It is a very rare thing for me to take a holiday of any substantial amount of time away from work. I like to keep myself busy and the idea of spending time doing nothing doesn't interest me. My last proper holiday of sorts was nigh on 10 years ago while I was still at school. The only exception to this was Christmas 2014 when I booked two weeks off work for a specific purpose - to decorate my new house I had purchased just prior, and the Friday's I take off to attend Bemsee test days (which amounts to ~10 a year). However, following the completion of Loughborough modules on the 22nd May, with a couple of pieces of coursework to submit electronically, I opted to take the half-term week off to get out of the office and clear my mind before returning on the 1st June ready to start my next area of research.
The first two days of the holiday were spent repairing the rear garden fence of the new house. It had blown down sometime in February/March, but with two days a week in Loughborough, coursework and race meetings, I hadn't had the time to deal with it before now. As such, I opted to start the week with this, as I did not know how long it would take to repair, and I figured starting on Saturday would give me a week to work at a leisurely pace.
Some of the missing and fallen fence panels
The fencing was a far simpler task than I had envisaged, with the majority being done on the Saturday. Saturday was a late start after obtaining replacement panels and with the heat of the day in the garden, the fence was a two-day task. Sunday began with replacing a fence post to attach some panels to and a realisation that there was one panel missing. This was found after the shutting of shops (Sunday trading hours) so instead of waiting, I opted to build a fence panel out of the good pieces from one of the replaced panels.
Building a fence panel from the remains of others
Rebuilding the back fence
Having never fenced before, I was quite pleased with the outcome of the weekends work. The rear fence, replaced entirely with the same type as the side fencing, now matches the fence panels down the sides and the custom-built panel doesn't look out-of-place with the surrounding panels. Overall, a job well done.
The rebuilt fence
Monday (a bank holiday in the UK) was spent at my aunt's house having roast dinner and going through some of my late grandfathers belongings. This was done as an opportunity to find paperwork for my family tree research (for me, others had different agendas for the day). Some interesting photographs were found as well as some more mysteries to research when time next allows. I did however find that my grandfather had been a bit of a poet as well as a patient carpenter with some of his wooden creations among the items which we looked through.
Tuesday was spent purchasing doors for the upstairs of the house. The doors which came with the house were typical of an 80's built house and neither me nor Doris liked them, so they'd been earmarked for replacement from an early stage. As the fence had not taken as long as anticipated, I decided to replace the doors. Unfortunately, the doors needed to be out of their packaging for 24 hours before being worked on, so they were bought on Tuesday but not worked on till Wednesday.
Wednesday began the work on the doors and a hair cut (slightly overdue but again - where was the time during Spring?) while Doris went to get some tools which had been forgotten. The classic questions in B&Q on Tuesday of "do we have everything?" was met on Wednesday with a resounding no... so Doris went up to collect more bits and I cut my hair before we made a start on the door to my office. Thankfully, the first two doors were easy enough to fit, only a little bit of sanding required to squeeze into the frames and the door handles, once all the pieces were assembled, were easy to screw on. The doors that have been done look a lot better than the doors previously hanging. This work continued on into Thursday, along with packing for a trip to Oulton Park with Bemsee, with 3 doors completed by the time I set off for Oulton.
Door handles and catch, looking much better
Friday and Saturday were spent at the beautiful Cheshire circuit, Oulton Park with Bemsee. Despite some difficult weather the racing was good and it dried up nicely on Saturday for the majority of the day. It was nice to meet up with the Cheshire Marshals again (I used to be a Cheshire Marshal while studying at Keele when Oulton was only 30 minutes away and regularly marshalled with the team).
The final Sunday of May was spent fitting another door, giving a total of 4/5 doors replaced during the week and one left for another time. The evening was spent with James booking flights for what will be my first proper holiday. This week felt rather busier than I had expected with fencing and door fitting and other little jobs, but James has decided that Goa is a good place to visit in September, so we booked flights for that.
Overall, I kept busy for the holiday and didn't do much relaxing, but at least the garden is sorted ready for picnics or BBQs and a more relaxing break has been planned for September. Until then it's back to work and back to research and tying off loose ends from the previous piece with a clear head and the occasional race meeting to attend.