Tuesday, 31 May 2022


Over the weekend I helped out a mate who regularly helps out at a local boarding kennel and it made me realise a few things. People who own dogs either;

  1. Should only go on UK holidays where they can take their dog with them, or
  2. Shouldn't go on holiday at all, or
  3. Shouldn't own dogs.
Most of the dogs looked very confused at having been dumped at a strange place with strange people and strange dogs, with  number showing signs of trauma. One poor dog simply cowered at the back of its kennel and wouldn't come out at all.

The work involves early morning feeding and kennel cleaning, taking about 5 dogs at a time (of up to 50) and getting them into a bank of individual outdoor runs while their kennels are cleaned. Once this is achieved, the outdoor runs are cleaned.

The dogs are treated very well, so it's no reflection on the operation of the kennels, but their owners really need to have a think about what they're putting their dogs through. The dogs themselves don't know their owners are returning and show all the signs of anxiety, which can make them unpredictable. Even dogs that live together at home sometimes have to be separated, as their anxiety leads them to fighting each other.

Given the number of dogs that are housed, there's no time for getting friendly with them - it's a military-style operation to get them fed and cleaned out before the gates open for people dropping off or collecting their pets. After the gates close, the entire operation is repeated.

One big problem is that a small number of the dogs are incredibly unhealthy and are on medication, which has to be administered by the kennel staff. Getting any animal to take medication is fraught with problems.

A lot of kennels were hit badly during Covid and have decided to either close permanently, or substantially reduce the number of dogs they cater for, resulting in record summer bookings for those which have remained fully open. 

Monday, 30 May 2022

Trailer Foor

I decided to go for 3m decking planks for the trailer floor. The grooves will aid in ensuring the floor drains, although the grooves are meant to go on the underside.

Here's the trailer for my new film....

More expensive than OSB, but infinitely more robust and longer lasting - I've oiled them with boiled linseed oil to protect them. I love the smell of boiled linseed oil; it should be bottled and used as a men's aftershave.

Planks were £9.45 each (12 x 3m lengths) from a local supplier in Thornbury, which ain't a bad price. I could have spent an age looking for reclaimed wood of the correct length, and I'm going to need the trailer in the not too distant future.

Screwed them into a wooden crossmember near the axle and then added battens at either end to keep them from bowing. I didn't really want to drill into the trailer metal to attach the boards, if I can avoid it, as it's a weak point for electrolytic rusting.

I called in at another garden wood supplier in Wickwar, but he wanted over £24 for 3.6m lengths - twice the price! A new estate has just been built over the road from his small yard and he now has a captive, DIY market. Can't blame him, but I certainly won't be buying garden wood from him.

Sunday, 29 May 2022


I've been playing a bit with the new gimbal and some video editing software for Android phones I got off Google Play, and I'm quite getting the hang of it all.

One thing I've learned is not to render the videos in 4k as, while phones don't have an issue with it, few computers can handle it. It also makes for huge file sizes.

Here's what's called a Dolly Shot - I'm still coming to grips with it. It's one of those shots that plays with spacetime through the focus and zoom.

Another, illustrating revolving shots, taken at James Dyson's place, just up the road.

The music, which I added to the one below under fair use, is Marconi Union. Have a guess what it is a video of before the final reveal. It's at the entrance to a farmer's gate just outside Yate.

This one was taken at the local Morgan/Caterham dealership. The music is apt (again under fair use), given the JPS colours of gold and black - Nuyorican Soul's "I am the Black Gold of the Sun".

Here's a couple of early attempts at making shit cars look good.

Doubtless I'll be littering my Blog with more videos as I become increasingly adept; however, I'm limited to 100mb file sizes by Blogger, unless I put them on YouTube.

Saturday, 28 May 2022

Corrupt PM

The Greased Piglet has once more made another step in his sleep-walk into a fascist dictatorship.

This time he has played with the Ministerial Code so as to facilitate lesser sanctions for what are called minor breaches. Such minor breaches are inadvertently misleading Parliament. It's almost impossible to differentiate between purposeful and inadvertent misleading of Parliament, and thus it is now a liar's charter. He has removed all references to integrity, objectivity, accountability, transparency, honesty and leadership in the public interest, attributes which he is spectacularly lacking. 

The whole point of the Ministerial Code is such that the electorate can make informed decisions on what is said in Parliament. If that is no longer possible, then the very foundation of liberal democracy in this country has been undermined by a congenital liar who is determined to rig the system in his favour.

It's high time that the oversight of the Ministerial Code is taken away from Parliament and vested in a totally independent, anti-corruption department.

Friday, 27 May 2022

Blithering Idiot

So, not only is the Greasy Piglet a compulsive liar bereft of any scruple or integrity, he's not even capable of identifying a party from a work gathering, which means he's also a blithering idiot. Clearly, he's unfit to tackle the big issues - he may mistake the Ukrainian situation for the crisis in the NHS and send weapons to hospitals.

Attending parties during lockdown is not a simple mistake - it's a very serious error of judgement. It's a flagrant flouting of your own rules, which Boris, better than anyone, should understand. It's deliberate. It's believing you're above the rules set for the little people. It's monstrous hubris. It's thoughtless and careless. It's cavalier. It's normal for the Greased Piglet.

In failing to remove Johnson before he does any more damage to the country, the Tories have sealed their fate at the next General Election - unless, of course, a vast swathe of the electorate has also decided to ditch its moral compass in the pursuit of chaos and is happy for parliamentary lying to become standard practice. You reap what you sow - and what you vote for and allow to go unchallenged in the slow descent into the demolition of standards.

I can understand their quandary, however - when Boris has surrounded himself with talentless drones whose only attribute is loyalty, then there is no clear succession line for anyone with experience of government. He has turned the Tory Party in parliament into a self-perpetuating pool of idiots who give no thought as to the consequences of their inept, populist policies du jour.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Log Weights

I've found another use for some of the logs from the trees we cut down at the end of last year.

We have a gazebo on our back patio, which has a habit of acting as a bit of a sail and taking off in windy conditions, so I've screwed a ringbolt into 4 of the logs to which I can attach straps to keep the gazebo grounded. 

Any other anyone can think of?

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

GM Foods

In order to distract from Partygate, I'm rather surprised the Express and Mail haven't led with stories about the UK approving genetically modified crops, claiming it's a Brexit Bonus.

Actually, perhaps I'm not surprised...

After ranting against scientists for years, especially those involved with Covid, they'd look a bit hypocritical to suddenly start supporting them.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Glass & Metal Recycling

 If you look closely, you will notice that the wine bottles and cans are empty.

Ergo, it was not a party, but the No.10 weekly recycling being sorted.

However, the case rests not on the definition of a party, but an illegal gathering. Were recycling collections also illegal? I believe it will be argued that they weren't.

Monday, 23 May 2022

A Job for the Monarch

Given the PM has the ultimate responsibility for the Ministerial Code and, in effect, marks his own homework, coupled with this arrangement being predicated on the assumption that the PM at least has integrity, which the current one manifestly doesn't, isn't it about time this system was reviewed?

I would suggest that, as the Monarch's role is largely ceremonial and the incumbent is renowned for being politically impartial - in fact it has been her hallmark for her entire reign - the Monarch should be placed in charge of the Ministerial Code, and its policing. Ministers are, after all, her ministers and her family crest appears at the top of the Ministerial Code. It would at least give the Monarch something important to do, rather than merely being a cypher to whatever malfeasance the government wants to get up to. It could even rejuvenate the Monarchy with an important constitutional role.

Yes, I know she's probably the ultimate Champagne Socialist, but she doesn't make it known. If she or her heirs were put in charge of the Ministerial Code, then the Monarch would become, in effect, the Tribune of the Plebs, despite not being a pleb in the remotest sense.


Sunday, 22 May 2022

New Gadget

 Thought I'd buy myself a 3 axis gimbal for my phone camera.

It does all manner of fancy things by an App taking over your phone camera, such as face tracking, object tracking, rotational shots, etc. Still getting to grips with it, but expect some nifty videos before much longer.

This is a rotational shot, but I over-egged the rotation angle and got the mount in the way at the end. I will improve with practice. 

It's called an iSteady X and is cheap as chips.

Saturday, 21 May 2022


How can a fine for breaking Covid rules be in any way interpreted as 'largely not guilty', as I heard a Conservative MP opine yesterday morning when defending the Greased Piglet on the radio? 

No fine is not guilty; one fine is guilty; multiple fines is a repeat offender. 

"However, M'lud, the defendant robbed only one bank and, I humbly submit therefore, largely not guilty," ain't going to gain much traction in front of the Honourable Mr Justice Hangemall.

Also, I wonder why did the Met investigate only 2 of the 6 events Boris attended? 

How was the investigation a waste of money, as Boris fanboys claim, when a) the police employed in the investigation are employees, not consultants, and would be paid anyway, and b) over a hundred fines were imposed, thereby justifying the investigation.

I now understand why some are so keen to support Boris; his epic incompetence makes theirs look trifling by comparison.

As an aside, why is theirs spelled theirs, not Their's?

Friday, 20 May 2022


 I have no fear of dying, but I will have regrets;

  1. Only having myself to talk to, and
  2. Not knowing how it all pans out for mankind.
That's it.

When I'm dead I'll sit there pondering, wherever I am, if there indeed is an I to ponder anything, which I doubt.

On the 2nd regret, not's not widely understood, but we Homo Sapiens have only been around for a very short time and are new boys on the block. Homo Erectus was around for 2m years, whereas we have had hegemony for only a quarter of a million years. In the 5Bn years left, it may be some weirdly evolved descendant who rules the roost, providing we don't utterly destroy our planet first.

Even if we manage to avoid our sun burning out, humanity may perish in a Big Crunch or a Heat Death, the latter currently being the favoured scenario, but it would be nice to know whether we somehow could avoid either option. Time travel, perhaps, or escape to another parallel universe.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

The Cost of Living

We've spent most of the week on a CL caravan site in Broadway, Warwickshire. 

When we're away in the van, we usually bring enough food with us to last for the duration but, as Hay hasn't been feeling too well of late, we decided to either get 'Cook' meals (Cook being a company that specialises in high quality frozen food) or take-aways.

On Monday we bought some very nice Cook meals from the local Co-Op in Broadway - £9.45 for a double portion which you merely slam in the oven for 45 minutes. 

On Wednesday we though we'd get a take-away from the local fish and chip shop, until we discovered that the price was £27.90 for two fish and chips, admittedly with peas and a lemon wedge, but I found that exorbitant.

It's strange that Cook meals haven't really changed that much in price, whereas fish has gone through the roof.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Trailer Tales

Decided to strip the rotting OSB from my trailer over the weekend.

The boards sit under the plywood sides and so were a bit difficult to remove. Luckily it was so rotten that I just used a crowbar along the centre and split the boards in two.

It's obvious that the OSB was put down first and the sides erected to lock the 22mm boards in under the side panels in the 25mm gap. The section at the front, however, was in two pieces, probably to use some spare, smaller boards what would otherwise have been wasted. You can just make out the join in the photo below.

The decision now is what to replace it with. OSB lasts for years and years in the vertical position, but not when laid horizontally as a floor.

I could go for OSB again (we are lining my new workshop with OSB), laying it in two halves so I don't have to remove the sides. I could add a layer of polyurethane resin over the top to add some protection and ensure that when not in use it's tipped down at the back end so rain runs off. 

The OSB that was used looked like 22mm, but had swelled to 30mm with the wet.

I would prefer, however, to use wooden boards for longevity. Metal would be too expensive. I'll decide later, after I've cleaned up the chassis and applied some bituminous paint or Waxoyl to offer greater protection against rust. 

Tuesday, 17 May 2022


Hay buys a lot of clothes on-line from Next, but most of them end up being returned due to them not fitting (she's quite tall). 

The person designated to collect or return these items is me and, worryingly, I find myself looking at the material clothes are made of while waiting, assessing their suitability for making resin lampshades.

These struck me as particularly good, for a number of reasons.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Bookcase Door & Other Mods

I've had an idea for the door that leads from our open plan living room / dining room / kitchen area into the spare bedroom cum AirBnB - a secret bookcase door. A bit like this.

The current door is oak with an aluminium ship's porthole that I inserted into it, but we've hung a curtain across it for soundproofing and permanently locked it for privacy, due to strangers occasionally inhabiting the accommodation on the other side of it. We're running short of bookcase space anyway and this would be a neat solution, plus it's a bit quirky.

I've also had an idea to save on heating cost. When we built the house we decided to have limestone flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms, with oak flooring everywhere else. Now, while limestone flooring is ideal for transmitting heat from the underfloor heating, wood acts as an insulator. With low cost electricity, this isn't really a problem, but with electricity reaching unprecedented prices, it may well be time to make some minor adjustment.

The idea is to remove the oak flooring where our large coffee table is (the coffee table sits on a rug, which adds even more insulation) and replace it with limestone. This would in effect create a 3 square metre radiator in the centre of the living space. OK, the floor is already a radiator, but the thermal conductivity of the limestone is much higher.

The rug could still be placed over the limestone as the overall thermal output would be increased. Not sure about the aesthetics though.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Double Bind

So, the minority DUP is holding Northern Ireland to ransom by not electing a Speaker to Stormont and Boris is colluding with them by threatening to invoke Article 16, unless the EU agrees to his conditions, which are a negation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which Lord Frost designed and Boris heralded with a big fanfare as an oven-ready deal.

Naturally, as is his usual modus operandi, Boris blames another party for his own mistakes.

This would then, by necessity, place the border within Ireland, negating the Good Friday Agreement. Now, if he does trash the NIP, then the logical consequence is that Sinn Fein, as the majority party, will execute its mandate to also refuse to elect a Speaker, still leaving NI without a local government, not that I think this will bother Johnson, so long as he satisfies a minority Ulster party, the name of which is incorporated into the full name of the Conservative and Unionist Party.

If only the Tories had listened to Theresa May none of this would have happened. The ERG, however, despite stating that May's Backstop was not needed because there were mythical technological solutions to border checks around the corner, conspired to vote against it, leading to the fall of May. However, if such a mythical solution was indeed around the corner, there was no logical problem with retaining the Backstop which, by their own admission, would never be invoked anyway.

Meanwhile the NI economy is booming. Boris can't allow that.

Once more, policy bereft of thought about the consequences has trapped Boris. Even the Queen's Speech had nothing new in it - it was a rehash of last year's slogans, none of which have yet been delivered due to the Tories having to deal with the consequences.

I'm not surprised Queen Elizabeth didn't want to read out the speech Boris had crafted for her and made the excuse she couldn't move, despite being seen several days later walking around a horse show. I think it was a pointed protest in the only way she could make it. Even her deputy, Charles, made the speech in the most deadpan of voices.

If you're a Conservative voter, this is what comes of voting into power a known liar and charlatan with the morals of an alley cat. Expect a few more people or groups to be thrown under his Big Red Bus.


 As an extra post today, here are a few snaps from last weekend's extremely satisfying holiday in Hay-on-Wye.

And my personal favourite.

Saturday, 14 May 2022


I'm thinking of getting a small petrol scooter to put on the back of the motorhome - the e-bikes are fine, but I have to mount two of them and Hay's not that keen, for some inexplicable reason, on riding something I've built. Can't imagine why.

To this end, I've been investigating both towbars and scooter racks. The towbar wasn't meant to be much of an issue, except one has to go for the type where the towball is attached as a bracket, rather than a swan-neck. I ordered one on e-Bay, but when it arrived it was pretty obvious it was for an ordinary Fiat Ducato van and not a motorhome conversion, which has a longer overhang and chassis rail extensions, so back it went.

There is a myriad different kinds of scooter carrier. Not exceeding the maximum permissible rear axle weight is a key issue, so I need something that's relatively light, but sturdy.

I saw this advertised locally on Facebook Market and went to view it.

Now it's very nice, and cheap - new price is £412 and this one was being sold for £250. However, it's rather weighty. I didn't buy it, thinking (correctly) that the towbar should come first.

I did come across something called a Tag Z scooter carrier, which is much lighter, simpler and very much cheaper. Variants of this start at around £70-80.

It comes with a central bracket that replaces the towball and two extensions that fit to the bracket and accommodate the scooter wheels.

Obtaining a motorhome towbar is going to be the major issue now, as I believe these are damned expensive. I have, however, located one for my exact motorhome model on the internet, which is being sold 2nd hand - if it's still available. It looked like an old advert (not on e-Bay) and I've contacted the seller to see it he still has it. Price is £250 and it's in Selby with collection only - about 4 hours drive. We could always do a weekend trip to Yorkshire in the motorhome and pick it up. As of today, no response.

I've also been looking into a DIY solution and I've seen stories on motorhome forums of people making chassis rail extensions out of 2 inch steel box sections and bolting these to the chassis. One bloke maintained he'd made one, and a scooter platform, for £100, which seems a very reasonable cost. 

Friday, 13 May 2022


Firstly, Brexit was won with the slimmest of majorities - 2% either side of even Stevens. It was destined, without a supermajority, to always be a festering sore, especially if it turned out to be a bad decision, which it has, and even more so when it turned into a Hard Brexit. We gave it a go, but it simply isn't working.

Here's a novel idea that could solve a lot of the problems Brexit has brought - re-join the EU, but only under our previous terms. 

The benefits would be many:

  • Easier travel,
  • Cheaper food,
  • Fantastic export opportunities,
  • No queues at ports,
  • A solution to the skills shortage,
  • A solution to the Irish Sea Border,
  • GFA saved,
  • It would counter the SNP's objective,
  • Co-operation on security.
Sounds like a good idea to me. What's not to like?

Secondly, as for Boris signing a mutual defence pact with Sweden and Finland - one wonders whether Johnson has other NATO members' approval to do this as, in effect, it's the admittance of Finland and Sweden into NATO quickly by the back door. If not, it's wildly dangerous and a risky ploy to deflect attention from his domestic troubles, as there's a good chance that if the UK is attacked, the other NATO nations could see the UK unilateral pact as a provocative move designed to draw them into a conflict.

Granted that America has done something similar, but defence co-operation is not the same as a mutual defence pact. Also, if it was a defence pact, then America is quite capable of taking on Putin on its own - the UK, Sweden and Finland couldn't.

Also, the UK is in a Joint Expeditionary Force with Finland and Sweden but, again, it's more a strategic equipment integration scheme than a defence pact and is designed to minimise operational friction in the event of a conflicts where both happen to be engaged.

There again, seeing the direction in which the wind is blowing, he's possibly doing his usual trick of running to the front of the queue shouting; "Follow me!"

Lastly, Boris wants to block the prison marriage of serial murderer, Levi Bellfield. I wonder why? Is he also going to call for the enforced divorce of married murderers already in jail? I'll leave aside why anyone would want to marry Bellfield, but surely he's entitled to get married. If not, I'd be interested in the reason. Could it be purely because it's a populist move?

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Annual Argument

It's time for the annual argument about the garden - one where we eventually come to a compromise. However, the compromise also results in me saying I'm not mowing the garden, but always end up doing so, as Hay doesn't have the time.

This is our garden and Hay and her sister like to give large portions of it over being unmown.

Now, the alleged reason for leaving unmown areas is to encourage wild flowers and provide a sanctuary for wildlife. That, however, is despite this being on the other side of the hedge on the left-hand side of our garden.

An entire common that's filled with wild flowers and mown once or twice a year. 

I just don't get it. It results in a huge amount of effort in the autumn, as we don't have a motorised implement capable of cutting long grass. 

That's not quite true - I do have an Allen scythe, but it has been languishing at a local garage for the last 2 years, waiting for a friend to replace the solenoid, which first required the seized-on clutch to be removed. I keep getting promises that he'll tackle it soon, but I just get the impression he's one of those people who can't say no.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Ordering Specs Off the Internet

The last couple of pairs of glasses I bought were from Glasses Direct. A very good service, but I've vome across a problem that you don't get with glasses you buy from a high street shop.

When you receive your internet ordered glasses, there's no-one to adjust them for your particular physiognomy - the arms are generally too long, resulting in the glasses slipping down your nose.

I decided to 'fit' them myself, which the aid of a heat gun, but perhaps I should have used a less powerful hairdryer.

Because I'd used too much heat, one of the arms became a bit brittle and, while fiddling with them the other day, I managed to break off part of the arm that goes over my ears.

To compensate for the shortness of one arm, I broke off a bit of the other arm to level them up. However, I broke a little too much, so I now need to break a little more off the first broken arm, ad infinitum.

Decided to simply buy another pair - over the internet... 

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Bear Trap

It would appear that Keir Starmer has set an enormous bear trap for Boris Johnson by offering to resign if issued with a fine over the Durham campaigning curry.

Boris is now in a trap. Regardless of whether Starmer receives a fine or not, he has made a huge point about Johnson's integrity. My guess is that he's certain of being exonerated once more. He is a lawyer, after all.

As for the event itself, the focus of the Conservative propaganda machine is the pre-planning of the meal. If you've spent the entire period from 2016 not considering the consequences of the policies you develop or support, then it's no surprise that the concept of pre planning a meal while out campaigning is totally alien. After all, Boris Johnson has spent his entire period as prime minister having to battle with the consequences of his consequence-free policies, and little else. Humans, as someone has pointed out, need food and drink to survive.

Those defending Johnson on social media seem blissfully unaware that Cambridge Analytica did not select them for their intelligence, but their gullibility and ability to unquestioningly take orders without thinking.

Meanwhile, the utterly contemptible morons at Conservative Central Propaganda HQ have been eerily quiet as they try and find a way to insist Keir Starmer should stay in his job if found guilty, just hours after calling him a hypocrite for not promising to resign.

There is concern among Labour MPs, however, about the impartiality of the police officer selected to reinvestigate Starmer.

Monday, 9 May 2022

Philosophical Lambretta Legend

 We spent the weekend in the gorgeous little town of Hay-on-Wye, where I spotted this.

It's a a 1955 (the year of my birth) Lambretta F 125 and appears to have weathered the years better than me. It must be worth a small fortune. I saw it put-putting past us early on Saturday morning and then spotted it later propped against a wall.

In my youth I had a Lambretta SX 225 (an SX 200 rebored to 225cc) in Arctic White and English Electric Blue, which was easily the best Lambretta in Southport. It was previously owned by one of my best friends, whose father owned the only scooter emporium in Southport, and so he had the pick of the crop.

Seeing the F 125 got me, once again, to thinking about a towbar-mounted motorcycle carrier for the motorhome - for a brief moment.

We were staying in a motorhome campsite that was a 5 minute walk from the town centre, which accommodated only 5 very widely spaced vans. It was idyllic.

As many will know, Hay-on-Wye holds the internationally famous Literary Festival, which was stated in the 60s but, more recently, they've created another festival - How the Light Gets In, which is advertised as Britain's answer to TED talks and comprises debates on philosophy, interspersed with music.

A bit too late to book for this year, but I'd certainly like to attend next year.