Sunday, 30 October 2011

New roofs

There are good things in life too.

This weekend we had one of our standard epics, only it wasn't it was a really chilled relaxed tme.

The roof on the house in Brittany is changed, we went we saw we lked, then we came home.

A lovely weekend.

Monday, 24 October 2011

I thought I was a bit mad.

Now, I thought I was a bit madwhat with all the mad diggerology in the wind and cold yesterday.

But today, with the wind howling the rain lashing it down the guys from the electricity board turned up with a big 4x4 truck and a couple of land rovers. As the weather turned all biblical this team was up a pole changing a transformer.

I went to see what they were about and got completly soakes in 5 minutes flat- it was horrid.

Than back into the house and the comedy turn called.

It was fostering, they wanted us to house a emergecy placement.  A 14 year old girl who was being moved to keep her safe. Pretty much waht we do!!

I thought it pertineent to mention that we didn't actually have anywhere for her to go. The manager had told her we hada a rooom spare said the SW, her manager knew full well our "spare" room had a bloody big hole in the ceiling and had been that way for months waiting for them to pay for the repairs. Did she, asked the SW.

Of course shes did, I had threatened last week that I would  get the baliffs round to seize the mayors limo if  she didn't do something about it  

She laughed thinking I was joking, then realised I wasn't.

Ah yes more info turns out this one has an interesting "hobby". I wonder sometimes, I have a 14 yo and a 16 yo here swimming in testosterone and they send me the equivalent of a bitch on heat.

Still it would have taken D's mind off his dad I suppose, would not half keep me alert though.

Sleep at night?

Who needs it eh.


Sunday, 23 October 2011

Digger for victory.

So with winter  closing in it's time to think of water. 

Cold weather usually means frozen pipes and a decided lack of the wet stuff in the taps.  No more, with a big trench was needed for the new mains electricity so I put a new water supply in there to keep it company.

We are going to avoid freezeing at the pump end by building a shed to keep bikes and such like to which we will run an electricity supply which will in turn run a small heater.

Now this is the kind of plan I like so yesterday I dug a huge water pipe trench and filled in part of the power cable trench that needed to be filled. All was well with the world till the digger threw a track right where we needed it not to and four of us spent 2 hours this afternoon struggling and swearing trying to get the track back on. 

Did the fact it was in a huge patch of mud and the wind was blowing a hoolie and bleedin brrr too make it even more fun?

Errrr no


Saturday, 22 October 2011


So things move on. Dad's "Recovery" prompted a bit of a flurry of activity with talk of moving him to the regional centre where he would receive a better standard of care.

All this hit the buffers when they did another scan. The brain stem is dead.

The stats are grim 90% dead within 4 months 99 percent within a year of the remaining 1 percent some live for years others recover.

Now D god bless his is a bit aspi and sees only black and white. In his book: people said dad was going to die and they were wrong. So when they told him there was no chance of recovery they were wrong too.

Yesterday dad was much improoved, his colour was a lot better. 

The hospital say no change and he now has pneumonia.



Wednesday, 19 October 2011

And then......

The old manhas opened his eyes and they think he is responding.

Don't like the sound of "they think", but still it's a lot more hopefull than half an hour ago.


Lets keep it simple

Life is so simple sometimes.

Big D played a blinder yesterday, showing tremendous care and maturity towards his poor old mum who, being learning disabled was struggling to understand what was happening and why Dad was lying there.

He was fitting which made mum think he was coming round or in some way getting better.

It is likely the very tough decision needs to be made, the machines all need to be turned off and things take their course. 

But Dad is estranged from his family so D and Mum are the only ones who could sign for the support to be withdrawn.

His mum is old enough but does not have the level of understanding, D understands but he's too young.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

It's a funny old thing fostering. This morning I had a lovely warm bath and sat in the living room drinking coffee reading my notes for this here lecture on Anti Psychiatry.

One phone call changed everything. Big D's dad has had a stroke and is not expected to live. This completely rewrote the day and the student went to get him and drove the 120 miles to the hospital.
The SW wanted her to put D on the train.....

She has at least decided to call in the learning diss team for D's mum, we have only been asking for that for 5 years.

It's not looking good though, The old man has a huge bleed affecting the basal brain. His mum has a learning disability and it's all going over her head. She has been sitting there with her son, just crying.

I have been running round like a crazy thing getting everything else to happen I even managed to fit in the nursing lecture bit. It was all a bit hollow though, my mind was on events elsewhere.


Monday, 17 October 2011


Tomorrow afternoon 1 pm a hall full of nurses. What a mix, do I think it's great or am I looking for my bicycle clips...... Rhys

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Weak ends

Hey this was a good ish one. Got a load of wood cut then lots of axe and stack stuff then as I was just recovering two different lots of friends came down the drive

This morning was, for some reason a bit of a slow starter after a night that easily lasted into morning.

Off to see the students mum this afternoon, not so good, she has done her hundred and a week or so she fell and broke her femur.

This needed  full on surgery and of course she has survived it and was sat there looking really well in her hospital bed. I think though reality is dawning, she is not going home anytime soon.

In fact the Physiotherapy and OT services have signed her off, so it's nursing home for her. She has double hearing aids and can't hear much and her glasses are not really helping as her eyes are failing.

She actually said today that she has had her time and she is wasting other peoples.

First time ever.

Of course she is such a star I am not writing her off yet.

I am sad I didn't come from that sort of stock, my kids do though....

It is also worth noting how this much maligned NHS is full of really great people doing a fantastic job.

The staff on the ward were just fantastic, there is ann indutry out there of knocking the care system and sometimes it's important to tell the truth about how good it is and how stupid it would be to change something that works.

But I digress.

Gwion is off to Aberystwyth to stay with his sister for a day or two over half term.

Maybe Branwen just wants her mum and dad to come and see her.


Who me??

God I am teaching these nurses on Tuesday.


Friday, 14 October 2011

quiet night

It'sfunny how days can go on.

Today we had a really lovely day cleaning out the shower room of all the junk we shoved in there over the last couple of years.

With a bit of cleaning the shower added, how much fun was that?

The waste and associated pipes were a particular fun item.

Full of obnoxious black grunge.

Now we are back to dealing with social services who have, yet again said they are not paying for the damage done by young I.

An ICBM email has been launched 

And been ignored.


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Oh what a lovely day.

Having spent many hours yesterday lugging things round, climbing in and out of the attic, squeezing into tight corners and making connection in very small spaces.

This morning  awoke to a competition. My shoulders Calves and knees were in a conflict over which could hurt the most.

BUT, I could get into a proper hot bath. Looking back, the boiler has been in slow decline for about 2 years and this was the first proper hot bath I have had in ages. That hot water was just wonderful. muscles slowly unwound, bliss.

It's now evening, we have had a long day, the muscles are aching again, the fire has delivered 3 or was it 4 piping hot baths today and raised the living room to 25 C.

Life is good.

I MUST get this bloody lecture done tomorrow .


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Being the loved one....

Today I am the chosen one.

This morning I got up bright and early a load of central heating pipe to remove.

Also a whole remap of the hot water side of the house to achieve.

A new hot water tank heated by our big log stove to replace the oil fired jobbie in the old  kitchen. Now our utility room.

So in the process of this about 100 foot of pipe came out, that's about 30 M to you who don't work in real money.

If this was copper it would have been a fortune in scrap but it's all plastic So I simply reused it on the new system.

But anyway lots of swearing and we had a system that was taking for ever to fill but we are sort of there.

After a few hours trying out this and that we worked out that it would both heat the house and deliver hot water.

Hot enough for the student to have her best bath in two years.

Should I mention that i had to use a fire engine ladder to get into the loft and that when there was a problem and I needed to empty the tank a bit I used  a stirrup pump - green goddess flavour of course.

All that aside, the hot water system works and the tank is a really effective heat sink.

The student has had a proper hot bath for the first time in, well a long time really. She commented that reusing the old pipes that have been our central heating system was very green, especially when it came to  the colour of the bath water.

Bethan was more impressed with the swarff from the various holes  had drilled in tanks today floating in the top of her bath. 

Of course all could not have gone like a book and there has been the odd inundation, but nothing like last time I did central heating, There was water pouring out of the tank in the loft down the walls and one of the smaller joints let go big style .  Overall though  I think I am getting the hang of this.

Oh dear, that might not be a wise thing to say.

The management though is focused. 

She had a proper hot bath - end of discussion.


Sunday, 9 October 2011

ALL Change

So into next week I chargeWith a major lecture to write and a central heating system to completly  overhaul.

Had a "bucket " moment over the oil boiler, going to take the lot out. 

This is no minor enterprise, a hot water tank  is going in, with associated pipe work going into  the attic requiring a new cold feed into the roof, This will  render 100 or so feet of pipework redundant and that will need to come out too.

Blimey is all I can say, could be a busy time for me.


Saturday, 8 October 2011

Just another day

So another windscreen day, having a serious think about boilers and  such things I had ordered a new valve for the old boiler.

When it arrived i had doubts, there were obviously loads of connections to be made and my sensible head pointed out this would not be Bedford easy access stuff it would be difficult to get to.

This proved seriously  right as I struggled to get joints to shift which were multi metal.

The boiler was new in 1998 and t means  they have spent  years being hot and chemically fusing.

It took hours to get the thing off.

This involved bending many of the pipes right out of shape and therefore having to bend them back to fit it all back together

This was as simple as you think it might be.

as in

Not easy

So anyway I got there

Turned on the tap and mucho hissing bubbling later no hot water.

So this morning we had a broke valve and hot water

Now we have a sorted valve, lots of  leaks and no hot water

Life is cool

At least our log stove is in heat mode




Wednesday, 5 October 2011


OverThe weekend we had glorious summery weather. It was a pleasure to be outside.

Overnight all has changed the house is shrouded in damp wet mist, the fire is lit and heat is slowly spreading through the house.

The childrens teachers are on strike over plans to reduce their pensions whilst increasing contributions.

The house is full the fire is lit. If you think that sounds very nice then you would be right.

It has been fun though, I forgot how different winter roads are to summer ones, thats a polite way of saying the C5's traction control has limits and I just found them!!

Think I might give the Saxo, all 100 horse power of it, a miss.

Then again......

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Human right Tory wrongs

Teresa May announced to her unconcealed delight that she had a case where someone who was an "illegal immigrant" and should one presumes be taken out and shot, could not be deported because they owned a cat.

Now the judiciary can at times come up with daft ideas but that one didn't ring true.

It turned out that was one someone had made up.

So now she is shown up as a liar.

Just like Tony Blair with his weapons of mass destruction.

He has done OK out of it though....

A lot of Afghan and Iraqui people paid for it.

Thats why we don't need human rights law, because it allows your actions to come back and haunt you and you might even have to answer for what you do in a framework of how what you do affects others....

We could not have that now could we. 


Betrayal by a child

You do your best to raise you children well, teach them basic moral values and sense of justice.

Our family has a proud heritage, when the then government decided to sell off the roads so you could not go anywhere without paying the private sector my great great Grandfather got on his horse and lead his mates on a proper full blown riot of wanton destruction (bit of Cameronspeak there) that left dozens of toll gates burnt to the floor.
This household is a broadly socialist and left wing place to be - until now.

One of my daughters has sold out all our political morals and gone and joined a right wing neo liberal party, she has betrayed her class.

She has joined the Labour party.

I am ashamed of her.


Monday, 3 October 2011

Hooray no poll tax freeze!

Wales is to be spared the freeze on community charge.

One of the chancellors big points today English poll tax is frozen again.

Lets see how this works. 

So lets look at this you live in a modest house and lets say poll tax was set to go up by 5 percent

So hooray hooray if you live in a small house then 5 percent of 500 pounds is......

Of course if you live in big house then 5 percent of 5000 pounds is.....

Full on neoliberal economics dressed up as caring for the common folk.


Sunday, 2 October 2011

Engine transplants.

We have been a bit slow of late and the cut down range rover has been sitting round waiting for a new engine.

The engine itself, from a military testbed has been waiting round a while too but now it's ready to go in.

So today we built a load of scaffolding ready to use as an engine crane.

Not one of our better plans   couple of hours messing about and not much achieved everything on hold till next weekend.

Today though was another milestone day little d turned 16, now his DLA goes into his bank account. Just how long will it be before he "decides" to go home to mum.

Hopefully we can hang on to him till he gets his GCSE's done


Saturday, 1 October 2011

Dangerous politics

There are times when things get revealed. Now even the sheep voters in this country could not be taken in by a cut everything but especially taxes stance from this government. So things like their cuts in corporation tax had to be done under a smokescreen. Now one of them has broken cover properly calling for big tax reductions alongside cuts in government spending.

The arguments are simple public expenditure has to be cut to reduce the deficit even if it causes a recession that increases the deficit

Taxes (mainly for the rich it should be said) must be cut to make the economy work. No suggestion that VAT which affects the poorer more is cut, it's the income tax that benefits the rich that needs to go.

If you are simple you buy into that junk.
In essence this is classic right wing stuff spun. This is small state low tax right wing nirvana.

The cuts have done very little to reduce the deficit, the reduced economic activity they have contributed to have pushed it up actually.

Today the Tories have made it "easier to employ people",  by stripping whole rafts of workers of their rights and making it easier to sack them.

This coalition of the unelected really is showing it's true colours.

Not content, they have gone for the barmy. A plan to increase the motorway speed limit by 10 MPH. Now those of you who know anything about cars will know that 60 MPH is actually a very important speed. It's where aerodynamics becomes an issue. Between 60 and 70 a cars fuel consumption goes up by around 20 percent, the relation is not linear so between 70 and 80 it goes up even more. And No i don't mean another 20 percent on what it uses at 60 I mean about 25 percent more than in uses at 70.

So this stupid measure is going to hit everyone right in the pocket. This of course won't matter to all those rich Tories who won't be paying tax any more.... The trucks will still be limited to 56, where their breeze block aerodynamics is less of an issue but everyone else will be able to travel 25mph faster than them not 15.

Everything will be happening lots quicker, less time for reaction.

The professional motorway driver will be OK what you will see is more big smashes at holiday time. It won't do much for journey times though, congestion is the big issue on the roads today. I have often lately gone on an economy kick, driving places at 60 instead of 70. The surprise was how little effect it had on journey times even on quite long trips. The effect on fuel consumption though was quite spectacular. I expect the effect of travelling everywhere at 80 rather than 60 would be pretty spectacular too....

Maybe those couple  of minutes would turn out to be vital to those Tories freed from tax burden rushing round the country creating the jobs we don't have.

I am a little short of convinced.... 


Civil Servants

If the politinics are to be believed the private sector is innately better at everything.

Everything touched by the market is golden and everything down by the state a terrible mess.

Well I had that yesterday, I needed to phone families Tax credit about something and after a bit of a  pause and the odd "select option 97 for"ing i got to chat to a really pleasant and knowledgeable person who took me through the process and nearly made me faint by saying we were in face still eligible for families tax credit and thus free health care.

Next was phoning the electricity company who had agreed to provide us with a separate electricity account of the place next door a few weeks back but had said I had to wait two weeks before I could ask for the supply to be connected. They hadn't actually agreed to call me back but said I had to call them back. Getting through was a long protracted affair and the person on the end of the phone would not direct in any way. Appointments with them are located at some stage in a day not at a time convenient for you. You stay home all day waiting on them.

Glad it wasn't one of those terrible state monopolies then.....

And yesterday held a bit of a surprise, Mr Tick came down the drive, Branwen came home for the day. We had a lovely evening with her, I suspect very strongly though she came home to sleep. She has also been a bit shocked by some of the house mates who seem completely inept. Put another way she has a deal ,more life skills than most of them. Branwen can cook sounds like some of them cannot manage boil in the bag. 

Today in the uk is the summer most Indian. We've had the heating running in August and now we have the windows open in October.