Driving out from home, I have to wait for traffic to clear. Too many times, I take a moment to set some music on the car stereo then look up to see all the gaps have gone and I have to wait. This time, I notice a bird standing on the road just next to the cycle-lane marking. It has a short tail, about 14cm tall and is stationary. it looks confused, perhaps a flegling on its first day out. Traffic though.
In a split second, a black 4×4 passes and with a crunch, it has gone. In that split second, the large wheel reduces 14cm heigh down to a few millimeters. A snapping crunch makrs the breaking of all its bones at once. All that is left is a pad of feathers and a patch wet meat.
That was it, a life gone. All that potential lost. I drove out when clear but that image troubled me for many days. It seemed to symbolise all that is futile. I can remember all of the times an animal has lost its life; dove, a female phesant, a squirrel on the morotway.
They are spawning, the ants. In this tussock they build a pyramid of soil and winged males and females are all over it. I didn’t realise what was going on at first and accidentally disturbed the structure. I side were eggs and more drones. The cone of soil seems quite fragile, I have not seen one before like this. I’m used to seeing spawning from paving slabs, but not this.
Today, I removed the dining room radiator ready for wallpapering. This is the third radiator that hides damaged plaster in this house. This time, the resulting hole is small, only he size of my hand. Newly plastered, it’s drying now. I hope to finish this room by Thursday.
I didn’t look forward to going up the ladder bit it had to be done. Another bout of heavy rain loomed. There were still gusts with some force which took the ladder before I could secure it. In response, I got rope and tied the top and bottom rungs to fence posts.
The broken and crumbling tiles were tricky to remove. One row was mailed and the others were interleaved and secures by their own weight.
Got a cold so stayed in and worked on the house. This is the door to a cupboard which was panelled over, probably in the late 1970s. The panel cake off easily but the paint flaked and revealed its thickness. There were atm east 4 layers, the lower layers were even thicker and softened reluctantly under the heat gun. The yellow is rather shocking (probably 1980s) but the two colours beneath are interesting.
Those two lower paint coats needed more heat to soften and smelled different.
Now the door is finished and re-hung, the room smells of linseed oil. Is that the medium for old paints? I feel rather nostalgic about that smell, it reminds me of art college
I have to say, I’m happy with the plastering job. I’ve never plastered anything as big as the chimney breast bit this worked. I can smooth my hand over for that satisfying feeling. Okay, so I tweaked it with a little polyfiller but still….
The HDR app is handy here for looking for flaws. Here is one looking abstract.
Following that experience in the early week, I have yet to return to cycling. I rode a meer 25 miles and felt dreadful by the end. The last few days, I cracked on with the decorating. The hall is half done and you can see where it’s going.
Once more, stripping off wallpaper revealed loose plaster; this time, right next to the front door.
The underlying bricks have a fault, there in a crack in the mortar which now needs attention from outside. I wonder whether this fault it caused by slamming the front door. The door is a tight fit in the frame this winter. Perhaps it does this every winter when it’s damp.
Another item for the to-do list; plane the door down to give clearance.
Much as I hate DIY plumbing, this one job has to be done. The kitchen radiator has left little puddles beneath when I get home. The system pressure would drop enough to shut down the boiler by the end of the the week.
After trying loosening and re-tightening the nuts on the valve for no improvement, I bought a replacement valve. This is a basic thermostatic valve and looked like the right size to fit onto the same nuts and olives.
Here is the old valve without the thermostat. Water leaked from the centre of the black top
Now that the heating system is a closed loop combi-boiler, draining didn’t take long.
The pipe looks scruffy but I can clean it up when I decorate. Perhaps Emery paper then varnish it to keep the copper colour.
Cost of repair? Just over £6.50. Boom!
At the same time, I have put together an emergency pipe repair kit: some pipe, compression joints, PTFE tape and a pipe cutter. Oh and a flexible pipe, that should be enough should the worst happen this winter.
Why is this, I wake at 02.30, wide awake so get up for my usual night-time herb tea. Back to bed for more ceiling staring. I don’t get it, I’m not stressed, don’t have any worries and it’s been 12 hours since the last coffee. What’s going on?
Here is the plaster in the kitchen. And here it as was a week ago:
I suspect that the heat may have played a part it that plaster becoming detached. This is where the boiler used to be mounted and those pipes carry very hot water. I’ve not decided how to box in the pipes. Should they have insulation.
Is this a cold causing sleep disruption? the current cold has hung on a while just entering its third week. I’m so frustrated by this.
A day spent house-making. The old cooker is out, the new one in place. Radiators are ready and waiting for the plumber.
Soon to be hidden under wallpaper behind a radiator is this sketch.. Drawing over polyfiller is not as easy as plaster. The texture is too rough which made subtle marks difficult to achieve. Perhaps a hard grade of pencil would suit better.