Sunday, 26 October 2014

Rayburn and she's happy

Some of our colonial friends won't know what a rayburn is so,  for them.

A rayburn is about 250 kg of cast iron and fire brick that can be used to heat your house, heat your water and heat your food. Ours only heats the kitchen and serves as a cooker.

the idea is that you use a small amount of fuel, the heat goes into the heavy casting and fire brick and takes a long time to cool.

We acquired ours off a free website about 2 years ago and  with a great deal of swearing it was installed in the kitchen

So anyway, couple of days ago we lit the rayburn and made use of one of it's properties, the one about staying warm for a long time.  A big joint of beef went in and was cooked very slowly over about 8 hours. The result was a near perfect joint, you really cannot beat a Rayburn oven. Cooking that involved about a bucket of fire wood, you really cannot go wrong. 

The Rayburn has been getting to stay on rather more this last week, i think the late summer is giving way to a winter blast. Rain and wind have hammered the window in my bedroom, there is something rather nice about wind and rain. So long as you are sat in a room that is at about 23 C with a big log stove blazing away in the fireplace.    

Maybe winter is not so bad after all.


The life exotic

Living out here in the wilds is often interesting and sometimes exhilarating and sometimes a downright pane in the glass.

We do of course have weather; when it's a bit sunny in town, out here it's glorious. When it's a bit breezy in town, out here it's biblical.

So a good few weeks ago when it was a bit thundery in town it was nuclear war level electromagnetic pulse out here. The phone system got blown to bits.

Modem, line filter, even the wire from the socket all got it. \

Also the underground cable on top of the mountain got fried.

This was our cue to log out electronically.

The BT Engineers were really good, it was the work of moments to work out that something was wrong.

Several days passed and an engineer came down the drive, he had been draughted in from away, we quickly established that I knew more about the local hardware than he did.

More than that, I was able to pinpoint where the fault was located. We have had so many faults at that point over the years it was a bit of a no brainer really.

Now,  lets do some history, over the last few years connectivity has been a bit of an issue. The underground link here was put in some time in the early 60's. This in turn meant that between ploughing and fencing and digging of slurry pits it had more joints than a Bob Marley concert.

A few years back BT caved in and agreed to renew the whole run, great news, they would of course do it in fibre so we would have super fast broadband. No, it does not work like that.

So anyway the cable was new so there would not be much to do. Except the fault was underground and this engineer had not done the how to use a shovel course so he could not dig.

I wondered how such a new cable was proving so faulty. He said no, the cable to the distribution box on the mountain had obviously been changed but the run from there, 10 M or so till it was running overground was the original stuff.

So BT had run new cable till the point where it split to serve lots of other households. Then not bothered to renew the last few metres as it only served 3 phone numbers.

At this point I might chuck into the mix some young people.

People have told me there is nothing worse than a room full of young people all absorbed in their electronic devices. There is a point there, and they have totally missed it.

Hell is a bunch of young people clattering away to devices that tell them; no internet

Day one is a bit hard.

By the end of the week they distraught, they were even contemplating talking to each other...

DVD's had to be watched, they even played chess a few times, this was crisis.

On top of this, it was showtime in university, i was delivering a new module for the first time and none of the notes could go on the students web page, problem all round then.

It was a long time before BT turned up with it's shovel by which time half the house was stir crazy.

Now, of course, we have half term. Fortunately it's half term with internet, the other possibility does not bear thinking about... 




Friday, 24 October 2014

Whose work is valued

It's been a long few months with a lot going on.

But we have arrived at a dark place really, the chief exec of Pembrokeshire has presided over a series of disasters, he has dealt with most of them by pretending they were nothing to do with him.

Now either he knew about them, so he should be sacked. Or it all went on under his nose and he did nothing about it so, well, he should be sacked.

Sacked means to me, up the road with a minimum of pay. Not a tearful goodbye with nearly 2 years pay in your bin plus your pension intact.

Especially when it's known you have already had a job created for you somewhere else.

For myself, 20 years as a foster carer and probably 10 years before that as a residential worker entitles me to the state pension with a bit chucked on top because it's likely I will be poor, is what I get as a reward for fighting the sorts who should be making sure services deliver but who spend their lives finding excuses for why they don't.

There is a logic in there somewhere - sadly i don't get it.