Sunday, January 30, 2005

coughing up time

OK everything seems to work as advertised, no hitches and my house is still snug and cosy (even though the floor coverings upstairs are mostly ripped up) so I've just written a really big cheque. This means the heating system is now officially in and mine. Everything's under warranty (lifetime for the giant hot water cylinder, 5 years for the radiators and 2 years for everything else) and Super-Plumber said not to hesitate to call him if I have any concerns, questions... or explosions.

Yay for home improvements. It might have cost me an arm and a leg and an extraordinarily stressful week but it feels good: I can get out of bed in the mornings into a room which is room temperature, come upstairs and wake up under the best shower I've ever experienced, and just generally enjoy living in my house that bit more. Plus when the time comes it'll sell... well it will when I get this carpet in...

Saturday, January 29, 2005

cautiously cosy

The new boiler's in (as of yesterday afternoon actually - but I was too busy Friday-ing to blog.) so far so good - the last one failed after about a day's use though so I'll reserve judgement until it's well and truly settled in - just now though all appears well, my house is warm again, hot water is something we just have rather than having to think about, and once the sealant all seals (this afternoon) I'll be able to really enjoy that with the shower... mmmm shower.

keep your collective fingers crossed a while yet though...

Thursday, January 27, 2005


OK... you know my swanky new boiler? the one that's been making my house all warm, my shower superb and my spare room wet? well... it exploded.


Clark (aka Super-Plumber) came out very quickly and took it apart, seems one of the converters (the three bits of cleverness that make the water hot, there are three so that they can scale up or down and use the appropriate amount of electricity to the demands of the house at any given time) literally exploded - there's a big hole in the side of it that looks like someone inside it* shot their way out... followed by lots of water!

Clark is not impressed, he is surprised: this is far from being the first of these systems he's ever installed, it is however the first time one of them has exploded. He's taking it back to the manufacturer tomorrow (I imagine with angry guns blazing) and getting a new one - I feel looked out for which is comforting.

In other news my bathtub has been propperly installed (about ten years after it arrived in the building) and now doesn't flex, squeak or otherwise behave in an unbathtubly fashion. soon it will be water tight but we're at the mercy of chemistry for that part - Super-Plumbers may well work faster-than-a-speeding-bullet speeds, but sealants will still take a while to seal...

so... all isn't exactly well in splatland: I was very unhappy at the start of the evening. That's an understatement - I was miserable. That thing about your space reflecting your state of mind is very true - happily while my space is undergoing some... "upheaval", there's a good and effective force at work making a new order in it.

All will be well. soon.

*this would be really hard since each of these bits of cleverness is about the size of a coke can

the Curse of Cruickshank

every time.

the Curse of Cruickshank strikes again: the nice new high pressure shower over his shoddily fitted bathtub means that taking a shower floods the spare room. bugger.

Happily Super-Plumber is coming to the rescue and refitting the bathtub propperly so that it'll hold water (a novel approach, I know) but it'll take time for the sealant to seal so no showers for a while yet... Anita's OK, she christened the new niagra last night (which is how we know it leaks) but I may well need to visit a friend with a functioning bathroom soon.

every time: this sort of knock-on happens with any job in my house, as well as undoing crazy Cruickshank's botched work in order to do whatever improvement you're doing, you also end up undoing a bunch of other related stuff he did wrong once you've sorted whatever it was you actually wanted to change. Case in point this business with the bath but it always happens...

... mind you at the rate I'm going it won't be too long before I've undone and redone everything he ever did in that place.

"Super-Plumber" is (aptly enough) actually called Clark

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

smoking electrician monkeys

huzzah! my house has heat!

The electrician who usually subcontracts for my Plumber (see, I'm getting all proprietorial* about them, which means they must be doin' good) has vanished into the electrician ether... Plumber In Chief is miffed about this but managed to scare up two replacements for this evening. So at 7ish they all three arrived, Plumber In Chief and his two un-tested new sidekicks... sidekicks stopped outside for a smoke, and returned there for nicotine top-ups at regular intervals over the evening... much to everyone else's mild irritation since none of the other four people in the house smokes and all of us wanted the job done with asap.

Hey ho, they did (it seems) get the job done, albeit in a slightly haphazard way - Hamish, Anita and I retreated downstairs to start putting furniture back together in Anita's room (which has seen the most upheaval of the three bedrooms in order to accommodate a radiator, and needed some re-thinking) "give us a shout when the power's going off" says I as we depart, "yeah, of course" replies Plumber In Chief... an hour or so later we're all plunged into darkness: electrician monkeys seem to have been either unsure or just uncommunicative about exactly when they'd turn the power off and upstairs is in confused darkness too - nobody's torches seem to work except mine so I distribute them and wait patiently for power to return... in between fag breaks *sigh*

but now all is well - the system works, there are some loose ends to be tidied up tomorrow but my house is warm throughout for the first time in the three years I've lived here - that's really something! Anita's scheming to christen the shower too - technically we shouldn't because one of the 'loose ends' is installing a thermostaticly regulated mixer so that we can shower under a safely temperature controlled niagra, but Hamish and I have both promised not to turn on taps while she's in there so she'll be fine...

yay for the new heating system! and yay for my Plumbers! they did good.

*It's all totally appropriate and platonic, anyone who's having tradesman fantasies on my behalf can just quit it - lovely though they all three are, none of them is lovely that way OK? they're just very good at their job

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

hiding? me?

First off thanks again to everyone who listened to me freaking out yesterday - decompressing really helped. So Day 2 has kicked off, the team have started ripping up the floor upstairs and I've retreated to my room. I'm calm. No really I am. ;)

Things I'm happy about today:

- I'm one day closer to this being done
- I'm a day closer to having heating
- I got the wirelss network fixed before work started
- my bedroom reconfigures into a comfy bolt-hole


oh yeah, and

- there are lots of people who'll help me regain my sanity again at the end of the day when I'm a gibbering wreck

In case you hadn't gathered already, I'm finding this all just a little stressful.

Monday, January 24, 2005


I should have taken bets on how long these guys would be in before one of them asked "so which joker put this plumbing in?" The man who converted my house from the shop it used to be was a gap-toothed psychopath and every time I or anyone else work on the place, half the job involves unravelling his "workmanship".

so, 'round 11am today the team who are installing my new hot water and central heating system got to the stage of starting to pull out the old immersion tank, turned the water off at the mains, disconnected the pipes, isolated it with its stop-cock, turned the mains back on and nearly flooded my house. Surprise surprise, Cruickshank's plumbing sucks just as badly as the rest of his work...


Sunday, January 23, 2005

battening down the hatches

so the house is almost ready for the arrival of the heating engineers tomorrow - Anita's room looks as if she's about to move out with half her furniture disassembled and a heap of packing crates piled about the place holding the former occupants of the disassembled furniture (like her gigantic video collection for example) I've had to take the stairs lights out of action because they'd be unsafe to have running while people are going to be clambering about on the other side of the ceiling they're fitted into, and the contents of my airing cupboard have been moved out so that the airing cupboard itself can be converted into the boiler housing... the only thing left is to clear one or two surfaces upstairs and stow away the glassware since the cupboard that lives in will need to be moved to make way for piping instalation.

should be an interesting week but at least I don't have to go to work tomorrow

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


I give up. Something about the new site structure (which makes everything else work much better) is screwing up comments both from Blogger's own homebaked solution and from the add-in code I used to use from Haloscan... so it's 'no comment' for the time being folks, you'll have to put up with just listening for a while.

I'm archiving Haloscan's comment log so I haven't lost anyone's input on old entries (thanks to all of you by the way, it's been good to have feedback) but for now you won't be able to add new comments. sorry.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

update on the update

so now the archives are back up, took a bit of digital sleeve rolling and mucking in manually with some html code but I can do that and hey look, it worked!

now I just need to figure out what's breaking the comments engine so you can all overload haloscan with your torrent of accolades for my beautiful new layout ;)

oh and (as yet) some links in archived blog posts (to photo albums for example) will still be broken because I've moved where some things (like photo albums) live - similarly if you link in to any content at you should know it's moved - in fact you should already know because I mailed the only people who've asked permission to do this and explained the new structure, so if your external link in is broken the it's your own fault for not asking - so ner.


sorry we've been a bit short on updates round here recently - I've been kinda busy updating the whole site! woo! :)

I'll have more to say once I've finished checking everything works (like the archives, which are shot just now I'm afraid)

Saturday, January 08, 2005

God Bless NETGEAR!

Home is wireless once more! woohoo!

For those of you who missed it, back in August broadband finally arrived in the little Scottish backwater where I live. Cutting a long and boring story short after that there was nothing but perplrxing techno-disharmony in my house until this morning when I replaced a bunch of inexplicably uncooperative devices with one of these wonder machines. Now all is well again! Cables are banished to the corners and ducts they belong in and no longer dangling out the back of mine or 'nites computers. We can both use the internet at speed and at the same time... all is well once more!

I know: none of you are remotely interested in this but I'm ridiculously happy about it.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

not in Baltimore

I've just been to see Garden State with Hamish. It's a good film, but I don't think I got half as much out of it as Hame did. You know how you can be in a conversation and not really feel like part of it? Like the other people talking are all communicating on a level that's missing you somehow? well this was like that - I understood what the film was saying but it wasn't really speaking to me while I think Hame was having his ear chewwed off, figuratively speaking.

It's been fun lately watching my best friend being in love, and this was like turning a lens on it but I couldn't help feeling a little like the part of me that the movie was pitching to is missing at the moment. Not gone, just kinda switched off and diverting to voicemail. I'm busy you see.

Last night I couldn't sleep - that's normal for the first night before work resumes... and not all that unusual in general - left to my own devices for any length of time my body clock shifts, and the waking day for me slews by about four or five hours out from everyone else's in the same timezone. Anyway I was lying awake with all this stuff going round in my head, not the usual late night anxiety crap either but really engaging stuff work stuff, life stuff, creative stuff... busy brain. Fun, though not good for sleeping... but then when I finally managed to get it to shut up and be quiet I had to get up because the silence freaked me out.

A blank page can be kinda scarey when you stop and look at it for too long. That's exactly what 2005 feels like to me at the moment: a vast and inviting/intimidating blank page. I've got some great ideas forming for what's going to go on there but right now they're still just forming, and that promising shapelessness is unsettling when looked at head on. Anyway the film tonight made me realise that for the first time in a long time, I'm really not thinking about love, not much. Realising that reminds me that love's exactly the sort of thing which shows up when you stop looking for it, but then if I think about that too long it starts to feel like I'm baiting fate or something daft so I'm going to go back to all the other stuff and just get on with creating my year.

watch this space (as always)

Monday, January 03, 2005

Happy New Year!

OK it's three days in now but the sentiment still holds and besides I've been busy having an extended New Year with friends - great stuff!

Have one or two changes planned for round here over the next few days so keep an eye out for those... lots of changes happening in the house too - promise updated photos for those who won't see them in person.

better keep it short - tonnes to do.