Sunday, August 28, 2005

Fixing the plumbing

Plumbing isn't my strong point. Frankly, it's pretty weak.

Yet occasionally it has to be done. We had a leaky cistern, and after plucking up courage we changed a washer.

Didn't fix it. We still had leaks. Clearly more drastic action was called for.

So I ended up changing the entire valve mechanism for a new one. With a quick break in the middle to get some extra tools, and a second attempt to fit it correctly, it was eventually fitted.

And successfully, too. No leaks now!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Holiday Orchestra Concert

Another week of ferrying around ends with a successful concert.

The girls have been going to Holiday Orchestra again this week. And tonight they got to show off their skills at the concert. Both in the String orchestras and the choirs, and they both did very well.


eBay has this new feature called My Recommendations.

Frankly, it's useless. What it does is give you some more items that are being sold by someone you've bought stuff off recently. If they specialize in one particular area, then that's fine. Often, though, eBay sellers have an astonishing variety of goods on offer that bear no relationship to something you might have bought in the past.

Still, it's a bit of light relief to see what junk it's come up with this time. Do I want a Hot Pink Flowered Halterneck Top? Or an Adorable Baby Pink Poodle Bag with Handles?

I think not.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Ipswich at Cottenham

Took 2 attempts, but we just rang a quarter peal of Ipswich Surprise Minor at Cottenham.

I think it's the first time I've rung there. Nice bells, went well, but - at 15cwt - slightly heavier than most of the rings round here.

Bouncing in the rain

We've only got a small garden, but 2 children to play in it. We've just bought an 8ft trampoline, which takes up about half the garden!

These trampolines seem to be all the rage at the moment - a lot of friends have them, so our 2 youngsters have been feeling left out. The swing and slide are obviously a bit tame for them. And we were left a small amount of money earlier in the year so decided that a treat was in order.

There was a minor mix up in delivery. The company had an off-by-one error in the address, so they tried to deliver it to the house opposite. That wasn't ever going to work, because it was sold a couple of months ago and has been empty since. So we arranged for one of use to stay in, but nothing arrived. After a few phone calls, it finally got delivered to the right place.

It says that it takes two people to assemble. It's true that an extra person would be a help, as the trampoline is sufficiently large that you can't reach across it on your own, but I managed anyway. The safety net that surrounds it was a different matter - that was a game even with two of us!

So we have much less garden and a nice trampoline. How much time the kids will have to play on it remains to be seen - we've had an awful lot of rain this last week.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Warkworth at Littlebury

Just got back from a quarter of Warkworth at Littlebury. Nice bells - slightly loud, so some real effort had to be put into yelling the calls, but generally good ringing.

A few trips, and it was a bit longer than anticipated (1440 vs 1320) due to a slight miscall.

Overall, a good quarter.

It reminds me of why I don't ring peals any more, though, as my fingers locked up. In peals, they tend to do this after an hour or hour and a half, so a quarter is usually fine. It's like cramp, and not only painful but makes it difficult to ring well. I hope this is an isolated incident, as I'm starting to ring more and quite enjoying it, so I wouldn't want to give up again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Wall to wall sunshine

Went to France on holiday last week.

Drove down to Dover through the rain. Had terrible rain for the first hour or so from Calais, then wall to wall sunshine as we went south. Sunshine all week. Drove back through glorious sunshine until we got to Boulogne, then it chucked it down with rain the rest of the way home.

Which is pretty typical really. I can understand why so many people leave the country to go on holiday!

We went to a beautiful farmhouse near Riberac, on the Dronne - near the Dordogne, inland from Bordeaux. A week relaxing, swimming, canoeing, visiting caves, and swinging through the trees.

Good fun was had by all. Now back to finding a job :-(

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Signing On

Not having a job (temporarily, I hope), I've started the process of signing on.

For some bizarre reason, the UK government seems to think it's a good idea to give me money (albeit a pittance) while I'm looking for a job. This despite a generous redundancy package, and the fact that being temporarily out of work for short periods should be considered a normal part of the employment cycle.

Still, one shouldn't complain too much or look this gift horse in the mouth. After all, I've paid my taxes and NI contributions for heaven only knows how long so it's only fair to get some benefit back.

Thorpe Park - Thumbs Down

Went to Thorpe Park on Monday. The drive down was a bit protracted (the M25 was as bad as normal) and the weather wasn't too promising - but we were gambling that it would improve and that the park wouldn't be too busy.

While we had rain showers en route, some of them heavy, and there was a bit of rain in the air as we entered the park, it did improve as the day went on, so we won that gamble.

The first snag was that the park was supposed to close at 6pm, but on arrival we found they had changed to a 5pm closure. That's irritating, and very bad form.

Even worse was the reliability of the rides. Frankly, I was appalled. They were breaking down and being closed all day long. I've never known a theme park have this sort of problems before. We would go to a ride to find it closed, go to the next ride and queue up (and the queues on the working rides were longer than normal because there were so many rides not working), wait a while (sometimes getting close to the front of the queue) only for that ride to break down.

While we did manage to get on a few rides (and as many as we would have done on a busy summer day in peak season) it was a bit of a shambles, and some of the rides that we would have liked to try we didn't manage to get on at all.

All in all a frustrating day.