Sunday, 26 June 2022

Roe v Wade Paradoxes

The recent judgement to overturn Roe v Wade doesn't actually ban abortions, but merely pushes the decisions down to state legislatures, remembering that America is a Federal State.

However, those states that will enforce a ban on abortions must realise the paradoxes contained within their decision.

They maintain they are protecting the rights of the unborn child and protecting it from, essentially, its mother. However, once that child is born, the state says that the very person who wanted to 'kill' that child must now look after it. 

I can see someone bringing a case against these states, insisting that the states take charge of the child and ensure it has a good life until such time as the child is legally capable of making its own decisions - such as owning a gun with which to possibly kill other people.

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Camshaft Craft

 Came across this in the same place I picked up the aircon unit:

A lamp made from a camshaft and a pulley wheel.

Now, most camshafts are solid all the way through, meaning they have to be gun drilled, like a rifle barrel, to create the hole through which the light cable passes - very expensive, if you can find a gunsmith to do it. Some people don't bother with this and have the flex running down the side of the camshaft, but that's not aesthetically pleasing and looks a bit ramshackle.

As it transpires, a lot of Vauxhalls have hollow camshafts, so a tame mechanic I know is looking for a pair for me from the vast number of dead engines littering his yard. For the bases I have already liberated some gear wheels from a scrap bin at a local garage. 

Before doing any welding, assuming I find a couple of suitable camshafts, I'll need to thoroughly degrease and polish the lot.

Watch this space.

Stop Press: a camshaft found, but it seems it's a solid one, so the search continues.

I do like junk!

Friday, 24 June 2022

Two Cut Season

Looks like the Common outside our house is destined for two cuts this year. They do this when there's been a good period of early growth - most years it's just a single cut in August.

Usually it's left to dry and turned for a couple of days, but this year it was baled within 24 hours.

We're so lucky to have such a large, natural area of common the size of several football fields just outside the gates.

Talking of Commons - nice wins in Wakefield and Tiverton. The public has had enough of a PM who is constantly in campaign mode - i.e. making promises he has no intention of honouring.

Thursday, 23 June 2022


 The government is making much of rail workers holding the country hostage.

  • According to government statistics, only 10% of the workforce uses trains to commute to work - that embraces all forms of rail transport, including those modes not striking.
  • The rail workers held a democratic vote on striking - striking being the only means available to them if the rail companies are unwilling to negotiate in good faith.
  • According to YouGov, more of the public supports the strikes than opposes them.
  • If the rail workers are guilty of holding the country to ransome, then the rail companies are also guilty - it takes two parties to have an argument.
  • I find it hard to believe that many nurses and firefighters use rail to get to work. Granted, a small number may, but not the vast majority as they work locally. Nurses were up in arms about car parking charges at hospitals, which suggests cars are the main transport, regardless of what the government says - you can't believe anything they say anyway. In any case, firefighters, nurses, lawyers, etc. will be the next ones to go on strike and then the government will turn on them - it's what this government does best.
  • Lawyers are more likely to use the trains to get from leafy suburbs to their offices, but there's no love lost between lawyers and this criminal government.
  • The number of school children travelling to school by train must be miniscule - mainly day pupils at public schools.
  • The rail operators are unable to make any offers without government permission, as the government holds the purse strings. It's also written into their charters that they need government permission, so government HAS to be involved.
  • Rail companies made £50m last year, when travel was depressed. Shareholder dividends are not under pressure.
  • The government makes much of the need for updated practices in the rail industry, while simultaneously taking the country headlong into the 1950s with Brexit. Christ - even polio is making a comeback!
  • As for a pay rise stoking inflation - anything less than the 11% rate of inflation is actually a drop in pay.

What's the solution? A negotiated settlement somewhere mid way between what's demanded and what's offered. Both will be at the extremes - that's the nature of negotiation. Starmer is quite right not to take sides - he should be in a position between the two, which is exactly where consensus will be found. The government, meanwhile, is desperate for Starmer to come down on the side of the rail workers, who have started their negotiations with an unrealistic demand, as anyone would do, including the rail companies.

On another issue - as for the UK overriding parts of the ECHR - No, No, No! The ECHR is there to protect me from the likes of Dominic Raab, for God's sake.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022


Have you noticed how the nights are drawing in?

For a number of months I've been considering buying and installing an air-conditioning system to use upstairs in the house which, due to a design fault on my part, gets hideously hot during heatwaves, which seem to be on the increase.

The upstairs windows, which are long and narrow at both ends of the house, open from the bottom, hinging from the top, and only open about 6 inches. This means there's little scope for letting hot air out of the bedroom, which comprises the entire upstairs. Additionally, we have a vaulted ceiling, which also captures the hot air as it rises and retains it  it has nowhere to escape.

We do have one, small, side-opening window, but it's no higher than waist height, so doesn't do much to let the heat out.

There's a couple of structural solutions:

  • Change the hinges on the long, tall windows so they open at the top, rather than the bottom,
  • Put a Velux window in the roof, through which the heat can escape naturally. 
Both are quite expensive and moving the hinges on the long, tall windows won't do that much due to their restricted opening, which is because of their weight.

I've been keeping an eye out for a 2nd hand, wall mounted aircon with sufficient oomph to cater for the huge volume, but have so far been unsuccessful. 

However, as luck would have it, I called in at a local car dealership that my colleague and I buy cars for. They were having a refurbishment of the customer area and were getting rid of a De Longhi, mobile aircon unit. I took possession of it for free.

Given we only have a few really hot days a year, a wall mounted unit would be overkill, but a mobile on this size is perfect, especially when it costs nothing. When not required, it can be stored in my (as yet unfinished) workshop.

It does still have a problem, in that the duct for the hot air has to be vented outside. The usual way of doing this with a mobile unit is to hang the hose out of a window, which is not very efficient due to the gaps. I have a couple of options:

  1. Insert a permanent exit vent into the wall of the house, or
  2. Tap a vent into the wood burner's stainless steel chimney, which passes through the bedroom.

Tapping into the chimney vent would be the cheapest. The vent would need to be capable of being sealed off when not in use, as we don't want wood smoke in the bedroom, not that we ever use the wood burner, except in an emergency. You can get inspection hatches, used for when sweeping the chimney and, with a bit of modification, that would seem the best solution. The hot air could then vent naturally up the stainless steel pipe.

There are polythene window covers you can get, but they look rather flimsy and faffy to me.

There is one other, very cheap solution - a simple, cardboard sheet over the small window with a hole cut into it for the heat pipe. Not elegant, but simple and effective for the week or so of really hot weather. I tried it and it works.

However, I've ordered a sheet of 1m x 60cm x 3mm acrylic, which I will pin to the window aperture with clips, cutting a suitable hole into for the vent pipe. It can be easily mounted and dismounted and will be virtually hermetically sealed.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Desk Detritus

 My desk is looking a bit of a tip. I thought I'd do an inventory:

  • Laptop,
  • Leather Filofax,
  • Set of Stanley knives,
  • Set of scalpels,
  • Bicycle headlight,
  • Genius power pack,
  • Vinyl wrap spreader,
  • iSteady gimbal instruction manual,
  • Tennis ball,
  • Small, Philips screwdriver,
  • Induction charger,
  • USB cable for phone charging,
  • USB cable for vape charging,
  • USB cable for iSteady gimbal charging,
  • Pack of spectacle headbands,
  • 2 x spectacle cases, one for sunglasses, one for broken spectacles,
  • Small, wooden pillbox for used and reconditioned vape atomisers,
  • Vape juice,
  • 2 x Ventilin inhalers, both part used,
  • 2 x facemasks,
  • Back scratcher,
  • Cloth cutter,
  • Wooden coaster made by No.1 Son a decade ago,
  • Slate coaster with the HMS Conway crest on it (old school),
  • Laptop mouse,
  • iSteady gimbal,
  • Clip from bicycle that fixes something (can't remember what) to handlebars,
  • Spectacle pouch,
  • Several memo pads,
  • Vape,
  • Espresso cup,
  • Door lock spring,
  • WD40 can.
That's just on the desk part. I really need a clear-up, says Hay.

Monday, 20 June 2022

Metric Martyr

Given The Greased Piglet wants a return to Imperial Measurement, I thought I'd temporarily change my car's MPG reading to metric as an experiment. The experiment, however, was short-lived.

I was surprised to discover than metric doesn't mean kilometres per litre, but litres per 100 kilometres, a reversal of the base from fluid to distance, returning a 57.6 MPG equivalent of something like 4.9 litres per 100km which, being in single digits, is obviously a lot less sensitive than a measurement in double digits. 

Switching the base means that with litres per 100km you're aiming for a lower figure, whereas with fluid as the base you're aiming for a higher figure. 

Think I'll stick to MPG. 

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Haile Selassie

I'm currently reading a book about Haile Selassie, which comprises stories from those who surrounded him as factotums and flunkies, of which he had many.

One passage stood out like a sore thumb:

"Though everyone - if he proved his loyalty - could count on a bountiful gift, there were still continuous quarrels between lobbies, constant struggles for privileges, incessant grabbing, and all because of the needs of that bird of paradise that fills every man. His Most Extraordinary Majesty liked to watch this elbowing. He liked the people of the court to multiply their belongings, he liked their accounts to grow and their purses to swell. I don’t remember His Magnanimous Highness's ever demoting someone and pressing his head to the cobblestones because of corruption. Let him enjoy his corruption, as long as he shows his loyalty! Thanks to his unequalled memory and also to the constant reports, our monarch knew exactly who had how much. But as long as his subject behaved loyally, he kept this knowledge to himself and never made use of it. But if he sensed even the slightest shadow of disloyalty, he would immediately confiscate everything and take the bird of paradise away from the embezzler, Thanks to that system of accountability, the King of Kings had everyone in his hand, and everyone knew it."

Remind you of anyone?

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Northern Ireland Solution

Not happy with imposing sanctions on England, Scotland and Wales for ideological reasons, the Tory government seems intent on dragging Northern Ireland, which is currently the only part of the UK that enjoys a growing economy by virtue of being part of the UK and the EU, down to its level.

Here's a somewhat logical solution to the problem - let the people of Northern Ireland decide, although that might be a bit too democratic for Boris Johnson. He can't really afford to have a prospering part of the UK on his doorstep, as it highlights the utter folly of Brexit. It's a bit like Putin not wanting Ukraine to join the EU - too embarrassing.

If Boris was a real leader, he'd urge the Northern Ireland Assembly to convene and vote on whether to maintain the status quo, or accept a hard border with Eire. Now the DUP would undoubtedly refuse to play ball, but any leader worth the name would respond with the threat of a referendum on the issue within Northern Ireland - and we all know what result that would provide.

It could even provide ammunition for Wales and Scotland to demand such a referendum, which would be an alternative to independence, leaving Little England isolated with its borders intact and fully under control.

In another story, the government is threatening to bring in agency workers to replace striking rail staff. However, what was the reaction of the government when P&O brought in agency staff? They were up in arms! There's no rhyme or reason to this bunch of clowns.

In yet another story, Lord Geidt makes it known that Johnson was disingenuous in linking his resignation to steel tariffs and he was actually asked to give cover to Johnson in some other law breaking. No surprise there then - the leopard hasn't changed its spots. 

Friday, 17 June 2022

Day & Night Driving

God, it's surprising how much attention a bit of beard topiary gets. I was wrong yesterday, it was the 30th of March when I last shaved, not my birthday.

Quick moustache update after some more carving around the bottom lip (aka the soul patch on the mentolabial sulcus, which is quite extensive on my facial hair) and a bit more slashing back on the lower cheeks:

Still not fully happy with the result and may have to carve a bit more away on the underside, but I'll see how it goes. Can't see it lasting for more than a couple of weeks anyway; there's only so much willy waving you can do.

Back to the subject at hand. Got an emergency call from Hay on Tuesday - she was at work in Filton (thank God it wasn't Weston-Super-Mare, Swindon, Cardiff or Gloucester, which it could easily have been) and had tried to move her car at lunchtime, but the key was stuck in the ignition and wouldn't crank the engine.

I looked up the fault on a Chrysler Crossfire forum and saw it was common in older cars and had something to do with either the tumblers in the ignition lock, or the pin that locked the steering column - not necessarily expensive, but not possible to fix quickly roadside.

I was about to call a friend in the trade to go and collect it on his transporter, but thought I'd better go and have a butcher's myself first.

I arrived in her work car park and spotted the car. Climbed inside and, yes, the key was in the ignition and wouldn't come out. I turned the key and all the dash lights came on, but no power to the starter motor.

I happened to look in the direction of the automatic gear shift and, lo and behold, she'd left it in Drive, rather than Parked. Slipped it into P and everything was fine. Hay was, needless to say, rather embarrassed.

When I got back to Old Sodbury I decided to fill my car at the local service station and recounted the experience to my friend Juan, who works part time behind the till. He said he had a similar experience, or rather his wife did, when he bought her an automatic car. Juan himself can't drive, as he has narcolepsy, whereby he can suddenly fall asleep unexpectedly, which is not advisable when driving. The car worked fine for his wife during the day, but wouldn't move at night. He finally tracked the issue down to his wife and her interpretation of the letters on the automatic shift - she was under the impression that D stood for Day and N stood for Night. A far better story than mine.