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November
1 - Woken by Sally around 7:45am . . . walked. Calm and sunny - gales forecast for tomorrow! . . . took advantage of the sun and did laundry chores. Just finished putting stuff out on the line to dry and got 'tempted' by the big hearth stone I'd removed from the bedroom floor and dumped out on the patio ready for disposal, next to my large 'I'm bound to need them' brick collection. A big old heavy slab, over an inch thick, with rough edges, all covered in paint splatter, cement, plaster and dirt - but could it be - is it slate? The way it was layered made it look like slate, and one of the layers about a third the way deep showed evidence of 'separation'. Measured up. Wow - if I could tease those layers apart intact, and if I could cut it to fit with the disc cutter and then clean it up, I could lay it as the bottom of the living room fireplace! Used all sorts of chisels and screw driver blades as wedges, and gently, gently eased the layers apart, and hey presto - it broke! :o( Actually only the smaller layer had broken. Oh so carefully chiseled off the rest of it in pieces and managed to keep the thicker layers, of about three quarters of an inch, intact. Excellent. Hauled it through into the living room and found to my delight that it was almost exactly the right width, and it actually pushed straight into the fireplace with no more than a quarter of an inch gap at either side. Fireplace is all wonky so marked off cut lines to make it look square, and took it back to the patio for careful dusty disc cutting, despite the washing on the line! Slate is SO prone to fracture, I was amazed to actually acheive the cutting without it all falling to bits. Layed it all safe on an old towel and spent ages carefully scraping off all the old bits of cement and plaster, and even used some paint stripper to remove the ancient rock hard paint. Finally, after having ground it all over with some wet and dry paper, some weird abrasive metal disc I found in my tools for fitting in the drill (where did I get that?), and even using the electric sander on it (with the hose pipe running!!!), it came up looking pretty damn good. So good in fact, that I carried on and cemented it in place straight away. Wow - can't believe my luck. Almost exactly what I had in my minds eye to finish off that fireplace. SO much better than a patchwork of slate tiles, which is what I thought I'd probably have to end up buying. Seems kinda nice to be salvaging and re-using some of the original bits of the house too. Need to figure out what I can put on it to give it that lovely grey/black, wet look. An unexpected very satisfactory day's work . . spent ages out on the patio with the lump hammer, breaking up the waste slate and a couple of useless bricks into 'gravel' for disposal over the field . . . grabbed a sandwhich and HAD to lay down and sleep for an hour. . . woken by the alarm around 7pm . . . walked with a heavy rucksack of slate and brick pieces and dumped them in the 'land fill' over the field. . . BB called to touch base . . .'sat' in meditation for around twenty minutes, although, Sally barking at nothing, had me run to look through the spy hole in the door mid way through! . . . TVd/PCd till early. (4/10)aa
2 - Woken late by Sally before 9am! . . . walked, more or less between heavy rain showers. . .spent the whole day trying to graft in a rafter and botch up the hole in the bedroom floor where I'd taken the old hearth stone out. It's a botch with some 'shimmed up' chipboard, but it'll do until I can get hold of some old floorboards . . . walked with a heavy rucksack . . . BB called . . . PS popped round for chats till early. (4/10)as
3 - Up just before 8am . . .walked in rubber but managed to miss the heavy showers. Very breezy . . . coated the new gas pipe in the kitchen with some rubberised DPC in preparation for cementing it into the wall but felt pretty down and just couldn't face doing anything else. My recently acquired thermometer does seem to have proved that I feel colder on down days, no matter what the temperature!!!? . . . went through all my old Back Street Heros bike magazines and drew up a list of what is there. E-mailed some company advertised on the net to see if they may be interested in buying them. . Surfed to see what they are worth and then cleaned off the layers of dust from the dumbell set and chest expanders I've had laying around unused for years, and placed an advert for 10 to appear in Wednesdays Trade It. Hardly worth the effort! . . grabbed a sandwhich for lunch and ended up sleeping the day away. Woke around 5:30pm!!. . . PCd this . . .walked . . .BB called . . . TVd until early to bed before 11pm. (3/10)
4 - Woken at 6:30am by Sally needing to use the garden. I guess an attack of her 'glass stomach' is well overdue! :o( . . .walked and found 2p . . . put another coat of DPC on the gas pipe and blinded it with sand . . .seem to have developed a bit of a dodgey stomach, as well as Sally! . . . scoured the garden, house and attic looking for more stuff to throw away. Sawed up the last bits of wood from the old understairs door into bin sized pieces. Did the same to the huge collection of old PVC guttering I've had stashed in the attic for years. A guy from work had all his replaced so I bagged it all. No point in keeping it now since I've had most of mine replaced - decided to hang on to a long length or two that may replace the old stuff with the leaky join I have across the bathroom and conservatory roof, despite it having gone a bit brittle with age. Filled the bin up to the heaviest I dare! Next door neighbour is still on holiday so I figured I may as well be a bit cheeky and fill theirs up in their abscence as well. As 'payment', I cut up some old skirting board and curtain tracks they've had dumped in their garden for months, and crammed that in their bin as well. Better make sure both bins are out on the pavement on Friday to encourage the bin men to empty them, and not refuse to move them because they are SO heavy!! . . . stumbled across my old vacuum gauge set up in the attic, used for balancing the carbs on four cylinder motorcycles. I'd intended to try and sell them but when I dug them out, two of the guages were not zeroed and the front on another guage was cracked, and no amount of sucking on the rubber pipes would get a needle deflection! Fit for the bin. :o( I just couldn't bring myself to throw them away. Ended up walking Sally all the way down to the motorcycle shop where I used to get my MOTs done, and gave them to the guy, just in case he could play with them and make use of them - if not, chuck em. . stopped off at a couple of charity shops on the way home. Couldn't resist a pair of soft, warm, 'slouch about the house' type, track suit bottoms for only 2.50. Managed to resist spending more money on a pair of enticing thin white curtains that were folded up on a hanger. . back home, somehow I remembered the length of the curtains (weird considering I can't even remember what day of the week it is these days. I even have to use my watch to tell me the month and year!!). Measured up all the windows and figured they would probably fit just about everywhere!! Jumped in the car and raced back round, and bought them for only 3!! Excellent. :o) I SO want to lighten and brighten the house and get rid of some of these old multi coloured things I've been given and have been using for years. Those weird dark red patterned curtains in the back bedroom, donated many years ago by my sister, are VERY overdue for replacement! I seem to have mounted the curtain pole in that room arbitrarily rather high, so it seemed easiest to swap the curtains in the front bedroom to the back, and hang the new ones in the front. Spent ages taking them down and de-dusting and washing poles and putting them all back up. Put the old red ones in the washing machine - they 'may' be worth giving to a charity shop for disposal. Came to hang the new ones and found out why they were so cheap. The draw string at the top of one of them appeared broken and had been tied half way across the curtain. Seemed like there was enough string dangling, so I undid it all and managed to re-thread it and tie it off like it should have been. It then became apparant they'd never been hung properly on hooks - probably been hung on the string and that's why it'd pulled out. Had to dig out my (quite considerable!) curtain hook collection (some macho man am I!!) and find one with a nice sharp point to open out all the chords. Got there in the end. Very thin material and certainly doesn't shut out the glow from the street light, but it gives privacy, looks ok, and sure is nicer in that back bedroom without those old faded red ones. :o) . . . PCd and finally got round to deleting the 'uncomfortable' religious entry that had taken over the school site guestbook, that had put off anyone else from ever signing it! All I have to say to such people is - dinosaurs! Darwin, Darwin, Darwin!! So there :o|. . . Got an e-mail reply from the magazine company about the BSH magazines I want to sell saying "I can offer you 33 for your collection, which would include any postal delivery charges to get the magazines to me"!! Hmmm? Does he really mean that? That the postage would come out of the 33? I'll end up paying him!!! Considering I have 99 magazines (including the 'rare' first ever issue), they weigh a ton, the total purchase price was 123.10, his site appears to be offering later copies for sale at 2 a piece - I'm not sure that isn't a derisory offer! Guess I'm stuck with them. :o( . . . walked and narrowly managed to avoid the group of kids letting off fireworks over the field! . . .cooked up a pineapple cobbler . . . BB called . . . ate cobbler. Turned out ok. Ate some more! . . . TVd till late. (3/10)aas
5 - Woke around 6:30am headachey! . . . drove to the river Avon at Hanham for walks. The car park was still shut when I got there and I had to park on some land nearby which may or may not have been the property of the houses opposite!!! Kinda ruined the walk wondering if I'd have some hassle when I got back. I didn't. . . stopped off at Lidl on the way back for some stuff for the freezer, but mainly to get the leaflet of next weeks offers. Thankfully there is nothing much that takes my fancy. Couldn't resist buying a 6m telephone extension lead for a pound - needed one last time BB was here with her lap top and didn't have one. . . back home to find the postman had tried to deliver something too big for the letterbox - I have to leave four hours and can then go pick it up from the sorting office up Kingswood! . . . PCd this . . . started the job of cementing in the new gas pipe . . . drove to the post office and picked up the packet. Wow - a Sheryl Crow guitar tab book!!? MUST be from DS. :o) . . . played CDs and twiddled with the guitar. My guitar does NOT make those noises!!! :o( . . . cooked up burgers and then lay down to try and sleep off my sickening head ache. Woken after an hour or so by Sally needing to use the garden. Good dog - but I really needed to sleep longer - still a head ache! . . . pottered briefly in the garden and cut up one of the big potted fir trees that Mum and Dad gave me which has died. Cut it all (except the main 'trunk') into centimeter long pieces and added it to the compost bin . . . had intended to do a long evening walk all down the river with Sally but just didn't feel up to it. . . Walked over the field early around 6pm before the madness and mayhem of bonfire night really got all going. Sally didn't seem to give a damn about all the explosions and flashes all around. Cool. :o) . . .got home not feeling well - again! Next time they have a special offer on at Lidl for a blood pressure/heart rate monitor, I think I may invest in one! Trying to be objective - I think it's fair to say that these days I spend most of my time not feeling very well - and sometimes not feeling very well at all! :o( Although I don't think it is any larger in size, my hernia (assuming that IS what it is) certainly makes itself felt more often, even when just walking Sally! I'm not sure, but I also seem to have lost bladder capacity! Seem to need the bathroom lots!! I can't shake this underlying feeling that time really is running out pretty quick!!? :o( . . .LB called asking me to feed her cats on the weekend. Reluctantly agreed. . . TVd feeling a bit up tight with the hour after hour of constant too near explosions. . . BB called . . . TVd until bed just after midnight. (4/10)aa
6 - Woke around 7:30am just before Sally leapt up on the bed to wake me! . . . walked and found 2p. Looked as though some sort of (unofficial?) firework display had been held over the field. It was COVERED in huge 'display use' rocket launcher tubes and debris!! Walking Sally early last night was a VERY good move!! . . .PCd this. Interrupted by the postman calling? Blimey! Another Amazon packet - Sheryl Crow DVDs!!!! Blimey - nice one! Only trouble is, the PC DVD player is still in the old machine stored away in the cupboard. Need to dig that out and swap some drives. Tried mailing DS but my mails kept getting returned as undeliverable!!??. . .started sorting out the cupboard making my way to the old PC but got all waylayed sorting out more stuff to get rid of. What on earth am I doing hanging on to that big teddy bear and all those fluffy toys???!!! Bagged them all up ready for giving away to some charity shop or other. More brushed nylon bedding straight in the bin. Uh oh - think those CDs are my sisters from when I was copying some of her collection - covered in layers of dust!!!! Spent ages copying out the track list and knocking up some paper covers by hand, for the copies I'd already made. Can't afford to try and get the printer going - in fact I suspect my printer is ready for the bin, what with the ink having all evaporated and dried up all over the print head!! . . . I thought so! All the comings and goings of late, of serious faced people to the house almost opposite, looked real familiar. Around 1pm several cars had all arrived and parked up all squeezed in, deliberately NOT in front of the house. That space was taken up by the hearse and three funeral cars. They all slowly drove off for their ceremony and to act out their sad drama. Actually put a horrible shaky shiver up my back! Wonder which of them has died? :o| . . . ended up somehow spending the rest of the day sorting through loads of stuff, whilst for some of the time, downloading Windows updates. Ended up going through some of my clothes and trying to be as ruthless as I possibly could - ish!! Jammed more stuff in the bin and managed to make a huge pile of things for a charity shop donation. Blimey - I'll no longer have any blue denim jeans in the house!! . . . stopped and cooked a pizza around 5pm. So much for sorting the PC DVD drive out, although I've received an e-mail from Greenwood publishing so maybe I should do whatever is required of the site, before I risk messing the PC up. And there was me thinking of late they'd forgotten all about their offer of sending me Kantors book, or maybe I'd done something on the site which met with their disapproval and resulted in rejection of me!! Ain't avoidant paranoia a wonderful thing!! :o( . . . feedback from the site suggesting I advertise the BSH magazines on e-bay. Dunno why but I've always been a bit loath to use e-bay. Decided to surf and read up on how it's all done - the setting of prices, payment, etc. Practically the first thing I read was a seller has to sign up with their credit card number. That's put me off the idea right there!! A whine from Sally downstairs eventually caught my attention. She needed to use the garden - BAD! What a superb dog to tell me so like that. Hosed down . . . cleared up the mountains of junk and debris and layers of dust in the conservatory just a little . . .touched base with LB and told her about the neighbour opposite . . . walked. The rugby players were over the field practicing. Walked down to the seat and sat for a cigarette as usual, as fireworks flashed and exploded all around 'as usual'!!! Walking back across the field taking a wide arc around the rugby players, the police helicopter appeared circling widely overhead. In the distance I could just hear the police siren above all the fireworks - and then I could see the blue flashing light down a nearby street. That street is blocked off with bollards to stop through traffic and the policce car had to stop. The moped it was pursuing didn't stop and squeezed through the bollards and raced down the street - across the road - and - uh oh! It was heading onto the cycle path across the field. I couldn't help it - my pace quickened and my steps became longer and without breaking into a too obvious run, Sally and I both reached the cycle path in plenty of time. I grabbed Sally's collar and stood in the middle of the path facing the oncoming moped rider. He jinked left and right - and so did I, doing a definite 'I'm for you' body language thing, gently swinging Sally's lead in my right hand, as if I were about to attempt to lassoo him. I think I'd decided through my red mist that I WAS going to attempt to 'whip' him with the lead as he rode by me. Incredibly within about a hundred yards of me, with the helicopter circling overhead (bet they were all up there thinking 'oh god some idiot is getting in the way!'), he chickened out, turned his moped around and high tailed it back out of the field and onto the roads and away. Maybe in the dark, all dressed in black, with my combat trousers tucked into my socks and with a german shepherd at hand, he thought I was a policeman!!? lol The helicopter continued it's wide circling, now tracking him with it's search light, as sirens continued in the near distance. I quickly hooked Sally up and made towards the no-through-traffic road next to the exit to the field. I was very surprised and, should the truth be known, somewhat relieved when he didn't drive up that way. The rugby players, oblivious, carried on shouting and swearing as they do! The helicopter search light indicated he was making his way around the area, but the increasingly loud sirens suggested he didn't have much further to go. Sure enough, after lighting up one particular area for a while, the sirens had stopped and the helicopter flew away. I'd like to imagine that they got him, and that whatever the outcome, my small part was not a negative one. Sure made me smile on the way home anyhow. :o) Guess I'll have to try and be 'invisible' for a while now! . . . PCd this . . .touched base with BB . . . LB called saying she'd found a home for a coat and one of the fluffy toys I was getting rid of. Popped them straight up to her to get them gone. . . TVd and continued doing Sally sheet laundry chores. . .had a late shower and rather than ignoring it as I usualy do, I had a good look at my suspected hernia. Oh dear!! It's definitely got worse - quite a lot worse!!!!!! Bloody hell! If it carries on like this, it won't be long before the parts of me that no man would want affected, are gonna be seriously affected!!!!!!! Do I have the right to get angry about having to wait SO long for a hospital examination? Assuming I will also have to go on a waiting list for surgery, what on earth sort of a state am I gonna be in by then?!!!! Surely it all means that the surgery will be all the more difficult and complicated (and expensive to the NHS) , and my recovery will be slower and more painful, with all the complications that will mean for me with Sally? Whether or not I have the right - I'm getting increasingly worried and angry about it! :o( . . . to bed around 2am. (4/10)a
7 - Woken by Sally just before 7am . . .both heavy waste bins all emptied ok. Walked . . . got the step ladder out and briefly popped up into the attic searching for more stuff to get rid of. Left Sally at home and drove over to Staple Hill with the car full of all the charity shop stuff I'd sorted out. Luckily managed to get a parking spot on the busy main road right opposite the PDSA shop I'd decided to donate it all to. As I pulled in, an old couple were crossing the road and I saw them drop some money without noticing. Parked, leapt out of the car, stopped the traffic, and retreived what turned out to be a 1 coin from the middle of the road. They were just getting into a nearby car so I dashed over scaring them to death and and handed it back to them. I'm too honest for my own good! . .did the couple of trips across the road from the car with the bags of things. Farewell big teddy bear - we been together a long time - hope you find a nice new home where someone will give you a wash! Glad it's all gone. . . toured the nearby group of five charity shops but managed to resist buying anything - well, almost! Spent a couple of pounds on a CD of calming atmospheric background music. Found a penny. . .walked with Sally up to Kingswood to shop. Found 2p . . .used the bath to wash the layers of dust from several coats and bags and such (that shouldn't be washed!) that I've had hung up near the conservatory. Hung em all out to drip dry . . . grabbed a bite to eat and ended up falling asleep until around 6pm!!! . . .walked and found 6p. Stopped for sauasage and chips takeaway on the way home. . . BB called . . . TVd/PCd till early. (4/10)a
8 - Woken late by Sally around 8:30am . . .walked. . . fed LBs cats . . .ended up messing around for hours knocking up the new Distancing 'advert' to earn my copy of the book!! Out of interest I couldn't resist surfing and trying to look up anything on the man but found nothing much more than the obvious . . .ate and slept all afternoon again! Woken just before 6pm by fireworks. . . walked and sat for a while on one of the boulders at the edge of the field, watching all the fireworks still going off all around. A group of kids were staging their own display in the field!!! Some passing guy all smelling of drink insisted on sharing his knowledge of German shepherd dogs, and gave tips on ear cleaning and cheap meals and such. Glad to get away! . . .fed LBs cats . . . BB called . . . TVd till late in a real lacking energy mood, as fireworks exploded all around all night - again! God how I long for a quiet night! I just couldn't muster the energy to do anything at all other than vegetate in front of the TV, on which there was nothing at all worth watching - but I watched it nonetheless, as I do!! Feeling a bit sorry for myself I think. Physically I seem to be rapidly falling to bits! Rather than have my journal degenerate into a daily hypochondriac moan about this and that, I may as well get a list over and done with and then shut up about it. My eyes have deteriorated to the point where I can no longer read the clocks on the video or stereo just across the room; a receding hairline of course; not as many teeth in my head and plenty of evidence to suggest I'll ultimately have fewer; my crunchy kneck seems to induce daily headaches, sometimes SO bad and debilitating that the day can be devoted to nothing more than waiting for it to ease - I am unable to turn my head from side to side as far as one should - difficult when driving the car; my scoliosis seems to have reached the point where low level pain of my lower back is constant, now, even sat down or laying in bed - laying for any length of time on my back is impossible and I am aware of considerable movement back and forth in my disturbed sleep, in a futile attempt to escape the discomfort; my knees continue to exhibit pain and weakness from the permanent impact damage I caused when I briefly took up jogging a few years ago; my left foot has developed some strange sort of stabbing pain from the ball of the foot near the toes - I thought it was due to a particular pair of rather fine shoes which I recently gave away to a charity shop as a result, but I can still suffer the discomfort barefoot. I'm not sure but suspect one of the toes on that foot is growing off at a strange angle!; the first finger on my right hand seems to be doing the same, with a pronounced 'bend' to the right at the middle joint - genetic? - my grandmother and father had a similar problem in their latter years! Not sure if it was the same finger?; intermittantly, the exertion of simply walking the dog, can see me return home feeling exhausted and gently woozy! Undoubtedly smoking related, so serves me right - and yes I still smoke!; And on top of all this day to day 'just ignore it' stuff, I now have this suspected hernia thing!!!!! Seems to have developed/deteriorated apace very recently. Lifting stuff isn't really a problem - coughing is a dangerous business, which can induce a sickening 'popping' in the left side of my groin if I'm not careful!! I usually try and hold the left side of my groin 'in place' when I cough - when I'm out, I disguise this embarassing action by putting my hand inside my coat pocket!!! Feels like I have a minor 'stitch' all the time. Somehow seems to have affected my left leg and I can feel slight discomfort and something different going on with my left thigh as I walk - which I now do mostly slowly? My bladder capacity seems to have shrunk, producing feelings reminiscent of cystitis; I don't see how it can possibly be connected, and yet I seem to be suffering from increased flatulence!!! Poor Sally! :o| All in all I'm feeling pretty old and worn out - and - well - kinda 'disgusting'! All the DIY building work is on hold for the foreseeable future. I'm just gonna have to carry on living in this mess. :o( (3/10)a
9 - Woken by Sally around 7am . . .walked . . .fed LBs cats. Ewwww - peeeewww - that litter tray needs emptying - the cats think so too and have started using the nearby floor!!! Got the food down and got out! . . .PCd this . . .spent much of the day swapping the DVD drive from my old machine with the CD drive from the new one. Wow - is my PC full of dust!!! tried to vacuum some of it out. All seemed to go ok - the DVD drive played CDs ok - but when I came to try and play the Sheryl Crow DVD, it wouldn't have it. I'm all out of touch - as far as I could make out it needs the decoder software to be able to platy DVDs! Of course the one that came with the drive turned out to be specific to the old video card, and worse than that - it would only work with Windows 98 and not XP!! So that was the end of that! Surfed and surfed looking for some free decoder or other but came up blank. Succeeded in getting in a foul mood and pretty much wasting the day on it! Gave up, washed dishes, and cooked up a large fried 'lunch' late afternoon . . .managed just over an hour of sleep before being woken by yet more fireworks going off! :o( . . . walked . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd until early. (4/10)s
10 - Woken by Sally around 8am . . .walked in the mist and found 11p. Finding 'dropped' money in the street is pretty difficult at the moment. Seems like each one of those millions of fireworks that have been going off every day for months now, leaves behind a small round disc of cardboard, small-change in size, and exactly copper money coloured when damp with dew! :o\ . . . forecast wasn't too bad for today - I just HAD to do it!! I just can't live with these fireplaces as they are, having water dripping down them, dislodging dust and debris when it rains. Those mushroom caps 'should' have largely stopped this happening!? Something isn't right up there. What the hell if I DO go breaking some of the new tiles - I'll just have to go and buy some more somewhere (damn - I really should have asked for some spares when the roofers were here!). Mustered up the courage with a coffee and chain smoking in the garden, bit the bullet, and struggled up onto the new roof with my 'half ladder' with Dad's wheeled roof hook attached. Managed to run the ladder up between the skylights and hook it over. Immediately a small two inch long triangular piece of one of the tiles between the skylights became dislodged!!!!!! Hang on - the ladder hardly touched that tile? - I reckon that was already broken!! Grrrr! Luckily, what with the overlaps and all, that piece makes little difference and isn't worth urgently replacing the tile for. Managed to clamber across from the ladder on the ridge tiles and reach the copping stones on the buttress wall. Wow - those stones are smooth and slippery, but still much more secure for hanging on to and sliding down to the chimney stack. I was right!! I bloody thought so! Bloody roofers!!!!! The 'mushroom' cap had simply been plopped, dry, into the top of the chimney pot, there were gaps all round it and I could easily (well - if anything is easy, hanging dangerously onto a chimney stack with your legs all shaking!!!) lift it straight back off!!! The profile of the mushroom meant that when it rains, any water hitting the top of the mushroom will run down the sides and be directed via the gaps (which were pretty much all the way round) straight down the chimney!! As good as not having it there - or possibly worse!! And so much for repointing the tops of the stacks around the pots! Grrrrrrr!!! That settles it - I wouldn't recommend those roofers to anyone! With trembly legs I made my way back down to the ground and recovered with more coffee and cigarettes, plotting how to remedy things. Dug out some empty plastic pots with lids and handles. Mixed up a wet mix of cement with waterproofer, filled one of the pots, filled another with water, put both in a large bucket with trowels and brushes etc, bungeed the bucket around my kneck and headed back up the roof. It may not be advisable to cement those mushrooms on, but I can't see why not. If I ever need/decide to remove them, I guess they'll have to be cut out with a grinder, or have the hole pot removed. Precarious and nerve wracking job, especially climbing over the ridge with the bucket, to reach the front stack, but I got them both cemented in place and was done by around midday. Bet that improves things in my fireplaces no end - rain tomorrow I hope. Used up some of the left over cement to tidy up around the slate in the front fireplace, and a little more to cover over the bottom of the gas pipe in the kitchen. Plenty left over wasted and put in a ball in the garden to solidify, prior to being disposed of some time. . . PCd this . . .left Sally at home and drove to buy a big sack of dog food. Spent a while in Wickes looking at this and that, especially the cheap router. Dunno how to use one, other than what I’ve seen on TV, but I figure at some point in the near future I’m gonna have to buy me a cheap one and experiment. Seems like it’ll do things for wood that nothing else can. . bought a 15kg sack of PAL complete for 17.95. .lifted it out of the car awkwardly back home, and definitely didn’t do my suspected hernia any good at all! ML had left an ansaphone message saying he’d pop in later. . . grabbed a sandwhich . . .messed around on the PC, surfing about looking on 'Warez' sites for a DVD decoder to download. Found one and set the PC running for around an hour downloading it! Wasted some time in the garden and started the winter removal of all the brown, dying reeds in the pond, cutting them all up into small pieces and adding them to the compost bin. Grabbed a bunch and hauled the masive root system out of the water intending to cut it off and make some space in the bottom of the choked pond. Blimey! A huge great under water creapy crawly thing!! Eww, eww, ewwwww!!! What on earth was that!! Creature from the black lagoon has taken up residence! Called a halt and figured I'd return to that some other time! . .finished the download, installed the software and hey presto the DVD worked. Wow - WHAT a neat, sharp picture!! Hang on - after all that trouble, it turns out what I've downloaded is just a crippled demo that'll only run for five minutes at a time and which runs out in thirty days anyway!! Damn, damn damn! Uninstalled it all and found that somehow I can now just about watch DVDs in Windows media player, although the picture quality is awful!? Must have left some files behind when it uninstalled??. .ML popped in for coffee and chats for a couple of hours . . . walked and detoured to a local video rentals place to get an idea of how much videos and DVDs cost to rent these days. Blimey - 3:50 per rent. Seems like quite a bit to me - exactly the same price as watching a pay per view on the cable TV (which I can't afford and have never done) - shan't be doing that then! Disappointing. . PCd this and then surfed and messed around for hours more trying to get DVDs to play properly. I tried all sorts - I got no where. .BB called. PS had left an ansaphone message - called him back. He needs a hand moving some furniture tomorrow, so a new carpet can be layed. Ok . . .gave up PCing in the early hours AFTER having run my virus checker across everything to make sure all those nasty exe downloads and warez sites hadn't done something nasty to me! Touched base with DS (I suspect my cable ISP has somehow been blocked by his ISP because lots and lots of test e-mails have confirmed my cable ISP will NOT get e-mails through to him, whereas other ISPs will!!??) and told him where I was at. He offered to mail me a disc to sort me out. Don't want to be a bother - but - excellent! Thank goodness . . grabbed a bite to eat, set the alarm and to bed around 2am. (4/10)
11 - Up with the alarm at 7am. . .had a bite of breakfast, PCd this. Uh oh - clicked on Windows explorer and the damn PC tried to connect to the internet!!!! I HAVE been messed up by something I've surfed or downloaded. Any sort of on line surfing is like walking into a bloody mine field these days! Luckily I'd had the foresight to set a restore point before I started messing, so a quick restore seems to have put things back to rights . . . drove with Sally around 8:25am to take the car in for its service and MOT. I'd forgotten what it's like driving in rush hour traffic. Wound me right up!! The five minute drive took nearer half an hour! . A short wait for the guy to turn up, handed the car over and walked Sally across the road and into Eastville Park. All 'clouds at ground level' damp and grey. Down by the lake were still flowers for the murdered prostitute, and strange bunches of autumn leaves fashioned into little cup shaped rafts, carrying tealight candles, all extinguished. Seemed appropriate to take the time to stop and light one of the candles back up. Carried on along the Frome Valley walkway. Weird pile of womens clothes, a sleeping bag and a holdall full of things (including a broken half of a long sharp pair of scissors! A self defense weapon?) near a little used seat next to the road bridge at Snuff Mills!!?? Took the time to gingerly move the sleeping bag with my foot, just to make sure there wasn't someone dead in it. Very unsettling scene with SO many female posessions all strewn around. Maybe a homeless persons stuff - but where was the person? VERY near the river! Once upon a time it would have been appropriate to inform the police about such a scene, but of course these days they're too busy for anything so trivial - felt all wrong to just walk on - but I did! I felt obliged to mention it to at least someone, so I ended up telling the old woman at the snack bar all about it when she said good morning as I passed! She looked at me a bit weird and I started feeling somehow guilty (???!!!) so I soon walked on. Carred on through Vassals park and back home via Fishponds. Found 2p along the way. Lots of walking doesn't agree with suspected hernias! . . . left an ansaphone message for PS. It had suddenly occured to me with some little amusement, that he'd asked a guy with a hernia to help him move furniture!! lol . . .called the hospital to see if it is possible to get on some sort of appointment cancellations short list. Apparently they don’t have one and somehow just kinda ‘absorb’ cancellations!?? The only way to get an earlier appointment is to return to the doctor, have him confirm that things are worse, and get him to get in touch with the hospital!! Guess I’ll just be waiting for twenty weeks then! . . . grabbed a sandwhich, TVd and then managed to grab an hours sleep . . . waited until around 3:30 and called the mechanic to ask how the patient was, because I'd need a bit of time to walk back down there. No 'major' problems and he was just finishing up. Excellent. Set off with Sally and walked back down there. Found 7p. Took only a little longer than the rush hour drive had done this morning, for goodness sake!!! He'd done the full service and replaced the leaking rear brake cylinders and worn shoes. It'd passed the MOT and the total bill was 203:18. Ouch!!!! And I'd only driven 5000 miles since the last one! Oh well - 'relatively' painless I guess - always a worrying time, not knowing what expensive trouble will suddenly cripple me. . . left a message for PS saying I was all done and at his service. . . PCd this . . . PS called and said he'd pick me up later. . .cooked up a meal . . . walked . . . PS picked me up and we popped over his place and moved a couple of sofas and such. Sally was very perturbed to see me going off with PS. :o) Took the opportunity of rummaging through all PS CDs looking for a DVD decoder. Ended up borrowing his system disks to continue the search at home. . back to my place for chats till early. . . touched base with BB in the early hours before bed around 2pm, after having checked the fireplaces. Raining a little but not enough for a convincing test of the newly cemented chimney 'mushrooms', although it looks as though things have improved. (4/10)as
12 - Woken by Sally around 8am . . .walked. Found 2p and an empty purse type wallet that'll probably go to a charity shop after a clean. . .PCd and managed to find an instalable copy of PowerDVD on one of the CDs I'd borrowed from PS. Excellent! Seems to do the business for me. Phew. :o) Screwed the case back on the main PC . . . did laundry and put it out on the line to dry . . .microwaved a curry lunch and fell asleep all afternoon until woken by BB calling early . . . TVd . . . walked. Carried on out of the bottom of the field and located the house with the garden of rubbish I’d passed the other day. The small PC table was still there. I don’t really want one but figured it would be real useful for establishing whether or not I can fit a PC into the alcove in my living room. The lights were on but my banging at the door received no reply. Figured I’d give Sally an extra walk and try again later. . . cooked and ate chicken kiev and chips. LB left an ansaphone message asking if I’d decided on a price for the Clarke MIG welder I’d said I was selling the other day, because she may know someone at work who is interested. Damn – I’d forgotten about that! Quickly surfed and searched and checked out e-bay and such and arbitrarily arrived at a price of 100. Called her back to tell her and then briefly popped up to pick up the latest Makro leaflet for a look . . . walked with Sally around 9:45pm back to the house on the other side of the field and eventually managed to get some old lady to answer the door. Did my best 'Sorry to bother you. Hope you don't mind me asking' routine. They were throwing the PC table away, and had no objection to me having it. Dashed back home, dropped off Sally and drove back round in the car and took the table away. . Wow – what cheap rubbish! I’d have been horrified to have actually spent money on something like that! Really is fit for the bin. Moved it around here and there at different angles in the alcove, but it soon seemed to prove the alcove is too small for a PC. . hooked Sally up yet again and quickly walked round the block to have a ‘passing glance’ in a nearby rubbish skip I’d spotted while driving back earlier. Well worth a look but sadly what I’d spotted wasn’t floorboard. The wood was an old doorframe and not worth bothering with. Shame . . . TVd/PCd till early.(4/10)a
13 - Woken by Sally late, after 8:30am . . .walked and found 6p in ones and twos . . . experimented some more with the PC table and a spare 17inch monitor in the corner of the living room. Very soon concluded the table was no good for anyone, and not much good for working out whether or not the PC would fit in that alcove. Sadly I think probably not, no matter what sort of a unit I could try and build. Dismantled it and crammed it in the bin . . . did more laundry and pottered around filling the bin up. Extracted the roots and trunk of the dead tree from the big pot in the garden and binned it. . . Dragged the heavy Clarke 130 Turbo mig welder out from the understairs cupboard and spent ages meticulously cleaning all the dust from it and the couple of cylinders of gas, spools of wire, manual, etc. All came up pretty much like new - I guess I never did use it much. Dug out the old welding masks I have and figured I'd throw in the worst one, which really needs a new glass . . sorted out and cleaned a few other things I'm gonna try and sell, and after having worked out the advert wording and an arbitrary price on each, went on line and placed the adverts in the local free ads paper.
York spinlock vinyl dumbell set and a traditional chrome spring chest expander. 2 x 1.1kg, 6 x 2.3kg and 2 x 4.5kg discs. 10
Realistic 10 band stereo frequency equalizer. Silver, stackable, as new complete with manual.20
Set of prints of Bristol by Griffin. Wood framed and glass covered. 11x15 inches x2, 7x5 inches x3. 10
Set of four tall Budweiser-logo American beer glasses and a cocktail maker set with engraved recipes, all purchased in America. Ideal xmas gift. 10

The weirdest ad I placed may not even reach the paper because of the current hysteria about gun crime and such (that or I'll be raided by a SWAT team!!) -
Free To Collector - Quantity of spent brass NATO 7.62mm, 9mm and .22mm cartridges, bullets, etc. for display, jewellery, etc. As a kid I used to cycle a VERY long way to the rifle range at Pilning where I'd spend hours and hours walking around the range picking up the spent shells!!? Eventually fitted in nicely with being a Motorhead fan cause it was all the rage back then to wear bullet belts!!! I even bought some chains and made up some pendants at one time - very saleable I'd thought - not bad for keeping a small 'stash' in!!!! lol Crazy kid! Just can't bring myself to throw them all away, but will if no one wants them . . .grabbed a sandwhich and slept the rest of afternoon away. Had a reminder that the blood doning session was on today, but really don't feel as though I can spare it right now!! . . woken by Sally around 6pm . . . walked in the growing breeze. Not much sign yet of the BIG storm, with possible structural damage, forecast for later. Here's my test for my roof and chimney caps!! <worry> . .popped the Makro leaflet back through LBs letterbox . . . BB called to touch base . . .TVd/guitarred/PCd till early. (4/10)aa
14 - Up around 8am. Looks like I've escaped the worst of the weather - wasn't 'so' bad at all in fact. . . .walked under a blue sky - but VERY windy! Found 10p in small change. . .balanced my accounts, transferred some money and reduced my savings still further!!! . . . walked with Sally up Kingswood to shop. Found 2p. Spoke too soon about the weather! Caught out in big wind and rain!! Drew some money out of the building society and then walked the extra down towards the library on a fact finding mission. Suddenly remembered the ‘Furniture Project’ (local charity selling cheap furniture to ‘needy’ people! That’s me!) place was round the corner so went and had a quick look. Uh oh – they had a round pine table and chairs, kinda like I figure I need in the kitchen to replace that horrid cheap breakfast bar worktop affair I’ve been living with all these years. Difficult to see with lots of stuff all over it and even more difficult with Sally in tow in the cramped shop. Resisted and carried on to the library. Sure enough, they ‘lend’ out DVDs these days - 3.20 for a whole weeks’ loan. . brief stop in Kingswood park for Sally to have a run around and a quick squirrel chase and then back up to shop for coffee supplies and a little food. . . back home, the living room fireplace (very noisy!!) was all nice and dry, despite the wind and rain. Guess that bit of cementing has done the trick. :o) . . grabbed a sandwich but couldn’t get the idea of that damn table and chairs out of my mind. Stood staring at the kitchen building site for ages! Eventually left Sally at home and drove back to the store. Had as good a look as I could and despite it not being perfect, it looked ok for 60. In the back of my mind, it all 'may' end up painted white anyway. Said I’d buy it as long as they’d take a cheque and as long as I could fit it in the car, there and then. The legs came off the table and it just managed to squeeze in the back of the car. Even managed to get two of the chairs in there with it – decapitation if I brake was a real threat!! Paid and headed home - with my head down! Was just starting to drive back to the store when I suddenly realised that maybe I could donate the old swivel (ex post office counter!!) chairs I’d now have to get rid of. Phoned them and they said yes. Yippee. Loaded the car up with all the old swivel chairs and drove them to the store. Was soon back home with the other two of my chairs. 60 pine table and chairsExcellent - all sorted out in no time - just how I like to do stuff - 'bang, bang, bang' as my grandfather would apparantly say. . Uh oh – at least one of those chairs needs attention to wobbly legs – not a problem. The table top on closer examination seems to have been not ‘too’ badly repaired at some point! I can live with that. Put the legs back on the table and then set about dismantling the worktop bar in the kitchen. That bar thing was a good idea in theory, but in practice, if you ever sat there to eat, you were sat facing a wall, inches in front of your nose! And those swivel chairs meant that every time you tried to cut your sausage, you ended up turning away from it!!! Newtons Law is it? For every force of sausage cut, there is an equal and opposite swivel! On top of all that, those surfaces are in the way of any further building works and having a replacement for them, is another solved piece of the ‘living in the building site’ puzzle. Hey - I could fit a door to that understairs cupboard now. It’s gonna be neat to actually have somewhere to sit and eat, rather than always eating on a tray on my lap in front of the TV in the living room. I’ve already worked out where ‘my’ chair will be – facing the portable TV in the opposite corner of the kitchen. :o) I couldn't make my mind up, but that settles it – definitely gonna have to build in power, TV aerial AND phone sockets into that alcove wall when I do it. Shame about the uneven concrete floor! Wobbly! . . . PCd this . . . big storm blowing! Spoke too soon about the living room fireplace - DID get some rain drips down it, but not too much, and considering it was 50mph winds and horizontal rain, I guess that's to be expected. :o| . . . walked in rubber. Filthy weather - real unpleasant walk!! Stopped off for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home. Sat at the new table and ate. :o) . . . BB called . . . sat at the PC for a couple of hours and watched the Sheryl Crow 'Rockin The Globe Live' DVD. She is amazingly talented! How many different instruments was she playing?!! Some people are just born to do what they do. Haven't sat and listened to music, to the exclusion of all else, like that for ages. Used to listen to loads of music years ago, all cut off in my own little world with my headphones on. Somewhere along the line I stopped doing that - I think because I feel the need to 'listen out' for bad stuff going on out in the street all the time!!! . . . twiddled with the guitar until bed. Think I've agravated my suspected hernia a bit - very aware of 'discomfort' just sitting. Quote of today - "If it makes you happy, then it can't be that bad. If it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad?" (4/10)as
15 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am. . .storm has thankfully passed leaving behind sunny spells . . . Felt as though my suspected hernia was fragile!? Actually felt pain rather than discomfort and had trouble straightening up!!!!! walked (with a hand in my coat pocket holding my side!!) and found four pennies. The 'pain' eased - I guess it was just a bit of gas - bloody hernia! :o( . . .briefly rang Sis1 telling her I had some CDs of hers to return and asking if she wanted the other date palm I have. It's just far too big for my house and has been surviving in the garden for the last few weeks!! She said yes but wouldn't be around for a couple of days. Nothing new there then. . . sorted through some junk in the attic and came up with enough wire, fittings and an old spot lamp, to give putting a light up the chimney a go. Moved furniture and lifted lots of the the floor in the bedroom and managed all too easily to drill a hole beneath the floor through the firebreast wall into the chimney to drop a cable down. Actually didn't really need the drill!!! Could have just 'poked' through the dust between those bricks!!! Blimey - amazing the fumes from the old gas fire didn't manage to penetrate the bedroom!!! Took a few hours but managed to get it all done and the bedroom all back square by mid afternoon. Let there be . . . and there was.The spot light is mounted on the room side of the flue, out of sight above the arch, hopefully away from drips - cable salvaged from an old vacuum runs up the flue and into the floor space - a spare ceiling rose I had laying around, connects it to the lighting ring under the floor at the top of the stairs - two lengths of insulated single strand red cable, salvaged on a reel by Dad from the Small Street Post Office engineers workshop when it closed, was easily pushed down my new conduit in the wall to the light switch - the double switch plate was swapped for the tripple one I still had laying around from when I had to do my temporary switch arrangement when I was plastering and cementing the switch sockets at the bottom of the stairs. Didn't have to buy a thing. :o) Put one of those new low consumption low wattage bulbs up there but think I need an even smaller wattage one - it's a bit bright. Not sure if I like it or not?. . . showered and grabbed a sandwhich. Sat and ate at the new kitchen table whilst reading the local free paper - felt strange, but quite pleasing. Can't do that on your lap in front the TV - not enough lap! . . . Napped for a couple of hours. Funny how I will often wake at the same time - around 6pm . . .walked, aware of some hernia discomfort and feeling a bit down . . .BB called . . . PCd this . . .TVd until bed around 1am. (3/10)as
16 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am. . .walked and found 3p . . .didn't really feel like doing anything, but wanted everything done! Put some laundry on and eventually decided to take the unwanted palm plant and a potted hebe over to Sis1s, even though I knew she wouldn't be in. Wanted to get that done when it wasn't raining - rain seems to be forecast for most of next week. Wrapped the palm in cling film and managed to get the pot in the front passenger seat footwell with the wrapped stem bent up against the roof - the hebe went in the back. Left Sally at home and dropped them off at Sis1s, together with the small pile of CDs I'd unknowingly ended up borrowing for a year or more!! . . . back home, someone had called, number witheld, but not left an ansaphone message? . . . climbed up into the attic and sorted out a little more of the masses of junk I've accumulated over the years. LB popped in briefly, to see how the cooker she'd donated looked in my transforming kitchen. Spent a while out on the patio sawing up old drainpipes, TV aerials, fluorescent strip light, bits of wood, etc, into bin sized chunks. Filled the bin up as heavy as I dare. Definitely reaching a point where I’ll have nothing much left I can throw away. Still got masses of junk and stuff laying around, but lots can’t be thrown out until I’ve finished this building work, and lots of other stuff is maybe saleable or at the very least, charity shop donate able. Missed another couple of, number witheld, no message left calls!!?? Turned the ansaphone off, determined to catch whoever it may be if they call again. . . cooked up a late lunch . . . got them - just after 3pm! Someone phoning about my advert for the dumbell set and chest expanders. Blimey - I'd forgotten all about that!! Forgotten that I really should be answering the phone with all those adverts in the paper! The guy said he was interested and would pop round some time after six. . . managed a fitfull nap for less than an hour . . . around 5:30pm a 'giant' knocked at the door!!! You'll be the weightlifter then! He gave me two five pound notes and I helped carry it all out to his car. Excellent. The chest expanders were given to me many years ago. I went through a phase of using them, but I'm SO puny, I had to disconnect one of the springs to have a hope of pulling them apart, even just a little! And woe betide you if you’re arms can’t keep up the pressure and you let them ‘snap’ back! Those damn springs will trap some of the skin of your chest in them EVERY time. Ooops – should have checked that there weren’t any chest hairs, complete with pulled out roots, stuck in those springs before I handed them over! Eeeewww! The weights were left behind by a lodger of Sis1 and I said I'd take them off her hands. I played with them a little, but there was never any pleasure in it (I'm just not built for that sort of thing), and they’ve been cluttering up the place ever since. Glad it's all gone. Given the choice between having all that stuff hanging around, and having enough money to buy five lots of jumbo sausage and chips from the takeaway – well – um – let me see? Pass the salt! :o) . . . PCd this . . . walked. Still fireworks going off all around but thankfully much less. . .touched base with BB . . . PS popped round for chats till early. (4/10)s
17 - Woken by Sally just before 8am. . . walked . . . phoned the surgery and made a doctor appointment. I don't want to waste his time but figure I need a bit of 'reassurance' about the twenty week waiting list for a consultation, and the rate at which I seem to be declining! God I hate having to go to a doctor - especially now that dropping trousers is involved!!! . . phoned the free ad paper and rebooked my ads. Have to do that every Monday, Wednesday and Friday apparantly!! My ad for the bullets and cartridges hadn't gone in? The woman had to check with a supervisor before they reluctantly agreed to place it. She said something about they'd be calling me back to confirm it was all legitimate, but they didn't. . . re-strung my old classical guitar. Broke up and threw away the old one I'd found in the street - on close examination, it was pretty far gone and useless. Saved the machine heads just in case they may come in handy. . . wasted the day TV/PCing waiting for my 4:10pm appointment . . . showered and tried to smell less like a dog by covering myself in every deoderant/sweet smelling thing I have - with a particular concentration down my trousers!!! . . . frequent nervous trips to the bathroom!!! . . . left sally at home around 3:50pm and drove in the rain to the doctors surgery. Got in to see him around 4:30. I explained I really just wanted some reassurance - given I am gonna have to wait 20 weeks for my hospital appointment, is the deterioration I have seen over the last few weeks to be expected and nothing to worry about. I wasn't in there long. He had a quick look. Apparantly it all is quite usual and I simply have to put up with it and wait for my appointment and inevitable surgery! :o( . . . drove back home, felt woozy and utterly exhausted, and descended into an unexpected and vicious 'black mood' about - well - everything really! One of those times when the pointlessness of everything is overwhelming and nothing seems worth the effort! :o(. . .walked . . . BB called . . .TVd until early to bed not long after 10pm. (2/10)
18 - Woke some time in the early hours but managed to get back to sleep. Woken around 7am by the phone?!! LB leaving an ansaphone message asking if I knew what was going on outside. The street almost opposite was all closed off by lots of police!! LB who has a better view from her windows reckoned it was all something to do with that same house that had its windows smashed some months back. .eventually set off to walk Sally and couldn't help myself wandering over and asking the nearest policeman what was happening (boy they must get fed up with that - having to fend off nosey neighbours!) He said it was just a routine police operation, but did reveal they were searching a house! . . walked and found 4p. Detoured from my usual route on the way home to avoid the closed street, but by the time I arrived at home they'd all gone and everything was back to normal . . . sat around in front of daytime TV not wanting to do anything. . . grabbed a sandwhich for lunch and ended up napping pretty soon after. Woken around 2:30pm by SH leaving an ansaphone message. Called him back once I'd woken up. Uh oh - he's trying to raise some money and is selling a Fujitsu 3816 flat screen monitor!!! Am I interested? Umm, errrr - <resist, RESIST!!!> . . SH popped in for coffee and chats with the monitor. I tried to resist but ended up agreeing to pay him 100 for it!!! Emptied my wallet and said I'd pop down with the rest tomorrow! . . . fired the monitor up and figured out that, at a push, the keyboard and monitor could be useably crammed together with a footprint of only twelve inches! THAT'll fit in the living room alcove somehow. Messed around for hours with cables and software and the portable TV trying to get a dual display - one of the key reasons why I want to put it in the living room - to be able to hook it up to the TV and stereo. Failed miserably!! Dunno what the hell I'm doing wrong. The video card user manual is hopeless. Lots of hair pulling! . . . walked and found a penny. A couple of kids were suspiciously stood with two mopeds in the shadows behind the hedge in the field. They appeared to be ‘working’ on one of them. It’s difficult to explain, but you just KNOW when something isn’t right. As I walked closer, one of them melodramatically said out loud, obviously for my benefit, that ‘his’ bike wasn’t going anywhere (with that problem). So why work on it in the field in the shadows rather than under a nearby street light?? My guess was that one of the mopeds was stolen! I hooked Sally up and exited the field nearby, just so I could walk by and make a note of the registration number of the bike that wasn’t being worked on. I wrote it on my hand. I was being too obvious – back in the field I had to walk past them again. Dunno what came over me but I ended up walking over to them and bluntly asking what they were doing. Some nonsense about a dragging exhaust problem. So why were they working under the seat? I said I’d thought it was stolen. They had a helmet each – I asked to see the ignition keys (who on earth do I think I am?!!). It clearly WAS his bike. So what were they doing acting so furtively?? Aha – soon became clear. They had the seat up to use the storage space beneath to act as a windbreak for rolling the joint they were just finishing! They even ended up offering to share it with me!!! I said I was tempted - but declined and carried on with the walk. What on earth am I turning into??!!! Charles Bronson? A one man police force? A capeless crusader? Superman without an ‘S’? Oh dear! :o\ . . .PCd some more getting more and more frustrated. BB called. .grabbed a quick pizza in front the TV around 11pm and then PCd some more. Ended up dismantling the PC and carrying everything downstairs to temporarily set it up on the living room floor and do a proper test with SCART leads and phono leads attached to the main TV. At last - got there in the end. As usual the low res TV display was illegible, blurred and useless for anything other than pictures and video, but the Sherryl Crow DVD sure did look good on it. :o) . . . proved the point so dismantled everything and moved it all back upstairs and put it all back together again. Gonna take my time and try and figure out what sort of minimalist shelf/desk affair would best serve in the living room alcove - probably gonna have a go at knocking something up, not unlike my TV/Video/stereo unit. Somehow ended up messing around until after 4am!!!! (3/10)
19 - Up around 8am very tired . . . walked and found another baseball cap (Lee Cooper) to add to my 'I never wear them' hat collection. . .had some breakfast and watched a little of the live coverage of the state visit of President Bush at buckingham palace. Wow - that limo door had to be 10 inches thick!! . . . phoned and renewed the local free adverts I've placed. They have NOT placed the advert for the spent bullets and cartridges because it had something to do with guns!!? For goodness sake! I tried to explain it was just some bits of brass - used the analogy of a used firework, which is no more threatening than a tube of cardboard, but they didn't seem to understand!!!!! Madness! . . . walked with Sally up to deposit a 50 PSB win, draw the rest of the monitor money out of the building society, and to shop a little . . .grabbed some lunch and ended up watching prime ministers question time live on TV!? What a weird pantomime it all is. How does all that bally hoo actually have anything to do with what is actually going on - policy isn't made there?? Weird. . . left Sally at home and drove to SH to settle up and for chats and coffee . . .stopped for petrol on the way home (12.83 ltr - 10) . . . big head ache, very tired. Napped for a couple of hours . . .PCd this with the news on the portable next to me. Some article on the local news complaining about time waster 999 police calls ( I like the one about the guys wife not leaving him anything to eat! lolol In fact they are ALL, SO funny! :o) ) - and then they said there was a live chat on the web with the Police Communications Chief Superintendent , right then! I just couldn't resist, given the ridiculous number of times I've called the police to report a crime in progress etc, only to be put on hold or fobbed off with 'we are too busy'! Finally got all registered and managed to log on and chose the screen name of '15minutesonhold'! I vented a bit, but of course it was pretty much like talking to a politician where he was slippery with answers, kept on saying 'we are improving' and quoted positive statistics and such, none of which aligned to my personal experiences of the service! I guess we all know that it's a lack of funding issue. If they had more money, they'd have a better response time and better services. I acknowledged this , and then asked, given that, what exactly WAS the purpose of the live chat? (smacks of 'keep the masses quiet' propaganda to me!) My question wasn't answered. I was 'encouraged' to let others have a chance, so I said thanks for the conversation and wished them more money to keep us all safe. Very amusing when someone logged on with the screen name of 'oink'!!! lol He was ejected by the moderator pretty soon after his first abuse. Entertaining but all rather a waste of time (and police money?). . . walked a bit late and found a penny. Stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home . . . BB called . . . sat in front the TV all night despite there being nothing worth watching, feeling incapacitated with my awful (concrete shoulders) headache until bed after midnight. (3/10)aaa
20 - Up around 8am as junk mail was delivered. Weird how Sally chose not to bother having a bark. . .walked . . .PCd this . . .sat around aimlessly and then the phone rang. Some guy interested in the cartridges and bullets!! Aha - so the paper DID put the advert in. In fact he said something about if you pay extra you get to see the adverts before the paper reaches the shops - that's why he was calling so early!? Had a quick play with the drill and some wet and dry paper just to make sure they would still polish up nicely, despite all the rust and verdigris they are now covered in, after having lived in a plastic sack in the garden for a couple of years! After a small amount of effort they still came up all nice and shiny, so I wasn't wasting his time. At around 1pm he arrived and took the heavy sack load away. He didn't seem to know what he was gonna do with them - just wanted them cause they were free!? Weird. Wonder what his house looks like? . . . couldn't 'get going' on anything and ended up spending the whole afternoon twiddling with guitars, surfing tab pages, playing appropriate CDs and DVD and such. Need to do that more often - I've forgotten all the little I once knew - can't play a damn thing anymore! Gave up with split nails, aching back and sore fingers around 6:30pm! . . .walked in the drizzle . . .cooked . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd/PCd till after 2am. (4/10)ds
21 - Woken by sally after 8am . . . drove to the river Avon at Hanham for walks in the damp mist . . . back home to find an ansaphone message enquiring after the cartridges and bullets! Blimey - sought after!? Wonder if I could have made some money on them - or maybe people just can't resist 'anything' that's free! . . . rang up and withdrew the advert, rebooked the others and placed a new one for the throw over motorcycle panniers I dug out of the attic yesterday. Dunno what they're worth but figure 10 is a snip, and a nice round number for me to remember. Debated and then rang them back and advertised my MIG welder for 100, c/w the manual, all the wire, gas bottles, splatter spray, mask etc. Seems pretty obvious LBs comment that she had someone interested has come to nothing :o( The price 'may' be a bit on the high side, but it's worth a shot. Bit worried about probably having to set it up and do a weld, to prove to someone it works!! . . .guitarred a bit . . . BB called . . . napped for a couple of hours . . . walked . . .touched base with BB . . . TVd/guitarred/PCd till early. There was an article in the local paper which I guess explains all the police activity in the street early on Tuesday!! 'Eight people were arrested in a series of police raids in Bristol and Portishead in connection with plots to kill and plots to blackmail. Armed officers, supported by uniformed officers from three Bristol districts, the force's Major Crime Investigation Unit and Operation Atrium, carried out simultaneous raids at 14 addresses yesterday. All eight men, aged 22 to 44, have been arrested for conspiracy to blackmail and conspiracy to murder. Police sealed off roads while the raids were carried out on the homes at 7am. The arrests follow an incident in August in which shots were fired at the front of a house in Ash Grove, Fishponds. Police said that the shooting incident was linked to a blackmail attempt.' Jeeze!!!! (4/10)
22 - Woken by insistant Sally after 8am . . .walked in the rain and found a penny. Very few people around - lots of cars parked outside pubs and the local rugby club - all watching the live coverage of the England v. Australia rugby world cup! . . .guitarred/PCd and ended up watching some of the rugby on the portable TV next to the PC! . . phoned LB asking if she had a CD with 'Hotel California' on it. I found my cassette but it's really SO hard to mess around listening to it while trying to guitar and keep rewinding and replaying the same track and such. Her man had one in his car and she popped down and let me copy it. . .England won the rugby world cup. Seemed to make a lot of people deliriously happy!?? . . .rained all day. Grey and miserable. . . ate burgers mid afternoon and then napped until around 5:30pm . . . walked in a break in the rain . . . PCd this . . .cooked up a pear cobbler. Figured I'd better use those pears - the best before date on the tin was January 2000!! Tastes ok . . . BB called . . . TVd/PCd till early.(4/10)
23 - Woken late by Sally well after 8am . . .walked . . . oh no!! Looks like the pond liner has sprung a leak again - the level has dropped by a couple of inches!! Don't think I can face trying to sort that out for a while! In fact, I think it's pretty clear, that liner has had its day and will have to be completely replaced somehow!!!!! Yet more hard labour to look forward to. May have to put a few bricks in there as an emergency measure to make sure frogs can climb up and get out. :o( . . .sat around for a bit but somehow mustered the strength to overcome the mental block and do a little deconstruction work on the kitchen building site. Stripped off the remaining dust render on the stairs wall. Usual host of problems exposed. The kitchen doorway has an old wooden lintel that needs replacing - but a line of bricks has been put in below it, on top of the door frame!!? That's gonna be real awkward to remove and replace! I can feel another mental block/period of inactivity coming on!!. . in the middle of the big dusty mess the phone rang. (I'd remembered to turn the ansaphone off and take the chordless phone out into the dusty destruction with me.) Some guy enquiring about the framed prints of Bristol I've had advertised. He popped round and bought them for 10 without any haggling or nonsense. Apparantly they are destined for the wall of the old Stag and Hounds pub in Old Market! One less thing :o) . . .cleared up all the debris and filled several sacks and dumped them out on the patio in the rain - too much to be carrying over the field - and I don't think I can manage carrying all that weight! . . . showered late afternoon and, not yet having eaten all day, started cooking some chips and chicken kievs on the dust covered stove. Phone rang again - some guy interested in the MIG welder! He popped round right in the middle of my chips cooking! I made it clear I wasn't gonna haggle - he said ok - but he'd have to go to a cash point. Managed to eat 'most' of my meal before he returned. Plugged it in and spun the spool and fan just to prove it works. With all the rain it was impossible to actually take it outside and weld something! He seemed happy enough, paid me the 100 and off he went. Nice one. One less thing - again. :o) Finihed off my cold chips and kiev. . . slept for a couple of hours. . . rain stopped. Walked and found 2p . . . BB called . . . PS popped round for chats till early. . . to bed around 1:30am. (4/10)as
24 - Up after 8am again. . .received my free copy of Kantors revised and expanded 'Distancing' from DC at Greenwood in the mail :o) - postman 'just' managed to squeeze it through the letter box. So - after all these years, I've finally 'earned' something from the website! lol . . walked on ice and found a penny. . .tried to persuade myself to do some work on the kitchen building site. Left Sally at home and drove to the DIY store and bought a concrete reinforced lintel, a door frame and a bag of sand. Bought Sally food supplies in the adjacent pet food store . . . I just couldn't - I just couldn't face doing any building work and getting all dusty dirty - again! The minute I start working on that lintel, the door and its frame has to come out. I’ll then have to live without a door there for ages, which means the dust from the kitchen building site will be able to freely circulate around the entire house!! Uggh!! :o( . . Ended up reading a bit of Kantors book but soon had to lay down and sleep the rest of the afternoon away . . . PCd this . . . walked and found 2p . . . BB called. . . TVd till late.(3/10)a
25 - Up around 7:30am . . . walked and found 7p . . . emptied the contents of one of the kitchen wall cupboards that was in the way, and removed it from the wall. Removed the kitchen door. Dismantled the door frame and cut it up and put it in the bin. Removed all the loose infill, covered the whole house in a layer of dust, and revealed the full opening. Weird how it's so big- 34 inches or so! That's gonna be awkward trying to build one side of it back out to take a standard 30 inch door. Everything about this house just means yet more awkward work to do! :o( 'As usual', the old wooden lintel wasn't doing anything and could be slightly moved by hand. Measured up and used the disc cutter out in the garden, to cut off a couple of inches from the end of the new reinforced concrete lintel. Eventually took the risk, and using the drill to grind away the dust morter, pulled out the wood lintel , leaving the load bearing wall hanging dangerously in mid air. The hole in the wall actually revealed the end of the box section metal lintel next door! Had to be real careful not to disturb any of that. Measured everything up and gingerly hacked out a piece of brick on one side to act as a ledge for the new lintel at the right height. Hoisted the new lintel up the step ladder and into place, and measured up the bit of brick required at the other end to make it level, before taking it all down again. Back out in the garden, cut up the brick with the grinder, all the while wondering if the hanging bricks would have collapsed by the time I went back inside!! I was on the patio – NOT doing anything strenuous - just reaching down to pick up the grinder I think it was – when all of a sudden, something kinda went pop in my lower back! Oh no – oh my god!! I was on my knees in no time! Agony! Took my breath away. Eventually got back to my feet (stooping like an old man) and did an impersonation of Elvis Presley with my pelvis which managed to calm the pain just a little. I’m in big trouble now!!!!! No matter how much it hurts, that load bearing wall is hanging in mid air - I MUST get that lintel and a line of bricks cemented in!! Somehow I managed to do it. As long as I kept my back straight-ish, and didn’t try to bend down, I seemed to be able to carry on. Even managed to climb back up the step ladder with the heavy lintel and get it in place. Had the TV news channel on all day as I worked. Lots of reports about the victorious England rugby team, world cup winners. They flew back into the country today aboard a 747 renamed ‘Sweet Chariot’ in their honour. The mass of fans at Heathrow were all singing ‘swing low, sweet chariot’ or whatever that song is. The damn tune got locked in my head and went round and round ALL day!! Interesting live pictures of a Concorde being pushed up the Hudson River on a barge!!. . By around 5pm it was all cemented in and done, and I could collapse. A hot shower helped with the pain, but not much! Getting my clothes back on afterwards was a slow painful ordeal. It’s hard to describe pain of course – I guess the best I can offer is that it’s like having an attack of cramp, through your pelvis and across your whole back! If you get in the wrong position, it’s impossible to just ‘go with it’. It absolutely ‘freezes’ you and takes your breath away somehow, until you can find a position (laying down ideally!!) where it isn’t ‘so’ bad!!! I’ve never known such pain. Only now can I fully appreciate what my Dad used to go through with his sciatica. He used to crawl around on all fours too! . . . walked, slowly, without ‘too’ much pain (poop scooping was awkward – had to put a knee on the ground!) and stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home . . . BB called . . . TVd uncomfortably (lay on the floor with Sally for a bit, but getting back up into my chair was hellish) until around midnight. Oh dear – what sort of a state am I gonna be in come the morning?!!!! :o( I guess that puts paid to all thoughts of doing ANY more building work for the foreseeable future. Typical – just when I have no door, a huge hole in the kitchen wall, the light switch hanging by its wire, not enough cupboards to take all the stuff stacked up on the kitchen table, absolutely everything everywhere covered in dust - and BB coming to stay in a month!! I didn't - but I sure felt like crying! I seem to have got 'old' real quick - seem to have really turned into a bit of a physical wreck. Worried about Sally - couldn't help thinking that maybe she'd be better off with someone else!!! :o( (3/10)a
26 - Woke around 7:30am after a disturbed night. As I'd suspected it would be, my back was in a bad way. Couldn't even sit on the edge of the bed!!! It eventually took me twenty minutes to get my clothes on (except for my socks!) and get into a crouching stood position!!!!! Got downstairs and eventually got my socks on and managed to get my rubber waterproofs and shoes on, mostly kinda laying on my armchair somehow. Getting into a standing position was tough - need to have things nearby to climb up - managed to climb up the fireplace wall!!!! Once stood, things settled down a bit into a dull ache. . . walked in the rain, very slowly and upright trying to keep my back as straight as possible. As if to mock me, I found 15p in small change all over the place along the way. Couldn't just pass it by and managed to perfect a down with one knee on the wet ground, straight back, pick up method. Made people stare!! Found a dog ball in the hedge over the field - thankfully a foot or so off the ground. Nice rubber ball, with a hole through the middle, shaped like a miniature rugby ball. Seems to be a rugby theme about everything at the moment. Very unpleasant walk! . . .the last flying Concorde returns to its Filton birthplace today, to be made into a museum exhibit. I was toying with the idea of braving the crowds and trying to get a last glimpse of it, but I think my new incapacity puts paid to that idea! :o( . . . painfully PCd this, popping annadin tablets. Surfed a bit looking up back pain and such. Well - as I'd suspected (given that I don't seem to have any other symptoms - no leg pain etc.) , it seems as though you have to just put up with it for some weeks (!!!) and wait for it to get better! I wouldn't mind 'quite' so much if I'd actually 'earned' the injury by doing an awkward lift of something heavy (like the lintel), but I wasn't - I just bent down for goodness sake! :o( <very miserable> . . .sat around in front the TV watching the news, much of the time with the sound off, listening out for Concorde. Had just taken a pizza out of the oven when I heard some engines roaring. Staggered out into the front garden with my digital camera, and sure enough, Concorde was passing by to the north. Brightly silloutted by the sun against the brooding dark rain showers, it looked impressive and beautiful as always. Damn digital camera took so long to go through it's turn on/boot up routine that I missed the shot. Tried dashing through into the back garden to catch it, but I'm not real capable of much 'dashing' at the moment, and by the time I got out there it was gone - gone forever. Watched the live TV footage with the front door open as it landed at Filton, and I could 'just' make out in the distance, the final roar of its engines on reverse thrust. End of an era. :o( . . .ate cold pizza . . . thankfully managed to sleep the afternoon away . . .slowly walked and found 2p. Stopped for fish and chips takeaway on the way home. Mentioned to S, the guy behind the counter, that I was having some back trouble, pain like which I'd never known. The conversation degenerated into talking about ailments, like a couple of old men, and he ended up giving me a detailed description of some sort of kidney stone type thing he'd once had, that was excrutiating until he 'passed it'!! He even picked up a pen and drew the size of it on a piece of paper on the counter! Didn't do much for my appetite!! lol . . .BB called . . . TVd not moving much till around midnight. (3/10)aa
27 - Up around 7:30am again. Pretty much a replay of yesterdays misery. Was just about to walk Sally around 8:30 when I decided I'd give the doctors surgery a call and see if I could get an appointment. Incredibly they said can you get here now! I explained I wasn't able to move too quick so they made me a nine o'clock appointment instead. Rushed to get my shoes on, get Sally in the car and scrape all the ice off the windscreen and all the windows. The doctor, after having tried to lift each of my legs up to see if any nerves were being squeezed, confirmed it was pretty much a case of wait for it to get better, but did prescribe some 'co-dydramol' pain killers - 2 to be taken 4 times a day. Paid for and then hung around waiting for, the tablets outside the pharmacy. Let Sally have a bit of a sniff around the car park. . .dropped the car off at home and walked. Found 2p and a dog ball. Very aching and exhausted by the time we got back . . . ate the last of my pear cobbler and took a couple of the tablets - they need to be taken during or after food. . . PCd this, trying to resist the desire to lay down for more sleep!? . . .phone rang. Some guy enquiring after the motorcycle panniers I'd advertised in the free ads paper. I'd forgotten all about that and had decided to let the remaining ads expire until I was in a fitter state to dig out more stuff to advertise. He said he'd pop round in an hour. . he turned up and gave me the 10 for them straight away. Ended up chatting about this and that and even made him a coffee and chatted some more about the house and DIY and power tools and such. Dug out all my old leather jackets for him to try on but sadly none fitted him. Sad tales of awful troubles in his life - one offspring with mental health trouble, the other with brain damage after a road traffic accident, his wifes changed personality after a blood clott on the brain and resultant surgery, lots of his 'chippy' tools lost when his van was recently stolen, etc etc - and he'd even had surgery for his sciatica!!!! Jeeze - and here's me being all 'poor me' about my hernia and bad back!!! He eventually left on his motorbike after asking my name - at which point it turned out, his name was Terry too!!! Blimey - how come everyone I seem to be bumping into of late (roofer, plumber) is called Terry?!! . . . tablets seemed to have taken the edge off the pain somewhat, although surprisingly to me, it still hurt like hell. Touched base with BB . . . slept the rest of the afternoon away . . . walked . . . BB called . . . felt the tablets were working well enough to spend a little time in the kitchen washing dishes, wiping down dust and making things just a little more habitable. Used up all my energy and couldn't stand the aching any more so ended up throwing a quick sandwhich together rather than cooking anything. . TVd till near 1am! (4/10)c-dx6
28 - Up around 7:30am. Painfully, slowly walked and found 7p . . . grabbed some muesli breakfast so I could take a couple of the tablets. Those tablets (or maybe just being in such awful pain all the time) seem to make me feel a bit weird - a bit spaced out kinda, and always wanting to lay down and sleep some more - even more than usual!!! Seem to spend ages just 'sitting' (squirming around trying to lessen the pain), not really particularly aware of whatever I may be watching on the TV. I really should be reading that Distancing book but can't seem to muster the energy it takes!?? I always half joke that I can only ever do one thing at a time - right now I think all I'm doing is trying to exist with the pain! Very frustrating having to look at all this mess and building work that needs doing and not being able to get on with it - for who knows how long!!!! :o( Wish I could sleep right through until my back hurts no more . . . slept the afternoon away again . . .walked . . . BB called . . . TVd/PCd till early. (4/10)c-dx8
29 - Up real late around 9:30am!! Blimey - I guess Sally is in winter hybernation mode too. . hang on. Dare I imagine that my back seems to be a little less painful this morning? Ooooh I think it HAS improved just a little. :o\ Can't be those tablets. Think they are pretty useless - even taking the full recommended dose throughout yesterday, I was still in plenty of pain from my back and was still fully aware of my 'normal' crunchy neck pain which I've lived with for years. Oh well - fingers crossed things are improving - gonna have to resist doing building work and take it real easy for quite a while I think. Think I'll take the tablets today and not tomorrow if this improvement in my condition coninues. . . walked in rubber in the torrential rain and wind and found 5p. Very uspetting to see a doberman type of dog running loose around the place and across the main road and such. He looked undernourished and was too nervous to come anywhere near me and Sally, despite me kneeling down in the middle of the road and trying to coax him. He ran off. I'm in no fit state to go chasing, especially in this weather, so unhappily left him to his fate! :o( . . . PCd this . . . sat around/TVd/slept/walked. . .LB called saying she may be making a cross channel shopping trip next week, and if so, she'd get me some duty free tobacco if I gave her some money. Goodo. . . BB called . . . TVd/PCd til early. (4/10)c-dx6s
30 - Woken by Sally just after 8am . . .walked. Still some 'breathtaking' moments with my back, but definitely improving - oh thank GOODNESS!!! . . .actually felt rather ok and just couldn't resist having a dabble with a bit of the kitchen building site, as much to prove to myself I will still be physically able to, as much as anything else! Did everything VERY slowly and carefully, trying as best I could to keep a straight back throughout. Excavated out the last couple of bricks of the stairs wall, cut and contoured bits to fit with the angle grinder, and got them all cemented back in on top of the damp proof membrane. Also extracted one of the half bricks on the side of the doorway and replaced it with a brick, cut about an inch longer with the grinder, as part of the long drawn out process of reducing the size of the opening and preparing it for the door frame. There’s probably a much easier way to reduce that opening without the huge amount of work I’m embarking on, but I figure my way will be the most robust. All the old infill that had been thrown in there before, in the couple of inches gap between the frame and the bricks and then plastered over, had cracked and moved over the years with each slamming of the door! I’m determined that will never happen again no matter how much that door may get slammed. And no, I don’t slam the door. It happens when the front and back doors are opened simultaneously – the house strangely turns into a wind tunnel and the wind slams it! . . heavy rain prevented me doing any more disc cutting out on the patio so I was cleared up and showered by around 4pm. . .cooked and ate and lay down for a quick nap at 5pm as the rain bucketed down. . . woke late around 7:30pm!! PS had left an ansaphone message saying ‘tonight?’. Called him back and said yes but told him I was running a bit late, and if I wasn’t there when he arrived I’d still be out walking Sally and would be back within minutes. Was just about to walk and Mum rang! Chatted for an hour or so, then PS turned up!! PS didn’t want to get muddy so I left him watching TV and quickly walked. Probably shouldn’t have walked so quickly – made my back a bit achy! Rain had stopped and there was a strange windless quiet about the evening with mist rising. Really nice – shame I was so late - would have been nice to sit on the seat over the field for a cigarette or two . . returned BBs missed ansaphone call . . TV and chats with PS until early. My back seemed to start hurting a bit more as the evening wore on - largely due to a bad sitting posture I suspect. Nevertheless, it's amazing (and SUCH a relief) how quickly it seems to have improved. . .touched base with BB . . to bed near 2am. (4/10)c-dx4s
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