The Exile Files

Raging Against the Outrageous. Laughter and Insanity Abound.

Old Father Time..

Posted by Exile on September 28, 2014

I recently bought a watch. Not just any old watch, although it is just that. Old.

I spotted it on Ebay, which is not my favorite place to do my shopping but once in a while, I go and see what’s on offer. I do have a pocket watch and a chain. My wife bought the watch and very nice it is too. I bought an antique silver chain to hang it on and a couple of antique fobs for decoration. That is when I got the antique silver bug. Antique chain? Needs an antique watch. So the hunt was on. Looking for a working, large, solid silver watch took me to Ebay. I looked for a week.

Finally I found this Waltham in a silver Dennison case. All hallmarked and working, purportedly keeping good time.
I looked at the pictures for an age. I read the description several times.
Eventually, I hit the “buy it now” button and promptly paid the bill. £175.00. Turns out, I got a bargain.

I inspected The watch as soon as I had it in my hand. I disagreed with the seller’s description. He said it was hallmarked for London 1908. Wrong. It’s Birmingham 1912.
He said it weighed 125 grams. Wrong. It’s 136 grams.

The case is made by A.L.Dennison in Birmingham, England. The movement is from the Waltham American Watch company in Massachusetts.
According to the serial number on the movement, it was produced in 1909. I cleaned the case with a silver polishing cloth. It came up a treat.

The watch is key wound and the hands are set by opening the glass and gently turning the minute hand in the required direction until the right time is set. It keeps perfect time. I’ve had it running now for 36 hours and it hasn’t missed a beat. The sound of that old movement is wonderful.

I’ve married the watch to my double Albert chain. The watch at one end, the key at the other. The whole set up weighs a half pound.

Apparently, to keep the watch working well, one cannot simply put it away and leave it. This would actually damage the watch. The oil dries and gums up and stops the working parts from moving as they should. One should keep the watch running at all times, winding it once a day, every day.

It needs servicing too. There are various suggestions as to when or how often. Some say yearly, others say as long as two or three years between services. Servicing involves stripping the watch to pieces and washing all the individual parts in soapy water, then a cyanide solution and then alcohol. Then reassemble and oil all the moving parts. I won’t be doing that myself then, but I’ll find someone who can.

I find it fascinating that something so old can still function so well. I wonder how many watches that are bought today will still keep time in 100 years from now. With the right care, this watch may still be working then too. Which speaks volumes for the skill and method of our forefathers and their manufacturing abilities.

We live in throw away times. Buy something now and toss it away within ten years to replace it with the new version. Or even shorter when it comes to our electronics. I suppose that is what draws me to these old things. They have stood the test of time. They are still attractive by default and valuable beyond monetary value.

When I’m a thing of the past, this watch will be in my grandson’s possession. If he takes good care of it and appreciates it, it will probably outlast him too. I’ll take my time and tell him what he’s getting.

Hopefully, he will appreciate the history lesson.

N.B. Pictures nicked form Ebay…

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Pimping my Lawnmower

Posted by Exile on May 18, 2014

If there is one job I detest, it’s mowing the bloody lawn. If I had my way, I’d cover the garden with asphalt, but the missus thinks that grass is nice so I’m not allowed to do that. Something else I don’t like is the lawnmower. It’s been a good piece of kit but it has seen better days and frankly, it should be put out to grass. Pardon the pun. However, looking at it from a purely mechanical point of view, the motor is good, starts relatively easily and has been a good runner. The chassis and wheels though, are another kettle of fish. The rear wheels are wobbly to the extreme and the chassis is getting old and rusty. The choke lever went years ago and, to start the machine, I have to hold the choke open with a length of string.

I should replace it, but I’m a stubborn old git at the best of times so I decided to fix her up. The main problem was the wheels. They are mounted on stub axles and the chassis has weakened to the point where it can’t hold the wheels upright any more, causing them to rub on the frame and impede my forward momentum when mowing the bloody lawn. I decided to strengthen the mounting point by placing some big washers at either side of the frame where the axles fit and tighten up the locking nuts to squeeze the assembly together. Brilliant.
Well, it would have been brilliant, but the axles and retaining nuts were so rusty that in my attempt to loosen them, they both snapped. Cheap chines bolts. Shite.

This forced me into the iShed to find replacement bolts, which I don’t have. I do have some ten millimeter stud though and some lightweight tubing that fitted through the wheels and would accommodate said studding. Hacksaw at the ready, then, I cut both tube and studding and fashioned new axles. Joy of joys, they fitted and the job was a good ‘un. The lawnmower travels easily now and with no more rubbing of wheels on chassis.

The blade wasn’t looking too good either so I removed it, since I was under the machine anyway, and took it to the iShed to grind a new edge on both ends of the blade. That went well and soon I had refitted it and bolted it neatly onto the drive shaft.

Having the thing the right way up now on the new wheels, I looked at the engine. The motor. Call it what you like. Very little oil on the dipstick. I have lawn mower oil somewhere. SAE30, if I remember rightly. I found it and topped up the crankcase. I fueled the thing while I was at it and filled her up with 95 octane.

I can’t really do anything about the choke yet. I need to design and build a lever affair that will allow me to connect a wire to both lever and choke lever on the carburettor, so my string will have to do for now.
I cleared up all my tools and put them away. I cleared up in the iShed. All I needed to do for my own satisfaction was to mow the lawn after all my efforts fixing up the mower.
I went back to said mower, adjusted my string choke, grabbed the throttle control and pulled on the starter cord.

It fired up immediately.  Success.

And just as I was ready to go… it started to rain.

I hate mowing the bloody lawn.

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Behold. The iShed is Finished..

Posted by Exile on May 13, 2014

And bloody marvellous it is too..

Finally, I have the shed I always wanted. I built it, mostly alone. Therefore, I call it The iShed.
It is insulated against the elements. It has heating. Electricity. A flagstone floor and a workbench. Building it has been a labour of love and a herculean one at that. It took me weeks of endless screwdriving, pushing and pulling and hauling of lumber, Rockwool, sand and concrete flagstones. My laptop computer can even find the house WiFi connection from the bench. I have a radio out there for company while I’m working. Lighting and sockets for my power tools and I’ve put shelving units up for spares, tools and other stuff that gets stored in The iShed, like the Weber grill and some garden furniture. For good measure, I have a thermometer and a hygrometer mounted on the wall. Climate control. Can’t have Thumper rusting, can I?

The woodpile is housed under the extended shed roof. Enclosed on three sides, dry and airy, the wood is well stored there and there is room for me to stand in the shelter of the roof and cut, chop and stack wood for the stove. There’s even lighting out there too.

I did have one little problem. After it had settled, the tar membrane roof covering developed a small leak or two. It had bulged up at one or two points along two of the seams between layers. It took me a while to find them, but once that was done, I sealed them up with cold tar and recoated the outside of the seams with the same gooey black stuff. Now it doesn’t leak any more and, if it ever does again, I know what to look for and I know how to fix it. One expects teething troubles. I’m glad I found them now and not in the middle of winter.

Here’s a couple of pictures. I’m afraid I didn’t take many. I should have taken a load of ‘em.. The first one is of the flagstones going in, the second is of the workbench, which I built from scratch. The bench top is a cheap kitchen counter top, cut to length, and it affords me a great surface to work on. The drawers are an old kitchen unit, removed from our kitchen when we had the dishwasher installed some years ago.

IMG_5212IMG_5221 

I have about seven square metres of floor space, room for Thumper and a bit more, including the garden tools. I painted around the workbench to give a bit more light to that area. I have since installed a bench vice and moved my bench drill and a grinder in. I intend to install another cabinet with more drawer space at a later date.
I have a mini fridge for beer. It’s not installed yet, but give me time enough and I’ll get round to it.

It’s organised, dry, warm and generally a pleasant place to stand and work in. I’m pleased that Thumper has a secure place to be kept in, that my tools are gathered in one place and that I have a place to retreat to when I have some great project in mind.

Hail The iShed. It was worth all the effort, sweat, pain, work and expense.

Every man should have one.

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Windsurfing is Not My Specialty

Posted by Exile on March 17, 2014

Well, actually, not at all. But there were boards involved and the wind was definitely up…

It’s no secret that once I get stuck into something, I have to keep going no matter what the circumstances may be. Putting a solid roof on the shed was only the first step in creating a comfortable home for my motorbike which will double up as the workshop/toolshed that I’ve always wanted. Once the roof was on, I decided to insulate it for warmth in the winter and thought it might be a good idea to insulate the walls as well since the wind was still blowing through the gaps. The shed is 10 years old, warped in places and there were open spaces to let the draught in.
Can’t have that sort of thing going on, now can we? Well I can’t, so that’s that.

My mate had well and truly worn himself out on the roof, so he wasn’t going to be of much use. I decided, do it alone and do it well. Stubborn old git that I am.

To insulate the underside of the roof was not going to be easy but I had thought it through. I created a ledge all down one side of the shed to rest one end of the chipboard plates on. The other end could then be lifted up and supported by makeshift pillars to hold them up while I got busy with the electric screwdriver. The insulation held itself up by being forced gently up into the spaces between the rafters. All that was done in nice weather and went quite nicely, thank you. It took me a whole day, a lot of tea and smoke breaks and very little foul language, but I got it done and am proud of the result.

Encouraged by this success, I decided the walls must be easier to do because one isn’t continually fighting gravity when working on the vertical bits. I created the framework, measured and checked again, even drew a plan sketch of each wall. Victory was guaranteed. In fact, I’m nearly finished with the whole job so the arithmetic and planning seems to have been pretty damn good.

The fun part was getting the material in.

See, the weather changed. We had a bit of a storm. It’s still blowing a bit now, three days after.

Undeterred by Mother Nature’s whimsy, I had to get on with the job so it was off to the builders merchants and buy material. Storm or not. I bought screws, more insulation, metal brackets and, finally, chipboards. The boards are big. Solid and heavy too. They measure 2.4 metres by 1,2 metres. The trolley I used to carry them out to my car allows one to stand the boards up, rather than lay them flat. This was no problem inside the merchants hall but once I got into the car park in a force 8 gale I realised I was in trouble. Holding a hundred kilos of weight on four wheels with what is effectively over two square metres of sail solidly mounted on board is not easy.
I set off like a rocket… totally out of control and like a speeding bullet, I careered up the parking lot being dragged along by the cart. I tried to turn it sideways into the wind but that made it tack like a yacht which increased my speed, changed my direction of travel and did nothing for my self esteem.
Luckily, the wind slowed for a second and I finally managed to stop the bloody thing before anyone or anything got hurt or damaged about one hundred yards from my car and very close to the main road. Even more luckily, one of the staff had seen all this and, despite almost laughing himself to death, offered to give me a hand.
Eventually, we loaded the whole lot into my car and I could journey homeward with the backdoor of the car open and plates and wood hanging out. (It’s an estate car. The back door really is at the back.)

My problems didn’t end there. Once at home, I had to get the plates out, one by one, and carry them to the shed. The wind was still blowing. Taking one plate in my outstretched arms. I lifted it from the car and carried it onto the pavement. Once again, the wind caught me and, like a human kite, I was forced down the pavement whilst fighting the drag of the wooden sail. Determined not to be blown to kingdom come by the thing, I hung on for dear life and finally wrestled it up over my head to lay it flat which meant the wind no longer had a grip on it. I had to repeat the process four times before I was finished. Getting the small bits in was easy.

I may have to wait for better weather before I get the last bit of this project done.

If you hear reports of strange things flying over Denmark, you’ll know I didn’t.

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Fiddlers on the Roof

Posted by Exile on March 4, 2014

A tale of ‘high level’ activity.

The old roof on the shed had never impressed me. Made of wobbly plastic sheets held down by elongated screws, it cracked with age and moved about in the wind. It was a constant battle to keep water out and it leaked at every junction despite the fall of gradient. Capillary action is not to be underestimated. It had to go. My motorbike, Thumper, lives in the shed and I was fed up with having to cover him with tarpaulins and constantly wipe the damp of him. Hellfire, indoor areas should be dry..! Not only that, the roof extends over the woodpile. I was tired of buying dried wood only to have it get wet again. Something had to be done.

asphaltrollThat something was an easy decision, albeit expensive, but you don’t get something for nothing. The roof would be replaced by a truly waterproof cover. Asphalt roofing. Guaranteed watertight.
The process is simple. Off with the old plastic roofing and cover the entire roof area with wooden plates. These plates measure 1220 x 2440 mm, are 7 mm thick and heavy as hell in a gentle breeze. Then, roll out the roofing, stick it down with cold tar and add nails under the overlap, which is again sealed with cold tar. Cover the edges of the roof construction with a fold over and nail it fast. Result: one lovely, black, watertight roof. Sounds easy. No it isn’t. At least, not when it’s blowing a bit and very cold.

I had enlisted the help of a good friend. We do all sorts for each other and even work together, on the odd occasion, redecorating and renovating peoples homes. He was happy to help, or so he said, so I got him up on the roof with me. Kneeling on solid plates, so we wouldn’t fall through the now brittle plastic roof, we began removing the three hundred screws that held it in place. It was surprisingly cold up there. And wet. And windy. We were soon shivering and our knees were knackered. We progressed, slowly, until the old roofing was gone and then adjourned for warmth and coffee.

Suitably revitalised we returned to the shed. I went up onto the roof, he handed the plates up to me. I wriggled and pulled them into place. With one third of the roof covered we both set about screwing them into place. It was still cold. and windy. But no longer wet.
More coffee.
We repeated the process until the roof was covered.  Finally, with a solid flat surface beneath us we retired for a lunch break and the sun came out. We were looking forward to getting the asphalt down and would hopefully be done with it before sunset. We trimmed the ends off of the final plates to adjust for the length of the shed and broke out the tar. One has to spread this sticky black goop out with a trowel. It isn’t difficult but is time consuming and on worn out knees, frankly, it’s a pain. My mate worked away at this while I carried rolls of asphalt roofing material up the ladder.

asphaltroofThe critical part is getting the first roll down. If that one goes down straight and flat without folds or bulges then everything else follows nicely. We took our time, we measured and checked everything twice. Allowing for the overlap and covering the edges of the roof, we got it right and then nailed the folded edges into place. The knackered knees really suffered now as we were working on gritty asphalt instead of nice flat boards. We nailed the trailing edge down, daubed more tar over the line of nails and rolled out the second roll of asphalt giving ourselves a ten centimeter overlap. This process was repeated six times and finally the roof was covered. 
We then crawled down the ladder, cleared up all the mess and put the tools away.

By now, we were finished, not only with the job but also physically. Done in and dirty we went to wash up and discovered that the long haired and lovely one had prepared food and drink for us. Gratefully, we sat down at the table and reflected on the days work. The result is great. Everything fitted into place, the roof is solid and watertight and we agreed we are never going to do anything like that again.

Hopefully, I’ll never have to!

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A Load of Crap

Posted by Exile on February 15, 2014

Literally.

A few months ago, just before the winter set in, I was out riding the motor bike round the island and generally just enjoying doing that, when something caught my eye. Piles of polythene bags stacked up outside one of the many riding stables that exist out here. ‘Hello’, I thought, ‘That looks like horse-poo..’. It was. Tons of the lovely stuff. Just what my garden needs. I made a quick u-turn and stopped in the driveway that meandered its way to the stables. I couldn’t find anybody at first but after calling and walking towards the buildings, a head appeared over the fence. ‘Hello’, I said, and introduced myself.
I asked the guy about the great pile of poo outside his house and asked if he would consider selling a few hundredweight of it. ‘Sell it?’, he said, ‘There’s an interesting concept..’
I must have looked confused. He continued. ‘You can take as much of it as you like. No charge, just come and take it. We have twenty or so horses here, they produce it by the ton. We can’t get rid of it so I bag it up and people come and get it.’
We agreed, I would be back in the morning and I’d fill my car.shite

That same evening, a stupid woman jogger with ears full of that ipad nonsense ran out in front the motor bike causing me to step off. I twisted my right ankle like never before and damaged my left thumb.

Never mind. The following morning, wounded and weak from the pain, I managed to drive, very carefully, back to the stables and the guy helped me load bags of poo into the car. Asking who collected all the poo together he answered, ‘My two daughters.’ I gave the guy a hundred crowns and said he should split it between them. Happily and with a rare old pong in the car, I drove slowly home with all the windows rolled down.
On reaching mia casa I couldn’t carry the stuff into the garden because of my ankle, so I enlisted the long haired and lovely one to push the wheelbarrow. She wasn’t much for it. Shifting crap around is not really her cup of tea, but needs must when the Devil calls, so she agreed, very reluctantly and with a good deal of verbal dissent, to help. I loaded from the car, she schlepped the barrow in and tipped out. Four trips and we were done. ‘Think of the tomatoes next year.’ I said. I got no reply but if looks could kill, I was a dead man.
I have no idea why, but she spent the next hour in the shower.

That was how we got it home. Today, I went out into the garden and looked at the pile of crap. It has rotted a bit despite the winter cold but it wasn’t frozen. Good enough. I began by throwing the bags onto the garden patches trying to gauge the amount of poo per square yard and balance the whole affair out equally. Satisfied that it was fairly shared out, I broke the bags open and started spreading it out evenly over the garden.

Jeez.
Really stinky stuff.
Poor neighbours.

Job done, I only need it to rain for a couple of days to let it wash into the soil. After that comes the digging but that will have to wait until March when I start planting my seed stock and preparing to plant out. The greenhouse received a load of crap too, but I made a mulch for the indoor part of the garden. Mulch? Yep. Take a bathtub full of horse crap and add water. Stir well and distribute by the bucket load. Messy but highly recommended.

I’m  betting, we’ll get some great tomatoes this year.

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The Winter of Discontent

Posted by Exile on January 28, 2014

It finally arrived. The cold weather has been threatening to overrun us for weeks and it just turned bitterly cold here in an otherwise wet and grey Denmark. So where it was all soaking wet, it is now frozen stiff. I don’t know which is worse. At least when it’s this cold, it is dry. Little compensation, I feel, as it is equally unpleasant to be out and about in. The worst of it is, I can achieve nothing in this weather. Outdoor activities are out of the question as everything is solid and I hate being cold wherever I may be. This is why I don’t ski. I tried it once but simply found it cold and debilitating and close to my undoing. Slithering downhill at untold speed while being nailed fast by the feet to pieces of aluminium, totally out of control and bereft of any idea of direction, I ended up buried in a huge snowdrift. Not really my idea of fun. I experienced the Arctic once, in my military days, and found that to be the absolute last place I would ever volunteer to be. I am a temperate being, I like warmth. The tropics would be nice.

So what does one do when one is confined to the boundaries that are drawn by the outside walls of one’s house?Not much, is the short reply. I’d watch the TV, but I’ve seen everything at least once. TV these days is one long procession of re-runs of old series and these ‘educational’ programmes that aren’t really that educative anyway.
Computer? Well, yes. I do have a couple of forums I visit and read and write on but one can’t do that all day. And don’t mention computer games. I can’t stand ‘em. The Devils invention.
Housework? It needs to be done, I agree, but how many times do you have to do battle with the Dyson before you get bored with that? I am not the most domesticated of people.
I could read, but I am not really in the mood.

I suppose I could polish all my pipes up and give them a good going over with the reamer and a ball of wax. I might even enjoy that and I can always puff away on one of my favourite smokers while I do it. Put that one on the list then.

I have been out with the dog. She didn’t like it out there. She hurried back home and went to lay down in front of the stove as soon as we returned. Clever dog. She can sleep the day away. I even fed the birds while I had my outdoor clothes on. They have it far worse than I. I can escape the cold, they are stuck outside and have to grin and bear it. How do they do that?

The one thing I find consolation in, is that I can at least plan the rest of my year. The garden. Holidays. Trips out on the motorbike. I have distant friends to visit. Places I intend to explore. Projects around this old house of ours, which I intend to modernise. 

I am going to be very busy come the Spring.

Until then, I’m just going to have to learn to cool my heels.

Lousy weather.

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Pimping my Ride

Posted by Exile on January 15, 2014

Or, how to upgrade the carburettor and fit a new air filter.

motorcyclemechanicOne thing you quickly learn about owning a motorcycle is, that you need to improve it on the performance side of life. Then you need to improve the aesthetic appeal of the thing. I got it the wrong way round. I merely wanted to get a sporty looking air filter fitted to Thumper, my Royal Enfield Bullet. I ended up doing a job I never thought I was going to be capable of.

The old air filter was a complicated affair that incorporated an otherwise useful toolbox fitted to the machine and a square box with another filter fitted which finally fed the carburettor with air. I wanted to fit a nice little sporty filter that would allow me to use the toolbox as it was intended (by my reckoning) and get rid of the intermediary box. I’d seen the part and a snazzy little chrome shroud to protect the sporty filter in a suppliers catalogue and immediately ordered both.

I am a member of a forum which busies itself with all things Royal Enfield and, as bragging rights are valid on this forum, I happily told everyone that I was about to take on this rebuild. That’s when my problems began to take form.
I was told, by many, that simply doing away with the existing filter was OK, but I would have to re-jet the carburettor to allow for the extra available air that would now flow freely into said carburettor. News to me, I thought, but they were insistent. I rang the suppliers the following day. By now, my initial order was on it’s way so a new order went in for the recommended parts that we (my supplier and I) finally agreed upon. I was pointed at some instructional notes to be found on the forum website. ‘There’s all the information you will need.’ said the more than helpful chap on the other end of the telephone line. The supplier actually hosts the forum, so he should know. I dug into the internet and found the relevant technical notes.

Three days later, all the parts arrived. I unpacked the little boxes with trembling hands. A collection of bits of machined brass and the filter and shroud plus some rubber like discs to blank off the holes in the toolbox that will be left after I remove the old filter tubing.

Off to the shed where Thumper lives then Exile… and start dismantling your beloved machine.

I removed the square box and all the bits that held it in place, remembering where they came from in case I need to reverse the process. I removed all the rubber tubes that carry the air through the existing filters. I removed the fuel line. I then removed the carburettor, which involved screwing the top off and partially dismantling the assembly. All very worrying stuff for the novice. But, eventually, there I was with a carburettor in my hands and the bike in bits around me.

The internal organs of the carburettor are fragile, many and tiny. I decided to take the thing into the living room where I could sit and swap the jets, according to and following the technical notes, without having to freeze my ass off in the shed. Cold fingers don’t handle tiny parts well and dropping one would probably mean it would be lost forever. I have a large white board in my cellar. Ideal for this sort of job, I thought. So I laid it on the dining table and set the carby down. Screwdriver at the ready, I set to work.

baby-mechanicI stripped the carby, found and changed all the jets and reassembled the thing in under a quarter of an hour. Sometimes, I even impress myself! I even found out that the choke lever wasn’t working properly due to a loose locking device. So I fixed that too while I was up to my elbows in tools.

Back to the shed once again…

Replacing the thing didn’t take long either. The new filter and shroud fit directly onto the carburettor which fits directly onto the machine. I replaced the fuel line, set the carburettor to it’s recommended start settings (it will need final adjustment for tuning purposes) and decided to fire the thing up.
Keys, ignition, fuel and choke. And kick. Three times kick and Thumper jumped to life with a throaty roar.

The roar was from the new air intake. One can hear the engine sucking pints of the stuff down its greedy neck.

Man, it sounds good! Can’t wait to get him out on the road again…

Woohoo..!!

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The Lady doth Snore Too Much, Methinks.

Posted by Exile on January 3, 2014

If the bard will forgive me for paraphrasing Queen Gertrude…

My dearly beloved certainly saws the wood at night. It’s like sleeping next to a chain saw. Or, at least, trying to sleep next to one. It’s not her fault, I know, but she has some natural obstruction to her airways and this causes her to wheeze and growl all through the night. Regularly. It is not the problem it once was as I no longer need to get up early of a morning and go to bloody work, thank heavens, but it does throw me out of whack with the normal waking hours. She is still working, so it’s better that I stop tossing and turning all night long while having to listen to her and simply get up again so that she may sleep undisturbed by said tossing and turning. I can grab a few hours later in the day.

It isn’t exactly every night. Sometimes I’m so worn out for lack of sleep that I do get a night in and occasionally she works a night shift. I miss her at night on such occasions but on the other hand, I do get a good nights sleep.

I have tried sleeping with earplugs. A more uncomfortable affair I cannot imagine. It was awful. I could hear myself breathing, the blood pounding in my ears and the earache it caused me was not worth the trouble. I quickly gave the idea up. I’ve tried putting my head under the pillow but I nearly suffocated myself and woke up gasping for air and the heat was unbearable, so that went out of the grander picture too. I have tried getting to bed before her and falling asleep before she turns in. Alas, the noise and vibration awakens me at some point and all is lost once more. I’m looking forward to going deaf in my old age. Natural remedies are generally the best and if I am to believe her, I’m halfway there already anyway.
If it gets to be too much, I can always remove myself to the living room sofa or the dogs basket, which is really quite comfortable. I know this. I have tried it. The dog is spoiled, having a bed beside us in the bedroom and another in the living room. With blankets. And a duvet. And pillows to match. Not to mention the mattress affair in front of the woodstove. Heaven forbid that the dog should lie on the bare boards of the floor. The dog has no problem sleeping, by the way. The fat little bugger does little else. Apart from eat and bark at me. I am jealous.

A simple solution would of course be, that we had separate rooms. The house is not built that way. We only have the one bedroom. Besides that, if we have separate rooms, we may as well have separate homes. This is dangerous territory to be exploring and I feel I should shun this particular course of action and put it well and truly out of my mind. I would miss her cooking.

I may not be sleeping well but I am well fed.

I may be tired, but I ain’t stupid.

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New Year – New Life.

Posted by Exile on December 31, 2013

retiredIn the middle of November 2013 I reached the ripe old and maybe unexpected age of 60. I say unexpected because I am slightly amazed that I got this old considering the idiotic chances I’ve taken along the way. I am somewhat mildly surprised that I have lived this long. However, with the coming of my celebration of sixty inglorious years came retirement. I had opted, for some years ago, to save up for early retirement and despite the current government’s efforts to curb this trend, they couldn’t really stop me. So screw them and the horses they rode into town on.

Retirement is also something I decided on many years ago. I saw my father work himself to death, never having had an otium and I decided, then, not to do the same. I made my mind up, that at the first given opportunity, I would stop working and take what years I could to do as I please, when I please. I thoroughly intend to do just that, despite the latest European directives that the old must remain at work for as long as is humanly possible and then die shortly afterwards.

I find myself planning for a new life of leisure instead of endless working days. I am deciding what I can do without. And what I need. Equally important is what I want.

I have a few hobbies to be getting on with. I have my garden, my pipe selling business, the motor bike, and a telescope to star-gaze through. I have heard of many that have retired into oblivion and I do not wish to join them. Now that I have the time, I need to pursue things that have always fascinated me. Obviously, the garden will be my early years activity. I need to dig, plant and nurture. The greenhouse will be my second home for a few months. By the time that’s established, the sun will be up for the summer, so it’s off to the woods and watch the birds and animals, trips out on the bike and maybe even a few nights out in the woods or on the beach under canvass. Days out with my Grandson. He needs a solid father figure and some knowledge of the world around him. Autumn will bring me back to the garden again.
I have the time to invest in my friends. Some of them are already retired. Old hands at this leisure game. I intend to spend some time with them over a good lunch or a pint or two at some watering hole either in the city or maybe at the seaside.

I don’t usually make new years resolutions. This year, I need to make new life resolutions.

I’ll keep you informed of my progress.

I have the time to fill this tired old blog up now.

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