Saturday, 29 October 2016

Shiver me timbers... !!

I'm looking forward to my extra hour in bed, it will make up for the hour I lost due to Harvey demanding to go out this morning! 

So,  timbers made from grungeboard, all cut out, and with a few coats of paint.  Started with a light brown, then used a Mocha.  I don't think I did too bad a job.  Tried to just keep it simple,  it is for the back of the pub, which has no windows, so I could ignore those bits.   Next task was to glue it into place.

Ta dah!  Luckily I spotted that it had shifted slightly when I put on the elastic bands, so I was able to ease it over.  The little archway is now looking the business.  It was the fiddliest bit, well so far,  it has needed a lot of 'dressing', by that I mean adding sand, grass bits, and will be adding a few leaves. 

Next job, to glue the side bits into place.  Cue pegs...   and elastic bands.   Then scramble around looking for the small paintbrush that you have just put down, somewhere! 

While that was drying I decided to...

...have a cuppa, phew, thirsty work this housebuilding.   Then I measured the roof to work out were the rafters went.   Used the tacky glue so they wouldn't then just ping loose when I let go. 

Then, quick slurp of tea, bite head of reindeer...  the Xmas malteaser reindeer, not the real thing.   Very tasty.

Remove pegs, and repeat process on the other side.  All tasks on list completed,  time for dinner.   I also needed to put away some meat I'd bought from the sell by counter,  got four chicken breasts and two nice pieces of casserole steak for £4.10,  bargain or what?   Three chicken breasts would have cost me £4,  so I congratulated myself for the savings.  Love that counter,  found loads of bargains there in the last few weeks.   All the meat went straight into the freezer, except for one chicken breast that I used for my stir fry,  and Harvey had some chicken too.  Can't leave him out,  he loves chicken,  and he had a fair old few morsels tonight.  Then off he went, into the night,  don't worry he can get back in easily if he wishes.  He doesn't go far either,  we've had a few fireworks going off, but he's come back once the bangs start.  He will be kept inside on bonfire night.

Bonfire night also means I can get rid of a few things from the garden, got some old wooden planters that have rotted,  plus an oversized rose bush/tree, it is far too big, so it is coming out.  Think there are some other bits in the shed that can also go on the bonfire.   Would it be possible to also place the entire Tory government on top of a bonfire?    Talk about the blind leading the blind...  not sure any of them know what they are doing, other than avoid answering any questions, or admitting that they have bribed Nissan to stay in the UK. 

I'm also confused, (not that it takes much), but you see they keep telling us that we are a rich country.  So if we are, how come we have so many homeless people,  and why are there families holed forced to live in the most disgusting examples of temporary accommodation.   Also why are people forced to pay sky high rents for rat holes.  Why can't we fund the NHS properly, why have waiting lists increased under this government;  why have they slashed disability benefits?  Oh and why do we need foodbanks?   Just wondering, cos I would have thought that a rich country could afford to build decent homes for all,  fund the NHS,  and and that there would be no need for foodbanks...   Funny how we can afford nuclear weapons, money to bribe companies to stay here,  to pay the extortionate MP expenses bill, and hand over millions to a very rich family for cutting the odd ribbon.  Mmm...  see anything wrong with this picture? 

Well the guitar fund is growing,  I've narrowed down my choice of guitar.  I was looking at some buying guides and reviews on Youtube, plus listening to how the various guitars sound.  They all warned against going cheap, which I'd worked out for myself,  so need to be spending around the £100 plus mark, for new, or less than that for second hand.  Don't mind the preloved stuff, after all, Harvey was a preloved cat!   Last night he fell off the bed during a mammoth washing session...   this morning as I was reading my paper he decided he wanted to sit on my lap, so plonked himself down in the middle of the paper,  and he spent part of the morning outside howling at another cat - at that point I disowned him. 

Now I must go feed him, again... he is like a bottomless pit.  Back soon with more pub updates.  Enjoy Halloween, and be careful when parking your broomstick!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Got it covered!

Evening,  it's a bit chilly here, even Harvey has been snuggling on my knee.  Glad that I got the duvet out of storage.    And I'm using some lavender smelling washing liquid,  it is such a beautiful aroma. 

So pub update,  it is nearly open for business!  I have now stuck the whole thing together.  This was on Monday,  lots of elastic bands were needed to hold things together.  Nice of the postie to drop them around the road.  No idea why they need to drop them.. 

So after it was all dry,  it was then time to cover it with the air dry clay, or filler, the choice was mine.  Went with the clay, just find it easier.  So this is the front, now looking a lot neater after some trimming and sanding.   I went round into the door frames, just to give a neater finish.  Now it needs to be painted,  which I would have done today, but needed to just add a bit more clay here and there.  So while that was drying, I had something to cut out...

The timber frame for the rear of the pub.  It didn't come with one, so I have had to make my own.  I thought about using card, but didn't have anything thick enough, so I went for grungeboard.  I used the front piece of timber frame as a template, but of course for the back I didn't need the window or door frames, so I could make it up as I went along.   It was also easy to cut thank goodness, and best of all - it fits!   I've now started to paint it,  it will need a few coats, so I'm starting with a light brown, then go darker. 

There is still lots to do, windows to put in, doors, all have to be painted, then the roof, oh and the chimney... so not a lot!   And in between trying to learn Blowin In The Wind...  almost there with the chord changes.  I'm okay once my hands get warmed up, but when I start they are just so stiff.   Still looking at guitars, and of course still saving up.  Just trying to get an idea of what is best to buy,  want something with a good sound, but not too big as I'm not sure I could cope with the full size dreadnought guitar,   going to go have a peek in the music shop and see which I can manage. But got weeks before any buying can be done. 

I also can't believe that I've now completed one year as a non smoker.  Who would have thought it?  Not me,  though without the e cigarette I would have cracked long before now.  I've just had to replace the battery on one, yes I have two.  I use one and the other goes on charge.  I also like to give the top bit a wash with warm water every now and then.  I've saved a fortune, but sadly since quitting the health has actually gone downhill, now I thought it would be the other way around.  No,  I won't be ever puffing on a cigarette again, happy with my vape machine.

So now off to watch that spooky thing on ITV, if Harvey will leave me alone...   sees you all soon with more pub updates.  

Sunday, 23 October 2016

A new project!

Here is the new project: The Travellers Rest.  In a week's time it will, I promise, look very different.    In fact it already is.  It arrived on Friday in good time to lift my rotten mood.  It's been a real up and down week,  and my back has been so painful.   I had to go see my GP,  she was lovely and we talked about pain relief,  but she is reluctant to change my meds at the moment because of the upcoming appointment with a specialist.   So taking comfort in heat pads, and the odd glass of garnacha! 

The first job was to make the floors, plus the little roadway...  all will become clear as the pub comes together.    I cut up some card to use as floorboards,  they get stuck down individually,  get some distressing and then a coat of PVA, a glossy modpodge.   For the road I used some air dry clay,  then pressed a cobblestone mold into the clay.   And it was all left to dry.

This is the inside wall of the archway,  it was covered by a thin sheet of the clay.   It didn't need to be smooth,  in fact I wanted it to look rough and ready.    I covered the MDF in PVA, then lay the clay on top,   just pressed it down,  then trimmed off the excess.    It was left to dry overnight.   I did the same process on the opposite wall.

This is the inside wall with its timber frame, honest!   Forgot to take a before pic,  but hey, the pegs are colourful.   They are of course to hold down the timber frame until the glue dries.  Before this I gave the clay a tidy up, and a coat of paint.   Yep,   all slow, but necessary.

Here is that wall in situ.   It had some 'walnut' dabbed all over it.  The road had sand and  grass added,  along with dabs of various coloured paints.  It is now starting to look the part.   

I also made some beams for the 'roof',  just out of balsa wood.   I'll take pics of those tomorrow.  All in all it has been a very satisfying day.   Much better than yesterday when I was in agony, no idea what causes these flare ups,  I do try to watch what I do, and not do too much.  I did make it to The Range to get some of the glossy mod podge,  and loo rolls,  which had been on my shopping list all week.  Was also disgusted to see two cars parked in the disabled bays not displaying badges.    That meant I had to park much further away,  some folk are so bloody selfish.  I was glad to read that Tesco are now fining people for abusing the disabled spaces. 

Still learning how to play the ukulele,  my chord changes are much better,  but it takes a good ten minutes to get my fingers warmed up before I can start to play.   But the warm up is very useful for fingerpicking practice,  I just make up little tunes.  I'm also being a bit anti social on skype,  I'm afraid that I have become a bit fed up with a friend,  she skypes and then just moans,  now who needs that?   She doesn't even ask how I am,  or if I want to chat.  My counsellor told me that it was up to me who came into my flat, and she meant not only through the door, but by telephone or skype.  I've taken that advice on board,  I realised that I was pandering to my friend and letting her behave badly, no more.   A good and lasting friendship has to be healthy, and be a two way street, give and take,  not take all the time.  

This coming week is going to be a quiet one,   I need to recharge my batteries.  I got the duvet out of storage,   and a neighbour kindly put the winter curtains up for me.   I say  'winter'  they're just heavier so keep the warm in.  Soon be time for the clocks to go back,  and then we shall all hunker down and wait for spring to come around.  

I hope you have a good week. 

Monday, 17 October 2016

Paving the way

Back after another break.  More appointments,  I'm a bit sick of hospitals and doctors at the moment.   Just trying to get my pain medication right,  think I've found the right dose, so back to GP on Thursday to report a success.   Then in two weeks off to another hospital to see a consultant about my back, and to arrange more tests... oh the joys!  I'm not alone, a neighbour is also having a few health problems,  so we shared our moans, then exchanged funny stories about our cats, that cheered us both up.

I have new pics of The Railway Inn, with its fresh pavement.   It is just a piece of card from the back of a sketch pad,  it has been scored, then I used the paper creaser on my cutter.   Then it had a few coats of paint, oh before that I sealed it with some PVA.  The final touches with some leaves and pieces of grass. 

And here is a full size pic, the new pavement looks much better than the old one.   But I have had compliments about the 'stained' glass,  which is simply some glass paint. 

And the Farm Worker's cottages have a roof! Finally,  just gave up on the thatch,  well at least for now.  I used some spare wood I had, cut it to size,  then made some tiles with thick card.   The two cottages look so much better now.  Haven't completely given up on the thatch idea,  will have a practice, still got a few pieces of wood that are no use for anything.   I know now what I was doing wrong,  the clay was too thick,  and there is a new way of achieving the 'thatch' bit. 

The pavement also had a revamp.   I sanded it down,  and took a few tiny chunk out here and there, just to make it look worn.  Then, same as the pavement for the pub, I added some moss and a few dead leaves.  The walls have also been toned down, but my camera has unhelpfully brightened it all up! 

I picked up a couple of match pots,  just to add a few more colours to my palette. 

 Not felt like doing much lately,  I seemed to have lost interest in most things.  The art class has now finished, it was just a taster course,  but I did learn a few things.   I'm having a bash at a pen and ink drawing,  not sure it is my thing but I shall complete it.   Not much else in the way of art to show,  we didn't actually do much drawing,  just learning about techniques, textures and tones. 

I did order a new little building today,  hopefully it will be winging its way too me shortly.   It is another pub, but a timber framed tudor building, looking forward to getting stuck in.  Just doing these bits and bobs on the other houses has whetted my appetite to do more. 

Still practising the ukulele.  My fingers are now beginning to harden,  and I can make a few chord changes easily,  once I've got my fingers warmed up that is.   I'm trying to learn a few songs,  just with a few chords in them, nothing complicated.  I'm even doing some fingerpicking.  Not sure Harvey is appreciating my musical efforts.   Some sad news the other day, a friend had to have her dog put down, so sad,  he wasn't very well,  but he'd had a long and happy life.  She is now missing him terribly,  I know that feeling,  it is horrible.   I gave Harvey a cuddle,  he does like cuddles,  but he still tries to be a fusspot about his food.   I've got tough with him, so we have less fussy moments these days. 

Now off to do my diary entry.   Have a good week.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Fingerpicking and felting... ?

Evening,  yep been a while since the last blog,  I'm blaming this little beastie, which has occupied most of my time.  That, plus an art class,  oh and numerous hospital appointments. 

I am glad to say that I am improving on the uke,  I can now play around 6 chords,  and even manage to switched between them.  I'm now learning a few songs,  and some finger picking, which isn't as hard as I thought (yeah, famous last words!).   The fingertips are now starting to harden up, and the fingers are getting stronger, so far less dud chords.    The main thing is this, I am really enjoying myself,  and that is what counts.      I'm even rekindling the idea of getting a guitar,  which I really wanted when I was younger.  I'm saving up,  and we'll see what happens. 

An odd pic, it is of The Railway Inn.  I stripped off the old pavement,  for which I'd used the paper clay, and replaced it with card from a cereal box.   Then I had to start to paint it, then age it, which has taken 'ages'.    But it is now almost there, meant to take a new pic, but will do so tomorrow.

In fact the last few weeks have been taken up with stuff on all the houses, a bit of tweaking,  altering etc. 

Well if I thought that the pantiles were hard, what proved almost impossible was the thatch.  I went from clay, to actual thatch, and then to felt. I had almost got the real thatch, but kind of lost the plot when it came to the ridge.  So I studied the book by Bea Broadwood, and decided to go with the felt.   So off to get some felt,  then I made a lumpy bit at the edge of the roof, and then on went the felt,  all well stuck down, left the glue to dry...  

And it is taking shape!   It's had some paint,  I also used some clay to cover up the tatty gable end.   It all now just needs to be painted and finished off,  oh and the chimneys need to be fixed into place.    I also stripped back the pavement on this,  just sanded the old colour off, now I'm trying to get it to look like the colour of York stone. 

See it looks okay from the front.  The pavement will also be 'dressed', with some bits of grass, and a few leaves.   I do like these two cottages, they are playing a part in a story I'm writing. Yes, I'm writing!   I've even begun to watch the odd series, which I'd not managed for years.  I can't say my concentration is back,  you should see how tired I am after the two hour art class,  but good things are happening. 

The art class is fun,  it is just a taster course, we've covered pencil,  charcoal, plus pen and ink, along with shading, shape etc.   It has all been very useful.  The tutor is lovely,  so helpful and encouraging.  I wasn't a fan of charcoal, it is so immediate,  and also messy!  But I did enjoy the class, still got a charcoal piece of homework to complete.  This week it was pen and ink, again a new medium I'd never tried, but once it was explained, that it is mark making, not pattern making, then I began to 'get it'.    It is the last week this coming week,  us students are going to enjoy a last lunch in the cafe,  each week we keep getting tempted by the delicious smells.   We all contributed to their Macmillan coffee morning the other week, lots of lovely cakes to choose from.  They raised a few hundred pounds as well!

So while some stuff is going well, the health took a down turn.  I got my MRI results,  not good,  I didn't expect my spine to be that bad.  I knew I had one prolasped disc in my lower back, in fact I have two, one in my neck, along with a lot of bulging discs in both neck and lower back, hence all the pain.  There is a lot of wear and tear as well,  fortunately none of the dodgy discs are pressing on the spinal cord,  just on the nerves.   It was a depressing outcome, made worse by the hour and a half it took me to get there!   That was to travel around 16 miles!   It was all fine on the motorway, then I came off and ground to a halt.  I've no idea why they've not made the road wider to accommodate the heavy traffic, caused by the university, but they haven't, so you don't travel much faster than a snail. I wasn't the only patient caught up in the traffic, quite a few were,  I was lucky that I made it just in time.   So I've now been referred to a pain specialist,  I have to see what they recommend, but surgery doesn't seem to be an option, there's just too much damage.    Painwise it hasn't been too bad this week, just one or two bad days.   But that is only because I'm learning to pace myself a bit better.

Now I must finish watching Strictly and do my diary entry.  Have a great week.