Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Inward Investment

Trade figures suggest the UK had record inward investment for the year to April 2016, a period when everyone thought it inconceivable that the UK would vote to leave the EU. This is perversely being hailed by the leave campaign as a success for the out vote. 

They start with lies and then manipulate facts to suit the narrative. I sometimes despair of the UK electorate and their stupidity. 

Monday, 29 August 2016

Short Sighted Roman Lottery

Went to our local church for afternoon tea again yesterday. It's becoming a bit of a habit - all in support of the fabric of the old place, you understand; I'm not suddenly becoming religious. We met many of the friends we've made in the village since becoming more involved in village life through joining the Village Hall Committee and it nearly became a cream tea lock-in, fueled by cake.

Before we left the church I made a note of the lottery numbers someone had kindly put on a board earlier in the day; however, I was unsure whether they were meant to be read across or down, as they were in groups of three. I finally worked out they could only be read downwards, as I'm certain there's no number 00 in the lottery. The numbers are obviously divinely inspired.

This National Trust thing is becoming a habit as well. I wonder if Roman fathers in Britain around  300 AD ever said; "Come on, let's break out the chariot and go to see the National Trust's Neolithic ruins this weekend!"?

Thinking of the ancient Romans, they never had spectacles. I wonder if a lot of the battles they had in ancient times were conducted with a heavy contingent of myopic individuals aimlessly flailing their swords around hoping to strike someone - anyone?

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Old Piles

Went to Tyntesfield yesterday - another National Trust property to the south of Bristol. Due to the admission price being double the normal NT rate, I do believe we've covered our annual subscription already - and we haven't even started paying the monthly subscription yet.

The gift shop contained a copy of Bradshaw's Guide. which has been made popular by the likes of Michael Portillo and his Great Railway Journeys TV programme. One wonders when a Bradshaw's clothing range will be introduced by some enterprising individual. If someone does, I just pray it's not based on Portillo's hideous pastel trousers and jackets.

The house was build on the proceeds from the South American bird poo trade for fertilizer. The last occupier died in 2001 and had reduced its occupation to just three rooms. The National Trust stepped in and bought the place in 2002 after an appeal was launched.

It's typical of these places that the original creator was rich as Croesus, but subsequent generations either fritter away all the money or can't pay for the upkeep due to the burden of death duties. James Dyson's Doddington Park, just up the road from us, will eventually go that way too. Dyson has spent an absolute fortune renovating the place and its grounds.

Saturday, 27 August 2016


Been having problems with the domestic hot water not getting up to temperature. Given we have solar thermal, solar PV, underfloor heating and an Air Source Heat Pump, the engine room (as I call it) is awash with pipes, manifolds, control boxes and pumps, finding the fault is a bit beyond my limited engineering skills.

Called in a plumber who pronounced a problem with the Air Source Heat Pump outdoor unit. Called Mitsubishi, who took a week to organise a refrigerant gas qualified plumber to call. He tested the system over the span of an hour, topped up the refrigerant (it was 300gm short) and left. There was a slight improvement, but still the water wouldn't reach more than blood heat.

Finally went over the system myself and discovered the pump that draws water from the Air Source Heat Pump was too hot to touch and wasn't making the usual hum when under load. Obviously the pump had failed. Hit it a couple of times with a 2lb fine adjustment instrument (a hammer) and it hummed into action and the water temperature on the control unit immediately shot up.

Despite it now working, the pump needs to be replaced as a precaution for winter, as it also feeds the underfloor heating.

Should I call out a plumber to replace it, or just do it myself?

Why the hell couldn't a plumber find the problem?

Friday, 26 August 2016

Wiggins Burqa Wedding

I've found out that the Tour of Britain cycle race goes through Chipping Sodbury on the 8th September, the day before our wedding. Would have been nice if Sir Bradley Wiggins could have made it a day later and we could have had some free entertainment for the guests.

Some people aren't half getting into a tizzy about burqas (should be bloody burqua anyway - there's always a u after a q in English), hijabs, niqabs (another weird lack of a u) and what have you on the beach. Woman forced to wear a burqa by a bloke = bad; woman chooses to wear a burqa of her own free will = not bad. Get over it. So long as it doesn't frighten children or horses, what does it damned well matter? Just try telling me what I can or can't wear on the beach and see where it gets you.

The French have a swathe of nudist beaches, for God's sake, and wearing something at these is not a prosecutable offence!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Two Seats Burkina Farce-o

Corbyn is going to have to be called "Two Seats" from now on. I didn't think it was possible to buy advance rail tickets without a seat reservation, at least when ever I've bought tickets I've always had a reserved seat, whether I like it or not. Can't blame Branson for having a poke at him - it was obviously a set-up, and then for Corbyn's PR team to spin the story into another Branson attack just compounded the error and made them look utter fools. Branson is almost a national treasure.

The French burkina ban? Ridiculous!It's simply inviting Muslims to flout it, cause an even greater furore resulting in the police being in a no-win situation. It merely panders to the ultra-right wing. Wonder when someone in a wetsuit will get asked to remove it? As for wearing a loose-fitting total covering on a sand covered beach - happens all over the middle east, which is predominantly sand, and happens to be the best protection against sunburn and heat.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Brexit Workout

Colin will be finishing Hay's office today. He's on a bit of a health jag - he left his van next to the office and walked home last night. He warned us he may be a bit late today as he'll be walking to work this morning too.

Colin's house of the one just to the left of his van cab by the pole - all of 20 or 30 yards away...

I'm finding it hard to reconcile the following:
  1. Brexiteers are crowing that financial Armageddon hasn't happened yet,
  2. Simultaneously they're complaining we haven't left the EU yet.
Somehow they can't see the connection between 2 and 1 - cause and effect. That said, sterling is already at its lowest for 31 years.

The referendum was a declaration of future intent, but many are thinking it will never happen. It certainly won't happen till we know what we're aiming for and have worked out the consequences. To do otherwise would be like dropping everything and going on holiday without checking your passport for validity, booking a hotel and flights or even asking your boss for holiday leave - a recipe for disaster. 

As for Owen Smith standing for the Labour leadership on a platform of putting the final plan to the electorate - a canny move. Might not endear him to the Trot wing of the Labour party (who seem to be in the ascendancy), but would certainly endear him to (at the very least) 48% of the electorate, if not more now.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

That Season

It's that time of year again...

Let battle commence. Where are all the hedgehogs when you need them?

Monday, 22 August 2016

National Trust - Lacock Abbey

We're certainly getting our money's worth from our National Trust membership - reckon two more visits to their properties and we'll have paid for our membership within a couple of months.

Yesterday was the Wiltshire village of Lacock and Lacock Abbey. Lacock is a Wiltshire chocolate box village and the Abbey was one of those places that were sold off to the nobs by Henry VIII after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It came into the possession of William Fox-Talbot, who invented photography and the tithe barn hosts a photography museum.

The village seems to have taken advantage of its celebrity status by locals (at least I assume them to be locals) opening shops that sell the type of stuff that loads of people will browse, but no-one actually seems willing to buy.

Lacock itself was in the throes of a WWII festival, which seem to be quite popular in many villages up and down the country these days.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

August Hay Fever

Went out with some friends last night for an Indian meal. While I'm not generally a beer drinker, wine with spicy food is not something I enjoy so I ordered a pint of Cobra. Within some 5 minutes my eyes were itching like hell and I had all the classic symptoms of hay fever. Apparently Cobra contains four varieties of hops and I guess they infuse the beer with pollen.

Had something spicy and the symptoms immediately abated, but on ordering another beer they returned.