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1 - Up around 8am . . walked mostly between drizzle/rain showers. Damn I'm achey and stiff!! :o( . .PCd this . . called the furniture store about my outstanding headboard. They eventually called me back after having spoken with the warehouse to tell me it was down for delivery on Friday - although who can tell when?! . . PCd the site re-vamp ALL day, despite a persistant and nasty headache!!!!! . .ate half a large pork pie, lettuce, tomatoes, crisps and chocolate . .napped . . walked . .PCd yet more. . touched base with BB . . ate bowls of corn flakes . . PCd until early, at which point I figured I'd made enough progress to put much of the site back on line. It's taken ages and as yet I haven't actually re-written any of the out of date content! Spent all this time and effort just re-jigging how it is structured. It should be far more 'modular' now, and easier to 'cut a branch off' if I ever want to, without it all tumbling down. Penalty for that was, it HAS made it bigger with muliple file duplications (which I SO hate!) . touched base with BB while files were uploading . . PCd more and ended up on a live chat with the Telsweb web host until gone 3am, trying to get to the bottom of why the 'FTP/stats' haven't been working for a few days. Apparantly they've moved that side of things to a new server! Well how was I supposed to know if they didn't tell me?! Grrr. as
2 - Up real late around 9:30am . .walked and carried on walking down town to do a quick tour of the charity shops. Sally received 'ooohs and ahhhs' and treats in them all! lol . . PCd and carried on messing around with the site updates - and in particular my webcam page, which I reallly don't know why, but I was determined to get back up and running - and now I've succeeded, I'll probably seldom go on it! lol . .ate corned beef sandwiches with crisps and then some chocolate. .napped until around 7pm!! . . Mum called to touch base. . walked and stopped off at Mums to pick up a bundle of peanut butter jar tops. They should work as coasters under the castors of my new bed. They run SO freely on those varnished floorboards, it's dangerous! On several occasions just getting into bed, I've found myself, bed and all, sailing acoss the room towards the bay windows!!! Scary. Big drop. Embarassing way to die. . PCd . . . Bb called . . PCd more and finally had a go at adding a Paypal 'donate' page to the site. Can't imagine anyone will want to but I can live in hope. Trouble is, as far as I can tell, I can't actually send money to myself with it (I have tried!), so until someone actually does, and then e-mails me to let me know, I can't be sure it actually works. Oh well. Any offers? I've a good £20k to re-coup! lolol Ok - back to reality. .PCd until well past 5am again!!
3 - Back up after less than four hours sleep!! . . walked . . PCd. Re-installed the TV card I took out when I replaced the hard drive, and then messed around playing with CCTV/camcorder webcam options. Amused me to do a high zoom on the church in the distance. 'Just' possible to make out the time on the chuch clock and check it out against the datestamp on the image. lol Little things please little minds. . tidied up the PC room a little before eating Mum donated salmon sandwiches with crisps and some chocolate . . managed to resist the desire to sleep and mowed and strimmed the lawns before brushing up all the fallen Autumnal debris from all the trees laying around all over the place . .dragged the big extension lead down from the garage to plug in so I could use the drill up there. Eventually managed to hang the working fluorescent strip light I'd salvaged from the skip up the road (now sadly gone), on one of the cast iron garage roof supports pretty much nicely overhead the workbench, and hooked it up to a piece of flex and a plug for the extension lead sockets. That'll do nicely for the time being . . walked and back in the dark. .worked in the garage using my new light, and had a go at seeing if I could get at least one of the other ones I'd salvaged, workable using the 'starter' thingy I'd found in one of Dad's jars in Mums garage. Sadly it still wouldn't work. Oh well - one out of three isn't bad. . A couple of nearby resident 'youths' walked down the lane in the pitch black as I was working in the garage (all too noticeable thanks to the clear garage windows and bright fluorescent light). As they walked past, one of them was chanting 'wa**er, wa**er'!!?? You tell me? Was that directed at me, or was it just part of some childish conversation they were having between themselves? I'm SO paranoid about such things these days that my judgement can be questioned. However - 'I' have no doubt that it WAS meant for me. Not for any particular reason (I've certainly had no run-ins or hassle from anyone down here - yet!), but just because that is what brainless young twits seem to need to do these days to feel as though they 'are someone', from what I've experienced. Anyway - needless to say, that had a pretty instant and damaging effect on my state of mind (much greater than I care to describe here! :o( ). All too much like travelling back in time! Indeed - while messing around reconstructing my website of late, I made the mistake of clicking back at my diary archive, to make sure the links worked and just out of interest to see what I was up to this time last year. Big mistake. Nasty. :o( Suffice it to say, the prozac of earlier this year is now definitely completely out of my system - and I'm having a 'much harder time of it' as a result. . PCd experimenting with my wireless CCTV camera as a webcam, and seeing if I could pick up anyone elses in the vicinity (which isn't SUCH a crazy notion as it sounds. All these wireless things you can buy seem to work on only four possible channels, so in theory if anyone nearby had one running, I should be able to pick it up - especially when you consider my elevated position looking out over so many houses. Works both ways of course!). There was maybe just a 'hint' of a signal here and there if I waved the aerial around in different direction, but nothing viewable. . BB called . .TVd . .ate bowls of corn flakes . . to bed after midnight. s
4 - Up around 9am . . wow - my aching knees and back seem to be in a bad way!! :o( Annadin, coffee and cigarettes for breakfast in the back garden . . walked late in a T shirt and sunglasses - not bad for October. :o) A big ship was moored in a slightly unusual position, pretty close by in the bay, so I felt obliged to take a few shots to add to my ahoy pics page. I really could completely fill my webspace with such shots. Always something different to see out there every minute of every day. People wanting a sea view IS understandable. I complain about having to walk such a distance twice a day (I'm really getting worried about my constantly aching knees!), but looking at those pictures, I'd really miss it if I didn't. .received an ansaphone message from the bed people stating that the headboard WOULD be with me tomorrow between 8 and 1. . PCd the pictures (the panoramics I took were useless - makes the ship look all broken and bent - like the Napoli when they were trying to split it! lol) and this, with the camcorder on, acting as a webcam as I did so. Added a couple of captures to my 'old webcam shots' page. . .ate salmon and mayo sandwiches, crisps and chocolate. . napped until around 7pm! . . walked in the dark. The police helicopter, police and coastguard rescue teams were out and about looking for someone. 'That' time of year I guess. . a
5 - Up with the alarm at 6:30am to give me enough time to walk Sally and then be at home waiting for my headboard delivery . . walked. A little chilly but a beautiful morning with the promise of a sunny day. The big ship in the bay, has snuk away in the night. Back home just as the church clocks in the distance (I can hear two from my house - one each in different directions - and I really like the oldy-worldy feel, hearing them gives) were striking eight o'clock. .sat on the front step in the sun for coffee and cigarettes before, determined not to waste the day just sitting around waiting, did a bunch of chores. Washed all the dishes, did laundry, vacuuming, tidied up etc, etc. Eventually the lorry driver called and said they'd be here in ten minutes. They pretty much were and yayyy - at 10:50am my headboard was finally delivered. . put it together pretty quick and got the bedroom back straight. To be honest, I have to say I'm a bit disappointed in the thing. Yes, it does give the 'look' I thought I was after, but oh my god, it's made SO cheap! The brass ball things on the tops of the posts are just sat there not actually held on at all, and will rattle all loose when you get on the bed!!! So - I guess I'm gonna have to ram those back on after wrapping some cellotape or some such around the top of the posts some time. Stupid little irritation! Worse than that - the metal bars that actually hold the thing to the bed are made of such thin flimsy bits of almost flat steel, that they flex SO much, there is no way you could dream of actually sitting up in bed leaning on the headboard - and it'll even wobble back and forth just turning over in bed!!! Cheap (not inexpensive) rubbish! Guess I'll have to be on the lookout for some small bits of box-section steel in the nearby skips, and have a go at making up more sturdy replacements some time. So - it 'looks' ok I think. Just isn't as practical as it should be! :o( . . cooked and ate four small burgers in bread rolls for lunch . . accepted a couple of parcels for a neighbour a couple of doors away who wasn't in . . napped until around 5pm . .the neighbour called in to pick up the parcels. . walked the long walk through the woods . . PCd and finally got round to copying my music collection onto my external drive and then popped round and loaned it to my next door neighbour, as I'd promised I would absolutely ages ago . . BB called . . ate ham rolls with crisps . . to bed around midnight. s
6 - Up at 8am . . walked and back via town. Picked up a cheap and nasty (but useful for the time being) white plastic towel ring for the bathroom for £1 in a charity shop . .pottered around and managed to remove all the old phone line extension wires that had been tacked around door frames and along skirtings and under carpet edges. Should be able to re-use the wire when I start putting in sockets downstairs. :o) . . Mum called in with the paper and food donations and to see the bedroom. Chats and coffee etc until around 2pm . . ate Mum donated ham rolls with crisps and some chocolate . . napped until around 6pm. Woke feeling yucky . . walked . . PCd surfing a bit and then TVd briefly . . ate a couple of Mr Kipling slices . . PCd more and ended up chatting to BB on the PC until gone 4am!!!! s
7 - Woken by Sally failing to get up on the bed around 9am (it's a lot higher than she's used and she needs a bit of a run up) . . walked . . worked under the floor and had a go at instaling the two bulkhead lights I've had laying around for a while. Somehow it just seemed to be 'one of those days' and nothing went right. Another 'five minute job' took all day + !! Even discovered that behind the lightswitch in the hallway for the outside light, the wires were all bare and the main live was actually snapped and only 'just' touching the switch terminal, so I had to do a sudden detour and sort all that out!!! Broke one of the bulkhead light mounts, although it's still useable. To cut a very VERY long and arduous story short, I succeeded in getting a lightswitch and the two bulkheads all working (one in the space under the hall and stairs - one under the living room) and also got a useable double power socket wired up under there - most of the work done by torchlight (until the batteries all ran out in both torches)!!!!. The 'cost' for succeeding in getting that done, was temporarily 'losing' use of half of the very few sockets I have on the ground floor!! The radial circuit for the power sockets was SUCH a spaghetti of thick wires into a junction box, I couldn't easily stuff them all back in and connect them up, given the temporary alterations I'd made to put in the power socket beneath the floor! Damn!!! Only one useable single power socket in the whole living room at the moment!! I guess the pressure is on now to get serious with doing the downstairs wiring. Damn, damn, damn! . .worked through non stop until around 6:30pm before having to call it a day . . showered off the layers of grime, paused for a quick coffee in the garden and then walked, feeling oh SO exhausted. Briefly stopped off at the store on the way home . . finally around 9pm I ate! Ate Mum donated pork rolls and Mr Kipling slices . . BB touched base . . TVd until bed at 11pm.
8 - Woke earlier then up around 7:45am . . walked in a hurry. I need to get back under that floor and sort out what I'm gonna do. Either make temporary hook ups to bring those sockets back into use, or start the destructive work in the living room to put in brand new ones. Ugggh. :o( . .PCd briefly before getting back to the agony under the floor. .ended up doing a bit of a short cut temporary botch to the wiring hookups, and had the brainwave of actually connecting one bit up by just putting a plug on the end and plugging it into the new double power socket I put under the floor! Weird but actually not unsafe I reckon - as a temporary measure. Anyway, that got me out of having to immediately get bogged down with a lot of work and destruction of the living room. All pretty much sorted by midday. . messed around lots under the floor measuring up and trying to plan what sockets and other types of boxes I am going to be able put in the living room. As is my habit, it's gonna be a bunch - for powering and hooking up/interconnecting everything! . . tidied up the mess of tools I'd gotten in and then finally took a few photos for here. Clockwise - the first taken from somewhere under the kitchen looking down the slope towards one of my bulkhead lights below the front doorish. The tiny access hatch under the stairs is about half way down to the left. Second pic is of me sitting there to give scale. Third pic is the unsupported hole in the wall I opened up, to give access to the under-the-living-room area. It's a hell of a squeeze, but I can 'just' do it. Measure a brick and work it out. It's a SMALL hole to get through! That hole can 'just' be seen in pic1, down by the light on the right. I punched through under the living room doorway to minimise the weight above. Last pic is a three photo pan of part of the big space under the living room. There is a similar, slightly smaller area under the kitchen diner I have NOT messed with much yet, because of the unsafe access hole left by workmen in the past. . . I need a rest - and some daylight! . . cleaned myself up and then ate a Mum donated large pork pie with crisps and chocolate . . napped. . woken around 7pm by the phone - wrong number, no Brian here. .walked late. Once again it was a remarkably quiet, warm, pleasant evening. Sat under the roof in BGdns for a while . .sat out in the back garden under the pergola with the floodlight on for an hour or more, inevitably thinking through all the work I have to do everywhere . . Bb called . . TVd and eventually called BB back . . ate bowls of corn flakes . . to bed around 1am. s
9 - Woken by Sally clattering across the floor just before 8am . . walked in what turned into a heavy drizzle and got wet . . PCd this briefly . . dragged all the living room TV stuff away from the bay wall enough to get in behind, and had a good look at the wallpaper. I'm absolutely determined NOT to do a full redecoration of the living room yet, like I have done the bedrooms, but I MUST start thinking about doing the re-wiring. My hope is, I 'may' be able to peel back bits of the heavily embossed wallpaper where I need to, get the sockets done and simply re-instate the original paper as a temporary measure. . ooh, ooooh. Incredibly I succeeded in removing the two short drops of paper in the middle of the bay beneath the windows, intact (albeit with a lot of old flaky paint and debris still stuck to the back of the paper)! Go for it! Measured up, checking my makeshift floor-plan of the joist positions under the floor which I'd jotted down yesterday, and set about hacking out the wall to take two double and one single socket boxes and the channels to run the plastic conduit down under the floor. Much hard work and dust on everything, and many trips under the floor and back, but by late afternoon I'd actually succeeded in rough plastering the whole lot in place! Yayyyyyy! That went well. A touch of filler and sanding down, and in theory, it 'may' be possible to stick the original paper back in place for the time being - although I DO plan to put in some other sockets nearby, so I'm in no hurry to do that. (As usual, involuntarily, in the back of my mind is ALWAYS the thought - could I sell it like this, tomorrow!) At last I have some conduit leading into the under floor space. I can start thinking about removing/tidying up the temporary trailing TV aerial wires that come in through the window surround. Excellent. VERY pleased with the days work. So pleased, before clearing away all the tools, I even took the disc cutter, lump hammer and chisel down under the floor and modified the hole in the brickwork I'd made. As per the photo below - I cut off the bottom two protruding bricks on the left of the hole, opening it up just a little more. Given the nature and position of what is above, I intend to cement up the two missing half bricks on the right at some point in the future (and may actually leave it at that, rather than have the nightmare of putting in a lintel). I'm not sure why (perhaps 'because it is there') but if it weren't for the huge amount of work I have all around this house, I'd be sorely tempted to waste my time building some feature brick arches under that floor, and except for the arches, paint the rest of the walls white! That'd looks SO neat!! lolol These houses (ALL houses) SO should have been built with a cellar - although I've been given to understand from neighbours that not far below the surface is actually bedrock. The ground surface under the floor is rough concrete under the layers of dust and debris (and one ancient, dried/mumified rat!!! Eeeeew!!!) , so sadly there is no practical possibility of digging out. Real shame that. . filled a couple of carrier bags with debris from under the floor and loaded the wheelie bin up as heavy as I dared. Amongst the debris down there was an old newspaper. It's in pretty poor shape, all falling apart, but considering it's been just sat on the ground down there, it does prove it is 'fairly' dry if I wanted to store stuff down there. It's the Daily Mirror dated Saturday March 18, 1967! Almost as old as I am! The headline - 'Eight Killer Snakes Stolen In Zoo Raid'. Harold Wilson was PM at the time according to another article. Also on the front page - 'Two Stones Accused Of Drug Offences' - (Mick Jagger and Keith Richards). . finally ate - defrosted chicken (how long has THAT been in the freezer?!!!) with chips and a mug of red wine around 8:30pm . . BB called . . TVd eating chocolate until bed around midnight, content with the day. sd
10 - Up around 7:15am . . hung around a bit and then walked a touch later than I could have done, in order for the shops to be open by the time I got down town. Toured a few of the charity shops and spotted a cheap, white laminated chipboard, three drawer chest in one of them (actually the same one I scored my bedside lamps). Rather than miss an opportunity through indecision again, without hesitation I handed over a £10 note and quickly headed home to drop off Sally, get the car out and pop back down and pick it up. With the car out, I stopped off at Mums on the way home and picked up a few bulky things I'd left dumped in her garage (spool of heavy duty aerial wire, part roll of damp proof membrane, etc) - and to give her the opportunity to share in the 'excitement' of my purchase! lol It really IS a cheap and nasty chest of drawers, that would benefit from dismantling and gluing during the rebuild, but for a tenner I'm not complaining. It'll do ok until I get something better. Finally - somewhere to put my socks etc, rather than have them all stacked up on that silly 'shoe shelf' in the bottom of the wardrobe. :o) It seems real slow progress having to 'rebuild my home' like this, and try and amass enough 'stuff' (within the constraints of my meager budget) to be comfortably functional again, but I really am doing ok I reckon. (God - HOW I could have used SO much of all that furniture and other stuff I was forced to dump when I moved! Bitter. :o( ). ALL the bedrooms feel like a pretty nice place to be now - and with those first few socket boxes roughed into the living room wall, with a bit (lot!) of work, I should be able to start hooking things up and getting TV sockets working etc, and back to 'where I was in Bristol' kinda. :o) I dunno - still all seems agonisingly slow, although I WAS in my house in Bristol for twenty odd years. Haven't even been here for a year yet, so maybe I'm doing ok. . . pondered in the front garden much, trying to figure things out and eventually dragged the ladder out the front and measured up around the top of the bay window. Retreated to the garage and cut and glued together a couple of large lumps of timber from the piece I salvaged from the skip down the road. I'm gonna have a go at making up a mount for my CCTV camera! Not sure how that'll go down with the neighbours - but I still possess the thing, just gathering dust in a cupboard, so I may as well think about putting it up. I DO miss having the ability, while watching TV at night, to see who's about outside. Dare I admit it - I'm still pretty 'frightened' most of the time! On countless occasions while out walking Sally, a car pulling up in a strange way will see me all 'ready for an attack'. The same if I have to pass a group of kids/youths. Someone walking down the opposite side of the street in the dark last night said good evening to me, and used my name!!!!!! Hadn't a clue who it was!! That shook me up - but on reflection, I think it may have been the son of a neighbor of my mothers. Blah, blah, blah . . left the wood gluing in the vice and TVd while eating corned beef sandwiches, crisps and chocolate biscuits. . napped all afternoon until gone 6pm!! . . .walked. Came home carrying the small broken, wooden, paint spattered stool that has been laying under a hedge for the past few days. If I ever get the time, a repair and coat of paint should see it being useful to me . . sat in the front garden with coffee and cigarettes. Another pleasant, 'warm', quiet evening. PCd this . . BB called . . PCd more of this until spending ages reading what bits I could of that old newspaper from under the floor - although just doing so is seeing the thing fall to bits in my hands, but forgiveable since evidence strongly suggests the paper was in fact the wrapping for some chips! Really is fascinating looking back like that. Only two TV channels for part of the day. Some of the adverts seem to be the most telling of how things have changed. I just can't resist using up some of my webspace by putting a random selection of them here (photos because my scanner is still in 'storage'. That's gonna make this page cumbersome!). . I think I need me a 'Dandy Chair'!!!! lolololol :o). s
11 - Up around 8am . .walked the woods . . dragged the ladder back through the house and had a serious go at making up a wooden mount for the CCTV camera. Took ALL day, measuring this and that up the ladder over and over again, and then retreating to the garage to cut and carve the timber block to fit the awkward recesses at the top of the window beneath the overhanging roof lip. Incredibly time consuming! By around 6pm I had the post mounted and slapped a quick protective undercoat of paint on it. It's gonna be rather noticeable! It won't surprise me if I get some 'grief' from neighbours over this when I finally actually put the camera up there!! We'll see. I'm determined to put it up though. Pointless having it gathering dust - and I kinda regard it as the only thing to show for all the agony I went through back in Bristol. 'Sort of' paid for by the compensation Lee Boyce had to pay me when I was assaulted. .A bit of PVA/filler (I've run out - of plaster too) and more coats of paint before I dare to actually put it up. . walked . . ate corned beef sandwiches and more bread and butter with an old tin of oxtail soup, crisps and chocolate . . touched base with BB. . TVd until bed around 10:30pm. a
12 - Up around 7:15am . .PCd this with coffee and cigarettes . .walked. Sally spotted a couple of arguing squirrels in a small tree and ended up stood immediately beneath them watching intently. One of the squirrels did a death defying leap into the branches of another tree and managed to scamper away. The second tried a similarly risky move, but it missed it's target and fell to the floor, RIGHT in front of Sally!!! Uh oh!! There was a sudden frantic chase as the squirrel tried to get away and Sally tried to catch it. I was pretty powerless to intervene and stood motionless awaiting the likely unpleasant outcome. Incredibly at one point in its panic, the squirrel ended up climbing up and around my right leg before leaping off and eventually making the safety of the nearby tree!!!!!! Wow. That doesn't happen every day - having a squirrel on your leg! lol . .stopped in at the builders merchant on the way home for yet more PVA and filler (£14.35). . dragged the ladder back through the house and mounted the CCTV camera on the wooden mount I'd fashioned. Spent ages trying to tack the cable around the windows and down the outside wall to the air brick by the satellite dishes. Opened up the air brick slightly by drilling out and removing one of the cross pieces, and routed the cable into the underfloor space and up through one of my new socket boxes to the TV
. . . napped. . .walked. . .cooked
and ate defrosted beef sausages in buttered bread rolls . . .BB
called . .TVd/CCTVd . .ate bowls of co-co pops . . to bed after
13 - Up around 7:30am . . walked . . left Sally at home and walked back to the builders merchant for a 12.5kg sack of one coat plaster (£7.29). Walked it home cradled in my arms and clutched to my chest! . . worked in the living room at putting in another couple of socket boxes in the bay window wall . . Mum popped in for chats etc . . carried on working and had the two sockets and double conduits to each, rough plastered in place by around 5pm. That's the complete 'set' I wanted in place. Two doubles for power, three singles for aerials, phone and what have you. .BB called . . cleaned up and showered . . .walked . . sat in the garden . . TVd . . ate Mum donated ham rolls with crisps, some Mr Kipling slices and some chocolate. . TVd until bed around 11pm. as
14 - Up around 7:15am . .slow getting going. Feel real tired. . walked . . felt strangely 'blah' and couldn't muster the energy to face doing anything at all. Forced myself to get overalled up at one point and had a quick explore of the underfloorspace under the kitchen area. Oh! Turns out there is an extra supporting wall under there which prevents me gaining access to the whole area! I'm gonna have to excavate another hole in a wall somewhere to be able to get in and do everything. That's a blow. :o( I was hoping to be able to do a quick bodge with a aerial cable and get a watchable TV into the kitchen real quick. That's gonna have to wait - again - still. :o( . . trimmed my hair and beard before showering clean and then PCd/TVd/sat around doing nothing for the rest of the day . . ate Mum donated pasties, sausage rolls and Mr Kipling slices . . walked feeling utterly exhausted!?. . TVd . . BB called . . ate Mum donated chocolate with a couple of mugs of milk . . to bed around 11pm.
15 - Up just before 7am . .coffee and cigarettes for breakfast while PCing a bit of this and watching BBC Breakfast TV on line for an hour or so! . .walked. Feel really weird. Light headed and woozy kinda - and a really bizarre tinitis type effect going on in my left ear!? . On the way to BGdns, I passed a house at which workmen had just arrived. On the way back, they'd starting doing whatever it was they were going to do, and in the front garden of the house was a stack of dismantled wood panelling and a rather nice bedside cabinet. Oooh, oooh, oooh. Looks like that may be sitting there waiting to be dumped. Had a brief word with the young workman and was directed to speak to the owner of the place. Apparantly he was renewing a fitted bedroom, the 'stand alone' bedside cabinet WAS going to go, but he didn't seem too sure if I could have it or not. He took my phone number and said he'd let me know. . within half an hour he'd called and said I could have it. Jumped in the car and drove straight round and picked it up. Called in at Mum's on the way home to gloat and let her have a look and be part of the 'excitement/satisfaction' of the aquisition. lol Turns out, it is almost identical to the furniture Mum has in her bedroom (glass panel inside the base of the top 'drawer', for putting your coffee cup on, etc). . back home a while later, Mum called to say she'd dug out her old receipt from several years ago, and back then those bedside cabinets had cost well in excess of £100 each. Gloat, gloat. :o) WHAT a shame he only had the one. Still - it works quite nicely next to the single bed in the back bedroom. Cool. . used the disc cutter up the ladder and ground off some rough areas on the front wall of the house before getting some paint over those bits, and where I've brought the CCTV cable down the wall. . One of the first things I did when I moved in here was to tear down all the ivy from around the front door. It'd damaged the paintwork, was threatening brickwork (even found traces of the routes under the floor of the house!), and had even grown through a piece of the roof over the door causing water to get into the porch woodwork causing even more damage! Attempted a bit of a botch-job 'repair' to the broken part of the roof over the front door. The porch roof covering itself (sheet metal? Galvanised steel?) is actually mostly in pretty good shape, apart from the small broken edge piece where the ivy forced its way through. Botched it all up with some neat PVA/filler mix, and will have to paint over that at some point. . carried on working and finally got round to attempting to remove the rest of the paint from the house wall near the front door, which the ivy hadn't already torn off. No way could you just paint over such a mess. Took forever trying to scrape that paint off. Wore away the metal of a large part of my wall paper scraper!!! Bloody hard work. Worked on that wall for the rest of the day, apart from a brief break to put another coat of paint on the walls I'd painted earlier!! Eventually left it with quite a bit more to do! . .cemented up a rough patch on next doors side and then used the remainder of the cement to 'mould a form' around the inside of the drain in the back garden. I'd found traces of damp under the floor of the house in that corner, and close examination of the drain revealed a large crack in the render, immediately below where all the pipes from the kitchen empty in. Pretty sure that meant that at least thirty per cent of all the water discharged from the kitchen was finding its way straight into the earth rather than going down the drain - hence the damp under the kitchen floor. Time will tell. . late afternoon Mum popped down with a letter for me she'd received. My MOT reminder! Uggh. :o( . . walked. Down in BGdns, sat on the side of the path in a most bizarre way, I discovered a Lidl carrier bag with 'stuff' in it!?? Turned out to be a pair of shoes, some clothes and some school books with the name Beverley Brown on!!! No sign of the owner was anywhere to be seen, nor had other dog walkers seen anyone. Utterly bizarre. Couldn't just leave something like that laying around, so I ended up carrying it home! Went through the phone book and had a go at calling almost every 'Brown' in town, but to no avail. Eventually gave up and, not really knowing what to do with it all (and feeling very uncomfortable about having a young girls 'stuff' in my possession - and with hindsight, starting to really worry about what may have become of the girl (was she laying dead in the bushes near where I'd found the bag?!!), not least of all because if something HAD happened to her, I would now be suspect number one!), I called the police and reported my find. Ten minutes and a few seconds on hold before eventually getting through to a call handler! Basically there was little she could do (she'd had no reports of Beverley being missing) and if I handed the stuff in to the local police station (not open until tomorrow!) it'd probably just sit on a shelf until it was disposed of, so I agreed I'd drop it in at the local college tomorrow. Hassle! . . ate corned beef/mayo sandwiches with cheese and tomatoes and crisps and chocolate . . BB called . .TVd with a badly aching back . . . to bed around 11:30pm. a
16 - Woken by Sally climbing on the bed around 7:15am . ooh my aching back! . . drove with Sally for a quick once around in the hint of drizzle, and then drove on in the rain heading for the local college. Found it pretty easy and parked up in the car park, left Sally in the car and headed for the big crowded reception area. Joined the back of a small queue waiting to speak to the lady behind the desk and couldn't help listening in to the conversation in front of me. It soon became apparant the woman in front of me was trying to explain to the receptionist how her daughter had left lots of her stuff here and there! I butted in and simply said the girls name - the woman confirmed yes - and with little ado I handed over the carrier bag of her belongings with the briefest of descriptions of where I'd found it. Apparantly the girl had simply decided to 'go walkabout' and had dumped her things along the way!!?? Bizarre. . returned straight home to touch base with Mum and let her know the outcome of things . . wind and rain as forecast meant I couldn't continue work on the outside wall so I sanded down around the new sockets in the living room (putting a layer of white dust on everything everywhere!) and touched the wall here and there with a bit of filler. . checked under the floor the coast was clear before drilling a quick small hole in the kitchen floor, tucked away in a corner by the base of the end worktop. Threaded aerial cable down, and routed it through to the front living room via the conduit to one of my new socket boxes. Soldered coax sockets on each end and connected it up to one of the two, Sky box RF-out sockets in the living room and a portable TV in the kitchen. With the cable in the kitchen almost completely hidden behind the end of the worktop, that is a VERY satisfactory, temporary arrangement. :o) . cleared up and then celebrated having TV in the kitchen again, by cooking and eating four sausages and chips while watching some old black and white film. :o) . . napped all afternoon until around 6pm. Much wind and rain. The bedroom windows appear to be pretty watertight as far as I can tell, but still a 'dribble' from the very top of part of the living room windows!? I very much hope that isn't getting in the bedroom windows and running down!!! I won't know until I fully seal with mastik all the bottom windows, and finish all the painting of the external woodwork and cills I intend to do. It's definitely improved I guess - but 'improved' just isn't good enough when it comes to water getting in, is it! :o( . . walked in the rain, in full weather gear but got soaked anyway. . TVd . . touched base with BB . . ate bowls of corn flakes . . PCd this until bed around 1am. s
17 - Up just before 7am . .all the front windows were covered in condensation! Much wiping down. . sat in the cold front garden with coffee and cigarettes until after the cloudless sunrise. . walked. Messed around trying to get a couple of photos of the big container/bulk carrier ships pausing in the bay to pick up a pilot each. The way those huge ships loom SO high above the water just fascinates me. . PCd and added a handful of pics to my 'Ahoy' page . .worked on the wall of the house by the front door all day again. I think I know why that porch over the doorway is in such bad shape and rotting away. There's a big crack in the wall of the house above it, stretching down from next doors bedroom window. Scraped away a bit of loose paint and debris and found a good 5mm wide crack, going deep through the brickwork. I reckon the rain has been getting in there and getting in under the waterproof cover of the porch roof! More work! Used the disc cutter to 'dress' the crack and then applied a PVA cement mix into and over it. Actually used a kitchen sieve to sieve that awful, course grained sand I've got, to enable me to come up with a fine enough cement mix!!! . . walked. Stopped off at the store on the way home for milk, and bought a couple of reduced price cornish pasties. . ate pasties and a little chocolate . . touched base with BB . . TVd with an aching back and feeling really exhausted again, until bed before 11pm. s
18 - Up around 6:40am. .cold and condensationy. . .walked . .did laundry and dish washing chores, waiting for the day to warm up and all the dew and condensation to dry off the outside walls. . put the first coat of new masonary paint on the outside walls around the front door and my crack repair above the porch roof . . with little I could do with the paint drying, and with the weather just blue sky sunny and perfect, I phoned Mum and suggested now would be a good time for her to experience the view I'd told her about (IF she could manage the walk with her increasingly bad feet!). She agreed and within an hour we were all heading for the hill. . nearing the 'off road' path, we passed a guy with a bird of prey (Harris hawk?) on his arm, just returning to his car. He'd been up on the hill flying the bird. Beautiful creature. As is so often the case around these parts, he seemed quite friendly and chatty. He was in some club or other, and he and various others are occasionaly employed by land owners to use the birds to cull rabbit populations etc. . .walked the hill. I think Mum was suitably impressed with the view. Sat up at my usual vantage point for quite a while with the sun beating down on our backs. Very warm and pleasant. Who'd have thought it was October! Eventually back via a tour of the churchyard. . . put another coat of paint on the walls. . . ate corned beef rolls, crisps and chocolate raisins . . napped around 5pm. Good grief - woke after 9pm, with Sally asleep on the floor next to me!!! Poor dog. She hasn't had her walk or her food and probably thinks it's night time now and she just isn't getting any! . . .walked in the cold around 11pm . . ate baked beans, and grated cheese after midnight. . PCd until the early hours. Oh WOW!!! WHAT a suprise! Someone has made a £10 'donation' to my website! Amazing. Actually, aside from anything else, at least I know that page actually works now. Well I'll be damned. The first penny I've ever made out of the internet! lol Neat - although - boy do I feel guilty about it!? I really need to find the time to carry on re-instating and updating my site. I'd had this crazy idea about that donate page. Something along the lines of suggesting that anyone interested could offer a sum of money to 'cover expenses', while being able to suggest what I should actually do with it - so they'd then be able to read my account of what occurred when I set off and did what I was bid. Does that make sense? Intriguing - no? s
19 - Up after 8am to the sound of an ambulance siren real close. Turned out to be closer than I'd thought. I'm not entirely sure which house it was for, but an ambulance and paramedic car were parked in the street right outside. . cold and condensationy again. Seems weird stepping back in time to having to do that morning window wiping ritual. Actually conjures up vague memories of growing up in the house in which I was born, with Mum and Dad having to do it every day throughout the winter. Steel and putty windows back then. Can't help thinking I'd be better off having windows like that now, rather than these 'porous' single glazed aluminium ones! . . walked in layers, gloves and hat. Sally, off her lead ahead, somehow read my mind and instead of taking our usual route turning right up the steps, carried straight on heading for town. How did she do that? I surely hadn't given her ANY body-language indication of my intent had I!? Weird. What subtle clues and signals she must be tuned into. Amazing. .withdrew some money from my building society account. The girl behind the counter started doing that nauseating 'trying to sell me something' thing, which they are all forced to do with every customer these days. (They'd even started forcing us to do that back when I worked on the PO counter! ) I rather too abruptly told her not to try and sell me anything and just let me have what I'd asked for - and then had to launch into a 'friendly' chat to try and apologise for my rudeness. That all seemed to put her off a bit, and when she counted out the money I was withdrawing, she counted out £100 too much! Too honest for my own good, I flustered her even further by just saying 'No, no, nooooo' and pushing it all back at her. She got there in the end. . painted/sanded/filled . . walked . . seem to be in a strange mood. Just wanting to be quiet kinda. Feel - um - how to describe it? 'Sadness'?. . BB called briefly and came up with a better word for why I wanted off the phone real quick. Melancholy. . PCd listening to music for an hour or two. Actually did so while on the webcam and thought it'd be amusing to focus the camera on the media player on the PC screen, so anyone bumping into my webcam at that time, would be able to watch what tracks I was playing - which as usual was a whirlwind tour of parts of all manner of different tracks and genres. All a pointless waste of time as it turned out, becaiuse as far as I can tell, no one looked at the webcam during that time anyway! lol . . ate grated cheese rolled up in slices of ham, lightly fried and then put in a sandwich!. . TVd until bed. s
20 - Up around 8am . . walked . .next door saw me out the front and thanked me for all the work on our adjoining wall. (He has no idea how much MORE work I had to do on HIS side than I did on mine - but really had no choice!!) He happily handed over a pot of black masonary paint he'd been given by the previous owners. Aha. So THAT is what that paint is. Feels as though there is enough in that pot to touch up the bits I need to - and at least I now know what type I need to buy in the future. (I didn't even know they did that stuff in black!) . . removed the screwed-to-the-door-frame-all-wonky doorbell button. Even THAT turned into a major hassle with one of the mounting screws all stripped and impossible to undo. Had to hacksaw it off and then 'bury' the remaining bit of screw into the woodwork and cover the hole with filler! Repositioned the bell switch (a 'wireless' multiple-choice-of-chime doorbell no less!) on the house wall. . attempted to undo the outdoor porch light to see what bulb was in it, and maybe replace it with an energy saving one. Another nightmare. One of the light cover screws is all corroded in place and the head is stripped smooth, so no way am I able to undo it!!! Bugger! So - when that bulb eventually blows, I'll be having to somehow tear the light off the porch and replace it all with something else! :o( . .had intended to sand and paint some of the woodwork around the front door but the forecast seemed a bit awry, and there was a hint of drizzle in the air so I moved back to working inside. . sanded filler and then drilled and put retaining screws in the backs of the new socket boxes in the living room . . Mum called in with the paper and food donations for coffee and chats . . spent hours in the kitchen watching an old film whilst scraping the bits of paint and debrise from the back of the two sections of wallpaper I'd successfully removed from the living room bay wall where I've put in the five new socket boxes. Really weird paper that. SO thick. Must have been really expensive. . eventually re-pasted the paper back on the wall (part of my plan to temporarily avoid having to re-decorate the entire living room right now). It isn't perfect, but it isn't bad. :o). . ate Mum donated pork and stuffing rolls . . napped. Had to wake myself from an unpleasant dream! I was dreaming about having returned to visit my old house in Bristol and see what the new owners had made of it! Absurd nonsense as dreams always are of course - but they'd made it into a huge palacial place, and had incorporated a huge beautiful crystal filled cave they'd discovered under the floor!!!?? lol I guess it was all about what I consider I lost (££k) on the place - and it was so upsetting, I had to wake from it. :o( . . walked. Seemed really quiet out, presumably because everyone was in, watching England lose the rugby final to South Africa. . TVd . . touched base with BB . .TVd/PCd until early. sa
21 - Up around 8:30am feeling tired and - um - tired. . . walked. Cool but sunny . .sanded down all the woodwork around the front door, a couple of touches of more PVA/filler, and then painted an undercoat on it. Tried to figure out something else to get on with, from the infinite list of things I have to do, trying to find something that wouldn't take hours and vast amounts of energy. SO much to do but just couldn't muster the energy required and eventually just caved in and ate Mum donated ham rolls with crisps and then returned to bed! . . napped until around 5:15pm. Woke headachey and blech. . TVd and watched the grand prix and Louis Hamilton NOT winning the drivers championship. So - a typical weekend of British sporting achievement all round. . . walked . .PCd and finally got round to sending an e-mail to the '£10 donor' just saying thank you. Dunno why it took so long for me to do that - but how to say thank you for something to someone is always a bit of a stunbling block to me for some reason. Not unusual for me to suddenly go all out of touch for a few days while I try and build up to it. I don't understand. .PCd this, trying to catch up on the last several days which I've not done. This 'working on the house' thing is getting a bit out of hand. I've disappeared into a bit of a 'twilight zone' with it all. Every day is simply walk the dog and work on the house - and the day is measured in what did I get done today! If it's dry I'm working on the outside - if it's raining, on the inside. When I'm finished working and walking, I'm SO tired that all I can manage to do is sit all comotose and horizontal in front of the TV for a few hours, and even then I'm mostly thinking about things that need doing and mentally rehearsing how. It really is as though I'm trying to get twenty years of DIY on my last house, done in year one on this one!! I think I need to try and force myself to slow down. Maybe just concentrate on a few of the things that REALLY bug me - which strangely enough is mostly a couple of the lights (I haven't even begun to mess with the lighting circuits as yet!)! The downstairs hallway light has only one switch, near the living room door. It's driving me mad every time I go into the kitchen. Unless you try and stumble down the hallway in the dark, you have to go to the kitchen, turn the kitchen light on, then go all the way back just to turn the hallway light off!!! Stupid stupid stupid! Drives me mad. I WAS going to put a two-way switch in the stud wall at the end of the hall near the kitchen door, but then had the realisation that I'd be better off putting that switch actually IN the kitchen with the kitchen light switch (which I 'need' to move a few inches to the right! lol), since the hall only leads to the kitchen after all. Sadly a bigger job because that wall is solid brick. The other light that drives me mad is the 'subdued' lighting for the living room. The main light is three bulbs (not low energy - yet!!£) and is nice and bright, but for just sitting around watching TV I 'need' a much dimmer background light. I'm currently using an old floor lamp plugged into the corner of the room opposite the main light switch. So - it's a similar deal with having to either stumble across the room in the dark or have to go back and forth switching lights on and off. Arrrrrrggghhh!!! Infuriating. I need a similar arrangement to that which I had in Bristol - a couple of low wattage ceiling spot lights operated from the main switch. Blah blah blah blah. See!!! I've a one track mind. I'm supposed to be sat here updating my journal, but instead I'm thinking (and typing!!!) about the work I need to do!!!!. .PCd this for a couple of hours (yes - it DOES take me that long to think about and type this drivel!) all the while, on the webcam. Dunno why the hell I bother. Seems to me, if I ever go to the bother of setting up the camera (I actually use the camcorder on a tripod most often), that is precisely when absolutely no one will be looking in. lol Can't blame em I guess - hardly entertaining is it - watching me type, smoke and apparantly go increasingly bald on the top of my head!!!! lolol. . touched base with BB . .ate a large pork pie with a tomato . . TVd until bed at 1am. a
22 - Up at 8:30am . . walked . . set about cutting holes in bits of the hallway ceiling and the understairs cupboard to give a route for TV cables and such between the floors. Fiddly and time consuming. . eventually succeeded in laying in a telephone cable (although it 'may' be too short when I come to try and connect it up!) and then pushed on and lifted floorboards upstairs and layed in an aerial cable from the living room to the PC room. Lot of time consuming hassle necessitating dismantling the PC kit and moving everything out of the way so I could lift the last floorboard. Got there in the end. . glued up a split floorboard from the landing, out in the garage . . Put everything back in place before soldering sockets on the end of the cable. Well - that's another milestone. I can now watch TV (albeit currently only as a monitor of the living room Sky box) in the PC room. I'm actually quite impressed with that Panasonic Sky box PS let me have. There is easily enough signal coming out of the two aerial outs on the back of that box, to run at least a couple of TVs each, without having to use any sort of amplifier. I can run both the kitchen and PC room TVs at the same time from just one of the two outputs, without any noticeable deterioration at all. Useful. . walked . . cooked and ate four small cheeseburgers . .TVd . . BB called . . ate bowls of co-co pops before bed around midnight. s
23 - Up just after 8am . .TVd/PCd this. . walked . . left Sally at home and drove to shop. Got rid of my £25 refund credit vouchers and spent a further fortune (£34.85!) in the DIY store before going on to Sainsburys for food (and dog food on this occasion, because I just couldn't face the extra long drive to the pet superstore. 36 tins of Sainsburys own 'Scouts' @ £11.97) supplies (£70.20). Spent another £14.50 on a 50 box of cigarette papers!. . ate ham rolls, crisps and a little chocolate before napping until gone 5pm . . walked . . successfully hooked up the living room telephone socket. The cable I put in was JUST long enough almost to the inch! So - not a completely 'wasted' day. . .pottered around a bit. Glued up the dodgy switch and put a plug on the weird small pink 'crystal' lamp I inherited with the house. . TVd . . BB called . . ate corned beef and mayo sandwiches with crisps . . PCd until early before bed. s
24 - Up late just before 9am! . .walked and carried on down town to tour the charity shops. Resisted a few temptations. . put a coat of white gloss paint on all the primed woodwork around the front door and joining window, in the hope of making it all a bit more weatherproof. Plenty more work to do on the rotting roof above the door, but that can wait. Real cold and breezy out there. . after various crawls under the floor, and with a slight modification to the existing radial spur wiring, I succeeded in hooking up the two new double power sockets in the living room bay. I even managed to retain a connection to the original single socket adjacent to the firebreast, which I wasn't necessarily expecting, so at a stroke I've doubled the useable sockets in that room. Cool. :o) Celebrated by labelling all the mass of plugs so I know at a glance which is which in the usual 'spaghetti' behind the TV, and then swapped the old blanket box the TV is temporarily sat on, for one of the smaller pine boxes I bought from the DIY store. Put the empty blanket box up in the corner of the back bedroom, ready to be filled with junk from all around the place which I STILL haven't sorted out/unpacked! Satisfactory progress for the day. Bit by bit - bit by bit . . . ate corned beef, mayo, grated cheese, tomato and lettuce sandwiches with crisps, followed by a little chocolate. . napped for a couple of hours until woken by the alarm at 7pm. . walked . . PCd. This 'up to 8Meg' Virgin broadband connection I have, is 'intriguing' in how it seems to work. If I look up my IP (using browseip.com) it seems to have an infinite range of locations ALL over the country, each time I connect. I'm also getting a pretty wide range of reported connection speeds - so I think I'm gonna keep an eye on that here. (Sods law - 4.8Mbps tonight - the lowest I recall having had! It's more often somewhere around 6Mbps) . .put the heating on very briefly for the first time this winter . .fried and ate chopped mushrooms, onions and grated cheese with bread and butter around midnight! . . .touched base with BB before bed.
25 - Up around 7:30am . .walked . . sat around feeling all tired and quiet, and in danger of actually doing so all day! I AM going to do very little for a few days I think. . eventually mustered the energy to just do a little. Removed the temporary aerial cables from the satellite dishes which I'd routed through the living room window frame. Routed new cables down through a socket box, under the floor and out through the air brick in a more permanent set up, before putting the sockets back on the ends and making sure it was all working ok, and then filling the hole in the outside window frame. Nice to get those ugly trailing wires out of the way and hidden behind the TV in the rest of the spaghetti of wires. Still have the rooftop TV aerial cable (faulty) trailing through the opposite side of the window frame. Little point in racing to remove that until I can figure out how to get up on the roof to replace it. I need a roofing ladder bad! . . cooked cheap 'economoy' tins of potatoes, peas and stewed steak into a stew type concoction and ate a large bowl full with four pieces of bread and butter. That's pretty good, low work, cheap eating - with enough left in the pan for another large portion . . napped until around 6pm. . walked . . TVd mostly listening to music radio channels. . de-dusted the guitar and made a little noise for a while . . ate bowls of co-co pops . . touched base with BB . . TVd until bed at 1am.s
26 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 8am . .PCd a bit of this (6.5Mbps) . . walked. .out the front with the ladder and had a bit of a 'prod' at the roof over the front door. On closer examination than I have done before, I DID actually find a few hairline fractures in the big plate of zinc that covers the top. Bugger. :o( In the hope of at least trying to improve things a little (and delay the inevitable replacement of the whole rotting structure), I ended up adding more PVA/filler and then a line of cement where it meets the house wall. With a few layers of paint to resist the passage of rain, that 'should' maybe improve the situation. What in the trade I think is called 'an awful bloody botch!' . with bad weather forecast for Sunday, it's gonna be touch and go whether or not I can get some paint on all that to protect it before the rain gets to it. . an occasional fine hint of drizzle stopped me doing any more . .Mum called briefly in the middle of things to remind me she was going to the local amateur theatre production of 'Sweet Charity' with Auntie B. tonight. I'd promised to 'escort' her down and back, because she's getting pretty old and isn't used to going out on her own in the dark these days. . ate a bowl of stew with four pieces of bread and butter and then napped for almost a couple of hours . .TVd until Mum arrived and then walked down town with her and Sally. Soon after arriving outside the hall, Uncle TJ and Auntie B arrived. Exchanged the briefest of normal 'pleasantaries' before heading straight off with Sally. I'd not been looking forward to that - but I managed it and remained civil. . walked back along the harbor to BGdns for Sally to have her walk and then headed home. . sat around for a bit in the front garden with a coffee. A suprisingly mild, still evening. Watched 'Have I Got News For You' on TV and then headed straight back out with Sally to walk back down to escort Mum home. Misjudged the time a bit and ended up having to rush. A VERY mild evening and still wearing all my cold weather layers, I ended up overheating badly. . walked through the harbor and town area around 10pm - actually for the first time since I've lived here! Lots of crowds stood outside pubs and drunken youths milling about on the streets, etc. Horrible, horrible, horrible. . arrived down at the hall just after 10pm to find all was well because they'd not come out yet. Spotted Uncle TJ stood on the corner waiting. Couldn't just ignore him so we ended up sitting on a bench outside the place having a brief 'chat' while we waited. I continued my 'being civil' act. Funny really. We chatted about trivia and nothing much, as though 'nothing had happened'. There was no mention whatsoever of the events of last year when I left Bristol (my deseperation and asking him for help with emergency accomodation and his refusal to assist etc.). Oh well. Perhaps for them it really did mean nothing and was soon forgotten. I however will NEVER forget and will quietly bear my grudge. .after what seemed like an uncomfortably long period of time (only minutes - not even time to smoke a cigarette), everyone was coming out of the theatre - and of course everyone (mostly elderly women) seemed to want to be dancing - Mum and Auntie B included! lol . . walked Mum home and then back home myself, horribly hot and feeling utterly exhausted . . touched base with BB . . ate corned beef sandwiches with crisps and some chocolate . .TVd until bed at 1am.
27 - My Birthday. Up around 7am. .PCd a bit of this (6.4Mbps) . . walked. . .despite the look of drizzle in the sky, I believed in the forecast which said it wouldn't be bad today, and dragged the ladder out and slapped a coat of black masonary paint on the filler and cement I'd put around the roof over the front door. Left the ladder up to put another coat on once dry in a couple of hours. . tidied up a bit and did dishwashing chores. . Mum popped in with a birthday card, new expensive metal 'anti vandal' (anti crow and magpie) bird feeder, the TV paper and food donations etc. . coffee and chats for a few hours. . back up the ladder as soon as she'd gone and despite the lightest drizzle in the air, took the chance of putting another coat of paint on everything. The bloody forecast was NOT for drizzle all day! Eventually gave up the idea of getting any more done and took the ladder back in. . napped until near 6pm. . bumped into a TV show on BBC2 called 'Coal House'. Yet another of those shows that puts a family of people back into a lifestyle of times gone by. This one was I think around the 1920s - welsh coal miners. Only caught the last part of the episode but found it totally absorbing, like SO few programs are to me these days. I think what made it all the more fascinating was imagining that was very much like the existance that must have been lived out back in my Bristol house in its early days. I've been lead to believe, that WAS a coal miners cottage for the Speedwell mines - and of course there was the evidence of the old range fire in the kitchen when I made those chimney alterations, etc, etc. The harshness of life in those days! Incredible. And of course, as I am always prone to do these days, my mind involuntarily wrestled with how badly things have gone wrong in todays (luxurious by comparison) society, and how dumb**** little kids are ruining so many peoples lives, for nothing. Gonna have to try and remember that show and try and catch the next episodes. . walked in the wind and rain. . oh no! On returning home, as I'd feared could be the case, there were signs of black paint running off the roof over the door, and down the wall!!! That's torn it. That paint didn't get to dry and is now gonna run all over everywhere. God knows what sort of a terrible mess of black runs all down the white walls the morning will reveal! Serves me right for trying to rush things. Damn, damn, damn! (or like that comedy character on the 'Fast Show', with whom I identify SO much these days, would say in that resigned, despairing way - 'Bugger!'). :o( . . PCd a bit of this (4.8Mbps and really 'chunky' with poor/intermittant online response) . . while sorting through some of my PC stuff the other day, I bumped into a long extension lead I'd made up once, for hooking the TV/PC together in the living room in Bristol, together with a small collection of useful sockets and such. It'd occurred to me, if I cut the extension lead in half and fitted a couple of the sockets to the cut ends, I could maybe use the two pieces to plug into each end of the TV aerial cable I'd routed in from the living to the PC room, and that would provide a feed for the camcorder to the PC. The bottom line being, if it worked, I could 'webcam' while in the living room (or in fact the kitchen by doing the same sort of thing and plugging all the leads together!). A pointless waste of time, but having had the idea, I felt obliged to see if it was possible. Made the modifications to the cable, set the camcorder up on the tripod in the corner of the room, and hey presto. It worked perfectly. lol :o) With the experiment successfully done, I figured it was time to 'celebrate' my birthday in my own time honoured way. Actually of course, I've never found the instance of my birth to be in any way a cause for any 'celebration' whatsoever, but I DO mark it - in my own way! Basically, I'll have a smoke and a drink and probably a bunch of chocolate, but key above all else is that I will seek to be, ON MY OWN with my thoughts (and the TV of course)! Self indulgent avoidant - and on this particular day of the year, kinda justifyably so, because it's MY birthday. Funny really. Not really any much different to any other day of the year, with the exception that, able to justify it in that way, I feel less 'guilty' about being how I am on this day. I'm not quite as bad with it as I used to be. In times gone by, I'd pretend to be out if someone called at the door, and I'd definitely not answer the phone and have to go through the false niceties of expressing thanks that someone had rung up to say happy birthday, etc! (Nevertheless, not even receiving a card in the mail from anyone this year, struck even me as being a sad reflection of a life gone s/bad). All a bit difficult to explain. The possibility of being able to webcam my 'celebrations' made me laugh - LOTS! lololol So I did - for several hours, although of course the picture must have hardly changed. lololol Any surfer bumping into that image must have thought 'what a SAD b*****d! Terry NoMates!' (or worse of course) before immediately closing his browser and moving on. lololol :o) In the event, as is usually the case when I webcam, as far as I can tell, no one surfed by, while it was on anyway. lolololol Even just having the webcam on, made a 'difference' to my 'aloneness', so I had to put in a couple more hours of sitting and thinking and watching TV etc, after having turned it off around midnight! lolol . touched base with BB. . TVd, listened to music, guitarred, smoked and drank the evening away in a pleasantly satisfactory manner. . ate bowls of muesli before eventually to bed around 2am. asd
28 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up somewhere around 9am (or 10am ignoring the clocks having changed). Amazingly considering how late it was, Sally didn't seem in any hurry to go out, perhaps because of the nasty, nasty wind and rain that was battering the front of the house. Only a couple of black streaks of rainwashed paint from the roof over the front door down the walls, so I may have mostly gotten away with it. . slow getting going but eventually walked in full weather gear in the nasty. . PCd this briefly. (5.9Mbps and an IP location of Leeds!?) . uhoh - I've received another £10 'donation' (from J.O. - thank you)! Wow - I must have looked REALLY sad celebrating my birthday!!! lololol Have I turned into a cyber-beggar?! There's something about accepting money like this, that doesn't sit right with me somehow. And I certainly don't know how to say thank you appropriately. . sat around / TVd / PCd the day away. Sis1 called to touch base . . ate Mum donated ham rolls with crisps and chocolate . . walked. Finally it'd stopped raining, and was actually quite a pleasant, clear moonlit night, the nicht, the noo. .TVd feeling oh SO tired. . BB called . . Sis2 called . .ate shortbread biscuits with coffee . .eventually to bed around midnight only to have trouble getting to sleep!
29 - Up around 7:30am . . PCd a bit of this (6.6Mbps and an IP location of United Kingdom.). . .walked in the sun in just a long sleeved T shirt. Actually pretty chilly! lol . . carried on walking down town and headed for the charity shop in which I'd seen a brass ornament in the window the other day. It was £5 so I'd managed to resist, but then succeeded in deciding I wanted it - increasingly so! It was a small brass, heavy looking post box. Cute little thing which I figured would look pretty good amongst my living-room brass collection. I want to get rid of some of the brass ornaments I have, and whittle it down to stuff that actually has some meaning for me. What with having been a postman, worked for the post office for years, only surviving now because of my post office pension, etc, etc, etc - it would have had meaning for me. I'm gonna have to carve 'He who hesitates is lost' into my forehead! Predictably it was sold and gone. :o( I did NOT hesitate (much) in buying the two large white towels they had in there for £3.50 the pair. . walked on to check out the other nearby charity shop. It was still closed but all the electrical stuff they sell tends to be put in one of their two windows, so I spent quite a while with my nose pressed against the glass. Ooooh. Ooooh. They had a ceiling light in there (ok for bathrooms according to the hand-written ticket(?!)) that may well be an acceptable replacement for my awful, buzzing bathroom strip-light, which I fully intend to get rid of (and maybe use in the garage or under the floor, etc). In fact, they also had a rather splendid (maybe a bit ott) looking brass effect table lamp base, which if I can find a decent lampshade, would probably work pretty well in the living room somewhere, sometime in the future! In faaaaact - that is a pretty neat and as-new looking bagless vaccuum cleaner for only £25 !! - but I already have a working vaccuum so that would be silly. Resist, resist! . a woman trying the door suggested they were late but would open whenever the staff arrived, so I had plenty of time to be safely indecisive and hesitant while sat outside waiting with a couple of cigarettes. . as soon as the shop opened I went in and had a look at the bathroom lamp and brass table lamp. Didn't have much money on me at the time so I bought the bathroom light for £5.50 and had them reserve and put my name on the brass one. Walked home with the bathroom light safely wrapped in towels. Had a coffee and cigarette, still agonising over the idea of maybe buying the vaccuum (purely for the bagless bit). Eventually made my mind up I WOULD have a look at it, assuming it wasn't already sold. Left Sally at home and drove back down in the car to pay the £6 for the brass lamp. Had a look at the vaccuum and even asked them to plug it in for me to try on a bit of their carpet, not because I wanted to make sure it worked, but because I've never in my life used an upright cleaner and didn't really know how they operate or what to expect. A Panasonic MC-E470. It seemed to work ok, had all the tools, and even had the instruction manual to enable me to quickly study the detail about emptying and filters etc. For that money I decided I HAD to give it a go. (Someone had written on the £25 price ticket - "On sale at Amazon £64.99" which I have no reason to disbelieve although I haven't checked.) If it just keeps working for a year, I reckon it would pay for itself in savings on bags for my existing one, the way I get through them with all the dog hair and DIY dust! I didn't have the cash and they wouldn't take a card or cheque so having made sure my name was on it, I jumped back in the car and headed for my local post office to withdraw some cash. (There was an advert on the wall of the shop for a single bed with storage under - 'free to collect'! I resisted. I DO want to eventually replace that metal-frame single bed I was given with a 'proper' one, but not right now. There's no hurry I think. They seem to be quite often given away like that - and especially around here so it seems. Bet I regret that. It just felt like I had too much going on right now as it was!). . straight back to the charity shop and payed for and picked up the vaccuum. On THIS occasion, someone ELSE had cause to regret their hesitation. While I'd been gone getting the cash, someone had come into the store attempting to buy the vaccuum they'd previously seen in the window! Ha. :o) . . put in the best part of an hour reading the instructions and partly dismantling the vaccuum to remove all the old dust and debris from the filters, etc, etc, so that it would be working as well as it could before I tried it out to see if I'd wasted my money! Eventually nervously tried it out on half of the dog hair covered carpet tiles near the front door. OH - MY - GOD! Incredible! With just a few runs back and forth, all the hair was effortlessly gone from the carpet, and was visibly swirling around in the vacuum - together with a worryingly large amount of the pile from the carpet tiles! Amazing. Absolutely amazing. All these years I've battled on with a cylinder type vaccuum (probably because my mother has always had and prefers such a type) without knowing how far more efficient an upright would have been for me!! I STILL have a problem with the concept of having to push the entire machine back and forth rather than just the end of a hose - but the results you get from a driven brush are so, SO much better, it's in a whole different league. What a relief. That was money WELL spent. . Mum popped in briefly to see my new aquisition and have a bit of a go, and marvel at its effectiveness. . carried on vacuuming once Mum had gone, and in pretty short time, had de-haired most of the house! Emptied the thing several times - which would have been at least a couple of bags used up and thrown away with the old vaccuum. I have NEVER had such clean carpets before in my life - and for such little effort in comparison to using the other one! Brilliant thing. Almost a pleasure to use, when you can actually see that you've used it, after you have! How sad am I - 'getting off' on a vaccuum!! lololol . half way across vaccuuming the sun room (the last room in the house to do), I suddenly realised it wasn't working as well. Oh no. OH NO!!! The driven brush had stopped rotating. It'd broken already! Bugger! :o( A quick check of the manual and an unscrew with a screwdriver confirmed it was simply a broken rubber drive belt. The rubber was all perished. A quick check of the internet revealed they were perfectly available, a consumable, so just one of those things I guess. To be honest, that 'hickup' didn't really put me off the thing. If it never worked again, it was almost worth the £25 just to have the chance to see what a vaccuum should really be capable of doing! I'd have probably never bought an upright one in my life if not for that one, and now I have, I know THAT is the type I need. . decided to walk to the local hardware store (who sell vaccuum bags) on the offchance they may have replacement belts. Stopped off briefly at Mums on the way past, and was able to have a quick look ate her central heating controller. She'd adjusted it for the clock change, but ever since, the heating apparantly hadn't been working right. Read her manual and quickly found she'd set it up wrong becasue of the twenty four hour clock display, and it was all 12 hours round the wrong way! Quickly sorted. . damn. The store was shut. Closed for a family bereavement. Bloody inconvenient of them! lol I hate wasting my time walking somewhere for nothing like that. . ate a Mum donated pastry slice with crisps and chocolate. . managed to resist the need to sleep and ended up back out with Sally and heading back down town in search of anywhere that may have vacuum cleaner drive belts in stock - because I want one NOW. Headed straight for the electrical showroom that has a small corner at the back of the shop with a few bits and pieces displayed, where I'd bought a (expensive!) pack of cleaner bags a little while ago. Yayyy. Sure enough, they had a pack on the wall of two replacement drive belts for £2.99. Excellent! It's such a tiny town down here, but it really does seem to be quite self sufficient almost. Had a quick look in another charity shop or two specifically looking for lamp shades, but nothing caught my eye. If I didn't have so much to do on my plate already, it really would be worth having a go at buying a cheap one in a charity shop irrespective of the pattern, just for the underlying metal frame, and then having a go at making up my own cover for it with some material also from a charity shop . . back home and with little ado, successfully fitted one of the drive belts and was back finishing off the vacuuming of the sun room. .I can't believe how clean my carpets are! Cleaner than when I moved in! Brilliant! . . screwed an old metal key clasp to the pergola, filled the metal bird feeder Mum had given me with crushed peanuts, and hung it on the clasp. Now THAT should be crow and magpie proof. The metal clasp stops the thing from easily being lifted off by intelligent raiders, allows me to easily remove it for filling, and the construction of the metal feeder also should stop it from being pulled apart and opened up like the cheap one was. We'll see. . . walked. . . PCd this (5.5Mbps and an IP location of Crawley.). . TVd and ate bowls of cornflakes before to bed around midnight. s
30 - Up around 7:45am . .walked . .phoned the MOT centre and booked the car in for a test on Thursday. . worked on the front door roof and got layers of paint on everything I wanted to. Used some of the paint-drying 'down' time to put a coat of white on the garden wall next to the front patio seating area. Silly use of time, but every time I sat out there, it was screaming at me to paint it. Can't understand why the previous owners didn't. It was like a missing piece. Just doing that makes it seem more like a proper defined 'area'. It'll need another coat or two, but it's hardly a priority. . used more down time between coats to mow both front and back lawns . well - that's all I intend to do to the 'above' the front door roof for the forseeable future, unless it all falls apart real quick and demands more attention. It IS a botch, but it should see me through at least the winter. Who knows - maybe a couple. Still need to do more patching/protecting/painting work to the rotting wood on the underside, but not quite so urgent, now the rain hopefully isn't getting through from above. . BB called . . walked . . ate a monster six egg (!!) cheese, onion and mushroom omlette with four pieces of bread and butter followed by chocolate . . TVd . . BB called . . to bed just before midnight. a
31 - Halloween. Woke in the early hours, snoozed on, then up around 7am . .walked and came back via town and a quick look in charity shop windows. .couldn't face getting serious with any of the jobs I have to do, but couldn't stand the idea of acheiving nothing with the day, and ended up messing around with the outside light above the front door, trying to remove the rusted solid retaining screw. Cut a straight groove across the top of the stripped posidrive screw head with the disc cutter, to enable me to give it a go with a big flat screwdriver. Kinda worked, except all it enabled me to do was break off the entire head of the rusty screw as I tried to turn it!!! To cut a rediculously long story short, I managed to get it down off the roof and take it up into the garage and drill it out before making a botch modification to be able to put it back up with a couple of really long slender wood screws to go clean through the thing and up into the roof woodwork! A lot of messing around just to be able to change the damn bulb! Max wattage for the lamp was 60 so I removed the small 'candle' style bulb that was in there and stuck in a 20watt energy saver bulb - which is supposed to be equivalent to a 100watt regular bulb I think. They seem to burn cooler, so I figured that would be safe enough. . almost caved in and headed for bed, but managed to muster the energy to have a look at replacing the old, buzzing bathroom strip light with the round one from the charity shop. Quickly wired it up to the end of an extension lead in the kitchen to make sure it worked. .Back up in the bathroom, I eventually figured out how the old fluorescent light came apart. Determined not to have to get up in the attic and suddenly start re-wiring all the lights, it took a while for me to get my head around how the thing was wired (would have been helpful if the electricion who did the wiring in the past had marked which black cable was actually the live to the lamp!) Actually 'relatively' painlessly soon had the new light wired up and screwed to the ceiling. Humpph! I can see why whoever it was gave the thing away. It acts pretty much the same as a regular fluorescent with that irritating sort of flash and short delay before it fully fires up - and it even seems to be a little 'jittery' in its light output until it fully warms up! Oh well. It works ok, certainly looks the part, and at least doesn't buzz like the one I took down (which is now free for putting up in the garage some time) I prefer that old post office one I used to have in my bathroom in Bristol! :o( . .cleaned the bathroom window inside and out, and oiled the mechanism etc. . dabbed filler and some paint on the bathroom ceiling to disguise the marks from where the strip light used to be . . vaccuumed ( :o) ) before eating a corned beef and mayo sandwich with some tomato and crisps. . .walked - nervously leaving the outside light on. Exceptionally clear, star filled sky, and again SO mild for the time of year. Beautiful. Sat in the dark in BGdns for quite a while. . Saw one house with carved pumpkins outside and one small group of really young kids in fancy dress calling at doors, but being hurried along by responsible parents if no-one immediately answered. Boy - how different to the mayhem inevitably going on in a certain part of Bristol! . . sat in the front garden with coffees and cigarettes for ages, revelling in the peace and quiet and lack of aggro. My outside light appears to be cool enough, and with the brighter bulb and that bit of garden wall painted white now, it seems a little brighter out there. Maybe even bright enough to re-examine what further lighting I want/need in that front garden to be able to safely climb all the steps and walk the path at night, without having to use a torch and frequently stepping on poor unseen crunchy snails (almost a frog one wet night!)! Who would have thought, that on halloween night in particular, it would be possible for me to safely sit in peace and quiet (a few distant fireworks to watch - and the wait for the sound to arrive) in my own front garden. Incredible. NICE. :o) Having fully tried out the front garden, I figured I may as well have a bit of a go with the back, and ended up sat out there for ages more, with coffee and more cigarettes. As it got colder I ended up laying on the (Sallys?) sofa in the sun room counting my blessings, and was just too comfortable to answer the phone when it rang. . BB called back . . cooked and ate four burgers in two buttered bread rolls somewhere around midnight! . .TVd/PCd until early. as