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1 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am . . .walked in the strong cool breeze under a blue sky. Would have been Dads birthday today. Only one (besides mine) I can ever remember without having to look it up - and he goes and dies on us! :o! . . . . .put in a few hours working in the attic. Felt cold and breezy up there until I started working. Cleared up a little then cut and glued in the 'shims' on each of the two lower 4x4s . . . ate half a chicken and four pieces of bread and butter for a mid afternoon lunch . . . napped from around 3:30pm until 6pm . . . walked. Hmmm - I dare to think that maybe someone has cleared up some of the rubbish from the rugby club compound. Looks as though the two lamposts that were laying in the field have been claimed by the rugby club and are now laying on the ground in their compound! . . . PCd a bit of this. A couple more, 'difficult' (for me), feedback replys from the site. The sort of feedback that - um - kinda'ish seeks assistance/support/answers to questions in dealing with AvPD etc. I can't do it. I just CANNOT reply! I'm not qualified to do so. I've nothing constructive to offer on the subject. I'm certainly NOT an example of a success story am I! Crashing out of the Post Office with my (oh SO lucky to get it) occupational pension, (as the doctors warned) has enabled me to almost totally and completely withdraw from the world, and live in my own safe little avoidant bubble, propped up by Fluoxetine and such! No - I'm sorry - don't ask ME how the hell to deal with AvPD - all I know is how to 'indulge' it!!. . .PS popped round for chats, TV, coffee and biscuits . . .BB called from her latest house sitting job with a new phone number. Said I'd call her back after PS had gone . . . tried calling BB back (lots!) but just ended up getting someone strange's ansaphone!! . . . ate bowls of cornflakes and struggled to stay awake in front the TV . . at last - at last BB called back, enabling me to explain I couldn't get through. Straight to bed after 1am. pss
2 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am . . .touched base with BB just to check the latest phone numeber she'd given me, worked ok. . . .uh oh. Sally seems to have a weepy left eye!!? Doesn't seem to be causing her any particular concern, but quite a bit more gloopy dischard than her usual. Gonna have to keep an eye on that. :o( . . . walked and did litter duty. I was just putting my carrier bag of refuse in the bin just outside the field (Sally's learned my routine and does as she's told and waits for me safely inside the fence) when I spotted something interesting, IN the bin! Pulled out the box and found it to be a boxed set of 6 LPs - 'Classical Piano Magic' by Earl Wild. Bizarre - how did that end up there? . . on the way home carrying my boxed set of records, I spotted someones key on a neck strap, dropped on the mud just inside the school grounds. Asked a passing girl to hang on to Sally's lead, and then climbed over the fence and retrieved the key. Climbed back over and hung the key prominently on the fence - all right in front a big new CCTV camera high up on the school wall!. . . back home, it turned out a couple of the records were missing from their sleeves. Played a tiny bit of one, intending to 'assimilate' them into my MP3 collection, but very quickly concluded the bin was the best place for them! Oh well. . .left Sally at home and drove off in the direction of Sis1s, intending to attempt to find the big car boot sale that ML had mentioned was somewhere over that way, and which had a stall selling ex-army gear. Drove all around the countryside but couldn't find it anywhere. Eventually gave up and headed for Sis1s. Had brief chats and picked up the CD of Crete music I'd agreed I'd use as a backing track to her holiday snaps, for a DVD for Mum. Inspected Sis1s staircase (as she'd suggested) and saw how it'd been made, to help me try and plan the one I need to build into the attic. Hmmm - that's different. Easier to build like that maybe? Took a couple of close up photos of the construction! lol :o) . Dunno why, (tired and headachey?) but I couldn't leave to return home, soon enough! . . stopped off at Wickes in Longwell Green on the way home and bought more nails and glue (19.35) for the attic work. Popped over the road to Homebase and invested 10.99 in a new, good quality 'Stanley' 5m 'Powerlock' tape measure, to replace the one I recently bought in Wickes, the return spring of which didn't last five minutes. I suppose I really should have returned that cheap Wickes one and asked for a refund - but I feel as though I deserve to suffer the loss for having been stupid enough to buy it in the first place. The fact that half the ones on display were already broken, was a bit of a clue, and should have been sufficient warning against being such a cheapskate! "You get what you pay for" is never more true than when it comes to tools, so it seems. . . ate two slices of bread and butter and two bags of crisps and then ended up going back to bed to try and shake my headache and tired woozy feeling. . . woke around 3pm but still with the headache! The day was fast heading for a complete waste of time with nothing done, and I'd really wanted to get some work done in the attic, so I forced myself to muster the energy to go up there. Damn - I haven't got enough of the long screws left to screw both those 4x4s to the rafters as I'd planned - and I was just at the store! Damn. . fixed all the screws I had, which was enough for all of the front 4x4 and just a couple in the rear. Now it's cooler up there, I've taken to wearing my nylon overalls - the ones (like new) I once found in the River Frome when walking Sally! An agged benefit of those overalls is how they enable me to kinda slide across the floor on my back when working in the corners of the roof. I pull myself along by 'climbing' across the underside of the roof rafters above me. Reminds me of how the 'Alien' in the Alien films, negotiated the air and lift shafts! lol Spent another couple of hours, cutting up 4x2 for the noggins. Thank god for that new tape measure. Went pretty well. . . broke off around 6:30pm, got out of my overalls, showered off the layers of dust and then walked and fed Sally . . . back up in the attic, finished off cutting the noggins to fit, and then glued them all in place (easier to nail when the glue has dried) . . .more showering then touched base with BB . . .cooked up chips, two sausages and half a tin of baked beans and ate with two slices of bread and butter around 10:30pm . . . TVd until bed around midnight. paas
3 - Woken by Sally getting on for 8am . . .walked . . .PCd this. Had some feedback from the site which really, REALLY got my back up loads.
Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted on Sunday, October 02, 2005 at 15:29:18
name: Laurie
emailaddress: laurie32@gmail.com
Comments: I always compliment people on a good website when it's home made or the biography has been one that is interesting and creative. However, I similarly tell people when their site is awful as I would expect anyone to tell me the truth as they see it about mine.
I read through your diary blog or at least tried to. Oh dear why ever didn't you put some paragraphs in to note new topics or changes of topic so that we could take a breather from reading the massive blocks of text that were more a stream of consciousness about grossly inconsequential events that were as boring as they were un-readable. Watching paint dry springs to mind.
I had to give up as it was time to do something more constructive with my time than try to fathom out where anything interesting in your journey might be lurking. It struck me as a pile of grunting about the barmy behaviour of someone who admits to being daft enough to let their dog savage a sheep and then blames the dog. To then say you don't know the dog any more after such an incident is an opinion that beggars belief. It proves you have a dog for all the wrong reasons and have no idea how to form a trusting relationship with one. So you shouldn't be let near a dog - particularly one which can do so much damage when uncontrolled. Perhaps you're a person who has that type of dog because you think it will embue you with characteristics you don't possess and wish you did?
Criticizing the Dartmouth ferry for being too small when you didn't appear to notice there's another ferry the other end of the harbour wall that takes 18+ cars is again rather daft.
I reply to all feedback that warrants it on my website but I see you're copping out of that responsibility. Well it's a shame you're given a voice on the internet at all then I say.

How obtuse! (A new word I'm gonna use, after having seen it used to great effect in the film the 'Shawshank Redemption' on TV the other night. :o) I actually had to look it up in the dictionary for that context, because I thought it was something to do with the angles on a triangle!? lol) What extraordinary arrogance!!! Amazing. REALLY got my back up more than any feedback for a while - SO much so, that I ended up surfing for quite a while trying to search for any trace of whoever it was who'd sent it, in the hope of maybe finding their 'B-log' (why didn't they send the link???) and trying to figure out why they were SO, SO arrogant and angry (with me - or is it the world?). (Un)fortunately couldn't find anything relevant. Even ended up tracking down what I imagine was the
relevant journal entry and re-read it all (You know what? I can't really 'actually remember' ANY of it!!!???? Amazing to be able to look back and read it like that. Did that Laurie person 'actually' read any of it? The best of times - THE worst of times! :o( ) I don't often swear on here, but I'm sure thinking it, so I may as well be true to myself/my journal and type it. . This is MY website. I do it for ME because I want to, and I can. It has evolved into mostly MY memory of events and my reactions to them. It may be boring and grossly inconsequential and like watching paint dry to others, but for me, it IS my life for what it's worth. I, and it, endeavor to hurt no one. I didn't force you to read it. I am under absolutely no obligation whatsoever, to engage in ANY communication with you, simply because YOU have chosen to do so. If you are reading this and don't like what you are reading - well then, it's very simple isn't it - just F*CK OFF. Ok?. . . hmmm - I only ever make reference here, to 'unpleasant' feedback don't I? I DO get nice feedback too you know. Actually - although I seem to filter out the good stuff and only hear the bad, looking back through a few just now, I think the good rather outweigh the bad. Thank you for that (you know who you are - and sorry I don't reply! I just 'can't' these days. :o/ ) e.g. "I'd just like to let you know that I've found some sort of comfort in your website. I didn't even know there was such a thing as AvPD, but now I do, lots of things make sense to me." I've had a fair few along those lines over the years. I remember how it felt when 'I' first stumbled into AvPD stuff on the web. I am - um - gladdened to have had some small part, in realising that feeling in others. . This bit of one seems kinda relevant to me right now - "You've got a great sense of humour, a beautiful dog - and never, never apologize for erecting a website as a means of stroking your ego. You deserve all the ego strokes you want - it's a necessary survival tactic in an unfriendly world such as ours.". . .Mum called to touch base and confirm she'd managed to get BT to tell her what her bill is so far this quarter - and by deduction she'd been able to prove those 'access number' Bahrain calls to Sis2, really are only 10p a minute. Cool. :o) . . .Blimey - PCing all this took a while! Oh well - that's another day gone then! . . .back in bed to try and sleep off my headache and generally yucky feeling . . . woke around 4:45pm, shaky through lack of food. Ate a pile of chocolate biscuits and the last couple of squares of chocolate in the house. . . walked a little earlier than usual before 6pm, because I just couldn't muster the interest in doing anything else beforehand. A bit cool, but sat on the grass at the top of the field for ages, feeling fed up and blah. Saw a guy walking two dogs who I was absolutely convinced was not the sort to bother with poop scooping duties (despite the silly new temporary council signs fixed to the gate and fence near the entrances to the field - a picture of a dog with the words, "I pooped it. You scoop it."). I was wrong. He DID poop scoop - after a fashion! I watched as he used his bare hand to pick up one of the dogs' poop, and then calmly walk across the field carrying it before throwing it deep into the hedge alongside the road!!! Ewww. Weird! Note: never shake hands with a person walking their dog. Lots of stories of doggy ill health going around amongst the dogwalkers!!! One dog had kennel cough, another had toncilitis, another had decided to stay at home tonight because he wasn't feeling so good (the owner walked anyway!!!!!!????? lol ), and finally I saw the woman with a drink problem and her dog, for the first time in ages. She asked about hernias (oh yes - I know all bout those - but not in dogs!?) and got me to feel the lump on the belly of her dog. Uh oh - the dog took no notice (other than wagging his tail) so it didn't hurt, but gentle 'medical' pressing was unable to push it back in, like you can with a hernia! Uh oh - that isn't good! Big hard lump! :o( At my prompting, someone else had a go and suggested from their experience it was NOT a cyst. We both suggested a trip to the vet - pretty quick! Unfortunately the woman was pretty penniless and said something about not being able to afford to get over to the (free) PDSA place in Brisinglington. (You could walk that far in an hour or two!!) Felt guilty I didn't offer to give her a lift over in the car, but I just couldn't face the prospect of getting involved and being all responsible for, or emotionally trapped like that with a stranger - and especially one with a drink problem (although for all I know she may be dry now)! After she'd gone, the other dog walker who was the woman who 'recently' lost her old dog to cancer, expressed deep concern that the lump was not dissimilar to those her dog developed before he died. Yeah - I have no experience of such a thing, and yet it intuitively felt like that to me!! :o( . . . TVd . . .ate half a chicken with four pieces of bread and butter . . . touched base with BB . . . 'Moby' snail and a tadpole feasting on lettuce in a bucket.sat in the garden for a while under my 'nightsun' light, and ended up playing with the digital camera, trying to get a useable shot of the acrobatic, death defying snail, leaning into the water from the edge of the 'nursery bucket', to munch on the tadpoles' lettuce. Better than watching paint dry I reckon. :o) Excitement sufficient, for about as much adrenalin as I can handle these days! Got a 'fairly' useable shot in the end (macro/no flash), and even managed to include one of the tadpoles munching on the lettuce, a little distance below the snail. I've said it before - it's a jungle out there! :o) I felt obliged to intervene and relocate the snail, when it released its grip on the edge of the bucket and went sailing off across the water on the submerged lettuce leaf (accompanied by the theme music to 'Jaws' (Dahhh, dit. Dahhhhhhhhh, dit. Dah, dit. Dah, dit, dah, dit, dah, dit...) - well - almost!!!) . coffee, cigarettes and jaffa cakes in the garden. . . TVd/PCd until early. . .returned BBs ansaphone call before bed. pas
4 - Woken by Sally just after 7:30am . . . walked and found a semi circular silver look earring to add to my bizarre collection. . . worked in the attic and nailed in all the front noggins and put some insulation in place. Too early for insulation really, but with the colder weather fast approaching, I'm eager to try and at least reduce the draughts up there a bit, as soon as possible. I figure the insulation will temporarily at least act as 'interference' for the worst of the draughts. . Cleaned up and then drove with Sally to Wickes to buy supplies of masonary bolts, screws and glue. .as I'd planned to, on the way back I detoured down to the Conham Vale car park and walked Sally along the River Avon and round my usual route back up through the woods. Haven't done that for AGES! Sally clearly remembered it all - going in for her swim at the usual places, and even stopping and laying down and waiting for me at my usual sitting place in the woods, where I ALWAYS stop and have a quiet cigarette. Very mild - very green - wonderful. Sat there for absolutely ages not wanting to move and break the spell, but sadly eventually I had to. . Looks like some 'work' has been done down there, along the riverside path with a new seat (made of old bits of tree - rustic!) and sign post erected here and there. Muddy marks on the plant growth along the far bank, indicated some recent very high water. Can't recall it having rained 'that' much? Up river maybe - or perhaps a weird autumn tide? . . not far from the car park, I disturbed a guy stood next to the path amongst the trees apparantly having a pee. He was less than a hundred yards from the car park and the public conveniences, and the way he avoided eye contact as I passed - I think he was NOT having a pee!!! Ewwww! :o( . . . ate half a chicken and four pieces of bread and butter followed by a heap of chocolate biscuits and jaffa cakes . . . napped until woken by Sally at 7:30pm!! . . . walked in the dark. Wow - feels really nice and mild out. Found 5p . . .returned Mums ansaphone calls about TV shows to watch. . . touched base with BB . . . sat in the garden, sat in the attic, TVd and ate bowls of co-co pops before to bed around midnight. Ronni Barker died this day. ps
5 - Woken by Sally just after 7am . . .walked in the cold mist . . . worked in the attic and made a decision about how I'm gonna 'join' the roof supports to the wall and then went ahead and cemented/glued/nailed some 4x2 against the front left wall. Actually skimmed a layer of cement on the badly uneven wall and then pushed the wood into the wet cement with gentle hammer tapping before gluing and nailing it to the 4x4s at each end for a nice firm, flush, draughtfree join. . . caved in around 2:30pm and cleaned up and cooked two sausages, chips, half a tin of baked beans and ate with four pieces of bread and butter . . . napped until around 6pm . . . walked . . . TVd . . . mum called . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd and ate bowls of cornflakes before bed. Seems like the firework season is in full flow. Been plenty going off all around at all times of the day and night for quite a few weeks now.ps
6 - Woken by Sally just after 7am again . . .walked. Wow - that looks like a burst water main!! Right where they just finished doing the road works, the new tarmac had raised up about an inch for a couple of metres, and water was seeping through and pouring down the road. Who'd have thought there would have been enough pressure in such a leak, to lift the road like that!! Amazing. It's enough to make you want to invent hydraulics - if it hadn't already been done of course. Detoured onto the building site, climbed up the stairs to the site managers office and notified them of the leak. By the time I'd walked Sally and was leaving the field, someone was having a look and giving a guy instructions about where and how deep to dig a hole. . . worked in the attic, pretty much non stop, from around 9am until gone 5pm, doing more of the joins of the roof wood to the walls!! Exhausting but successfully managed to get quite a bit done. If only I could put in a few more long, hard days like that, without having to sleep after only a couple of hours work, I'd make some good progress! Mixed up a couple of loads of cement in the mixer. Wow - it is SO neat having my own cement mixer. Makes MUCH lighter work of it all. The trick to keeping the mixer in good order seems to be to hose and wash the thing out, as soon as you've got the cement into a bucket - before using it. . . walked, oh so very tired! . . .celebrated a good working day by treating myself to a kebab and chips from the takeaway. . . touched base with BB . . .sat in the garden briefly and removed the snail that was in the nursery bucket, completely submerged beneath the surface of the water, eating the tadpoles lettuce!! Didn't know they could hold their breath like that! It DID nake a weird squelching noise as I put it on a stone, so maybe it had a supply of air in its shell? Amazing. . . in bed around 10:15pm!!! p
7 - Woken by Sally around 6:45am . . .walked and did litter duty. I've not picked up any litter for a while - and it shows! The field is covered! I've seen several myself - and it seems to be common knowledge amongst the rest of the dog walkers - there is a colony of rats living in the hedgerow alongside the new apartments building site!!! Picked up a bit of litter and - uh oh - what the hell is that!?? Carefully wrapped in several pieces of kitchen roll, was a knife!! About eight and a half inches long with a serated edge - a steak knife? Someone had been carrying that - and maybe thrown it into the field from the nearby road!!! Blimey! Tempting to just keep it and add it to my kitchen drawer - but then again, who knows what story it may have to tell. For all I know, there could have been an 'incident', and the knife would be evidence (although there was NO sign of any blood on it or the paper towels)!! Yep - guess I'll be making another trip to the police station some time! :o( . . . left Sally at home and drove to the timber merchant place and bought another two big rolls of 100mm loft insulation for 44.37. . . dropped that off at home and then drove on to Wickes at Longwell Green for supplies of more wall bolts and three bags of sand. Carried on to ASDA to shop for groceries. . . ate half a chicken and four pieces of bread, coleslaw and stuffing and then a mass of ASDA milk chocolate . . . napped for a couple of hours until around 3:30pm . . . worked in the attic and drilled and incerted some wall bolts into the longer pieces of 4x2 against the walls, to act as an additional fix. Probably unecessary, but seemed like a good idea. . . walked. With all the litter duty I've been doing over that field, I've become aware of the popularity amongst the school kids, of all those energy drinks that are on sale these days. The drink of choice for many of those school kids, morning noon and night, seems to be Lucozade. When I was shopping in ASDA, I thought I'd try one, just to see why they were so popular, and to see if I could discern any agreeable effect. I sat on 'my' boulder at the edge of the field in the growing dark, smoked a cigarette or two and drank my bottle of Lucozade - 'wild berry' flavour. Tastewise, not bad - better than RedBull for sure. . .I don't think I was able to discern any particularly energizing effect (not like I definitely can with Red Bull), but I WAS still in yesterdays mood of 'get things done' so I ended up doing dishwashing (all of them!!)/laundry/ and vacumming of the living room (my hammering of a wall bolt into the firebreast in the attic, had once again dislodged some of the loosely held debris from the chimney flue, and it was scattered all over the carpet!!!) . . . touched base with BB . . . sat in the garden . . . TVd and ate corned beef,mayo, onion, tomato sandwiches with two bags of crisps . . . TVd until bed before midnight. ps
8 - Woken by Sally around 7am . . .walked and did litter duty. Put in the effort to fill three overflowing carrier bags full of rubbish this morning!! Kinda childish, but as a matter of course now, every time I can identify heaps of the rubbish (water bottles, plastic beer mugs and lots of insulation tape) are as a result of the rugby club crowd ("Litter Louts RFC"), I collect it all up and throw it over into their compound. Found a penny . . .jotted down on a piece of paper my name and address and phone number, and a description of where I found the knife over the field, with the intention of dropping it in at a police station. Figured although it's been rather a long time, I may as well hand in the knife I found back in February too (why didn't I hand it in back then???) , just so there is some police record of how prevalant knife carrying appears to be around here. I mean - if I've found two in the last few months dumped in that field, imagine how many are actually being carried around by people!! Scary. I need to remember that, next time I lose my temper and 'have a go at' someone over there for some anti social something or other! :o( . . . left Sally at home and drove to Staple Hill police station with both knives in plastic bags with the descriptions of when and where they were found. The desk clerk appeared to be disapproving of me for not having handed the first one in, back in February (despite my joke of intending to wait for a few years in the hope of collecting an entire set!)! Quickly excused myself, left them with her and returned home . . . worked in the attic cutting, gluing and nailing the four big 'X' type noggins either side of the skylights. Caved in around 3pm with a horrible headache that no amount of annadin crunching and sucking appeared to want to shift! Cleaned up, ate a few bowls of cornflakes with mountains of sugar and then napped . . . woken by Sally around 5:30pm . . . walked . . . PCd a bit of this . . . BB called . . . PS popped round for chats till early. .ate sausage rolls, crisps and lots of chocolate biscuits. . eventually watched the 'Heat' DVD PS'd brought with him. I insisted on grabbing something to eat before we watched it - and then insisted on checking out all the channels I've got, before we watched it. What I didn't realise was that the film was gonna run for over two hours!!! Oops. Poor PS didn't get to go home before 1:30am! Turned out to be a pretty interesting film . . . touched base with BB. Eventually to bed around 2:30am! paaas
9 - Woken by Sally after 7:30am . . .walked in layers in the chill. . . worked in the attic until around 3pm. All I was doing was cutting and gluing 12 small mitred pieces of 4x2 to horizontally fit in the -X-s I glued in yesterday, but it took absolutely ages! Acheived some small satisfaction in being able to use some of the waste/offcuts of 4x4 I have littering the place. Managed to split them in half, length ways with the circular saw (saw won't cut deep enough so I had to do two cuts - one from either side), and then use them like 4x2. I only have a few full lengths of 4x2 left, and already I can see I'm gonna need a handful more, so it's worth putting in the extra time and effort to attempt to work out the minimum amount of offcut/wastage. Finished up and then swept and vacuumed up the mountains of sawdust. .ate sausage rolls and crisps . . . napped until woken by Sally around 6:15pm. Blimey - I feel a bit shaky and nauseas!? . . . walked . . . touched base with BB . . . felt a bit better, so ate bowls of co-co pops and then had some toast and marmalade for a change - and very nice it was too . . . eventually to bed around 11:30pm ps
10 - Woken by Sally around 7:15am . . .walked and found 6p . . . worked in the attic at putting in the bits of 4x2 against each wall at the top of the roof. Actually put in a massive amount of time with the circular saw, making up a kind of mini jointed 'A' frame at each side. At long, long last, I skimmed the walls with cement and then nailed, glued and wall bolted them into position, all in one go. Worked out ok. :o) . . .oh SO tired, but too late for a nap. :o( . . PCd/TVd . . . walked . . . drank a glass of red wine on an empty stomach and pretty immediately felt rather tipsy . . TVd . . . touched base with BB . . . ate chicken, roast potatoes, stuffing and a pint of gravy, a handful of chocolate biscuits and then some squares of chocolate. Yep - I guess I was pretty hungry!! . . TVd until bed around midnight. psd
11 - Woke around 6am with a headache and frankly feeling a bit hung over and fragile! On one glass of wine for goodness sake! Me and alcohol, really don't get on at all. . .walked in drizzle. . . balanced my accounts. . . drove to Wickes at Longwell Green for more supplies of glue, nails and carriage bolts (33.43). Popped into Lidl on the way back through for supplies of jaffa cakes and to buy one of their advertised thermometers. Cute little battery operated thing that tells the temperature inside, and outside via a thin cable to a sensor. The one I used to have which had a wireless outdoor sensor, didn't work for 'all' that long, so I figured I'd be better off with a wired one. It was only 2.99!! Incredible. When I got home and set it up in the living room, with the sensor poked out through the pipes I put in the wall to take the TV aerial cables and such, so succcesful was it I was sorely tempted to go back and get another, but I managed to resist. I regret that now - wish I'd bought two - one for the back bedroom/attic!!!! . . . Sleeping beautyworked in the attic cutting and gluing the front 4x2 noggins at the very top of the roof slope. Actually used a piece of string nailed to the wood at each wall end, to try and ensure a relatively straight line. The whole roof structure up there is uneven and warped and on the scew, and before I can put any plasterboard up there, I'm well aware I'm gonna have to 'shim' a lot of the woodwork to get a semblance of a level. True to form with a house like this, it isn't a matter of getting anything straight or level. It's more a matter of fooling the eye. Only certain points of that roof slope need to 'look' straight. One of the most crucial will be the small (little more than a foot wide) section of flat ceiling running across from wall to wall. If I don't get the two sides of that running pretty much parallel, it'll look stupid and drive me nuts for ever more! Again, very time consuming. Worked through until around 6pm. Poor old Sally is being pretty much ignored for most of the day as I tear around doing all this nonsense. I think she mostly sleeps out in the garden, or on the setee. Caught a cute picture of her asleep in the garden on one of my many trips down to make coffee . . .walked in drizzle . . .ate garlic sausage, mayo, grated cheese, onion, tomato and lettuce sandwiches with two bags of crisps . . .Mum called to suggest I watch Steven Hawkin being interviewd on 'Richard And Judy' TV tomorrow!? Presumably because my new computer generated outgoing ansaphone message sounds like him? lol . . touched base briefly with BB . . . TVd . . . ate jaffa cakes and bowls of co-co pops . . . TVd until bed around 11pm. pa
12 - Woken by Sally around 6:45am . . .PCd with a coffee and cigarettes. Good grief - 52 poker site guestbook entries to delete! What a nuisance and waste of my time - all the time!! Grrrrr. . .walked and found a penny . . . worked in the attic cutting and gluing the rear 4x2 noggins at the very top of the roof slope . Mum called in the middle of things to tell me that the 'lovely' girl she'd spoken of, who'd lost both her legs in the London terror bombings, was gonna be on the morning hospital show. Had a break with a coffee and watched that bit of the show. Yeah - Mum was right. There was something remarkable and special about that girl. She only needed to speak a handful of words and you could tell. Made me feel a bit uneasy actually. Kinda like she was 'too' ok about having lost both her legs like that! . .back in the attic doing the rear noggins and eventually all done by around 3pm . . . ate half a chicken, coleslaw and four pieces of bread and butter . . . napped until woken by the sound of heavyish rain around 6pm . . . checked the attic and - oh no!!! Sure enough, there was STILL signs of rain penetration around the rear of the front chimney stack, where I'd cemented under the drip strip in an attempt to stop it!! :o( To say I was dissappointed is a huge understatement! VERY pi**ed off! :o( So - how the hell is that getting in? It MUST be somehow getting in behind the render the roofers did on the chimney stack (twice!), and because they didn't 'cut' the leadwork into the bricks like they should have, it then runs straight down the wall behind the flashing into the attic!!! Luckily it doesn't immediately affect any of the 'structural' timber, although does interfere with a piece or two of 'filler noggin' against the wall - and I imagine, in a prolonged period of REALLY bad rain, I'll have to put a bucket down just to make sure it doesn't drip. What that DOES mean is, I can't finish off or do anything much with the attic now, until I've sorted that out! WHAT a hassle! Theoretically I suppose I should call the roofers back to attend to it, but frankly, they've had two goes at it and failed - I don't want those jokers anywhere near anything of mine ever again thank you so very much! :o( In fact - another stupid thing they've done I've discovered while doing all this work, is they've left large amounts of cement, rubble and debris sitting on top of the roof felt, beneath the tiles, 'piled up' against the battens!! That's liable to cut into the felt (which also isn't nailed across as 'tight' as it should be) over time! ANOTHER job I now have to try and get round to doing thanks to them - climb up on the roof and move loads of the tiles and attempt to remove all that debris!! F***ing cowboys. :o( . . . walked in the rain, feeling deeply miserable, and as though all the work I've been doing on that attic has been for nothing! :o( . . .returned her call and touched base with Mum . . .touched base with BB. . . TVd (Eric Clapton doing Robert Johnson music. Brilliant!). . . PCd until bed around 1am. ps
13 - Woke just before 6am!! Tried going back to sleep but couldn't and ended up just having to get up. Still dark! . . . walked around 7am . . . .worked in the attic, part pre-drilling and then nailing all the noggins that I've already glued in place. Massive amounts of nailing!! Uh oh - drastically under estimated the number of nails I'd need. Damn - I'm gonna run out and have to head to the store for more. :o( Not my fault really - they sell them by weight rather than an average of how many in the pack, so it's pretty impossible to know how many you have, unless you count them all out from a full pack! Hard to estimate, but based on how far what I've already used went, I reckon I need another four or five, 400g packs - although I'm not sure the store had that many on the shelf!!!! . .with the last three nails in my hand about to be hammered in, Sally announced there was someone at the door and I had to fly down the ladder and race all the way downstairs. Turned out to be IHB popping in for a chat while his car was in having a new exhaust at the Quickfit place. I confess, I was a little irritated at having to stop what I was doing, and I insisted on nailing in those last three nails before stopping to make a coffee and have a chat. . got changed out of my work overalls, left Sally at home and drove IHB back to the exhaust place on my way to Wickes for supplies of nails. As luck would have it, they had four packs left (and one all split open with half the contents missing) so I bought all four (Annular Extra Grip Nails 75x3.75 400g) for 10.76. . . straight back home and carried on with my nailing fest. Much drilling and hammering. Turned out to be too much hammering!!! All of a sudden, in the distance from somewhere in the bedroom below, there was a sort of a 'whoooomfff' sound, followed by a huge choking cloud of billowing dust rising up through the open cupboard access, into the attic!!!!!!!!!!!!?????????? Uh oh!!! Oh dear. I bet I know what that was. :o( Part of that plastered over, original old lath and plaster bedroom ceiling has had a big crack in it for years - aggravated by the careless roofers dropping that piece of timber through it. All that climbing around on the thin, bending ceiling rafters when I was doing the work to put the suspended floor in the attic, made things worse. I think at some point I also dropped something myself, on a peice of the ceiling in an adjoining area making it crack and sag. All in all, a large part of the back bedroom ceiling, near the cupboard access to the loft and above the PC table, has been increasingly threatening to collapse for a while. I'd (foolishly) not bothered to attend to it, because I'd hoped (assumed) it would hold out until I got round to opening up the cupboard and enlarging the access to the attic. During that operation, and the construction of a partition wall across part of the bedroom to form a corridor to the attic stairs, much of that broken ceiling area would be removed anyway. I nervously climbed down the ladder and into the bedroom. Yikes!!!! It WAS what I'd feared. A large area of the ceiling had collapsed into heaps of mess all over the place, and masses of thick dust was hanging in the air and gradually settling on EVERYTHING!! The carpet, the beds, the PC equipment - everything!!!! SH*T!!!!!! :o( Bit of a 'pyroclastic flow' in the PC room! :o( That's screwed things up!! So far with all this work I've been doing in the attic, I've been able to just close that bedroom cupboard access door and walk away from it, without it having any effect on the rest of the house. I wasn't planning on messing up the bedroom and opening the attic right up, until it was pretty much nearing completion and was sealed from the elements and the drafts and was insulated and such. And of course that leak in the roof is gonna delay all that for who knows how long! Now I have no choice! I'm gonna HAVE to suddenly change tack and start on the work in the bedroom, in an attempt to save the rest of that dangerously hanging cracked ceiling (which I really, REALLY do NOT want to have to suddenly attempt to replace in its entirety)!! Jeeze - what a mess I'm in now!!! :o( Struggling to breath, I quickly covered up (too late!) the PC equipment with an old sheet, before going back up in the attic to finish off the nailing. Feels as though I'm under a lot of pressure now. I need to race to get stuff done before that ceiling colapses any more, and before the weather gets too cold and every bit of heat in the house goes straight out through the draughty attic. :o(. . . worked through until 6pm before just closing the bedroom door in disgust and leaving all the mess behind. . .cleaned up and walked. Found 5p . . . ate half a chicken, coleslaw and four pieces of bread and butter . . . touched base with BB . . . struggled to stay awake but too exhausted and in bed (in the FRONT bedroom - luckily still pretty clean and mostly untouched since Mum stayed in it) around 10:30pm. pas
14 - Woken by Sally around 7am . . .walked . . . so - like it or not, I'm gonna have to tackle making up and putting that support timber in across the back bedroom!!! I had already planned on doing it - already had the timber and carriage bolts all waiting - but just not NOW!! :o( To be honest, since that timber is only going to actually have to support a maximum of three ceiling joists at one end, and will be the top of a stud wall anyway - I'm probably over engineering - but I think it's for the best. Measured doorways, the stairs, corridors and such all over the house and settled on what I figured would be an acceptable width of corridor to the attic stairs (give or take, more or less the same as the main staircase, to be consistent - not 'too' crucial) and which will determin where the stud wall will partition off the bedroom. The position of the old chimney breast in the back bedroom would give the most obvious starting point for running the wall across, but that would have resulted in a rather pointlessly wide corridor. I'd rather have the extra couple of inches in the bedroom. I think I'll stick to my plan and maybe use that resulting weird bit of dead space between the stud wall and the firebreast as a route for wires and maybe even heating pipes up into the attic at some point. . tentatively hacked off the old plaster from each wall and was happily suprised to find, mostly half bricks (errrr- why?) where I needed to position the timber beam. That made for relatively light work with the drill and a masonary bit, to excavate the recesses - maybe only half an inch or less from where I'd originally planned. That'll do. Nice one. Measured up - lots - and then made up the timber beam from four pieces of staggered overlapping 7"x2", glued and bolted together. Actually made up the two seperate halves first, so I could manage to move them around and 'dry fit' it in place. Used the old wooden step ladder in the middle of the room as a support for the two pieces. By climbing the ladder, and then getting both ends of the timber beam on my shoulder and forcing upwards with them like a pair of scissors, I was 'just' able to get the carriage bolts in and check everything for levels and such. Marked the ceiling, took the beam back down out of the way and then cut into the lath and plaster ceiling all the way across with the disc cutter, to make a channel for the beam and expose all the ceiling rafters above. More mess and dust on everything!! Wow. Those ceiling rafters are all over the place!! Forcing that timber beam upwards as hard as I could possibly do (even levering the ends up with a hammer handle and such) I could only get it to make contact with less than a third of the rafters - and at one end, it must have been at least four inches below a couple of them!?? . . spent ages in the garden with the disc cutter, making up what was effectively a couple of hard stone wedges to push/cement into the wall beneath the timber beam. Mixed up a load of cement and eventually raced to do the difficult job of getting the timber in position - covering the staggered join faces in glue - bolting it all together straight - wedging and cementing it permanently in place. WHAT a relief to have got that done! In theory - as far as I can figure - that is the last really nasty, diffiult bit of heavy structural stuff I had to worry about. . set about attempting to clear up some of the mess in the bedroom. Took hours! Once I'd finished brushing and shovelling all the dust and rubble into bags, there was little choice but to set about the rest of the mess with the 'bagless' vacuum. From experience, I knew how laborious and painfully tedious this was gonna be so I went and hauled the wheelie bin down the street, around and onto the patio in the back garden. Easier there for me to leave the door open for frequent visits to the bin, to empty the vacuum bag and not worry about someone sneaking in or Sally chasing out after cats in the street. To say I went up and down the stairs and out to the bin, carrying that vacuum bag full of dust a few times during the clear up, is understatement of the decade! That fine dust, chokes the bag. It is no exageration to say, that the vacuum would run for about thirty seconds at a time, before I'd have to go and empty it again and shake the bag all around the garden in the air, to get the clogging dust out! I even managed to form and burst a blister on one finger, which took the strain of all that bag shaking. Worked through at cleaning up until around 6pm . .tentatively turned the PC on just to make sure it was still working (I didn't see it but it MUST have blown out a cloud of dust! The fans sounded weird for a bit. ) and checked on e-mails. . Aha. Received an e-mail from the e-Bay store I ordered those combat trousers from. It's been SO long now, I'd assumed I was being ripped off and would eventually have to start chasing them and reporting the fraud and such. Well - it turns out that the good old Post Office (grrrr) are to blame! "Sorry to bother you but we have received some 32" Black Combat trousrers back, parcel damaged and I am contacting all customers who bought this size, as there is no paper work, could you let me know if you received them.". . . walked and found a penny . . . stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home . . . Mum called . . . touched base with BB . . . ate bowls of cornflakes . . . TVd until bed before 11pm. ps
15 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am . . . touched base with BB . . .walked. Found a protractor . . . pushed the floor sheets in the attic apart so I could get in to do the work and then cut shims of wood and glued them in position as necessary between each of the 'raised' ceiling rafters and the new crosstimber in the back bedroom. Made sure everything stayed put, by double screwing all the rafters to the timber beam as well. Right - with that done holding everything up, and with a big hole already in the bedroom ceiling, it seemed like I may as well go ahead and cut out the remaining bit of ceiling and ceiling joists, take out the cupboard door, the old wooden lintel above, and the three courses of useless brick wall above, and open up the full steep stairwell access into the attic. Didn't take 'much' doing, mostly with the drill, and I only had to trim off just a couple of the bricks with the disc cutter (more dust!!). At least I won't be bloodying my back on that bit of wall, every other time I climb up there now. . hmmm. I guess I could pretty easily erect a temporary sheet of plastic to cover that over, to keep the heat in and stop the draughts and dust. Or - I could even use some of the old attic timber and the cupboard door, to actually knock up a temporary doorway. Not 'such' a big disaster after all. That's not 'so' bad. :o) . . Sorted through all the old bits of 'lath' wood I'd collected up from the ceiling collapse, and cut and shaped a bunch to be carefully, as gently as possible, pre-drilled and then nailed back up with non rusting galvanised nails (unlike all the rusty originals!!), to fill the gaps alongside the new support timber. . dug out the old bags of plaster from beneath the stairs, which I've been keeping for just such a job, and mixed up a load in a bucket, with the kitchen egg whisk. Started the laborious job of filling in the gaps and marrying up the old ceiling to the timber, to give it that little bit of support and prevent further collapses. Used up all the old bag of plaster I'd been given ages ago by Sis1, without any problem, and successfully firmed up a portion of the ceiling next to the timber at one end, by applying large amounts of it to the TOP of the laths from the attic above. Moved on to the large bag of left over plaster I've had, since I stopped work right in the middle of all the 'wall work' downstairs. Mixed up a large bucketfull and started applying it to the crucial, badly sagging bit of ceiling at the computer end of the room, which I propped up with a couple of old pieces of the attic timber. All of a sudden, with most of the plaster still in the bucket, it suddenly went hard! Damn!! Surely I hadn't been THAT slow at getting it done??? . . managed to hack away at and scrape out the bucket into the wheelie bin, and then mixed up another full load. That plaster only remained workable for around two or three minutes - minus however long it took for me to RUN up the stairs with it!!! I think it had 'gone off'. It WAS after all, WELL past it's use by date. Nevertheless, despite the speed of hardening, it appeared to end up like normal plaster, so I just carried on with it (at speed. Throwing away more than used! ) a couple more loads and got 'most' of what I needed to do, done. It'll of course need to be 'finished off' and blended in, to the existing old stippled effect in due course, but not until I've built the partition wall and put up plasterboard. . I had another plan for attempting to 'firm up' that old lath and plaster (more like just loose dust!) ceiling. I figured, if I maybe mixed up a solution of one part PVA adhesive to five parts water, and then 'sprinkled' it onto/into the ceiling from the attic above, when it dried and hardened, it would stiffen up the dust and make further cracking and collapse, rather less likley in that particluarly dodgy area. Worth a go - couldn't think of any reason not to. There was only a relatively small amount (an inch depth?) of PVA left in one of the plastic tubs I have, so I mixed up the lot. Must have ended up with a couple of pints solution. Raced up into the attic, perched on the floor rafters, and set about sprinkling it in to the ceiling below, with an old wide paint brush. Well - that was the plan!! I knocked the tub of PVA solution off the floor joist, and three quarters of the contents poured straight down through the fibre glass insulation into the ceiling, where I didn't really want it!! S**t!!!!! Oh well - poured the remainder into the ceiling where I actually wanted it, and swished it around a bit with the paint brush before racing down into the bedroom to see if the ceiling was 'melting'!! Uh oh. Drip, drip drip!!! Oh well - that's the end of that bedsheet then! It'll be 'bonded' to the matress!! Put an old sheet of hardboard on the bed above the PC to collect more drips, and then ended up mopping the ceiling with kitchen roll in a couple of places - for about a quarter of an hour, until the drip rate was down low enough for the hardboard to handle it. Despite the disaster of having spilled so much in one place, it did appear that the drips were coming from definite cracks - one of which I'd not even spotted before - so it appeared to be doing what I'd hoped. Run into, and eventually dry and bond the cracks. Fingers crossed. It's gonna be a terrible temptation to remove that temporary support timber too early, in order to see whether or not it's worked! Must resist. ResIST!! . . PS called, but I had to say 'not tonight'. I'm in far too much of a mess, and frankly too tired to have to stay awake with company. . . walked around 7:30pm. Really mild out, and a big moon and stars in the sky - and something twinkling green in the hedgerow!?? Huh???? What the hell??? Something weird and glowing green!! A secret entrance to the underworld, precious? Ended up putting my torch on and climbing down the slope into the brambles to attempt to see what it was. Turned out to be two of those emergency chemical lights. The type that come in plastic tubes, which have a thin glass tube inside which you 'crack' to mix the chemicals and emit the green light. Weird. Wonder who threw those in there - recently - and why? The one I picked up, turned out to be leaking, and I ended up walking Sally up the field with a glowing green hand and boot where I'd kicked it away across the grass. Reminded me of pretty much the last visit I ever made to the old stone mines in Monkton Farleigh (unofficial and really rather dangerous). The mines from which much of the stone for the building of Bath was extracted. I'll always have fond memories of that place, and will feel sadness any time I hear news reports of similar places being 'filled' for the safety of the houses built on ground above. That whole hillside was pretty much hollow. You could climb into the caverns from a small entrance 'hidden' up in the woods. MASSIVE expanse of cathedral like caverns and narrow tunnels, and even old stables for the pit ponies - right next to what was sealed off and turned into an underground storage dump for the ministry of defence. Easy to get lost and never be seen again! (I always figure - if you read the Hobbit - all that chasing around in dark tunnels with elves and dwarves and such - I've BEEN there/done that!!) The bike club held parties in there on a couple of occasions!!! I recall helping haul a terribly heavy deisel generator up into one of the 'caves' in the woods, and then running hundreds of yards of electric cable down the tunnels. The first ten metres or so of those tunnels (the 'back entrance' I think we called it) was just a narrow carved tube through collapsed earth, through which you had to squirm, more or less on your stomach!!!!! Scary!!! I didn't like that at all! :o( . The last time I went down there was with ML and a couple of others from work, I think it was. It was just SUCH a fantastic place, I SO wanted to share the experience. I took a couple of those plastic chemical lights down with me - and as I'd already learned was possible, deliberately opened them up to leak and then 'painted' my face with the glowing chemicals!! I've no doubt that's extremely unwise, but my skin doesn't seem to have burned away, and the spooky, mind blowing effect of doing so, in TOTAL darkness, was kinda worth the risk at the time. :o) I think I was a bit overzealous with the face painting at the time. I got some of that greasy chemical residue in my eye. THAT is a VERY unhealthy thing to do! Deep inside a hill, in dangerous tunnels with loose rocks all underfoot and hanging above, I was almost completely blinded for quite a while, with tears streaming from both closed eyes - although I tried to hide the fact from the people I was with in the dark, because I felt SO stupid - and actually wasn't sure if I would ever see again!! Thankfully, eventually it wore off and as far as I know there was no permanent damage to any of me . . . . Stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home - again. I'm just too damn tired to start having to do food. . . vacuumed some of the spilled plaster dust from all around the kitchen and then the back bedroom - again. :o( More frequent bag emptying trips to the wheelie bin. Briefly stopped in the middle of things to take a handful of photos of a frog I spotted sitting in the garden! It was almost posing, just sat right on top of the little mound of flowering - um - maretimas are they called? Very cute. I guess there must be something edible attracted to those flowers in the dark?. . . called a halt and touched base with BB. . . PCd just a bit of this in the layers of dust!! That's gonna hasten the wearing off, of the letters that remain on my keyboard!! Soon caved in and just HAD to go to bed around 11pm. pas
16 - Woken by Sally earlier then up around 7:30am . . .walked and did litter duty - lots! Filled three carrier bags full! . . . worked in the attic. Lifted up all the rear floor sheets, moved them out of the way and then set about brushing, 'grabbing' and vaccuuming out all the coal dust and debris from atop the back bedroom ceiling, where it joins the back wall of the house - and where there isn't a soffit for some weird reason? Only cleared a couple of feet, all the way across, but it took absolutely ages, working on my back with the old vacuum hose pushed into the narrow gap at arms length. Filthy work. Filled up three sacks with rubble, what I assume was coal dust, and what appeared to be the ancient remnants of part of a birds nest for goodness sake!! Weird how all that thick layer of coal dust is laying around up there like that. Found myself imagining times gone by in the history of this house, when coal fires heated every room, and when dust from the neighbouring houses' coal fires and the surrounding coal mines must have filled the air and drifted in and settled. Weird feeling. Eventually called it quits for the time being, and then layed in a couple of strips of fibre glass insulation all the way across. Cleared up, evened out the existing loose fill insulation across the ceiling and then put the floorboards temporarily back down. . . spent the rest of the day cutting up the three big rolls of insulation and loose/friction fitting it into the roof slopes between all the joists and noggins. I started out wearing rubber gloves and the face mask for protection (no goggles because they got SO dusty, I wiped them and scratched the plastic surface so much I can't see through them any more!) but I ended up SO hot, the gloves had to come off because they'd filled with sweat and my hands were starting to 'dissolve'. Wasn't long before I foolishly dispensed with the face mask as well. It just seemed to make me SO hot, breathing in warm, 'soup' like air! More or less finished (apart from one bit where I STILL haven't gotten round to cementing and filling up a rather large but fiddly hole in the wall near one of the 4x4s) around 6:30pm. Think I trapped a nerve in my back when reaching up to do the very top bit. :o( . . . vacuumed a bit of the kitchen where bits of dried plaster had disappointingly fallen off my overalls and sprinkled and got trodden in, all around, as I put them on this morning! . . showered and put in the extra effort with the nail scrubbing brush to attempt to dislodge all the irritating bits of fibre glass that seemed to have found their way all over me like fur!! Very scratchy and itchy! (Doh!) . . . walked and bought a can of Redbull in the local store, in the hope it would give me a bit of a boost and maybe enable me to muster the energy to sit at the PC for a while and do some of my journal later. Alternately sat on the seat by the swings and then on 'my' boulder in the dark and fireworks, and drank the Redbull, while Sally kept watch for cats. Found 21p . .touched base with BB . . . ate garlic sausage, mayo, onion, tomato, lettuce sandwiches with four bags of crisps, some coffee sponge cake and then a bunch of squares of chocolate . . . TVd, all exhausted and just too tired to move again. Sally took my 'collapsed on the floor', as a sign for playtime. She's been so neglected of my attention of late, I felt obliged to indulge her - as long as she brought her ball back to me and I didn't have to move! So much for being energised by that drink then! Eventually mustered the strength to move upstairs to bed around 11:30pm. pas
17 - Woken by Sally before 6am, growled her away and fitfully snoozed on until around 7:15am. I feel headachey, aching and utterly exhausted. :o( Uh oh - traces of blood when I blew my nose. That'll teach me to dispense with the mask when I was doing that fibre glass insulation!! What with all this dust, and my smoking on top of it - it'll be a miracle if I don't end up with some sort of asbestosis type problem in a few years!! :o( This house has absorbed SO much of my life, it's tempting to leave instructions, that after my death, I should be cremated and then have my ashes mixed up with a little cement and applied as a render to one of the walls somewhere!!!! Hmmmm - or maybe just sprinkled all over the top of the ceiling joists, for some future DIY fanatic to have to vaccuum up in a few years? lol . . . walked and found 2p . . .yep - definitely gonna have to have a day off from the building site today, and catch up on chores and such - and who knows - maybe I'll even find the time and energy to do a bit of my journal at long last! . . . shook out the dust from all the bedsheets, duvet covers and pillowcases and finally got round to making up several loads, enough to probably keep the washing machine running for most of the day - assuming it can cope with that amount of dust going through it!! . . . PCd. Hmmm - not unexpectedly, it feels pretty cold in the back bedroom/attic, despite that bit of insulation. E-mailed the trouser guy and confirmed I was still trouserless. Since he was gonna have to send them again, I also asked if it would be possible to have the 34" size instead of the 32" I'd mistakenly ordered. Fingers crossed. . .carried on leisurely PCing and occasionaly stopping to put more laundry through the machine and out onto the line. Feels weird having a 'day off'. Feels like I'm on holiday kinda!! lol . . couldn't resist any longer, with it still 'hanging over my head' like that. Stopped typing this and quickly knocked out the temporary support I'd jammed in, to help hold the collapsing ceiling in place while the plaster and PVA dried. If it was gonna collapse, it was gonna collapse by now. Held my breath - knocked out the support - and - nothing. Phew! Wow - that seems to have worked a treat! Feels really solid. Just needs a bit of filler and cosmetic attention to cover and blend the cracks. Excellent. :o) . . .PCd/laundryd . . . ate garlic sausage, coleslaw, onion, tomato, lettuce sandwiches with two bags of crisps followed by half a packet of ginger nut biscuits . . . napped until around 6:15pm . . .brought all the masses of still a little damp laundry in off the line. . . . walked. Still very pleasant and mild out, and a full moon. Remembered to detour back past the guys skip down the road on the way back. I thought so. I'd spotted it this morning but forgotten to have another look on the way home. In the skip, all neatly folded up and nice and clean, was a huge nylon 'ton bag'. Turned out to be the type used for waste disposal - orange, "The bag that thinks it's a skip" printed with an advert on the side. That'll do the job nicely. Ended up carrying it home, together with a rather ok looking wide paint brush that'll be like new after a good clean in soapy water. The ton bag fitted right over the cement mixer like a glove - as if it were made for it. That'll keep the worst of the weather off it. I'd already covered the motor and electrics with several bin bags and an old nylon tarpaulin (one of LBs old ones she used to use to cover the rotten pole cats hutch - which I bagged when I built the polecat house for her), but the mixing bin was still uncovered and prone to getting wet and rusting, despite being tipped up as far as it would go. Now the whole thing is totally covered, all in one go, nice and easy without having to struggle with all the layers and bungees. Very cool. . . loaded the wheelie bin up with rubble, dust and scraps of wood, as heavy (or actually heavier!) as I dared, for tomorrows collection - IF the poor bin guys can move it!! . . . touched base very briefly with BB . . . PCd a bit more of this - at length! Blimey - didn't get as much done today as I'd wanted to at all. Maybe I'll have tomorrow 'off' as well. . .received a reply to my mail from the e-bay trousers guy, apologising and saying a pair of 34" will be in the post tomorrow. :o) . . . ate more ginger nut biscuits and then bowls of co-co pops before bed around 1am. pas
18 - Woken by Sally before 6am, growled her away and snoozed on until around 7:30am again! Seems to be her new routine to want to wake me up around 6am! I think it has something to do with the new routine of the woman next door. Her young son has got his first job, but currently no means of transport to get there - and the buses don't run for the time he needs to be there, so she gets up real early and drives him there every day!! Seems to rouse Sally somehow. . .walked. Carried on out of the field and headed for Kingswood and banked the two 50 premium bond wins I received this month. :o) Found 22p. Popped in a store and stocked up on supplies of poop scoop (cheap scented nappy) bags. Browsed a couple of charity shops on the way home and - oh no! I ended up buying yet ANOTHER pair of training shoes to add to my vast, Ismelda Marcos type collection!!!!! I just had to - they were like new and cost me just 1. I like those Salvation Army shops. Seems like the people who run them still price all the stuff low, like all the charity shops used to before they became so popular and commercial. Most charity shops now, seem to have lost the plot, and regularly price their donated stock, higher than you can buy it brand new in a supermarket! The bargains I used to get, are few and far between these days . . the wheelie bin was thankfully emptied by the time I got home . . . TVd/PCd/listened to music/cut my hair. . ate a couple of bananas. . . napped most of the afternoon away until around 6pm. . .touched base briefly with Mum . . . walked in the rain and stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home, yet again . . . PCd having a gentle surf looking for ways to block the spam I'm getting on my guestbook . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd . . . ate a couple of slices of toast and the last of the marmalade and then to bed shortly before midnight . .couldn't sleep (couldn't stop thinking about how to build a partition wall!!) and tossed and turned until around 1am! :o( pas
19 - Woken by insistant Sally just before 7am . . .PCd and deleted in the region of eighty (really!) spam guestbook entries! . . . walked in a hint of light drizzle and found a penny. . . vacuumed a little more of the dust out of the back bedroom and cleared up some of the rubbish laying around on the PC table while listening to music . . balanced my accounts and transferred over yet more of my savings to be spent on 'building' stuff . . . the postman arrived at 10:30am delivering my new combat trousers. Yayyy. That's the type I wanted. :o) . . .touched base with Mum . . .measured up and then ordered some more timber, insulation and plasterboard from the building supplies place (to start on the partition wall in the bedroom). Ouch - another 139! Should be here tomorrow afternoon they say. . . couldn't resist and phoned up the trousers company and ordered three more, which should be enough to keep me going for a good few years. I would have done it via e-Bay again, except it appeared the advert for that size of trousers was no longer on there for some reason? . . . did all the mountains of dishwashing chores and then cooked up four beefburgers for lunch, followed by a small handful of chocolate biscuits . . . napped until almost 6pm again . . . walked . . .PCd a little of this. . . touched base with BB . . .TVd . . . ate bowls of corn flakes, a couple of packets of crisps, two beef pastry pies and a few squares of chocolate before to bed around 1am. ps
20 - Woke earlier then up around 7:15am . . . walked . . .Mum called to tell me to put the TV on to watch the special the BBC breakfast program was doing, on police dogs. Sally watched too. :o) . . .PCd . . . the guy from the builders merchant turned up early around 12:30pm. Moved the car so he could pull up outside and then helped get everything unloaded and in the kitchen and living room. Yikes - the 4x2s stretched through from the kitchen into the bathroom, so I couldn't close the bathroom door. The HUGE (uh oh - I didn't think that through did I!!!) sheets of foil back plasterboard had to be layed flat in a stack in the middle of the living room with all the furniture pushed into the remaining space! Damn - can't even get in to watch TV!! That won't do! . . . started work on the stud wall in the back bedroom. Lifted a couple of floorboards, hacked off the plaster from the end wall and eventually skimmed the wall with cement and then glued and nailed the first wall upright in position trying to be as accurate as I could with the spirit level and an old plumb line Dad'd given me (which sadly turned out to be too short to reach the floor, just to be awkward!). . .decided that a lign of new noggins under the floor beneath where the new wall was gonna go would be a good idea, and would hopefully have the effect of firming up the old floor and taking at least some of the bounce out of it. Many years ago I bought a length of timber (7x2"?)from the local builders yard, as a test piece, to see what length of timber I could get up the stairs and into the attic in the hope of putting a suspended floor up there. Because of the corner at the bottom of the stairs, it proved that I couldn't get the length I required up there through the house (infuriatingly only about a foot short!). For that reason, I couldn't tackle the attic room until I had the new roof and the skylights put in and figured out how to get the timber up over the roof and in through the skylights. Well - that old length of timber has been laying in the attic for years - and some time ago was earmarked by me for doing those underfloor noggins, because it is the perfect depth. Cut all the odd sized/shaped noggins (because those bedroom floor rafters are all over the place!) and eventually glued and nailed them in across most of the floor, before then gluing and nailing down a piece of 4x2" as a 'floor plate' for the stud wall up to the new doorway position. That enabled me to then cut and glue in, the upright at the doorway end. So - in principle, that is where I have to build the rest of the wall - between those two uprights. . Checked my readers digest 'DIY Manual' that I never look at, because having never built a stud wall before, I had no idea at what spacing to build the timber. Suprisingly, because it seemed to me like quite a wide spacing, the book said every two feet! Actually - since the plasterboard is 1200mm wide (that's around four feet isn't it?) - I guess that makes sense . walked . . .experimented getting a plasterboard panel upstairs. Oh dear. No way!!!!! Managed to bend it, intact, around the bottom of the stairs, but no way was it gonna go up into the bedroom at the top!!!!!!! :o( Gave it my best shot, only to succeed in damaging several corners and a couple of sides, of the plasterboard panel! Damn. I hate waste! Oh well - I'm gonna have to cut each of those panels in half - lengthways!!!! Hassle. Lots of joins to crack in the future! :o( . .straight back to work and cut and glued the four other uprights. I was determined to get that done today, so the glue would have a chance to dry overnight, and let me carry on straight away tomorrow, without having to waste the day just watching glue dry. . . BB called . . . cleaned up a little. Took the risk and propped all the plasterboard sheets verticaly against the living room wall, (can't do without being able to watch TV!!) and vacuumed up the dusty mess. . . put a pizza in the oven and drank a glass of cheap, Sainsbury's own, red wine while it cooked . . called BB . . . ate pizza around 11pm followed by biscuits . . . TVd a little (because I was just too damn tired to get up and climb the stairs to bed) before eventually to bed. pd
21 - Up at precisely 7:07am, and actually had the rare pleasure of waking Sally up, rather than the more usual other way round. . . BB called early . . . walked and found 3p. . . left Sally at home and drove to Wickes for yet more supplies of wood glue, nails, plasterboard nails, screws, stanley knife blades etc. Another 56.29 down the drain!! All this expense and nothing to show for it except a huge mess everywhere! . . nailed all the glued uprights in the stud wall and then cut and glued a couple of the horizontal noggins . . stopped around 1pm and defrosted and ate three sausage rolls and two bags of crisps . . . used a time when the neighbour appeared to be out, to drill through the wall upright and insert four wall bolts. Cut, nailed and glued all the rest of the noggins until around 5pm . . SO tired!!! Exhausted really! :o( . . .walked in wind and rain and SO glad to get it over with and get back home. . .PCd a bit of this and deleted yet another 50 plus guestbook spam entries! :o( It's a daily chore now!! Actually followed one of the poker site spam links and gently investigated who was likely responsible for those entries by doing look ups and such. Everything seemed to eventually point to a 'WREATHSETC.COM' domain name. A quick Google search returned 87,800 matches of guestbook/blog type spam entries!!!!!!! Registrant: Stamenov, Kalin. Ok 1 bl. 525. Sofia, Sofia 1632. BG. Administrative Contact, Technical Contact: Stamenov, Kalin. kalistia12@yahoo.co.nz. Ok 1 bl. 525. Sofia, Sofia 1632. BG. +35924890290 . . I'm not sure if I got it right, but as far as I could tell, the domain was hosted by servers of the 'Verisign' company. I mailed the company with a title 'Abuse (Guestbook/Blog SPAM)' and suggested "Since it appears that your company is responsible for the domain servers, I trust you will take appropriate steps to prevent further abuse." I bet they don't bother. You know what - if I was suddenly a millionaire with money to burn - I'd go and see who that Kalin guy was and where he lived - just for the adventure! . . . touched base with BB . . . ate three sausage rolls and two bags of crisps, co-co ops and biscuits . . .LB called and then popped down with left over cottage pie and such . . . to bed before 11pm pas
22 - Fitful sleep then up around 6:30am . . . walked and did litter duty. Found 2p, another Nike wooly hat to wash and give to a charity shop, and then a rather wet 20 note on the way home! Yayyyy. :o) . . .a bit of a calm in the weather so took the opportunity of getting the timber out of the kitchen and up over the roof, through the skylight into the attic. Nice timing - started raining just after I'd finished. . stud wall worked on the building site bedroom and spent absolutely AGES cutting up some little shims of timber to go against the support beam above each of the stud wall uprights. That support beam is just slightly more narrow than the four inch width of the uprights. Time consuming pain in the ass! Eventually had them all done and nailed and glued them in place. . hacked off the plaster at the other wall end and eventually cemented, glued and nailed the other wall upright timber in place - and even managed to put in four wall bolts at the same time. Somehow mixed up far too much cement, so was forced into using it to finish off the hole in the wall near one of the support 4x4s in the attic. Very difficult and fiddly - used up some old chippings I've had laying around for ages to make a concrete mix, and forced handfulls of it into the hole together with a few bits of brick. It'll do. . finally cleared up and then glued in another upright to make the proper width of new doorway into the bedroom. I can't really put a door in or finish off that end of the wall until I've moved the central heating radiator and figured out the plumbing run to the attic, and - and!! All millions of pieces of a complicated puzzle to try and work out in the right sequence!! . . . walked. For goodness sake - someone had dumped a broken one of those huge car top box things in the field!! . . leaving Sally sniffing around, and disposing of poop scoop duties in the bin at the top of the field as normal, I noticed an intact pint beer glass laying on the floor at the foot of the bin. Just then a guy chatting on his mobile phone pulled up (hitting the kerb) and was obviously going to be going into the pub across the road. As he got out of his car I called out asking if he'd mind taking the beer glass in with him. He was still chatting on his phone and I couldn't make him hear until he was over half way across the road. Eventually I DID get his attention, so I ran across with the beer glass to give to him. As I turned to go back, there was a screech of tyres behind me, and a bang. A car had hit Sally, who'd run out of the field to follow me! Oh my god. What have I done!! OH MY GOD!!! SALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :o( I raced over to Sally who’d somehow managed to retreat back into the field, all limping and scared. I got her back on her lead as a small group of people gathered round, giving ‘advice’ and talking about vet visits and probable broken ribs and such!! Horrible, horrible HORRIBLE situation! I think they probably all ended up thinking I was some sort of callas nut case – because in that hell I was going through, the first thing that seemed to me to be necessary to get quickly sorted out so I could just take care of Sally, was deal with the driver of the car and give him my details and such. I just kept asking if the car was ok!!!!! I swear there was a big dent in the front of that car – but the driver and his passenger pretty quickly got back in and off they went. I wonder – I wonder if he didn’t have insurance or an MOT or something. After all – I was TOTALLY to blame for the accident – he could quite rightly have claimed damages off me! With THAT part of the nightmare over with, I was free to concentrate on Sally (and get away from the ‘pub’ people). I carefully examined her as best I could in the dark, and gently encouraged her to walk around me in circles – which she did reasonably ok, despite appearing to be mostly worried about the small group of advice giving onlookers and all the commotion. I couldn’t get her away from all that, quick enough. We walked slowly back down the field into the dark. It wasn’t long before I let her off her lead, so she could make her own pace, and so I could better assess how she was moving. She looked ‘mostly’ ok on the face of it. Sat on the seat near the swings and gave Sally as close an inspection as I possibly could by the light of my torch. Shit – there’s a little blood around her mouth from scrapes on her nose. Too dark to do a ‘proper’ inspection – I just wanted to get her home as soon as possible. Made the most direct route straight home, with Sally walking relatively ok – but oh, that seemed like a long, LONG walk back! Crossing the main road we had to stop on the island in the middle of the road, to wait for a break in the traffic. She doesn’t usually – but poor Sally pulled away on her lead, all scared as the cars approached!! :o( Poor dog. :o( Got Sally in the house and took her straight out into the conservatory and put the bright fluorescent light on and gave her a thorough examination ALL over, as best I could. I did that thing of running my hands gently and firmly all over EVERY part of her, looking for signs of complaint/discomfort. Trouble with that is, she’s SO good and trusting of me, she’d probably let me do that and suffer any resulting pain without complaint!!!! As far as I could tell, she had scrapes on the left side of her nose, a small ‘nick’ on her left foreleg, and a very slightly broken tip to her top left ‘killing’ tooth. Maybe I shouldn’t have done so under the circumstances, but I fed her like normal – just to see if she was interested in food, as a gauge as to how bad she may be feeling. She ate her food, more or less like normal. . what to do? What to do? Given what ‘little’ (!!) damage I’d found on her, and how ‘relatively’ ok she was acting – I hesitated in rushing out to find a vet. (The inevitably astronomical cost of an emergency vet visit, on a Saturday night, WAS one of the factors I HAD to consider!!!) . . probably made Sally all uncomfortable with me following her around and constantly staring at her, no matter what she did, for the next half an hour or so. . briefly touched base with Mum to tell her the bad news, but mostly to get a second opinion about whether or not to immediately rush out to find a vet. I think Mum was on the side of visiting a vet – and didn’t help my state of mind, by recounting how her father had once lost a dog when she was a little girl, by it getting run over by a bus when they lived on City Road (when City Road was a rather more upmarket place to live – before the Jamaican crack dealers and prostitutes took it over!). The dog had at first appeared not ‘too’ badly injured, but then died in the night!!!! Jeeze! Thanks Mum! . . .Uh oh – where did that tiny smear of blood come from?!!!!!! It was difficult to find in her long fur, but I eventually located another wound – on her right rear leg! A tiny little tear in her skin, no bigger than the width of my little fingernail – but it was a proper ‘opening’. It didn’t seem to be giving her any concern whatsoever – but that made my mind up for me. I reckoned that needed stitches. To hell with the cost. Raced up to the PC and looked up the Fernlea vet site and read up on what to do with an out of hours emergency. Rang the number and ended up apparently talking to the Vets Now Ltd. duty vet at the PDSA place over in Brislington. Had to ‘make an appointment’ so they’d know to let me in past their security system, so I said in about half an hour. They were VERY up front about how it would cost me around 95 just to be seen – and I’d have to pay up front! Ouwwwch! :o( Rushed to do a quick bit of phone banking and moved 500 of my savings over into my current account to cover ‘eventualities’. Touched base with PS and said tonight’s visit was off. Got Sally in the car (she hesitated jumping up in the back, so I think she was suffering from bruises) and drove like a crazy man, over to Brislington. Sally's RTA injuriesArrived at the PDSA place early, but when I rang the security system bell, they knew it was me and let me straight in. Actually seemed to take absolutely ages to do the booking in thing before at last we went into a room for the vet to examine her. Agreed it was best to muzzle her, just in case. Thankfully, he eventually pretty much confirmed my assessment of her condition and agreed that her leg wound should have a couple of staples just to keep it together. He gave her a jab for the pain. At some point I was invited to go and wait in the waiting room while the vet and his assistant, put the staples in Sally’s leg. I told Sally to ‘stay’ as I walked away and then had to watch through the glass of the door as she was walked away into another room. I got a bit emotional around about then. Dunno what ‘shock’ is – but it felt as though all of a sudden, events caught up with me, and sat outside having a quick cigarette, I was close to tears. If I were to ‘lose’ Sally in such a way – well – I don’t think I’d be able to handle that very well – if at all, actually!! :o(. . before I’d even finished my cigarette, the vet was walking stapled Sally back out to join me. I was given some antibiotics for her, told to go see my own vet in a couple of days (return there sooner if I had any worries) and was soon paying the bill. A total of 142.49. Ouch. Well – that (and any further bills as a result) is my fine for being SUCH a careless pratt, isn’t it! Serves me right for being SO stupid! Thank god she’s 'ok'. Oh thank god!!! :o/ . . touched base with PS on the mobile and said things were ok-ish, so see ya later. . hungry and miserable, stopped off on the way home and bought myself a kebab and chips . . .touched base with Mum and BB . . . PS popped in for chats and biscuits until early. I’m not sure he got much sense or conversation out of me – I was too busy watching Sally and hating myself . . . to bed around 1am. pas
23 - Up around 7am and dashed downstairs to see how Sally was (and to see if she was still alive!! Thank you Mum!!) . She seemed ‘ok-ish’. MUCH relief. . . walked in the rain . . .Mum called to check how Sally was doing. .fed Sally her anti biotic tablets in a ball of hand moulded corned beef. She seems ok but pretty 'zonked out' somehow. Nothing much I can do - may as well get on with the building work! :o( . . planed down the odd protruding nogin (all the different pieces of wood seem to vary in width by a couple of millimeters here and there? You'd have thought the saw mill would have had accurately consistent settings!!), sanded off a few rough faces and then set about cutting a piece of plasterboard in half, lengthways. Figured I'd test everything out on that piece I damaged trying to get it up the stairs the other day. . ended up cutting the plasterboard sheet in half on the living room carpet with a new blade in my 'Stanley' knife (trying not to cut through the carpet beneath, ‘too’ much). Didn’t go ‘too’ badly and I was then able to quickly prove it WAS possible to get the cut lengths up the stairs and into the bedroom and into position. Set about carefully cutting the first plasterboard sheet I was going to use. Picked up the nice fresh new piece - and promptly snapped the corner off!! Bugger!! Gonna have to be more careful than that!! . . eventually managed to start nailing the cut boards in place on the new stud wall. Not sure if it helped, it couldn’t hurt, so I coated the timber in PVA adhesive before nailing the boards to it. In the middle of the battle, IHB called and suggested I should accompany him on his forthcoming trip to France for duty free stuff. Dunno why he finds it so difficult to understand that I can’t do such things because I have a dog I won’t readily be separated from. “Bring her too” he said!! Yeah right! Pet passport and all that expense and who knows what, just for a day trip!! I attempted to mention she’d also had an accident, but I don’t think IHB even registered that. Funny guy. . carried on plasterboarding and nailing until the wall across the bedroom was covered. . . finally got round to eating LBs left overs with a pint of instant gravy . . . asked Sally if she wanted to go for a walk, just in case she wasn't up for it. The suggestion seemed to perk her up - so I guess that was a yes. Walked. Tried to keep watching how Sally was moving to see if there was any evidence of her being in pain. I dunno - the mind can play tricks and you start imagining all sorts of limps and gaits, but I'm pretty sure she's ok. All of a sudden there was a cat in the dark down the bottom of the field, and Sally chased off after it into the hedge like normal !! Well - it isn't often I approve of her chasing cats, but I guess that must indicate she's mostly ok. Nice one. Phew. :o) . . . gave Sally her pills in more corned beef . . .touched base briefly with BB. . .TVd/PCd a bit of this. . . felt in a strange mood. In need of quiet. :o( Spent much of the evening on the living room floor with Sally, before bed around midnight. ps
24 - Up at 6:50am. Raced downstairs to check on Sally. She was happily asleep on a mud covered throw on the setee. . . BB called . . .walked and found 3p. . . gave Sally her tablets in corned beef. . . rang the dentist (they’d sent me two reminders my six monthly check up was due) and was allowed to cancel and reset my examination for next March. I’m just not up for having to do that at the moment. I’m losing another tooth, it doesn’t hurt ‘too’ much at the moment, I don’t have many left – I want to hang on to it for as long as I can! . . rang the vet and made an appointment for tomorrow at 9:10am . . . left Sally at home and drove to Wickes for two packs of internal door lining timber for 29.98, on to Jolleys pet food store for a sack of PAL complete for 14.99 and then on to ASDA for a tub of coleslaw, a loaf of thick sliced white bread, and two ready cooked medium chickens – all for only 5.60!! That really does seem like pretty amazing value . . . ate half a chicken, coleslaw and four pieces of bread and butter and then a heap of biscuits. . . TVd/PCd . . napped for a couple of hours . . .closely examined the damp floor in the bathroom. I’d thought the carpet had got wet from me doing hosing down of stuff in the garden and then walking straight in with soaking wet feet, but I’d started to worry because it wasn’t drying out and there seemed to be quite a bit of water in that carpet. Couldn’t for the life of me find anything dripping anywhere – but something wasn’t right. Almost as an afterthought, leaning over under the toilet, I pulled the flush. Aha - a substancial dribble of water escaping from beneath the cistern. Bugger!!! That’s all I need. :o( I guess the only good thing about it, was that it was at least a clean-water leak. Could’ve been worse!! Looks like one of the rubber seals has gone on the underside of the cistern. Means removing the whole thing from the wall to confirm and fix. As if I haven’t got enough on my plate! It’ll have to wait. Put an old tupperware and a couple of sheets of newspaper down to soak up the spills, and left it for some other time. . . walked in the terrible wind and rain . . . PCd and attempted to cripple/deactivate my guestbook because I’m just sick and tired at having to go on there every day, log in and delete the bloody poker spam entries, which seem to have escalated into a full scale assault of one per minute at certain times! Actually couldn’t remember how the guestbook worked and messed up the crippling, and ended up making it impossible for anyone EXCEPT spam to make an entry!!! lololol I don’t actually have full control over the guestbook because of the way the free ISP works. I can’t alter the scripts etc – so I figure all I can do is disable it for the foreseeable future, and retain the last entries as an ordinary text page. Weird thing is (although it no longer shows on my site) SPAM entries are STILL finding their way into the ISPs dat file for MY guestbook!!!!? Ahhhh – to hell with it! . . touched base with BB . . . TVd . . .ate co-co pops and biscuits . . .TVd until bed at midnight. pas
25 - Up at 8am!!! Typical!! The one day I needed to get up reasonably early, and Sally lets me sleep on 'late'!! . . .walked and carried on out of the field and up to the Fernlea vet in Kingswood. He confirmed that she seemed to be ok. I think he deliberately did more for my peace of mind than he did for Sally! Suprisingly, he said he didn’t think there was any point in doing anything about her tooth, as long as it didn’t seem to be bothering her. Booked an appointment as suggested for a weeks time, to have her staples removed. No mention of any charges, which was cool. . . shopped a little for a couple of birthday cards and a couple of new cheap ceiling light pendants . . .Mum called. Dunno how a 'how's Sally' call can turn into a 45 minute call?!!. . sat at the top of the stairs looking at the wall at the top of the stairs for ages (literally hours!), and occasionally drawing different ideas of opening on the wallpaper. I can’t quite figure out what to do with it. The old bedroom door frame will of course be removed, and if I don’t give some thought to detail and how to open that area up a little, to make a sort of ‘landing’ area, it’ll look as though it was a half finished afterthought. Maybe a large arch and a bit of a shelf type arrangement? I think, no matter what I plan to do, I’m gonna have to put a long reinforced concrete lintel in below the ceiling. Not to hold the ceiling up, because that area is now supported by my new beam and stud wall, but more to give the ‘stairs wall’ at least a little –er – ‘lateral’ support? If I don’t put a lintel in tying that wall in to the side wall, it’ll be little more than just an eight foot tall stack of bricks!! That wouldn’t be right at all! In fact – I can’t believe that the original way that wall was erected (only a single brick stack) would be allowed these days anyway. A few good kicks and I reckon I could kick the whole house over!!!!! What to do? I can’t put in the doorway for the attic until I’ve made a decision. . . ate half a chicken, coleslaw and four pieces of bread and butter and then biscuits . . . napped until gone 5pm . . . experimented for the first time with the VAX vacuum the old next door neighbour gave me when they moved out. Had a go at VAXing (wet) the bathroom carpet!! I was VERY close to putting it in the bin yesterday, it’s in such a disgusting mess what with the leak and all the dust and such (and of course a carpet in a bathroom is pretty disgusting anyway – especially if you’re a guy!). Well – the VAX improved things no end and enables me to leave it down for at least a little while longer. . walked . . .touched base with BB . . . ate bowls of cornflakes with mountains of sugar . . . to bed around midnight but couldn’t sleep and tossed and turned for hours! ps
26 - Woken by Sally around 7:15am . . .walked with a ball just in case. Turned out Sally WAS up for having a play and a chase and she even played with a couple of other dogs a little. I think she’s doing ok. . . IHB called and confirmed he’d done his duty free tobacco trip, and he had a bunch if I wanted to buy some, although ‘it’s gone up a bit’ he said. Golden Virginia - 5 per 50gram pack. I can’t help but suspect he’s making a 1 or so profit on each of those packs, but it’s still MUCH cheaper than the shops and he DID go to all the bother so I’m not complaining. Asked him to give me five minutes to work stuff out and then called him back and said I’d have forty packs (‘most’ of a whole year supply for me)!!! . . .yay – I was beginning to wonder if something’d gone wrong again because they were taking a while, but in the post this morning, the other three pairs of combat trousers I’d ordered arrived from ‘White Horse Country Wear’. They’re black, 65% polyester, 35% cotton, made by ‘Blue Castle’ and were only 7.99 each (although I was stung for a total of 6.50 postage and packing!!). Still – pretty excellent value I reckon, considering how hard wearing and long lasting they seem to be. Well – that’s me all ‘fitted out’ for the foreseeable future. Nice one. :o) . . .briefly checked my account balance and then left Sally at home and drove to Wickes at Longwell Green and bought myself a 70x100x1800mm reinforced concrete lintel for 6.99 and another pack of wall bolts for 4.19. Stopped off in Kingswood on the way home and withdrew 100 from my building society and another 100 from my current account, to pay IHB for the duty free tobacco. . called IHB when I got back home intending to drive over and ‘do the deal’, but he was out. Damn – I wanted to get that over and done with – and make sure I got them! . . . worked in the back bedroom and set about putting the lintel in above the old door frame. Uh oh – looks as though my drill is gonna shortly give up on me. It’s slowing and smelling like melting coils! :o( Oh no – I’ve used up all of another diamond stone cutting disc!! Actually got a bit touch and go if I’d be able to carry on, without having to go buy replacements first – but in the end I managed it. VERY difficult getting a six foot lintel lifted into place on your own (up and down more than once to check for fit) and then cemented in place!! Got there in the end – but boy, WHAT a dusty mess everywhere - again! :o( Vacuumed some of the dust and collapsed by around 5:30pm. Well – that’s the lintel in place. Now I’m more or less free to start on the work of putting in the door frame for the door to the attic. I’d set myself a target of getting that door in before having a ‘day off’ tomorrow. I failed to achieve that. :o( . . . walked. Some kid on another stolen moped was ranting around the field. At some point the seat flew off and he just drove on leaving it laying in the mud!! Grrr. .stopped for milk and jumbo sausage and chips on the way home. Ate, touched base with Mum and told her to watch the TV show I’d seen before about the very special ‘woodsman’ who built his amazing house out of the trees around him. They were gonna revisit him and do an update. . Fed Sally. Called and checked that IHB was home. Touched base briefly with BB and then drove to IHBs to pay for and pick up the tobacco – and deliver his birthday card for tomorrow. Didn’t hang around (apart from a quick look at his attic. Ewww – I prefer the way mine is going) and was back in time to see the TV show as I’d planned. TVd . . Mum called to say what a neat show and nice ending. The update showed he’d got an amazing house, a new partner and a baby! . . touched base with BB . . . TVd, ate biscuits and crisps before bed around midnight. pas
27 - Woken by Sally around 6:50am as she climbed up onto the bed (actually quite unusual for her to do that these days) and she actually lay there next to me for some stroking and fussing for around a quarter of an hour. It was almost as if she was saying happy birthday to me. Given recent events – it was about the best birthday present I could have had! I’m SO lucky to have her - still. :o) The abrasions on her nose seem to have 'scudded over' now - and she seems suprisingly completely oblivious to the staples in her leg!?. . .BB called early to say happy birthday . . .walked and played ball with Sally a little . . . PCd this. Sally took the opportunity to go and lay on the setee for a sleep – all wet and covered in mud of course! Sally and the setee! :o/ . . . Mum called to say happy birthday. . . called Mum back and said thanks after the postman had delivered the card from her with a 20 note in it "for you and Sally to have a birthday treat on me". Apparantly she'd also transferred some money (200!!) into my bank account to help me pay the Sally bill! Blimey - nice one. :o) Checked my account and then called her back to confirm it was in there and to say thanks again. . . on the phone to Mum and PCd this ALL morning - and then some!!!!!. . . ate half a chicken with four pieces of bread and butter and then a handful of biscuits. . . napped . . . Sis1 called in bearing a sponge cake to eat with cofee. . . walked . . . opened the present from Amazon that DS had sent me which I'd been 'saving' . Woo, woo - 'The Complete Fawlty Towers'. Nice one. :o) TVd with a glass of wine. . . Sis2 called to say happy birthday. . . sat on the floor at the top of the stairs looking at the 'building site' and thinking things through for ages, trying to work everything out and plan what and how I'm gonna do it . . . BB called . . . I had intended to PC for a bit but Sally seemed to be in a funny affectionate mood, and I ended up laying on the bed stroking her for a quarter of an hour or so before sleep. SO mild out - slept under just a sheet - in October!!!!?? . . . terrible nights sleep - tossed and turned all night! :o( pdssa
28 - Up around 7:20am with the mother of headaches!! :o( . . . walked . . . worked on the old back bedroom wall beneath my new lintel, taking away some of the now unecessary bricks and rough old wooden lintel around the old doorframe and starting to prepare for building the wide brick arch which I thought would look cool and in keeping with the character of the fireplaces downstairs . . . quickly showered, left Sally at home and drove to Wickes in Longwell Green around 3pm for a new 110mm diamond cutting disc (19.99) and three more bags of sand and one of cement (6.76) which I ended up leaving in the back of the car outside the house for days, because I was just too tired to carry them in!! . . .cut up pieces of brick as necesarry and cemented them into the wall at the top of the stairs to start forming a nice vertical up towards the new lintel. Spent AGES out on the patio with the disc cutter, slicing the ends off to size of more than a dozen bricks, in preparation for building my arch. . .walked and bought a bag of chips on the way home. Ate half a slightly microwaved chicken with the chips . . .called BB . . . TVd but oh SO tired, and frankly pretty miserable about the dusty mess I'm in everywhere, and the amount of hard graft I still have to do - and no matter how many hours I spend sitting on the top of the stairs looking at that bit of wall, it's real hard to imagine a finished article with the arch!!! In fact - I'm not sure the arch is a good idea - and since it's purely for decorative effect, I'm not sure it's worth all the work! :o( . . . in bed before 11pm. paas
29 - Up before 7am with another headache!! Is it the bed? . . . walked . . . suddenly 'saw the light' and made a decision that I won't be building the arch I'd planned. I think it would end up being a bit 'opressive' in such a small space, and in fact it would be pretty simple to blend that lintel in, to match the stippled (terribly uneven!) ceilings. Hell - if I change my mind, I could always cut out footings with the disc cutter at any time in the future. Cut and cemented the rest of the 'missing' bricks into the wall, to take it up straight to the lintel. Put a skim of render on a bit of the wall, just to 'firm it up' a little. . Removed most of the old bedroom door frame (which I'd temporarily left in position to give a little stability to things while I did the dismantle/rebuild work) except for a section at the very top of the stairs which is giving some support to a section of low wall which is - um - a bit fragile!! It'll remain fragile until I can get hold of a small slab of stone (I fancy a piece of slate like I put in the living room fireplace) to cement in place as a top piece. . Cut out lightswitch and power socket holes in the new bedroom stud wall and fixed in deep metal socket boxes on a couple of glued in noggins. . With great difficulty, worked out where to put the ceiling plate for the attic door opening (in line with a ceiling rafter) and then cut away the ceiling plaster, and PVAd and screwed a piece of 4x2 in place. Cut and glued a couple of noggins for where the left side of the doorframe will go down the new stud wall. . still vacuuming up dust and clearing up at getting on for 7pm!! . . . walked and stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home. Found 2p. . . touched base with BB briefly . . PS popped round for coffee, chats and biscuits . . . touched base with BB briefly before finally to bed in the early hours. pas
30 - Woken up by Sally climbing on the bed around 7:30am. Given that the clocks changed last night, I guess she let me sleep on a bit. . . walked. Got caught out in torrential rain and got absolutely soaked!! Found 12p . . . spent most of the day moving the back bedroom ceiling light! With the new stud wall in position, the light is of course no longer 'central'. Actually measured up and fitted a new ceiling rose into a position that would be almost central (not 'quite' - dictated by the position of the ceiling rafter) when I build in some fitted cupboards into that back bedroom, like I did in the front. Fitting a a brand new ceiling rose enabled me to do 'most' of the work before having to turn off the electrics for the final connections. All that sitting around 'rehearsing' and thinking things through for hours, is a pretty vital part of the process for me. It enabled me to forsee wanting to maybe have a double light switch in that bedroom for different types of light (just as I did in the front bedroom - with a two way switch right next to the bed), so I put in a spare length of cable routed through the new stud wall in preparation - because once I've put the plasterboard on the back of that wall, it won't be possible to do. . . cut and glued the final couple of noggins for the door frame position into the stud wall. Difficult pieces that had to be mitred around the pieces I'd put in to carry the socket boxes!! . . . cooked four burgers and made up four HUGE cheeseburgers with onion tomato and lettuce out of some really large bread roles I found in the freezer. . . napped until around 7pm!. . . walked. Walking back from the field, coming towards me walking a dog with an older guy was the young chap who lives at the end of the street who I've (through no fault of my own) ended up talking to before. I think I may have mentioned him before, and it's reasonable to say he's kinda - um - 'a few sparkles short of a firework'! The most striking thing about him is his apparant total innocence. The last time I got 'stuck' in a long 'conversation' (which for me, just means me answering his questions) with him, he started inviting me into his house and such!!!! Well - on this occasion he comes bouncing over and throws his arm around my shoulder like some long lost friend and introduced me (as actually someone else I think!) to the guy he was with, who turned out to be his father. Made me feel SO uncomfortable! . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd . . . ended up sat in the computer/back bedroom looking at the 'building site' and listening to MP3s on the PC (strangely in the mood for '101 Famous Classical Masterpieces') until the early hours! Even moved the PC chair and an ashtray across the room so I could sit looking at the top of the stairs thinking stuff through. I have found this to be a strangely enjoyable way to spend a lot of my time of late. Weird thing about doing all this work - you kinda get so immersed in the smallest of details, you can longer see the whole. Just occasionally (like tonight), I can step back and think - wow - I've done a LOAD of work with this house, and it really IS gonna be SO cool when it's half finished. Eventually to bed in the early hours. ps
31 - Woken up by Sally around 7:30 again . . . walked and found a penny . . . nailed all the pre-glued stud wall noggins in the region of where the attic door frame is gonna go. Lifted a floorboard and pre-positioned some mains electric cable through the stud wall and into the new socket box in the bedroom. Actually managed to 'postpone' some of the work involved in hooking that up into the ring main, by just leaving the unconnected wire all coiled up under the floorboard for the time being and poking the two ends through to the box. .The emerging new top of the stairs 'landing' and doorways. filled the end of the stud wall with fibre glass insulation and then cut to size and PVAd/nailed plasterboard on the other side of the wall, finally sealing that first bit of wall. With some difficulty I finally , AT LAST, fitted the attic door frame between the stairs wall and the new bedroom stud wall. Skimmed the stairs wall behind the doorframe with a little cement to get a perfect (uhoh - no room for edging on the face of the frame - but I prefer a wide door) fit. Rushed things a little and glued in the 4x2s for the tiny stud wall above. Uhoh - that ceiling plate isn't 'quite' in the right place - but I didn't notice until it was too late! That's gonna be a fiddley, time consuming hassle to shim out one side and cut back on the other to make it right before I can attach the plasterboard. Fool. That's what comes of rushing. :o( . . . done and cleared up by around 6:30pm . . . walked. Felt VERY intimidated on the way home when I had to walk past a mixed group of in excess of twenty rowdy teenagers walking down the street (mostly IN the road), drinking from beer cans and talking halloween stuff. I was frankly amazed not to be egged - and even sought out the cover of the lamp posts as I zig zagged down the road, trying not to be too embarassingly obvious. Can't imagine why they didn't. . . cooked and ate four small cheese burgers . . . TVd just a little and then touched base briefly with BB. God I felt so, SO tired. All this DIY work is completely exhausting me. I think without doubt, these changes to the house are the biggest thing I've EVER tackled - even bigger than the bathroom / patio / conservatory alterations. It really is changing the 'character' of the house, quite a bit. One thing which has occurred to me with it all is - like it or not, the house is stuck with it. The way I've done it - all cemented, screwed, glued together and made to form a part of the whole - no way could any of it be easily undone. It's very tempting to copy my website onto a CD and insert a couple of copies into the stud walls. :o) Another thing. I CAN now understand how people go over budget with their building/renovation projects. I've definitely reached a point with it and my savings that, if I need to buy something to carry on with it, I simply will - and suffer the consequences later!! . . . amazing - the first year I can remember, without a single trick or treater 'threatening' me by banging on the door. Cool - but boy, what a lot of fireworks are being let off in the area! . . SO tired - in bed before 10pm, and soon fell asleep despite all the explosions!!!!!!!!! p