Monday, 22 October 2018


I think I've finally sussed the Brexit mentality.

I saw a letter in Yesterday's Sunday Times where the writer maintained that the American colonies were willing to sacrifice British trade and protection during the American Revolution in return for independence and went on to be spectacularly successful, thus Brexit should hold no fears for the UK. The fallacy in this comparison of Revolutionary America to Britain is glaringly obvious, even to a blind wombat.

America is a country built on immigration - in 1765 it was a wide open country with few people and abundant resources; a land of undeniably huge opportunities - a veritable immigration magnet with free land (if you could eradicate the natives). It didn't need Britain as it had enough opportunity to sustain itself internally, slaves in abundance and everyone wanted to buy tobacco and cheap cotton - all it needed was more immigrants. The difference between Revolutionary America and Britain today couldn't be more stark, as the circumstances are/were entirely different.

How about Germany? Immigrants are attracted to Germany due to it being an economic powerhouse with relatively high wages and excellent social benefits. This is afforded by quality products people want to buy.

If you want to reduce immigration you have to make sure your country isn't attractive to immigrants by not being successful, certainly nowhere near as successful as other countries near you - let them become the magnets for immigrants, refugees and illegals.

I think that just about sums up the Brexit modus operandi, else why place the economy of the UK at a substantial disadvantage? It seems to be working too.

Talking of the Sunday Times; its editorial yesterday poo-pooed the London march on Saturday, saying it was primarily a London thing and the appetite for a 2nd referendum was not that high outside of the capital. I guess the editor didn't see all the coaches from as far afield as Lancashire, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Brexit press' denial of the fact that the mood of the nation has changed, supported by poll after poll, is breathtaking and shows the effects of dogma at its blinkered best. Yet Remainers are continually accused of whining - whining by pointing out that some are blind to reason, evidence, truth, logic and fact. Brexit has successfully become a religion for some, and none of the aforementioned analytical tools, which are available to all, are effective against blind dogma, especially when the dogma is articulated, ex cathedra, by the infallible Boris, who has the ambition of a Borgia.

I'm quite happy to be a heretic and use my brain and critical faculties to sift fact from fiction. Falsehood will fly, as it were, on the wings of the wind, and carry its tales to every corner of the earth; whilst truth lags behind; her steps, though sure, are slow and solemn.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Weather Prediction

I was looking at my electricity generation chart just now - the one that averages the amount of generation over the last 5 years and highlights the chances of sunshine on a particular day - and noticed something strange; while there are almost no incidences of any particular day having a higher than average chance of sunshine, there are multiple days when the chances are that there will be below average sunshine.

Click on the image to enlarge it and you'll see that the peaks in the blue line, which are high levels of confidence, coincide with below average electricity generation (i.e. cloudy days). So, rather than being able to predict, on average, days of fine weather, the chart is more suited to predicting days of poor weather.

There's a huge anomaly on the right - I think it's a high confidence prediction of a General Election or a 2nd referendum...

Saturday, 20 October 2018

What's in a Name

Strange how everyone used to pronounce Adnan Khashoggi's name with a G, but this Saudi journalist who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Turkey has his name pronounced with a G and then a J.

Even stranger when one considers Jamal was Adnan's nephew.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Cheeky gains

Hay scored a palpable hit yesterday by being cheeky. She was at a meeting in the Hotel du Vin in Bristol (a high-end boutique hotel) and admired some beautiful, bespoke leather chairs. So impressed was she that she cheekily asked the manager if she could buy one. To her utter surprise he said they had 3 spare and one could be available. She bought it for £100 - a bargain.

The chair looks Edwardian, but was made by a company that specialises in supplying high-end establishments. I suspect it's an original carcass that's been reupholstered to a very high standard. A bargain!

That's 3 chairs in as many weeks - we have more chairs than a person with a lot of chairs. As suspected, one of the cats has commandeered it.

Thursday, 18 October 2018


Had another session of the plumbing course last night an learned that my friend Dave, who runs  the course from his home, designed the plumbing for the CCTV building in Beijing.

I guess he knows what he's talking about. Dave is the bloke on the left.

Best £60 I've spent in a long time. Last night I took apart and reassembled a Grohe mixer tap - a marvel of German engineering. The only problem was that when reassembled it didn't have the full rotation it had before I disassembled it - a bit like my thumb.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018


Saw an item in TV last night about the latest technology being trialled in supermarkets to expedite the checkout process and, naturally, it eliminates the human element - except for the shopper, of course; however, you'll be next.

If faced with one of those self-service checkouts in a supermarket, I always choose the manned checkout for the simple fact that it's employing a person. It's usually a toss-up anyway as to whether the self-service jobbie is quicker - the manned checkout is manned by an expert in the process and, if there's a problem, it gets sorted quicker. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

That Bloody TV

Bloody new TV!

Received the Digital Audio to AUX converter box yesterday and installed it between the TV and by Bose speaker. It works, but I can no longer control the volume via the TV remote's volume control. I can using a Bluetooth link, but not when it's a physical connection. How stupidly ridiculous is that? Seems I'm stuck with having to use a Blutooth connection and faffing about going through the rigmarole of reconnecting it every time I switch the TV on.

I have managed to switch off the UHD function, returning the look of an older telly, rather than it seeming as if I'm watching a garish TV advert or Eastenders all the time. Both Hay and I prefer the slightly fuzzy aspect of non-HD/UHD.

Pressing the Guide function on Freesat provides little or no information on the programmes on the channels, added to which I've lost half the satellite channels I had on my old Sky box. 

Might send the new TV back and buy an old 43 inch TV from someone who is converting to HD/UHD, which will cost me a fraction of the new TV's cost and return the functionality I've lost. Technological improvement is not always synonymous with progress.

Anyone got an old non-HD, 43 inch telly they're getting rid of?

Monday, 15 October 2018

Ruskin College

Just to get out for a few hours yesterday we went to Nailsworth, intending to have a mooch around a shop called Domestic Science, which happens to have a rather nice cafe attached to it called The Canteen. 

We found the place transformed - Domestic Science, as the name would imply, used to be filled with really useful stuff that was kitchen oriented, with a smattering of crappy gifts; The Canteen was a hippyish cafe serving good food at reasonable prices. Domestic Science now specialises is the most useless stuff you could imagine and seems to have hired the Village Idiot for its buyer; The Canteen has priced itself into a rigid middle class market - £8.50 for an egg on toast!

Instead we went to the Ruskin Mill Cafe, which is more what The Canteen used to be before it decided its market was more upscale. £7 for a huge plate of chorizo, potato and pasta cheese salad, which was more than enough for both of us, made by the students themselves.

Ruskin Mill College, for which the cafe doubles as a refectory during the working week, specialises in helping students learn to care for their own well-being and development and overcome their barriers to learning, using arts, crafts, commerce, agriculture, nutrition, living skills and the environment. A brilliant concept for those having, for one reason or another, problems with mainstream education.

These are some of the water features the students produce in the craft centre, and I think they're fantastic.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Sell-By Benefits of the Stereo Retirement Home of Easy Rider

I had a surprise benefit from the stupid system of sell-by dates in Tesco yesterday. I spotted three chunks of Old Amsterdam cheese (aged Gouda, for the uninitiated) that had reached this mysterious date known as the sell-by date. It's aged cheese, for God's sake. The best stuff is aged for at least 12 months and the stuff I bought couldn't have been more than 6 months old, judging by the consistency.

Tesco were selling the stuff at half price, so I bought the lot. Result!

I'm seeing a lot of hoardings on building sites advertising what are called retirement homes. Thinking about it, that means a cheap home, probably with a single bedroom and not enough room in which to swing a cat. That sounds suspiciously like the first-time-buyer home too.

Why are modern TV speakers so crap? Even these sound bars that people buy for them have execrable reviews and aren't much better. Our new UHD TV doesn't have an AUX output, so I've got to invest in a digital optical to AUX  converter. I can connect to my Bose speaker with Bluetooth, but I have to reconnect every time I switch the TV on, which is a pain in the arse. I have a magic box on order from Amazon and will probably get a decent pair of stereo speakers, it's a poor show, however, when you have to go to so much trouble with a brand new TV.

Why is it that  no-one has ever remade the iconic film, Easy Rider? Perhaps it was too much of its time and has no resonance today. There was a 2012 prequel, but it bombed horribly.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Norse Allergies

Lots of stuff in the news recently about people being killed by anaphylactic shock caused by allergens in shop or restaurant bought food. If I had such an allergy, the last thing I'd do is to risk death by relying on shops alerting me, or not, to the presence of allergens - I'd make bloody sure I wasn't about to kick the bucket by preparing my own food from known ingredients. It just seems the sensible thing to do when suppliers of suppliers can't be relied on. Conversely, if I were a restaurateur I'd say that all my food definitely contained allergens and be done with it, rather than take the risk on myself.

Last weekend we discovered a Netflix series called Norsemen. It's a Norwegian comedy production and it's hilarious. Essentially, it's Vikings overlaid with 21st century social values. Well worth watching - we watched all of season 1 back-to-back and are well into season 2.

In the opening scene a captured slave in a Viking longship is complaining. The Viking chieftain walks along the boat and thumps him in the face. The chieftain then returns to the boat's prow and whispers to his 2nd in command; "You know, I'm not that comfortable with this confrontational leadership style."

Friday, 12 October 2018

Astronaut Cosmonaut

I was somewhat confused yesterday in a BBC News report where it was said that an American astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut had escaped from a malfunctioning Soyuz rocket. I thought an astronaut and a cosmonaut were basically the same thing and the announcer could have equally said that and two astronauts, one American and one Russian, had escaped.

It turns out that while they are similar, they're not the same. The astronauts have to be young and not older than 40 years of age. They should also have a height less than 5’11.” A cosmonaut should be younger than 30 years of age and should have a height less than 5’7. Also their training is different, as are their functions, hence they are job titles.

An interesting fact is that a Payload Commander is not considered to be an astronaut, as a PLC has not been through the same training.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Body Art

Went to the hospital again yesterday to have the stitches removed from my thumb and the cast changed on the hand and spotted these quirky artworks of body parts on the walls of the physio unit.

I decided to create my own artwork - it's called 'Hand' in mixed media...

The new cast is red, but it transpires I've lost all sensation on the inner edge of my thumb, so some nerves have been severed. They will grow back over time, but not be as effective as the originals.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

The Boxer Rebellion

After some 40 years I have finally ditched boxer shorts underwear and embraced 21st century undergrments. I'm fed up of constantly having to tuck voluminous amounts of material into my trousers, having parts of my anatomy constantly trying to escape though a lack of confinement and my boxers transforming into a thong as they ride up.

As a gentleman ages and things hang further south than they did in one's youth, the risks associated with wearing boxers and shorts together increases the chances of inadvertently committing a crime when standing with one foot on a raised object or climbing stairs, and hence some form of containment is recommended, if not essential.

Yes - I am now converted to the aptly named 'sports trunk' style of men's foundation garment, having purchased 10 pairs from Lidl for under £12, as compared to a single pair of boxers for, invariably, the same price.

In our household it's called the Boxer Rebellion...

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Climate Change Coffee

There was a survey on climate change by YouGov yesterday. 

My Nespresso coffee deal on the machine finished this month, so I'm free to buy my coffee pods where I want. Found an eBay supplier in Liverpool whose prices are half that of Nespresso for vanilla, caramel and chocolate flavoured coffee.

Received my first shipment yesterday and noted, to my consternation, that all the flavours are in pods of the same colour, so it's impossible to differentiate them out of the packet. I left the packets on the kitchen worktop and went out - but Hay came home shortly afterwards, earlier than expected. She'd been home for about an hour when I decided to message her with a warning not to tip them all in the coffee pod tin. Her response was that for the next week, at least, it would be coffee lucky dip.

In light of the YouGov survey above, I'll have to use fewer coffee pods, even though we recycle them. 

Potato - potatoes. Tomato - tomatoes. Torpedo - torpedoes. Hero - heroes.
Avocado - avocados. Pimiento - pimientos. Piano - pianos.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Restoration Man

Got the restoration bug again  after a couple of small Facebook Market purchases over the weekend.

Edwardian armchair in need of some reupholstering (£29) and a late Victorian chest of drawers (£95) requiring the sympathetic healing of a split down one side and a touch of TLC.

I'd make a terrible antiques dealer - I'd find it impossible to part with any of my purchases.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

BMW Remote Control

Last night we went out for a meal with a friend, meeting at her hotel a few miles from us on the A46, which is notorious for cars speeding and the site of numerous accidents. We were being approached by a line of three cars when the last car of the line, a BMW SUV, pulled out on our side of the road and started to accelerate toward us in an attempt to overtake the other two cars. We were in plain sight - it was daylight - and the manoeuvre was suicidal. Hay realised this and decelerated, but the BMW driver just kept accelerating thinking he (or she) could make it. Hay finally swerved left into the verge and the BMW narrowly missed us. BMWs are such nice cars, but why are so many idiots attracted to them?

Have you noticed that some drivers don't dip their headlights until after they've actually blinded you? It's as if they want you to know they've dipped their lights as a courtesy, and as a consequence they ensure you know by blinding you first.

Getting somewhere with the voice-activated remote TV control. I can now switch to a channel by saying the name of the channel, rather than having to remember which channel corresponds with one of a couple of hundred numbers. I can even say the name of a programme and it will return the channel with that programme currently on. Using the App I can even change channels and watch what's on the TV while away from home - Hay thought the TV was playing up when I did this from town yesterday. The only thing I can't do when away from home is to switch the TV on if it's already off, which is a bit of a bummer.

I wish I had voice-activated control of that BMW last night - it would have been in a ditch.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Telly Tribulations

Bought a new telly this week as I'm having increasing difficulty reading any text on our old 32 inch model. Went for a 43 inch, and there is an improvement.

The new one comes with something called HD, which neither Hay nor myself are convinced is an improvement. The images have an ultra-real look about them - a bit like all the programmes were made in the Crossroads studio.

You can download an App to control the TV, which I decided not to use, but it keeps switching my Bluetooth on automatically, despite not using it. That will have to go.

It also has a separate voice-activated remote control, which I haven't a clue how to use, as there are no instructions - at least none I can find. Had a look on YouTube, but the Samsung videos gave only the most rudimentary information. No matter what I say, all the instructions have the same effect. Seems more like a solution looking for a problem to solve.

When it arrived, it came with 2 sets of instructions - Quick Installation and the Instruction Manual. From past experience, I've never had much truck with Quick Installation Guides, as you don't learn much about the products. It took about an hour and a YouTube video for No.2 Son and I to fix the bloody stand on to the TV, as there were no instructions on how to do it and there being no obvious indications that part of the stand slid off to reveal fixing holes. Reams of instructions for fixing it to a wall, but absolutely nothing about fixing the stand to it, other than a before and after image. An hour later I was firkling through all the accompanying bumf and had a butcher's at the Quick Installation Guide, and there was the instruction for attaching the stand....

Friday, 5 October 2018

Post-Operation Check

Had my post-op check on the thumb yesterday.

Stitches holding firm, skin healing well and no infection.

A nice, polymer cast that's a bit more manageable than the lump of plaster of Paris I've been sporting for the last week.

The X-ray shows what they term a 'bullet', which is essentially a staple that holds the ligament in place and will be in position for the rest of my life. Back to the hospital next Wednesday to have the stitches removed and then some physiotherapy to regain the mobility.

Certainly a huge difference from the post-injury X-ray.

Thursday, 4 October 2018


So Theresa May maintains Britain's post-Brexit future is full of promise. Somehow the words empty, hollow and broken come to mind where Brexit is concerned, especially if track record is anything to put store in, and certainly if logic and economic forecasts are used.

No-one has yet presented a coherent strategy that averts severe damage to the economy - indeed we're on target for the hardest of ideological Brexits and Japanese companies are preparing to decamp from Brexit Britain en masse to be nearer their customers.

The lunatics are running the asylum and promising Elysium. Is ignorance truly happiness?

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Healthy Trousers

Interesting juxtaposition of news stories on the BBC News website this morning.

  1. Bacon and sausages linked to breast cancer, and
  2. Costa advert banned for urging customers to buy a bacon roll rather than an avocado.
No idea who or what Tinchy Stryder is. Sounds like a brand of children's trousers.

By the way, in answer to Boris Johnson's assertion that when 95% of world growth is forecast to be generated outside of the EU, we shouldn't shackle ourselves to the EU. Well, why start from a position of weakness as an isolated country, rather than as a member of the world's largest trading block? The man is a dangerous demagogue and those who fawn on him are fools.

By the way, an increase from 1 to 2 is 100% growth. More pertinent is the volume and value of trade. Boris' use of growth is a deliberate deceit.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Tesco Clubcard

Here we go again, yet another Brexit fantasist, Jeremy Hunt, likens the EU to the USSR, where countries could not leave.

Countries could not leave the USSR without the threat of invasion; the UK is at liberty to leave the EU at any time, but must accept the financial consequences.

It's like having a Tesco Club Card that gives you discounts on products in return for shopping there, but then deciding to return the card, demanding those same discounts and asking to be taken seriously.

Are these people sane? Brexiteers' sense of victimhood over a self-inflicted injury is simply mind boggling and how they think no-one can see through this is astounding. You can almost hear them shouting; "Don't you know who I am?" at the checkout. When you're the epicentre of an Empire of some 458 million people and a manufacturing powerhouse, that may carry some weight; when you are a country of 65 million with little remaining in the way of manufacturing, it doesn't.

A cynic might think they're doing this on purpose prior to another referendum and hoping the more intelligent voter responds accordingly. Never, however, underestimate the stupidity of the electorate...

Monday, 1 October 2018

Contrail Con

Obviously, we're on some major, international flight path.

Also, those contrails are really chemicals being rained down on us to keep us docile...

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Dead Brexit Sketch

It's really amusing listening to the die-hard, Brexit dogmatists on the radio and in the media trying to make a silk purse  from the sow's ear that Brexit was predicted by 'experts' to become - and has, indeed, manifestly become. We are regaled on a daily basis with mythical opportunities which, when analysed, are nothing but hot air, wishful thinking, flights of fancy having no basis in reality, or minor, genuine opportunities, extrapolated beyond all bounds of pragmatic feasibility.

Interestingly enough, there's a news report that says 3 in 5 Britons believe in miracles. They'd have to, if they thought Brexit could be a success story.  One is reminded of King Canute trying to command the waves (however, he was trying to make a point, contrary to popular belief), or the Monty Python Dead Brexit sketch.....

Saturday, 29 September 2018


A few weeks ago I saw a large sign on the common advertising an evening,  home plumbing course. It turned out to be my neighbour, Dave, who can only be described as a consulting plumber and all-round genius; there's nothing he can't turn his hand to. At £60 for 6 x 2 hr sessions, I signed up and the first session was on Wednesday evening.

Dave started with water regulations and I learned a few things.

  1. The Statutory Instrument (Law) on domestic water installations comprises 13 pages and is very simple to understand; the guidance, written for the government by an independent organisation, comprises 79 pages.
  2. If you have to replace a hot water tank heating element, ensure you get a titanium one.
  3. The chances are that the fibre washer for that old element is made of asbestos.
  4. If the new element comes with a fibre washer, the chances  are quite high that that also is made of asbestos - the law was never changed.
  5. Don't buy a water softener as they're not good for you or the piping. Instead buy a water conditioner.
  6. Whereas a plumber of old was a jack-of-all-trades, over-regulation and the cost of obtaining licences has fragmented the trade such that you need several different plumbers to accomplish a task, as a plumber rarely has enough money to obtain all the necessary licences. 
  7. The old CORGI scheme was a bit of a rip-off. The new scheme that replaced it (Gas Safe) is run by Capita.
  8. Standards setting and regulatory bodies concerned with plumbing are riddled with vested interests.

Friday, 28 September 2018

The Good Old NHS II

I was 2nd on the list for my thumbotomy operation yesterday morning and out of hospital by 13:30. However the head transplant had complications - the head rejected me and the original had to be reattached, much to Hay's chagrin.

From start to finish - Zimbabwean nurse, Irish registrar (southern, by his accent), Greek and Asian student medics, Spanish nurse, two more Zimbabwean nurses, English anaesthetist, black British surgeon. Where would we be without these wonderful people?

Apparently my thumb was nearly ripped off and there was more soft tissue damage than at first thought, so as you can see, they gave me a replacement, blue-foam arm instead. 3 months for a complete recovery, although it will soak up water for the rest of my life...

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Thumbs Up for Star Trek Bond

Watched the last episode of Bodyguard on iPlayer last night. Now James Bond is meant to be Scottish, so could Michael Madden be the next Bond?

Bodyguard's writer, Jed Mercurio, should also be given a Bond script to write.

Regarding the Skripal poisoning case, I can exclusively reveal that the poisoners are actually time-travelling crew from the USS Enterprise.

The uniforms are a dead give-away.

Hopefully I'll have my thumbotomy today. I shall resist asking when the're bringing the MRSA trolley around or asking whether Quacks is an accurate representation of the NHS...

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

The Good Old NHS

Duly attended the plastics unit at Southmead Hospital at 09:30 yesterday for my dislocated thumb. On the way I spotted a new hotel being built in Filton.

If you know Filton, an hotel called the "Village Hotel" is a piss-take - Filton is the most heavily industrialised area of Bristol, being the engineering epicentre (Airbus, RR, etc.).

I was was seen immediately on arrival. A registrar surgeon said that I indeed had a torn ligament and I could have an operation that day. An appointment was made for 14:00. We were told that if an emergency came in or there were complications with operations before mine, then we could end up getting bumped - which is fair enough.

Went home and returned by 13:30. At 15:00 we were given our own preparation room where I changed and answered some pre-op questions. The nurses asked what I was in for and I said I'd come for a head transplant, which caused some hilarity. Then we waited, and waited, and waited. We were given several updates throughout the day, but apparently and emergency came in there were complications with the op before mine.

The anaesthetist had seen us around 17:00 and asked for my height and weight to determine the right dose of GA. I said my weight was 78 Kg when I came in, but it was now 75 Kg, as I hadn't eaten all day.

At 19:30 the surgeon from the morning consultation came to see us and told me there was no chance for that day, but I could reschedule for 07:30 on Thursday; the patient immediately before me had suffered breathing problems which had extended her operation by an extraordinary length. It's just one of those things.

I'm one of those people who can't just sit patiently doing nothing for hours on end in a 4m x 4m room. If I'm not doing anything, the only alternative is sleeping/ It's such a pity that when you're waiting for an operation they can't put you in an induced coma while you're waiting. 

I certainly can't complain - surgery is unpredictable - and I was surprised that I had the chance of having the operation the same day. It's not a highly efficient production line where you know, to the second, what's going to happen next. The poor woman before me was fighting for her life, but the surgeon told me I'd be surprised at the number of people who complain vociferously about the wait and in the main they're elderly, precisely the cohort that are most unpredictable to operate on because they present the greatest number of age-related complications.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Immigrants Swamping A&E

Yesterday I dislocated my thumb, and damned painful it was too. This is an X-ray of my hand viewed edge-on. I had a local anaesthetic and air/gas during the realignment procedure and didn't feel a thing - in fact the medic was quite surprised at how easily it slipped back into position. However, there's a codicil to that, but later, and it's by-the-by.

While talking to the paramedics who came to the house after Hay called the 111 number, I learned something very pertinent to all this talk of our NHS being swamped with immigrants. Apparently anyone who provides a service, whether that be private or public, is so afraid of litigation and ambulance-chasing solicitors that their first response on someone having an accident, either at work, school or whatever, is to send the victim to Accident and Emergency at the local hospital to cover their arse.

No bloody wonder Accident and Emergency departments are overwhelmed. Even a cough is enough to send some to the local hospital - common sense and the watch-and-wait philosophy that was prevalent decades ago seem to have flown out of the window.

The paramedic recounted one example where he attended a child at a school where the parent was asked to sign an statement by the headmistress to the effect that she did not intend to send the child concerned to Accident and Emergency, so as to absolve the school of any responsibility.

Back to the thumb. I have to attend our local hospital's plastics unit today as the procedure to realign my thumb was only 80-90% successful; the joint insists on subluxing, which was why it was so easily put back into place. It may well be something to do with the fact my thumbs are double jointed or I may have torn the ligaments and require a splint for a while - or even surgery. Naturally that means no bike riding or Rollerblading for some weeks. It might also mean no blogging for a while; I'm typing this with one hand, the other being swathed in bandages to keep the thumb as immobile as possible. Given the angle of the dislocation, ligament damage seems highly likely - if you ask me.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Old Yeller Tales

Managed to fix a waterproof USB connection to the Old Yeller yesterday, without drilling a hole in the fairing or having unsightly cable ties all over the place. I have a phone RAM-Grip on order (again from China and due to arrive next week), which actually includes a USB connection, but I thought that if I connect a separate one under the seat (which is a locked compartment), connected direct to the battery, rather than the lights, it would enable me to leave my phone safely on charge whenever I parked the bike. So, two USB connections - one somewhere in front as part of the phone holder and connected to the lighting circuit - the lights being on when I'm riding the bike - and another locked away under the seat for when parked, but nevertheless needing to charge my, or Hay's phone.

Managed to snaffle a nice tank bag on Facebook market, which was rather sad looking when I bought it for £10 - manky as hell and a bit mouldy. Some soap powder and bleach spray brought it up like new. Unfortunately it's a magnetic one for metal tanks, whereas my tank is plastic - there's no way I'm Supergluing magnets or metal strips on Old Yeller. Easily fixed, however, with some additional webbing and quick-release buckles I've ordered from eBay for under a tenner.

It's an Oxford Sport Lifetime Luggage item; there are another two smaller bags that go with this one, zipping one on top of another to form a pyramid, one of them doubling as a small backpack. Must have been quite expensive when new. Might eventually go for a Quick-Lock system that goes on the tank filling ring, but the bags fitted with this device are an arm and a leg. I suppose I could buy a ratty, 2nd hand one off eBay and adapt the Quick-Lock so it fits on the yellow bag.

Until I sort out a permanent home for the bike, it's languishing in a shed at the top of the garden, about 100m away from the house and all my tools. Yesterday's little job took 10 times longer than it should have done as I had to do innumerable trips up and down the garden to get all the required tools. "Oh, I need an Allen key," so a trip up and down the garden. "Now I need a pair of scissors," and another trip up and down, etc, etc. Might end up simply taking the shed apart and moving it near the house.

First chance for some fun yesterday, once the sun came out.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Diesel Rock

I inadvertently committed a cardinal sin the other day - I put diesel in a petrol car. Luckily I realised the error at about £18 worth of diesel. I immediately filled the tank with £52 worth of petrol to dilute it. Didn't seem to have any deleterious effect on the engine, or its performance, although it might dirty the plugs.

Putting diesel in a petrol car is the lesser evil and, if it's a reasonably small amount and is immediately diluted with a much larger quantity of petrol (twice or more times the amount of diesel), one tank isn't likely to do irreparable damage. Petrol in a diesel car is an engine killer and requires the tank emptying before firing up the engine.

So Chas of Chas and Dave has died. Chas and Dave are celebrated for producing what has been termed Cockney Rock, or Cock Rock for short - a rather unfortunate term.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Self-Service Battle Vest

Before going to bed last night we watched a bit of Die Hard. Whenever Bruce Willis strips down to his trademark Battle Vest, you know something is about to kick off.

Self-service supermarket tills - do you use them? The queues at them can be as long, if not longer, than at the manned tills. Invariably several people, usually pensioners, are faffing about in some trouble or other, which adds to the time to get through them. Not only that, but they mean someone, if not several people, have been put out of a job. They're not exactly a competitive advantage as far as customer service is concerned, though they may feasibly lead to cheaper prices; however, I suspect they're more of a ploy to boost revenue for the supermarket. Lidl seems to do well without them.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Gurning Gregg & Lotus JPS

Last night we watched a few minutes of Masterchef by accident. It's not something we have watched for years - Hay calls it Mastershout. You can see why Gregg Wallace is television gold; when he's questioning contestants about what they have prepared there are alternating shots of the contestant talking and Gregg making facial contortions that remind me of a gurning contest. On looking up 'Gregg Wallace facial expressions' on Google. I discovered he's noted for it.

I had occasion yesterday to sit in a Mini Mayfair and it was like sitting in a chair at a London gentleman's club. Loved the retro leather look.

It was somewhat akin to sitting in an old Wolesley Hornet. I had a Wolesley Hornet in the 70s Originally it was white, but I had it resprayed black and gold and put gold pinstriping on it, thus giving it a Lotus JPS livery to add a bit of pizzazz - God knows why. I ended up totalling it on Gladstone Dock in Liverpool on the last day of a radar course. The sump hit a grid and I bent nearly every panel on the car.

My mum had bought me the car as she was worried about the deathtraps I was driving, which were held together by sheets of metal from empty tins and body filler. She phoned me at college to say she'd bought me a 'mini, but not a mini' - she wasn't very conversant with car marques - and I spent the next few days in a very excited state thinking she'd bought me a Mini Marcos, or at the very least a Mini Jem. No, she's bought me the most pedestrian version of a standard mini, albeit with a walnut dash and plush, leather seats - 2nd hand, of course. I wasted no time in trying to improve its looks to give it a bit more street-cred, hence the Lotus JPS colours.

The difference couldn't have been more stark, although a few Lotus JPS minis were actually produced.