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Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Getting Laid Before Christmas?

As some of you my know (assuming anyone actually reads the rubbish I write) I commute to work each day on my bike. It’s a fun experience, scything through all that jammed up rush hour and school run traffic. I’ve always enjoyed the way that I rarely get stuck, laughing at the frustrated drivers as I wiz passed them in their nearly stationary boxes. It’s true that in times of bad weather and the cold, dark winter it can be a little less fun. But it always makes me feel like an intrepid explorer trekking into the urban wilderness. That and I always carry a spare pair of socks in case the weather decides to climb inside my boots, as it often does.

When I arrive at the office in Croydon, I park my bike next to all the others under a very handy canopy near the entrance. There she keeps dry for the most part, which (hopefully) means she will last longer than if she were fully exposed to the elements.

Since Monday of last week however, we have been asked not to park there due to the car park being resurfaced. For this purpose, three car parking bays were allocated. This worked fine for the first three days, but on the Thursday morning two of the bays had cars in them when I arrived. One of the regular bikers had parked in another bay so I decided to join him there. It was about this time that the car park resurfacing contractors were starting the process of planeing the surface of the tarmac off by where we usually park our bikes. The building manager was in the car park, so I asked him where I should park my bike. He said that using the parking bays was only a temporary measure for the first three days and that I should now park under the canopy as before. The problem was that while I was chatting with him, the contractors had fenced of the canopy area, which would have made access difficult what out the use of some very advanced shunt riding. The building manager looked more than a little confused & stressed about the whole car park situation, so I decided to leave my bike in the bay.

The workman appeared to make very good progress with their surface removal during Thursday. At their disposal they had a very impressive array of machinery. A large planer, which ground the surface off and deposited it into a large tipper truck and two more trucks waiting in the wings. They also had a JCB style digger, a “One Man” surface grinder and a large road sweeper lorry. There was an awful lot of activity, some of which the Heath & Safety Executive would have had a fit about!

Friday was a completely different day. After Thursdays hive of activity and impressive amounts of industrial plant & machinery, Friday was a total contrast. They were reduced to the “One Man” surface grinder, two shovels and a wheel barrow. I kid you not, it was like watching a “Laurel & Hardy” silent movie. It was taking them absolutely ages to get anything done and by 2:30pm they’d packed up and gone home for the weekend. If they were to continue at that pace for the remainder of the car park, they’ll be at it until next March.

Monday was a better day. Tarmac was delivered by very large lorry and spread quite thickly and evenly over about half of the area that they had prepared. On Tuesday morning when I arrived, I was surprised to see them attaching the freshly laid tarmac with a pneumatic drill. I can only assume that they were creating a straight line from which to start afresh today. Either that or Fridays “Laurel & Hardy” team have returned for our entertainment!


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Saturday, 13 September 2008

Being Handy Can Be A Curse

I live in a row of 5 terrace houses. Most of my neighbours fall firmly within the category of Senior Citizens. I like to keep an eye out for them. There is one old lady in particular who has no family living locally and I keep a particular eye on her. I’ve often helped her out with little jobs around the house and we keep a key for her, just in case she needs us in an emergency. Here I shall call her “Aunty D”.

Over the years I’ve fixed her plumbing, change light bulbs and the like. Earlier this year her freezer broke down, so we offered her space in ours until she got it sorted out. I don’t mind helping her out as I realise that it would cost her a fortune to call trades people out to fix items I could do in a jiffy.

There are also two quite elderly Gents who are quite good friends. They have both lost their wives within the last 2 years. The first, our direct neighbour, is 92 years old and still just about gets about on his own. He generally keeps himself to himself and is quite up beat and comical. But if he catches you, you’ll be stuck chatting for hours. I’ll call him “Uncle R”. The other old duffer, in his mid 80’s appears quite frail, but still drives. He has been known to be quite a miserable old bugger and we rarely chat. Him I’ll call “Miserygutts” for artistic purposes.

This afternoon we had a particularly heavy down pour. When I say particularly heavy, think flash floods. I know this because I got caught in it on my bike. It was like riding down a river while someone threw stones at me. This rain was accompanied by a very short lived thunder storm. One flash/bang and it was all over. However, that one lightening bolt obviously hit something of importance as the power momentarily blipped. It scared the willies out of Junior who was using my PC at the time. Fortunately there was no permanent damage and it quickly rebooted itself.

About 10 minutes later there was a knock at the door. It’s was Uncle R. Apparently Miserygutts had phoned him to say he had no power and could I pop round to take a look. The lightening strike had obviously tripped out his main RCD and it was simply a case of resetting it for him. He flicked a light switch in his hall and announced that it wasn’t working, but from where I was standing I could see that the landing light was on. I told him this, but he couldn’t hear me. So I quickly located the hall switch, which surprised him. What worried me was that he was unable to find a light switch in his own house. This from a man who holds a driving licence and regularly drives.

Note To Self:- Stay off the road when Misergutts gets his car out of the garage!!!!

Problem sorted, off home I went. When I got there Auntie D was ringing our doorbell. The lightening bolt has upset her phone, so I popped round to reset it for her. It’s not the first time her phone has done that either. I think it’s probably on it’s last legs.

This time I managed to get as far as my kitchen before the now familiar “tap, tap, tap” of Uncle R on the front door could be heard once more. Miserygutts had no power again. So off to the rescue yet again was I. Again, the RCD had tripped which made me think that there could be another fault to find. RCDs are design to trip when there is a fault between either Live or Neutral and Earth is detected. They are very sensitive for a good reason and only require a very small fault current to trip out. This is typically in the realms of mA’s. It is usually the sign of a direct short or a heating element in which the insulation is just beginning to break down. He had put his kettle on since I was last there so I made a beeline for his kitchen. When switch on, the kettle was making a rather worrying fizzing sound. I quickly turned it of and discovered that he had managed to get the socket where the main cable plugs in, very wet. I dried it off and normal safe service was resumed.

Thankfully that was at about 5:45pm this evening and so far I haven’t heard a peep out of any of them.

To be honest I don’t mind helping out where I can. After all these people are on their own and don’t get to speak to many people during the day. My time costs nothing and mostly I’m glad to help out. One day I’ll be old too.

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be too helpful, but at least I’ll go to heaven when my time comes. Lol.


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Friday, 12 September 2008

Biker Got High

The Biker forum that I belong to recently gained a new member. He calls himself Sven and introduced himself by posting this truly excellent video that he made.

He is a biker and video-blogger. He combines the two activities very well. His blog is very interesting and keep me amused for hours (which isn't hard) lol.

It called A whole world of Sven and is well worth a visit!!!!


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In 2004 this 38 year old Germany bloke one day decided to invent a new extreme sport. He made himself a suit fitted with roller blade wheels on all sides and then set off to slide down steep mountain roads.

He calls the sport "Buggy Rollin" and here is the result.

I can't decide whether he's a complete loony or just really cool?

Either way it looks like great fun, if suicidally dangerous!!!!


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