Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Trigger's Ride-on-Mower Returns

I had occasion to rethread the deck belt on the replacement rode-on-mower and decided to remove the plastic cowling, so as to make things easier in future - it exposed a catalogue of previous Triggerish repairs (Trigger's broom from Only Fools and Horses) and rust holes. No wonder it was a bargain. 

Some idiot, instead of welding new metal into a gaping hole, had pop-rivetted and bolted some aluminium over it. 

Luckily I know a guy who is a magician when it comes to welding. He has autism and has severe problems with reading and writing, but he compensates for that by being a real craftsman when it comes to welding. 

For around £200 he'll make it look like new, after which I will apply rust converter and Hammerite to ensure no return of the problem. The cost will be well worth it and the total price for the mower and the repair will still make it a bargain. I should be getting the renovated deck back today or tomorrow.

The operation manual I found for the mower surprisingly showed it has cruise control. When new, these things sold for £3,995, so I'm going to really look after it.

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Scam Aftermath

Apropos of yesterday's post; I tried to unsubscribe from FindMyManual so as to stop the recurrence of the £36.95 payment, but had to ask for a password reset. Needless to say, the password reset email never materialised, thus confirming my suspicions that these buggers are scam artists and make things as difficult as possible.

I sent an email threatening legal action and got a resolution.

"Dear valued customer, 

We remind you that our service is a paid personal assistance service offered in the form of a discovery offer of 7 days to 0.95 GBP. At the end of the discovery offer and in case of non-cancellation by you, your subscription will be automatically renewed for a period of two months, with tacit renewal, for 36.95 GBP. 

"We also inform you that the price information relating to this subscription policy has been available to you on several occasions in the Terms and Conditions (validated during the payment) as well as on the home page, section premium plan. 

"Having said that, after reviewing your query we have decided to issue a refund for your purchase and cancel your ongoing subscription in good faith. 

"The funds have been returned to the same card used in the original purchase. Please note that depending on your bank or credit institution, this usually takes 24 hours, but may take several days in some cases, to appear on your statement. 

"You will no longer be billed on an ongoing basis and access to our services will be revoked after the billing cycle is terminated.

"We thank you for your custom and endeavor to improve our services in the future."

They may well have listed the terms somewhere, but nowhere obvious. They know they're in the wrong and have tacitly admitted it. Valued customer, my arse!

Monday, 26 September 2022


I used a service called FindAnyManual last week to find a manual for the Snapper, 2nd hand ride-on-mower I bought.

They charged me £0.95 for the service, but couldn't find the requisite manual and instead sent me a manual for a completely different mower. I eventually found the correct manual through Snapper customer support.

Today I was horrified to find I'd been charged a further £36.95, which is apparently a repeating, monthly subscription that's hidden in the small print, which I am disputing.

It seems from Trust Pilot that this is their modus operandi and there are myriad complaints about them. Beware! 

Sunday, 25 September 2022

The Tall and the Short

We have two olive trees on our patio - a large one and a teeny, tiny one, yet it's the small one that has managed to produce a crop of olives, which I never expected in our climate.

The one above was purchased from a chap who calls at our house about twice a year with stuff he's used to dress marketing stands at events, which he tries to sell off cheaply. He sold us a very nice, wooden patio set some 5 years ago, which is still going strong.

This tiddler was purchased at a plant market in Winchester, while I was visiting No.2 Son at university last year. A very immature specimen, but covered in olives.

Saturday, 24 September 2022


 I spotted this brilliant motorhome in the local Lidl car park this week. It had a German registration.

I don't know where the owner is going, but I don't think it's somewhere I could take our motorhome. Ukraine, perhaps?

Friday, 23 September 2022

The Garage & Workshop

Colin has recommenced work on my garage and workshop.

Walls are now at full height and the wooden garage construction is flying up. The garage part is exactly the same construction as the two cabins at the end of our garden.

Roof trusses are being delivered next week and then Colin will start reconstructing the AirBnB bedroom roof so it extends over the rear workshop area, and then cutting in at right angles to form the garage roof. The garage will be large enough to do a classic car restoration in, with ample room round the sides. I wonder if Lidl or Aldi will be selling engine hoists anytime soon?

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Waterfalls & Pools

Hay and her sister, as their homage to QEII, went hiking up the River Neath at Pontneddfechan on Sunday, seeking out pools in which to swim and waterfalls to stand under.

Hay and I went there earlier in the year, but didn't reach the pools and waterfalls in the photos above.

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Stability of Monarchy vs Chaos of Government

Even die-hard republicans, such as myself, are voicing muted approval of the pageantry that surrounded the Old Queen's funeral. Why is this?

I think I have an answer; it's because the monarchy personifies stability and continuity (despite a few wobbles along the path), whereas our government has been in permanent chaos since 2016, with 4 Prime Ministers so far. That chaos is now set to increase, as the government sanctions inflation busting bonus increases for bankers of up to twice their salaries (and laying the ground for a return to the 2008 financial crisis, caused by excessive risk taking in the pursuit of financial gain), while a 7% increase at the bottom of the pyramid for public sector workers unable to pay bills is simply too much to countenance. Perhaps the government thinks the bonuses will trickle down to public sector workers..

Republicans are casting a glance over the fence and envying the stability that the monarchy, under Queen Elizabeth, has shown. It's therefore an understandable and emotional reaction against instability.

One thing I've come to realise is that before abolishing the monarchy, we first need to fix our democratic system. By that I mean the elimination of massive political donations that give corporations and individuals unrepresentative and undemocratic influence on policy, and the adoption of Proportional Representation to more accurately represent the electorate.

I wonder whether Charles III will introduce a mandatory retirement age for the monarchy - perhaps 80 would be a good retirement age.

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Gilbert & Sullivan

I dipped in and out of the Old Queen's funeral service while grouting the AirBnB shower room and mowing the more overgrown areas of the lawn - more out than in, if I'm honest - but what I did see was pure Gilbert & Sullivan and spectacular theatre, which Brits seem world leaders in performing. I was surprised Danny Boyle hadn't been involved. It's little wonder we have the best theatre in the world.

It is strange, however, that the military's full dress uniforms stopped evolving in the early 1800s and they wouldn't have been out of place at Waterloo or Balaclava, which is probably a massive contributor to the spectacle, although how they fought in such finery is a mystery. 

Not the RAF, of course, as that wasn't invented then, but I'd bet my bottom dollar that the RAF dress uniform doesn't evolve as time passes and remains stuck between the Wars. Interestingly, a full dress, plumed hat was developed for the RAF, but it proved unpopular and eventually dropped, although George VI, when Duke of York, carried one at his wedding (but didn't wear it).

Can't wait for Charles' coronation next year, although he's meant to be considering a much slimmed down version from the one his mother had.

Got my call-up papers for my next Covid jab, which is being administered to me today at Bath Racecourse. 

Monday, 19 September 2022


We will all mark the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in our own way. Some will be glued to the TV to watch the ceremony itself, while others will be glued to Lord of the Rings (The Rings of Power) and/or the latest Game of Thrones (House of the Dragon) series.

No matter which of the above are chosen, they all represent a fascination with hierarchy and power in all its different forms - even the illusory type.