Sunday, 31 October 2021

The Static

Took possession yesterday of the new static caravan we bought at Hoborne Water Park in South Cerney, near Cirencester.

The decking will be installed on tomorrow and, following an attempted break in some 6 weeks ago, a new set of patio doors are on order.

The willows around the lake have recently been pollarded, making the lake look a little bleak, but next spring the place will look verdant once more.

We took a car load of stuff there yesterday, such as bedding and kitchen/dining items, and will probably go again today to add some touches of sophistication to the decor. There's a nasty looking coal-effect, electric fire that needs replacing with something more classic - probably my chrome, art deco HMV heater. The caravan is residential spec, meaning the insulation is superior to a standard unit - in effect it's a park home.

Artwork has yet to be commissioned, TVs installed and the 4G router ordered, but we hope to have it on the market for high-end rental clients before Christmas, once the finishing touches have been added, and start using its earning potential for the next 15 years.

Based on our experience with our AirBnB (which we should strictly call our, as we now get more bookings through that platform than AirBnB), it's crucial we over-deliver on the marketing promises, as that's important for getting 5 star reviews. Just one bad review in the first few months can ruin the later occupancy rate, so low occupancy with excellent reviews is the strategy in the first few months while we test the waters for feedback and build a reputation. The last thing we want to do is over-sell and under-deliver in the eyes of the clients, as we'll be one of the highest spec and among the highest charging units on the park.

The caravan has two bedrooms and one of the settees converts into a double bed, so it effectively sleeps 6, but we're sticking with 4, as that results in less wear and tear. Also, accommodating 6 can facilitate wild parties or hordes of kids. We're also going to market it as dog-friendly, despite the obvious down side, as most families these days have a dog and we can't afford to miss out on this segment of the market.

Given we live some 45 minutes from the site, managing the changeovers ourselves will be impossible, so we're using a local company that set itself up relatively recently - an enterprising husband and wife team who themselves own a couple of rental caravans on the site. They will do the bookings as well, charging a total of 15% of the rental fees, which is the same as would charge us, but without the changeovers, so it makes sense. Based on the number of caravans they manage, they know what works and what doesn't.

The park's site is perfect, as it's on the edge of the Cotswolds and attracts clients from both the Midlands and London.

We thought the occupancy of our AirBnB would be down for October and November, but we're been busier than in the summer and hardly have a vacancy for the whole of November - we've been full for the last 2 weeks. The reason is twofold; firstly because of the over-delivering strategy and the consequent 5 star reviews taking us to pole position in the area, and secondly we seem to be hoovering up business clients who are on the area for work. Most of the AirBnB places locally are entire houses, so we've captured a niche within the week day consultancy market for the single person who doesn't want to spend hotel prices and just needs a room, as opposed to a whole house, while weekends are primarily older couples visiting the area. We also seem to attract couples from the north who are on their way to Cornwall or Devon and want to break their journey.

Running the AirBnB isn't really stressful. Changeovers take no more than an hour at most and Hay personally greets most client (it's difficult for a client to leave a negative review if you've struck up a rapport with them on arrival) and the fact it has a separate entrance means we can go away in the motorhome at weekends - guests arriving when we're away are greeted by Hay's dad, who is one of nature's likeable people and can talk the hind legs off a donkey.

Saturday, 30 October 2021

Test and Trace

I have never used the Test and Trace App to log a test, as I've never been anywhere requiring one - nor would I, as it's a sure sign of a venue being risky; however, a friend came round to to us on Thursday get a lateral flow test kit from Hay before going to an event in Minehead.

He went to his NHS Test and Trace App to log the test serial number and the App then asked whether the test was positive or negative. Hay told him to press the Negative button to see what happened and his test was accepted - before he actually took the test and without having to provide evidence of any sort.

He did then take the test, which was negative, but in effect anyone can use the Track and Trace App to get a free pass as the system relies 100% on people being honest and, as we know, many aren't. 

Something is very wrong with this App. You'd think £37bn could have produced something much better. You can build a fleet of 30 RN frigates for that, or a Trident sub.

Friday, 29 October 2021

Cipolla's 5 Laws of Stupidity

I came across Carlo Cipolla's 5 laws of stupidity this week.

In 1976, Italian economist Carlo Cipolla wrote a tongue-in-cheek essay called "The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity" that provides a framework for judging someone's real intelligence. His laws, which have great application in the current times, follow:

  1. Always and inevitably, everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation. 
  2. The probability that a certain person will be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person. 
  3. A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person, or to a group of persons, while himself deriving no gain and even, possibly, incurring losses. 
  4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular, non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places, and under any circumstances, to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake. 
  5. A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.

The traits identifying a stupid person are summed up in the matrix below:

It would seem stupidity is rife the world over, especially in respect of the 3rd law; anti-vaxxers, those who won't wear masks or socially distance, Trump supporters, the Polish government and, dare I say it, Brexit. 

Perhaps it's a bit unfair to label Brexiteers themselves as stupid - they were conned and too trusting of charlatans, or Bandits, as Cipolla calls them in his matrix. It's more a case of contempt for the conmen and compassion for the conned - unless, of course, they persist in allowing themselves to remain conned in the face of facts and evidence in the shape of observed reality and the latest report from the Office of Budget Responsibility (which says the negative effects of Brexit on the economy will be far greater in the long run than the pandemic). It is not deserving  of respect if someone observes that the direct opposite of what they voted for has come about and still refuses to admit they were mistaken. That's fanaticism and does not deserve respect. 

Fanaticism is a triumph of emotion over fact, and emotions are very powerful. I thought until recently that Keir Starmer was wrong to not keep attacking Johnson over the fallout from Brexit, but he's treating that section of the electorate that voted Leave like one treats fanatics - leave them alone and eventually, like those who lose their religious faith (and make no mistake, Brexit is a faith), events will prove them mistaken within their personal lives and swathes of them will then start to question their belief and what they were told. Facts and evidence will not sway them, only personal experience, so it's not worth bombarding them with that which they will ignore and deem heretical.

It will be a bit like when, according to polls, a narrow majority supported the Iraq invasion, but now you're hard pressed to find anyone who will admit to having supported it. The day will come when very few will admit to having voted Leave - it would simply be too embarrassing.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

NHS Staff Vaccines

I was 100% for making NHS staff get vaccines or having the choice of being fired if they won't, till I heard someone voice the fact that this could leave the NHS denuded of an estimated 116,000 - 130,000 staff - 6% to 8% of the total, more in London - at a time when they're most needed and cases are spiralling. It is indeed a quandary - you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.

While I can understand there are varied and entirely valid reasons for people not having vaccines, ranging from bad experiences after the first jab to health conditions that are not compatible with the vaccine, the ones doing it for ideological reasons do not deserve to be in a care environment; it is, after all, the National Health Service, not the National Infection Service and the experience in care homes during the 1st lockdown should be a salutary lesson. Some 85% of staff are frontline workers, but it's not known what percentage of these are unvaccinated.

So, what's to do? I suppose those on the frontline could be redeployed into back office roles, as has been suggested, but you can't simply replace a trained frontline worker with an untrained back office worker more used to operating a typewriter. Perhaps more stringent testing when going on shift is the only solution that's available. Also, it might be prudent to see what percentage of frontline staff are unvaccinated before kicking off precipitative action - there may not even be a problem and all unvaccinated staff never come into contact with patients.

If, as is suggested in the budget, public sector staff are to receive pay rises next year, perhaps those who are not vaccinated should not receive any pay rises, as a form of encouragement?

To return to the vaccine ideologues; conspiracy theories, whether they be left or right wing, are rooted in the belief that reality is not as it seems and we are all controlled by a mysterious cabal - and that cabal is invariably alleged to be Jewish. There is a proven, high correlation between conspiracy theories and antisemitism.

Conspiracy theorists follow a belief system just as powerful as religion, which is why they're immune to fact, evidence, logic and critical thinking. Beliefs and emotions trump facts among conspiracy theorists and, if challenged, they change the subject, refusing to engage with any proven fact, claiming it to be irrelevant.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Sustainable Living

I made a humorous comment on a friend's Facebook page in response to a post he'd made lamenting 4 or 5 bedroom houses being built, when what he thought what was needed is 2 bedroom houses. I suggested we should build wattle and daub houses that can accommodate 3 generations. Despite it being a joke, when I thought about it, it made complete sense from many perspectives. 

Firstly, wattle and daub is sustainable and green. Secondly, having multiple generations under one roof would simultaneously solve the housing crisis, the care home crisis, the childcare crisis and, doubtless, several other crises that currently escape me. 

It's the manner in which we all used to live only a few generations ago when there were no such things as care homes or childcare establishments. The whole family mucked in and shared the responsibilities.

We could also revert to main arterial transport being by canal, with the final leg being performed by horse and cart. We could have hordes of hipster-bearded canal bargees and draymen, offering craft and artisan logistics to overcome the HGV driver shortage.

Meanwhile Boklok, an IKEA subsidiary, is planning to build 2 and 3 bedroom flat-pack houses near Bristol. 

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Throw Away Culture

It seems rather iniquitous that we're encouraged to buy tonnes and tonnes of edible pumpkins for Halloween, only for them to be thrown into rubbish bins on the 1st November. 

We wait till the 31st October and then buy loads of discounted pumpkins in order to feast on them for at least a month, or freeze them. They make delicious soup and are brilliant roasted.

 Anyone got any recipes for Christmas trees?

Monday, 25 October 2021

Last of the Nexus 6 Wine

Returning from Dorset yesterday, as passed a sign that said "Nexus 6" advertising something, which got us talking about Blade Runner, where Rutger Hauer played a Nexus 6 combat replicant in the first film of the series.

We both wondered who on earth thought of giving the coolest character in a sci-fi film the name Roy Batty? It's a name that's more suited to a character in Last of the Summer Wine, or Coronation Street, for God's sake. 

A character called Roy Batty wouldn't give the famous monologue; "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die." He'd be more likely to say; "Ay up love - what's for tea? Get tha' skates on later and us'll go t' pub."

Philip K Dick must have had a recent holiday in the north of England before writing his novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, on which the film was based.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

The Electric Motorhome

When we go away in our motorhome we always heat the van and cook using bottled gas, even when we're paying for an electric hook-up, as we are doing this weekend in Dorset. Any electrically operated kit is minimised in terms of usage, although we've never had low battery issues (I installed twin 110Ah leisure batteries).

No more! We've decided to go electric with an electric kettle, a small microwave, a fan heater and an IKEA induction hob, the latter having arrived earlier in the week and is now being used.

It just doesn't make sense to be paying upward of £5 a night for electricity we never use while also paying for bottled gas.

The kettle and microwave can be easily jettisoned from the van before leaving, should we be headed for a site lacking electricity hook-up or going off-grid in a farmer's field. The induction hob has a retractable handle built into it that enables it to be hung on a wall when not in use.

A slow cooker might also come in handy for enabling us to have a hearty, hot dinner after long walks away from the van during the day.

Saturday, 23 October 2021

Orchestrated Chaos

I was in Tesco on Thursday and noted, after we'd been told that we have the 2nd highest Covid infection rate in the world, that the increase in mask wearing was negligible - the vast majority of shoppers were oblivious to the guidance, or deliberately ignoring it.

A friend of mine's wife tested positive twice, yet he went into work with his father (who has compromised lings) and sent his kids to school. He found out later in the day that he also had Covid. Ubelievable. 

It's actually we mask wearers who are doing our bit to make sure more stringent methods don't need to be implemented, but the government isn't helping us. 

It doesn't help either when Conservative MPs are photographed in Parliament not wearing masks and JRM stands up and utters some utter nonsense that they don't wear masks because they're convivial. Of course we all know the virus won't go anywhere near convivial people. 

Given the government steadfastly and inexplicably refuses to reimpose the mask mandate in the face of an exponential rise in Covid cases in the run up to the worst season for transmission and the prospect of the NHS being overwhelmed, one reaches the conclusion that the government actually wants to ensure we head deeper into a period of chaos.

Why would this be? What would the chaos from Covid mask? Oh yes - the chaos from Brexit! It seems that any chaos is spun by the government as part of the plan. The fact there is no plan is immaterial.

I suppose there is a chance they've polled their newly won Red Wall voters and discovered they hate wearing masks. 

The prospects for the hospitality industry won't be good if people, except idiots, start staying away from restaurants and pubs. 

On another subject, what is Levelling Up? It's injecting investment money into a deprived area such that it becomes productive. That is exactly what the EU does through Enlargement. However, in the case of the EU it's a key strategy that's implemented so that markets are formed and grow; it's not an empty, electioneering mantra. 

Let's have a look at cheap, foreign labour. No-one can undercut the minimum wage, thus Eastern Europeans have no advantage for unskilled work. That said, employers prefer Eastern Europeans and the only conclusion must be that they're more productive. Additionally, the Tories voting against a ban on fire and rehire makes a mockery of their rants against cheap, foreign labour - they're all for replacing it with cheap, national labour. It's not the cheapness of it that they are concerned about, so long as it's British. A pool of cheap labour can only be facilitated by keeping the minimum wage low. Now which party persistently keeps the minimum wage low? 

By the way, any so-called newspaper that distorts reality in pursuit of a political agenda, be that left or right, loses the right to be called a newspaper - it's no more than a propaganda pamphlet for a particular political party. There's nothing wrong per se with a political agenda (such as higher or lower taxes, or building more houses), but distorting reality in its pursuit is lying. The grossest distortions of reality are currently emanating from those newspapers that support Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party and the worst offender is the Daily Express. 

The Daily Mail too likes to gaslight its readers with a story about a Brexit success that is not really a success at all, but smoke and mirrors.

Friday, 22 October 2021

It's Catching

After we felled some diseased trees a couple of weeks ago, Hay's sister has taken the buzz saw to several Leylandii that have grown far too large and were blocking out light. Here's the last one coming down after much lopping.

More chipped wood than we know what to do with, but plenty of mulch for next year.

Just a stump left.

As for logs, also more logs than we know what to do with, even with Bonfire Night around the corner and the potential for a plethora of bug hotels.

Thursday, 21 October 2021


I bought a copy of Dante's Inferno a few weeks ago, intending to educate myself on Renaissance, Italian poetry. I made an effort and managed two cantos, but gave up, as I found it impossible to ewad in any meaningful way - a bit like reading Finnegan's Wake.

That's the problem when reading a translation of foreign poetry that's faithful to the original - the lines follow the original, which obviously scan in the original language, but don't in a translation. I tried to overcome this by reading it as if I was reading a prose story, but it meant I lost the gist, as I was expecting punctuation that wasn't there or, alternatively, reaching punctuation that I wasn't expecting, making reading an effort. It's also very rich in flowery language and allegory that's lost if you're not immersed in Italian, Renaissance culture.

I guess what I really need to do is either learn Italian, or obtain a copy that is indeed written fully in prose than in poetic style. I think the latter will be easier.

I believe that most of our ideas about Hell came from Dante's imagination.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Fireworks & GPs

Sadiq Khan, London's Mayor, is not going ahead with the annual, New Year firework display for the 2nd year in a row, causing a lot of consternation among some sections of the population.

The hoi polloi is asking why he's allowing mass gatherings at football matches and Diwali celebrations and yet not allowing the firework display. The accusation is one of hypocrisy.

The simple answer is that he can't go against government policy, which is to allow mass gatherings, as he has no power, to my knowledge, over government policy. He does, however, have power over whether the annual firework display is held or not, as he holds the budget. If people choose to gather in Trafalgar Square on New Year's Eve or at Diwali gatherings, then he can't actually stop them, but he can give them fewer reasons to congregate on New Year's Eve by not holding the firework display - which is a sensible strategy in the current circumstances.

People seem not to know the limits of the Mayor's powers. Either that, or they just want to have a go at him, which is the case with the right wing press' coverage, which simply calls him a hypocrite and kill-joy without explaining his reasoning, or the limits on his powers. It's as if they're purposely stirring things up - which they frequently do.

Similarly, the government and the right wing press has launched a campaign to vilify GPs by demanding more face-to-face appointments at a time when the number of GPs is declining and they're under increasing pressure. 

GP's conducting telephone consultations can get through more appointments than they could if the appointments were all face-to-face. A telephone consultation determines whether a face-to-face consultation is even necessary. Increasing face-to-to face appointments would therefore logically result in fewer overall appointments, not more, and we must not forget that we are losing GPs in their droves, which puts even greater pressure on those who remain. 

It's no wonder the BMJ has told GPs to ignore Savid Javid's threat to name and shame those surgeries that don't obey his stupid, counterproductive and populist diktat. The right wing press has successfully and successively turned their readers against firemen, the police, the BBC, judges, the RNLI, the National Trust and it's now the turn of GPs to take the blame.

It seems lost on Javid that the telephone consultation process was brought in by his predecessor, on the advice of the NHS, specifically to increase the number of consultations, as well as reduce the potential for infection from Covid in surgeries, the level of which is now going through the roof again because we're all mixing more and not wearing masks - which, for some inexplicable reason, is current government policy - the more infections the greater the chance of breakthrough viruses. It's not as if wearing a mask is a great imposition on one's freedom.

Meanwhile, senior NHS staff are urging the government to implement the so-called Plan B immediately, but Boris' spokesperson says he has; "Absolutely no plan to implement Plan B." We keep being told that lessons have been learned, but it appears not. 

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Ski Sunday

The mono-ski arrived yesterday and even Hay is impressed with it (believe it or not, she occasionally has some slight reservations about the artefacts I buy on e-Bay). 

She's even talking of putting it into the AirBnB or even the house. It just needs a bit of sanding down and re-varnishing with worktop oil and then I have to decide whether to convert it into a light fitting with LED spots, or leave it alone and simply use it as wall art. I'm tempted to just leave it as it is, once tarted up, as it's just such a beautiful piece of wood.

Monday, 18 October 2021

Lacking in Front

We keep calling our kitchen door our back door, primarily because most kitchens are at the back; however, our kitchen isn't on the back of the house - it's at the side and forms one arm of a crucifix. To complicate matters, there's a porch on the back door with two exits - one to the back-back (or front) and one to the side back.

As a consequence, we refer to both the front and the back of the house as the back, leading to massive confusion. It doesn't help that we have one, large living room that goes from front to back, or back to front, or back to back, or indeed front to front.

The main access to the house should, I suppose, be called the front, but we refer to it as the back because of the back door being there, which is the main access. I guess the reason we call it the back is because we don't have a front door - or rather we do, but it's a French door, which we also have at the other end - the back (above).

It's all very confusing.

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Buy British

Of late I've been consciously trying to source items I buy on e-Bay from the UK, rather than China, but this is extremely difficult when a lot of Chinese suppliers and manufacturers register themselves as based in the UK, when they're obviously not when you look at their profiles. 

I do wish e-Bay would police this better. The times I've bought items believing it to come from Dunstable and will be delivered in 3 days, for example, only to find them stuck somewhere on a containership from Hong Kong and being delivered the next months, if I'm lucky, are legion.

The sad thing, however, is that either there are no UK manufacturers for many items due to them having been priced out of the market long ago, or some enterprising Brit has managed to secure a stockpile in the UK and is passing off Chinese goods as British made by sticking a huge Union flag on the advert.

My current search is for LED spotlights to insert into the surfboard and mono-ski light fittings I'm intending to make for the static caravan. It's almost impossible to find UK manufactured spot lights.

I don't mind paying more for British products in order to keep jobs here, but it seems many just want the cheapest on the market. Doubtless those who prefer the cheapest products will accuse me of virtue signalling, which seems to be the phrase of the year among those of little brain.

When you think about it most jobs hang by a thread, yet we think because we draw a salary that we're secure for life. Nothing could be further from the truth, as most SMEs and even some large businesses operate on very small margins with occasional, seasonal flurries of profitability that enable them to make a living and pay their staff.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

The Power of Personal

I was having a debate with someone the other day about the Insulate Britain protests (again) and was asked if I would be miffed if one of my parents, or children, died on the way to hospital through being delayed by the protests.

Obviously, I'd be very miffed, in the same manner I'd be miffed at someone killing a close relative of mine and him not being hung, drawn and quartered - because it's personal, and personal means a lot to me, personally. However, my opponent's argument displayed that, while he was concerned for the potential for just one death, he was oblivious to the actual 40,000 annual UK deaths from pollution. It could be argued that he was unaware of the 40,000 annual deaths, but he persisted in his anger at the protesters even after he became aware of the fact.

This concern (and unconcern) showed my opponent had an agenda and it had bugger all to do with either the potential for deaths or indeed actual deaths, but more to do with personal inconvenience. The only way to make his point was to make it personal, rather than impersonal; the personal of a potential and hypothetical relative and the impersonal of an anonymous, yet factual, 40,000.

Making something personal is very powerful from a psychological perspective. Conversely, people can do some really nasty things when interaction becomes impersonal - like pressing a button to kill several thousand people remotely with a drone, as opposed to being face-to-face with an opponent.

For some individuals, 135,000 Covid deaths are immaterial when it comes to keeping the economy going; however, those individuals would become more focussed on the 135,000 should one of them have been a close relative. 

How would my questioner feel if he were the father of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, who was proven to have died from pollution in South London in 2014 and had it listed on her death certificate - the first person to have this listed on a death certificate?

Objectivity is the key in such arguments. Subjectivity clouds the facts. If one hypothetical person is important, then the inescapable and logical conclusion is that 40,000 real people (and a planet) must be vastly more important. If not, then there's a logical inconsistency and an alternative agenda within your thinking.

When you're asked to put yourself out on behalf of others, it's simply too much for some. We live within the cult of the individual, which is antithetical to social harmony and civilization.

Analyse and discuss.

Friday, 15 October 2021

The Hat

With the nights drawing in and it not getting light till about 7am, running has become a bit of a hazard. Hay thought I should wear some kind of light attached to my head in the manner of a headband, but they're not that stable and would doubtless fall off while running. 

However, she came up with a bright idea, if you'll pardon the unintentional pun - a hat with a powerful, built-in LED light, as recommended by her favourite magazine - Campfire Magazine.

And it's brilliant - another unintended pun. I wore it on Saturday night when returning to our motorhome after a visit to a restaurant in Porlock in Somerset, where we went for the weekend. It lit the way back perfectly and will be eminently suitable for running on dark mornings.

I've not run since last Thursday, as I seem to have incurred an injury to my left foot. Not sure whether it's running induced or not, but I'm laying off the running for a few more days.

Hay was insistent on going for a long walk while we were away in Porlock at the weekend, but I took my e-bike along. Mud and water didn't defeat me, but I was nearly defeated by a bunch of kissing gates on some tracks marked, incredulously, as Permitted Cycle Paths. Kissing gates are impassable with a bike, unless you're fortunate enough to have either a carbon fibre bike that weighs as much as a feather, or some assistance from a 3rd party.

I was finally defeated by the shingle bank on the beach and had to leave the bike there while Hay went for a swim, collecting it on the way back.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

That Static Light Fitting

I'm having great difficulty finding a suitable canoe or kayak for conversion into a light fitting for hanging over the static caravan dining table. Firstly they're simply too long and secondly they're damned expensive.

I did think about buying something a bit tatty and giving it a wood-effect, vinyl wrap, but there's still the problem of unwieldy length. Ideally I don't want anything longer than about 6 feet.

However, I then thought about a water ski and found this one on e-Bay yesterday at a reasonable price and bought it. Delivery next week.

It's a vintage, wooden mono-ski and thus perfect in terms of size (1.72m) and composition, although the foot rubbers have been removed, which detracts from identifying it as a water ski. However, I believe they're easy to source.

I also found a cheap surfboard on Facebook Market in Bath yesterday for £50, which I will also do a conversion on after tidying it up and giving it a nice spray. I wondered what the hell the bottom of it was covered with but, of course, it's surfboard wax, which needs to be totally removed before I do any painting. A heat gun and scraper, followed by a wash down with hand sanitizer should do the trick. The theme of the static is terracotta and light grey and the surfboard would look rather swish in those shades with some 12v spotlights sunk into it.

I'm thinking of putting the mono-ski in the static's kitchen, over the dining table, and the surfboard in the living room ceiling rose. If the surfboard doesn't suit the living room as a ceiling light, I'll turn it into some wall art for somewhere else in the caravan, or even our house.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

The Wringer

Blood pressure medication, which I take on a daily basis, is essentially a diuretic and wrings water out of you - people with high blood pressure and taking medication are notorious for the number of times they need to pee. Essentially the medication fools the body into thinking it's carrying too much water and causes it to be excreted to reduce the blood volume and thus reduce its pressure. The result, however, is increased pressure on the bladder.

Due to a very busy weekend, I didn't take any meds on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Prior to Friday, I'd been measuring my weight on an almost daily basis to gauge the effect of my exercise regime and had been a steady 85kg for about 3 days. 

On Monday, after skipping 3 days of medication, I discovered I'd shot up by 3kg since Friday morning and the inescapable conclusion was that I'd retained 3kg of water over those 3 days, as there's no way I could have put on 3kg of fat, despite a Chinese meal on the Saturday evening. I did feel rather bloated and breathless while we were away and the water retention must have been responsible..

I took my meds on Monday and, surprise surprise, by Tuesday morning, I was weighing in at just a tad under 85kg again. I spent all day Monday running to the loo every half hour or so...

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

New Electricity Tariff

I got my new electricity tariff from British Gas, our new provider since People's Energy collapsed. It will go up 45% on the 21st October and my new annual bill will be around £3,200.

Now that will be offset to the tune of about £1,500 per annum by my feed-in tariff for the solar panels, but it's still a whopping increase. I just hope it's temporary, as we had the first ice of the season on the car roofs yesterday morning and there's a ground frost in the garden this morning.

Monday, 11 October 2021

DIY Light Fitting II

Apropos of yesterday's post on a canoe light fitting for the static caravan; I've had another couple of ideas - using a wooden surfboard would produce a short and sleek design, even if it's more seawater oriented than a canoe.

This part-complete, wooden surfboard on Facebook Market took my attention. There's just something about its unfinished quality it that I like.

Even driftwood has potential.

I've found a bloke in Chepstow, just across the Severn Bridge, who sells chunks of yew, which look suitable.

However, I think I prefer the surfboard to the driftwood - it's more stylish. Wooden surfboards aren't cheap, but now, with winter approaching, is the ideal time to buy one 2nd hand. Sinking a couple or three spotlights into one would not be difficult. Watch this space.

Sunday, 10 October 2021

DIY Light Fittings

I'm trying to think of a water theme for our new static caravan, but it has to be freshwater, not sea water. I had an idea about somehow using a canoe as a ceiling light fitting over the dining table and spotted these:

I just love them as concepts, but they're a little on the big side. Hanging one of these would be accomplished thus:

I did, however, find a DIY kit on Facebook Market.

There would even be enough left over for a DIY dinghy hot tub...

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Burn Baby Burn

I've mentioned this before; I don't know whether it's just me, but I'm seeing a lot of adverts on TV for funeral companies and funeral insurance plans. I suppose it's to be expected with an ageing demographic.

However, all the people you see in the adverts are very obviously nowhere near popping their clogs. What I want to see is people actually burning or being buried in order to get a better feel for what you get. We need to get a feel for the product. When G-Tech, for example, advertise their vacuum cleaners they don't only show you a swept carpet, they show you the vacuum cleaner actually performing. 

Talking of burning people, we're having a village bonfire again this year, but we're not having the usual firework display. The main reason is the £1,200 bill for the show, which we can ill afford because of a lack of revenue during Covid and the cost incurred of project to rebuild the Village Hall kitchen. There's also the matter of there being a lot of horses, sheep and pets in the neighbourhood. It's rather unfair to put them through the fear and anxiety. I'd be OK with never having fireworks again, although I do believe there are such things as silent fireworks.

I'm scheduled to perform a laser display to entertain the kids with. I was going to use my fog machine, but its efficacy would be very weather dependent. Instead, I'm going to perform the display against a backdrop of a house next to the football field where we're having the bonfire - and yes, I have the house owner's permission.

I'm thinking of making a flyer for the bonfire, telling local residents there will be a bonfire this year, but we won't be burning any Catholics - except, perhaps, Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Friday, 8 October 2021

The SL

The 500SL has been cleaned to within an inch of its life, but there's an area of paint on a pillar of the hardtop that needs some slight attention, although it will mean a complete respraying of the hardtop to get it right. My sprayer friend has assured me that he'll give me mates' rates for the job.

If the price is right, I may get him to tart up the grey, plastic side skirt, as it's looking a tad tired in places.

I've been spraying the two duff Mass AirFlow sensors I have with electrical contact cleaner on a daily basis in the hope that clearing any gunge will boot at least one of them into action. If not, then I have £450 on hand to get a warrantied one off eBay.

No.1 Son doesn't think I should sell it, once fully operational. I think he has his eye on it for when he reaches 25 and his insurance comes down.

For a 29 year old car it looks immaculate and there's not a spot of rust on it. Mercedes knew how to make cars in the early 90s.

Still of a mind to sell it and get a project GT6.