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So, Brick's winged his way to a new owner; apparently en-route he shed some bits of distributor, but handily the spare one we'd thrown in the boot (along with all the other spares) turned out to have the relevant bits. The new owner didn't seem that mifffed... it seems about par-for-Brick's behaviour. I hope that he gives the new owner less trouble.

Anyhow, on to the Dyke cred. We've gained points:

We're terribly green little dykey people; Kathryn cycles all over the place, she cut my hair today, we grow our own veg (and fruit, if the tomato brings us fruit), I do car maintainance, ride a motorbike, we do DIY, and for extra bonus dyke cred:

We made our own granola!

The recipe is not quite right; more honey, and such... but I'm dead chuffed. I do, however, need to find a bulk purchase place for rolled oats, almonds and such.

In other news, we went into a charity shop today, and I left with 3LPs, a single and a book; oh, and a Buffy the Vampire Slayer game (that's almost certainly terrible) and we got Trivial Pursuit.

And in final news for the day, Jejy's now insured; and Kathryn's been added to the insurance...all this at a grand total of nothing :)

I'm quite pleased. Well, it cost the £15 administration fee, but still.

We've also been making progress, slowly, on the house, the hideous wall of doom in the office has had a coat of basecoat and it's 3rd coat of yellow. Hopefully one more (and hopefully when it dries it won't be all cracked like the last 2 coats) and it'll finally be done.


Kathryn found this comic. It's excellent.

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So, whilst I may not feel lucky, I was, in fact, incredibly lucky yesterday.

I had what I can only describe as a nice day at work and headed home. Part way home the Viva overheated and I pulled over. Cutting a long (and dumb) story short I ended up with a hand and face full of boiling hot coolant and steam. Slightly panicked I realised I needed (a) an ambluance and (b) (rather more urgently) something cold. The car proved to be lacking anything cold (like water, for example), and so I dashed of down the motorway spitting furiously on my hand to try and cool it, and dumping, some what unsavourily that onto my face to try and cool that. Sadly the first marker post I reached indicated that I'd set off in the wrong direction, so I headed back the other way.

Fought with the car which had a bay full of coolant now; and got it to limp to the next emergency phone where I called for an ambulance and a recovery vehicle. The Highway Officers turned up first bringing with them much wanted water - which cooled my hand, and got rid of the retching from the coolant that had landed up in my mouth. The firebrigade were next with their (really very nice) tea-tree dressings (which soothed my hand and face a lot), and then streaking down the road - blue lights and sirens wailing, the ambulance.

I can't thank the crews enough. I'm sure I was hardly the most appetising sight covered in flecks of brown coolant-and-rust-streaked water, saliva and such. Retching and constantly swilling my mouth with water and spitting it out.

But the thing I can say is that I was lucky. Very superficial burns to my face and left hand and superficial, if sore, burns to my right. The nurses got me oromorph; I hate morphine and can now say that oromorph does absolutely fuck-all for me. Then sent me off with Naproxen and CoDydramol. I've a whopping great dressing on my right hand. and my face feels like it's sunburnt.

I will not be sad to see the back of that Viva.

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So, my head hurts.

I've no idea why, although possibly the 30 odd hours with an hour or so of sleep in the middle during which we gardened, shopped, I did a complete night shift at work, and so on, that might explain why every time I move my head it feels like I throw a large brick against the side of my head.

I did try going outside for a walk, and I've been drinking plenty of water, but it's all not helped. Which is saddening.

Anyhow, I mentioned that we did gardening, we also went to the garden centre (to get plants to do gardening with) - this has resulted in our garden going from a huge pile of rubble (which sadly I have no photos of) to this:

We've got what we're hoping will develop into a nice flower bed, and a also a nice veggie patch. The flowers already smell nice in the sun too; using a trick from Bristol, the path'll be covered over with gravel (to hide the concrete), and we have plans for a small bog-garden, a raised bed (where the coal shed used to be, or possibly outhouse), and a bit of lawn. Decking is still part of the plan too.

Other than that; I've been around to the back-garden-adjoininger responsible for the slow collapse of the shed (the back wall's giving up due to them undermining the foundations) and given them a letter saying I want a new shed. On the way back I was witness to a lot of high-speed driving by police and general bemusment of peoples because - I am unreliably informed - a youth was 'waving a gun around'. I didn't see any youths with guns, thankfully. But I did see a lot of people milling. Now, I'm sorry, but my plan on hearing 'youth running around with gun' wasn't to stand there like some sort of startled dugong, but was instead to head to the house (not, I grant you with any particular urgency, but more because it was where I was going and I reckon being inside was better than being outside in such a situation). One imagines that lots of milling around people must annoy the police.

Of course, people do like to stare at things. On my last night, on my way to work there was an upside-down car and a lot of flashing lights on the opposite carriageway of the motorway; this, one imagines, was an accident. What this might require from someone travelling in the opposite direction is a quick glance (ideally nothing at all, but I'm human and my interest is piqued, especially 'cos I like to know what might be at work waiting for me). What it doesn't require is letting your foot off the throttle, dropping speed from 80->65, then actually braking to slow down more and get a better look, when you're in the centre lane of the opposing carriageway. Doing this when I'm behind you leads to me hitting the horn, flashing the lights and also hurling abuse in your general direction. It's dangerous and annoying... 

In other news (I might post about work in a bit, given that I've done 3 loads of laundry and we've not got any newspapers kicking around), Brick's for sale. He'll do 'til the end of the week with just posters in the car, and then come thursday I intend to run him round to the jetwash, take lots of photos of the clean'd brick and pop him on e-bay. The DAF Welder is coming on Thursday, so hopefully the DAF'll be returning to the road shortly. Of course, he may turn up and give me a quote that's entirely insane, in which case I'll be calling the other welder.

It's weird, I find it so hard to take time off. Today is basically my only full day off in a run of 9 shifts, and it was only yesterday morning I came off nights. But to take the whole day off seems excessive somehow. I guess doing laundry and writing a letter's hardly challenging, but hey. I'm going to stop there because this post's taken hours to write and been completely rambly. In other news, my headache's gone :)


Apr. 30th, 2008 02:30 pm
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So, as I wait for my Viva's exhaust to arrive I've been riding the 'zed to and from work. Thankfully, given the extent of the rain yesterday, they let me come home early (to be fair we'd just had a faxed-through flash-flood warning) and the bair-hugger did a grand job of getting my boots dry enough for me to be able to ride (despite wearing my walking gear and my bike gear my arse still got wet though).

I'd hoped the exhaust would arrive today; not least because of the weather...

Anyhow, so I've been lurking around the internet today and I found this. Am I alone in being appauled that Mazda is crushing nearly 5000 new cars because there might be something wrong with them. Sure, if they looked and found that brakefluid'd leaked out all over the car, or that the engine bay was filled with oiley-watery-sludge then fine, okay, strip them for spares. But they're destroying the *wheels*. Wheels? Do wheels mysteriously get damaged by tilting them at 60 degrees?

Interiors? Are they unsalvageable?

*le sigh*.

I also went on the hunt for the previously mentioned TCO report on older cars - which I've heard of - from the SMMT of all places, which still said that owning older cars was better than buying new ones. Unfortunately, I can't find my reference to it (which I think was in Practical Classics) and can only find the 'green car' booklet which alledges 10% of pollution coming from manufacture and 5% from recycling (although this from my quick scan suggests around 20% from manufacture). I'd like to find a good and at least less biased reference on whether I'm right about driving an older car. It makes sense to me that keeping it on the road longer is better than recycling it and driving a new one. Of course, not driving at all is better still; but until I live somewhere were nurses are actually paid a reasonable sum of money then I'm not going to be able to live near where I work, and thus driving is a necessity (unless public transport suddenly manages to cater for people who need to get to and from work at late and early times of the day).

Anyhow, now that rant's over and done with. I've called a welder and am going to have to arrange for him to come around on monday to look at the DAF. I've also written the ad for the Viva - but I'll go and fork out a few quid for a jetwash before I photograph it - and shan't do that until the DAF is decided upon. I also need to make a run to my mum's to collect the ramps and the jacks and suchlike.

Anyhow, I should go shower....
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So, having examined the pros and cons, we headed off to Oxford yesterday for a few more Oxfringe events; in the end we only made it to two; mistiming it and arriving after the other exhibition had shut...

We did: Things on the wall (both venues). In both cases there were paintings I really liked (see, I am a sucky reviewer); beautiful images and images that made you pause and think. Several that I'd've happily hung on the wall, were I paid rather more than I am. I did buy a book, though, from @183, which cost me all of a pound. It's a copy of Stasiland - a book I wanted to read when it came out (but which, oddly enough escaped going on the wants list). It looks, from the beginning of it, very interesting. We also stopped off in a comic / video store, where we didn't buy anything (possibly to the distress of the owner). It turns out the Scott Pilgrim in the window is but one of a huge shelf-load of Scott Pilgrims. What is going on? I know it's awesome, but it's meant to be my bit of Canadian Awesome! Ah well, I s'pose I can share with the world. I did however pick up a free Oxford music magazine, so I'll have a nose at that for free events....

We tried to do: Illustrators and Book Artists  - this is in the O3 gallery, which we somewhat belated located inside the Castle development. Not that it really mattered, we'd been wandering around being touristy and enjoying the freezing cold, and thus arrived some time after it shut. Peering through the door, it looked interesting. Better planning is called for next time, on our part, obviously.

We then meandered around the city taking photos. Well, I took photos until my camera had a strop about the batteries being flat. Given that they were immensely cheap rechargables, which have been hideously abused, and it was fecking freezing out there yesterday I'm not entirely suprised. I've taken some shots of Kathryn while she's asleep on the sofa today (it's lushously sunny, if also bloody cold) and the batteries are happily displaying 'full' so I suspect it really was just the cold that's upset them. Anyhow, we then made it to various bookshops, and in the end landed up in Borders, to check if there was anything else we fancied doing. Having spied various 'stage' type things we um'd and ah'd and were as traditionally decisive as we were, in the end picking "Do something, Martin!" (Martin White) because it was late enough that we could go and get something to eat first.

It turned out that our choice could have been much less limited by time, because the Mexican Grill at which we got Burritos was the quickest Burrito provider I've encountered, and we were fed and on our way with plenty of time to sit in the bar at the theatre/college... which was nice, because it was one of the few warm places we'd been.

Do Something, Martin! turned out to be excellent, if very very odd. It's essentially a one-man story with accompanyment on an accordian, and some rather odd little songs in there. Kathryn mentioned a slight Tom Lehrer-esqueness, which I can agree with. 

Do Something, Martin! also turned out to be where [profile] bluedeviwas that evening (Oxfringe hoodie in evidence), and after some prodding from Kathryn (I have this vague fear of looking like some kind of stalker when I meet people off Livejournal) I said Hi. It's always nice to put a face to a journal - although we were somewhat hurried - she had more Oxfringe things to do, and we had to go freeze our arses off getting back to the car.

Of course, Brick having had all of the previous day being played with, declared that he wasn't going to have any rear lights. Brake lights were fine, indicators just dandy, but no rear lights, no number plate light, and just for real top-level-Vauxhall-Viva humour, no dashboard lights either. Of course, the only thing I actually knew we didn't have was dash-lights, until we pulled into a petrol station where a recovery truck driver mentioned it.

Having spent about 10 minutes prodding bits, but foolishly assuming it must be the fuse (made of unobtainium) that I'd blown and bodged (because they are, in fact, made of unobtainum, or in my car 30A fuse wire soldered across the fuse body) I gave up, and we ran the last stretch home with the left indicator on permanently. Not ideal, but it was fracking freezing, and waiting for a recovery truck seemed unappealing).

Today, of course, I checked and it's Fuse 4, not Fuse 3 (the one I'd been fiddling with) which does the back lights. Taking it out and putting it back in seems to have cured it, I suspect though I need to find that emery and clean all those fuse connectors :-/

Today is of course, Kathryn's birthday. Kathryn's been dozing in the sun, seems happy with her prezzies and her Pancake breakfast, and so we shall probably have a nice chilled out day before commencing the world of work we've planned next week. 
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So, today's been a day of doing car jobs. I had been intending, for a while now, to sort out Brick's so called coolant. Having nearly had him overheat heading in to Oxford, and again heading into Reading I reckoned that nearly was close enough and it was time to bite the bullet and pull my finger out and get a round-tuit, as it were.

Oh, just before we do that, we saw a hedgehog last night, it was lurking 'twixt the front door and the window. Awesomely cute, it was :)
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So, with the exception of a few days of shifting, I've got the next two weeks off, and you can safely assume that whatever my intentions I will end up updating this journal - probably more than once a day on more than one day. Today you get the added benefit of deranged ramblings from my 20 (so far) hours of awakeness. It's funny, apart from my stomach feeling rather grumpy I'm actually feeling pretty together. Leave me anywhere long enough and I'll probably fall asleep; but so long as I keep myself at least faintly entertained my brain's working really shockingly well. At least I think it is. It's hard to say. I don't expect things to get really hazy until around 9 or 10 this evening.

Anyhow, so I've made a start on the week's work. The radiator in the lounge has had it's joints tightened. Let's go and look shall we? Bother; it looks like one end has stopped leaking, but I think the other end hasn't. Irritatingly, this is the most expensive radiator in the house, and it looks like the pipework needs more PTFE tape. This would, obviously, be annoying. Not completely, insanely annoying. Just annoying. It'd mean draining that one radiator, undoing the joint and re-wrapping it in PTFE before reassembling. Ironically, the 1940s/50s bathroom radiator seems to be okay. Ah, plumbing, what fun.

I've also 'ooped' one lot (about four small bags) of rubble generated by demolishing a wall domestic waste and of course surreptitiously covered it up with one bag of rubbish from the kitchen. I've run the cardboard to the local recycling doojit, along with a couple of bags-worth of plastic bottles. I've also taken Brick down to the local Jetwash, and in a stunning act of dedication to the idea of getting the salt off the poor car sat there queuing for half an hour to use the sodding thing.

I may have upset them by using the 'hot foam brush' when it was neither hot, nor foamy, to remove shite from the car while using their cheapest wash cycle. I also topped up brick's oil (first time in 3,000 miles) and coolant. It was nice just to get outside in the sun for a bit. I'm too tired to really appreciate it, but the feeling of sun on my skin, even though it was flipping cold, was just nice.

I also spent several minutes taking Macro shots of the Viva's salt-covered state before washing 'im (does that count as work?). I've rung the nursing agency I want to work with and need to check when Kathryn wants to holiday so as I can book an interview. It's frustratingly far away...

I think I'll have a break for a bit and then I may start reassembling the back bedroom, which is the one which suffered most from radiator leakages. Most of the contents of this room landed up in the main bedroom, and having had it there for a week both Kathryn and I feel that it's disturbing the old-lady asthetic of the front room, and needs to go back to it's home in the back bedroom (she may not have described it quite in those terms)...

Anyhow. Off I go to waste more time :)
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You can probably expect more updates as Kathryn's gone back to the states for Xmas; more on that in a bit. I thought I'd give you all a quick update on our early Solstice. So, Kathryn and I have already had our Solstice/Xmas celebration; we had a very chilled morning (and not just because the house was cold), slept in really late and when we finally got up we had a relaxed day mostly chilling. I had an argument with Windows on the lounge PC - having set up a temporary wired network I set it copying files. It did what appears to be a random selection of them, didn't report any errors though, and foolishly I didn't check that they'd all come across. I then deleted a bunch of stuff off the laptop and have spent several days finding all the things which went missing during the copy.

Anyhow, we opened prezzies, Kathryn got me a gorgoeous Retro Computing book; arty geekery! She's also got me something unknown, which is still floating in the aether of the Post Office. As, apparently (and frustratingly) is our VOIP adaptor. Anyhow, we then cooked a very nice (and veggie) Christmas Dinner - complete with Yorkshire pud, brussel sprouts, parsnips (although these were way underdone; in future I know to cook them for much longer), and a not very Christmassy Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Casserole (what can I say, it's gorgeous!). Read more... )
Anyhow, back to work tomorrow, so Merry Xmas everyone, have a great day :)

le sigh

Nov. 30th, 2007 10:41 am
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So, yesterday was a good day (apart from the transient death of a laptop. It seems the power connector's gone now (in addition to the cable and the case, the screen's occasionally flickering too. I think it might be time to take it apart); tiring but everything went remarkably well. Despite the 6 miles travelled in the last year, Rebecca aquitted herself beautifully; carrying me the 120 miles (with the brief stop at my mum's to collect new wings) without any untoward experiences (apart from a petrol leak, which I was faintly aware of, but only actually checked up on once I'd got up there).

It was a gorgeous day, and oddly, for someone who's lived in the UK all their lives, the sunny-but-cold air reminded me very strongly of Canada. I guess, doing Rebecca is largely a step towards Canadification, and having thought about it getting Canada out of my head was hard. Poor old Rebecca though, her engine sounded so sick by the time we got there - running essentially on 3 cylinders except at higher revs...

Anyhow, Jonathon of JLH is very friendly - and we chatted for a while and looked around at the Zetec engine'd minors, and the minors undergoing major structural rehabilitation, and chatted of rebuilds topping £50,000... And I looked at my poor tired Rebecca, her subsistence motoring existence having taken it's toll; rusty wings, rusty doors, knackered engine and such, she won't be getting one tenth of that; but she her reliability is something which has left me with no small measure of respect for the engineering behind her.

Anyhow, at the end of the day we headed to Leamington Spa; unfortunately getting stuck behind a learner driver - my train ticket was for 1800, and as he suggested 2 sets of (red) traffic lights from the station, I sprinted from the car and made it to the station at 1803, fortunately, my train was delayed and came in at 1806, just as I scrabbled up the stairs to the platform. I probably had about a minute to spare - and y'know what, I felt sick as a dog as I sat on that train. I sat there reading Scott Pilgrim (vol 1, I needed to start again at the beginning); and drifted off to Canada in my head again.

I was back, sitting on the GO heading back to Mississauga, new copies of Scott Pilgrim in hand, from a day in Toronto. As the train pulled into Oxford (where I changed) I was thoroughly in that headspace. Finally got back to home just after 8, stopping at the Kebab van for dinner...

Today, theoretically hasn't gone badly. I've paid the council tax bill (after some argument with the home hub and the hub phone). Internet Exploiter didn't want to start today, and Firefox is still doing it's "i think I'll stop and rest for a bit" at random moments. The laptop is however working after some wiggling of cables and connectors, so I guess reparing that is something I can look forward to. I may well switch it for a standard power connector, since then I can ditch my mini-adaptor. I just really don't want *more* jobs to do. The fan heater in the lounge also needs stripping down and repairing, and this time I'm peeved with I&A car services.

They're great, in-so-far as being a garage I actually trust. But they're slow. Or at least, when I booked my car in before they had it for several days and didn't do anything, none of the service was done. This time, they collected the car (although it was no longer booked in), have had it for 3 days, and now want it for another 3. 6 days is a hell of a long time to have a car.

Colour me unimpressed.

Come the spring it'll be back to car servicing I fear. It's cheaper and it's quicker. I'm down a car for a few hours, rather than days. Le *sigh*.

I guess I should get on with the house, but I'm just somehow feeling really fed up. Poot.
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Welcome to the combined Kate’s Life 2007 update package. This package will update your Kate’s Life Information on the following issues:

– Thanksgiving
– XKCD is in my head again
- Stuff of a housey nature
– Random photographics
– Other sundry informatorial updates may be included.
Click here to install this update

So, yes, I’m behind again, aren’t I? So, we’ll do things in kinda an order. First up, XKCD is in my head; I’m now at a state where I have no properly working computers. The laptop’s power cable is fubar, so I need to find the spare supply for it (which is probably in the attic, fortunately, and not in the ‘spare room’ which is currently full. The G5 still needs a new power supply; I’m hoping to sort that out this week, if at some point before friday I have a working car. The PC downstairs still falls off the wifi, it is to be fair working in all other respects. And the hackintosh remains without network. There was no small degree of frustration after spending hours on it, I realise now that I need a USB WiFi dongle *anyway* (my brain kept saying, no you don’t; you won’t need one when you get the G5 working because you’ll just stick the homehub up there as a wired / wireless router – but it’d just be easier if everything can be wirelessed). So, yes. We’ll see what happens.

Anyway, so, Thanksgiving. We celebrated thanksgiving with friends (thank you for coming Jordax!), producing a not-quite traditional (but real) chicken (there were only 3 of us though, and we still had *loads of food*), stuffed with home made stuffing consisting of (veggie) sausage, raisins, celery, onion, and herbs; sweet potato and pecan casserole (that was delicious, if mostly sugar :) ), US style biscuits (very yummy), green beans, carrots, brussel sprouts, mashed potato and cranberry sauce, all washed down with some rather nice red wine. This was followed by an excellent Lemon Icebox Pie made with real proper Graham Crackers imported from the States… (and this is the best description I can imagine of a Graham Cracker: “…if a Digestive were ever to get a Ryvita into trouble, possibly at a wild party behind the cheese board, then the resulting progeny may well end growing up to look a lot like Graham Crackers“). Anyhow, proper thanksgiving tradition being followed we attempted to watch clips of the Macy’s day parade, but they were a bit short and required more attention than we wanted to give them (next year, can someone please post the whole damn thing to YouTube or GoogleVideo? That’d help. Ta), so we switched and watched the Peanuts / Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special (1973) :)

And then we settled down to play Squabble for a bit (Kathryn won :) ), chatted, drank and whiled the hours away before heading to bed. Sunday was spend doing absolutely nothing useful whatsoever (apart from some laundry and all the washing up in the entire universe).

Anyway, I know it’s rather bleached from the flashgun, but here’s the thanksgiving dinner…

And here’s a bit of old news; I drew a person…


So, stuff of a housey nature (Which I should, really, be doing now) – the bathroom has water. Water! The taps work and everything. Well, the cold ones. Jobs left for us to do are (in order, ish):

– Cut and prime wood for behind toilet cistern.
– The rest of the grouting, most importantly finishing the shower and polishing the area behind the radiator.
– Painting the woodwork behind the radiator.
– Continue to strip radiator.
– Seal sink drainer (because it’s leaking….le sigh).

Day 2
– Paint wood for behind toilet cistern.
– Silicone sealing around the shower.
– Continue to strip radiator.
– Sand radiator and paint… hopefully.
– Silicone seal around toilet

Day 3
– Switch over to chrome flush lever / chain / etc.
– Mount toilet cistern, connect up, pray it flushes okay.
– Connect radiator.

Other non-urgent jobs are to finish the rest of the grouting elsewhere, put a second coat of paint on some areas that missed out on the walls then mount shelves on those walls, and to – once the plumbing’s all connected up (hot water, specifically), fill in the last segment of tiles (over the currently removable panel work) and to grout everywhere that’s left.

It’s close, but this made me ridiculously happy:

And finally, for various reasons I’ve been trying to get some artsy shots of the Viva (well, one specific reason) – so, here’s one or two:

Uh, so there you go, closing with pictures. I’m going to end the update there, hopefully that’ll sort people’s complaints about lack of pictures ;)

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Being able to do work on your own car, because it's a classic and thus nice and simple does come with certain advantages. While I struggle unevenly against the reliabilty of modern 'equivalent' parts, when I can obtain them (which isn't always) at a pinch I can fit them myself. So the dead alternator whilst annoying (very) is at least not as much of an issue as it might be; for whilst the last couple of days have been a little fraught - not enough sleep and somewhat stressy driving to work (because I was running there and back on one charge of the battery) having got the replacement alternator it's been fitted in an hour.

I'm quite pleased - one hour to strip off the old alternator, walk to Halfords (wait five minutes for a manager who could do refunds and exchanges), exchange it, walk back and put the new one on. I did this all in weather cold enough to give me an ice-cream headache as I was walking back as fast as I could. I also got a stitch from walking as quickly as I could, which was entertaining.

I've just stuck the battery back in, but I've not tested it, so let's all cross our fingers shall we - 'cos I'd like to sleep in tomorrow. While last night wasn't horribly busy; it was gently constant until 5am meaning that I (we) didn't *really* get a break until then. So....
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See, when I started doing venepuncture they gave me a book to do with 'a few questions'. Only the few questions actually turn out to be all the questions in the world. At the time they gave it to me they said you don't need to get them all done before you do the venepuncture training; only for when you're ready to be assessed on venepuncture. I've actually done all the mandatory ones (at least, I have as far as the venepuncture side goes; I'm just faintly nosing at doing some of the optional ones.

I've also been loading up the new nipod; it has a few unfortunateisms; one of which is that it doesn't draw power from the USB and the other of which is that it has to be plugged in when transferring data. Oh, and you have to use the database software to transfer stuff, if you want it to do playlists and such. Still, despite the software being clunky like woah, it seems to be working. I've been taking the opportunity to home rip some CDs which I originally downloaded. Yes, it's true, I torrented the odd album, and guess what, now I've bought these ones because I liked them and am re-ripping them at the quality I like (ridiculously high).

In other news, the cut on my thumb looks vastly less impressive when not pouring blood. This isn't an invitation for it to pour blood, but more a comment on the fact that I thought it was a bigger cut - but I guess it was mostly deep, not wide.

I've done no work at all today, as is commensurate with my plan; which is to not be so tired I want to die when doing my night shifts. My only 'workoid' type thing was discovering that the name of the 'channel cutter' which I'm sure I've heard it called before is actually a 'chasing machine' (which is a far more fun, but less helpful name). I need this because whilst I obviously wouldn't dream of rewiring the kitchen (it's against the electrical regs), I do intend to recess wiring into the wall, because it'd be untidy to leave it hanging everywhere. I'll even pop it in the proper plastic tubes; then there'll be some plastering, and lo, we shall be sorted. But with a chasing machine that'll take a weekend, rather than several weeks.

And in Viva related news the painfully expensive new Servo has arrived; sadly not in it's original box (although packaged in much paper'n'stuff, and what looks like it was once the lid of the box); and also the new domain name is now mine. Due to a small technical foof (either on my part, or the part of the billing company) my hosting is not yet ready, but once it is world be prepared, for I have a plan of much evil.

So, that's my world of boredom.
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I spent several minutes this morning staring at the radiator trying to remember which 'tool' I used for scraping the paint off; then I remembered - old stanley blades. I've no idea how many of them I've got through; but it's quite scary.

One side of the radiator is now stripped back to a joyous black / cast iron layer. One other side left to strip; then sand it, then clean it, then painting. Oh, so simple ;)

In addition to which, my productive morning has included attacking brick's brake lights, which are hopefully now working. I can't actually tell; but if not it's definately an earthing issue. The brake lamp holders look like someone's rather cruelly dipped them in rust inducer and then placed them conveniently near the sea on a particularly humid day. I spent several minutes attacking both of them with sandpaper (yes, I know, but I've run out of emery paper). Having produced something akin to steel (rather than the attractive iron oxide layer that was there before) I produced lamps which at least are now both on, but I can't tell if the brake lights are working. If not then I guess I'll have to give it a more thorough clean. It may be the brake light connector that's gone as well, which concerns me as it's also corroded quite badly and would be a pig to replace.

I've also cleaned up (a little) the space behind the washing machine and dumped some fresh concrete into the (two!) holes where mice could potentially have gained entry. I knew there was one, but having cleaned up a little a second became apparent. it's not there now though... I felt guilty buying ready-to-mix concrete because it was so much more than getting sand/gravel/cement, but it's so handy to have around (really!) because I can just wander out scoop some into a bucket, add water and lo, I have concrete. Hopefully that should fix those pesky mice (although we finally caught one on Friday night, and had to stop and let it go free elsewhere).

Hrm, oh yes, and I've grouted the wall where the radiator goes. That can be 'polished' later, leaving just the painting of the skirting board on that wall; I've sprayed the last bath foot with it's first coat of primer, and done the second coat of primer on the two shelf brackets. Distressingly I've run out of propellant in the primer can; it's quite annoying 'cos it's blatantly got a fair amount of primer in it still. Anyhow, few coats of gloss should see that last foot sorted which'll mean that for the first time in goodness knows how long that bath will actually have a complete set of feet.

And finally in my busy morning of catching up I've put silicone sealant round the sink. It was terribly frustrating. I've never been great at silicone sealant, but I'd got some quite neat looking ones around; but this one just went a bit pear shaped. For some reason when I smoothed it, it went lumpy. I'll have to see what I can do to fix that, but that's a job for later I feel. It's not perfect, but it's servicable.
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Having spent much of Friday morning ringing different companies all around the UK going "Brake servo for an HC Viva", a local company came up trumps with a brand new boxed ('new old stock' or NOS, as it's called) servo. It should begin it's journey from the other side of the town we live in to our house today; once it's here then brick can head back to the garage and have it fitted (woo!). However, I am starting to think I really should do the 'creation of the electric classic', so I shall probably buy the domain name I've been considering and if my webhosting company get their arse in gear, I'll get more hosting space, and lo I shall be off.

At any rate, the brakes were considered to be safe - if somewhat unsmooth in application - so off we went to my friend's wedding. Somewhat of a late decision to attend, but they seemed *really* pleased to see us; and it was a beautiful reception; loads of kids playing happily, nice food, good music, good company :)

It is my first lesbian wedding - and the brides looked beautiful :)

And I got an excuse to wear my silly strappy shoes :)

Unfortunately, we were both knackered, and it was over an hour's drive away so we ended up heading home about half 10, not getting home 'til 12 which meant that we were a little slow getting up Saturday to head to Brizzle.Read more... )

Bother ++

Nov. 9th, 2007 10:11 am
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The brake servo on the viva is officially deceased. This is inconvenient; not least because, well, they're not easily available. It's not like walking into a shop and saying 'hey, I need a new brake servo for a viva'. Or it is, only first they look at you like you're a talking goat, and then once they've got over their 'what the hell's that' the answer is 'no'.

Classic places just say, sorry we don't have 'em. Although one place has 'Price on Enquiry' which scares me.

And to round it off, my garage didn't do the rest of the service, because they spent their time trying to get a brake servo. I must admit I foolsihly thought 'oh, I'll just ring up the spares place that the club recommends and I'll be sorted....'; yeahright.

In other news, our phone number will be changing - so if you want the new one you'll have to ask when we get it. The current ones should be valid to the end of the month; then well be down to the one that ends in a 7 until we get a new broadband phone doojit.

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So, plan for the morning was:

Ring BeThere and order the new ADSL
Collect car, collect packages, buy more adhesive, paint stripper, stanley blades.
Drop off car

And y'know what, it's all been done (well, sorta. I rang BT to get my MAC Code, which they can't actually produce at the moment; I await a call back with the same expectation as I have that the world will freeze over tomorrow). I tested the adhesive I'd got on the wood, and no, it still won't bloody stick; so I've got a different brand of adhesive which, according to the man in the tile shop will adhere tiles to wood. I collected Kathryn's prezzie and my MP3 player (but the batteries are flat and it's not quite clever enough to charge from the USB cable, which is slightly distressing). I then dropped off the car, and walked back pausing only to pick up more Nitromors (mmm, volatile organic compounds) and stanley blades (I'll actually use up the old ones stripping paint now I've got some replacements!).

I've found who I think will be our VoIP provider - mostly because they offer in their basic price plan free and unlimited UK and International calls (to certain countries). Given that we've a penchant for calling Kathryn's family in the US then that's quite handy.

I just have to get everyone I know to keep national geographic numbers. Or join the same company for VoIP ;)

And in other news... I'm intrigued by this. If only I could find a trailer for it... It's still fracking cold here, incidentally. My feet are wondering how it's got to be so cold...

Annnyhow. Off I go, it's tiling time now I'm fed and watered.


Nov. 5th, 2007 08:19 am
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It's chilly and foggy here today, much with the chilly and much with the foggy. Theoretically I get to collect Brick from the motor engineer today; sadly the oil leak persists; it's not a failed seal of any sort. The sump (which for those not in the know is the reservoir for oil) has a crack in it, apparently. How it gained this crack I don't know, although I have a sneaking suspicion that it had a crack before I bought it that had been sealed using glue, or pixie dust, because it started leaking pretty badly as soon as it was home. Unfortunately despite people fairly frequently chucking entire engines, without getting a whole and entire engine (which seems 'excessive' to me) I can't easily lay my hands on a sump. People've suggested waiting 'til I go to sort out the welding and then have the engine out / sump off / clean / weld / replace. But there's a fair amount of welding, and it's leaking oil at a frantic rate of knots, which makes me unhappy.

Another thing which makes me a little unhappy is this. See, I want to run all my vehicles on E85. I can't afford an (adequate) EV conversion, I can't do biodiesel, and I can't not commute to work. Even working in the hospital in the town where I live is far enough that I'd have to commute by car; so I'd be stuffed anyhow. So Morrisons starting to sell E85 is great, except that the nearest station is so far from me that I'd use half a tank getting there and back, and given that I'd have to adjust the timing and possibly the mixture once I'd filled up with E-85 I'd be a bit stuffed.

Come on guys (specifically, Esso, Jet, Tesco and Murco 'cos they're the ones I actually go near every week), let's have E85 at all the stations, then I can have a selection of much cleaner vehicles. Infact, they'd be heading for carbon neutral, which would rock. Well, theoretically at least. When E85 production methods improve there's a good chance for carbon neutrality.

Anyhow, so I had a really fantastic weekend. Which is odd, because I spent the second half of it (i.e. most of Sunday) tiling. I'm 3/4ths done in the shower cubicle though, I'd be tiling now before heading off to collect brick were it not, well, too early for diamond-saw noises. I misjudged the remaining number of tiles though. I thought I was down to about 200, but I'd neglected the ones that went in the spare room to use as a table when we had lauril staying (ah, the magic of a throw). At any rate, I don't know if the tiles are adhereing to the wood yet (or if they need *another* coat of paint) - if they are then I can commence that final section of tiling and the plan that we should be done and dusted by the end of the week could actually be true. I am not looking forward to grouting though. Kathryn's done a wall and a half, and between us we should get the rest done without too much pain. But it's still the most tedious thing in the world.

So, what else did I get up to this weekend; well, mostly I just spent time with Kathryn - which is a pleasure unsurpassed in my book. We went for a little wander down to what we thought was an abandoned abbey, but turned out to be an active abbey, and met a nun in purple. Apparently they're an Augustinian community; at any rate, the nun in question seemed nice :)

On the way back we stopped to disassemble a skip full of parts of an alarm. A shop'd been stripped out and there was a large amount of depressingly useful wood there, all of it being dumped, and also a significant quantity of electronics. It's always rather sad, I feel, when people strip out shops throwing away stuff that's potentially useful. We came away with two small plastic FixSystem bins (of which there are some more at my mum's house, somewhere (little plastic bins you put on the wall to store things in)), and some small piece of the alarm system. Then we headed home stopping at the local supermarket for provisions, 'cos Brick not being here, and us living where we do means that shopping on foot would be an activity unsupassed in it's tediousness.

Sunday was tiling day, although come the evening I took Kathryn's advice and actually had a break. I'd been tiling pretty much solidly from 1130 to 1700, which to be fair got 100 tiles on the wall, but did take it's toll on me. So, today I collect Kathryn's Xmas Prezzie which handily has arrived same time as my new nipod. This time I actually got a branded one though, the nipod's awful interface, and the fact that they don't show any shots of the interfaces on the adverts put me off getting another - although it was very small and cute.

And it did play video.

This one however is just a music player, and possibly not quite so robust being hard disk based (like the ipod) but hey, we'll see. Anyhow, shower, phone BeThere and then head off to collect the car, if it's ready (it bloody ought to be since they opted not to take the engine out and just to switch it to unleaded; I can do a head swap on an A+ in a few hours.... and I'm paying them for a few hours work). Anyhow, enough whining.

Hi ho, Hi ho, it's off to tile I go...
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This past week's been a really interesting and incredible one. Kathryn finished her course and moved down to Slough last Tuesday; and y'know what I'm very happy. James commented that we smile a lot ("You both grin like mad things") - and y'know what, it's true. Somehow I just feel happier.

Sorry, I realise that we're also sickly sweet, but hey, we've only been actually able to see each other for more than a couple of days at a time for one week, tomorrow. So, yes. So that was Tuesday; I'd just come off nights and have to admit that the whole thing was kinda blurry for me. 

The rest of the week's been made up of working on the house (the bathroom ceiling's flakey paint has now been largely resolved; Kathryn revealed a continent of plaster, and I increased it's size tonight before slathering the whole area in dilute PVA before applying lots of filler. Much sanding now awaits), helping out at my mum's house (and here's another example of where being with Kathryn is just better'n being by myself. Not only do I get her awesome company, but she reminds me to take advantage of being out in the countryside).

Having wandered around we picked blackberries to go with my mum's home grown apples - which on getting home we made into a really rather nice apple and blackberry cake. It didn't quite rise right, but next time we'll use the oven not-in-fan-mode.

Then we headed up for Pari's 2nd wedding - which was just beautiful. It was really great to catch up with some people I've not seen since university; I was actually incredibly nervous - having not seen them for 7 years; but in the end it worked out well. Kathryn's posted about the wedding here - and when I get the photos off my camera, if any of them are any good I'll flickr'em, but that means getting my Mac working. Which I could've done tonight, but didn't. Instead I watched the IT crowd :)

Finally we headed back via the Gaydon Heritage Motor Museum, which was hosting the VVOC's AGM - and I got to meet (briefly) some members of the VVOC, drip a lot of oil on the car park, collect a new head (which will be made unleaded) for Brick, and also got to spend some time looking at the world's earliest production Morris Minor. Kathryn too pics of me next to the Minor, so expect them too; I also took a fair few pictures as I wandered round.

We also sat in a Think, Ford's acquired-then-sold EV - it was interesting, but also disconcertingly dull. I guess that's what we need, dull EVs for people to just buy and use. It appeared to be built to Ford's usual standards and it was interesting to see moulded plastic door panels with the kinds of door gaps I'm used to on the Minor. (I have to say, looking at the photos of the newer ones, it looks like they've improved somewhat on the very early one we were sat in)

Anyway, Brick brought us home despite atrocious traffic on the M40 - and the temperature gauge hanging around just before the "I'm letting all the water out now" marker. There were quite a few modern cars with the traditional pool of green water underneath them sat on the hard shoulder, so I am quite impressed with Brick's performance, especially given the stuff that's passing for coolant in 'im at the moment.

1000 miles in a week not bad for a 35 year old car :)

pyoor_excuse: (Default)

So, today was a bit insane. At least, I thought it was insane.

I'm not sure why, but the nurse in charge decided I should be 1st in in Resus. This was actually good, in a lot of ways; because I much more enjoy and am much better when I'm thrown in at the deep end.

But it was scary++ because, well, not only do I have only a limited clue as to what I'm doing; but also I've got next to no Emergency skills. I can't take blood (although hopefully I can do my assessment this week), I can't give IV's unsupervised, I can't cannulate, and I can't plaster....

So it was a bit interesting. I got very good at saying "could you possibly..."

And "no, but I'll get someone who can".

Thankfully someone much more experienced came in for the Trauma call (a chap with extensive burns). And I stuck to my chest pains, and self-harmers. I did meet a genuine bona-fide gangster; at least according to himself... I must admit when he self discharged I really didn't care that much...

After my shift I drove home, although there was a brief pause because Brick randomly decided he didn't like the rust syrup masquerading as coolant, and thus spat it out. I've only seen a car-spitting-out-coolant-old-style once before (Nikki's Mog) and it's quite impressive. There was steam pouring (and I do mean pouring) out from the bonnet, from the back of the bonnet (where the vents are) and when I opened it there was a whoosh of more steam. So I shall *change* the coolant before heading up North; although I shan't flush it.

It seemed fine after slopping some fresh coolant in so it was probably a stuck thermostat. But I shall be paranoid'ly observing it.

I finally, incidentally, got my shot in for Snapshot Hunter; 've stuck it below, and I'm quite pleased with it... I've got a whole bundle more from the weekend with Kathryn, but I shall maybe upload them tomorrow.


And to take you into the evening, here's some links: Funny. Scary.

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