Welcome to family, friends and visitors. Here you will find interesting (hopefully) pictures of my part of the world, news of our household and probably, long ramblings about anything that catches my interest.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Sunny.

This morning two electricians came and fitted a light in the loft. It would have been a lot quicker if we had it done before the loft was boarded out but we just didn't think of it before.
It's been another sunny day with more clouds in the sky. It would have been ideal for working outside but though my heart is keen my body is not. A combination of too much kneeling work as well as forgetting to take one lot of painkillers yesterday left me realising I've been overdoing things. So today all I did was to go over to B&Q to buy two washing line poles and a bag of concrete. I also dropped into BJ's and came out with a tin of satin magnolia paint for the kitchen (yes, we changed our minds again about the colour) which was on the bargain shelf for £5.
The wind has been blowing from the east which technically is a colder wind but we are sheltered on that side so the front garden and rooms at the front of the house have been lovely and warm. The celandine flowers are so bright they look like little suns and this pink primulas is looking good too. There are quite a few daffodils and crocuses flowering in other people's front gardens.
This evening the sun has gone from a magnificent golden globe in the sky to a burning ball of red before disappearing behind the clouds.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Sunny.

Behold! A new garage door. It's nothing grand but compared to the old, dented green door that needed two people to open and close it carefully it's wonderful. Now it opens and closes at the merest touch and all we need to so is to fix the roof so that rainwater doesn't drip inside.
Today has been one of those sunny days with barely a cloud in sight. With the cool wind it reminds me of being by the sea. I've spent most of the day working on the paving, first scraping off more lumps from the slabs and then pressure washing. The lumps were made up of different building materials which possibly helped keep me from getting bored. The pink plaster and mortar were the easiest to scrape off while the cement was hard to distinguish from the slabs and needed chipping away. Worst of all were the large patches of white plaster which were hard to scrape away and never came off in pieces. I took the above picture at around 4.00 when the sun had moved round to the front of the house but for most of the day that corner had been a wonderful sun trap. It was so nice that I took a long break sitting against the wall on that bit of pallet with coffee, book and sunhat.
I've more or less decided to keep the paving and deck the other side with a small raised flower bed going from the spades to the edge of the paved area. Next we need the builder to fix the big crack in the wall and sort out the decking.
I'll be off out to Pilates soon once I've done my home exercises as a pre-warm-up warm-up. We've got a different instructor for this week which might prove interesting.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Foggy.

For most of the day we have been enveloped by low fog. The view was so hazy that I could barely see beyond the first bend in the river.
I've spent most of the day working outside removing the rest of the top decking. Peter persuaded me to give the drill another go after he fitted the correct head. Though only a few of the screws came out with the drill it loosened most of them enough for me to lever up the planks. I was using our largest screwdriver as a crowbar when suddenly it flipped out of my hand and into the small rhododendron bush on the right. Now this screwdriver is over 12" long, the sort you might use to fix a tractor with a bright red handle but could I find it in the bush? The bush is only about 4ft high and 3ft across but I had to spend a long time searching until I spotted the screwdriver pointing up at me.
Here I've taken up all the planks but haven't yet begun cleaning the paving slabs.
And finally, the slabs have been initially cleaned and swept. They must have done a lot of plaster and cement mixing on the slabs before laying the decking (very badly) as at least half of the slabs had mounds of cement or plaster on them. So far I've chipped a lot of them away but need to do a bit more before I begin pressure washing. Although at first glance the decking looked smarter and more modern but on closer inspection, presuming you hadn't slipped over, the planks were in a poor state and rotten at the ends. I've stacked all the planks according to size and shall ask someone more knowledge if they are at all salvageable. Ideally I'd like to have decking on the left side, the paving slabs cleaned up and maybe a few along the right hand side taken out to make space for planting.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Dry.

Today has been quite mild with a gentle wind that helped dry the washing I hung out on the washing line. While Peter went off again to the row-athon I got on with things around the house. I began by painting part of a wall in our bedroom. When I originally painted the last coat in that room I very lazily didn't move the large mirror propped up against the wall as we intended for the mirror to be put up there. As that mirror is now in my study if looked at carefully the wall was not as good as the others. That will teach me to try and take short cuts.
I spotted two more black cats in the front gardens. I've stopped letting Patch out at the front since I found that he was probably using next door's garden as a toilet. He can get there from the back but I don't think he bothers.
This afternoon I began the task of removing the top section of decking. I had guessed correctly and there are slabs underneath the decking. I've been hoping that the decking could, with a bit of trimming, be re-laid on the  sunny side of the garden but the wood is in quite a poor state so I'm not sure. It was hard work on the wrists undoing the screws. I did try using an electric drill but some of the screws simply spun around in the rotten wood and others began to bur. I ended up using a combination of a screwdriver and some adjustable pliers. I'll just keep on working at my slow pace and eventually that deck will be dismantled and I can clean up the concrete slabs underneath.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Dry.

Today has been another bright and sunny day following a little rain first thing. While Peter went off for the gig club's row-athon at the new Tesco's I got with painting the final corner of the sitting room. Like yesterday I was able to get two coats done and hopefully that is it for the sitting room. The next big job will be the hall and stairs but before I do that I may paint the top half of the kitchen walls. I finally decided that white would be better than trying to match the cream colour of the tiles. I got on with general tidying up between painting sessions and also removed a nasty slop of cement that had hardened onto the rim (not by me) of a large ceramic planter by the front door. It's resemblance to a massive blob of chewing gum was quite nasty. Working very carefully so as not to damage the planter I chipped away using a large screwdriver and hammer. The fact that some ordinary geraniums (pelargoniums) have survived the winter outside in the planter shows how mild our winters are. When spring is truly here I shall add in some of my trailing geraniums which are currently in the conservatory. 
Some photos from yesterday's walk to town.
One of a pair of windows in a building at the Northgate end of the High Street. If you go to this Link the building is just behind the cream painted building on the left in the modern view.
 An old cottage in Pilton Street.
A pair of cottages also in Pilton Street. I wonder if the shuttered windows once led to store rooms with hoists to lift in goods from the street? Also did the owners of these cottages hold out against the builders of the Georgian/Victorian houses on either side?
Looking at the woodwork of the door and under the roof of this cottage makes me wonder if it is even older than the cottages above. What a story all these old buildings could tell.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Happy Birthday, Vytas.

Today is our eldest son Vytas' birthday. He lives a busy life which includes a lot of travelling to interesting places including China, Japan and Peru  both for work and pleasure. He and Sally are always off 'doing' things which frequently involve specialist attire ranging from Kylo Ren (Comic-con events), 17thC pikeman (Sealed Knott) to Highland wear for a friend's wedding. I just love their enthusiasm and passion for life.
Now I can reveal my kitchen project, marzipan hedgehogs and chocolate truffles, which I made to send to Vytas. The three types of truffles were; nutty, salted caramel filling with vodka soaked apricots and dipped in white chocolate and dark chocolate with rum. There were a few left over after I had filled two boxes and they tasted very nice indeed.
Not only is it Vytas' birthday but it is the 100th anniversary of Lithuania's declaration of independence. It wasn't long lived due to Lithuania lying between two major military powers, Russia and Germany but continues to be celebrated by Lithuanians both at home and abroad. (The guy on the horse is Vytautas the Great.)
Here at home I got two coats of paint done in the last corner of the sitting room before and after walking into town for some shopping. Friday is market day in the pannier market but even at 2.00 some stalls were already packing up. I suppose there's not so much trade in the winter.
I also cut a piece out of the wood frame that the bin store stands on so now the wheelie bin can simply be wheeled out without having to be lifted over the wood. 
The main  purpose of today's trip was to find a top to wear when singing in concerts. Looking at photos on the website I could see that the dress code is black trousers/leggings with a bright, single coloured top with sleeves. As that is something I don't have even with my vast clothing collection I decided to look in the charity shops for something suitable. I first bought the emerald green M&S top and then a couple of shops later found the bright orange top. So now I even have a choice.
And after resigning myself to manually importing, copying and renaming my photo files tonight a new version of the importing short cut appeared as if by magic.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

All White.

Behold, a lovely white sitting room with all the contents of the cardboard boxes stowed away in the pine cupboard. Not quite an accurate picture as the corner behind me hasn't been painted yet. The exercise bike is on the left with just part of one of the legs in view. The room will 'shrink' next week as we are emptying the storage unit and a couple of bits of furniture will have go in the sitting room until we sort out what to do with them. When everything is settled we'll put some pictures up on the walls. I already know where the sword is going but as we've got the electrician coming next week to put a light in the loft I'll get him to check where the electrical wires are with one of those detector gadgets. Wires are supposed to go vertically to sockets and switches but you never know and some of the previous electrical work was distinctly shoddy.

Speedy likes being a town cat if it means spending the day sleeping on the sofa.
After hovering the floor I discovered quite a few spots of paint despite all the dust sheets and newspaper I'd put down while painting. So my next job was to wash/scrape off all those white specks. Then finally it was time to shift the TV so I could get to the corner behind. There I discovered a great tangle of wires. 
After removing the unnecessary wires (first consulting Peter), untangling and securing the excess lengths with wire ties the corner looked much tidier. I did have to unplug a couple of wires and later the Sky box wouldn't work. A quick prod at the connections and we were back to normal. After taking off the plastic conduit going up to the ceiling I found I had a number of screw holes to fill. That done I need to wait until tomorrow to begin painting.  I used the excess filler to fill in some holes in the hall wall. For a professional plaster the last owner did a rubbish job in own home. (The work he did at Dingles was fine.)
The morning had begun very wet after which we had blue skies with cold winds and then a couple of showers one just as I went out to do a little pressure washing. 
A pretty, soft sunset tonight.