Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Forgotten Tall Immigrants

My short term memory is quite atrocious these days and I make notes on my phone of items for the blog as they occur to me. Well, I was watching something on telly last night and it sparked an idea for a blog subject. I thought to myself; "Shall I make a note of that?", but decided not to, as I was convinced I would remember it. An hour later I couldn't, for the life of me, remember what on earth it was. 

It did return to me, however, when I woke up this morning. It was while watching Michael Portillo on one of his railway journey documentaries and the fact that the Ellis Island immigration centre, which was built to accommodate 4,000 immigrants a day, sometimes had to cope with 16,000 a day. Between 1892 and 1954 it processed over 12 million immigrants, mainly from Europe, who made America what it is today. A salutary lesson poke in the eyes for people who don't like immigrants.

My son's are tall (both taller than me), particularly No.2 Son, who is already 6' 1" at age 16 (and seems to eat like the proverbial horse). This morning I saw on the BBC news website that a new study has shown that when it comes to height, Dutch men and Latvian women tower over all other nationalities. Latvian men are 4th in the tall stakes and Dutch women are 2nd. My two sons are a product of a genetically Anglo-Dutch father and genetically Latvian mother.

Now when it comes to my two daughters, by a 4' 11" English mother, they both struggle to reach 5 feet. Genetics is a strange thing.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Sunday Green Kayaking

Can anyone recommend a decent Sunday newspaper? We take the Sunday Times. This is mainly because the accompanying Sunday Times Magazine used to have half decent and interesting articles; however, of late, the Sunday Times Magazine has descended to an intellectual par with its sister magazine, Style. It's all tittle-tattle, adverts and associated bollocks.

Spotted this over the weekend in Chipping Sodbury:

Is that what's called green motoring?

Went kayaking on the Avon with No.2 Son yesterday:

That's the 'doing embarrassing things with dad' stuff over for this year.

Sunday, 24 July 2016


Overheard while watching the TV programme, Full Steam Ahead.

Hay: "Do you think the Brexiteers will want to do away with the railways?"

Someone on the radio yesterday was trumpeting the 'fact' that the UK is one of the world's leading trading nations. We're 9th in the list of gross export value, which isn't so bad, but 33rd on the list of exports per capita, which is worrying. More worrying still, we're 2nd in the list of highest trade deficits; only the USA has a higher deficit.

Once the redundancies from the loss of confidence kick in, then the exports per capita figure could improve, unless there's a swathe of company closures too, which seems highly likely given order books are at their lowest since the global recession.

One hopes the fall in sterling will do something to counter the deficit, as the Brexiteers are maintaining, but the Brexiteers also maintain the fall is temporary, so not much hope in the long run.

Seems to me that Brexiteer logic is to translate everything, no matter how dire, as a positive and a sign of a bright and rosy Utopian future.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Glug, Glug, Glug

Spotted yesterday - nice name for a company that does plumbed in water coolers:

Talking of which, the submersible pump for the caravan's water delivery system packed up yesterday. Got a new one, but the coupling on the caravan is so old that I had to do a bodge to get it to fit. Have ordered a new housing so I can do a proper job in the next week or so. Need to find a cheap way of plumbing the caravan into a permanent supply, rather than using a refillable 40 Ltr roll-tank. They make roll-tanks with a side filler and you can get an adaptor with a ball-cock, but they're ludicrously expensive.

Roof trusses were fitted to the 2nd cabin yesterday:

Thursday, 21 July 2016

House of Cards Drones

I'm increasingly hearing of Powerpoint presentations being described as 'decks'. Never heard the expression before joining my current company, but I just heard Hay use it yesterday too. Seems the term has been around for over a decade without me noticing. Must be an Americanism.

Went out into the garden this morning at about 5:30 and heard what I thought was an electrical buzzing noise. Further investigation revealed a drone hovering in the field by the railway. Resplendent in dressing gown and flip-flops, I wandered over to the field to find a bloke practicing with two drones. The smaller one had cost him over £1,000 and he said I didn't want to know how much the larger one cost. The larger had a range of over 2 miles and is equipped with all the gizmos to make it fail-safe. It's quite rekindled by interest in drones, but it will have to wait till after the wedding and all the cost that will entail.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Selling Off the Family Cabin

People are decrying the sale of ARM Technologies to the Japanese; however, that's how Israel has one of the fastest rising economies in the world - they create new IP, build it, sell it off (usually to America) and then get to work on the next IP. It probably has something to do with them having the one of the highest number of PhDs per head of population; producing more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin; having the largest number of startup companies globally, second only to the U.S.; being No. 2 in the world for venture capital funds, right behind the United States. Selling off the family silver is not a problem if you have a silver mine.

What with Brexit having trashed a large segment of UK science funding, perhaps the pundits are right about not selling off ARM, as we're not going to be very good at creating university spin-offs from now on. We'll just have to settle for being number one in abusing foreigners and nostalgia for Empire.

The 2nd cabin is progressing well, especially with the advent of the good weather:

Roof trusses go on tomorrow and Friday.

If anyone wants a bespoke cabin built, then let me know and I'll put you in contact with Colin. He absolutely loves building them and would be happy to spend the rest of his working life doing it. However, you must want one built within a reasonable commuting distance of Old Sodbury.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Turkish Delight Car Mascots

Can't help but think Erdogan is trying to be another Assad.

A bit of DIY yesterday. I bored a hole in the plinth I use for the Bohemian glass car mascot I bought on eBay last year, inserted a little LED light I bought for Christmas from IKEA and, hey presto, an illuminated car mascot.

Not a perfect photo (took it in the darkened bathroom and had to edit out the tap on the left), but it conveys the effect I was after - and achieved. Below in situ.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Panoramic Spiders

Been experimenting with those panoramic images. View them on a mobile phone on Facebook and they move as you move your phone. Obviously not here.

I used an App called Panorama 360, which stitches multiple images together, although I think it will work with just the camera.

Not a panoramic image, but I couldn't help but take a shot of this chap, who has been busy during the night.

Sunday, 17 July 2016


Hay: "You should get your beard professionally trimmed at the barber."

Chairman: "Barbers don't do that kind of thing anymore - there are no old fashioned barbers."

Hay: "There must be - beards have never been so popular since Edwardian times."

Chairman: "I always thought most women didn't like beards."

Hay: "Oh, I wouldn't say that's true. Beards suit most people. Not women though."

Saturday, 16 July 2016

A Severe Case of Sleeping Sickness

Overheard, now that No.2 Son is finally ensconced in the caravan I bought last weekend:

Chairman (via Facebook Messenger at 10:01): "When you're awake, come in for some breakfast."

Chairman (via Facebook Messenger at 12.38 when No.2 Son had still not shown signs of life): "Make that lunch."

Seems I now have two teenage sons with severe cases of sleeping sickness.