Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I've just returned from the school nativity play. Compulsory watching I'm afraid. There's no escape. Actually it was quite good. Here's S as a sheep.

More business with Mum this morning. Cathy and I went to scatter her ashes at Oxford this morning in the crematorium garden of remembrance. It's where Dad's ashes are. I feel a sense of closure I suppose. A little raw still though.

Monday, December 12, 2005

OK. Now an attempt to raise the profile of Cathy's professional activities. She's a paediatric occupational therapist, specialising in developmental disorders. This means that she gets to play with lots of kids' toys. See her web site.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Research on powering a narrowboat goes on apace. Information in now from various sources.
The prospective narrowboat will be gas free. i.e. there will be no gas appliances like cooker, heating. This means we will need a generator or a very large battery bank. There are gas free boats around (ever since Whisper) but these are diesel driven and have a generator either on the engine or in addition to the engine. Primary motive power is still the diesel engine.
My research has led me to the following options:

1.) Conventional diesel propulsion. Diesel Engine drives the propellor via propshaft.
2.) Diesel engine with hydraulic transmission. You can put the engine anywhere in the boat. The engine can be run at constant revs and prop speed is controlled via the hydraulics.
3.) Diesel engine with auxiliary electric drive. Both diesel and electric motors drive the propellor through the same propellor shaft using clutches and belts to engage one or the other. Thames Electric Launch selectric system.
4.) Electric motor drives the propellor using batteries charged from shore power or via an on-board generator. Solomon Technologies Electric Wheel for instance, from Enviroboat.

While I'd like to go for (4) I think it's too expensive (add 15k to the build cost of the narrowboat) and I'll probably go for (3).

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Lying in bed watching DVDs and surfing. Had a vasectomy yesterday. Not as bad as I thought but worse than I thought it would be. Anyway, now I have to spend 24 hours in a horizontal position. Watched Dodgeball with Vince Vaughan and Ben Stiller. Very funny. Pay attention to the rating, though (12A).

Im sharing the bed with E, 8 months old and suffering from chicken pox. We're both feeling a little fragile right now. Cathy's playing ministering angel. She's go two poorly males to look after.

For myself, I'm looking at specifying a narrowboat to be built next year. Who builds it is still undecided.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Judi was coming up to our place with her family at the weekend but the were snowed in! Service at Haddenham Methodist church last Sunday with a bit of a tribute for Mum by the people at church who knew her. There was a fair turn-out. I met people I've not seen for over a decade. I suppose most of them were middle aged when I lived in Haddenham in the eighties. After the service the origianl plan was to have a pub meal at the Green Dragon or the Rose and Thistle but in the event my cousin Chris and his wife had to go home and Judi and family were not there, so we swung by our old house and then went home.

We've engaged an estate agent to sell Mum's bungalow. I've done some back of the envelope sums and we're going to have to pay some inheritance tax on Mum's estate. It's strange to be worrying about such things.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Funeral on Friday. Brought the ashes back home today. Things are fairly complex with the process of probate to go through. Our solicitor (in Honiton) has obtained the will from Mum's solicitor, so things are progressing. We've got to have Mum's bungalow valued for probate and then probably we'll sell it. I met two estate agents today and they made hopeful noises about the market. We finished going through her things this weekend and the house is now empty. It still needs cleaning, but the largest part of the job is now complete. Judi, my sister seemed a lot better this weekend. She and Mum were very close and Mum's death was a great blow to her (as it was to me). I only saw Mum every six to eight weeks but Judi saw her every day and so not seeing her at all now is more difficult to adjust to. I'm going back to work tomorrow, so things should return to more or less normal until next weekend when we have another church service at Mum's old church in Haddenham to attend.

Ewan's first tooth appeared this morning. Explains why the poor little lad's not sleeping too well at the moment.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Pauline Read 3 Aug 1926 - 8 Nov 2005
Love you Mum.
Back to work as normal this week. Everybody's been very nice but sometimes the awkwardness is palpable. I know how it feels from both sides now. I work in IT and being we techies tend to be a little less able on the social side of things. I have tried to make it easier for my colleagues if possible by taking the initiative in conversation. It helps a little to talk about it but I find now that I tend to slip into a stock speech while thinking of a way to change the subject as quickly as possible. Ho hum.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Mum died last Tuesday night. She passed away peacefully in her sleep. We got back from Devon last night. The funeral is all arranged for Friday.
In the meantime it will be work as usual. We're going back down to Devon on Thursday and returning on Monday.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

This could be the final piece in my green motoring jigsaw : My Peugeot is already adapted to run on vegetable oil (I buy the cheap stuff from Tesco). Itt still needs to be started on fossil diesel to warm it up before it can run on veg oil. I think I'll try starting it on B100 biodiesel from Goldenfuels. It may require a trip to Oxford to buy some. This will make my motoring as carbon-neutral as possible. And all on a shoestring budget. See technical stuff and more about my dual fuel diesel at

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Down to Devon (Honiton) to see my mum and sister on Friday, returned yesterday. We went to Seaton (my sister, me and her youngest son Adam) to see my mum in the nursing home she reluctantly moved into on Thursday. It's a really pleasant place which we picked out for her, with a feel of the four star hotel about it. The staff are friendly, attentive and caring. Like many people Mum has a fear of being put in a home by her children and forgotten. No danger of that (the forgotten part) but she still mutters darkly occasionally about it when we visit. Ho hum. There's no alternative. She needs 24 hour care with no small amount of nursing input. Since neither my sister nor I are trained nurses and both our homes have numerous steps between rooms it isn't possible to have her living with us. She's still adjusting to the situation but I think she'll come to enjoy it.

Here's the spot all those bits came from. It took four hours to get this far. Posted by Picasa

Here are some pictures to go with the previous post:  Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 28, 2005

Sore throat since Monday. Nearly better now. What a way to spend a week off!

Started repairing the Pug today. It needs a new interior heater core. When the model first came out the workshop time for this job was quoted at 12 hours because the whole of the fsacia has to be dismantled. Nice peice of design Peugeot! Luckily there is a way to do it without dismantling everything (thanks Peugeot Club of Canberra I'm glad because the last time I took the instrument panel out I had to take it to a garage to have the speedo cable reconnected. It's still taken me about four hours to dismantle enough to reach the heater core. Pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005