaces!!! A couple of drips, splatter and dusty debris dropping down both of them!! Hmmm? . . .headache lifted and I felt much better as the evening wore on. . .wandered around the house trying to find more stuff to throw away to fill the bin up for tomorrow. Actually, sadly, not a 'huge' amount left that I feel able to ditch. Really need to sort out and try and sell some things - cooker extractor hood, body building weights, BSH magazines, mig welder, old (useless?) PCs, old CD stereo, graphic equalizer - 'maybe' not the electric guitar. Found a pile of old brushed nylon (eewwwww!) bed sheets and pillowcases that topped the bin up nicely. Not even worth trying to give those to a charity shop. . . TVd and watched a BBC2 program all about the benefits of meditation on some factory workforce up north. Is it some sort of secret masons rule in business that the boss always has to be a jerk with a covered up fragile ego?!! Program reminded me of how I long to have the strength of character/will to return to a twice daily sit in meditation. I look back fondly at the time when I did, as the time when I was most in touch with myself. Just seems to take more effort and discipline than I can muster these days. Dug out an old cushion, set the alarm for 30 minutes and sat on the mat in front of my dust covered dripped on Buddha in the fireplace. Managed about five minutes before Sally decided I shouldn't be sat in 'her' place and practically ended up laying in my lap after a few licks of my face!!! Tried to carry on for a while but Sally would have none of it and we ended up wrestling and playing ball and such for ages. :o\ . . . made awful noises (quietly) with the electric guitar until around 12:30am. (4/10)aaaa
31 - Up around 8am . . . walked . . . PCd this . . . drove to shop and dropped off some tight shoes, shirts and things (hat, music CD and Simpsons video, all recently 'found') at the charity shop. . .spent a few hours removing the old amateur radio cables from the loft/back bedroom and putting them in the bin. Expensive heavy duty coax - what a waste! Noticed that one of the loft skylight windows wasn't put in straight and catches at the bottom when opened and closed!! Grrrr! Had a peek out at the chimney stacks. I wonder? I suspect I am still getting rainwater drips coming down the flue, despite the 'mushroom caps', because they were simply plopped into position rather than being sealed or cemented in place. That WOULD explain it. Difficult to tell, and can't be sure until I get up on the roof some time and have a closer look - although I'm now frightened to do so, in case I damage any of the new, fragile tiles. Humph! Lifted some floorboards and removed some of the old TV aerial wires that run all over the place to each room. Lashed up a temporary run from the cable box in the living room to the portable TVs in the kitchen and back bed/PC room. Have to go to the living room to change channels, but it's better than nothing . . .a few damn trick or treaters banged on the door. Grrr. Hard to ignore, when Sally goes crazy and barks so deafeningly loud. Opened the door a fraction and just said 'Go awAY!'. Thankfully escaped without any egg or flour attacks. Some pensioner on the news died of a heart attack chasing nasty kids that had pelted his house with eggs! A sad culmination to a life's experience. :o( . . . walked . . . BB called . . . TVd/PCd till early as fireworks exploded loudly all around all night - again! (4/10)as