Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Deep Breath Relax (for a while anyway)

Since I last posted the list of achievements is extensive and the working hours obscene, however as I’m sure I’ve said elsewhere “nearly there”. I won’t list house DIY details other than to say I need to apply some touch up paints here and there in the kitchen diner, where we've dumped into things putting the room back together (ironically). However we are not touching up until I've moved the first wave of excess stuff into storage). I’ve gotten as far as removing most of the pointing from the patio prior to repointing (it’sthe final job before the estate agents are called in on Monday next week) ... we were going to get them in today to start valuations etc, but instead we decided we’d enjoy it as our home for one week and hope that we have a bit of a late summer early Autumn Indian Summer and a buyer steps up asap. 
In the motorhome I sorted and tested the water supplies with mixed results. The cold worked fine, but the hot had dismal pressure. With a little research I found some of the answers and hoped it wouldn’t get too expensive: 
The hot water system is a 9 litre Carver Cascade 2 system, and from the information I gathered; there is a non return valve at the end of the cold feed pipe that gets scaled and jammed. I removed the drain plug (which I broke) and a large amount of solids fell out along with some lime scale slurry. The parts with free delivery come in at a few pennies over £16.00 from http://www.leisureshopdirect.com/caravan who are proving to be an essential port of call for just about everything motor home related.
I made a good intuitive call on making all the T pieces Y pieces as this eases pressure drops and is recommended. I then retested the pump pressure, and flow through the heater cylinder, once it was all seen to be fabulous, and water could be squirted direct from the drain plug eight feet across the verge, I re-assembled the whole kit and caboodle, switched on the gas and tested the heat ... it’s all good.
So that’s it then ... we’re all done in doors, we found a brilliant storage place after much legwork £100 PCM for 160 sqr ft ... as opposed to the last ridiculous quote I got for the same ammount of space at £269 PCM with the first month only costing £0.01p. Now we can start clearing down prior to moving out. And we’ve sorted out our temporary accommodation, for whatever period of time we need to be, between temporary accommodation and setting off on the journey.
There is still a lot to do in terms of planning and finance, but now those tasks will replace the constant DIY, and hopefully I can put together the scraps of knowledge that I’ve picked up about our routes, our mileage, what we want to see, where we want to stay and for how long, and how long we actually plan to stay on the road ... because it’s only sitting here right now that I realise how many snippets I have; as fag packet notes or un-viewed favourites, or our collection of mails to self that we’ve put together and now need collating into real Matter. Deep breath and relax.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


How is it that it’s cheaper to sell me two completely new pairs of glasses for £79 than it is to put new lenses in the two pairs of frames I already have? I spent a dogs age finding some specs that were very discreet and small, because I hardly ever have to wear the things in the first place ... literally all they are for is looking at computer part No’s that are printed on PCBs in 0.5mm font’s. I used to use a magnifying glass, but was advised that I should have an eye test ... and Lo and fucking behold, in spite of the fact that I can read font size 6 from 6 inches away to arms length I needed reading glasses. This font by the way is 11.
And why did the lady need to pull a face like “Oh MY GOD” you haven’t got scratch proof coating, anti glare lenses and titanium, memory metal, designer frames with insurance cover? I’ll tell you why: For the same reason those fuckwits from the storage companies, and the turds that mis-sold PPI to millions and all the other alleged “value add” crap that gets or got sold as an essential or desirable by product of your main purchase (it’s not strictly that they are greedy (though it plays a part)). It’s because there is fuck all else to do. We in our part of the world have reached a peak in available technology and products, there’s pretty much nothing new, novel or essential we need ... so instead of going into an opticians having an eye test, getting four new lenses for two pairs of glasses, you now need two complete new sets of glasses and your old ones; if you’re charitable go to Africa, and if you’re a tight arse go in a drawer at home forever. It’s flower, fluff, bullshit and air, pretend money, made up numbers and paranoia created by non job nobs in marketing suites who have convinced some CEO somewhere that “The Brand” needs to keep moving maintaining its edge ... sometimes the only movement required is the morning one.
And as for all the shit that goes with the test £10 (optional) for a test to tell you if you have Glaucoma or a pre-disposition to high blood pressure ... which by the by Boots ... as a man over forty I get for free from my GP, on finger up the arse day every year. Plus added insurance and anti glare and scratch proofing, and two sets of frames in different colours and around ten other pointless vanity or money grabbing options with fuck all value whatsoever ... which when you sit back in the final analysis, with your frames so close to your face that the only person getting the benefit of your pissing about is the person looking at you thinking “four eyed twat ... why the fuck has he got an advert for DKNY, Ray Ban, Givenchy, Hillfiger (delete as appropriate) on his glasses”?
 And is that the other part of the equation, nowadays you are so insecure, so marginalised, so needy and desperate, that you need to make a statement with the small plastic lenses that stop you walking into lamp posts, shaving sheep dogs, or snogging another woman’s man in error on a platform?
As a kid I wore glasses for a few years because I had a squint, for which had surgery and then didn’t put specs on again for more than thirty years. What happened in the meantime, why are retro designer glasses the trendy embodiment of the ugly NHS frames you wore in the 70’s and how and why are the frames that I got two years ago, with not a single sodding thing wrong with them more expensive to re-lens (if that’s the phrase), than buying two complete new pairs?
And finally why on Earth would I want to follow Boots, Specsavers or for that matter any optician or chemist on Facebook and Twitter?
There’s a reason employments up but the recession is still going on ... there are more people needed to peddle old rope for Monopoly money.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


We now have two articles that have been commented on; one comment is from a mate of mine the other is from a storage company offering me the opportunity to avail myself of their services ... which I won’t on principal as much as any other reason. I didn’t produce a blog for companies to advertise their services on, unless they are paying for the privilege (and even then only stuff that I want to advertise).
Interestingly though what the comment proves is that at the back of this Google bloggerverse is a trending engine and monitoring service that probably uses some offshoot of Adsense to allow companies like the one that has posted a commercial comment on my post about s-e-l-f s-t-o-r-a-g-e companies, and what a bunch of arse they are generally to home in on the fact that twenty fours or less ago I used the words S-e-l-f S-t-o-r-a-g-e in an article.
Viewing statistics generally indicate that legitimate readership or viewers of this blog are low to zero, and the only real traffic that passes through is the sort that alerts commercial entities to the fact that you might be a spam candidate.
Technology, what a thing it is? Makes you think about shutting up, shutting up shop and disappearing of the face of the Earth. Money useful as it is; is the root of all c—tishness.
That’s Clots if you were wondering ... ahem.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Caught Short, Where To Put Everything.

We seem to have caught up with ourselves all of a sudden like. There we were last week with a mountain to climb, and here we are on Monday with a wall to paint, a room to clear and some woodwork to paint. There is no more than a week and a weekends worth of real graft to do.
We are so caught up with ourselves that we need to think seriously about storage so we can de-clutter the house ready for sale. Now to be fair I have spent some time looking into storage as I knew the time would come when we needed to do make or break moves. So while I haven’t really posted anything about storage and my forays into the murky world of stacked containers in farmers fields, stacked containers in bits of disused yards and finally stacked containers in buildings with lights and AC and CCTV and bells and whistles ... and someone to sing your life’s work and accruals a lullaby while it slumbers away awaiting your return ... I have boned up on Self Storage; read on.
Frankly the whole self storage market is full of the word I’m not allowed to use in posts on the blog. The self storage industry seems to pander to the fact that people buy lots and lots of shit they don’t really need and then need to store said shit on and indefinite basis, as opposed to running an ad on Ebay, or Gumtree or if they were feeling generous Freecycle ...  or going to car boot sale. This general tendency for storing stuff means that the market for storage is very competitive and growing exponentially ... I’m not a Rogue Traders or Watchdog watcher but my gut tells me that in time the storage industry will feature, and at some point later there will be demands for compulsory insurance and regulation ... I have had to speak to some proper Bellends this last few weeks, so much so that I’ve had to limit the amount of time on the phone to storage companies lest I lose my temper.
Things to note:
1.       Most self storage companies don’t post prices online, and even if they do, then they only offer them as guideline prices, and will discount whatever to win your business, or try to bamboozle you into thinking the other companies you’ve spoken to are all the word I’m not allowed to use in the blog. And clearly the enquiry form is designed so that the estate agent like tosser you are eventually going to speak to, can get a rough idea of how much you may or may not be able to pay, and then start the bidding with a stupid over price quote followed by the words “but we may be able to sort you out some discounts” ... I want to morph down the phone line at that point, have my head pop out the other end, Scotch kiss the twat at the other and in the face, tell them to grow the fuck up stop playing games and play the white man (other coloured men of good character are available).

2.       On from point 1: If you fill in an online enquiry form you will be phoned back half a dozen times by half a dozen different reps telling you they just saw your enquiry and they can offer you a price that will beat any other price you have already had .. even if the person you spoke to works for the same firm as the twat you spoke to yesterday.

3.       The bigger more established companies are prohibitively expensive. The smaller companies can be fly by night.

4.       Container storage is or can be cheaper than the big warehouse storage units, but you really need to go and see what you’re buying into, because some containers are better than others ... as are the bases the containers sit on; mud or un-made surfaces and roads clearly being least favourable. And I speak in general terms regards the care the character trying to get your cash is actually going to give your big tin box. And on the subject of tin boxes if it’s not ply lined, your sofa probably isn’t going to be happy.

5.      Some self storage is VAT free, some is not. I did start reading a blurb on a couple of websites, but ran into the inevitable “fill in an enquiry form or calls us for details line”, and then I want to cry and hurt things.

6.      Some of the independents actually offer much better deals than the large firms ... I found an independent who is offering 160ft sqr of space in a container for less money than Access Self Storage offer for 50ft sqr in a warehouse in Basildon (not that Access are alone in this). Big Yellow storage despite cosseting your kit in virtual inanimate object luxury charge you through the nose for the privilege to the point that their weekly price was only £20 short of the monthly cost we are looking at paying with our independent.
All things being equal after speaking to the self storage crowd; selling everything you own and buying new when you get back seems easier. Also certain valuables and heirlooms could as easily find their way into family members lofts. However It’s the big stuff that needs the container, so I’ll be off this weekend coming to do a final view of the container we are looking to book and then we’ll go to www.plasticboxshop.com and Staples, pick up some boxes and start moving stuff. Important note all the big storage firms have “everything you need” for packing up your life, and of course they are very keen as part of their spiel to sell you packaging stuff hand over fist, it’s all part of the bamboozle.
I’m not really here to bang on about social ills and society and all that guff, but wouldn’t it be nice not to have some turd in suit, sitting in a office somewhere trying to rip you off for every penny they can every time you try to get a service or product. When did we become so unethical, immoral and greedy, and when will we unlearn the lessons, and stop being so shit? We’ll be in recession forever for sure if we don’t pull our socks up, and start learning to play fair and charge a reasonable rate for a reasonable service.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Mood Improvement program (sponsored by Decorators Caulk).

From the 24th until today I have been punishing both Amanda and I with a nightly blitzkrieg of DIY ... that’s nine days. We had time off for good behaviour the weekend past, but it was brief respite and I was itching to get home and do some more painting, prodding or poking. I’m stuck now, in that it’s nearly done phase ... institutionalised by DIY, I can see the end but like a junky I suddenly find myself not knowing what the feck I’ll be doing when it’s over? Hopefully writing cycling, fishing, showing prospective buyers around and research.
On our minor weekend (night off) we used the Moho in anger for the first time, and like total newbies forgot to fill the toilet reservoir with water and  (you’ll excuse my indelicate turn of phrase) piss and shite smell eliminator and germ eradicator ... because that’s what it is. So going to the loo involved wasted bottles of Evian and fear of splash back (caravan loos have a swirly flush that avoids any splash whatsoever ... unless you’re a bloke, and unless you’re willing to sit down ... I’am). 

Moving swiftly on; we parked on our friends drive and went a visiting for a birthday do. Before we left said driveway, we made up the bed and got everything ready at the kitchen end of the habitation unit. We then left, secure in the knowledge, that there would be no clambering up titchy ladders ... but there would be oodles of space, shared body heat and easy access to the loo (in spite of the issue mentioned above). Around 1am on Sunday morning we strolled back from the soirĂ©e we’d attended, did pre-sleep ablutions and crashed out.

What can one say? The new bed is a triumph of bigness and available space ... a little firm maybe, which we can sort out with a mattress topper, but who cares about that. The bed is huge, there’s room for three easily (you never know), room for my support pillow (that’s just a pillow that prevents my lumbar twisting too far round and making the old war wound ache. And of course there’s room enough that never shall the breath of one sleeper sully the skin of another sleeper thus keeping them from the arms of Morpheus, or the Sandman or whatever sleep related daemon you go to bed with. And for no reason that I can define (a placebo effect), it also appears to make the snoring of another less of a chore. All things being equal I’m happy as Larry with the results... even a torrential downpour overnight didn’t wake us (though beer may have played a part).

I guess this proves a theory; that if you are comfortable where you are going to sleep in advance of said sleep, then sleep well you will. And good sleep ... it can’t be over emphasised is critical to harmony, and especially if you’re going to be so confined every night for so long.
The Moho has moved into tweaks and fiddle mode, and one major leak test on the shower and waste water system that I have also finished connecting ... I may have mentioned it elsewhere ... sure I did ... never mind. All that’s really required now is a sunny weekend, provisions for two days and a destination. I’ll keep you posted.
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