Saturday, 30 May 2009

Time to change....

It's time for a big change, time to reconisider my foolish ways, to go back on the mistake of my life.

I am selling up, the lot, all the fire engines all the spares; everything, I have seen the folly of my ways, owning such stuff sets you apart as as anorak clad anal retentive in urgent need of a life.

This might take a few of you by surprise, so how did I come to this view??

The simple answer is; auction.

Yesterday I went with management to the local auction house here my eyes landed on a lamp. Not any sort of lamp a huge paraffin searchlight on a monster tripod.

This was the very thing to have on a green goddess.

So, following a brief tussle with a local dealer and a considerable amount of facing down over the price it was mine.

This is here things started to unravel.

I had never seen anything like this and so I went for google.

Moments later I was inside the world of the Tilley Lamp fetishist.

There are some people out there who seriously need to get themselves some sort of a life.

There was pages and pages of it. Models, types, years of productionI bet if you were unlucky enough to meet one of these guys in the pub and accidentally mentioned Tilly they would speak without repetition of hesitation for hours and probably only stop when you poured a litre of parrafin over their head and set them on fire.

It made me think, surely there is more to life than this. Then of course i started to think about me and green goddesses, are there people out there who wince as I walk into the pub and prepare to dive out the window in case I have something new to say about my fleet??

The safest thing to do then is to sell them all before I start a website.

The Lamp does look rather nice next to Gloria though.

it's an FL6 don't you know?

made between 1940 and 1950.

There was one on the front of every australian train untill 1970

The civil defence had lots of them

They are about 3000 candle power.

Mine is post 1940 as it has tranfers not a brass plate.....

Steady boy steady - you will be starting a web page next.....


Monday, 25 May 2009

It's for charity....

Every so often down here we have a valley do to raise a bit of money for charity.

This year the cunning plan was a vintage tractor run around the local lanes.

Going on that could have been good, after all it would have meant following something that even a Green Goddess can keep up with!

But no we got ourselves a place doing a static demo.

Things started to go wrong when I mentioned this on the Green goddess owners group.

The prospect of GG and unlimited water is enough to get most GG owners out of bed and soon there as the prospect of people ariving from as far as Durham and Devon.

This was the point where the warning bells should have started, a gathering of Bedford RL owners is generally a recipe for mayhem and sure enough....

Things were going wrong almost before they started. The weather put a severe constraint on how much prepping could be done so it as almost time to leave by the time we had realised that Gloria was not going to be running in time. weeks of wet weather had soaked the electrics so comprehensivly that only a big heater might offer some chance of drying it in time.

Just to be doubly sure: the starter button decided to die for good measure.

Of course this is jumping ahead, the first wave arrived late on friday night, after I had switched off my mobile phone GPS did it's magic, they got hopelessly lost and they spent their first night in scenic wales sleeping between a graveyard and a derelict arms dump.

Saturday morning and all bodies assembled off we jolly well set.

Not quite, before we could leave there a the small matter of the bent front bumper to deal with. A previous escapade had left Isabelle with a rather bent front bumper, so selecting a suitably solid post that situation got sorted by simply driving the truck into it!

On to the valley in our usual sedate manner.

Of course the purpose of the weekend was to give practical help to the less experienced green goddess owners. So when we arrived and Isabelle packed up due to the 50's era plugs breaking down they ere more fully able to understand why I always advocate fitting modern plugs. That's my story anyway and i am sticking to it...

Home for spares then back to change the plugs.

left to cool the GG fired up and we set up for play.

three big ground monitors (fixed branches) soon had us spewing water along the valley.

really impressive it was too.

OF course the point of a GG do is to try other thing out.

Soon we had replaced one of the ground monitors with a modern fire branch and it as taking 4 hefty people to control it.

From the safety of the back of the pump I could see they were struggling so being a nice fella I put even more output out of the pump.

They were struggling a bit more so sensing it could be bath time for the branch crew I shut down one of the ground monitors. The reading on the pressure gauge tarted to soar, the branch crew were being pushed around, it could only be seconds and........

BOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSH a pipe coupling parted on the pump diverting all the water from everywhere to all over me.

Oh how everyone was concerned for my welfare, or were they perhaps weak with laughter.

You need to check you tube to see.

This seemed good time us to stop for lunch and to stick me somewhere in the sun to dry...

Suitably dried out I headed off back to the field.

Of course unnoticed the wind had both changed direction and increased in strength.

Dropping the pump into drive again the monitors spewed water and it immediately blew backwards over the operator and crew or put another way - me.

At least I wasn't the only one to get soaked this time!

stop and think again.

Move everything around so water was not cacading over me and start again.

Soon we were having another go trying something else 3 ground monitors and conventional hose branches, 5 in total, the books say it can't be donwe.

The books were written about modern fire engines not proper pumps!

Just as we were setting up for another variation the theme, the starter switch on Isabelle decided to rebel and filled the cab with smoke and burning smells. Not a problem - could allways use the starting handle, oh hang on there wasn't one.

So home it was and back in no time. Of course, while I was away the troops had not been idle, they had sorted the switch problem.

Something of course they did not feel the need to share till I had spent 5 minutes sweating and swearing churning 4.9 L of engine by hand.

Yes I saw the joke in the end...

By now the day as getting on anyway and so off we all went for home and rest, or was that beer...

Friday, 22 May 2009

this week

It has been an odd week.

In contrast to my last posting there has been a lot of real life going on.

Earlier this week one of my best mates called me early in the morning because his brother had just died.

His life had been pretty chaotic and he probably made a mistake that cost him his life.

He was someone who lived outside the care system but inside the system none the less.

Today, another foster carer, far too young, and worryingly close to us in age, who had been fighting cancer for a good time, but being a foster carer throughout, lost the fight.

She is dead, too.

But she lives on in the difference she made to the lives of very damaged people she fought for till the end.

Mad dog lives on too, even though he did not take much care of himself, he raised ideas in others they might not have had otherwise.

They are both very missed people.


Thursday, 21 May 2009

bathing mr daisy....

One of the features of living here in the country is the need for a resident team of Rodent control operatives. Others might of course call them cats.

Deimund is a few year old black and white neutered tom who of course benefits mot at all from management who hates them all, or so she says....

He is of course very loved, and delights in the delight he knows you feel when he arrives at 5 am and asleep in bed. Even if you seem unsure about that, very loud purring and creeping under the duvet between you is just his way of helping you realise how happy you really are.

If all else fails he can sit on your head..

A lover of mushrooms, he knows that there is but one way of being sure that there are none at the bottom of the compost bin...

But of course as a cat of impeccable good behaviour he is at a total loss to explain how the contents of said bin ever end up spread all round the kitchen and any suggestions of culpability will produce a studied look of innocent bewilderment

Just as the mysterious disappearance of the odd lump of beef, cheese or chicken is as much a mystery to him as anyone else.

So anyway he arrived in the house yesterday in a bit of a state. he had somehow fallen into a bucket of oil, or at least so it seemed. This is the kind of thing that needs acting on and Bethan took charge.

Having filled the bath with warm water, armed with soap, into action she went.

This was an admirable chance to learn some valuable lessons.

Just because he needs one is not a reason a cat would agree to have a bath.

Cats do not like water, but not at any level of loathing you or I could possibly understand.

Jesus is not the only one who can cross water without sinking or indeed making ripples.

Underneath every placid domestic feline exterior lurks an untamed lion.

Gloves and facial protection are not optional, they are essential

Bathing a cat wearing the last pair of unladered tights, the ones that you need for school might not be clever.

Closing the bathroom door is all very well but having the side off the bath is asking for trouble...

But not as much as trying to extricate a cat who has taken cover underneath the bath when he prefers to stay where he is to being in the bath(see note above about gloves)....

Having got him out, trying to dunk him in the bath to rinse him off may well be in his best interests, he might not see it that way - see also note about lions....

Elephants never forget, in the case of cats, you need to factor in something about revenge.


Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The future's bright, the futures windy.....

Today we took the first step towards tomorrow.

VEry profound Mr H,....

No we booked a survey and planning application to put in a big wind generator and no that does not mean I invited a load of politician round.

The lowering cost of generators and increasing costs of fuel coupled with a big hike in what we would get paid for exported electricity meant I took the plunge.

It's only taken three years, next is photovoltaic generation, solar water heating and a ground source pump to run the central heating.

At the end of that lot we should have done away with paying electricity bills and be saying hello to a cheque every quarter instead.


Monday, 18 May 2009

Driving Serenity.

Today was not an optimal working day, that delicate combination of rain and wind really served to cool my enthusiasm.

Off with serenity to buy a car then. Now, the first couple of cars she had I bought for her through the trade. The one before last Serenity bought for herself, I was seriously impressed with the mega price she negotiated in terms of part ex. Unfortunately she forgot to tell me how much she as paying for the car concerned which turned out to be what a right bow wow.

So anyway I suggested to the great lady a course of action that would maximise the return for her cash. naturally Serenity decided to do something else.

That's how, this morning, I ended up cutting a deal on something hideously overpriced but at least it had the duel virtues of service history, lowish miles and a bit of provenance.

This afternoon I had a bit of an outbreak of social worker. The weekend arrived a lovely bit of fiction, minutes of a meeting we didn't recognise. Today a given to rewriting a set of minutes so they more closely resemble the truth.

IT makes you wonder, really makes you think, goodness me. These are professionals and they cannot take a simple note and not get it wrong.

Then it descended to comedy, another one, wanted us to be the first to know something she had just found out. This something we had known a month ago, because of course mum had told us the same day she had told, errrrr the social worker actually. The one who phoned us today as soon as she knew...

Now, either they think we are stupid, or they are stupid enough to think we don't speak to other people. It's hard to decide which to believe.


Sunday, 17 May 2009

The wind break breaks

Today, out of bed and a decent breeze.

That brought the windbreak down.

That's tomorrow planned.

Mind you the next couple of days could get good.

buy a car for Serenity.

lots of GG bits leaving too so they all need digging out and preparing.

next weekend a serious pumping doo so a GG to bring up to speed.

Oh yes a quiet time in store.


Saturday, 16 May 2009

the modern time of our lives

It cannot be that long a time before the television is redundant.

we used to have a telly and dvd set up in our bed room - no more.

Management has her new laptop and i player; she watches the news every morning.

Catches up on the progs she really wanted to watch but the kids were rioting at the time.

Of course anything on DVD is easy as well - today she opted out of the day, he has spent half of it in bed. Listening to the pick of radio 4 and anything she fancied on the television the last few days.

The wind has played havoc with the windbreak, tomorrow feels a bit planned yes, going to polish the fire engine....


Friday, 15 May 2009

rain rain romance....

Today has been an on stop sort of a day thanks to the rain and wind.

Management ha been amusing herself deigning some system that can be installed here to take us over to ground source heating and to generating a lot of our own electricity.

It really has gone full circle back to looking local for our energy and heating.

The costs of the systems are towards the strong end of dear but so are our annual heating and lighting costs!

Talking of power, this afternoon she went to check her slow cooker, something we introduced to avoid running the Aga and damn me if there as not a big crack in the pot. I could see her distress so, filled with romantic intent I rushed into town and bought her another. Sometimes I wonder why I do these things she did not seem pleased.

Still all is not bad, I am taking her out tonight, first time in weeks. Should be a good night.

Hope this rain lifts. I need to get on to the fire engines and sort them for next weekend.


Thursday, 14 May 2009

Serenity superstar.

Now of course my beloved step daughter Serenity has figured not a great deal on here.

To be fair to her she has really pulled her life back together, but for the last month or so she has been carless. I didn't really ask how, sometimes it's not polite to ask.

So anyway today I have been playing hunt the car for Serenity, the first offering, an Accent had too few doors.

The next, a punto, twelve hundred cc and therefore too small in the engine room.

These were of course, motors offered to me inside the trade and therefore pretty cheap.

At this point Serenity decided to do a bit of digging for herself.

First candidate was a geriatric Rover Honda clone. 1400 cc; obviously a lot more like it. A model with lots of bells and whistles, that's all very nice if the car is new but not fun on a old car - more broken things to mend. The engine on this model is famously fragile. Insurance is a bit of an issue on the more up market models too.

Undaunted she suggested a Vectra, that's a Vauxhall of dubious electronic pedigree. Naturally this one had a boy racer engine. Time to check out the insurance again.

Now she has found another Vauxhall, it sounds great, it's not that old mind, the woad is in good condition and it has the optional scythe hubs....


The weather breaks

so today has been a non work day.

Rain stopped play....

Still I am sure she will think up a lot more things to do tomorrow.

An afternoon of online research, I think management has decided our next project is to go green in terms of electricity generation.

I sense even more work to come.


Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Garden of groans

Gout banished and management had me outside again today on garden bent.

Even more digging this time it's cabbages apparently.

Taliesin had his priorities right, he polished one of the fire engines. That 50 yo paint comes up really nicely.

Of course it's only the first coat....


Sunday, 10 May 2009


It' nice to have a quiet day.

Oh yes just us and 7 kids, OK 6, Taliesin is off earning money.

No, there are more, Serenity is doing some sort of run so her 4 children are here.

Oh and Gwions two little mates.

A dozen children - my what fun!

I like a peaceful day, all I need now is more ramblers...

And serenity has just sold her car - god bless us all, I can see what's coming!!!!


Rambling on....

The country we live in is riddled with the remnants of ancient communication. No I don't mean the remains of the medieval postage system I mean the remains of the routes our ancestors used to get from point A to point B.

This network is graded by status and here at Penole we have, outside the back door a footpath that leads to the top of the mountain, except of course we don't.

Back sometime before 1800 someone decided to build Penole on a road that joined a series of small hamlets. It's likely, even then that the road was old, part of a ridgeway route that ran across the roof of the country at about the time that people decided it might be a hoot to shift a few bits of rock to Salisbury plain.

The result of this is a rights of way network that is completely unplanned and almost random.

There is no logic to who gets to use which bits either. At one end you get the macho chaps and chapeses with the cut down defender with the big winch and beefy tyres and at the other end you get the people with boots, cagoules and an unfortunate taste in headgear.

On the other side you have the likes of me, the country land owner; the last time we were left to our own devices there were toll gates everyhere and my great great grandad ended up having to dress up as a woman and burn a lot of them down.

Now, the cagouling classes have for years been very organized, and increasingly argued that no one else should be allowed anywhere apart from them. They have successfully hijacked the ear of government and created a myth that all damage on the right of way network is down to defender drivers.

So much so that after thousands of years, the road at the front of my house is now only a road if you chose to walk it.

I have continued to use it as it was used up to 1960. As the road people drive to get to my house, but of course I can't any more.

The local cagoulies kicked up hell and money has been spent clearing the track and putting in bobble hat width gates so that no one other than them can come up here.

And yesterday the inevitable, past the back of the house came the ramblers, I didn't actually see them but I did see the plastic bags and wrappers they left behind.

Still it won't be for long, the track will soon overgrow without my 4x4 moving up and down it. Then it will be closed to everyone and as one of the landowning classes I will be happy.....


Friday, 8 May 2009

last year we were looking at moving and one of the place we looked at nearly worked for us.

An offer made but things conspired against us.

I had some misgivings though, not sure we would fit in to the community there.

people did not look too happy when I mentioned multiple green goddess pumps - there might be trouble I thought.

There is a saying about being careful what you wish for and I bet the ones that didn't want us are asking for a recount.

The people who bought the place have established a market garden, ten polytunnels have sprouted in the quiet pasture.

The odd bits of scrap have been cleared and a stone roadway laid so that the staff and there are a few of those, can park their cars.

It also allowed in all the assorted vehicles that look like they are being dismantled.

Not to mention an aged coach that is being lived in.

The shed I planned to use (horror of horrors) to store the GG's is being used to errrrh recycle tractors.

The Nazi Parks are incandescent....

Maybe when all the enforcement notices are served there will be a cheap house waiting for us after all...


medication and the moral high ground.....

The last few days have not been easy, the management firmly located in the moral high ground has been, of course sympathetic and attentive. Never laughing too openenly as I hobble around.

Medication has been consumed, unlike a deal of other things I like which have been avoided.

The down time has been used well, visits to the garden centre and much earthing up being the order of the day.

Today I am feeling a lot better, the wind unfortunately is making gardening unlikely, she wants to build the windbreak, need to make some posts, maybe I will get out my safety boots.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009


Up until now I have been fairly unkeen to admit to the possibility that along with my age advancing I have become subject to gout.

This morning however management was off on one of her more assertive interventions and fair demanded I attend casualty to have my broken foot diagnosed.

Given the possibility that a broken foot meant plaster and plaster meant no driving for a month I decided to fall back on the gout defence. This did need balancing up though as of course a foot in plaster might excuse digging duties and in a month time such digging as was needed would all be done.

A quick trip to our local casualty and a busy bustling department where I as treated with the warm professionalism that allays makes me want to shout the praises of the nhs...

I as soon armed with medication and on my way.

Then it was home and a revelation of the extreme dangers of the internet. it's a truism that there's some very unsavory stuff out there on the web, the management had found much of it.

The gout diet website seemed to consist mainly of a list of everything I like to eat with stringent warnings to avoid them at all costs, alongside a list of everything I try to avoid with exhortations to feast on it in unlimited amounts. At this rate I would become a vegetablist

There has even been dark talk about confiscation of the corkscrew.

I might even lose the will to live here.


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

greater love.....

i am at at the computer nursing my wounds.

Saturday management retired to bed unwell and the kid and i did what we do best.

Dug some more holes in the garden.

I managed to pick axe my foot and pain has been the word.

I have hobbled about a bit.

Took delight in watching the management squirm when her mum came to visit yesterday.

managed to hobble down stairs this morning and print off a letter.

Interesting to listen to radio 4 on the ropes was about a foster carer we have been talking to for a while.

Good they won in the end but scary nonetheless.

And 9 days on - no letter.

But we did get a letter from IKEA, tragedy of tragedies I made an overpayment and our account is 80 pounds in credit.

This is dire, she is planning a trip to rectify that, which will almost certainly be expensive

But it's not all terrible, my beloved step daughter known to many as serenity has discovered the internet, she has found her mum on face book and MSN. For some reason the management has just decided she will never use either again......