Fuel costs

July 30, 2008

Had to go to Reading today, to collect a huge load of metalwork.

I started at 15:00, and gosh, how slow everyone was going. Including me. I was trying to maintain 55mph, which in the past would have been impossible, but today put me in the middle lane at some points…

Society for protection of Accidents, whatever they are called, should have lobbied for huge hike in fuel duties, that really does slow down the traffic

Also amazed at how many breakdowns at the side of the M4.

British Gas and their 35% rise. Well, I discovered that the pilot light on the boiler is using a significant amount (the boiler is broken, but I cannot replace without major legal and technological problems), so will have to shut off the gas to my place…but last winter’s bills were lower than the previous, given the many layers I was wearing every day….

Vocal range

July 28, 2008


Cooking smells implies my neighbour downstairs is in residence – for the first time in three weeks tonight.

Secondly, the Radio 4 programme plus link to PM Frogger’s reminds me of how my voice sank from treble. I failed to get into any choir then, yet became a sought after top tenor, despite being an official second [lower] bass voice. These days, lack of practice means I can only reach second Tenor these days, as well as failing to make the very very bottom notes of 2nd Bass, (unless emergency measures are taken, i.e. a lot of beer the night before).

Now I am very deaf in one ear, despite what tests suggest – they were so predictable, I “heard” the tones even if I did not actually hear them, if you know what I mean. What with wax problems this year, I spend half my time in an aural “other world”, where sounds come from almost impossible places, as far as I am concerned.

Leak fixed – finally

July 20, 2008

This is actually something that happened two weeks ago, but camera/computer problems caused problems.

Anyhow, trying to block the leak at mother’s immersion heater never worked – a new leak seemed to appear. So I bit the bullet, undid the wiring (NB, this is now illegal), and took out the immersion heater. The problem was immediately apparent:


That bit of brown is the remains of the rubber sealing ring.

I went to a plumbers shop, to buy a new rubber ring, only to be told that was not what I needed, but a fiber one. Cost: £0.38. And indeed, once refitted with the fibre seal, (plus a sealant gel), and rewired (NB, this is now illegal), it’s leaktight, and everything working OK, except, possibly, the thermostat.

The rubber ring originally fitted (by me, it has to be said), was what was supplied with the immersion heater.

And the wiring? Well, it is now the law that any mains electrical wiring has to be either (a) done by a contractor, suitably qualified, or (b), inspected by a suitably qualified contractor. Now (b) is impossible, since no contractor is going to approve a job they did not see done themselves…one just says “it was done before the law came in”. Blaim the moron whose wiring job killed the daughter of Jenny Tonge, ex-MP for this area. She pushed this regulation through Parliament.

I learnt how to wire a mains plug at school, and worked for a long time doing mains wiring jobs in industry. I do a better job than those who have the paper qualification that is needed. This bloody over-regulation of every minutae of life really gets to me.

Old Kilner Jars

July 19, 2008


The jar on the right has been in my “museum” for perhaps 10 years or so. It came from my late Uncle’s house, and when father was clearing it, he threw a load of these away (I believe). This one was kept as it was used for storing the nuts and bolts of greenhouse staging that was being taken away.

The jar on the left was found recently in parert’s loft. It might have been there to collect drips through the roof. There is another one I found last week while up in the loft sorting things out.

I’ve put them against a background to try and show the “The KILNER Jar”, and also see how the glass in the large one varies – I suspect it is rather old.

Problem with all my Kilner jars – where can you get the rubber seals for them – even the last, Ravenshead type? A search on Google does not give much hope – only one address left to try.

Cannot use the Le Parfait seals (which are available, seemingly only from John Lewis), they are to broad, even if they would fit.

Oddly enough, I actually have a load of seals, but all but three have perished. Those three are used for the Rumtopf I make every year.

However, over an hour’s search on the internet, I’ve finally found This kilner jar shop that knows what it is talking about, and suggests the jar on the left is “Original”, the one on the right “Improved”.


July 19, 2008

For some time, booting this computer with my MEPIS Linux disk has got slower and slower, and this week it would not at all.

I have a second hand computer I was given, and so I tried that. Well, it did not boot the window manager, but I was able to get it in console mode. And with that, I was able to get the pics off my mobile phone for the previous blog entry.

It has been lack of pics why I did not blog more recently, and that because of the difficulty of getting them off the phone, but at least I have another route (and it booted far faster!).

But I will have to sort out a new main computer soon, this one’s hard disc whines badly first thing in the morning. I do make back ups!

A day out

July 13, 2008

Firstly, doing the shopping on Sunday, I looked, and there are new stickers on the Gordon Ramsay book in Waitrose, showing that there is only £5 off. I noticed another book, by the MD of Waitrose, was also on offer at £5 off, but no sticker on that. (A book about picnics).

Anyway, mother wanted a drive out, so I headed northwestward, to the scarpment of the Chilterns, then drove southwestward along it. When we got to Chinnor, I noticed that the steam loco of the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway was in, so stopped for some pics.


The engine. It was obviously the end of the day (an hour after the last journey), and was gently loosing steam.


The old British Railways Logo


They have other trains, such as this diesel loco, which does most of the running. Behind it are various carriages, in various states of disrepair.

Do note the season ticket notice in the foreground!

Update, 15.II.09 The “diesel loco” is a Class 121 Diesel Multiple Unit, known as a bubble car.

Fixed the car

July 11, 2008

Got the part from near Newbury, and, due to a mother crisis (she said she had no cold water in the kitchen) I had to set to and fit the part in the morning. As I only had 3rd gear, I could not do the job at colleagues place. But I found a road with very wide pavements, and some car parking places on the pavement, so I drove into one of those, jacked the car up and one axle stand, and crawled underneath (using cardboard to make it easier).

The Hayes manual is completely silent on this matter, and ignores the power steering rack that is in the way. As a result, I could only turn the four nuts 1/24 of a turn, before having to turn spanner around, then another 1/24 of a turn. That got the old part out, and the complete reversal with the new part in – until it was approximately in, when I could then use the gear lever to change the position to make the final tightening up rather easier. All left handed while lying under the car.

But I did it.

And the mother crisis: She had turned the new tap so hard, she could not undo it. All she could turn was the amount of the natural give in the system!