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- Up around 10am (although the clocks changed last night so 9am kinda). 14C in, 4C out with some brightness. Windy again with the forecast saying thirty to forty mile an hour gusts right through until at least Thursday - again!! :o(. . felt tired, aching, cold and headachey - again! . .slow getting going . . walked BGdns real late and sat around playing ball for a bit before hearing E across the bay giving me a shout on the local repeater! Chatted for a bit, but it really was rather too cold for comfort, and pressing the PTT on the VX-7 handie is always a rediculous and soon painful strain on ones thumb at the best of times! Eventually called a halt to the chat and headed home as just a bit of hail (and the temperature) fell. . recovered from the walk before mustering up the energy to briefly pop half the ladder back up against the front wall, to be able to pop the plastic cover over the bottom end of the new scaffold pole. Breezey but manageable. . . poked at radios for a bit, but all the HF bands were just chocoblock full of the contest still. I just don't get what it is people see in doing such contests. Pretty much every single one of the participants sounded 'frantic' and stressed as they repeatedly called for contacts, over and over and OVER again! Each contact they DO get lasts literally SECONDS, and is the BRIEFEST of callsign and signal exchange reports, together with an exchange of the number of the contest contact - as fast as it could possibly be said, and not bothering to get even the persons name! By now, LOTS were exchanging contact numbers in the thousands!!!! Extraordinary. . it had to be done - I just couldn't resist - just to get a bit of a feel for what it may be like to be doing that. I ended up arbitrarily tuning across the 15mtr band and picking a handful of the calling stations at random and gave them a call (and thereby an 'extra point'/entry in their contest log). The first guy I called was in Warsaw. I gave HIM a contest contact number of 'zero zero one'. lol I was HIS contact number 448. (He won't be winning anything! lolol) In relatively quick succession I made similarly brief contacts into Bucharest, Bosnia&Herzegovina, Serbia and finally into Russia near Moscow. I was contact number 3,517 for that last one! During this 'play', just finding enough time to write relevant entries in my log book seemed like unpleasantly hard work for me! I don't know how (or why?!) those guys can do it like that - hour after hour after hour!! Extraordinary. Having said all that, I DO admit that it quickly puts 'pins in the map' so to speak, WITHOUT the personal awkwardness of actually having to try to have an actual conversation with someone (a complete stranger AND a foreigner, with potentialy poor English to boot!) lolol . all in all, just a bit of 'fun' for me for a while, 'making use of' for once, those damned contesters hogging all the bands. lol :o) . . . ate a pork pie, cheese sandwich, crisps, mini cheddars and two buttered hot cross buns . . . napped until the 6:30pm alarm as the near freezing gale continued. . Mum called to remind me. Watched episode two of the Brixham 'Fish Town' series on Pick TV. . Cold and headachey. Couldn't face the evening walk yet again. . PCd this . . . radiod and tuned around the still contest-full HF bands, just listening for hours. Ended up all headachey through listening to all the dreadful constant electrical interference noise I get here (from everyones plasma TVs, etc) :o( . . Really had had enough of it all, but figured I'd stay on for a while longer because it wasn't 'that' far off being 00:00hrs UTC. The RSGB (Radio Society Of Great Britain) is celebrating its Centenary, and Ofcom have agreed a special arrangement for the special event station callsign G100RSGB. In effect, the callsign is being passed around the country over the course of the year, to be operated in all sorts of different locations by all sorts of different clubs and groups. (There is apparantly a competition and awards for who contacts that callsign 'the most' throughout the year - so there IS PLENTY of interest in it - EVERY day, wherever it may be!) On the first of April, the LOCAL Riviera Amateur Radio Club were going to be operating it for 24hrs with effect from 1am (local/BST = 00:00 UTC) and some of the members HAD intended to get straight on the air with it at that time. . gave a shout on the local repeater at some point and ended up chatting briefly with a little group of locals all 'eagerly' waiting around for it to appear. lolol Sure enough, a little after 1am, excited 'A' across the bay appeared on the VHF calling frequency with the special commemorative callsign, and dutifully got the first few waiting stations callsigns recorded in their special log. 'I' got MY log entry. lolol Geeky, funny, funny, funny. lolol :o) Eventually tore myself away and left them all to it . . . ate hot cross buns, a banana and a pack of mini cheddars . . to bed around 3am.
30 - Woke earlier, snoozed on, snuggled on the bed with Bella for a bit then up around 7:35am. 13C in, 2C out. Still pretty windy but 'slightly' less, and at least a hint of some sun breaking through the cloud . . walked FGn . . .poked at the radios looking across the HF bands for the local RARC club guys who were doing a 'special event' station from Paignton Zoo (GB4ZOO), marking 90years since the zoo opened. Thought it would be interesting to listen-in and compare reception etc. Turned out I really had absolutely no hope of finding them on whichever frequencies they ended up on, mostly because the bands were absolutely jam packed with monster signals! There was a forty eight hour 'CQ Worldwide WPX SSB' contest on, and half the world appeared to be engaged in it! I do hate these damned contests. All of a sudden, the people who are into it, totally monopolise the entire HF spectrum and make it absolutely impossible for anyone else to find a piece of clear frequency or do anything. :o( . . ended up chatting locally on VHF quite a bit instead. Did actually get to speak to the 'zoo guys' on the local repeater briefly. Turned out they weren't having much luck using HF because of the contest AND because of some localised interference at the zoo. I have to confess, this business about putting on 'special event' stations like that, IS largely often beyond me (not in 'some' respects) - and doing this one in particular really rather amused me. What exactly WOULD your average passer-by make of a strange bunch of geeky radio amateurs all sat around out in the freezing cold chatting into their radios (allegedly trying to 'raise the profile' of what must SURELY be regarded by most sane and normal people, as an outdated 'anorac wearers', 'trainspotter like' hobby!!???? lol) - and of all places, in a ZOO!!!! According to the blurb, 'Paignton Zoo is now one of the country’s leading conservation charities'. Hilarious for me to imagine them all 'exhibited' in a cage next to the gorillas, and kept there (after 4pm when they were expecting to leave) as part of a conservation effort for a dieing hobby. lolol. Just my sense of humor. It's funnier without having to struggle to explain it in words here. I wish them well of course - but I DO seem to have a different attitude towards all this 'radio nonsense'. It IS a pretty 'niche' and geeky, 'pointless' activity I reckon - particularly considering how technology has moved on. I think this was largely summed up by a transmission I overheard from the guys at the zoo - which so amused me, I thought it was kinda worthy of 'quote of the day' status. One of the guys was trying to communicate on his handheld radio with one of the others in a different nearby location within the zoo. He reported to someone else - "I'm having trouble getting him so I think I'll just give him a call on his mobile (phone)." lolololololol That speaks volumes doesn't it? lolol . . chatted locally some more for a bit until - oh NO!!!! The FT-897 suddenly reported it had a high SWR on the new antenna!!???? What the hell????? Everything was looking fine yesterday - how the hell can this be? Abruptly stopped chatting and started disconnecting leads and running tests with the SWR meter, 'bending' and 'jiggling' the coax ends and sockets etc, etc, etc - fearing the worst. To cut a long story short, I eventually somehow managed to discover what the problem was. Because all my switchers and the SWR meter are SO239 type sockets, I've put PL259 plugs on the ends of all my coax runs. That means I have to use a standard SO239 female to N type male coax adapter in the back of each of the radios. The adapter in use on the FT-897 turned out to have a poorly connecting centre pin. So badly connected, it was visibly able to wobble about when not plugged into the radio!!!! FFS! That's just a manufacturing flaw. A poorly made piece of cheap (Chinese?) junk! Outrageous! Would you believe it - I do all that work getting the pole and aerial up, etc, etc, and now all because of a stupid little adapter, I can't use it! Infuriating! . I DID actually have a go with a small soldering iron at trying to run some solder down inside the barrel of the SO239 socket part to solder the loose pin in position, but it was just pretty quickly obviously impossible. Even if it had been possible, it would probably have been unwise to risk using the radio on an adaptor with such a repair. I put the adaptor in the bin - then pulled it out for another look - and repeated that MORE than once. It's obviously built by machines and there IS no way of taking it apart and effecting ANY sort of reasonable repair (as is the case with most everything these days). I've no choice - for the sake of a silly couple of s adaptor, I can't use that new aerial as I'd intended until I buy a new one. SO frustrating and annoying! I just BET, no one else in the world has ever had one of those adaptors turn out to be faulty like that! :o( (It DOES also mean that when I get a new one, I will have to totally re-evaluate the FT-897 performance and characteristics/symptoms with regard to its 'fault'! :o( ). . . Mum called in with food donations for chats etc. . . ate two ham finger rolls, mini cheddars and a little chocolate . . . napped . . . PCd and eventually went ahead and via e-bay, ordered an SO239 Socket to N-Type Plug Adaptor, AND an SO239 Socket TO BNC Plug Adapter for 5.74 inc postage. Actually also bit the bullet and soon followed that up with a purchase of 5 x Exhaust Clamp U Bolt 50mm 2 inch Universal Type for 6.50 inc postage. The latter is all part of my 'emerging' plan to knock up something 'neat' for ultimately attaching an unun and the end of my long-wire antenna to the new pole. . .TVd/guitarred/PCd the whole rest of the night away . . ate a whole pack of Mum donated fairy cakes! . . .finally to bed deep into the early hours somewhere around 3 or 4am.
29 - Woken around 6:30am by an intermittent, 'relatively' low level howling wind noise from the bedroom bay window. :o( Headachey. 12C in, 2C out. .the coastguard MSI broadcast is warning of gale force eight later (gusts up to 40mph). An immediate test for the 'robustness' of my new aerial installation!! I AM very uptight about it. .walked Fgn a bit early. Real cold and unpleasant in the strong easterly breeze again. Some waves making it over the breakwater! Didn't endure the playing ball for long. Suffering plenty of aches and pains from yesterdays exertions . . . PCd this with the electric fan heater on for quite a bit . I 'think' I can hear a 'low rumbling' from the strong wind (24mph/40mph gusts) blowing across the open end of the scaffold pole. I new that was gonna happen. I decided not to put the plastic end cap on the bottom of it yesterday, in case rainwater got in and needed to drip out. I HAD intended to stuff something up it (a bit of loft insulation) to stop the 'whistle' effect, but half forgot and half couldn't be bothered. With hindsight, with the top plastic cap firmly in place, there is NO WAY any rainwater can get in, so I'm probably going to end up fitting that end cap after all - when the weather improves and the wind drops - assuming it hasn't been blown down and taken half the house wall with it by then!! <worry, worry> . . .ate the last half of the steak pie with just some crisps . . napped until around 6pm . . .D called in with his pretty, new, 'resonator guitar' toy for mostly just chats until around 10:15pm as the strong winds continued . . .PCd/monitored radios. .ate a six pieces of bread and butter pile of tuna and mayo sandwiches, crisps and a square of chocolate . .TVd until to bed not much before 3am.
28 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up around 7:25am. 13C in, 1C out but with some sun for the first time in a while. Woke at the PC as usual. Something VERY weird going on with the radios on VHF around 8am!? Getting 'blank' signals of varying strength all over the place right across the band!?? Never experienced anything like that before. . a workman called at the door asking who's car it was outside. They are gonna be digging a hole in the pavement right next to my water meter and gas main, to 'clear a blockage', so they can get high-speed BT broadband cables threaded through and up the street!!! That's worrying - in terms of 'potential' issues for my water meter etc. :o( I DID express my concerns to the workman just a little. Probably should have rushed out and taken a water meter reading, but it was just too much hassle under the circumstances, what with them all running around with equipment and heavy machinery, etc. . .walked Fgn under a blue sky. It wasn't particularly warm, but the rare sight of the sun and little wind made it feel SO much nicer than of late. . on the return, the road diggers joked they'd cut off both my gas and water, and it wouldn't be repairable until next Tuesday. Oh hardy har har - very funny! They'd already dug a hole by my gate and exposed all the phone cables (suprisingly near the surface), and were in the process of threading cable through from up the street. They'd ALSO dug holes further down the road. Heck of a mess out there with temporary ramps and barriers all over the place. . . With a rare, one day break 'window of opportunity' in the bad weather, I HAD to muster the energy to tackle the aerial/mast project out front. (I'd wanted to figure out the 'elegant' way to also connect a 'long wire' for HF bands to that mast BEFORE I put it all up, but that IS gonna have to wait for the future - because I STILL haven't 'quite' figured out how I'm gonna do it.) Got the ladder up and measured up, and then headed up into the attic to see where the roof timbers and rafters were in relation to where I wanted to try to drill the soffit to get the coax through to outside. Turned out there were 'no impediments' and I could put the hole exactly where I wanted it - right behind where the mast will go up on the brackets. Back outside up the ladder, I eventually managed to use the electric drill to (actually quite easily) cut out a large oversized square hole in the soffit (big enough to ultimately be able to poke through multiple runs of coax, complete with the larger diameter plugs already on the ends). Dismantled ALL the (many!) aerial connections in the radio room, and eventually managed to thread them back through and remove the single gang brush wall plate and socket box from the stud wall. With SO many lengths of thick RG213 coax coming down through inside that stud wall, the single gang socket box has proven to be too much of a squeeze, and I've long been intending to expand the hole in the wall and replace it with a double. THAT 'liberates' the single gang brush wall plate - so I screwed that to the soffit outside, to give a tidy look over the new hole and to provide some resistance to the wind blowing through it into the attic. Worked out nicely. . carefully cut out and expanded the hole in the PC room stud wall, and eventually fitted a spare double gang socket box after having cut a large portion of it away to allow all the cables to go through with room to manouver. I was SURE I'd already bought a double gang brush face plate for that some time ago, but if I did, for the life of me I haven't a clue where it may be. I searched high and low! Damn - gonna have to just make do without for the time being. Shame though, because when I get(find?) one, I'll have to disconnect everything all over again and feed the cables all through it before I can screw it on. :o( . Breifly surfed trying to remind myself how to fit a compression N type, RG213 coax plug. I HATE those damned N type plugs - and the ('Multicomp') ones I have are different to any I could find on the net, so I eventually just had to 'wing it'. It actually went better than it ever has done for me before for some reason (my nice new small soldering iron tips I think). I even dared to solder the braid to the inserted metal clamp part this time too. With the socket on the aerial end of the coax, it was back up the ladder outside to actually feed the other end through into the attic and then all the way down inside the stud wall up to the radio. The 'offcut' of spare coax I used, actually turned out to be longer than I needed - and I have another length left-over, the same (for when I put the new long wire up there), so that worked out nicely and WON'T require me spending huge mounts more on coax. :o) . spent ages out in the front garden cleaning all the parcel tape marks from the aluminium scaffold pole with sandpaper and a paraffin soaked rag. Irritating waste of time! . eventually, after much working out the best way round to have everything, got the ariel 'stub mast' assembly appropriately clamped to the scaffold pole down at ground level. Propped the scaffold pole up against the ladder and climbed up the ladder with the aerial to thread the coax through the stub mast assembly and ultimately connect it to the aerial and then bolt the aerial into position on top. Managed to get the three radial ground-planes bolted on with it still resting aginst the ladder. Image of a Moonraker SQBM-1000 atop a 10 foot scaffold poleIt was then a matter of awkwardly manhandling the whole aerial and scaffold pole assembly up the ladder to the T&K brackets, and getting the U bolts around it and screwed back on. THAT was the real scary awkward bit - because there wasn't enough room to get the ladder up alongside the brackets!! I had to teeter on the very top rungs of the ladder which ended BELOW the bottom K bracket. A sudden case of cramp in my freezing left hand, when I absolutely could NOT let go, didn't help!!! I got there in the end, and temporarily tightened the U bolts with the aerial 'just' above the gutter line. Had a much needed celebratory breather. Phew - hard bit done. It was then 'just' a matter of going back up the ladder and taping the coax to the pole every now and then, as I alternately slackened and retightened the U bolts and ultimately hoisted the thing up to its full height. A final adjustment was made before fully tightening the U bolts, to ensure the ground planes were pointing the way I'd planned, and then using a spirit level, to make sure it was all near enough vertical. Finally, I used a 'found in the street' white plastic cable tie to neatly hold the coax to the top T bracket, where it drops down from the soffit to the mast, in a small curve for rainwater runoff. Yayyyy - that's it - UP. All the outside stuff done - just a case of sorting out everything inside now. It IS VERY 'noticeable', and it IS gonna prey on my mind now every time there is a gale - but - well - I guess I can always undo it and take it all back down if it doesn't work out or if the worry gets to me too much. . had a much needed coffee and cigarettes break before eventually soldering a new PL259 plug onto the other end of the coax in the PC room . . tidied up debris just a bit before laboriously reconnecting all the aerials and radios on the desk, frequently climbing back up into the attic to adjust cable runs etc. . at length, I eventually connected up the new antenna and my existing primary chimney mounted colinear, through a switch into the FT-8800, to enable me to quickly switch between them and do a 'side by side' test of everything. . everything appears to be working 'as expected'. The new antenna is of course much lower than the chimney one, and partially obstructed behind by the roof of the house, so it always was going to be 'less able', particularly for any signals in the direction of 'through' the roof. On the whole, it appears a couple of 'S' points down - although bizarrely, in some directions, maybe appears to be an 'S' point up!?? Never ceases to amaze me (so I've learned) how the slightest little change to positioning can have such variable and largely unpredictable results!?? . eventually hooked the new aerial up to the FT-897 and ran comparisons with IT. Shockingly different characteristics in signals, highlighting what I'm pretty sure is all connected with the ongoing 'fault' the 897 has (on FM especially?) with one of its filters breaking down ( I 'think'??)!! :o( Oh well - all in good time. At least it now has a dedicated aerial and I don't have to worry about forgetting to switch, and potentially transmitting on either of my radios without an aerial and damaging them. . Finally called it quits and tidied up and cleared away tools around 7:30pm. THAT - was a long hard days work (without eating of course), which actually didn't go too badly!!. . .Poor Bella had been largely neglected all day, so I figured she deserved a walk and some ball play. We walked FGn around 8pm. Eventually back via the store for milk. Ended up impulse buying a 'Premium Deep Filled Steak Pie', which looked rather nice (for only 2) from the picture on the box . . TVd . . . oven cooked the 'steak' pie. Given all the recent scandal about horsemeat in everything, I had a bit of a read from the box, of the ingredients of that pie. It's BOUND to be mostly pastry of course, but even then, in terms of the filling only, it listed a mere 26% as actually (allegedly!) being beef!!! Scandalously little! . eventually ate half the pie with peas and a large mountain of chips around 11:15pm, followed by a couple of squares of chocolate. The pie was nice for a change, but it WAS almost ALL pastry. . TVd nothing, struggling to stay awake until to bed around 12:30am.
27 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up around 7:30am. 12C in, 1C out. . . definitely breifly a flake or two of snow drifted past the window while waking up at the PC! . . walked FGn and sat and played ball for as long as I could stand - which wasn't very long! . . .did laundry . . PCd/monitored radios. Around 10:43am the Teignmouth lifeboat (briefly) and shore teams were mobilised for 2 people and one dog cut off by a rock fall/landslip on 'Ness Beach'. One of the people was reported to be pregnant! Later on, the fire brigade were in attendance on the beach using thermal imaging equipment to ensure no-one was under the latest landslip. . .Couldn't resist (despite my painfully learned better judgement!) doing a last few seconds bid on e-bay for a listing of an MFJ-418 pocket morse code tutor. I did NOT win it - which is probably a good thing given my track record. Shame though - would be VERY nice for use in the living room during advert breaks on the TV. . .popped out and put laundry out to dry on the rotary washing line. I HAD been trying desperately to persuade myself to muster the energy to get the ladder up out front and start working on getting the soffit drilled for aerial coax etc, but just putting the laundry out in the strong breeze was SO bitterly cold, that put paid to THAT idea - yet again! :o( . . . PCd this with the electric fan heater on for a bit. I'm REALLY having trouble with being SO cold for SO long!!! All the paintwork on the outside of the house also appears to have deteriorated dramatically this winter (and not only on my house, from what I can see of next door's)!!?? Lots of indications of the paintwork (masonary especially) starting to crack and flake noticeably around the front door!!??? A casualty of the many months of incessant wet and cold I guess?Bad news! . . .cold and headachey . . .vacuumed . . ate a tin of oxtail soup with boiled potato and peas with a couple of crusts of bread and butter. . napped . . TVd . . PCd and listened-in on the radio to the local club net . . . TVd . . drank the last of the red wine from the box - as usual, literally wringing out the plastic bag inside to get the very last drops. Turned out to be a glass and a half . . . ate bowls of cornflakes before to bed around 1am.
26 - Up around 6:50am. 12C in, 0C out. . .walked the woods, mostly in an attempt to escape the biting cold wind blowing straight in across the 'boisetrous' bay. Sat and played ball briefly in BGdns as the Torbay lifeboat carried out excercises nearby. I DID hang around (in a gun emplacement) with the camcorder out for a bit, because the sea WAS a 'little boisterous' and it could have made for some nice shots, but the cold soon got to me and the lifeboat seemed to be hanging around near the mussel farm for ages, so we eventually carried on our way (just as the lifeboat returned to the harbour and its mooring). Carried on down into town and after a quick look in a couple of charity shops, headed for the hardware store. Spent 1.40 on a ten inch long 8mm thick 'eye' bolt, complete with two nuts and washers. I'm trying to formulate a plan in my mind, of how to eventually 'elegantly' attach a 9:1 unun and the long wire to my new scaffold pole mast, when I put it up out front. With hingsight and after more thought, I probably will NOT be using that bolt as I'd originally planned (which had included drilling a hole near the top of the new scaffold pole - which I am really loathed to do). Never mind - it'll no doubt come in useful somewhere else. . .PCd/monitored radios and just aimlessly sat around for pretty much the whole rest of the day, feeling pretty down and just too cold to do anything - AGAIN! . . . eventually mustered up the 'courage' (only 12C in the house) to have a well overdue, as hot as I could stand it, shower. Oh WHAT a joy to eventually breifly feel warm for just a short while! Had a bit of a 'wardrobe crisis'. All the clothes I've been living in for the past several months (years?) seem to have 'suddenly' worn out and turned into little more than rags!? BOTH my prized zip-front hooded fleeces have worn out at the elbows, and are really pretty much fit for the bin. My fleece lined padded shirt was in an even worse shape - and I actually DID (at last) put it straight in the bin! That's all BAD news! A zip front hooded fleece and the padded shirt over the top (on top of other layers) is a fundamental part of my around the house winter survival gear! I've nothing else as thick or warm left in my wardrobes! :o( Once upon a time the charity shops were FULL of such things. They just don't ever seem to have anything of the sort these days - and what they DO have seems to be remarkably highly priced. Times have changed for sure. I'm in danger of having to start surfing looking to buy clothes of all things!!! <shudder> :o( . . . sat around TVing in front the fire, and just could NOT face going out in the freezing wind again. . . horrendous news reports about a young teenage girl visiting a freind being killed by their 'pack' of dogs. :o( Dogs in 'packs' ARE, ALWAYS bad news! (People too of course!) . . guitarred just a little . . TVd the whole evening away . . finally ate two chicken kievs with a large pile of chips followed by a couple of squares of chocolate around 11pm . . .TVd until to bed at 1am.
25 - Up around 7:50am. 12C in, 1C out. . . walked FGn. Cold, cold easterlyish breeze blowing straight in again/still! (18mph with 33mph gusts!). . PCd this - still seemingly incapable of doing anything other than just 'survive the cold'! On the way back from the walk just up the road, some guy was out on a roof, chipping off and presumably relaying the ridge tiles! Jeeze - that must be hell in this weather!! I just don't know how people working outside manage it! And down here, we've been incredibly fortunate again. Horrific pictures on the news of everywhere up north all covered in snow, with subzero temperatures, power outages and even 15ft snow drifts etc!!! I SHOULD think myself lucky! . . . ate ham sandwiches, crisps and soup followed by some chocolate biscuits . . napped . . .TVd/just sat, feeling cold and miserable . . . ate a banana, crisps and biscuits . . . to bed at 1am.
24 - Up around 7:40am. 14C in, 4C out. Grey, misty and breezy again, which is pretty much the forecast for the next several days it appears, with gusts of wind up to 40mph right through until at least next Thursday!! I won't be climbing up ladders for a while then! Frustrating. :o( . . .walked FGn. Unpleasantly cold. . radiod locally and even joined-in with a chat with 'D' on the local repeater. He was chatting on his handy from his hospital bed following his recent surgery!! How bizarre and HOW times have changed, that hospitals would allow such activities these days! Having said that, I hope 'I' never have to share a ward with someone doing that! It'd drive me nuts to have someone babbling away on a radio on the ward like that! . ended up radioing locally a bit more, until afternoon as the outside temperature actually dropped a couple of degrees to around 2C!. . . ate a pork pie and two ham finger rolls, crisps, mini chocolate roll and a little chocolate . . napped . . TVd a bit waking up, and somehow quite by chance 'just' after 7pm, bumped into the start of the first episode in a series of ten on the freeview 'Pick TV' channel - about Brixham! Yayyyy - they are running the series called 'Fish Town' which sky filmed here back in 2011. I'd SO wanted to see that when it was first aired, but because it was only on pay-per-view satellite channels and seemingly nowehere else, I'd not been able to. (Someone once told me I was visible walking past in the background with Bella in one of the episodes! lol) Quickly touched base with Mum and let her know it was on - and then sat through the first hour long episode. :o) Got to give the film makers credit - they sure made the place look pretty nice and picturesque etc. That first episode was apparantly filmed at around this very same time of year (plenty of sunshine and people in short sleeves etc) - boy WHAT a difference in the weather today! :o( . . . walked BGdns in double trousers and layers with a coffee as the temperature fell to 'just' above freezing. The red beacon on the end of the breakwater is back flashing again. Played ball in the freezing wind before heading to the higher seats intending to sit for my coffee. Just then, M with his 'searchlight' torch and 'the' dobermans entered the top of the gardens - so that was the end of that! (My rare bit of 'pleasure', denied me again.) :o( Quickly got the hell out of there and headed straight home before any possibility of 'incidents' with Bella . . . TVd (nothing) in front the fire with the outside temperature hovering around 0C. .breifly popped out in the back garden and hosed some of the matted mud from Bellas lower leg fur/paws before giving her a long grooming and ball playing session on the living room floor in front the fire . . BB called to touch base . . . ate just a banana and a handful of malted milk and chocolate biscuits before to bed around 1am.
23 - Up around 9am. 14C in, 7C out. Grey, misty and breezy . . walked FGn pretty late. Wow - that easterlyish breeze felt colder than it should, given the temperature! . eventually back via the store for a few supplies, with hands I could hardly feel they were so cold . . . PCd this with fingerless gloves and the electric fan heater on for a bit . . Mum called in with the paper and food donations. Poked at the net for Mum, who wanted me to order another pair of stretchy shoes for her, but everyone was out of stock of the colour/size she wanted, so that was a waste of time and will have to be returned to in the future. . . ate a pack of mum donated sausage rolls, crisps, mini chocolate roll and a little chocolate . . napped . . TVd feeling aimless/pointless and down. . drank a shot glass of Baileys . . cooked and ate a pack of four small burgers in buttered bread rolls, a mini chocolate roll and almost a whole pack of little malted milk biscuits! . . TVd nothing until bed around 2am.
22 - Up earlier, tried to get back to sleep but couldn't and just tossed and turned until up around 8:20am. 14C in, 7C out. Grey and windy - and then yes, yet more rain!! I just could NOT face it. Bella went without her usual morning walk and just had to make do with the garden again. :o( . . . did the mountain of dishwasing chores for a couple of hours . . knocked up a lead with some suitable (inherited with the house) wire from the garage, with a 3.5mm stereo plug soldered on one end, a couple of small 'U' terminals on the other end, for connecting up a morse key to the FT-897. I'm still a VERY long way from being in any way proficient enough at receiving, to dare to actually go on air with one, but high time I at least got a key connected up to the radio I felt. Messed around for a bit once I'd done it, familiarising myself with some of the 897 morse-code controls and menu settings, sidetone volume, etc, etc. Even went on low power on a deserted VHF frequency with the HK-708 straight morse key, just to check it was all working on transmit, etc. . ate a banana, tinned ham sandwiches, crisps and a little chocolate . . napped . . D called in for coffee and chats as the rain continued to pour, as it pretty much did ALL day! . . TVd . .microwaved and ate the remaining large dish of rice/soup etc concoction well after midnight . . TVd . . to bed around 2:30am.
21 - Up around 7:30am after VERY little sleep, woken (if I actually slept at all!) by the noise of heavy rain on the windows. The forecast gale arrived already. 25mph wind gusting to around 40 already. 14C in, 4C out. . . reluctantly walked the muddy bog of FGn in wellingtons and full leaking weather gear. Didn't hang around and returned pretty sharpish, all damp inside my waterproofs. . . hosed Bella down out in the back garden, and then cleared out the disgusting, mostly blocked (moss and debris from NEIGHBOURS roofs!) rainwater-downpipe drain - AGAIN! The forecast is for a worsening gale later, and similarly bad weather for the next several days - again!! There really does seem no end to this winter's bad weather! Miserable. This winter (the incessant wind and rain and gales, mostly) really does seem to have 'ground me down' more than ANY other I can recall. 'Functionally', I seem to be practically hibernating as a result! It seems to be all I can do to reluctantly drag myself out and give poor Bella just a single walk a day now (she 'almost' didn't get THAT this morning!) - sit around doing nothing feeling yucky for a bit - then return to bed - and repeating in 'quarterly' chunks of six hours awake, six (or less ) asleep!! :o( . . .PCd this as the rain poured and the wind battered, feeling lack of sleep-headachey and SO tired. . .ate early a six pieces of bread and butter pile of tuna and mayo sandwiches, a bag of crisps and a little chocolate . . lay down to nap around 2pm. Within five minutes there was a call at the door. Yayyy - CityLink delivering the 10ft aluminium scaffold pole - already! The next time I buy something and it all goes 'pear shaped' like it 'most' often seems to, I need to remember THIS purchase for balance, as one which went about as smoothly and perfectly as it possibly could. Wow does it seem SO light in comparison to the steel one I carried home yesterday. Effortlessly picked up and brought inside with one hand! Left the pole on the floor of the hallway (blocking the kitchen door) for the timebeing, and immediately returned to nap through some of the ongoing storm. . . woken by the alarm at 6:30pm. Still absolutely bucketing down with rain. No wonder they were giving out amber weather warnings on the forecast - that's been some pretty torrential rain ALL day, AND continuing!!! . . . TVd . . .had a good look at the scaffold pole and tore off (with suprising difficulty) the bits of adhesive tape and stuck-on plastic envelopes containing my receipt etc. Strangely, all the tape and adhesive appears to have somehow become VERY firmly fixed to and almost part of, the bare aluminium, and is gonna require some abrasive paper type treatment some time to eventually remove it and clean it all back up! How silly and irritating. Brought the bathroom scales down and weighed it. Wow - only around 10lbs (4.5kgs)!!! WHAT a difference. Despite having played with bits of metal for fence posts and aerial masts, etc, etc at various times over the years, I've perhaps suprisingly NEVER actually used aluminium before (although often because I needed the greater strength of steel, or wanted the ability to be able to potentially weld bits on etc - which of course I can't do with aluminium). So - getting my hands on THIS pole, is a real eye opener in terms of the lightness of it, and how much easier I imagine it's going to be eventually getting it up the ladder and in place on the T&K brackets with an aerial on top etc. Worth the s investment I think. :o) . . PCd this . . .TVd . .around midnight the storm eased off somewhat . . drank a glass of red wine while cooking up boiled rice and peas and a 'sauce' to go with it of some chopped tinned ham, sprinkle of garlic salt, tin of mushroom soup and some grated cheese. Eventually ate half with four pieces of bread and butter . . TVd until to bed at 2am.
20 - Up around 7:20am. 14C in, 4C out. Grey and misty drizzely. Damn! 'Just' too late to have a listen for the space station - which was due to be passing overhead and talking (via 'telebridge') with a school in Australia again, at 7:15 this morning. . .woke at the PC as usual, and ended up having a bit of surf and a prod at local scaffolding supplier websites, seeing how much aluminium tubes are (AGain!). Ended up settling on a psb-scaffolding website, because they appeared to be about as 'local' as possible, just over in Ipplepen, Newton Abbot (owwww - if only I still had a car on the road! :o(). I was already aware from previous surfing that the actual tubes aren't 'that' expensive, but it was the unlisted/unknown delivery cost, which was going to be the deciding factor. Ended up giving them a ring to find out how much delivery would be. I was actually amazed to find out that the 10ft lengths would be sent by courier (by 'post' essentially - in a day or two - like my recent aerial purchase!) and that a ten foot length with a couple of plastic end caps would be 33.70 including delivery! A full sized 20ft length was a whole different ball game! It'd need a whole lorry sent especially to deliver it - so I didn't even pursue that line of questioning or learn how much it would ACTUALLY cost. Potentially over a hundred or something rediculous, just for the delivery!! Totally out of the question of course. .Poor guy on the phone must have thought I was a nutter, because I called back a couple of times in quick succession asking silly questions during my indecisive period of agonising and umming and ahhing over it, but eventually I just bit the bullet and went for it, and placed an order for a 10ft length with a couple of end caps! Quite an investment for ME, but getting a mast up on those brackets out front, is now CLEARLY the way for me to go with things. The money I've spent on that pole, 'may' well even be offset by the saving in the lengths of coax I'll need, because it'll be SO much closer to the radios (I 'may' even have enough coax already to hand?). I've just GOT to 'go for it' and give it a try! . . . walked FGn and sat around for ages. Gave P across town a shout on the handie, and explained how because of the weight, I'd decided NOT to risk using the steel pole he'd given me where I had intended - and did he want it back. The good news was, he was happy for me to keep it. Yayy - I can think of all manner of things/places I could use it for - maybe. :o) . sat around on FGn for quite a while longer in the misty grey. Long enough to feel pretty damned cold by the time we returned, despite a hint of sun breaking through the clouds . . . PCd this . . .ate tun and mayo sandwiches, two packets of prawn cocktail falvoured crisps, and a couple of squares of chocolate. . TVd a bit. Saturation coverage of the budget. All the 'usual' things go up above inflation as usual, but apparantly the duty on beer is actualy being CUT by a penny!? Given the recent figures about the soaring cost to the NHS of alcohol related health problems (and the cost to society generally, of alcohol related anti-social behavior, domestic violence, etc, etc) the rational behind THAT decision is TOTALLY beyond my understanding!?? . . . still intrigued as to why I'd had such trouble carrying that piece of scaffolding home yesterday (although I KNOW it's because of my heavy smoking of course!), I grabbed the bathroom scales and popped out into the front garden (just before it began to pour with rain) and had a go at weighing the pole!!! lolol 'I' currently weigh (after my sandwiches) approximately 158lbs (71.7kgs). That ten foot steel scaffold pole weighs 28lbs (12.7kgs). It'll be interesting to repeat the procedure with the aluminium one when I get it. . . .napped until the alarm at 6:30pm . . briefly touched base with Mum making sure she was aware a repeat of 'The Good Life' (Margo and the pigs episode) was on if she was interested . . monitored the local club net, whilst actually concentrating more on looking through e-bay listings and the like. Ended up half listening to the local net on the FT-8800, and simultaneously half listening to some morse code on the FT-897 tuned to 6.607mhz. The seemingly random groups of letters and numbers being sent, made for some pretty good receive practice. Increasingly rare to hear NON radio amateur morse-code on the bands these days. The station sending it frequently identified itself as '4XZ'. According to plenty of stuff on the net, it is allegedly an Israel navy coastal radio station in Haifa, doing ship to shore communications!!??? I wonder why in old-fashioned morse-code like that? Weird - but like I said, good for practice. . eventually ended up back down in the living room in front of the fire, but with nothing on TV worth watching again, I ended up listening to just a little bit more of the 4XZ morse code on the AR3000 before the signals faded somewhat. . guitarred just a touch . . TVd . . . ate chocolate biscuits . . .TVd/PCd until around 4am(!) before finally to bed. Difficulty getting to sleep.
19 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 7:25am. 15C in, 3C out. Sunny. . . breifly talked with P across town on the radio, and asked again about the 10ft length of scaffold pole he'd suggested the other day I could have for use as a mast on my new T&K brackets. He said he was out this morning, but would be in later . . . walked FGn in diminishing sunny spells and eventually returned via the store for bread as it began to rain . . PCd . . Mum called to touch base as rain showers passed through . . PCd this - headachey/toothachey and feeling tired and lousy - again! :o( . . ate a tin of oxtail soup, two crusts of bread and butter and two ham rolls . . struggled NOT to nap . . . walked with Bella across town and up to St Marys park and sat on the highest seat in the place and played ball for a while until precisely 3pm. .walked to Ps for brief chats and a coffee. I generally feel awkward and guilty whenever I go and see P - because he is just SO damned generous, and I always end up coming home with something!!!! I don't even really recall how it came about, but during a bit of conversation about handies and how I prefer and swear by the higher gain flexible whip antennas, all of a sudden he was handing me a Nagoya NA-771 (sma male) and saying I could have it! Cooool. That's a spare/replacement for when I inevitably break my next one. :o) Bella had a couple of ginger nut biscuits. lol Eventually finished the breif chats and retrieved one of the two 10 foot lengths of nice galvanised/non-rusting scaffold pole he had laying unused on the floor in his garden. With Bella tied to my belt as usual, I hoisted the heavy pole up onto my right shoulder and started walking home. I only got a hundred yards or so up the street before having to drop the pole to the ground and put Bella on her halti, also tied to my belt, to get her more in control and stop her from trying to keep walking ahead - which I absolutely did NOT need, struggling with the weight of the pole, and trying to make sure I didn't smash it into any parked cars or pedestrians as I passed and crossed roads etc!! A ten foot steel pole isn't 'that' heavy - but it soon gets to feel like it is when you are walking across a hilly town with one! I had to stop and take a breather on more than one occasion, and also had to stuff my wooly hat onto my aching shoulder beneath my coat. My freshly aching wrist protested quite a bit too! . . by the time I climbed up out of the valley and finally reached home, I was pouring with sweat, puffing and panting, and really feeling VERY unwell! Dumped the pole on the front patio area next to the ladder and collapsed on the garden seat for a bit. Eventually retreated inside, and promptly threw up a little!! THAT was arduous! :o( It was ultimately SUCH hard going (the weight yes - but because of the distance and the hills mostly), by the time I'd actually got it back, I have to confess that I'd firmly reached the conclusion that it really was FAR too heavy for me to safely mount on the new T&K brackets, because of the narrow vertical bit of wall between the windows which they were on! Just TOO risky to have THAT much weight on them for my peace of mind!! Damn! Damn, damn, damn! I'm gonna have to rethink all this! . . . recovered in front the TV news with drinks a little. . very late but I had no choice - lay down for an hour or so. Half snoozed and didn't even fall properly asleep, before roused by the 6:30pm alarm . . . TVd . . PCd and radiod locally just a bit. The breif radio conversation got me in the mood, and I FINALLY got round to daring to download and instal the free, open-source radio programming software 'Chirp' which I'd been told about a while ago. Played around with it and the FT-897, and - yayy - pretty immediately managed to read the current small handful of memories I'd manually programmed into the radio ages ago when I first got it. Carried on experimenting with the software, and soon successfully wrote a handful MORE memories BACK to the radio just as a test. Well - that works a treat. Cooool. 'Proper' programming of whatever frequency lists I decide to put in it, can wait until I have the dedicated V/UHF antenna mounted somewhere, and know how it's going to perform - but at least I NOW have a program to (easily at no cost) do the job. :o) . . ended up poking at the FT-897 and the phone-book like manual, and learning (on receive only) just a 'little' bit more about how to actually 'drive' the thing (which I really haven't even begun to scratch the surface of yet/STILL - the same as ALL the radios I've got!). I must confess, the more I learn about that 897, the more I like it (with the exception of its not working too well at skimming across the bands with the HRD software of course - and I AM now even beginning to spot bugs in the software too!). Makes me even MORE eager to get that new mast and dedicated aerial up out front! . poked at radios for hours (mostly on the CW portions of the bands, experimenting with the 897 filters and trying to more effectively pick out and decode the received morse code - and then look up whoever it was I was picking up, on QRZ.com - and marvel at how amazing it is to pick up signals from there - as is my habit). . . eventually pulled myself away and TVd 'for a rest' . Yayyy - the Cyprus government has rejected the 'levy' on peoples savings! Amazing - a government actually representing the will of its people! What's that like I wonder? So - what further economic chaos will NOW ensue worldwide as a result of that I wonder? :o( . . . ate a banana, bag of crisps and a packet of mum donated jam tarts . . to bed around 1:30am.
18 - Up around 8:45am. 15C in, 8C out. Sunny. . . walked FGn carrying a long plastic ball thrower, hoping to continue giving my wrist a rest while still being able to launch Bellas ball a decent distance. Turned out to actually require quite a bit of wrist flicking in itself, so not much point in using that at the moment. . . feel tired out and awful, AND have a toothache again. . PCd/listened to radios for a bit but wasn't really in the mood for it . . sat in the garden and sorted through my washers collection from the garage, and managed to scrabble together enough to suit the recently purchased V bolts. Can't understand why when you buy V bolts and T&K brackets etc, they never seem to provide washers - which given the size of the slots on the brackets and the nuts on the V bolts, are ALWAYS desireable/necessary. . . ate a couple of ham rolls, crisps and biscuits . . napped (without setting the alarm!) until around 6:20pm . . still feeling tired and not so good! Whatever the room temperature, 'I' am feeling frozen - pretty down too. . . listened to radios for a bit but eventually just couldn't stand the noise . . TVd nothing, plenty of the time with the volume turned off or right down. . the coastguards were all called out on a shout somewhere around 8:30pm. looking for a guy along the breakwater. Something along the lines of someone (fishing off the breakwater?) had seen a guy carrying a carrier bag (of booze?) heading out along the breakwater earlier - but then hours later had NOT seen him return, and for some reason had gotten the impression he 'may' have gone into the water? Well intentioned, but sounded like a bit of a false alarm/time waster from the get go to me. Shore teams searched up and down and even the all weather lifeboat was launched on service and tasked to search the surrounding waters (allowing for two hours of tidal drift etc). Nothing was found and it was eventually all called off. Maybe the guy was just 'comet watching' for a bit, before getting too cold and heading home unnoticed in the dark? lolol . the red light at the end of the breakwater is STILL not functioning - and 'WZ' warnings about it are being included in the three hourly coastguard MSI (Maritime Safety Information) broadcasts. . . cooked and ate a small pack of out of date sausages and a tin of baked beans with four pieces of bread and butter . . .Plenty of reports on the news about the economic situation in Cyprus - and how everyone with savings in the bank, are going to have some of it just 'taken', to pay for an EU bailout/loan!! Outrageous!! All the hardships and 'going without' many people have gone through to be able to scrabble together a meagre pittance of savings - only to have it taken - dare I say 'stolen' like that!! Absolutely F***ING outrageous!! I despair. It really has reached the point that I am seriously considering withdrawing the last pittance of MY (no interest) savings, and putting it in a box under the floor! HOW has it come to THIS? :o( . . . to bed around 12:30pm.
17 - Up around 7am, woken by Bella. 13C in, 2C out. A sprinkle of thawing snow on everything! That's unexpected! . . walked FGn in layers as the sprinkle of snow rapidly thawed. Jeeze - the field was just a muddy bog again! BOTH got utterly covered in mud as Bella rampaged after her ball as usual. SO covered in mud, I had little choice but to head for the slipway on the outer harbor, throw the ball and get Bella to wade into the water a couple of times to wash some of it off! . . . PCd/monitored radios. . .drank half a glass of red wine and cooked and ate a Mum donated meat pizza . . napped . . TVd/PCd/guitarred a little . . .ate a banana, a whole packet of mum donated jam tarts, and biscuits before eventually to bed around 3:30am!
16 - Up around 8:25am again. 14C in, 7C out. Sun and showers looks like, with much less wind. .my aching wrist IS thankfully definitely 'improving' pretty quickly - so maybe it was 'just' 'strained' as opposed to, what is presumably a more serious, 'sprained'? Nevertheless, (with little choice!) I'll be continuing to try not to use it much for a while. . . walked FGn with just a light showercoat on. Big mistake. The rain started just as we were heading back. Back via the store for cigarette papers - and a couple of AA batteries. One for the wall-clock in the PC room, one for the LCD radio controlled alarm clock next to the bed. Bucketed down on the way back and got drenched. :o( . . PCd this in soaking wet trousers . . turns out the mechanism of the wall-clock in the PC room is on the blink! I don't seem to have much luck with these damned cheapo wall clock mechanisms! Lost count of the number I've had fail on me now! :o( . .torrential rain!! Touched base with Mum and suggested she does NOT come down in it. .spent ages surfing looking at alarm clocks and suchlike - wanting a more suitable clock for the radio room (a small black LCd one - to 'match' equipment and even maybe sit on top of one of the radios). Really shocked at how much they all were - and gives me a much greater respect for the ancient (Lidel?) little digital LCD radio controlled alarm clock I have in the bedroom! Searched for ages all over the net, but just couldn't seem to find one which suited my VERY picky requirements, or wasn't a rediculous fortune. . Mum called in with the paper and food donations . . drank a glass of red wine while cooking a couple of quarter pound burgers. Ate two mayo and grated-cheese burgers, and some chocolate . . napped . . TVd a bit before ending up on the PC and radios. Nothing to watch on TV, and a damned contest all over the radio! Not in the mood for any of it! :o( . . guitarred just a little, and actually didn't have too much trouble from my wrist at all while I did so. (had more pain from it just using the mouse at the PC!) . . in a strange mood. Actually sat around in silence quite a bit - and was quite happy to do so! . . ate a pork pie, crisps, banana and biscuits . . plenty of cuddles and fussing of Bella before to bed around 1am.
15 - Poor disturbed sleep, woke earlier (wrist pain?), snoozed on then up around 6:30am. 13C in, 5C out, grey and showery . .Putting on my clothes was a struggle!!! A painkiller for 'breakfast'! Couldn't even lift up the kettle!! . . Woke at the PC and had a bit of a prod at the net looking up 'sprained wrist' and the like. Well - based on what I read (pain, swelling, etc, etc) - I don't think there's ANY doubt - I HAVE sprained my wrist! Absolutely extraordinary I could do so by throwing Bella's tennis ball like that!??? Jeeze, it's incredibly painful - and is SO suddenly debilitating!!!!! I can hardly do anything with my right hand all of a sudden!? In an ideal world, I think it would VERY much benefit from being imobilised in a miniature cast - but of course that's out of the question! I can't think of anything I've got which could in any way help? In desperation, I've even been thinking of wrapping it up in duck tape!! According to what I read - it could take 'weeks' to recover!!! Blimey - that's me all badly messed-up and EVERYTHING on-hold for a while then! :o( . . trouble getting my coat and shoes etc on!! Walked FGn, trying not to use my right hand at all as best I could. Throwing ball with my left was not very succcessful. lol . . back via Mums to see what sort of bandages and suchlike she may have had. Bagged a piece of some sort of elasticated stocking type thing, in case it may somehow be of use . . . messed around with the elasticated stocking thing and made the long tube into a narrow roll (like a bangle) and tried that on my wrist joint. That actually DID 'assist' slightly, but unfortunately my hand started to go a bit purple through the tightness of it, so - I guess I'm just gonna have to put up with the pain and just try not to use my wrist as much as I can for a while! Flippin uncomfortable nuisance! :o( . . .PCd this at length (with the electric fan heater on, because my wrist pain demands I feel not as cold as usual!) - also with some difficulty, with my usual two fingered typing. . .touched base with D and said he was welcome to come over for chats this evening, but 'I' would NOT be playing guitar!!! . . early afternoon the postman delivered the outstanding two V bolts. Glad THAT silly aggravation is finally over and done with. . . popped a few of mums old 'ibucalm' painkillers throughout the day, just to take the edge off my wrist thing. . . ate a banana, crisps, mayo, grated cheese and corned beef sandwiches, and then a handful of chocolate biscuits . . napped until around 5pm. Woke from dreaming about being back out and about on my XS1100! That was actually quite nice for once . . . pouring with rain and dreadfully windy again. D called in around 7:15pm for chats, coffee and biscuits until gone 10:30pm . . PCd/TVd as the gale continued. Forty mile an hour SW-ish gusts again, beating at the front of the house - enough to occasionally lift and tap the brass knocker on the front door! . . .ate a whole Mum donated treacle tart before to bed around 2:30am as the storm continued to rage.
14 - Up around 7:40am again. 13C in, 1C out and sunny . . An early 6am reply from the V bolts seller! "Hi, thanks for the picture and do apologies for the mistake as it should have written 4 bolts on the invoice. We will post you the 2 v bolts & nuts today." Finally, THAT is more like it! . . . dug out the spare masonary through bolt and packaging label from when I put the T&K brackets on the back of the house, and popped them in a pocket, intending to see if I could buy some more, the same, locally. (The place just up the road where I bought the last ones, appears to have (unsuprisingly) closed down!). All I need are some of those bolts, and then I have all I need to start thinking about actually putting the brackets up somewhere - whenever the weather and my ever dwindling 'energy levels' coincide! . . walked FGn. Bumped into dog walker M along the way. He teased me saying he may have something I want!?? Turned out they'd come into possession of a washing machine from someone or other (who'd died I think?)! According to what he said, it appeared to be fully working, but WAS a cold AND hot feed type (like mine) - which IS indicative of it potentially being quite old. He even said he'd deliver it to me! I hesitated and ummd and ahhd a bit in the conversation, and probably appeared rather ungrateful - but there ARE several things for ME to have to take into account. Thing is - I suspect from what I've found under my sink, it's gonna take quite a bit for me to remove mine and plumb in a different one. Is it gonna be worth doing all that for another 'old' one which may or may not last very long - AND which is probably not particularly efficient with regard to power and the all important water consumption down here? I will also then have the problem of getting rid of my old one (without transport - I'll have to pay the council to collect!). If I bought a new one, these days of course, the supplier would take away the old one as part of the deal. He's away for the weekend, so I don't have to think about all that for a couple of days. I guess I'm gonna HAVE to say yes-please aren't I? Beggars () can't be choosers? :o( . .played ball on FGn and then carried on down town to the hardware shop. Yayyy - they had a small stock of exactly the type of fixings I was after. 'Masonary Through Bolt M12x100'. Bought ten for 9 I think it was. Probably could have got them cheaper if I'd shopped around on-line, but then that would probably have all gone wrong somehow wouldn't it! More than happy just to pay whatever it was they were asking, and just HAVE them - NOW - and be all ready to be able to just get on and do the job when the right time presents itself. . . walked straight back home, overheating in the sun . . sat in the garden with a coffee and smokes for a bit recovering from the walk. Very pleasant almost springlike morning . the brief spell of good weather was just too good to waste. Managed (with great difficulty!) to muster up the energy to have a go at putting the T&K brackets on the front wall of the house!!! . .carefully threaded one of my larger ladders from atop the pergola, through the house and living room window, and eventually out front. Got the ladder up against the wall between the PC room and main bedroom bay window and measured up a bit, before stopping for another coffee and a good LONG think about where best to put the brackets (for what aerial installations I 'may' ultimately have in mind). 'Ideally', it probably would have been better to have them on the wall to the right of my PC room window, because there is more masonary there between my window and next doors - but it is MUCH harder to get a ladder up to that point because of the roof over the front door and the steps up to the front door, etc, etc. - and the close proximity of whatever I put on them, 'may' have been undesireable to the neighbour. Ended up sticking to the worryingly narrow bit of wall to the left of the PC room window. MUCH easier for me to get up there as and when needed, and whatever I put up there, will DEFINITELY be well within the confines of MY property (possible vertical antenna protruding glound plane radials etc) - just need to be VERY careful about not putting too much load on them and that bit of wall I think! <worry> . it took me several hours, as these things always do when 'I' do them, but to cut a long story short, I eventually managed to get the five holes drilled in the wall, the fixings carefully pounded into the holes with a lump hammer, and the brackets (with just a two foot spread) adequately bolted onto the wall (with the K bracket, more intelligntly on the BOTTOM this time!). Would you believe it - the very last masonary bolt I put in at the bottom of the K bracket, did NOT work out too well! It appears the hole went largely 'between' bricks!! Nothing much I could do about it at that stage, and it DID seem to clamp up 'reasonably' well in the end. It'll do!! Had a bit of a break with coffee and cigs before tidying away tools and sweeping away 'some' of the red brick dust over the windows and everywhere else. Eventually climbed back up and put a rough undercoat of white paint over the brackets. They are of course galvanised, so there was no point in terms of weatherproofing. Image of new 18" T&K brackets on the front wall of the houseIt was more a case of 'aesthetics' - just trying to make them a 'little' less noticeable - because being on the front of the house, they ARE rather uncomfortably noticeable (even without a mast or anything on them yet)!! The work of drilling the soffit to enable me to get coax down to them can wait. That is a whole 'nother nasty, awkward, problem-filled job in itself! (It's 'almost' tempting to put a 'clever' hole, straight through the wall into the PC room directly beneath them! That would make for SUCH a short length of low loss coax from the radios - which sit on the desk pretty much directly behind them!) I ALSO have to figure out what I'm going to use as a mast. The short section of reclaimed washing line post I still have in the garage is rather too short I think, and won't reach much higher than just getting over the gutter! The nice spare aluminium TV aerial pole I have, IS longer, but too narrow and flimsy for my liking. Anyway - plenty more work to do before anything goes up there - but as far as I'm concerned, I've at least done the REALLY nasty (worrying) bit of the job. VERY pleased to have got that done. It WILL open up a whole new bunch of possibilities with regards to my antennas (no matter how much of an eyesore it may appear). Even maybe extending my 'long-wire' right over the top of the house!!! ;o) It HAS occurred to me that whoever thinks of buying this house next, may NOT be pleased at all, and may be put off buying! Not the easiest of things to remove without trace (because of the protruding masonary bolts mostly!). Having said that, if they were capable of thinking it through, it WOULD make for a VERY easy DIY place to mount a TV aerial (pointing to the local TV repeater), without the horrendous need to get up on the roof to the chimney stack. . all cleared up and called it quits just before 4pm, leaving the ladder laying in the front garden ready for the next round of work, whenever the weather allows. Forecast isn't good for the next few days - again. . . showered off brick dust . . . defrosted bread, ready for making a sandwich, with the desire to lay down for a nap almost overwhelming me! . Ummd and ahhd - LOTS - before eventually deciding to postpone eating and forgo a nap! On the news the other day, were reports about a comet, which 'can' be visible in the sky about now, as it orbits back away from the sun. A 'once in a lifetime event' they said - even a 'once in a civilisation' event, because it won't be seen again for thousands of years! Given the relatively clear sky forecast for this evening (SUCH a rareity of late!), I figured I may as well give it a go, and head out around sunset (which I 'think' was when they said it 'may' be possible to see it - low in the western sky, soon after sunset? Something like that!), and make my way to the end of the Breakwater for some skywatching. Despite all the lights around the bay, the end of the breakwater affords the least light pollution nearby, and is also the best (only?) place for having a reasonable view of the western horizon hereabouts. . . TVd a little before eventually making a thermos of coffee to take with me. Set off (early!) around 5:30pm and headed for Fgn. Threw Bella's tennis ball as usual whilst crossing the green, but after one poor throw in particular, I started to suffer some pain in my right wrist! I always try to throw Bellas ball as far as possible, but because it's only a tennis ball with no 'weight', it always takes a lot of effort, and I seem to have developed a technique which involves a strange final 'snap' of my wrist and fingers as it leaves my hand - which absolutely maximises the distance it goes (just short of half a football pitch?). Inexplicably, that one particular throw went somehow horribly wrong, and that final 'snap' of my wrist did some 'damage'! . . eventually carried on the mile or two down around the harbor and ultimately out along to the end of the near deserted breakwater in the increasing dusky darkness. Walked to the end and then back a short way and sat on a seat to wait for dark. Wasn't long before it became pretty obvious, I was WAY too early. The whole western sky was still very much too bright for seeing any stars - and it stayed that way for a VERY long time. The sun was long gone, but the atmosphere was still being lit up substantially. Much to Bella's great dismay, I sat there for WELL over an hour. Quite a breeze blowing (as always out there) and the temperature dropped to only around 3C. It wasn't particularly pleasant, despite having some interesting views of all the fishing day-boats passing close by with their deck spotlights on, as they returned to harbor in the dark with their catch, with enormous wailing clouds of seagulls drifting in with them as they did. Unusually, the red beacon on the end of the breakwater (in the rusty little 'mini lighthouse') was unlit! A casualty of the recent easterly storms and waves over the breakwater? A nightly walker passing by, said it was the first time in his twenty three years it had not been lit! . Plenty of stars and a crescent moon all slowly miraculously appeared in the sky as I waited - but STILL the western horizon was all too bright - and there WERE some obscuring clouds out that way too. My coffee was long gone - I was cold - I needed a pee - and oh my god, my right wrist was aching REALLY BAD!!!! To hell with the comet and the 'chance of a lifetime' - I really had no choice - I couldn't stand sitting there in SUCH cold discomfort any longer - we headed home!! Through town and straight home! On the whole, Bella was 'ok'ish most of this evenings walk. . Back around 8pm - and soon after swallowed a paracetamol! . . .well - I don't often do much these days - but I did a 'reasonable' amount today I guess. Not bad considering my last 'meal' was a bunch of rice krispies and sugar! lol . . . ate corned beef sandwiches, crisps, a tin of soup, three chocolate mini rolls and a couple of squares of chocolate . . struggled to stay awake (despite the increasing pain from my wrist!!!??) and eventually gave up and was in bed before 10:30pm.
13 - Up around 7:40am. 12C in, 1C out and much less wind, thank goodness. . . walked Fgn in what turned into a good long sunny spell. Oh boy, WHAT a difference to the last few days - and a pretty calm sea too. Actually felt comfortably warm sat on the seat in the sun (all wrapped in hat gloves and layers) - could easily have fallen asleep! Back with a couple of very small stones for the garden . . . PCd this . . did vacuuming and laundry chores all morning as the sun shone. Got the laundry out on the rotary line just in time for grey cloud cover and a spot of rain! . . around 12:30pm the postman delivered what I assume are Mums shoes - AND a small padded envelope containing TWO 'V' bolts!!! I'd ordered and paid for TWO pairs of course, so even something as straightforward as THAT has all gone pear shaped for me - AGAIN!!! WHY IS it EVER thus for me? This doesn't do my paranoid tendencies ANY good at all! :o( Straight onto e-bay to contact the seller. "Dear systemsat_direct, I received 2 V bolts in the post today. Your advert quite clearly states that the V bolts are sold in pairs."x2 - V BOLTS (U BOLTS) 2.5'' x3/8'' c/w 15mm Nuts - 2.39" I ordered TWO pairs (4.78) - I have only received ONE pair. I await your response. Sincerely T" . . chatted locally on the radio breifly . .the V bolt seller replied - "Hi, we do apologies for the mistake and please provide us with your invoice number so we can sort out the issue." - so I quickly mailed them back with all relevant details, fully expecting them to just put the missing bolts in the post! Irritating . . touched base with Mum to make sure she was in, and told her her shoes had arrived (intending to deliver them after I'd had a bit to eat.). She said she'd pop down and pick them up. . D called to touch base. He thankfully let me know this evenings local club net was NOT happening . . . ate pepperoni, mayo and grated cheese sandwiches, crisps and a banana. Mum called in before I'd finished eating. Her shoes 'appear' to be ok for her bad feet. Time will tell, but we 'may' even be ordering another pair it would appear. Whilst Mum was still here, somewhere around 3:30pm a courier delivered a HUGE box!!? Well over three feet long, and over a foot in the other two dimensions - and that REALLY thick heavy cardboard! It could only be the two sets of T&K brackets I'd ordered - but boy, that's over doing the box a bit!! It WAS the brackets (rattling around at one end and only taking up about a third of the box!) - and thankfully with those at least, all seems ok. Only 'complaint' I have - that thick heavy cardboard box and some useless heavy shredded cardboard packaging pointlessly thrown inside, is gonna take a LOT of work to break it all down to enable me to put it out for the recycling tomorrow! :o( . . . napped until the 6:30pm alarm . . TVd . . PCd. Oh for goodness sake! The V bolt seller had mailed me back AGAIN - "Hi, yes it was very helpful but need to show proof to the packing team. just take a picture with your phone and email it to us." FFS!! What nonsense is all this? How do I photograph a missing pair of V bolts? The 'obstructive' utter pointless absurdity of that is self-evident, surely?!! It made me angry - but I tried to contain my anger (mostly!) and dutifully took a photograph of all I HAD received and replied - "I must confess, I fail to see how a photo of something which isn't there, is any proof of anything!!? Photo attached as requested nonetheless! Please supply the outstanding pair of V bolts without further delay. Thank You. T". . . PCd this . . spent ages trying to cut up much of the cardboard box for the recyclers! . . TVd . . ate bowls of rice krispies before to bed gone 2am.
12 - Up around 7:20am. 11C in, -2C out and still extremely windy (NNE at 28mph, gusting to 46mph), but a bit of sun at least. I think it was actually the battering sound of the wind on the house which woke me (and the audibly vibrating of the old disused radiator on the stud wall of the bedroom!! How is THAT possible?!!!! These houses are SO 'fragile' its scary!!)!! . .yayy - just in time to listen-in on the radio to the passing space station having a IK1SLD 'telebridge' contact with Mt. Ousley Public School, Fairy Meadow, NSW, Australia from 7:35am. A low S2 type signal for the most part, but a suprisingly good solid copy of almost all his schoolkid-question answers, up until loss of signal around 7:43am. :o) . . . walked BGdns in layers. Bitterly cold and still blowing quite a gale, but some sunnyish spells at least. Plenty of waves/spray blowing over the breakwater. Ended up walking down round the harbor and then out along to the end of the breakwater, tempted to have a prod with the camcorder. By the time we got out there (fighting to walk along into the teeth of the gale) things seemed to have calmed down just a little (helped by a falling tide), and there wasn't much point in getting the camera out. SO much spray had been blowing over the breakwater in one particular area, not 'that' far from the lifeboat mooring, one of the small moored boats in the outer harbor had caught a load of it, was listing badly and really threatening to sink! A couple of guys (harbor workers?) in a small boat braved the spray and bailed out some of the water with a bucket! . . Bella was 'difficult' on her noose lead, ALL the way! Eventually headed straight back home through town, all frustrated and short tempered, battling with Bella again! . . fed Bella her breakfast and then shut the door on the downstairs and headed for the PC/radios and had a much needed 'break' from her for an hour or so! . PCd/monitored radios just wasting away another day. Feeling pretty down, cold and tired. . cooked and ate a pepperoni pizza with extra pepperoni and grated cheese, biscuits and chocolate . . napped until the 6:30pm alarm, as the gale slowly eased. . TVd/aimlessly PCd, feeling pointless and down. . Actually watched the last-in-the-series episode of 'Derek' on Channel 4. I've only watched a couple of that series because I wasn't sure about the 'humour', and it had tended to make me feel a bit uncomfortable on several occasions. I wish I'd watched more now. Perhaps I was just in a weird mood, but that 'last' episode in particular struck me as being quite simply superb, and almost tear inducing on more than one occasion. SO much more 'clever' and thought provoking than the utter tripe the BBC are peddeling as alleged 'comedy' these days (like 'Cuckoo' - which is inexplicably NOW being repeated on BBC1, rather than being consigned to the rubbish bin - together with the careers of the highly paid staff who commissioned/authorised it!!). . ate two ham rolls, crisps and a couple of mini chocolate rolls . . to bed around 3am.
11 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 7:50am. 12C in, <0C out. A lightest dusting of snow on everything. Blowing an absolute gale with the North Easterly 30mph sleet going horizontally past the window, and gusts reported locally up to 59mph!!!! Slow facing up to having to go out in THAT!!!! . . .eventually walked FGn in double trousers and layers. The wind blowing STRAIGHT into the green off the sea was brutal! Sea was looking pretty rough too, with no boats visible daring to brave it. Didn't try sitting for very long - just too windy. Ended up walking along the clifftop road (with REAL difficulty!) and then down into BGdns (carefully immediately detouring hard right and down the steps with Bella on her lead, to avoid 'THE' doberman which was up near the seats under the roof!). Down the bottom, the waves were all crashing over the rocks and the strength of the wind was just awful! Played ball a bit in between taking shelter in gun emplacements from time to time. . eventually struggled back home by around 10:30am. WHAT a relief to get that over and done with. Noticed that next door's stupid 'fit for the bin' TV aerial on the chimney has twisted round on it's useless/broken/rusted-away bracket again - despite me having turned it back round and tried to tighten it the last time I was up there! It's uncomfortably close to the ground planes on one of my verticals - and they surely can't be getting a picture from it - again! :o( . . . PCd/monitored radios . . . cooked and ate four small sausages, half a tin of baked beans, two fried eggs and chips followed by a bunch of biscuits . . napped until the alarm at 6:30pm but had trouble waking and didn't get up until nearer 7pm!! . .still blowing a gale and a bit sleety . . . TVd/aimlessly PCd/monitored radios the night away . . took my last antibiotic from the latest course tonight. I have a bad feeling about things. Increasing irritation seems to suggest to me that the antibiotics have NOT 'fully' resolved the infection - and I'm fully prepared for it to get worse again, now I've finished the latest course of tablets! :o( Coincedental that in the news today, they are warning about how antibiotics are losing there effectiveness, and how that poses as much or more of a risk to 'the country' as a terrorist attack etc.! . . ate a banana and three mini apple pies before to bed just after 2am, with the awful wind still battering the house (and threatening to destroy the rotten fence panel by the kitchen window) and the outside temperature down to minus 2C.
10 - Up around 9:15am after almost no sleep at all, thanks to the noise of Bella scratching her ear and making it a bloody mess!! 14C in, 3C out.Wind and rain. . . walked REAL late in full weather gear in the storm. Thoroughly unpleasant! Sat and played ball, not much! Plenty of 'white caps' rolling in across the bay at low tide. The lifeboat was back at its usual berth. . trudged home and picked up the potted flowers I'd got for Mum, and then headed straight back out with Bella to deliver them. Mum immediately recognised it as a 'pot mum'. THAT was it! I was trying to remember when PCing this yesterday, what potted flower it was I'd bought - because there WAS a point to my decision. I saw it labelled 'pot mum' - and being mothers day and all, that was good enough for me! lol Funny how mum instantly recognised what it was. Why DO women 'appreciate' and 'know' flowers like that? Some psychologically hard-wired evolutionary throw back to when we were all hunter gatherers perhaps? The men went off hunting and killing things, while the women lumbered with the kids were responsible for gathering berries and suchlike, and needed to know what plant was what? lol Couldn't really go in because of the wet and muddy state we were both in, so pretty much just handed it over and returned home. . PCd this and listened to radios a bit. The awful noise levels I suffer from (from peoples TVs (plasma TVs in particular) and all manner of other radiating junk) DO seem to be noticeably worse on the weekends. :o( . . . pottered around on the PC whilst monitoring. Horrible weather out there - blowing a gale, rain, freezing cold, 'boisterous' seas - and what happens? People (idiots?) go out in the bay kite surfing!! Around 1pm the lifeboat and shore teams were scrambled (after 'multiple' 999 calls) to assist a kite surfer in trouble over Torquay by Daddyhole Cove. He managed to make his way to shore at the foot of the cliffs, but the lifeboat/Y boat couldn't retrieve him thanks to the conditions, so the rescue helicopter was called at around 13:15pm (airborne at 13:25). Shore crews attempted to lower blankets down the cliffs to the surfer who was 'shaking uncontrollably'. Wind gusting ENE, force seven. One of the lifeboat's Y boat crew managed to get on shore and join the casualty before the rescue helicopter arrived on scene. Upon arrival, the helicopter's 'cunning plan' was to recover the casualty from the shoreline, drop him off on the clifftop to the waiting shore teams and ambulance, and then return for the lifeboat crewman, who would be picked up and then transferred directly back to the Torbay lifeboat standing-by offshore. . I watched developments on the AIS website and then had 'the brainwave' of doing a quick search on the net for any webcams that 'may' have afforded a peak in that direction. Images of helicopter Rescue 106 on Daddyhole Plain WebcamView during a KiteSurfer rescueOh WOW! Via the torbaysurfing.co.uk website I bumped into the Daddyhole Plain WebcamView - and would you believe it - I actually got to VIEW glimpses of the helicopter flying past and down below the cliffs out of sight whilst it did the recoveries - AND the Torbay lifeboat standing-by offshore, whilst I monitored developments on the radio!! AMAZING! The 'casualty' was recovered and handed over to the waiting ambulance on the clifftop around 13:56. The lifeboat crewman was recovered and winched back onboard the lifeboat by 14:20 - and although only a couple of dots in the distance on the webcam, that transfer WAS 'just' visible (whilst on a course of 110 degrees, speed 5 knots - with a couple of people near the seats on Daddyhole plain stood watching)!!! Everyone returned to base around 14:21. Absolutely extraordinary to hear AND SEE a shout again like that!!!!! Absolutely extraordinary. . . PCd this . . .ate a meat pastry slice, pork pie, crisps and two mini apple pies . . lay down to nap only to soon be disturbed by the ansaphone taking an automated call from a power company (NOT mine!?) informing 'me' I had a power cut (no I don't!) and they were working to reconnect it!?? . eventually napped (through another automated message later, telling me the power was now back on!) until the alarm at 6:30pm and then had real trouble waking again . . Mum called to touch base and say Crufts best in show was on TV if I was interested. I was not. . . TVd/PCd the evening away . . BB called to touch base. . ate two grated cheese, ham and mayo finger rolls, crisps and a little chocolate . . to bed around 1:30am.
9 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 7:50am. 15C in, 10C out. Grey and misty. .Oh wow - the weather forecast for Sunday/Monday is awful! Back to real cold, and worst of all, very strong gusty winds! :o( . . walked FGn and then back via town for a quick tour of places, thinking about trying to get a 'token gesture' for Mum for tomorrows mothers day. Prices on sad-looking little bunches of flowers seemed absolutely astronomical to me. A 'modest' bunch of stuff in the flower shop was thirty something pounds!! No chance! Ended up buying a small pot of some sort of yellow flowers in the grocer for under 5. They say it's the thought that counts - but I confess all 'I' thought was what a terrible pointless waste of money!! :o| . . the mist turned to almost sunny spells - heavy rain - more mist - and then fog as the day progressed! . . PCd and monitored radios a bit. . bit the bullet and got round to ordering some more T&K brackets for my planned future aerial modifications outside. Actually ordered TWO sets of 18" brackets with U bolts for 26.14 inc postage (as it turned out, from exactly the same seller I had the last set from back in September 2011). I know from experience the V bolts they'll supply will be too small for what I want, so I went straight ahead and also ordered four '2.5" x 3/8" V bolts c/w 15mm Nuts' for 4.78 inc postage. . .monitored radios around 11:42am as the International Space Station passed overhead having a contact with Lycee Polyvalent Anatole France, Lillers, France. This time the contact DID go ahead and I was able to just about make out a little bit of their conversation, but a very disappointingly poor signal for only a very short period of time. . chatted locally with P across town on the local repeater for a bit until Mum called in with the paper and food donations. She'd also brought some magazine or other with an advert for some especially stretchy Plumex shoes (for her painful, badly deformed feet!) she wanted my opinion on (re, did I think it would be 'safe' to ring up and order them and give her credit card number etc.). Ended up on the PC with her having a good look at all the information (even a sales video from some shopping channel or other!), and then searching about to see if I could find them cheaper. They were available at various different places (including Amazon) but all at the same price, so I eventually just ordered her a pair from the advert she had (because only they had the colour she wanted, and they accepted Paypal, and that just seemed like the easiest way to just get it over and done with for her). . . drank a glass of red wine while cooking four small sausages, half a tin of baked beans, two fried eggs and chips. Ate much, followed by a square of chocolate . . napped until around 5:30pm. Woke feeling pretty rough and headachey. . foggy! . . walked FGn a little early as foggy daylight turned to damp dark. While I sat playing ball, the all weather Torbay lifeboat headed out, unseen in the fog, across to Torquay marina - where it was apparantly mooring up for the night?? Unusual. I wonder why? . back via the store for milk and cigarette papers . . PCd this . . .guitarred/TVd . Not in the mood for all the rubbish that was on TV, and somehow ended up sat in the living room with the TV turned off and the old AOR radio on, tuned to the morse-code part of the 40m band. A bit of a contest on (again)! Just stuck it on a frequency and left it there, and practiced at trying to decode in my head, whatever signals came and went (admittedly, without a great deal of success - still - although I DO tend to make things difficult for myself by gravitating towards any signals that are being sent at rediculously high speeds!?? ). I still have my doubts that I'll EVER get proficient enough and have the nerve to 'actually do' it on air, but the more I listen to stuff like that, the more I have an appreciation of and understanding of what's involved - 'mentally' kinda. Quite remarkable to be picking up several different signals all beeping away at the same time, and because of the slightly different frequencies of the tones, be able to mentally select which one to attempt to decode - and then hop to another and another, etc - without even touching the tuning dial. It HAS struck me that my attempting to become proficient at decoding the stuff (it HAS to be entirely automatic - heard and INSTANTLY recognised WITHOUT thought - like language - and I'm FAR from THAT!!), is just ANOTHER 'battle with myself' - like almost everything has been throughout my existance! Depression, avoidant stuff, learning guitar, smoking, meditation, etc etc etc - all of it - a battle with my own 'mental processes' - and all such battles seemingly 'never' to be won!! :o/ Nevertheless, when in the mood for a short period of time(like this evening), it's a 'trip' - and totally absorbing trying. This 'retro' (absurd?) business of learning/doing morse-code in this modern computer/mobile phone/on demand digital age, strikes me as getting back very much in touch with the birth of the industrial/technological revolution kinda. Morse code was invented REAL close to when the whole modern technological way of life actually took off. The birth of ALL modern communications. There IS something fascinating to me in that. Geeky huh?! lolol. . ate biscuits . .found a newt in the conservatory!!? . . PCd until finally to bed after 4am!! Difficulty getting to sleep.
8 - Up around 7:45am again. 15C in, 9C out. Grey with rain showers. . . walked FGn between showers . . did vacuuming and dish washing chores all morning. . PCd/monitored radios and then balanced my accounts and sorted out some of my old paperwork for tearing up and throwing out. . . ate ham, mayo and grated cheese sandwiches, crisps and some chocolate . . napped late for just a couple of hours until the alarm at 6:30pm. Woke feeling awful, all clenched fists and rigid from a nightmarish dream. (In the dream, I was fighting nazis - prior to inevitably losing the fight!) . . D called in with his accordian for chats etc. until around 9:30pm. Felt rough, exhausted and wasn't in the mood. . . PCd/TVd . . ate bowls of rice krispies before to bed around 2am.
7 - Woke earlier, snoozed on, then up around 7:45am. 15C in, 9C out. Foggy. . . woke at the PC as usual - and yes, I admit it - I ended up online, 'flying along' with a couple of passing aircraft!! lolol . . . walked FGn in the fog. The fog strangely remained as rain also began to fall on the return. Got cold and wet . . messed around PCing and listening to radios for a bit. .had a bit of a surf on ebay trawling through listings - and then 'just for fun' as I occasionally do, I had a look at specifically 'local' stuff - electrical stuff, doors, stuff for the garden, that sort of thing. Whilst doing so, I bumped into a private advert for a large wooden garden bench in 'Excellent Condition' - three days left to run, no bids as yet, a start price of 40, and just over in Paignton. I've absolutely NO interest in trying to buy such a thing, but what particularly caught my eye and intrigued me, was the fact that the backrest rail of the bench was deeply engraved with the words 'A GIFT FOR HADLEIGH COURT'! Image of the backrest of a bench listed on ebayHow does it come to pass that such a thing should be for sale on ebay I wonder? Must have cost someone a fortune - and was then presumably given as a very generous gift to some 'Hadleigh Court' place or other?? And now someones trying to sell it? Something about that didn't sit comfortably with me at all. I couldn't help myself doing a quick search on Google for somewhere local called Hadleigh Court. Turned out there WAS such a place - in Torquay! Hadleigh Court Residential Care Home for the elderly. The website even had pictures of their nice gardens - complete with wooden benches for the use of the residents (albeit NOT stained green like the one listed on ebay)! Hmmm? I really am turning into a terrible 'busybody' - but after ummingh and ahhing for a bit, I figured it 'shouldn't' actually hurt anyone if I were to contact the care home and just make sure they hadn't had one stolen or some such. Just in case! I gave them a call and informed the manager. Once I'd managed to explain why I was calling (with some difficulty! lol), the woman DID seem to be 'interested and concerned' - although there was NO mention of them having had one stolen. Ended up getting their e-mail address and simply dropped them the link to the listing for them to have a look at. I trust there IS a legitimate reason for it being on e-bay. It could of course be something that was never gifted - or for a totally different Hadleigh Court, etc, etc, etc. Any number of possible legitimate explanations I guess. I hope so. Anyway - that's my 'old mannish' 'busybody' act for today!!! :o( . . . around 12:25 the coastguard started paging teams and asking for assistance from any vessel in the vicinity - 'Person in the water in the inner harbor by the Golden Hind'!!!! That's an unusual one! Quickly went online and fired up the Quayside Hotel webcam and managed to get it rotated round just in time to see the ILB racing-in across the harbor to assist! The person was allegedly already out of the water (in a boat of their own?) and had 'just' made their way to the slipway beneath the Prince William Of Orange statue. He was checked over by the ILB crew and an ambulance was called as a precaution. It arrived almost instantly and could be seen parked on the Quayside for quite a while whilst he was checked over and warmed up. The guy ended up being apparantly taken home by the ambulance at around 12:50pm. That was freaky - hearing AND watching the shout from the desk here! . . .received an email reply from the Hadleigh Court people! "Many thanks for that information, have just spoken to the people that cleared all our garden waste as we are having our garden landscaped at hadleigh court, and that bench was not in that condition when they took it away, we have replaced that bench with a new one and it has a silver plaque with the person name on it in our front drive way. The person who cleared our garden has told me they will remove it from e.bay, i have told them that we are not happy and won't be useing them again. Regards". Hmmm - so - well - under the circumstances, if it WAS to be 'disposed of', why not list it on ebay? Hmmm. Wish I'd kept my big nose out of it now! :o( I replied as such - 'Thanks for allaying my fears. Actually, if it WAS to be legitimately 'disposed of' like you suggest - I guess selling it on for 're-use' isn't necessarily a bad thing? I feel embarassed and wish I'd kept my big 'busybody' nose out of it now!! lol Sincere Regards.' . .PCd this instead of doing my accounts as I'd intended! . . . ate the remaining rice, peas, chopped bacon, onion, grated cheese and mushroom soup concoction with four pieces of bread and butter followed by a square of chocolate. Too much! . . napped until around 6:30pm . . . TVd . . ended up on the radios when I overheard some local stations experimenting with having a chat on UHF. Discovered I hadn't fully programmed up all the UHF simplex channels into my FT-8800 radio, so ended up messing around 'filling in the blanks' using the programming software before re-programming it. . had a brief tune around the bands on the FT-897 and couldn't resist giving a call to a station calling CQ on 20mtrs. Had only the briefest of minimal 5/9 signal exchange type contacts - and it wouldn't be classed as 'DX' being 'only' 1400miles or so (!) - but it pleased me greatly nonetheless. Jan Mayen Island - in the Norwegian Sea, North of Iceland between Greenland and Norway. I didn't even know there was such a place! Brrrrrrr. lol . . . TVd . . ate a banana, mini apple pie and a couple of biscuits . . TVd until bed around 3am.
6 - Up around 6:50am. 14C in, 7C out. Grey and drizzley. . . walked FGn in full weather gear, in what turned out to be just a bit of mist really. . SO tired - always so, SO tired! :o( . . PCd and listened to radios for a bit. Bumped into a (very!) local guy chatting on a net on 40mtrs and while listening-in, heard him talking about flightradar24.com and how it's possible to track some of the aircraft seen flying overhead and switch to a 'cockpit view'. Huh? Cockpit view? I HAVE of course dabbled with that website before now, whilst listening to aircraft communications on the radios, but I'd never bumped into a cockpit view? Ended up firing up the website and having a closer look (whilst monitoring 'local' air frequencies). Had to download a Google Earth plug in - and then hey presto - I was able to slect one of the aircraft and click on a 'cockpit view' button, and sure enough, the PC screen filled with an aerial view as if I was flying along in the aircraft. Further views were selectable enabling the viewer to fly along in front, behind, or alongside either side of the aircraft. Absolutely incredible!! Breathtaking. . and so went the whole rest of the morning!!! The first aircraft I selected was actually going into Exeter and although Exeter airport IS largely outside of my radio receive range, I DID manage to pick up just a couple of their communications with the tower as they descended onto their final approach to land - and all that as I 'flew along' behind the aircraft - in 'real' time! So, SO disappointing when the screen just pretty much froze as the aircraft descended (below around 2000ft) into the airport and effectively disappeared. I assume, because no one in that area is picking up and providing the ADS-B data to the website? WHAT a shame. Ended up putting in quite a bit of time playing like this!! Ended up selecting ANY aircraft that were going more or less 'overhead' and flew along with them. Flying West down the centre of Devon at an altitude of 35000ft looking left was a real eye opener. WHAT an amazing way to get a better appreciation of where it is you live! (Significantly different to just looking at straight-down satellite imagery.) Presumably because of the aircraft navigation beacon up on Berry Head, a LOT of aircraft fly over this way (although of course sadly many do NOT have the ADS equipment fitted to enable them to be picked up and plotted like that). Several do however, and I actually 'joined' a couple to fly directly over Brixham! For example Image of a Flighradar.com view of an A320 flying over Brixham- an Easyjet Airbus A320 flying from Liverpool to Madrid went straight down the Exmouth Estuary and almost directly over Brixham at an altitude of 37000ft. WHAT a blast to be able to 'fly along' and actually 'look down' and make out Brixham and even quite clearly the Breakwater in the 'scenery' below! (In the poor, reduced-in-size screengrab image I've included here, that little blob just below and to the left of the Airbus starboard engine is the Brixham breakwater on the southern coast of Torbay, with Exmouth and the Exe estuary behind the tail, and the wider coast of Lyme bay stretching away to the right - even the Bristol channel is visible at the top of the image!) ASTONISHING! (How far behind the times am I! You can apparantly even play this game while out and about on a mobile phone these days!!!) No wonder people are spending hundreds of pounds on their own ADS receivers, etc! . boy oh boy oh boy - WHAT an absolute 'planespotter geek' I've turned into! lolololololol . . .PCd this . . .drank a glass of red wine and cooked up another rice, peas, chopped bacon, onion, grated cheese and mushroom soup concoction. Ate half with four pieces of bread and butter followed by a square or two of chocolate. . napped until 6:15pm. . TVd . . PCd/listened in to the local club net, etc for a couple of hours . . .TVd/guitarred just briefly. . ate two ham rolls, crisps and chocolate biscuits . . to bed after 2am.
5 - Up around 8:10am. 13C in, 6C out. Grey and misty. . . walked. Bumped into a dog walker and asked them about last night's 'alleged' meeting. Turns out there WAS a meeting 'more or less' where I thought it was, - but around 7pm and up an alleyway type side entrance to the place! Oh well. From the sound of it, there was little point in 'me' being there anyway, since people allegedly had everything covered. . . the mist mostly burned off during the morning, revealing a bit of sun for a change. . 'played' with radios, and actually spent most of the morning messing around with the PCR1000, using the 'packet' (discriminator tap) audio-out socket to attempt to decode pagers on the PC. I HAVE experimented with decoding pagers before, but only using the earphone type audio output which isn't really suitable for the job. Using this different way of doing things made decoding the signal into text on the PC screen, VERY much more reliable - but only on one particular frequency?? Other signals/frequencies I tried, were simply a no go for some inexplicable reason. On 138.150Mhz however, it pretty much just went straight ahead and simply decoded EVERYTHING without any messing around whatsoever. Weird thing was, 'most' of the messages I decoded over the course of a couple of hours, appeared to be from bird watchers around the country, updating others on what bird was spotted where!!!?? How bizarre. I had no idea people did such things. E.g. "Great White Egret flew SW over Barleycraft GPs at 10.06am", "Bucks Iceland Gull at Hedgerley Landfill Site again 10.10am. View from public foot path on west side", "E.Sussex Sandwich Tern flew past Bexhill at 7am" etc etc etc. Other decoded stuff included such gems as "PLS CALL MR ****** RE APPT FOR OVEN CLEAN ON **** ******" and "THE FLEMMING ARMS CO18 2QN TEL ***** ****** - GRABBER MACHINE NOT GRABBING OR ACCEPTING MONEY PROPERLY"!! lolol I don't think I'll be making a habit of sitting here decoding all that lot! lolololol . . a terrible way to waste a rare sunny day - and boy, am I tired again. :o(. . .around 2:30pm Citylink delivered the antenna I'd won on e-bay which was collected from the seller yesterday! Already!!! Blimey - I'd forgotten how long they are when they come in one piece! (My others came in two parts.) It was ENORMOUS - well packaged in two massive 'telescoped'/gaffa taped cardboard tubes - and yayyy - it appeared to be undamaged and still be in one piece. Gotta give the seller credit where it's due - that REALLY took some packaging-up like that - and I can only guess at how much the postage was!! Gotta give Citylink their due too, to be able to handle something SO long and large and not break it. (What hope IS there for the Post Office when they can no longer handle such stuff?! Such an outrage it's being killed off like it is! :o( ) . so - that was the rest of the afternoon quickly swallowed up. Given past purchase nightmares, it seemed particularly urgent that I attempt to first of all make sure it was all there AND then secondly, and FAR more awkward, attempt to make sure it was actually functional!! Carefully unwrapped it on the floor of the living room, poking through into the kitchen, and made sure it was looking ok and all the bits were there and screwed together etc without any stripped threads or problems. It wasn't long before I discovered that a small bolt was missing! The tiny one, which secures the actual base of the antenna when inserted into the stub mast! Damn, damn, damn. Bloody irritating - and necessary - but really hardly worth kicking up a fuss about if just that. Spent AGES going through my nut and bolt collection in the garage and eventually managed to find one of the right thread. Hacksawed a few millimeters off to make it work, fitted a suitable split washer, and hey presto - issue resolved. Image of quickly checking the SWR on a secondhand Moonraker SQBM1000 with a VX7 in the gardenThat was the 'easy' bit!! QUICKLY checking it would actually work and wasn't a duffer with a bad SWR or some such, took a LOT more thinking about. Oooh, oooh, oooh - at length, I figured if I could temporarily manage to prop it up in the garden somehow, using my small SWR meter and various sockets and patch leads from my other radios, it 'should' be possible to relatively quickly connect it up to my VX-7 handie and check it out. . temporarily bolted it to the short bit of salvaged neighbours washing pole I still have saved for future use, and managed to firmly G clamp that to the metal base of the garden table to keep everything solid. The patch leads from my other radios were of course pretty short, so I had to prop the SWR meter up on a couple of old plastic containers. Yayy - that's going to work. Nervously connected up the VX7 with the speaker mic attached, and hey presto - ready to give it a go. VERY nervously checked the SWR on VHF and then gave a shout on the local repeater and everything appeared to be ok, with a more than acceptable low SWR reading. Did the same on UHF and all similarly ok. The 6Mtr SWR I could NOT check because that meter isn't rated for that frequency - but to be honest I'm not particularly bothered about 6m - and have no reason to think it won't be similarly ok. What WAS suprising to me was what I was picking up. I swear I was getting as good, if not BETTER recieve signals than I'm used to getting from the aerials up on the roof!?? That REALLY suprised me. There can only be ONE reason for that as far as I can see - the length of the coax, and the losses involved in the LONG (RG213) runs up to the aerials on the roof. During my tests, the total coax length to the new aerial was no more than three feet. Zero losses pretty much I guess. That really was an eye opener. So much so, it's making me totally rethink where I was intending to mount that new aerial. Dare I T&K bracket the house wall and mount it out FRONT, as close to the radio as possible?Yep - I need to think that all through. Anyway - suffice it to say, on the face of it, I'm 'content' with that purchase. WHAT a relief! Had a coffee/cig break in the garden before breaking everything back down and temporarily stowing the new antenna away in the back bedroom. . returned the borrowed sockets and patch leads to the radio room and connected the radios back up and made sure all was in order and back to normal . . PCd this . . walked FGn well after 7pm. Returned via town for some milk and margarine supplies . . . TVd . . ate a couple of ham rolls, a large pack of crisps, banana and maltesers . . SO tired - early to bed around midnight.
4 - Up around 8:25am. 13C in, 5C out. Grey and breezy. . . walked FGn . . . PCd/radiod and sat in monitoring 145.800mhz waiting for this morning's scheduled ISS pass and contact with 'Lycee Anatole France' at 11:06 UTC. Monitored on the FT-897 for a change (despite its fault, which often seems most evident on VHF FM), with it being automatically controlled and tuned for the doppler shift, via the programming lead and HRD's Satellite Tracking program. Heard NOT a peep (on ANY radio - although there did seem to be some confusion over whether or not it was actually going to happen, and was possibly cancelled due to 'activities related to the arrival of SpaceX Dragon'.)! . . cut my hair and trimmed my beard etc before showering in the 13C bathroom! . . ate the remaining rice, peas, chopped bacon, onion, grated cheese and mushroom soup concoction with a buttered bread finger roll followed by a couple of squares of chocolate . . . napped until the alarm at 6:30pm . . fed Bella and then decided to dare to 'have a look' at the council meeting I'd been told about which was allegedly happening down the town hall at 7:30pm . . left Bella around 7:15pm home alone (god - how I HATE doing that!) and walked apace down to the Scala hall - only to find it all locked-up and in darkness, with no signs of life there at all!! FFS! I SO hate making the effort only to be wasting my time like that! :o( So much for the accuracy of information received in dog-walker conversations then (although I HAD surfed to check and had found a couple of dates on council websites suggesting there WAS a meeting there tonight!?). . immediately headed all the way back home via the harbor and the paths past FGn. . sat in the front garden with Bella for a bit, cooling-off from my energetic fast walk . . . PCd. .Yet more abusive comments on the seagull video! :o( ' tomatelasflaca has made a comment on Seagull Eating A Plastic Bag. And the oscar goes to the moron with Inferiority complex, who happened to be thinking how amazing this video is, also how much attention he will get on youtube even if it is only for a few minutes, so that people will thank him for enlightening the world...-/cut/-' . Ok - enough is enough. I absolutely do not need to be 'out of the blue' continually attacked and upset like this. It 'reaches me' every time! Enough is enough - I went onto Youtube and with a couple of clicks of the mouse, just turned off the comments on that one video. Turning off the comments apparantly had the effect of immediately deleting them all (hence me not being able to retrieve the last lines of the comment above for here). Funny thing was, just as I was doing that 'turn off', someone was in the process of making what I felt was a much more intelligent and thought-through comment. 'PenIronBox has made a comment on Seagull Eating A Plastic Bag. All you idiots saying that the cameraman should stop the seagull from eating that trash... PURE IDIOTS. How many seagulls can this cameraman save? He could save this one now, it flies off to somewhere 500m away, finds another trash bag, starts eating away again. How about you stop littering useless comments all over YT, jesus christ if you are such a hero and want to save wildlife, how about you go out there and do something to contribute? Shame that one got deleted too - but I guess, nice to call a halt to them on a positive one kinda? Killing the comments on that one video is all well and good, but of course it is the edited version of the full one, which still remains up there with comments enabled. Comments also still enabled on my actual 'channel' I think? So - how long before the poison of peoples ignorance, will still find its way to 'hurt me' I wonder? . . finished typing/uploading this and then, since I was still online, spontaneously decided to casually search for mentions of that seagull video on Google, in case I should find an explanation of where all the recent viewers/commentors were coming from. Well whadayaknow - I think I found out why. A newish entry by one of their editor/contributors on some 'Treehugger' website (http://www.treehugger.com/culture/disturbing-video-seagull-eating-plastic-bag.html) complete with comments like "I have to admit, I really don't get how the videographer couldn't stop the seagull from eating the bag." and "But it's still hard to watch this being filmed knowing someone was there to stop it, and didn't." There we go then. THAT explains THAT doesn't it. How despairingly ironic that so many 'treehuggers' are apparantly so ignorant and filled with such hatred!?! I always imagined someone calling themself a 'tree hugger' would be - well - a bit 'simple' but essentialy kinda 'nice'. I guess I have to conclude I was wrong in that assessment about 'people' too. :o( . . all irritated, angry and fired-up (again!) - I couldn't help myself (again!) - I attempted to mail that editor in an attempt to answer some of the questions she may have had over the (in)actions of 'the videographer'! Dear ***** You wrote: "I have to admit, I really don't get how the videographer couldn't stop the seagull from eating the bag." and "But it's still hard to watch this being filmed knowing someone was there to stop it, and didn't." I am the 'much hated' videographer! I have just felt obliged to turn off commenting on that youtube video, because of all the upsetting hatefilled, abusive comments I have suddenly been receiving. In searching to understand why 'all of a sudden' I should receive so many, I stumbled across your treehugger entry. In order to perhaps answer some of your 'questions' about the videographer and his questionable (in)actions, you 'may' wish to take the time to review at least 'some' of the following links and read the entries as indicated. -/diaryarc links list/- Make of all that what you will. No need to reply. 'I' am the harshest judge of my actions. . . and will continue to have to live with it. Sincerely T . . Jeeze - enough, enough, enough! Get a grip! No more picking at THAT ever open wound thank you very much! :o( . . TVd . . drank baileys . . ate a banana, chocolate and chocolate biscuits . . to bed around 2am.
3 - Up around 8:35am after really almost no sleep at all! :o( 12C in, 3C out. Grey and breezy. . . walked FGn and sat and played ball in the biting cold wind! VERY cold. . a dog walker informed me, the council meeting at which banning dogs from the greens may be on the agenda again, was happening at the local town hall at 7:30pm on Monday. NOT likely I'll attend of course <shudder> - although I AM sorely tempted. . .eventually back home feeling utterly frozen - again - still - always ! :o( . . . PCd and couldn't help myself doing a fair amount of on-line research as far as I could, into 'toxocariasis' - that parasitic infection which can cause blindness, which is passed-on in dog faeces, and is ALWAYS used by councils (because of hysterical press reports about rare cases) to justify banning dogs from everwhere. As always, hard to find in-depth reliable data on such things without having to sign up and pay for access to, scientific journals etc, etc. It DOES appear to be very VERY rare - and be pretty much reliant on someone (young children mostly) actually 'eating' soil containing old infected faeces! Also of particular interest to admittedly biased me, was that it isn't only (unwormed) dogs which are the cause - it's foxes and cats too - and can even allegedly be spread by flys. As I'd suspected, on the face of it, to use primarily that one argument as a reason to ban dogs from public grassed areas, seems VERY largely flawed. From my own observations and experience over many years now, and particularly so here locally because of the 'demographics' and high level of dog ownership, I am also ABSOLUTELY convinced that, if looked at in terms of 'frequency and duration of useage', it is DOG WALKERS explicetely who are the PRIMARY users of all the greens and parks. (E.g. An hour of organised football practice by a dozen or so kids on a Saturday morning (in reasonable weather during their season), doesn't come close to the number of people walking their dogs there in a single morning - and the latter will be doing that, perhaps two or three times a day, EVERY day.) Seems wrong to me to even consider excluding the primary users. There IS a local play area complete with a small corner of swings and suchlike, not that far from me, which WOULD be a very neat local place for some dog walkers to excercise their dogs when the longer walks are too difficult because of health or weather. Must cost the council quite a bit to cut the grass and maintain it. Dogs are NOT allowed in it. It is 'almost' NEVER used by ANYONE - maybe just a handful of times a year when some young visiting family members are walked there by a locally living granny! Then there are all the beaches from which dogs are excluded. How many of those are utterly devoid of human life for most of the year? It just doesn't make sense to me at all - and really - not only because I'm a dog owner. It just doesn't make sense - but then, nothing does to me when 'people' are involved. Really, almost nothing!!! Idiot people and their idiot offspring should be banned - not animals! . . Jeeze - enough of my ranting!!!! . . .drank a couple of glasses of red wine while cooking up a rice, peas, chopped bacon, onion, grated cheese and mushroom soup concoction. Eventually ate half with a bag of crisps. . . napped until 6:30pm . . .TVd a couple of programs one after the other on different channels about meteors. . .ate crisps, a corned beef and mayo finger roll, half a coffee sponge cake and chocolate . . aimlessly PCd until bed around 2:30am or later.
2 - Up around 8:30am. 13C in, 2C out. Grey. Only that one antibiotic tablet yesterday, and yet I swear already it has made a 'slight' positive difference to my symptoms. . . walked FGn. A dogwalker suggested there were allegedly moves afoot to try to ban dogs from FGn ('again') and dogwalkers were having a meeting about it some time somewhere! She ALSO spoke about 'the doberman' (the one who savaged Bella) and how someone had allegedly had problems with it with their dog down in the woods. All hearsay and perhaps not to be believed, but there was even a suggestion by her that things between the owners had got ugly - and physical (!?!), and a suggestion the police were contacted as a result! Dunno what to make of all that - but it DOES reaffirm my attempts to avoid that 'dangerous' doberman at all costs. Bad news he's frequenting the woods with it now too. :o( . .found a weird thing in the grass on the way back across the field (detouring around the edge to avoid the Saturday morning kids football practice session). Some weird electronic cigarette type thing I think. (Someone trying to tell me something?) 'TECC Tornado-T' was printed on it. Never seen one of those in the flesh before, and really don't have a clue what they are all about. Popped it in a pocket to look at and maybe look up on the net later . . . PCd/monitored radios all morning, feeling increasingly headachey. . Seems to be a bit of propogation on the bands. Unusually picking up Solent coastguard! Around midday they were tasking Hamble lifeboat to rendezvous with a vessel, who'd just had a man overboard incident but had managed to retrieve the crewmember!!! Bet they were cold! . . the postman delivered the CS-600 antenna switch I'd won on e-bay. Messed around for a bit cleaning it up (which it badly needed). Once done, superficially, apart from the one missing screw, it looked in pretty damned good shape. A multitester confirmed it appeared to be working ok without any dead shorts, etc. Mum calling in with the paper and food donations for chats stopped play. . once Mum had gone I returned to the antenna switch, dropped the two remaining screws out of the back (which HAVE been removed before for some reason) and had a CLOSE look at everything inside. I was happily relieved to find everything in VERY good shape. So much so, I reckon it's been taken apart in the past by someone simply to add some grease to the spring/ball-bearing part of the switch mechanism to make it operate nice and smoothly. The all important 'leaf' contact blades etc were in such good shape (actually better than another one I have in use), I judged they didn't even need cleaning or anything. In short - apart from the missing screw (a better replacement for which I'll probably be able to find in my screw collection in the garage some time - I've temporarily fitted a non countersunk one I found laying in my screwdriver box), it really is in very good and fully functioning condition. So - for 6.70 - very pleased. :o) . . ate two corned beef finger rolls, crisps and a tin of soup . . napped until 6:30pm. . . TVd . . PCd/monitored radios. Made the very briefest of signal exchange contacts with a station calling CQ Contest on 2mtrs SSB - because it's SO rare to hear anything in that mode on that part of the band around here so it seems. He was only up in Tiverton so hardly 'DX'. Apart from a VERY low signal from another station on the Isle Of White at one point, I could hear no one else. THAT says a great deal about how utterly appalling my location is down in this black hole of a valley. The Tiverton station I breifly spoke with, was getting station after station from his 'lofty' location, with mine being his contest contact number 323!!! :o\ . . .PCd this for ages until early and then had a bit of a surf looking up details of that TECC Tornado-T electronic cigarette substitute thingy I found (which even still has a 'bit' of charge in its battery right now!). The most informative stuff I found about it was various videos on youtube. (Ain't t'internet marvellous. lol) What I found would appear to be actually quite an expensive little loss for someone. I have to confess, it actually does look like a pretty neat aid to a serious attempt at giving up. Actually even 'almost' tempting to invest in one, now I've actually seen videos and had hands on one (although they ARE a lot of money!)! On the occassions I dabble with 'at least' attempting to cut down, it's the 'mental disturbance' and 'confusion' I experience when the nicotine deficiency is really biting, that generally sees me cave in. E.g. - if I try and go without my usual first thing in the morning chainsmoking at the PC, I can't concentrate or think straight, and will suddenly 'come round' after having been sat staring blankly into space for five minutes or more - and then soon slip back into a similar state!! One wonders if a nicotine hit from such a device at exactly such times, would help me get past that particular intransigent stumbling block? Hmmmm? . . really needed to eat, but just wasn't hungry. Forced down a banana and half a coffee cake and TVd for a bit before eventually to bed around 3am. Couldn't get to sleep for ages?
1 - Up around 7:40am feeling very dry mouthed and a bit dehydrated. 12C in, 3C out. Grey, breezy and a hint of moisture in the air - and on my pillow again! :o( . . . walked FGn and sat and played ball before heading back via town. Stopped off at the doctors surgery and managed to get a late appointment later, to talk about my persistant/re-occuring infection thing and presumably get more antibiotics! :o( Back home in a bit of cold drizzle . . just sat around for a bit feeling cold and rather down before ending up on the PC/radios around 10:35am. The radio when I turned it on, appeared to be picking up that space station, dead carrier transmission on 145.800mhz again!? Quickly checked on the PC/net, and sure enough, the ISS WAS indeed orbiting past at just that moment - and to fully confirm the signal WAS without doubt coming from the ISS, it DID drop out at exactly the computer calculated 'loss of signal' time a few minutes later. Very very strange!??? It's making a succession of 'close' orbits later, offering potentially higher received signals (spaced around 1hr 36 minutes apart until mid afternoon), so I may have to make a point of listening for it again to rule out any doubt, and try different modes in case there is some sort of unheard data on the carrier?. . . PCd this . . .radiod breifly just after midday whilst listening for the next ISS pass. Sure enough, the carrier reappeared for the duration of the pass, and someone else listening-in also confirmed it. VERY intriguing . . .Broke into a local conversation when I overheard them talking about the local 'Shopwatch' frequencies. Picked up a couple of new frequencies to add to my scan banks, but ALSO learned that all the local shopwatch radios are due to be upgraded to digital by the end of the month!! THAT means, I'll no longer (quite rightly of course!) be able to pick them up. WHAT a shame. Yet another victim of advancing technology. It's SO ironic. I get back into radio and spend all my money on all manner of scanners and the like, and am 'just' about reaching a point where I have a VERY capable monster listening setup I'm happy with - and all for nothing because in the very near future there's going to be nothing left (on 'conventional' bands/modes) to pick up as they all go digital!!! SUCH a shame. :o( . . . around 12:45pm the postman delivered the 49mtrs of antenna wire. .(Did NOT hear the ISS dead carrier on the last pass? Curioser and curioser.) Eventually nervously opened the antenna wire packet. Yayy - exactly like the stuff I've already used for my HF wire (and I DO love that stuff. Incredibly strong, doesn't stretch, almost impossible to kink it, hardly visible, easy to solder, etc, etc.) Sadly, having learned to trust nothing on e-bay, I eventually actually went to all the bother of marking out a metre length on the desk, and then unwound the whole reel and laboriously measured it (making marks every 10mtrs with an indellible marker, to make things easier when I eventually come to use it). Turns out it's only just 10cm or so shy of a full 50mtr reel (which cost me 27 last time)! Phew - so 17.65 WAS a good deal. :o) . .received a message from the antenna seller-"thanks for buying my item. I've packed it good but it was too long for PO Service so I've booked and paid for economy courier City Link who are due to collect at my end on monday." Hmmm - I 'think' it was Citylink who 'crushed' my sofa footstool in transit, if I remember correctly! Oh dear - that doesn't bode well!! . . just carried on wasting away the day until my 5:20pm doctor appointment. . decided to let Bella benefit from my wasting away the hours with an early walk. Walked Fgn with a coffee mid afternoon. Bad timing - reached the field just as all the parents were collecting their kids from the school and had to carefully pick our way through them all. Sat and played ball and drank my coffee as a few spots of cold rain fell, before eventually returning. . . left Bella at home and headed for the doctors around 5pm. A bit of an uptight wait in the warm waiting room, actively (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy type) attempting to relax (including by 'enjoying' being warm for once!) and then in to see a doctor. I was only in there a few minutes. He looked at the back of my head and confirmed it was infected again, and he'd prescribe a slightly longer course of the same antibiotics as I'd had before. I had the opportunity of NOW asking what the ACTUAL result of the last test swab had been. He said the swab test had confirmed a staphylococcal infection and that it could also be Impetigo . Just as I was leaving, poking at his computer, he asked if I was a smoker. I said I was (am I now on some computerised 'blacklist' I wonder? I just BET!) and since he'd asked, I WAS 'potentially' interested in the idea of having some free nicotine patches to try. Turned out it wasn't that simple. As I understood it - I'd have to first register on some sort of giving-up scheme with an individual who would offer me 'support' during my attempt to give up, before I could get any free patches. That was the end of that as far as I was concerned. The LAST thing I could possibly tolerate at the best of times - never mind if I was going through the agony of trying to give up (constant chain) smoking - would be to have to engage in some superficial nonsense interaction with a 'supportive' ex-smoker person! Like they actually give a s**t who I am or if I live or die a horrible smoking induced death. The only reason - THE ONLY reason the government is insultingly forcing doctors into being seen to hand out a few free patches, is for b******t PR 'spin' reasons. It's got absolutely NOTHING to do with allegedly looking out for peoples health and wellbeing AT ALL. It's actually purely about the MONEY - as EVERYTHING is, in this poisonous, corrupt, free-market economic system we are all slave to. The bottom line is, smokers getting ill and dieing by lung cancer etc, costs the NHS loads along the way - meaning less money goes into the pockets of those in power. Loads more than even the outrageously high taxes the government have put on tobacco. Like with so much else, it is being made the preserve of only the rich. I'm not good at verbalising what I'm getting at here. Yes - of course everyone should give up smoking and have a long, healthy and happy life - but that's just not, what is actually going on, is all about. ALREADY we are starting to see the same philosophy applied to alcohol, and even more worryingly now to food (re the cost to the NHS of obesity, etc.). In short - the rich getting ever richer can continue to eat and drink and smoke what they want - the poor get poorer and cannot. <rant><rant - lots> . . . suffice it to say, I was soon leaving the doctors with my antibiotic prescription, and did NOT feel able to stop at the reception desk to start trying to enroll in a stop smoking program in an attempt to get some free nicotine patches! :o( . . immediately walked the short distance to the chemist to get the prescription made up. The doctor HAD suggested I could get some rub-on potion or other (I forget what it was he recommended and wrote on the back of the prescrition form) to stop the (very considerable!) itching/skin irritation I am suffering, but since I'd have had to buy it seperately at the chemist (?! more), and because I couldn't see how it would be possible to use it on the back of my head because of my hair (big gooey mess), I didn't bother. . paid another 7.65 for this latest NHS prescription (announced in the news only today, it's going up by another 20p soon - dentist fees ALSO rising!) waited breifly and was then soon exiting with 40 x 500mg Flucloxacillin Capsules. . . walked straight to a mini supermarket in the high street and bought a bottle of milk - AND five 50g packs of Golden Virginia hand rolling tobacco for 81.84!!!!!!!! I SO cannot afford this! I worry and agonise SO much about the amount of money I spend on all my radio nonsense, and yet all that is as nothing compared to what I continually spend on my addiction (thanks to the tax)! :o( . . headed home with still a few drops of rain in the air . . . pretty much immediately popped one of the four-a-day antibiotics upon getting home, to start the ball rolling as quick as possible . . TVd the local news. YET more on the news about people dieing/having close calls with carbon monoxide again! Touched base with Mum and joked and thanked her for the detector she'd bought me again. In conversation, she remarked on how today is the six year anniversary of me having moved in here!!! Blimey - I can hardly believe it's been SO long! I don't feel I've acheived much (with the state of the property) after having been here for SO long! STILL several walls with the old wallpaper on - and I haven't even touched the bathroom with its nauseatingly absurd mixture of paper and different wall tiles, etc, etc! :o( SIX years!!! Astonishing. . D called in with his guitar for chats etc until around 11pm! Ate a handful of chocolate biscuits with a coffee, because I was desperate for 'something' to eat after having not eaten all day. . . drank a glass of red wine . Cooked and ate three rashers of bacon, mushrooms and a large amount of mashed potatoe well after midnight . . eventually to bed a little before 2am, WITHOUT taking my next antibiotic, because it's supposed to be taken on an empty stomach and at least two hours AFTER eating - which it wasn't!