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Ikigai

IKIGAI; Ink, acrylic and graphite powder on a found canvas in a frame made from pallet wood.

According to the book by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles, ‘Ikigai’ is The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life. They write that ‘It is a concept, which roughly translates as “the happiness of always being busy”.’

Apparently, our ikigai is hidden deep inside of each of us, and finding it requires a patient search. According to those born on Okinawa, the Japanese island with the most centenarians in the world, our ikigai is the reason we get up in the morning.

When the authors of the book interviewed 100 of the eldest members of the Okinawa community (all of whom were over 100 years old) they discovered that every single one of them keep, tended and eat from their own vegetable garden and drink green tea on a daily basis. Some of their other statements on their secret to a long and happy life are;

  1. Don’t worry
  2. Cultivate good habits
  3. Nurture your friendships every day
  4. Live an unhurried life
  5. Be optimistic

Well, it all sounds like good advice to me and it is a book that I thoroughly recomend reading. I’m off to make a pot of green tea! (Without rushing, before I go to work!!!)

The Zen of Property Maintenance

All houses need looking after. Property Maintenance is just as important (if not more so), as building new ones.

Over time, for various reasons, properties are subject to wear and tear and if not attended to, they will deteriorate, and one of the key factors that can cause major damage is water leaks.


Whether it’s a leaking waste pipe under a bath, a cracked tile on a roof, crumbling grout in a shower or worn out silicone around a sink, if it’s exposed to water, the water will find a way through.

Once it’s through, and then builds up over time, water can cause all sorts of expensive problems; wooden floors will rot, plasterboard walls will turn to mush and concrete will crumble. I write this from plenty of first hand experience, having been working with Jewell Plumbing and Property Maintenance Ltd. on a regular basis since April 2016 (that’s long enough to do a degree).

So what is Property Maintenance and why is it so important?

Well, I can tell you one thing it generally is, and that’s grotty work, particularly when water has been leaking, undiscovered, for a period of time. Despite having been part of a team that have refurbished numerous bathrooms and kitchens, I never cease to be surprised at how much damage a small water leak can cause. It’s ironic really; water is massively important to us in so many ways. We use it to drink, cook with, wash in and to transport heat around our homes. But if it gets into places it shouldn’t be, it can quickly create a massive mess!

The skill set required to repair the damage to property, during a refurbishment is extensive, and includes;

Controlled demolition; ripping out the old stuff (this is particularly grotty work!).

Carpentry; rebuilding floors, walls, box work, doorways, skirting boards and kitchens.

Dry lining; plaster boarding stud walls, ceilings and box work.

Plastering; Creating a durable, flat, paintable finish on walls and ceilings.

Decorating, Tiling, Electrical and Gas engineering and very importantly, Plumbing.

This is not a complete list, but I hope to use it to help explain why I have titled this post ‘The Zen of Property Maintenance‘; The true nature of a house is that over time, it will need looking after in order for it to remain pleasant. And problems, particularly water leaks, are better found and rectified, sooner rather than later. If a person wants to work efficiently, doing property maintenance, they will benefit from a broad, practical skill set, excellent problem solving skills and a knowledge of materials, both modern and traditional.

It is important to be intuitive, as not all problems have a straight forward solution, and if one is not calm and focused, the already grotty work only becomes harder. Meditate on it if you like.

Can you imagine what it’s going to take to look after your house? Maybe you’ve already noticed a wet patch in the ceiling and are wondering what to do about it. I certainly recommend doing something as if there is a problem, the damage is probably only going to get worse and more expensive to repair over time. If you feel like tackling it yourself and have any questions about how to proceed I am happy to help if I can.

Or, If you live in the Bristol area and want some help maintaining your property, then I highly recommend you check out Jewell Plumbing and Property Maintenance’s website; www.jppm.ltd

They deal with small problems fast, which will save you money, and can also handle complete property refurbishments. To demonstrate the range of work
Jewell Plumbing and Property Maintenance have experience in, I have included the following photo gallery, that shows various stages of work from some of their projects, that I have been involved in.

Want to find out more? Click here to get to the jppm.ltd website.

Tula’s Flames

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Tula and I had great time today spray painting this yellow army onto the red wall in her bedroom.

We had designed the idea ages ago but we’ve only just got the respirators we need to spray indoors. I say we, Tula did the designing, I just assisted the artistic process. 

Tula Iis very pleased with the result and so she should be, and very importantly, I’m very pleased to be able to say that the filters in the gas masks did an excellent job of filtering out the nasty propelant gases we would otherwise be breathing in. A flaming success and headache free.

Call to find out more.
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