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<My Diary Archive 2003 My Diary Archive>

1 - Up just after 8am to the sound of heavy rain . . . drove with Sally to the Lidl store at Hanham. Bought a handful of groceries and one of the 10 'projecting' radio controlled digital clocks I'd seen advertised on their site as one of todays cheap deals. My bedroom layout seems to have ended up being a bit of a pain to see what the time is when I wake up in the mornings - have to raise myself up, peer over my feet and try and focus on the (with age- increasingly blurred!!) small digits of the clock at the other side of the room!. .drove to the River Avon at Hanham for VERY wet muddy walks in torrential rain!! My back ended up being a bit achey but not too bad. . .set up the clock in the bedroom. My theory was that the projecting display could be played on a wall or the ceiling and would save me from having to raise up in bed to see what the time was. I guess it's obvious but it hadn't occured to me that the projecting display would only work in one direction - viewed with the back of your head towards the clock face. I HAD intended to have the clock facing me on the opposite side of the room, with the projected display on the wall above it. That isn't possible because the projected display ends up being upside down!! Grrr. Ended up putting it temporarily on the shelf at the head of the bed with the display immediately above the pillow on the underside of the fitted wardrobe. Hmmm - that may work rather well, although I rather think I've wasted 10. At least it came with a mains transformer so I don't have to buy yet more batteries, and it DOES have a built in thermometer :o) . . . cooked up a mass of cheese burgers with all the trimmings for lunch . . . napped for a couple of hours of dreams and woke around 4pm with a headache. That'll be the cheese! STILL raining!! . . PCd this . . .LB called and I dashed up in the rain to save the frog from her cats and relocate it to my leaky pond . . .walked in a light drizzle. Found 2p. As I sat on the bench over the field having a smoke, a girl walked by the end of the field with a guy following along a little distance behind her, shouting and such. I guess it looked like another domestic because she wasn’t actually running, but it sure looked dodgy for her, especially as the guy seemed to be catching up as they went out of sight. Figured I’d better extend my walk around that block, and keep a distant eye on them, just in case things got out of hand and she ended up ‘under threat’! (more stupid ‘caped crusader’ behaviour – although I don’t think Batman or Robin ever had a bad back and a hernia – it would have shown through their tights for sure!! lol) . . Down the road the guy kept stopping and doing something to his left arm, the sleeve of which was rolled up. I thought at first he was writing something on it. He kept stopping and I ended up catching up with him and figured I’d just walk on by, because the girl was safely well ahead. In his right hand he had something that at first glance looked like a ruler but I soon became pretty sure it was some sort of retractable blade craft knife! Just before I was to pass him, only about six feet in front of me, he used the ‘implement’ to put a scratch down the side of a car parked on a forecourt as he passed it!! GIT! As usual I agonised over what I should do. Once again I determined, from unhappy experience, that calling the police would be a waste of time and money. I passed by him ‘just walking the dog’ without a word. Hairs on the back of my neck all stood up and I braced myself ‘just in case’, as he soon jogged by, to catch up with the girl. I sauntered along real slowly as he caught up with her and their childish domestic argument continued. They ended up in a phone booth screaming and shouting. They seemed to take it in turns to vent their anger on the phone, which was more than probably already broken before they got to it. As far as I could make out, his sleeve was rolled up because he was self harming – cutting his arm with the ‘implement’, to get the girl to be all upset and try and stop him. Pathetic little idiot! Why on earth didn't she just walk away and let him finish the job! Stood for a while in a nearby street, out of sight but watching, debating still more if I should call the police. It DID go through my mind that if I did, I’d have to be ‘THE’ witness and then be all ‘vulnerable’ walking the dog and living in the area, when he would inevitably be let off by the courts, if it even got that far. . walked hastily back to the damaged car and knocked on a door and informed the owner what had happened. There was a brief conversation about where I’d last seen the perpetrator, but they too suggested that there wasn’t much point in calling the police because they probably wouldn’t do anything. Funny thing – when I was there, they didn’t even bother coming out to see the damage?! So – yet another nice new car is devalued with a big scratch down the rear body panel. .walked back home via the phone box but they were both gone. Feel powerless and despairing. This sort of stuff and SO much worse must happen every single day without anyone reporting any of it – imagine the TRUE crime/antisocial behaviour statistics!!!! :o( . . .PCd/TVd . . .touched base with BB . . . TVd/PCd till early. (4/10)s
2 - Up late around 9am! That projecting clock seems to work okish where it is . . .walked and found 2p. Everything over the field is waterlogged and Sally insisted on wallowing in the puddles!! Hosed her down a bit out on the patio. . .skipped breakfast and lunch and spent the day drilling out a few bricks from the stairs wall/doorway in the kitchen, cutting up slivers of bricks with the grinder, and cementing it all back up. Cleared up and showered by 6pm. Grabbed a quick sandwhich . . .walked and found 2p. . .BB called . . . ate pizza and TVd till early. To bed around 2am. Apart from a few aches and twinges, I guess my back has returned to 'usual'. Thank goodness - I don't look forward to when it next goes, as it now surely will at some point. (4/10)s
3 - Woken by Sally at 8am . . .feedback from the site from someone who lives in an area (of the US I guess) with "60 gun an stab wounds a month"!!!!! I guess that puts my outrage at local 'disturbances' into perspective! I've tried to imagine living in an area with crime like that - I've tried quite a bit, but I just can't. I simply couldn't exist in such a place - one way or another - I just couldn't!! God help us all if that is all of our futures! What the hell is the matter with people! And 'I'm' the one with the disorder? :o( . . . walked and found 2p. Amazing how the (considerable) amount of money I've found laying in the street this year, is almost exactly the same amount as last year!? It's almost become competitive for me - need to find some more to beat last years record! lol . . . left Sally at home and drove to do a big shop. Toured the charity shops up in Kingswood and spotted a couple of photographic type tripods up on a high shelf. One had a missing rubber foot and neither had the ability to mount a camera vertically, but for 9 the pair I couldn't resist. I'll add them to my camera equipment collection I never use! . . unloaded everything, ate sandwhiches and doughnuts (treated Sally to a whole doughnut!), napped for a few hours . . . walked and found a penny. . . touched base with BB . . . TVd till early. . . PCd and ended up looking (just out of interest) at local-ish jobs on the government Job Centre site until around 2:30am!! Bad move! Couldn't see a single one that I'd have the slightest chance of getting. My ('I'd maybe do absolutely anything') choices, now seem to be much more limited what with my bad back/hernia physical condition and all! Dunno what sort of a long term future I have. It may take a few years - but I can really see my financial position (mostly the unbelievable annual council tax increases) eventually devouring my savings and forcing me back into some sort of attempt at earning a wage. <shudder> :o( (3/10)
4 - Woken by Sally just after 8am again. . .walked and found a penny. Stopped off at a local newsagent and bought a handful of birthday/xmas cards . . . wrote out a couple of the cards. Neighbour knocked on the door and asked me to keep an eye on the place while they go off on holiday to New Zealand for a while! She'd emptied her freezer and asked if I wanted all that was left. I (almost) never refuse a free meal, so said yes, but soon regretted it - my freezer is absolutely filled to bursting point! . . . did laundry chores and hung em out to dry . . . walked with Sally round to a local post office only to find it has already been shut down! Walked another mile or so to the next nearest and bought stamps and posted them. Found 3p along the way. . . armed myself with rubber gloves and trousers and had a kneel in the garden, messing with the pond trying to find the leak. Weird - just can't find any trace of it!!? Ended up giving up and just topping the pond back up so I can maybe have another go over the next day or so, when the water level has once again fallen back down to leak level. :o( . . .touched base with BB . . . slept the afternoon away . . . walked . . . BB called . . .LB called to confirm her pre christmas duty free trip plans have been cancelled, and to ask if we are doing xmas presents this year! Absolutely NOT! Humbug!!. . . TVd/PCd till early. (3/10)s
5 - Woken just before 8am by the noise of the bin men . . . pond is still full??? Guess it's a hard to locate microfracture, currently plugged with dirt or something!? . . . walked and found 7p . . . Pcd this. . .bit the bullet and managed to muster the energy to start working on the neighbours wall in the kitchen. With them going away for a bit, like it or not, it's an ideal time to try and get a lot of the hammering and drilling done as I remove the bricks and get in a damp proof membrane. Briefly did a bit of more 'satisfying' (??) work on the kitchen stairs wall, chiseling out a rebate for the new light switch box. Started in the middle of the wall where the kitchen doorway is. Gotta concentrate on trying to get that doorframe back up, so I can fit a new door, to stop the dust from covering the whole house. Daren't use the angle grinder until I have, which means I can't fit any of the new switch boxes, sockets etc. because I can't cut in the channels for the conduit. It's really holding things up! Drilled and hammered and managed to remove some of the 'half bricks' which that wall seems to be all composed of!? Pulled one of them out and realised I could feel a draft on the back of my sweaty hand!!?? Put my face near a gap in the bricks a bit higher up and confirmed a cool jet of air was blowing through into my eye! Took a lung full of cigarette smoke and blew it into the hole. It blew back out!!!!! Hmmmm? I imagine I've worked out why. The old dust render in these brick walls is SO rough and poorly layed, here and there are gaps right through between the bricks. Next door still has suspended wooden floors with under floor air vents to the outside. There is 'almost' a cavity of maybe a quarter of an inch between my bricks and theirs, but mostly filled with old dust render and actually more like a solid wall. I'm guessing that the wind from outside was blowing through their air vents, under their floor, through gaps in the render between the bricks, through the honeycomb of spaces in the cavity, and then into my kitchen!! Wonder if any of my cigarette smoke made it into their kitchen? They left in a taxi pretty soon after. Bet they were glad to be away from all that hammering drilling noise!!. .grabbed some lunch watching the TV news. Briefly touched base with Mum to suggest she keeps an eye on exchange rates for when she visits Sis2 - the rates are real good for us right now. Too late - already all arranged . . worked until around 5pm and succeeded in getting a couple of full bricks cemented back in on top of a DPC, right where the door frame will go. . . ate big - cooked up a double chicken kiev and chips meal. Maybe ate too much and ended up feeling a bit unwell (or is that why those kievs were on special offer?!!)! . . . walked . . . felt all exhausted and stomach achey and lay on the sofa for a while struggling to stay awake . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd until bed at exactly midnight. (4/10)a
6 - Woken at 8:15am by Sally. That's more than eight hours sleep but I still feel exhausted and a bit headachey. . . walked in a light drizzle . . .felt so yukkie and headachey I lay down for a while but couldn't stop all the building work I have to do, going round and round in my mind. Got back up and screwed, glued and braced the wooden door casing together, 'freestanding', so I can offer it up to the kitchen door opening and see how much more render I have to put on the wall before I can attempt to fit it. . . napped for an hour or so, but woken by a nightmare - something to do with big blue electrical lightning like sparks, flashing along the living room wall from the fuse box!! Good greif - this DIY stuff is all I can think about - even in my sleep!! It's all taken FAR too long!! . . .tended a little more to the doorcasing and eventually managed to temporarily manouver it into the door opening. Uggh - gonna have to build that wall out at least another half an inch or so! Need to go buy more sand. That stairs wall is SO wonky, it's gonna be real hard to make it look right. :o( . . .briefly removed some of the dead reeds from the still full pond. Very cold on the hands despite rubber gloves! How on earth is it still holding water when only the other day it was leaking out so quickly???. . . walked and found 5p. Walked by someone going into the house almost opposite where there'd been the funeral courtege the other week. I apologised for being a nosy neighbour and asked which one of the old couple had gone. They surprised me by answering both!! :oO . . . PCd this. . .touched base with BB . . . TVd until early. (4/10)aas
7 - Woke early but managed to sleep on until around 8:30am . . . only a couple of degrees above zero. I've still yet to see a minus sign on that weather station thing of mine. Walked in the frost and found 2p . . .mixed up a load of cement out in the garden. First 'large' load I've mixed with the shovel since my back gave out. Definitely a few complaining twinges! Tried to be careful. . rendered a layer on the kitchen wall where the doorframe will go. Didn't go well. I'm trying to rush things and put too much render on at once resulting in slumping and cracking! Ended up having mixed up far too much cement! Couldn't waste it so hurriedly extracted a few more half bricks at floor level and used it to cement in a DPC under a couple more full bricks. . spent a rediculous amount of time in the garden with all the large number of sacks of rubble and debris I've accumulated over the last couple of weeks. Removed as much of the bits of wall paper as I could and crushed the rest up into gravel sized chunks and dust using the lump hammer. Made up a huge pile of not 'too' heavy, carryable sacks. . . all cleared up and showered by around 4:30pm. . . grabbed a sandwhich. . . walked Sally early with a small ruck sack of rubble to dump over the field, to test if my back could handle it. If anything, having that weight pulling my shoulders back seems to be good for it! (More than can be said for my knees!) Returned home and put twice as much rubble in the ruck sack and walked back over the field again. Still early so returned home and did the same again!! Weirdo! I've accumulated SO much that, if I do two trips each day when I walk Sally, it'll take me a week or two to get rid of it all!! Funny how Sally got SO excited each time we went back out . . . touched base with BB . . . PS popped round with an old double duvet and cover his wife had decided to replace. Her 'time to replace' is my 'like new'. TV and chats till early. PCd before bed in the freezing early hours. (4/10)s
8 - Blimey - up after 9am!! Aha minus 1.1 celcius on the weather station outside thermometer. So THAT is where the minus sign appears. Hmmm - it may have been lower than that last night and I didn't see the minus. My back seems to be aching rather this morning! . . walked late and disposed of another ruck sack of rubble. . . small christmasy parcel from DS in the post. . . briefly slapped a coat of varnish (my long stored tin of undercoat paint had dried up!) on the back of the new doorframe in an attempt to give it a bit of a seal. When I fit it, it's gonna get damp from cement and plaster and will be prone to warping if it gets too damp. Left it to dry propped against the living room wall. Wiped a little onto a finger and rubbed it onto a small test piece of slate, the same as I have in the living room fireplace, to see what it'll look like. NOT a coat of varnish - just a kind of rub in/over. Seemed to look ok and will probably be what I end up doing to that big slate slab. . didn't feel so good and all headachey (the varnish fumes didn't help!), so pretty soon decided to have a day off sleeping. Just dropping off and Sally went all deafening loud as the postman called. Another big box from Amazon!!??? Must be what whatever it was DS had mailed me to say was on it's way. Weird how the postman was in his own car delivering - and when I unpacked it, it'd obviously been in his car for a while cause it was absolutely freezing - really cold to the touch (it's been near zero out all day!). Let it sit for a while to warm up and avoid the danger of condensation forming. . DS has sent me a DVD player!!!!!!!!!!!! Bloody hell!!! A Medion MD 40288!!!!! Good greif - I am SO indebted to him again, still, again, more, again!! Blimey - gonna have to read that manual. Never seen a remote with SO many buttons - 48 I think!!!?? . . messed around in the living room with scart leads and TVs/stereos/videos/DVDs etc, etc, (and vaccuuming layers of dust off everything!) and eventually reached a satisfactory compromise in what plugs in to what, and what is linked to what. Think I ended up having to sacrifice the video recorder connection, but I've not used the thing for years anyway (if it still works), and it's so old that pretty soon I wont be able to set the date on it!!!! Ended up watching the Sheryl Crow DVD for an hour or so, with the sound all through the stereo speakers. :o) That 'Riverwide' track is just delicious. :o) . . . the varnish had dried so around 4pm ended up having a go at fixing the doorframe to the opening to the kitchen. Very awkward getting the thing in straight and screwing it to the wall, with four large screws (enough for the time being) on either side. I probably shouldn't have worried SO much about getting it in all straight because the walls aren't!! With the frame in all vertical and more or less in line with the wall, I will now have lots of extra work trying to grind back the wall on the stairs side and build out the one in the kitchen, to make it all flush and look right!! Arrrgghh!!! Undid all the screws, took the frame back out, and lined around the opening with some wet plaster to fill all the small gaps before finally fixing the frame back in place. Really glad to have that done! Guess I should be looking at what sort of door I'm gonna buy now. A real cheap one will do because, apart from holding back the dust while I'm doing building work in the kitchen, and holding back Sally while I answer the front door, I never close it. I'm also gonna invest in a real cheap electric plane when I buy one, cause I'll inevitably have to plane off some of it, and I never have managed a decent job with a door and my old hand plane. . .walked with a ruck sack and found a penny . . . waited for BBs call, reading the Wickes catalogue looking at doors, and the Argos catalogue swotting up on electric planes! BB called . . . TVd until bed at midnight.(4/10)aa
9 - Up around 8am . . .walked with a ruck sack and found 5p. Just down the road was a friendly dog runnin loose! She was called Lucy and had a phone number on her collar. Called the number on my mobile but got a fax machine! Ummd and ahhd about what to do (because I had to walk Sally) and ended up just letting go of her collar and off she went and disappeared over a wall behind the pub and I lost track of her! Hmmm?. . . PCd this . . .sat around for ages just looking at the kitchen building site and really, REALLY not wanting to have to do any of it!! Eventually figured, like it or not, I really had to concentrate on getting a door in that opening and should go to the DIY stores and start looking at doors! Left Sally at home and drove to the stores with my collection of bungee chords, just in case. . started off small and bought a suitable pack of hinges in Homebase, the first store I went to. In the third store, B&Q, I found a really cheap pine door that I figured would do the job, at least for the time being. An Arden, knotty pine, 6 panel, 30x78 inch door for only 14.98! Yes it’ll probably warp, yes it’ll probably split, yes the knots will probably fall out – bit it’ll do for now. Struggled with it through the check out and back to the car. Managed to get it in the hatchback far enough for it not to be ‘too’ illegal, and used the bungee chords to hold the hatch down for the drive home. Dropped off the door, read the info leaflet on it, grabbed a quick coffee and then drove back to the Homebase store. Tried to buy a pack of two more hinges like I’d already got (because that door’ll need three to help stop the warping). The display shelves of hinges were in a hell of a state and I had to go through every single one before asking an assistant to tell me if they had any more in stock. According to the computer they had 24 still in stock. He insisted on looking through all the same hinges I’d already been through before telling me they had no more in the store, but placated my frustrated outburst about time and petrol and inconvenience, by assuring me I could get a refund on the ones I’d already bought!? Surely they can’t have had some weird seasonal run on hinge thieves?? Grrrr! Ended up buying six completely different brass ones complete with screws (7.47), to do both the kitchen doors I’ll need to hang. Veered into a nearby aisle and grabbed the cheap Powerbase, 600w electric wood plane I’d decide on trying, cause it was only 16.59! I’ve never used one before, figure I’ll seldom use it, and reckon the cheapest one I can find will do. Ended up setting all the alarms off as I exited the store!! God I feel SO guilty and embarassed when that happens!! . . back home, LB walked down for a brief chat as I pulled up. She was out in her garden attempting to saw up last years Christmas tree to put in the bin! At last the message has got through to her that if you cut stuff up into pieces, you can gradually dispose of EVERYTHING, in those big wheely bins! Ended up popping up briefly to help, with my proper wide toothed tree saw. Didn’t hang around to help, when I saw her attempting to cut up that huge old stinking wet carpet with a pair of small scissors! . . read he instructions and then tested the new electric plane in the conservatory on a spare piece of rafter. Wow – that sure works!! Ignored the instructions on the door about leaving it to acclimatise in the room where it is to be fitted for 2-3 days, and set about the hanging. Spent AGES carefully cutting out the rebates on the door and frame for the hinges. God I HATE having to do that job. Never have mastered it. If you don’t get it right, you ruin the door and or frame and can even end up having the door trying to tear the hinges out when it closes!! Doesn’t help having blunt wood chisels, despite having tried (and largely failed) to sharpen them on a carborundum grinding stone before I started (everything takes SO much time!). One thing I overlooked when doing all this door frame business, was the size of the doorframe!!! It sounds SO obvious but I didn’t think to actually check the size. I just went ahead and assumed what was printed on the pack was the size it was! In actual fact it was maybe half an inch or so longer than that. When I eventually succeeded in getting the door correctly positioned in the frame on its hinges, it turns out there is about an inch gap between the door and the floor!! Bloody saloon door!! I’m not gonna worry about that – and in fact it may be just as well. The floor isn’t level anyway, and I have visions of one day trying to level it when I lay some sort of stone floor tiles, which will raise the floor up by loads. . ran down the door frame with a pencil and marked off the line to trim to. Not ‘too’ much. Took the door back down and wrestled it through to the conservatory for planeing. Wow. WOW! That electric plane is SO easy to use and did the business in no time at all. Went through those hard knots like they weren’t there. Did SUCH a neat job, I didn’t even need to do any sanding!! Could only have taken ten minutes and I was putting the door back up. Yayyy – I have a door again (albeit without a handle or catch yet). Uh oh. How the hell am I gonna fix the door jamb in position? Need someone to hold the door in a closed position while I nail the jamb in place! Damn! Gave up and cleared up the mess. The only thing I have against that plane is the mess. Despite the fact it comes with a ‘dust bag attachment’, it absolutely COVERS the place in tiny bits of wood! The conservatory looks like a white Christmas has come early! . . sat with a quick coffee admiring my door. I was intending to paint the thing white, but it may have to end up being varnished. It looks nice. . . walked with a ruck sack around 8pm and stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home, largely because I’ve used all my plates, dishes and cutlery, stacked them up and haven’t washed them yet!! All I ate all day! . . . BB called . . . TVd till early, too exhausted to get up and go to bed!!? (4/10)aa
10 - Up after 9am!! . . . scraped the ice off the car and drove with Sally to the Avon at Hanham for walks. Succeeded in getting the damned inertia reel seatbelt stuck, in my haste to put it on. Seemed to be in a real (reel?) short tempered mood. Everyone knows that when that happens, the last thing you want to do is pull on the belt, but I just couldn’t stop myself, again and again, more and more forcefully. It stuck good! Had to drive without it on. Funny way to suddenly find yourself a ‘criminal’! Funny how absolutely wrong it felt driving without that slight reassuring pressure around my waste. . in the car park by the river was an old, old, German shepherd laying on the floor and plaintively barking, with no one around!? Clearly it had that hip dysplasia problem they get. Somewhere in the back of mind I maybe recalled seeing it around there before with a woman with other dogs. I made the assumption she’d let him out to lay there and wait while she walked the others, but he clearly wasn’t well or happy. Seemed like that dog’d had it’s day, had lost quality of life, and maybe the owner wasn’t strong enough to do the ‘right thing’ and have it put down. I shudder to imagine when that time may come for Sally. I hope I’ll have the strength to know when it’s time, for her, if that’s how it works out. Unsettling . . atmospheric cold foggy morning along the river . . back at the car, after I'd changed my muddy shoes and sat in to start up, the seat belt freed itself thank goodness! . . . detoured to the DIY store on the way home and got a refund on the pack of hinges that had ended up being no use to me. . .briefly set about fixing part of the door jamb on the new kitchen door frame – because I’d worked out how I could on my own! Opened up the back gate and unlocked the back door. Took some tools and nails and went into the living room, closed the new kitchen door and nailed some batons across the doorframe to hold it in a shut position. Took the hammer and nails and went out the front door, down the road, up the lane at the back and back round into the kitchen to cut and nail into position, two of the door jamb strips. Back down the lane, up the road and back into the house to remove the batons, and hey presto. A door with a nice tight fitting door jamb to close against – without needing to call someone for assistance. :o). . . washed all the dishes that have been stacked up for ages. Took ages! . . . cooked up four cheese burgers for lunch around 2pm . . . napped until around 5pm only to wake with a nasty head/neck ache. . .walked with a ruck sack. Came home, reloaded with twice as much rubble, and walked again. . . cooked up a big cheap meal with some of the oven chips next door had donated. Headache disappeared . . BB called . . TVd till late . . PCd this till near 2am!! (4/10)aas
11 - Woken by Sally just before 9am . . .walked in a light drizzle and found 2p . . . grabbed some muesli breakfast and then spent the morning and early afternoon chiseling out appropriate rebates and fitting the door catch and handles etc, to the new kitchen door and frame. Not perfect - but not bad. :o) . . . tuna, onion and mayo sandwiches for lunch. . . spent ages out on the patio crushing up the three large sacks of rubble and dust and preparing them for 'disposal' over the field. . . TVd for a bit watching Judge Judy being rude to everyone - but I guess they ALL pretty much deserved it! . . . got a bee in my bonnet about the bags of rubble and decided to walk early and put in the effort to get rid of them all. Walked with Sally to the field, backwards and forwards three times with heavy rucksacks (must have carried at least my own weight). All done and disposed of by around 7:15pm. I'm no longer sure if I'm just happy to get rid of all my dusty building waste, or if I'm actually now becoming obsessed with the idea of making my own little gravely path over there!!! Every time I walk up that slope and slip on some wet mud, I find myself wishing I had more rubble to dump there - I even got a kick out of seeing someone else walk easily up the line of rubble the other day, rather than on the slippery mud next to it! I AM some weird dude!!! Passed a woman from down the road walking her dog on one of my trips to and fro, and she said there had been two burglaries just down the road withing the last week or so!! :o( . . . cooked up two packs of the tiny 'toad in the hole' meals, next door had donated. Mixed up some instant gravy and it wasn't half bad. Still not used to actually sitting at a table to eat - feels unusually civilised somehow . . .BB called . . . PS popped round for chats till early and let me borrow a couple of the DVDs he has. The one that is particularly interesting to me is his 'Lord Of The Rings' DVD, although it is the second one out of the trilogy and I'm loathed to watch it without having seen the first one. (Lots of hype on TV at the moment about the third one being released.) Think I'm gonna end up renting the first one, some time soon, so I can watch the second and have it maybe make some sense. I never did actually read the books (still got a boxed set somewhere) - just couldn't remember from one page to the next, who the hell was who! The Hobbit was rather simpler and would make a neat film. Forced PS to watch a bit of the Sheryl Crow DVD as I enthused, but I don't think he's a fan. . . TVd until around 1:30am. (4/10)as
12 - Woken by the sound of the bin men around 8:30am . . .walked in the rain and found yet another insulated ski hat to add to my collection. . . grabbed a muesli breakfast . . . really, really didn't want to have to do any building work and just sat around for the rest of the morning thinking about the nightmare of it all. It's only a couple of weeks until BB comes to visit - everything is in a terrible mess! Feel as though I MUST get a few things done before she comes, so that things are at least a 'little' more habitable!!! It's all a huge jugsaw puzzle and takes some working out what I can actually attempt to acheive in the short time that is left. What would she rather have in the kitchen - a light switch that she can reach - or heating?!! Weather forecast is for lots of rain and mild temperatures over the next couple of days, so that clinched it. Started work around mid day on moving the kitchen radiator to it's new final position on the stairs wall. If things don't go well, I'll be without heating for a while!! . . I like symmetry. Dunno why. Embarked on a huge amount of work and replumbing just to move that radiator ten inches or so to the left, so that it would be equidistant between the understairs cupboard doorway and the kitchen doorway. Sadly that does mean I may not be able to fit a double power and phone socket in on the small bit of wall next to it like I'd hoped to, but I'd rather have it in the middle and not have the sockets I think. Drained the system. Learned from my mistakes the last time I did it, and this time turned off every shut off valve on all the radiators and boiler before I did so. That way, 75% of the system is still full of water and the refill/presurisation when I'm done, should be SO much easier and swifter. Managed to take the heavy double radiator off the wall, hacked off the last of the old dust plaster from behind the radiator, cut off the pipes in the understairs cupboard, re-mounted the radiator on the wall, drilled new holes through the wall for the pipes. This time I intend to do it right, so I enlarged the holes and sleeved them with some 22mm pipe, cemented into position, through which the 15mm feeds to the radiator would go. Cut up all the new pipes and elbows to fit. Had to put a real awkward, weird dogleg bend at one end, because the wooden staircase prevented coming straight through the wall! It all took ages. Finally did the nerve wracking bit of actually soldering it all up with the gas blow torch. VERY painful being on my knees for so many hours! Gone 6pm before I meticulously undid ALL the radiator fittings and really carefully applied PTFE tape to all the joins. Very, VERY anxiously refilled the system and circulated and bled it up to pressure, without the gas on, to ensure I didn't overcook the boiler with it's broken overheat reset switch!! Dried all the new pipework with a tissue and placed some dry newspaper under all the joints, to assist in leak spotting. Held my breath, crossed my fingers and turned the heat on!!! It's good to work on heating projects when it is mild cause you don't get 'too' cold - the drawback is when you have to test the system!! All hot with anxiousness, and running round and round checking for leaks everywhere, the house ended up feeling like a sauna!! Cleared up some of the tools and mess as things got hotter. Wow - can it be true? No leaks? None. increased the heat setting to maximum and kept the system running. Still no leaks. I can't believe it. EXCELLENT!! I'm not gonna be content it is all ok until its been through a few cool off, reheat cycles over the next few days - but I'm hopeful. Maybe with all the practice, I'm getting better at doing plumbing. :o) . LB called briefly as I was running around sweating looking at dry newspaper . . . turned the heating off and walked late after 8pm. First thing I did when I got back was rush around looking for leaks. Happily found none. . . BB called. In the middle of the call, LB called at the door. Opened the door and LB handed me a kebab from the kebab shop? She said she was up there anyway and had decided to get me one - and then off she went!!??? Um, errr, thank you very much??? (Is it just TOO cynical of me to think I may have to be feeding the cats pretty soon?) . . . ate the kebab. Actually I was VERY grateful. Perfect timing. Loads of stuff from the under stairs cupboard is out, all stacked up around the oven so that I can get in the cupboard to check the pipes for leaks. Couldn't face moving all that to cook and was SO hungry. Phoned her back after I'd eaten and re-iterated my thanks . . . TVd. . .trimmed my beard and cut my hair. First time in a while I've done that - should do it more often cause it's such hard work when it's that long! Think I may need to buy a better trimmer! . . .to bed just after midnight after having checked there were no leaks. (4/10)aa
13 - Up around 8:15am!! . . .walked in the torrential rain and found a penny . . . PCd this. . . phoned the library and tracked down a DVD copy of the first Lord Of The Rings film - The Fellowship Of The Ring. Left Sally at home and drove to the library at Hanham and took it out on loan. 3.20 for a whole week seems pretty good. Left the library and found a large silver hoop ear ring just outside. Lord of the Rings - ear ring? Weird and almost spooky!! . . .Mum called to touch base . . . turned the heating on, closed the curtains, got all comfy, put the sound through the stereo all up loud, and watched the film all afternoon. Very impressive, but very much a 'part one', and by the time it was near the end, I was very much ready for an end. . . fell asleep until nearly 8pm!!! . . . walked late and misjudged the weather and got caught out without rubber in a torrential downpour! That kind of rain that bounces, makes fast flowing rivers in the gutters, and sends a mist of spray swirling across the ground in the wind. Got drenched! . . . BB called . . . had a glass of wine and cooked up a 'next door donated' oven chips and steak and kidney pie meal, with some instant gravy - very nice too and almost no work involved at all :o) . . . TVd/PCd till early. (5/10)asd
14 - Woken real late, way after 9am by Sally . . . walked late and found 20p . . . breakfasted on a bowl of muesli. . . reports on the news channel that Saddam Hussein has been captured in Iraq!!! Blimey. Can it be true?! Will that increase or decrease the senseless loss of life that continues there day after day?. . .left the portable TV on the news channel all day as I worked and watched things live ('We got'im!') as they developed. . emptied and removed from the wall, my only remaining food storage cupboard, lifted a floorboard in the bedroom,covered things in the kitchen with sheets as best I could, stuffed old towels against the bottom of the kitchen door and got serious with the disc cutter on the stairs wall. Cut in channels for conduits to what will be, the main light switch, the understairs cupboard light switch, a double power socket and a phone socket. Nasty, hard work. BIG dust! Had to wear a dust mask ALL day!!! Right in the middle of things LB turned up with assistance bearing HUGE plates and dishes of all the food that was left over from the meal she'd cooked. I didn't want to seem ungrateful but it was absolutely impossible for me to take food into all that dust right then! She agreed I could collect it later and she had to take it all back home! Took forever to clear up - vacuum could only manage about a square yard at a time before clogging up and needing emptying! Over and over and over again!!! Arrrgggghhh!!! . . PS called - I had to say not tonight . . got a bit short tempered in the garden cleaning down with the curled up hose pipe, gave it a good yank and succeeded in breaking off the tap attachment!! Damn!! . . . Gave up, showered and walked around 7pm. On the way back from the field, some dubious looking character started shouting out. Just then a loose dog came running up the middle of the main road!!!!? Turned out he'd just been walking and had spotted the dog running loose and had been chasing it, trying to ctach it 'for the last ten minutes'. The dog showed an interest in Sally, so I quickly ran to the end of the railings and encouraged it away from the approaching traffic. It came over for a sniff at Sally and paused just long enough for me to get a hold of its collar. stray puppy dog and saviour 1 of 2Damn - now what?! No name or anything on the collar! Undid the short tether I always carry and used it as a leash. The guy said he thought that maybe someone in a nearby house knew who's dog it was, so we both struggled along with the untrained dog (found a penny) and he knocked on their door. The woman didn't know who's it was. We all agreed it would be best if we dropped it off at a police station. Staple Hill seemed favourite - I volunteered to take it in my car. I suggested the guy, who was called Luke (Luke 'dogwalker'? lol), should walk the dog round to my house since I could't really manage them both what with it pulling on its lead like it was. Swapped the short tether for Sally's lead to make it easier for him. . got the stray dog in the back of the car, dropped Sally off at home, changed my shoes, and drove with Luke and the dog to Staple Hill police station (a place not unfamiliar to Luke!!) Booked the dog in and then walked it round to it's cold prison cell out back, where it would spend the night before being handed over to some dog warden or other in the morning. Very sad. Very cute little dog. Some young male, sort of rottweiler cross maybe? Lovely temperament - could be excellent with some training. Very sad to leave him in that cold damp cell - should be the owner in there instead!!! Dropped Luke off at the pub he'd been heading to and returned home . . .popped up LBs, let myself in (she'd said I should if she was out) and grabbed all the masses of food she'd put up for both me and Sally. Blimey - roast everything and all the trimmings and even some pheasant apparantly!! Never eaten that before. Not sure which bit was pheasant? Dished Sally out a huge bowl full, reheated a platefull and mixed up some gravy for me, and left loads for both of us for tomorrow. . . BB called . . . TVd but oh SO tired and full! . . . PCd this before bed around 12:15am. (4/10)a
15 - Up around 8:15am!! . . .walked and found 3p. Sally seemed in playful puppy mood and ended up wallowing in a muddy puddle and getting absolutely plastered in mud!! Uh oh - I can't hose her down because of that broken hose pipe attachment!! nothing I could do about it - everything in the house got muddier! . . . cemented in the two flush fit light switch boxes (awkward trying to get all the levels right and allow for a future coat of render and plaster) . . .left Sally at home and drove to DIY stores. Bought three more lengths of electrical conduit, a double light switch, some lighting cable and a new fitting for the hose pipe. . .as usual in my abscence, Sally had sat in my chair - and covered it in mud!! . . . grabbed a sandwhich for lunch. . Mum called to touch base and say she'd safely arrived at Sis2s . . . cemented in the three conduits to the kitchen light switch box and the understairs cupboard light switch box. . . BB called . . walked and found 2p . . .ate another huge meal of the food LB had donated. Good greif - enough left for yet another meal!. . . PS popped round for chats till early. Ended up having an amusing argument over who was who in the Fellowship Of The Ring film. Made a bit of use of the clever functions on the DVD and hopped from scene to scene and played multi speed fast forwards and such. Wow - SO much better than a video . . . to bed around 1am. (4/10)as
16 - Woke around 7am but snoozed on until woken by Sally around 8:30am . . . walked and found 4p and a referees whistle! . . . skipped breakfast and lunch and spent the day on the building site. Chiseled out another double socket rebate in the stairs wall. Briefly used the grinder (with the vaccuum running nearby to immediately suck up as much dust as possible) to cut out rebates for some conduits, and then cemented in, the two double and one single socket boxes and all the conduits. Doesn't sound like much, but I worked almost non stop from around 10am until 7pm!!!!! Exhausting but real satisfying to get that all done! That's all the real awkward stuff on that wall done and I can live with it like that for the time being. All it needs now is some angle bead near the rebated channel at the bottom, filling of the gap at the floor, a bit of grinding of protruding bricks, a layer of render and it can be plastered. That'll all wait for the future - I need a break - bad! . . . walked and found a penny . . .cooked up the last big meal of LBs food donation. TVd briefly but couldn't resist having a look at the kitchen light wire around 9pm. The existing wire (temporarily hanging down through a hole in the ceiling with a switch box on it) is about six inches too short to reach the new flush switch box I've cemented in the wall - although investigations under the back bedroom floor revealed, that if I could just thread the wire through on the other side of a joist, it probably WOULD reach without having to re-wire it all. Seemed like a huge amount of hassle having to move all the furniture in the bedroom and lift all the floor up just for that! Managed to get my head and one arm with a torch between the floor boards and identified which wire I was after, six feet across the room under the floor. Must be some way of reaching that, hooking it, and just dragging it through - but what can I use?? Aha! The recently charity-shop-acquired camera tripod. Squeezed the colapsed tripod between the joists and into the underfloor space and then bit by bit opened it up to full length. To cut a long and terribly frustrating story short - I managed to hook that wire in the end! Raced downstairs with the torch, turned the power off, disconnected the switch box, and succeeded in dragging the wire through the joist and back down to the new conduit. Poked it down through into the kitchen and sure enough it was a perfect length. Wired up the light switch by torchlight and then turned the power back on. Yayyyy - I have a proper light switch in the kitchen again. Really pleased to have acheived that with much less work than I 'could' have been faced with. The only 'cost' to me was a pair of very sore ears where I'd been jamming them in between the floorboards!!! Flushed with success I figured I may as well have a go at the understairs cupboard light switch (short cable cemented in the wall would have to be cut off and replaced completely) and see if I could re-wire that in the dark by torch light as well. Lifted a couple of floorboards, used some of the new cable I'd bought and managed it in the end, despite dropping the torch from the top of the step ladder and losing it in pieces in the cupboard at one point, and having to stumble round in the dark and find another one! By 11pm I was all exhausted and done, and sat with a coffee in the kitchen admiring light switches and feeling very satisfied to have reached this point. I'd rather not have wired up those switches until after I'd built up the wall with render and plastered it, but the plastering is gonna have to wait until next year after BBs visit - that way I can temporarily re-hang some storage cupboards on that bare brick wall without ruining new plaster, and have the place 'kinda' habitable when she comes. All part of the jigsaw. . BB called . . . showered before bed around 1am. (5/10)
17 - Up just before 8am . . . walked in the light frost and found 6p . . . forecast is for cold but sunny. Need to have a day off from the building site - I'm exhausted! Did laundry chores and PCd this. Really need to think about sending some xmas cards - although I'm really not in the mood for christmas and am sorely tempted to send fewer than I have done in recent years. After all - I have kinda actively reduced/ceased contact with a fair few people from my past this year. It just seemed rather pointless to do otherwise. Doesn't leave many. :o| . . grabbed a sandwich and ended up getting glued to the news channel, feeling a bit tearful as the jury in the Sohom trial, at last, thankfully returned a majority verdict of guilty against Ian Huntley, for the killing of those two little girls. (I’ve followed the case on the news – even read some of the court proceedings on the web!) How on earth could one person in that jury have doubts about it?!! That says something about how devious, defence lawyers can be, in their manipulation of facts (I recall my own recent jury service!) in an effort to introduce an element of doubt. . There were two girls – whatever other unspeakable horrors occurred, one must have witnessed the murder of the other, before experiencing her own!!!!! Unimaginable horror!! And sure enough, as soon as the verdict is announced, we find out that Ian Huntley had loads of ‘form’. A string of allegations of rape, physical abuse, and sex with underage girls – although none of those allegations or arrests had actually ended up in a court case – presumably because there wasn’t a sufficiently strong CPS case!!! On his application for the job of school caretaker he freely admitted he used an alias!? Why on earth would any average person need to use an alias, other than for something ‘iffy’? And despite having both names, the authorities came up with nothing against him during their checks! This system doesn’t speak to that system; you can’t keep intelligence on ‘innocent’ people for too long; it wasn’t child abuse cause she was 'almost' sixteen; etc etc. Yet again – YET again, lives have been destroyed by someone playing the system and getting away, almost with murder, because of – what? The civil liberties lobby? Paranoia about what big brother may do with all that information about you if they were allowed to have it, and the subsequent curtailment of your civil liberties? Year after year throughout my life, there have been cases like this!! Just exactly what civil liberties do I enjoy that are worth all these assaults, rapes and murders? Society ‘allows’ this to happen!!!!!!! We all tut, tut and say how bad, but we allow it to go on year after year after year, in the full knowledge that it ‘could’ be prevented if we dared to trust in our society!! I don’t understand it. I just don’t get it. I think we all share some guilt in this. :o( . . Maybe I should stop watching the news channel quite so much! . . .ended up sleeping the afternoon away until around 6:30pm! Brought in the very cold washing from the washing line. . .walked . . . touched base with BB . . . watched the BBC program all about the Soham case . . . cooked up a next door donated pie and chips . . . TVd till bed at 1am. (4/10)s
18 - Up before 8am again . . . a letter from the NHS saying I'm now 'top of the waiting list for an appointment' and I should call to arrange an appointment at Frenchay Hospital!! Hmmm! Better news was 150 in premium bond wins in the mail. :o) . . . walked in the frost. Stopped in the local newsagent on the way back to see what cheap boxes of Christmas cards they may have, but found nothing amusing. Just leaving and spotted a note in the window about a lost dobberman/rottweiler cross dog!! Aha - could that be the one from the other night? Asked for a pen and paper but the girl behind the counter said she knew who it was and directed me to a house just round the corner. Knocked on the door but no reply. . . PCd this and tried to get through to the hospital call centre - repeatedly!! Constantly engaged for at least 15 minutes - used my impatient technique of two fingered insistant hang up/redial button pressing and finally got through. 'The earliest appointment available at Frenchay is Wednesday 28th January 2004'!!! So be it :o( . . .rang the police station and asked what had become of the dog we'd handed in. They checked their log books and then gave me the number of the dog warden who'd taken it away. . left sally at home and drove to Hanham to return the 'Lord Of The Rings' DVD to the library. Stopped off at Lidl and bought six packs of the tiny cheap dog chews (5.94) I'd seen on line were part of this weeks special deals. Drove on to the Jollyes pet food store and stocked up on 48 tins of Winalot (18) and a sack of PAL beef and veg complete (15.99) to see me right through until next year. Stopped off on the way home and used the last of the cash in my wallet for some petrol (12.84ltrs - 10). . copied the photos of the dog back onto my digital camera and then walked with Sally back round to the house and knocked on the door. Got an answer and showed them the pictures and yes it WAS their dog - apparantly the police station had just called them to tell them that yes a dog HAD been handed in and was with the dog warden (despite having previously denied all knowledge, when the woman initialy rang up enquiring! Maybe my 'stirring of things' by ringing up had got things moving?). Impossible to say exactly why, but my impression of that house and its occupants, and the fact that the untrained dog had been out running loose without a name tag, suggested to 'me', that the dog may have been better off elsewhere! :o( Handed them the scrap of paper I'd written out with the details of when and where it was found and handed in, and the phone number of the dog warden - said 'cheers then', and left them to sort it out. Walked with Sally up to Kingswood to deposit and draw money out of the building society and in search of Xmas cards. Think I may have had that weird trapped wind thing going on with my hernia again (should have eaten some breakfast!). REALLY painful walk - so much so, I was very close to turning round and returning home, all doubled over and walking real slow with a hidden hand in my pocket pressing embarsssingly on my groin!!!!!? Bought some cards. Sat for quite a while (wishing I didn't have to walk all the way home!!) with cigarettes in the precinct. Amazing the number of people who insisted on coming over and cooing over Sally and asking how old she was. (I don't remember how old she is - what does it matter - life is just one long dog walk!) Sally allowed 'some' stroking. Several people who just passed by, were instantly cheered and made to smile just by the sight of her. She IS a beauty. Dogs are cool. :o) . . Found a penny. Passed a skip on the way home outside a house where some building work had been going on. Damn! Two wooden doors thrown away - the type with lots of little glass panels. Had a good look. If I hadn't just bought and fallen in love with the idea of having a pine door in the kitchen, I bet one of those would have done very nicely for nothing if tarted up and painted white. Must resist, must resist - shame I can't use them anywhere else, but it just wouldn't look right to have glass in the door of that understairs cupboard, and it's a different size so I can't swap them around . Shame. :o\ . . VERY glad to be home and sat down with less discomfort, but sporting a nasty headache!!! Ate some sandwhiches pretty quick which seemed to help with my stomach ache. . . some parcel delivery guy discovered I was home (yet another - this happens frequently!) and asked to leave some parcels for a neighbour who was out at work. Not keen on having the responsibility of always having to sign for them (and how secure is my signature when I have to sign on those electronic pads?!!) - just in case there is some dispute about things going missing!!!!!. . left an ansaphone message for BB and 'sang' happy birthday!!. . . managed to sleep for only an hour or so until woken, still with a nasty headache, by the neighbour calling in for her parcels . . . spent a while on the patio crushing up the rubble from when I cut in the rebates for the conduit and hacked off the old plaster behind the radiator, and preparing it for disposal by meticulously picking out and removing all the little bits of old wall paper!!! Sadly that little path I've been making over the field has been destroyed by the recent heavy rain!! It runs off the top field down the slope, and washes out all the rubble!! Need to make more rubble!! lol . . . ended up suddenly mustering the energy to hang the two old double kitchen cabinets back on the bare brick, kitchen stairs wall. The wall is currently SO uneven I had to shim the cabinets with bits of wood to get them level and secure!! Had to drill new countersunk holes in the wood and reposition the mounting screws in the cabinets to miss the lintels and conduits in the wall! Hassle. It'll do for a while. . BB called in the middle of things. . . finished cleaning and putting the cabinets together, cleared up and walked late after 8pm, carrying a heavy ruck sack of dust and rubble. Found 3p. Stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home . . . quickly popped my head up into the attic and grabbed some old bits of wood to put in the nearly empty bin. Started wiping off dust from the heap of tins and packages in the living room and began the long job of putting stuff away in the kitchen cabinets. The kitchen looks SO much better without those cabinets on that wall - it's a shame I've had to put them back up for a while. I think a bare wall with maybe a big mirror on it (curved top to match the firebreast arch?) would be cool. It's easy to lose sight of what I'm aiming for when I get bogged down in all the work, but every now and then, I'll suddenly be able to appreciate how absolutely right I am in re-modelling the kitchen in the way I am. Changing the focus by moving the cooker into the fireplace and having all those old work surfaces gone and that table and chairs out there instead, has suddenly kinda given me an extra spacious(ish) room to use after all these years of eating everything on a tray in front the TV in the living room. Do SO hope I have the strength and health to be able to battle on and finish the job!! Don't want to end up all broken and worn out, trying to get help on that TV show 'DIY Disasters'!! . . . PS popped round for chats till early. . .TVd till bed after 1am.(4/10)as
19 - Woken just after 8am by the sounds of the bin men . . .just pulling the curtains and spotted a flash car I didn't recognise pulling up and parking in the street. Turned out to be Sis1!! She'd stopped briefly on her way to work to deliver xmas cards . . . walked and found a penny and a large plastic 'Addis mop pail'!!?? I didn't really want it but it was just laying there in the field, had nothing wrong with it, and may come in useful for mixing plaster or cement and such . . .did overdue bed linen laundry chores. I fully admit to not being the cleanest of people - it just seems a never ending, largely pointless battle, that you can't ever win - especially at the moment living in a dusty building site. Deciding to change all my bed linen for white, was a good move. It acts kinda like a 'litmus' test and lets me know when I absolutely MUST do the laundry!! Eeeeeewwwww!!! lol :o\ . . . PCd this . . . wrote out a few xmas cards, tit for tat - what a chore. Actually found myself begrudging the obligation to send them and actually gave up and didn't send some that I should!!! I really am the scroogiest I've been this year!. . . briefly walked with Sally round to the post box . . . napped for a few hours and woke up late just before 7pm! Got the washing in - still damp!. . . walked with a rucksack and found 4p . . . BB called . . . cooked up a pie and the last of the oven chips next door had donated . . TVd till early. PCd till even earlier, with the electric blanket on half the night, drying out the sheets I'd put straight back on the bed. Ended up surfing looking up info on multi fuel stoves. Looks like if I ever have one put in the living room, I'll have to have the chimney lined!!! Ugggh - hadn't banked (??) on that. :o( (4/10)as
20 - Woken by Sally real late, way after 9:30am! . . . walked and found a penny . . . did some work on the kitchen building site and poured a small amount of concrete along the base of the stairs wall to reinstate the floor. Had to use the grinder to level some ragged bits, so more dust everywhere! Pretty windy out so opened the front door to let the dust blow through. Despite propping it open with some shoes, the wind tunnel effect was SO fierce it caught the new kitchen door and slammed it SO hard that the door jam became dislodged!!! Should have used longer nails - although I deliberately used short ones in case I needed to remove it some time. Hacked off some of the old dust and render from next doors wall, but only up to a foot in height. That should be enough to allow me to carry on doing the DPC work, without the mess of having the whole wall stripped off when BB comes. Crushed the rubble and bagged it ready for disposal. . Refitted the door jam with longer and more nails! . . managed to strip off the huge pieces of hardboard that had been used to cover both sides of the old kitchen door. Dumped the door out on the shelving on the patio, for cutting up and disposal some other time. Cut to size and used one of the pieces of hardboard to 'firm up' the back of the three seater sofa I have in the living room. I suspect that maybe the foam is getting tired - but it's got a silly design flaw anyway. When you sit on the cushions for any length of time, they squish and try to escape through the wood rails of the back of the sofa!! The hardboard is unnoticeable beneath the cushions and completely fills in all those gaps and will hopefully stop that happening. . vacuumed loads all over the place and then had a go at moving the furniture round in the living room, so that I can 'test drive' the sofa in my usual sitting place. The room layout definitely doesn't work so well like that. :o( . . . walked with a rucksack and found 2p . . .PCd this . . .touched base with BB . . . TVd till gone 1am. (4/10)as
21 - Woken by Sally after 8:30am . . . walked . . .extracted four bricks from the kitchen wall and cemented them back in with some damp proof course beneath. In the middle of all the work, Mum and Sis2 called. Sis2 got all upset and insisted on 'having it out' - why I'd withdrawn from them all, these last few months. Felt like I was under attack and backed into a corner. I ended up blurting out what I've been trying SO hard not to say - right or wrong - that I basically blame Mum for my personality disorder. I never wanted to say that, and cause whatever hurt that will inevitably cause. It was the phone call from hell. I don't know why Sis2 found it SO necessary to force all that to happen. I was happily cementing bricks - I answered the phone ok and was being all civil and chatty! I guess I figured I could be all withdrawn and get away with it until such time as I changed and was ready to see things in a different way, and be more tolerant and accepting of stuff. Not now I can't. Yeah, ok, I was being selfish - but seems pretty selfish to me for Sis2 to demand we have all that out with Mum on the extension. There's absolutely no going back now. Seems like ANY contact I have with my family these days just causes me (and them) distress. What on earth is the point? Sis2 seemed to think it was a necessary conversation and that we could move on and build from here. I'm a bloody schizoid avoidant - I'm very sorry but I absolutely cannot help it and I do NOT have the strength of character which it takes to change me, because it's pretty bloody hard!!! There's no moving on or building from THIS!! Happy fucking christmas . . .felt drained and dazed and really angry towards Sis2 by the time the call was over. . . finished cementing and crushed up and bagged some rubble . . .ended up just sat, for ages, trying to figure out just exactly why I was having end it all thoughts!!?? . . . walked with a rucksack - came home, reloaded and did it again . . . BB called . . . TVd/PCd until around 4am! (2/10)s
22 - Up after 9am again . . . walked and found a penny . . .sat around in front the TV . . . BB called . . . slept until evening . . . walked . . .ate and drank some wine. . . TVd until bed around 1am. blah blah blah! (3/10)sd
23 - Up just after 8am . . .walked and found 8p. Also found a gold (very light but appears to be hallmarked) bracelet on the way out, with a Victorian 1890 something gold coin as its centrepiece - is that a sovereign? Can't tell - I've never had a sovereign. Found a small purse on the way back near the rugby club building, containing 1.82, a door key and a Halifax ATM cash card in the name of Miss L. Mulhearn!! Tried looking up that name on line on the directory enuiries site, figuring there can't be many of that name locally. No such names with a phone listing! Only one came up, without a phone, somewhere up in Clifton - which seems unlikely to be anything to do with the same person. Damn. Now what do I do about all this?!! Very tempted to keep the lot - particularly in the 'screw the world' mood I seem to be in! Called one of the new directory enquiries 118 numbers and apparantly there ARE maybe half a dozen in the area but they are all ex-directory. Guess I'll have to drive to a police station somewhere and hand it in!!. . . walked with Sally up to shop and ended up handing the purse in to the Halifax building society (and getting myself a receipt), since they seemed quite happy to do the contacting and returning. . huge queues of traffic all over the place! Don't think I'll dare to be using the car for a while. So much for my intention of doing a dummy run to the airport to see how long it takes to get there and all - guess I'll just have to wing it on the day BB arrives! . . shopped. Left Sally tied to a post outside the store as usual - made eye contact with her as I was queuing at the check out. Her ears were halfway down and she had a slightly panicked, pleading, 'get me out of here' look on her face as all the masses of shopping crowds jostled by. I knew how she felt!! . . .struggled with furniture and put the two seater from the back bedroom down in the living room and put the three seater upstairs. Got it stuck in the doorway at one point and chipped off a load of paint from the bedroom doorframe! Hmmph. That three seater is definitely not very comfortable - it's gonna have to go in the future I think. . . grabbed a sandwhich and just couldn't face the prospect of trying to clean and clear up before BB arrives, and ended up laying down to nap . . . was just about asleep when Sally announced a caller. Sis1 popped in for a quick coffee and ended up having to endure me angrily rant and rave about the Sis2/Mum phone call the other day!! . . . put a few things away in the understairs cupboard and suddenly realised that the last remaining single kitchen cabinet that was stored in there, would neatly fit temporarily on the new bit of wall next to the cupboard door opening. Got the drill out and hung and cleaned the cabinet . . . walked . . . BB called . . . PS popped round for chats till early. (3/10)ss
24 - Up around 8:30am . . .walked . . .started trying to clean the place up a bit before BB gets here. Ended up starting with the bay window which, with a critical 'cleaning' eye, suddenly looked very brick dust coloured! Cleaned the windows inside and out and put the curtains and nets through the washing machine. Vacuumed a little in the kitchen and had a gentle prod at the ceiling. Wow - layers of dust!! Spent the next several hours vacuuming the ceiling in the kitchen and living room. Because of the stippled finish on the ceilings, I had to use the small one and a half inch wide brush attachment on the end of the vacuum hose, and do it a tiny bit at a time. Had to empty the bag loads! Amazing how much dust had settled up there - I could draw pictures in it with the vacuum!? Seemed to make the place a whole lot brighter by the time I'd finished - did some of the walls too! . . opened a window (actually quite mild for the time of year) and re-hung the curtains - they'll have to dry in situ. Kept the washing machine running almost all day, cleaning this and that. Think I missed a caller at the door at some point - a card delivered from DH . . .cleaned, vacuumed, wiped, dusted . . . started on cleaning up the bathroom and ended up on my hands and knees scrubbing the dusty carpet, which really should have been replaced with tiles by now! That's gonna take ages to dry out!! Tried speeding things along by standing on an absorbant sheet of foam type stuff, and then ringing it out - over and over and over again!!!. . .walked and found 5p. Stopped off at the chip shop, which was suprisingly open, on the way home. Think they were just about to close cause nothing was left on their hot shelves! The guy let me have a pasty and chips for the price of a sausage and chips cause it was christmas. Back home it became clear the pastie was yukkie and the chips were cool and past their best! :o( . . . more cleaning and sorting out in the living room. Kept the christmas cards I haven't replied to and binned the rest - felt a bit guilty but can't see the point in keeping them hanging around. Humbug nonsense. . . BB called . . .eventually gave up towards midnight, with the living room at least more or less habitable. . . showered and collapsed in front the TV for a bit. Bad stuff on the news about terrorist threats and Air France flights to and from the US being cancelled!!. . .touched base with BB to say humbug just after midnight, and to say that if something happens over the next couple of days and she doesn't want to fly, I'll fully understand! :o| . . . PCd briefly before bed in the early hours. (4/10)
25 - Woken by Sally near 9am!! . . . walked and found 6p . . . more laundry and cleaning!! :o( . . eventually got the bedroom de-dusted and in a relatively acceptable state . . .Mum and Sis2 called and left a 'humbug' ansaphone message but I just couldn't bring myself to speak to them! :o( . . . stopped to cook a couple of chicken kievs with chips for lunch around 2pm . . more laundry and cleaning . . . exhausted, fell asleep until around 7:30pm . . walked. Fireworks - again!!? Islamic fundamentalists trying to shoot down santa? :o\ . . . TVd and finished the little that was left in the bottle of wine. Only two glasses and felt a bit tipsy. Disappointing TV schedules. Who in their right mind decided that Christmas night, they'd put on a French film with English sub titles!! That's the last thing anyone needs after a couple of drinks! Actually ended up watching it, and despite the hard work of having to read my way through it, it WAS a good film, although I'm not too sure what was going on half the time - 'Amelie' I think it was called?. . . BB called . . . TVd frequently rotating draped laundry around radiators to dry. . . BB called. . . to bed after 1am. (4/10)assd
26 - Up around 8:45am . . .walked and found 5p. Stopped off in the local newsagent which was surprisingly open, and got him to put a 'FOUND - Gold necklace' note in his window. . . muesli breakfast, PCd this, and then started on cleaning the kitchen and having to wash everything in every cupboard and drawer! Uggh! :o( Took around seven or eight hours!!!!! What a waste of time. . .took a brief time out to do my duty and call Mum and Sis2. Mum hardly said a word while Sis2 acted as though everything would be ok!!! :o( . . . walked in the torrential rain. So glad when that was over . . . TVd while doing more laundry. God I'm sick of trying to clean up - miserable way to spend christmas! . . . BB called before leaving for the airport . . . trimmed my hair . . . to bed around 1am. (4/10)as
27 - Up around 8am . . .walked . . . muesli breakfast . . . dabbled with gluing one of the unstable kitchen chairs . . . PCd this . . . balanced my accounts . . .cleaned a little here and there. The minute BB is here, I'm having a break! Feel like I've earned it! . . .made sure the car started. Checked the Bristol airport website on several occasions but wouldn't you know it - no flight arrival data displayed!! Regional airport amateurs!! Grrrr! . . . .left home around 1:20pm expecting grid lock and loads of 'Winter Sale' traffic on the roads but amazingly things were pretty clear and I reached the airport within half an hour!! Didn't dare park so early and have to pay the exhorbitant car park fees, so drove round the airport perimeter and found a place to stop on the other side over looking the runway. Sat in the car for around 45 minutes watching planes taking off and landing. Eventually saw BBs flight land and start to taxi towards the terminal so started the car up and drove to the car park. . not much of a wait and out BB came through the funny little, fairly quiet arrivals hall. :o) . . . paid the outrageous 3+ for the few minutes of parking and headed home in a torrential rain storm . . safely back home and unloaded within an hour of the plane landing. SO much better than that long haul drive to Gatwick - although the flight was more expensive and BB did have that unpleasant Amsterdam stop over/connection!. . . LB stopped by and donated a pork bone for Sally . . .walked . . . sawed LBs bone donation in half and gave Sally the smaller half to gnaw on and make a mess of the living room carpet . . . BB went to bed pretty early, although actually quite late considering her jet lag and all . . TVd till late.(_/10)
28 - Disturbed sleep then up around 8am . . .walked in the cold and found 5! :o) . . .back home to find BB cooking up a big egg and pancakes breakfast feast . . . left Sally at home and both drove to shop out in the coooold wind! :o( BB found 2p . . . napped . . . walked while BB cooked up masses of fried chicken and chips and such . . . TVd until bed around 1am. (_/10)s
29 - Disturbed sleep then up just after 8am with a headache . . .walked in rubber in cold rain. Found 2p . . .next door are back from holiday and popped in and donated some weird foreign tobacco as a thank you for keeping an eye on the house! :o) Seems to have a health warning in Maori! . . . couldn't get the cheap spotlights I'd seen on special offer in Lidl, out of my mind. I'd resisted buying them for the kitchen because I haven't quite made up my mind what sort of lighting I want out there, but I couldn't help staring at the ceiling for ages trying to picture them in place, and started to regret it. Ummd and ahhd and eventually, just so I could regain my peace of mind, left BB and Sally at home and drove to the store to see if any were left. There were still a few left so I ended up buying two. '3 x 50W high voltage swivel spot lamps on a decorative metal base' - 12.99 each. I figure definitely one bank of three in front of the fire breast, with one lamp pointed at the cooker and the other two into each alcove - and possibly the other bank over the sink with a similar spread. Fitting them is gonna have to wait till BB is gone. Gonna have to pull up parts of both bedroom floors to wire it all in nicely - want to move the existing ceiling rose so that it sits more or less above the kitchen table and will allow fitting of a dedicated pendant type shade all seperately switched . . . ate left over chicken and chips for lunch . . .napped for a couple of hours . . . walked and found 1 . . . ate a huge meal of roast pork and all the trimmings, with loads left over for tomorrow :o) . . . headache finally eased . . TVd until early. . .Bob Monkhouse died this day. (_/10)aa
30 - Up around 8:15am . . . walked. Sally went running straight up to say good morning to BB in bed and ended up jumping up on the bed all covered in mud!!! :o( Ended up having to put the duvet cover through the wash and having it briefly hung on the line and then on radiators to dry all day! House seems to be constantly soaking wet with condensation! My morning waking up ritual (and don’t whatever you do, try to engage me in conversation for the first hour after waking!! Poor BB’s learned how dangerous that can be!) now includes walking around wiping all the windows with an absorbent cloth!. . . PCd this as BB cooked up a fried breakfast! She doesn't seem to mind spending loads of her time slaving over a hot stove - mostly for my benefit!!!? Cool. lol :o) . . .washed dishes. Received a phone call from a woman who'd lost her 'family heirloom' bracelet and had seen my notice in the local newsagents window. Explained to her that I wouldn't let her have it unless she could give a detailed accurate description of what she'd lost. (Eight bar gate style, gold sovereign centre piece, padlock clasp and a tiny tea pot.) It WAS hers. She popped round very grateful and picked it up and mumbled something about returning, with something for me as a thank you - I told her there was of course no need. I'm just glad to have that returned and off my hands/conscience. :o) . . . sat around and TVd. Ended up sat with BB watching a bit of PS Lord of the Rings DVD film, but we both got overcome with the need to nap and turned it off less than half way through. Funny thing about those films - they don't seem to have any sort of feel good undercurrent - seem to make me feel uneasy! . . . grabbed some left over pork and stuffing sandwiches and napped for a few hours until around 7:30pm!! . . . walked late . . . ate another big left overs roast meal . . . TVd till early. Feels as though I'm kinda 'on holiday' with all this eating and sitting around with BB doing nothing. :o) (_/10)s
31 - Up around 7:30am . . . left BB sleeping and walked. Stopped off in the local newsagent, thanked him and asked him to remove the notice about the found bracelet. Sally got excited playing with a puppy and then wallowed in a muddy puddle again!! Hosed her down and closed the bedroom door to ensure she didn't make it necessary to clean all the duvet cover again!. . .PCd this . . . muesli breakfast . . . all walked up to Kingswood for BB to shop for a small amount of supplies. Found 3p along the way. Sat outside the stores in the cold with Sally while BB shopped. Sally’s previous owner stopped for a brief hello. Seemed to take Sally quite a while to recognise her and then get all excited and puppy like. Just heading home with a rucksack of provisions and we passed a seemingly abandoned shopping trolley that still had the 1 coin deposit in the slot!? Some old guy spotted it but walked on so I grabbed my chance and left Sally with Bb and started to push it back to the trolley park. Felt all guilty as though I’d stolen someone’s trolley, but despite deliberately stopping on the way on the pretext of wiping my nose, no one gave chase and I returned it and retrieved the 1 coin. :o) Astonishing total of the money I've found laying around this year. . . TVd and a sandwich before all napping for just a couple of hours . . . walked in the biting cold . . .TVd the year out. Always for me, this time of year, is a time for quiet sombre inevitably unhappy reflection. Poor BB having to endure my company!!! I'll be glad to see the back of this year. It's not been one of the best. I've turned into someone I like even less than the little I have before. I've made a permanent, awful, regrettable mess of 'family relations'. I have developed into THE most schizoid I have ever been. My financial position (‘net worth’) has retreated back to, that of the year 2000. Physically I seem to have deteriorated all of a sudden into a blurred sighted, aching, stooped and bitter old man who can't see past yet (YET!!) another year of hard labour on the house renovations and the prospect of abdominal surgery to look forward to! . . . uhhmmmm - Happy new year. :o| . . . Had a drink or two and TVd the evening away, but the cable service started playing up worse than it’s ever done, and pretty much became intermittent!? Ended up watching the rest of the Lord Of The Rings DVD until just before midnight and then turned it off and tuned in on the TV to listen to Big Ben chime and watch all the festivities. Lo and behold, a few minutes before midnight, the cable TV ceased working all together. Outrageous! This night of all nights?!!! Poor BB had to spend the last minutes of the year with me being all outraged at the consistantly appalling service that the cable company provides. You could almost imagine some drunk technician flicking the off switch just before midnight for a laugh! Grrrrrr. First year I’ve not heard Big Ben chime out the year for as long as I can remember. :o( ended up pulling the curtains open and watching some of the neighbourhood fireworks. Sis2 and Mum called to touch base – even they‘d heard the chimes despite being on another continent! . . cable TV was out of service for the rest of the night! Figured I’d put some music on but ended up in a pretty foul mood when it appears that my stereo has broken and won’t play any CDs!!!! Too much dust? Jeeze – some crappy start to a new year. To bed all fed up in the early hours.(_/10)dss