On His Knees

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Richard was still working when Jackie and I went out for our meal last night. Using a scribing block, in preparation for the Crestwood flooring people tomorrow, he marked out a threshold, cut it to shape on his chop saw,

Threshold fit

and pressed it neatly into position in the doorway to my study area.

He then found he needed to remove the door, shave a little off the bottom, and screw it back up again.

Cutlery tray

When we returned we found that he had not only left the place spotless, but had also fitted the cutlery drawer.

This morning, Conor arrived to prepare the floor for its covering. His yellow knee pads are essential protection for joints that are constantly bending and sliding across floors. First he sanded smooth the screed applied last week;

then swept it clean; mixed up a firmer base with which to cover it; and spread that smoothly.

Dryer

It was then dried with a machine that sucked in air at room temperature and blew it out again. He delegated to me moving the dryer across the surface at regular intervals whilst he went off to another job.

In the afternoon he returned and once more smoothed the second screed before laying out the panels of pale limed oak Karndean flooring in two directions so we could decide in which direction we wanted it.

He then proceeded, with the edge of his long metal straight edge helping him transfer and mark his line, to cut his shapes;

apply his glue;

pressing the boards down by hand.

Elizabeth popped in for a while, and she and Jackie impeded my photographic progress by standing, squealing with glee, in the doorway.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak. My meal was lamb shank served with an array of vegetables and bacon and spring onion mashed potato. With this I drank Ringwood’s Best, now termed Razor Back, apparently to appeal to a younger clientele. Jackie also enjoyed her chicken burger with fries and salad, She drank Amstell. I polished off the last of her fries.

 

The Revd. Norman David Bird 27.3.32 – 27.2.18

Regular readers will have noticed the gradual tailing off of

my lunches with my old friend, Norman. It was not really that long ago that I visited fortnightly and enjoyed his adventurous cooking accompanied by my bottle of wine.

We first found friendship in the early 1970s, and were strong confidants ever since. When Jackie and I were £15,000 short of the purchase price of our house, Norman offered to lend it free of interest.

For the last three years Norman’s multiple ailments had made him increasingly frail. He spent two of his last months in hospital before being transferred three weeks ago to a care home where he died last night.

His death, although bringing a tear to my eye, and a lump in my throat, is not to be mourned. Life had become extremely painful for him and his faith had made him ready for the next life. He and his many friends are predominantly relieved.

A keen paddle steamer enthusiast, Norman gathered together all these friends on both his 70th and his 80th birthdays, and took us on a trip down the Thames.

Norman 6.4.02

Cheers, Norman.

Snow On The Eucalyptus

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By the time Jackie and I returned from the forest yesterday evening, Richard had fitted

Cupboard

all the smooth-running drawers

Sink and draining board

and splash trims to the worktops. I had planned to photograph these before he arrived this morning, but I overslept, so I got in his way again.

Wadding under shelf

At top left of the above picture can be seen the new oak windowsill, under which wadding has been applied.

This had been the site of the old kitchen sink. Our friend decided to lower the power points now half way up the wall, and to fit new skirting board.

Other electrical work included the fitting of strip lighting. The first two of these pictures shows the wiring of the larder cupboard with Richard pressing the switch which will be operated by the opening and closing of the door. Beneath the materials in the cupboard can be seen the quartz base to the food store. The electrician holds a reel of LED lights from which he cuts a suitable length. The last of these pictures is the strip over the long worktop.

Yesterday, in describing the core cutting for the extractor fan ducting I did not give enough emphasis to the fact that both these holes were cut through solid concrete blocks en route to the new outside wall.

The first cut, through the wall above the hobs, takes us into what was the garage.

Extractor fan casing

Later, Richard made a casing for the extractor.

On the front drive, beyond Richard wielding the saw, can be seen the cold dry cotton balls that fell from the sky whilst he was thus engaged. Viewing the first picture above full size in the gallery will show that the ice in the Waterboy’s shell has only been disturbed by the running flow. I wonder how many eucalypts, like that in the third image, have gathered a coating of snow.

This evening, the management having changed, we dined at The Royal Oak, just two buildings away. The new team have only been in occupation 5 days, so it was quite quiet. A new, much more tasteful, ambience has been created. Service and food were very good. I enjoyed a rib eye steak, cooked exactly as I asked; Jackie was equally pleased with her gammon steak. She drank Amstel, and I drank Ringwood’s Forty-niner.

Sunset Wakes

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Richard began this morning by fitting oak surfaces to the sink trim and the window sill. Shelves were cut to an exact fit, clamped, and glued into place.

The cupboard cornices, cut to size with the Festool chop saw, having perfect mitres, were then fitted, with cable threaded through for lighting.

Jackie and I visited Banging Breakfast Café for brunch, and arrived back in time to witness the delivery of the Cimstone Arcadia quartz worktops. Richard had been expecting these tomorrow, but they came a day early and he fitted them firmly into place.

He had made a template for these last week. The only join required was at the junction between the long worktop and the piece to hold the hobs. Richard mixed the adhesive and wedged the material in place, having mixed the adhesive seen on the palette resting over the hob space.

Hole cut for extractor fanCore cutterRichard drillingRichard drilling

The most difficult task today seemed to be drilling the outlet for the new extractor fan. This involved a much larger core cutter. One hole was cut above the hob site through to the library. Another across the other side through the outside wall. Each drilling had to be centred first with a smaller drill. Richard was very careful when working in this very awkward space. The oar seen standing to the right of the drill is one of two won by Sam whilst at Wadham College, Oxford.

Late this afternoon Jackie drove us into the forest for a while. We watched the sun, reflected in icy pools, lowering over the moors at East Boldre,

Dogs with balls

where a couple of romping dogs eagerly rushed to display their balls.

Sunset arrived with us at Hatchet Pond,

Waterfowl and cloud reflected at sunsetWaterfowl and reflected skiesWaterfowl and reflected clouds at sunsetWaterfowl wakes

where wakes of waterfowl disturbed the clear reflections,

Branch in Hatchet Pond

and the Loch Ness Monster appears to have relocated.

My choice of sandwich this evening was egg and smoked ham salad.

 

 

 

Up To St Mary & St Nicholas

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We arrived at Leatherhead’s Travelodge in time to watch the Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and Wales. I must say this hotel is the best appointed and friendliest in the budget chain that I have experienced. I was happy to tell the manager this the next morning.

Early in the evening we dined at Piazza Firenze Italian restaurant in High St with Helen and Bill, Pat, Christine, and Olivia. Shelly and Ron joined us a bit later. The service was friendly and efficient and the food and wine excellent. I enjoyed a starter of meat balls, a calzone, and a crepe Vesuvio. Pat, Bill and I shared a bottle of Montepulciano. I rather lost track of what anyone else ate or drank.

We then watched the Godalming Operatic Society’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Sorcerer, directed by Jackie’s cousin, Pat O’Connell. Pat has now directed the whole of the G & S canon for this company, and has decided that this will be his last. I have no doubt, however, that the players will wish to keep very much in touch with him.

Supplemented for this production by the professional tenor David Menezes as Alexis, this is a very fine amateur group that has been performing regularly since 1925.

I am no connoisseur, but it seemed to me that it took a while to warm up, yet when it did it burst into delightful fun, for players and audience alike. There were many good voices, splendidly performed choreography, lively group scenes, and a number of amusing comic turns.

Afterwards we enjoyed drinks and conversation in the bar.

As usual, in the morning, being first up, I ventured into the quiet, sunlit Leatherhead streets. A gentleman I met walking his dog described the morning as “fresh”. I had to agree. The manager was manning the hotel reception desk. During our conversation he directed me to the church of St Mary and St Nicholas where he said there was an historic tree. I didn’t find the tree

but I did walk up Church Street

As one leaves the modern section pictured above, buildings of older eras still stand.

The Mansion garden wall bears a plaque detailing its history.

A variety of windows catch the eye. The first of the trio above, protected by an iron grill, reflects the rooftops opposite. The second bears the name of Vapepit, the twenty first century occupant of the premises of a nineteenth century coal merchant. Vape is what you do with an e-cigarette in an attempt to give up nicotine. There is quite an intense controversy about whether this is beneficial or more harmful to health. More information is contained in this article from The Guardian newspaper: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/13/e-cigarettes-vaping-safe-old-fashioned-smoke.

The last of the three windows is on the wall of the church

alongside which is a public park.

After wandering among the gravestones for a while I gave up looking for the tree. Between two stones in the last of this group of pictures lies a brick formation in the shape of a human body.

Our group gathered in the foyer and repaired to Weatherspoons for an excellent, remarkably inexpensive, breakfast. When the party dispersed Jackie drove us home where I watched a recording of yesterday’s rugby match between England and Scotland.

I enjoyed a salt beef, mustard, and mayo sandwich this evening. Jackie’s choice was tuna mayo.

We Have A Working Sink

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Yesterday evening, at Elizabeth’s, Danni, assisted by Andy, produced a stunning curry for us all, also including friends Nicki and Andrew, with plenty to heat up for sister Jacqueline when she arrived later. After a starter of Jackie’s cooked poppadoms, we enjoyed chicken and egg curry; a chick peas dish; sag paneer; spicy cauliflower; onion bahjis; and hand made rotis. It really was a splendid tour de force. Jackie drank Kingfisher and the rest of us consumed various red wines.

We heard that Nicki and Andrew had recently visited the iconic Highgate cemetery, and Elizabeth had lent them her copy of The Magnificent Seven. They enjoyed that so much that they want to visit the other six landscaped London Victorian burial grounds.

Once my two sisters got together they couldn’t resist reminiscing about my driving stories. Elizabeth introduced the subject of the Death Of The Brown Velvet Suit, with the observation that I was the only person she knew who had been run over by his own car.

Jackie washing up

We arrived home to find that Richard had fitted a back to the sink unit and boxed in the piping against the wall. Although it still needs the worktop we were able to use it this morning.

We also admired the angles of the join at the box, over which will eventually be placed an oak window sill.

The temperature overnight was below freezing. This is expected to continue for the rest of the month. Our garden has not suffered any set-backs yet.

Now, late in the morning, we are setting off by car for Leatherhead for the annual Gilbert & Sullivan production directed by Jackie’s cousin Pat O’Connell. As usual, I will post on the proceedings tomorrow.

 

The Bends

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Today Richard concentrated on plumbing in the sink and the dishwasher. First came the cream plastic piping.

Cutting through the concrete wall required the use of the core cutter. Here the plumber holds up the solid tube of breeze block that he has removed.

Next came the gleaming copper pipes. In the largest of this group, Richard points out the stop cock. Visible in these last two images is the temporary sink he has left for us to use during the past week.

This was later removed.

The slender copper tubing had required bending and cutting to shape and size.

In mid-afternoon we left Richard on his own again to drive to Elizabeth’s where Danni and Andy are to cook a curry. If there is anything of moment I will report on it tomorrow.