Sunday 28 November 2021

Can you dig it?

I suppose that little phrase dates me....

The ground at our place is stony.   Actually, it's rocky rather than stony.  The earth is good, nutritious, somewhat clay, but full of rocks.   They vary in size from fist-sized on up, and if I want to bring a new area into cultivation, I have to get the rocks out first.

Cue friends from up the road, and one in particular, who owns the digger shown below.  He's been over the areas I need, shovelling up the rocks to free them from the soil.  I followed the digger around, taking the newly-exposed rocks off the surface, and am now going over the areas with a fork to get the ones that are still buried.  Now that the soil has been loosened, it's a lot easier than using a pick-axe, which is what I was doing before.

I am using the rocks to build a wall.  I have the feeling I might run out of space for the wall before I run out of rocks.

Monday 22 November 2021

Dead light

A recent check of the trailer lights showed that the left-hand red rear light that should come on with the headlights wasn't working.  All the other main lights seem to be OK.  No problem, I can change the bulb.

First, take the bulb out to see what kind it is, and also confirm that one of the filaments is dead.   So I undo the two nuts on the back of the mounting, to discover that they hold the bulb enclosure onto the chassis, and undoing them doesn't give access to the bulbs.  So I bolt it back on, and undo the three screws at the front.

I take out the bulb, test it, it's fine.  Hmm problem is elsewhere.  I shuffle myself under the trailer to try to trace the wiring.  After spending some time doing this, I notice that the white bulb at the front on the left is also not working, neither is the left-hand one that lights up the number plate.  Hmm problem is somewhere along the supply to that side.   Possibly the plug (trailer) or perhaps the socket (car).   So I download and copy a plug connection diagram from the web, and identify the two connections (power and earth) for the left-hand bulbs.

After spending a while checking these out, I realise that the strange results I am getting are because the diagram shows the plug from the pin side and not the wire side, so I start again.  I confirm that the plug connections see a resistance consistent with there being light bulbs correctly connected to it.   Time to check out the socket.

So I check the socket and there is a voltage on the correct pins when the headlights are on.   At this point I'm not sure what's happening, but there's a last test to do, which is to put 12 volts onto the plug pins and see what happens.  

At this point I should mention that Anita is sometimes sceptical about my purchases of things that I tell her will probably come in handy one day.  A case in point is the variable power supply that I bought for use in those situations when I need to reliably supply a voltage to check something out (or charge batteries).  This fine device is what I now use to see what happens.

What happens is that all three of the left-hand trailer lights come on as they should.  So the only thing left is that the plug is not connecting properly to the socket.  So I bend the socket pins to make a more reliable connection.

Problem solved.  And I thought it was going to be a quick bulb change.

Friday 19 November 2021

Dead kit

Been having a spot of trouble recently, with my Slim Devices Transporter.   It is a streaming audio player; it reads the files from my file server and plays them over the stereo.

A few months ago it stopped working.  It wasn't finding the files on the server.   Tech support were helpful - it was due to an "upgrade" of the software on the server, that meant that the Transporter no longer worked.   This was deemed acceptable as an "end of life" process for the device.  It was about ten years old, and physically working fine, so that kind of thing annoys me.  We fixed the problem by "downgrading" to the software that actually worked, and all was well for a while.

More recently a mains power outage and surge fried my friend's boiler's circuits just down the road, and shortly afterwards when I try to use the Transporter, it doesn't work, again.  Wierd fault: the vu meter needles move so it thinks it's playing something, but nothing's coming out of the audio outputs. Not electrical digital, not optical digital not analogue audio.   I tried everything I could think of.

It was only when I had disconnected it from my stereo in preparation for chucking it out, that I thought I'd do one last test, since what I hadn't done up to that point was disconnect it from the mains and reconnect it.  It's one of those things that doesn't have a proper mains switch, but goes into standby mode when you turn it off, ready to respond to a remote control.  So I plugged it back it, and blow me down, it worked.

But I think it's trying to tell me that I need to start thinking about alternative arrangements for my stereo.

Thursday 11 November 2021


1) Sars-Cov-2 is a nasty virus that can and does kill or maim.

2) There exist cheap, safe and effective prophylactics, acces to which I have been denied by government edict.

3) There exist cheap, safe and effective treatments, access to which I have been denied by government edict.

4) The vaccines can only be termed vaccines after the world health organisation changed its definition of vaccine so as to include them.

5) The known short-term side-effects of these vaccines make them the most dangerous vaccines ever deployed.

6) The long-term side effects of these vaccines are unknown.

7) I am being coerced into taking these vaccines by threat of exclusion from the culture into which I was born.

8) I am angry.

Monday 8 November 2021


DIY tip:  When renovating the dormer windows, and moving from one window to the next, take down the little ladder from the roof before moving the big ladder.

Friday 5 November 2021

Cherry on top

Well I suppose you could argue that it looks a bit like a cherry, but the finial is finally on the top of the tower, indicating the end of the work.   The zinc skirt posed a bit of a problem:  the roofer took the measurements, cut the zinc cone at home and came back to fit it, but the roof isn't exactly conical, so the skirt didn't sit right.  He fixed it by tracing around the edge at a fixed distance from the tile edges.  I think he took a bit off the mounting wood too.  But now it all looks shiny and new (and vertical).  Scaffolding is now down and packed away.

Monday 1 November 2021

New season

The Summer crops are all done, the Autumn harvest of butternut and other squashes is in, and the Winter crops are still in the ground.   So it's time to think ahead and prepare for next year.  And at the same time, take stock of the storm damage.

The cheap plastic greenhouse is no more; the storm finally did for it, tearing the rip-stop plastic cover into several pieces.  The frame survived; it was tied to iron rebar stakes that got bent, but held.  I might divide it into two climbing frames for roses or something, but I'm not going to try to remake a greenhouse from it.

The area of ground in the second picture is newly cultivated this year.  I put down two tarpaulins to keep the weeds down, and planted the squash into holes in them.   You can see the weed-free areas where they used to be.   For next year, I got a load of horse manure from Joël up the road, spread it out on the ground, soaked it thoroughly with water and covered it with the tarpaulins.  I'll plant squash and melons there next year. 

The bare areas where the tarps were this year, I'm pick-axeing to get the rocks and stones out.   These are being used to build the wall behind the ex-greenhouse.  I have a trailer load of compost from the recycling depot at Chammes that I will put on the area, plus some more manure from Joël, and the plan is for potatoes there next year.

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