Saturday, 31 October 2015

Gay Pub Pension Merry-Go-Round

Over the years I've garnered half a dozen or more pensions, none of them being worth diddly-squat and I'd have been better putting the money toward paying off the mortgage earlier. Every year at least one of those pension writes to me so say it's being transferred to another pension outfit. My pension pots are obviously currency that can be traded - but it beats me how so little can be worth selling so many times over. Is this a sign of another impending global financial crisis?

Last night we were watching Unforgotten, a ITV drama series. The character played by Tom Couretnay was suspected of a homophobic attack 40 years previously outside a gay pub, but Courtenay's character denied it was homophobic and he didn't even know the pub was a gay pub. Sanjeev Bhaskar was playing a detective interviewing him and asked; "Didn't you know it was a gay pub by the fact it had a totally male clientele?" Well, 40 years ago the Houghton Arms in Southport still had a men-only bar - in fact the last one in Southport, and it caused a bit of a stir and bad feelings when it was finally forced to open up to women.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Quantum Strangeness

Had occasion to visit the dentist yesterday and noted that whereas I see people go into the treatment room ahead of me, I rarely see them come out. It could be that I'm so engrossed in whatever I'm reading in a back copy of Cotswold Life that I don't notice them come out, but it does seem strange. Could it be a quantum effect?

Talking of quantum effects (and still at the dentist), I happened to look at my GSAM battery monitoring app on my mobile while in the waiting room and noticed something extremely strange. Very early on Wednesday morning my phone had inexplicably started to charge of its own accord.

Normally when it charges there's a green trace in the upward direction, but very early in the morning of Wednesday the chart showed the mobile charging, but with no associated green trace - and I wasn't even awake to put it on charge. Another quantum effect or just spooky charging at a distance?

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Talk-Talk Grape Abduction

With the Talk-Talk data hack cybercrime has become a hot topic. Heard one victim yesterday describe the perpetrators of telephone fraud as being very clever. They're not - they rely on the gullibility of their marks, and despite the media constantly telling people that banks don't ask for security data over the phone, people still give it out to whoever calls.

The Madeline McCann story - say they found her after all these years, which I think highly unlikely, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the abductor applied for permanent custody given the fact Madeline had spent more time with him/her than her biological parents, arguing it would cause her emotional stress. It has happened before with adoption cases.

Hay's dad decided to clear out the covered patio yesterday ready for winter. Part of this process was to cut back the grape vines that grow there, despite the fact they were heavy with ripe grapes. Rather than ask any of the family if they wanted the grapes, he threw them all on the bonfire pile - not even on the compost heap! Needless to say I rescued a small proportion of them.

As you probably gathered, he doesn't like grapes. Best crop we've had since I moved here 8 years ago; they're normally quite bitter, but are perfectly sweet this year, and grew in abundance. Global warming?

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Mini-Me on Ventura Highway

David Cameron greeted the Prime Minster of Luxembourg at No. 10 yesterday. I immediately thought; "Mini-me."

I'll bet they get on like a house on fire.

Surrender to the music:

I prefer this to the slower studio track. Brings back some great memories of my teens.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

It's a Man's DIY World

One of our female neighbours, a single-parent mum, came round on Sunday to ask me if I could shorten a metal curtain rod for her. In one hand was said rod, in the other was, of all things, a huge wood saw. She showed me the mark to use to get the right length. I cut the rod using a hacksaw, but 30 minutes later she was back asking for another 4 inches to be removed from the rod. I was intrigued, but didn't ask how she got the measurement so wrong in the first place.

The other day I mentioned I was facing redundancy for the 4th time. Actually it's the 5th - I forgot about the voluntary redundancy I took. It's strange how looming redundancy confers a magical cloak of invisibility on you when dealing with co-workers; they seem too embarrassed to talk to you and simply don't know what to say.

Monday, 26 October 2015


Some people are up in arms about skinny models. Unhealthy, they say.

Why are they not up in arms about skinny athletes?

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Night Lights & Light Nights

From being totally dark at night, our back garden/field has been transformed into this (taken at 2am):

Those are views from upstairs and downstairs. It's to do with the electrification of the Great Western line and the welfare cabins that have been built on the common, but the hours the lights were on was strange - perhaps there was a break-in.

I sense an opportunity - we could rent the field out to a football club as a floodlit stadium...

Saturday, 24 October 2015

The Times They Are a Changing

Well, it would seem my 4th period of redundancy is going to hit in just over two months time. Got the obligatory "consultation" letter, which is just tick-box-speak for a decision has already been made. The organisation has been steadily pared down over a two year period to the extent that I was the last man standing (having had to make others redundant in the process) and am about to be bowled over myself.

Redundancy is a constant Damocles' sword in high-tech businesses. What's high value and cutting edge today is subject to cheap Korean competition within a short space of time. My company has also been subjected to defense budget cuts, leading to lucrative contracts being cancelled and opportunities being postponed indefinitely. Sitting on my own on the western edge of my market, I'm not exactly in the centre of things either. We also happen to be a one-trick pony within my particular sector, having no other products with which to take up the slack within the revenue troughs. Inevitable really.

My father retired on a healthy final-salary-pension at age 58 after having been in the same job all his life. Redundancy at 60 is pretty tough - whatever people may say, there is discrimination against employing people over 50, despite the grey hairs indicating a level of maturity, sagacity and experience. I had hoped to last just another two and a half years, by which time the mortgage on the new-build will have been paid off and I could have retired to just work when I wanted and for peanuts (can't ever see myself fully retired).

Most people in my position transition to working for themselves on a consultancy basis, and that may very well be what I end up doing. The secret to consultancy, so I am led to believe and from previous experience, is to start with your last company and move out from that nucleus; Big Bang transition with no clear idea of a target can lead to disaster. Feelers have gone out to some 200 contacts in my network, and let's see what that brings over the next few days. In the meantime I shall draw up a proposal to work part-time or on a consultancy basis for my current employer.

Been there and gone through it before, so I'm not as shattered as the first or second time it happened - I know the pitfalls and the steps to take; extend the mortgage term, cease all private pension payments, get rid of one car. Thank God we have the rent coming in from the cabin and that the electricity for the house is self-funding. If push comes to shove, we can give notice to the chaps renting the cabin as office space, move in there ourselves and rent out the house to cover the mortgage. Perhaps I should move into redundancy counselling...

Friday, 23 October 2015


It's alleged by the World Health Organisation that bacon and sausages are as bad as smoking when it comes to cancer. They can't surely mean the humble British banger - it can hardly even be classified as a meat product?

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Press-Gang Policing

Theresa May is starting to worry me. She says it's 'not good enough' that some police forces don't have enough ethnic minorities or women. I wonder if she's looked at applications versus appointments?

Given one of the police forces she castigates is North Yorkshire, I'm hardly surprised there are few ethnic minorities - it's about the most rural police force in the country and ethnic minorities tend to be more prevalent in industrial areas, which is where their antecedents congregated in search of jobs when first arriving on British shores. Same goes for Dyfed-Powys - I would hazard a guess you'd be hard pressed to find a single ethnic minority in deepest, darkest west Wales.

If you look at a chart of ethnic mix within the various police forces, you will indeed find that the highest proportions of ethnics are in London, the West Midlands, West Yorkshire and Leicestershire - all areas of high ethnic concentration.

Is she going to recommend press-ganging ethnic minorities and women into the police and force them to work in the countryside? Politicians, eh?

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Saddle Up For Lima Breakfast

Just found out about a device called Lima. It's an adaptor which makes a hard drive attached to it into a cloud device for all your other hardware, using cellular data or Wi-Fi. The only problem is that it's £99 ($99 in the USA, naturally). For what is essentially a bit of App software, it does seem rather expensive at present - more than I get charged by DropBox - but I get charged by DropBox annually, so perhaps not really that expensive in the long run.

Spotted this leather "saddle armchair" on eBay. How the hell do you mount it?

In keeping with what everyone else seems to be doing, I thought I'd post a photo of what I ate this morning for breakfast. For some reason, people seem to think others are interested in what they have on their plate.

Turkish yoghurt, frozen strawberries and blueberries (freezing them keeps them nice and fresh, as I only use a few at a time), a handful of ALDI granola and a drizzle of honey. Now you can go on your way rejoicing and I can feel part of modern society for having imparted this information.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Pregnant With an Elephant

Currently reading Bernard Cornwell's 2014 book about The Battle of Waterloo.

Field Marshal Bl├╝cher, who was in charge of the Prussian forces, is described thus: "He was popular, much loved by his troops and famously prone to bouts of mental illness during which he believed himself pregnant with an elephant fathered by a French infantryman."

Clearly he was an elephant short of a circus...

Had problems with the internet dropping out intermittently over the last week. Phoned BT Customer Support and they promised to monitor it and sent me a text along with the opportunity to reply if it happened again. Here's a short extract.

Give me strength!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Scam Feed In Tarrif Calls

Getting an inordinate number of those calls on my mobile that ring for a second or two and then stop. Obviously some form of scam to persuade you to call back and get landed with a huge phone bill for calls to extortionately high premium rate numbers. Be warned - don't call back unless you know who it is. If they really want to talk to you they will call back.

Time for a quick look at the house's electricity consumption and what we're getting back on the Feed-In Tariff. The chart below is on a weekly basis:

You'll have to click on it to see the detail, but overall we're still making money on our power usage. In fact, the picture is even rosier, as we get an additional £500 every quarter (for a limited time) for the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Solar generation this year has been better than last year, mainly as a result of the sunny and warm spring, meaning lots of generation (yellow) earlier in the year and concomitant low consumption (blue).

Consumption will go up from now on with the addition of the cabin, but I still believe the books will balance, meaning heating, cooking, lighting, etc. are free. The big caveat on that is that we got in on the first Feed-In Tariff of £0.43 per kWh, and currently it's far lower than that for new installations.

We may even go for a composting toilet in the house to reduce water consumption, as toilets are the biggest consumers of water. We don't have a bath anyway, preferring to use showers.

A borehole for water would be nice, but at somewhere between £5 and £6k, it would take a long time to recoup the expenditure, and we'd still have to pay the sewerage element anyway for grey water.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

The Big Ears Paradox in Caravans

A paradox: People's ears get bigger as they age (it's actually a gravity thing - they sag more - rather than actual cellular growth), which theoretically should give them better hearing. The paradox is that old people are notoriously hard of hearing.

We walked past the local caravan emporium (Chipping Sodbury Caravans) yesterday and noted the names of the vehicles have no connection whatsoever with the art of caravanning. Names like Pegasus and Stellar abounded. They should come out with names like the Mears, the Shackleton, the Scott, the Fiennes or the Wobble Box.

Back to the composting toilet. Seems to be going well, but I may have to have a word with the guys' wives to ensure they eat a tad more fibre. I'll also have to ask them to refrain from curries.

To while away a few minutes before the South Africa vs Wales game yesterday, I watched some of The Sea Wolves. Ever noticed how these late 70s and early 80s films set in WWII paid no respect whatsoever to 1940s fashions. They all look as if based in the 70s with 70s haircuts and 70s clothes. Roger Moore could have come straight from a James Bond set. They certainly couldn't have won any Oscars for wardrobe.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Needle in a Haystack

OK, so no-one could answer my techie question yesterday. I did, however, receive a reply from an RF expert at work and the answer is there should be no degredation to speak of if I use a TV F Type socket on the wall with F to N converters.

Yesterday I lost the drone over the fields the other side of the railway again - I've taken to writing my mobile number on the drone in indelible felt tip. Went to find it at lunchtime, and again I managed to find it - at least half a mile from where I launched it. On the way back home I took some wonderful video shots of the countryside, but, in the process of a crash landing, the 32GB SD disk fell out somewhere and was lost.

Hay suggested we retrace my steps and find it. This is where it was lost:

Needle in a haystack? No, SD card in a harvested wheat field. I fully expect this to become a modern day equivalent of the idiom. Needless to say, we didn't find it. However, we did find the button that ends the world on one of the bridges across the railway:

What on earth it's doing there is beyond me.

On the way back we walked through some ex council houses, one of which had some of the rendering removed for renovation work. What was underneath astounded me:

Why on earth would someone cover what was once a beautiful Cotswold stone building in hideous council render? It's nothing more than council vandalism.

Friday, 16 October 2015

N and F Type Connectors & Drones

Got an issue and a question for techie types.

The exterior Yagi antennas use 10m of H155 cable with N Type connectors to the indoor routers. Now I have to run the cable through a couple of exterior walls in the house and the cabin. Currently I just have the cable sticking out on both sides of the walls in a continuous run, but it's unsightly having a cable sticking out of a wall, plus any jiggling on the cable will destroy the surrounding plaster-work. Now I can't seem to find an N Type wall plate to allow me to construct something more aesthetically pleasing, except for the tiny plates about a couple of centimetres square that you find on the back of radio equipment. The question is whether I can use an F Type satellite or TV antenna wall plate to effect the desired result in association with F to N connectors, or would the impedance be too high? After all, it's only a wall connector and not a satellite TV coaxial cable run.

Drones! As regulars will know, I've gone and bought the Eye of God FPV (First Person View) quad-copter, which has yet to arrive, but I've just become aware of an FPV mod for my existing Syma X5C for £34. The only problem is the FPV fixes on to the fake antenna I've already modded with the router wi-fi antenna. Think I'll wait for the Eye of God before making a decision on the X5C mod.

Hay and I are on the Old Sodbury Village Hall Committee and there are plans afoot for an event on the Queen's 90th birthday next year. I'm trying to persuade the rest of the committee members to hold a drone flying contest... Just hope she doesn't kick the bucket before then, else it'll be the Old Queen's Wake instead. Anyway, I could use The Eye of God drone and No.1 Son could use the Syma X5C with the FPV mod (there might only be the 2 of us competing)..

Now, for the ultimate drone, watch this:

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Share and Share Alike the Potato

Been following this court case where women were misled about the state of their ex husbands' wealth. One of them received a paltry £10m, which surely can't be enough to live on. The interest alone puts one in poverty. However, the principle is that everything is shared, regardless of what one came into the marriage with or how much each contributed to the eventual fortune. Not necessarily a good principle, in my opinion, but there you go.

The other received £270k and a car from her solicitor husband, which led to 'suffering and hardship', although I'm not sure though what kind of suffering and hardship £270k produces. The problem is he was only a solicitor and what she was given seems in line with what his assets should have been - half a house. His fortune was made from money laundering; surely she can't claim against his criminal earnings?

Was watching some food program called Harvest last night. Greg Wallace was extolling the virtues of the humble potato and lamenting the overproduction and hence crash in prices (a bit like the milk situation). He finished off by saying; "Where would we be without the potato," and I thought; "Slim, like you," - notice how he's slimmed down dramatically in the last year? I'll bet he hasn't eaten a potato (or any form of starch) for ages.

Why do people buy seed potatoes, rather than potato seeds? The reason is that a seed potato is a pure clone, whereas a potato seeds are subject to genetic mutation and diversity. Now diversity is what made us, whereas a clone would result in some amoeba-like creature - a bit like .... suggestions welcome.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Ad Blockers for Composting Yagis

Continuing the IT theme, I saw an article in the news this morning about content providers starting to fight back against ad blockers.

The Daily Mash in becoming a pain in the backside with all the ads and popups, to the extent I only occasionally look at it now. I realise they make their money from adverts and click-throughs, but the extent to which they're using adverts puts me off reading their site anymore. There has to be a balance.

What frustrates me most is that my Chrome browser on my mobile (I use the beta version) doesn't present me with what I'm looking for, which is information, but a list of companies selling what's related to my search or that have one of the search criteria in their name - a bit like the sponsored ads you get on a laptop Chrome browser, except the laptop ads are limited to one or two, whereas the mobile Chrome list is endless. Nor does there seem to be a setting that changes this.

The composting loo has had its first week of trials, which have been a bit hit and miss. A hit in that the guys using it have not been phased by using it, but a miss in that Hay is concerned about its operation. Given the amount of urine that was present in the bottom of it, I was forced to ask the boys whether they were targeting their aim properly. It transpired that Hay had set it up for women and old blokes, meaning there was plenty of composting mix dead centre, but not at the back, which is where younger blokes with healthy prostates tend to pee. That was corrected with the little rake provided for that purpose and now it's a case of watching and waiting.

The amazing thing is that there's no smell from the composting loo whatsoever. It's going to take time to get it all working correctly and getting the amount of peat/sawdust mix right - too little and you end up with a septic sludge at the bottom; too much and you're having to empty it too often (as well as it costing a packet to run).

The Yagi Wi-Fi antennas are working fine, with 23 megs in the cabin as opposed to 27 in the house. No more cables snaking up the field.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Reverse Order

You come to your computer first thing in the morning, flash up the email and discover ten or 20 emails. They are presented to you such that the first one is the last one sent, which is counterintuitive, so you have to start going down the list to find the first one and then move up the list, but after deleting one, the system naturally moves you down the list, not up to the next one in the time sequence.

You'd think someone in the software world would have addressed this by now.

Monday, 12 October 2015

The Reunion

Survived the school reunion in Manchester on Saturday night. Saw lots of friends, although I was the only representative from my year. I was, however, well bracketed by those of the years just above and below. I guess the England rugby game had rather a lot to do with that. Scheduling get-togethers alongside major international sporting events is always going to result in attendance issues. Next year's reunion is to be held in Bournemouth, which kind of clicks when over 60s get together (as we just about now all are).

Hay looked gorgeously and tasteful, as usual.

I have never understood the British penchant for the obligatory bread course at formal dinners. A basket of bread is passed round and everyone starts to nibble a bread roll, even if the first course doesn't consist of soup. Curious.

While in Manchester we walked into a swanky art gallery near the hotel, but an art gallery owner with a thick Mancunian accent just doesn't seem right; you expect to be talking with someone who sounds like Brian Sewell.

The hotel is a converted Victorian warehouse and has been very tastefully renovated. The only problem is that the view from the back is what can only be described as a post-industrial wasteland next to the River Irwell in the process of rejuvenation. It'll get there eventually.

What is it with West Midland place names? I suppose meanings do change over time though. couldn't help but guffaw at these two howlers on the way home yesterday.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

American Myths

The NRA's argument that more guns leads to less crime is intellectually bankrupt; only a total moron would believe that argument.
  • Statistically speaking, guns are rarely used in self-defense, and thus cannot be defended on the grounds that they can reliably defuse crimes while they are happening. 
  • The NRA bases its claim that guns are used millions of times a year in self-defense on a discredited study from 1995 that has not been validated in a single academic paper. 
  • Concealed Carry Laws are not associated with decreases in crime, and sophisticated analyses show that, in some cases, there is an increase in aggravated assaults associated with concealed carry laws. 
  • The best studies to date, using proxies to estimate gun availability, show that more guns lead to more crime.
The positive correlation between crimes that are murders, and gun ownership. Crime and Murder rates from the UNODC.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Bryan Palin - Michael Adams

Is it just me?

Off to Manchester this morning for my old school reunion this evening. No idea why they chose Manchester for this year's do, but hey ho.

That's me, front left.

That's me, seated front right on the bench. The bloke cross legged on the left apparently went on to manage the England rugby union team in 2003.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Flash Mob Wedding

Hay and I are considering getting married next year (well, we have been together since 2006). We were discussing an economical way of doing it and hit on the idea of a Flash Mob Wedding. We select a venue somewhere in the UK and keep it and the date a secret until 24 hours before the event. Result = either panic or apathy on the part of guests.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Range Improvement

Another drone post.

The original (the actual antenna doesn't even reach into the little plastic stub at the top). Effective range under 100m:

The modification. Effective range more than doubled:

Dismantled and used one of the TP-Link antennas on the routers I used for the cabin. Two of them don't require the antennas at all, as they use the Yagis, so the 2nd spare is reserved for the Eye of God controller, when eventually received.

Did two test flights and the result was superb - and then one of the rotor motors went west. Need to dismantle it and see what the damage is - or just wait for the Eye of God...

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Truanting Ethernet Cabin Drones

Parents of truanting children to have their child benefit payments docked. The problem is that some children will truant no matter what threats their parents make. The horse has bolted and no amount of locking the door will get it back.

Set up the house Wi-Fi Access Point, installed the Yagi antennas and finalised the settings on the cabin routers - the boys in the cabin now have broadband without the use of the 100m Ethernet cable. They boys are having a whale of a time in the cabin and can't believe their luck. They're a tad wary of the composting toilet though. Can't say I blame them - it'll take some getting used to. They've purchased a large red carpet to keep the wooden floor pristine - very thoughtful of them.

Talking of Ethernet cable - those RJ45 connectors are the Devil's invention. It's a bugger connecting the wires to them and the tab snags on every wire in the vicinity when you're trying to untangle a bunch of bastards (a technical maritime term for tangled ropes or wires).

I'm trying to do a hack on the drone; increasing its control range by fitting a higher gain antenna. Apparently you can use the stick aerial from an old wi-fi router as they both operate at 2.4GHz. Opened the drone control box and the antenna provided is only a couple of centimetres long - it should be at least 1/4 wavelength, or 3.21 cm. A 6.25cm (1/2 wavelength) router antenna really turns up the power, and if you combine that with a 3.25 cm antenna on the drone itself, then the sky is literally the limit. Just need to get hold of a trash router or wi-fi extender. The 17dBi Yagi antennas I'm using to beam broadband to the cabin would improve things immeasurably. Wonder if I can hook up the drone controller to it...

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Christmas Tree Ideas for Drones

Novel Christmas tree idea, courtesy of a friend's Facebook page - Hay thinks it brilliant:

Of the million odd drones bought this coming Christmas, from personal experience I'm certain most of them will end up like this:

Monday, 5 October 2015

A Day in the Life of a Loo

Found this time-lapse of Chipping Sodbury High Street taken in June:

Finished off the cabin (less the kitchen tiling, which isn't urgent) over the weekend and the boys move in today. Managed to get 27Mbps internet to it with the cable, which isn't very aesthetic, but will do till the RF solution arrives today.

Installing the composting loo was the main task of the day, but all went to plan and Hay got it started. A fan and heater run continuously, giving off a faint whirring akin to a shower extractor.

It'll probably scare the hell out of the boys when they first use it - or rather our new compost making units, as I now call them.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Supermarket DJs for UK Mail

Hay is already talking about building a 2nd cabin, but perhaps not to such a high spec as the one we just built. This got me to think about what we're going to call it. I suggested we call this one the Waitrose Cabin - aimed at a certain clientele with the name saying it all. The next one could be the Lidl or Aldi Cabin, being a bit more rough and ready, but good value.

Got my old school reunion next weekend. Hay has decreed that my trusty double breasted dinner jacket is a) too large for me and resembles a Demis Roussos kaftan, and b) allegedly about 15 years out of fashion. This necessitated a visit to the local St Peter's Hospice charity shop to purchase a single breasted DJ for the princely sum of £5.99. Since the charity shops went up-market it's never been so cheap to go to posh events. Hay still doesn't have a clue as to what she'll wear.

Rant against UK Mail. The wi-fi kit for the cabin was collected from the distributor by UK Mail on Wednesday for guaranteed 24 hour delivery. Having previous experience of UK Mail, a Thursday delivery was as likely as a delivery on the day before dispatch, if you get my drift, and I was proven correct. Anyway, it was rescheduled for yesterday but still didn't come. I couldn't collect it from the depot as they didn't know where it was, which doesn't exactly give me confidence of a Monday delivery either. UK Mail really is a crap courier service. Temporary solution is 150m of CAT 5 from Amazon delivered first thing this morning for £48. May even turn out to be a more robust solution, although I don't like the idea of wire strung around the field.

Heard a woman interviewing rugby pundits on the radio this morning. She seemed very knowledgeable, but I get an uneasy feeling about a woman who is interested in rugby in anything other than a cursory manner. Looking forward to kick-off tonight.

Friday, 2 October 2015

The Cat's Whiskers

Stop press! Found the drone after losing it on Monday. Convinced it had ended up in a field the other side of the railway, and using GMaps satellite view as my guide, I went about a mile up the road, across a railway bridge and through several fields (and a hedge) to get to the field in question. Surprise, surprise - there it was in plain view. Still want the Eye of God drone though.

Found one of Kitty's whiskers on the floor yesterday morning. As a joke, I took it out to the two young guys renting our old office (and moving into the new cabin on Monday) and said: "The wi-fi antenna for the new cabin has finally arrived from China." You could hear the wind whistling and imagine the tumbleweed bowling across the path. I said; "Cat's whisker...." Still the mystified silence. I finally said; "Forget it - it's an age thing."

These blokes are engineers too!

Book Club at our house last night. Luckily there were only three of them, so I settled down to the rugby match with my headphones on. The analysis of the key imaginary people in this month's book proceeded for some 30 minutes before it descended, somewhat predictably, into a gossip and wine fest.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Eye of God - Teeth of Corbyn - Radiator of Satan

OK, OK - so I've made an offer on another drone, but this one has FPV (First Person View) and auto-return by GPS, so you can see the world from the drone's eye's view and if you do get into trouble you can press a button and it homes in on your GPS location, which is transmitted by the controller. It's called the JJRC H11D, or Eye of God. I guess it's designed for old blokes like me.

Saw a headline yesterday saying - Corbyn: I won't use Trident. Well, each to his own, but I always thought Steradent was the business myself.

Getting back to the cabin; bought a 2kW ADAX Neo slim-line convector radiator to heat the living room. For a start I can't see people being willing to muck about with a wood burner (although we are fitting one), and secondly, if we're generating electricity then it doesn't make sense to add an alternative heating source. The ADAX is somewhat stylish, which means you could achieve the same thing yourself for half the cost with a pot of paint and some metal, but it certainly does look the business and we have to bear in mind the clientele we're hoping to attract. You can also set the thermostat to daytime and nighttime temperatures - useful if you're renting it out as an office.

You can wall-mount it, or use detachable feet (which I forgot to order). The only problem is the lead is too short to reach the socket on the left, so Hay's dad is being drafted in to replace the cable.

Might get a couple of 400kW ones for the bedrooms, but only after this jobbie has proven itself.

The internal oak doors have been oiled (they're actually oak veneer, but you wouldn't know it and they saved us a packet).

The composting loo still has to be plumbed in - shouldn't take more than an evening.

And the cooker has to be connected to the electricity supply.

The wi-fi has to be installed, and I'm expecting the gubbins for that to arrive today from China. That should enable me to beam broadband from the house over the 100 metres to the cabin.

The other jobs aren't as important for the business let - tiling the kitchen splashback area, putting in the Sky dish - they can be done at our leisure.

Our business tenants (who are currently residing in the other office we let out) move in on Monday. We're giving them a special deal for the first year while we sort out the little issues that will doubtless crop up and get the area surrounding the cabin looking like a garden.

I'm really chuffed with the result. It's a wooden temporary building within all permitted development rules, but to step into it you'd think it was part of the house - the continuity is almost perfect. It's like a womb transplant - sorry, I have a speech impediment - obviously I mean a room transplant. We reckon the return on our investment will be around 10% p.a., which is better than putting the cash in the bank or paying off the mortgage a couple of years early.

I hear some poor chap in India has been lynched for storing and eating beef. He apparently protested that it was mutton, but the rumour mill decided it was beef, so he got his just desserts - or rather, not - and was turned into onglet! Just hope the buggers don't come to my house - I have a kilo of skirt beef sitting in the fridge for Friday night's dinner.

Religion is such a hideous thing - you can't eat this, you can't say that, you have to wear this, you have to do that, you can't marry so-and-so, you must wage war against these people, you must think this. If there is a God, he must be shaking his head in amazement at the unbounded stupidity of humans and the sheer, unadulterated backwardness of religion. Thank heavens the Enlightenment managed to draw the teeth of Christianity, else we'd still be burning each other at the stake for some imagined slight against an imaginary deity that some deluded nutter imagines he has a direct line to.

Talking of deluded nutters, the Turner Prize is in the offing! Heard a bunch of people on the BBC news last night talking a load of bollocks about it . I love the Turner Prize - gives me something to have a good moan about. Self-important, up your arse crap masquerading as art - love it! I'm 100% with the much lamented Brian Sewell on this - ghastly! It's an attempt by so-called artists to out do each other in meaningless trivia.

Talking of meaningless trivia - it's Hay's book club tonight, and it's scheduled to be held here. I suppose there's the option of decamping to the Old Sodbury Village Hall Committee meeting. Talk about the choice between the Devil or the deep blue sea....