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August
31
- Up just before 9am!!! Blimey - that was another long sleep!? . . Mum called to tell me the council had been and had taken all her old rotten fence panels away. Cost her 35!!!!!! JEEZUZ!!!! That's OUTRAGEOUS! (This is why 'I' have to burn everything now!). . .walked. Returned via Mums. Screwed one of my 'inherited with the house' old hanging basket brackets to Mums fence for hanging her birdfeeder on. Stopped for a brief coffee before getting home in time to listen-in for the ISS . . Successfully picked up a bit, and even recorded a little of my experience on the camcorder again. . ended up editing up a video of it (for what it's worth) and eventualy uploaded it to youtube - all the while monitoring radios, listening out for any of the air traffic appearing at the Dartmouth regatta. Saw a helicopter (sea king) or two pass over, but otherwise it all seemed pretty quiet out there. I've a horrible feeling the actual Dart Display control frequency has changed from what it was last year (235.5Mhz), and is NOT in the list of memories I'm scanning. I need to get serious with the scanner and actually run some new searches.(That means I need to get the instruction manual out! lolol I may not bother.) . . headed out into the front garden armed with radios towards six oclock (having totally missed any sight or sound of the earlier air displays), and watched and listened to the Red Arrows again as they displayed largely BELOW my horizon over Dartmouth. Still had some pretty good views as they raced overhead and regrouped etc after break/single pair manouvers etc. There WAS a spot of rain or two during the display. Their trademark 'smoke heart' was plainly visible in the distance, and today was done with RED smoke. Based on what I heard on the radio and had suspected, that DOES seem to suggest they tailor the colour of the smoke to what the cloud/cloud base/weather conditions etc are like (as called by their guy on the ground at the display site). A silly little piece of it all of course, but I find it absolutely mindboggling - not only are those guys all flying an aircraft at enormous speeds in close formation doing aerobatics close to the ground and all, but they are ALSO talking on their radios AND making decisions about which colour smoke to press the button for - and all of that 'on the fly' (pun intended). Absolutely amazing. Those guys minds must be absolutely RAZOR sharp ALL the time. Humbling. Hillarious that 'I' went for aircrew selection once! lolololol. . . walked with a coffee, feeling utterly exhausted again. Back in the dark . . . edited down some of the shakey Red Arrows footage from the other day, and at length, eventually uploaded it to youtube . . ate a microwaved ready-meal of two sausages, mashed potatoe and four pieces of bread and butter. That's not enough food for a day! . to bed just before 1am.
30 - Up at 7:30am. That was a long sleep - indicative of how tired I'm STILL feeling! Sunny spells between the possible threat of more showers . . PCd a bit of this - slow getting going. . . walked. . stopped in at Mums on the return to pick up a sweeping brush which needed repair . . . pottered around putting tools back where they should be a little and then fixed Mums brush back on the handle, with both wood-glue and a long fixing screw . . PCd a bit until Mum called in with money to repay me for the fence. Not only did she give me 200 to cover the out of pocket expenses +, but had ALSO transferred 1k into my account!!!!!!!!! Good grief - that must make it THE most expensive fence in history!!! :o/ There's no arguing with her or refusing it. Hmmm. Do I just add that to my 'safety net' of savings (to cover 'required things' like a new lawn mower/washing machine/vacuum/vet bills, etc, etc, etc), or have I the nerve to blow it on radios maybe? We'll see. .Chatted and let her have a look on the PC at a little bit of the footage of the Red Arrows yesterday. We were sat at the PC when the doorbell rang. Oh wow - a surprise visit from SH!! He'd apparantly seized the good weather of the day, and spontaneously driven down on his motorcycle! :o) . . Mum promptly withdrew and headed home carrying her brush. . . chats and coffee. He'd also brought back the CB he'd taken ages ago to have a look at! . . . all walked via BGdns down to the busy bustling Pirate Thursday harbour. sat on the harbourside for SH donated fish and chips. Oh boy was that good - but oh SO 'wet' and greasy. Covered my trousers in grease and stinking fish juice in an 'embarassing way'! Damn!!! . . .back via FGn. Sat for a bit and played ball with Bella, recovering from the climb up. . back home for another cuppa to recover and then bid farewells . . .TVd not moving for a couple of hours, struggling to stay awake! . . guitarred for - well - most of the evening actually, until my arms were aching and fingers were sore. . . .ate the last of the mushroom concoction with four pieces of bread and butter. I wasn't particularly hungry, but forced it down in an attempt to eat more than I have been of late (given the amount of energy I'd been expending doing Mums fence etc). . TVd until bed around 1am.
29 - Woke earlier then up around 6:30am. More rain as a forecast gale force 8 started to arrive in earnest. Just in time for me to have to go out walking in it! :o( Delayed walking and PCD this as increasing wind and heavy rain lashed the house. Wow - TORRENTIAL rain around 8:45am! Sorry Bella - no way am I heading out in THAT!!! . .eventually relented, bit the bullet and walked in full leaking weather gear. Got drenched of course. Back via the store for bread and milk - and some going off/cheap mushrooms . . .back to monitoring radios and PCing this while drying out . . Mum called to touch base and say she'd called the council about the old fence panels and timber, and they'd be calling in on Friday to 'inspect' and see if they could take them!?? They would also apparantly only THEN let her know how much it'd cost her!??!! All sounds very weird. F***ing local council is a bad joke when it comes to such things! . .called Mum back later to let her know how much the fence thing had cost and how much she owes me (because I bought it all on my debit card etc). The TOTAL cost worked out at 188.90, which I guess isn't bad (although seems like a lot to me - and doesn't include the charity shop cost of the long sleeved T-shirt I ruined in the process). I have no doubt at all Mum will end up giving me back a lot more than that. She seems intent, despite my protestations to the contrary, to 'pay me for my labour'! . . the rain finally eased around 12:30pm. The forecast suggests it IS going to improve for later, so fingers crossed for the 6pm Torquay Red Arrows display - although, I'm not sure I can even be bothered to go look see. I feel pretty knackered and aching - and cold and damp still! . . . the weather DID improve and even turn to occasional sunny spells as the afternoon wore on. I decided under the circumstances I probably WOULD head for BGdns to watch the Red Arrows display - with the specific intention of watching AND listening-in on my radios. I've seen them, and I've heard them, but never both together at the same time. For ME, that makes all the difference and puts the hair on the back of my neck up somehow. . Somehow frittered away the whole rest of the afternoon messing around charging up all my batteries in everything and 'tweaking' frequency lists/memory banks in all my radios, etc etc. . . walked with Bella (in still soaking wet shoes) just a little after 5pm, with radios (three! UBC3500, VX2, VX7) stuffed into every pocket!! Headed down to the lower seats in Bgdns and played ball for quite a bit, as lots of other people and dogs appeared with the same idea - although there were as usual probably far more people up on the higher/better vantage point by the roofed seats. I was quite happy to stay down out of the crowds and 'do my thing' with the radios, despite having a poorer view. I WAS a bit uptight about possibly running into 'THE dobermans', but with all the other dogs and people around, I figured we'd be as safe as we could be. The weather had improved quite dramatically. Hard to believe it had been SO bad earlier. It wasn't long before I was able to determine (on all three radios!) that the Red Arrows were on their way, and were using their 'standard' (widely publicised on the net) display frequency of 243.450Mhz. Although I got distracted just watching the display (and even videoing just a little - all dreadfully shaky, just holding the camera by hand, on massive zoom, filming several miles across Torbay!), somewhat disappointingly, the scanner actually seemed to be doing a better job of picking up the 'mil-air' frequency than the VX-7! . Bella was very good and took it all in her stride, although did start hassling me to play ball right in the middle of things. LIE DOWN! . I hadn't read/kept up on things, and was rather suprised to find the arrows are doing the display season with just seven aircraft (following last year's tragedies, etc). Perhaps because of that, once the display was over, I WAS left with the sneaking feeling that it hadn't been as a good a display as I've seen them do before. Superb and breathtaking nonetheless - and a whole different experience listening to the 'boss' shouting his commands. EXCELLENT stuff. I suspect forever more, whenever I see them or see film of them on TV, I'll be hearing in my mind "Holllding the bank - NOW". lolol :o) . some young guy stood nearby, ended up chatting for a bit after the display was over and the people started to disperse, showing an interest in amateur radio and scanners and the like. Breifly gave a shout on the local repeater and chatted locally as a bit of a demo - just in case it may wet his appetite to start getting into it (although I'm certainly no 'ambassador' for the hobby! Far from it!!!) . eventually headed home. . . TVd/radiod briefly . . . TVd . . drank a glass of red wine and cooked up a pot of mushrooms, garlic salt, onion, a fried chopped ham ring, tin of mushroom soup and grated mature cheddar cheese. Ate more than half with four pieces of bread and butter followed by a bunch of biscuits . . TVd until early to bed around 11pm!
28 - Up at 8:15am. Sunny between the clouds . . walked. Carried on down town and after a brief look in a charity shop or two, headed straight for the local harware store. Yayy - managed to find some suitable replacement carriage bolts for mums fence uprights. New metric sizes and threads, but pretty much an equivalent size to the old rusted ones I need to replace, albeit slightly longer. 40p each with the nuts - I bought six and then headed straight home. . the forecast is for an 'ok' day today, and more rain/gales tomorrow (with the Red Arrows due to display over the Torquay Regatta tomorrow afternoon!), so like it or not, I'm gonna have to try to get Mum's fence project wrapped up today if I possibly can. Recovered from the walk with a coffee and cigs, and sat around mentally rehearsing what I have yet to do on Mums fence. Eventually dug a piece of spare timber from my own front garden fence project out of the garage to take with me (for maybe making-up some 'custom' post caps for the 4"x2" type posts?), put my filthy, torn shirt back on, and eventually headed up Mums with Bella around 11am. . That last little half height end panel, was a real awkward, time-consuming pain in the ass to get done. Buried deep in the scratchy undergrowth, above a treacherous stone and earth bank next to Mums pond, the end post timber AND much of the ironwork was well rotted and rusted away. Had to trim back quite a bit of the hedge before I could even force my way in there! At length I managed to feed-in and position the panel roughly in place, only to find that the metal upright wasn't cemented in the ground vertically and was NOT going to allow me to attach the final new timber post (because of the combined affect of all the slightly narrower timber sizes)! I had to wrench the metal angle iron over a bit at the top!!! That enabled me to 'JUST' manage to bolt on the last timber post - albeit having to leave one of the bolts off, because there wasn't enough timber overlap! The small section of stone wall beneath, also meant the panel was a little bit too high to be perfectly in-line with the rest of the fence!!!! Nobody else would have bothered I'm sure, but I put in all the awkward dangerous time consuming work to actually grind away a bit of the top of the rough/uneven wall with the disc cutter, so that eventually I could get the panel to sit at around the right height to match the rest. . at length, I eventually had it all fixed and screwed in place, and after having sawed a bit off the length of all six of the new carriage bolts, had the whole fence all bolted up more or less as it had been before I started. Yayyyyy. . . awkwardly hand-sawed off the tops of all the new wooden posts at a suitable 'pleasing to the eye' height above the panels, and using the piece of timber I'd brought from home, fashioned six 'caps' to put on top. Not the prefered thing to do because it's just pieces of flat timber, but better than nothing - and I DID go to the time consuming bother of attempting to slightly 'round over' the top edges of every one with the disc cutter - to hopefully help the rain run off, but mostly to just make it LOOK a bit better. (My router would have done a better job in a fraction of the time, but I wasn't prepared to go all the way back home at this stage to get it just for that!). With all those caps screwed into place, that really was pretty much job done. Yayyy. The icing on the cake was the old container of mostly full preservative I found in Mums garage. The unsightly 'white' timber of the new post uprights was nicely blended in after a quick paint of some of the preservative. Of course I SHOULD have done that to all the new timber before I started, but things just didn't work out that way. That means that sadly the neighbours side of the posts does NOT have any preservative on it - and given the nature of the gardens and all the plants and hedges and bits of other fence on their side, it won't really be possible to now ever do! I'm NOT gonna worry about it. As long as it all outlives Mum, that'll do. On Mums side, it really does look pretty ok I think. If it was mine - I'd settle for it. (Hell - it's better than any of mine!!) . . with all my tools unusually to hand, I pushed on and briefly had a bit of a look at the smaller of Mums metal front gates - which always sticks and drives me mad every time I try to get through it. I'm well aware from having looked at it in the past, that it requires a bit of major cut and shut welding surgery, but I figured I could just slightly improve things, just a bit, by grinding-off some metal from the end of the lever where it jams against the pillar brickwork. Ground off a few millimeters with the disc cutter and DID succeed in making it 'slightly' less prone to SO badly jamming. .Image of Mums new garden fence at last - called it quits for the day (and hopefully for the forseeable immediate future) , and sat with Mum for a coffee somewhere around 5pm - admiring the new fence. lolol I think she was quite pleased with how it worked out and looked. 'I' am. :o) Sadly, I HAVE left HER with the problem of having to now call the council and pay for the disposal of all the OLD rotting fence timbers which are currently stacked up in her garage! . . eventually cleared up and loaded up my rucksack and bucket with as many of my tools as I could carry, tied Bella to my belt and started to head for home. Grateful Mum saw me out to the gate - and suddenly gave me a hug! Blimey - that took me aback! lolololololol . . . dumped tools back at home and then immediately walked with a coffee - slowly - aching! Half way across the main playing field on FGreen, the sole of my left shoe became mostly detached and all flapping, making the remainder of the walk a bit of a problem. That's ANOTHER pair completely worn out and fit for the bin then! Caught out on FGreen in a sharp shower and got rather wet. Managed to keep the sole of my shoe attached throughout the walk, so stumbled back via Mums on the return and carried home more of my tools. Once inside back home, I took my shoes off and put them straight in the wheelie bin. :o( . . sat around recovering/TVd/PCd hardly able to move for a couple of hours. Drank a glass of red wine . radiod very briefly, letting a local amateur know about an international space station contact with a school in Germany, scheduled for Friday at 11:23 UTC. Should be worth a listen on 145.800Mhz . . ate a six pieces of bread and butter pile of corned beef sandwiches, crisps and chocolate . . TVd until exhausted to bed around 11pm!
27 - Up around 8am, woken by a neighbours dog barking. Rain . . . walked in full weather gear but actually managed to miss the heavier rain, and only saw a touch of light drizzle while I was out. Boy, I'm aching and fragile. . . popped an annadin tablet and just sat around and PCd a bit - actually feeling increasingly stiff and fragile! Today I will be doing NOTHING. . Mum called to touch base and check on the state I was in. . rain rain more rain . . monitored radios, surfed e-bay listings etc etc. . . ate four fried eggs in two buttered bread rolls, banana and biscuits. . . napped the afternoon away until around 6:45pm. .still raining and still felt exhausted, so easily decided to skip the walk . . TVd nothing. . ended up on the PC and monitoring radios. Whiled away a few hours with a bit of proper 'listening' on the PCR 1000 for new stuff (for me) on the lower frequency bands. Ended up listening to aircraft crossing the atlantic using SSB on 5.598Mhz to communicate with the national air transport service in Shannon (Ireland)!!! Also set up a memory list of just a few international search and rescue frequencies on various bands, to maybe keep an eye on from time to time. All a rather pointless 'short wave listener' type waste of time, but I was in no fit state to do anything else much. . . eventually ate a pastry slice, crisps, lettuce, cheese, tomato and some chocolate, before to bed around 2am.
26 - Up at 7am. Sunny but only around 13C out. PCd this . . . walked. . with one decent day of weather forecast before more heavy rain and wind for days, I figured today I HAD to muster up the energy to start having a go at Mum's fence project!! . 'mentally rehearsed' and set about gathering all the tools in the garage I imagined I'd need. Eventually walked with Bella up Mums with a heavy rucksack and bucket full of tools. Ended up soon coming straight back home for my big extension lead, when I found hers wasn't flippin' long enough! . because of the problem with not being able to get proper bits of 4" wide timber for the replacement posts, as meticulously calculated, I started work on the middle post half way down the garden, so I could 'share' the accumulated shortness across either end, and hopefully still be able to bolt the new posts to the metal uprights. . laboriously forced a handheld hacksaw blade between the rotten old posts and fence panels, and at length, sawed through all the old fixing nails and managed to drag rotten panels out of position. Started off a couple of panels at a time, just in case things didn't work out and I'd have to leave the old in position for some reason. . contrary to how they appeared, it turned out several of the carriage bolts holding the timber posts to the cemented in the ground angle iron, had rusted clean away inside the timber!! Half way through unscrewing the nuts on several, the whole thing would suddenly just disintegrate! Bugger!! That presented the real prospect of not being able to continue!! Luckily, enough of them survived intact to still just about do the job (once cleaned up using the wire brush on my electric drill and plenty of WD40!!), but I had to leave the topmost one on each post NOT re-fitted. I'll need to attempt to buy some new/equivalent replacements somewhere to finish that missing piece of the puzzle. . the first new piece of timber was cut, drilled and bolted exactly in the middle of the middle angle iron. The first new fence panel was precariously positioned butt up against the side of that wooden post, blocked up to an appropriate height, and then drilled and screwed to the post on that ONE side. Only then could I position the next post up against the side of that panel, so see how much of an affect the difference in width of the timber posts was going to make, and whether or not it was actually going to end up in the right position to be possible to still bolt it to the angle iron! Nerve wracking moment. Of course that first one WAS going to work - but each suceeding post would be drawn in further and further, making it more and more iffy - such that by the time I reached the last post at each end of the garden, it 'may' not have been in the right position at all!! Careful measurements suggested it was going to be VERY close, but 'should' JUST be possible. . blah blah blah - pointless detailing all the intracacies of all the work. Suffice it to say, I didn't stop and kept working at it all for hours. Image indicating how badly scratched my arms areI was determined NOT to have to cut down all mums bushes and plants, and as a result, got seriously torn apart by the sharp nasty spines on the pyrocantha bushes from hell. My hands and arms ended up absolutely COVERED in bloody scratches and splinters! I look like a seriously messed-up self-harm type person, who didn't know when to stop!! . . after working pretty much non stop all the day, I succeeded in getting the five new posts and five main panels fixed in place - and ran out of daylight - leaving just the small awkward half-panel at the bottom of the garden still to do (together with all the rest of the 'finishing-off'). Pretty much a good twelve hours straight of HARD labour (with actually Mum having helped a little here and there, holding back bushes and the like!). SUCH a shame I couldn't quite manage to do it all in one go. The weather means it'll have to stay like that for a while. Nevertheless, I was quite happy with how things had gone. . left all my tools in mums garage for round two - whenever. . Mum was all concerned about my having not eaten all day, and as I was about to leave, produced a 'picnic' she'd put together for me. lol . . eventually stumbled home feeling utterly exhausted and yet strangely 'buzzing' from all the scratches on my hands and arms. Is that what people who self-harm feel I wonder? If it is - maybe now I 'get' why they do it?. . . back home by around 9:30pm . . showered pretty quick - because if I delayed, I'd quickly be just too tired to bother, and end up with a bed full of dirty bloody sheets. . Ouch!!! That hurt - but still in a strange, self removed, 'buzzy' way?. . .ate Mum's 'picnic' of four cheese, onion and corned beef rolls with a packet of crisps and a banana. . TVd until exhausted to bed around 11:45pm.
25 - Disturbed sleep (woken by tooth/gum pain again!?) then up around 8am. Sunny spells. . walked and managed to get back without getting rained on to any significant amount . . showers came and went throughout the rest of the day . . vacuumed . .cut my hair and beard etc . . . PCd monitoring radios etc for hours. Much of that time was spent poking around on the net 'researching' and looking at the prices of radios and the like. I even downloaded and read through the entire instruction manual for Yaesu's FT-8800 model. Over time I seem to be more accurately 'honing' the picture of what I want my radio equipment to uniquely do for me, in-line with the way I seem to want to monitor this and that all the time. My FT-7900 (with the colinear on the chimney) IS a superb little radio - but I seem to be gradually building up a real desire to at some point 'maybe' aim to upgrade it to the 8800. After having read through everything (reviews/manual/youtube videos etc) , the 8800 really does appear to almost be two 7900s in one - with entirely seperate but interconnected sides to the thing, enabling all manner of dual scanning/monitoring all at the same time (a 'bit' like parts of the 'dual watch' VX-7 handie - but far better and more flexible)! Yep - if I was starting from scratch and hadn't thrown away all my money on that knackered old 767, I think my 'wish list' would be the VX-7 I now already have, an FT-8800 and an FT-897 (plus power supply(s), data leads, etc, etc to suit). That is a much better informed and educated, more up to date, modern-technology wish list than the ('living in the past') one I originally came up with a couple of years back when I started on all of this! (oh HOW I wish I could turn back the clock!!!) As things stand, if I was armed with those three radios, I can't imagine ever really wanting anything else, and I could kinda 'draw a line' under things. I AM in danger of daring to try to acheive it (before my dwindling life savings disappear to nothing. Life IS looking increasingly short!!) , and then have the problem of selling off all the 'junk' I've amassed and just swallow the massive s loss it would mean. :o( Oh dear. . .walked late with a coffee. The rain showers had cleared and the temperature seemed to have dropped quite a bit - so much in fact, in the stiff breeze, it was uncomfortably cold and I even ended up with my fingerless gloves on for the first time in months! Bella was notably pretty well behaved this evening, with nothing arising along the way for her to spontaneously 'spoil' it (as is more often the case). This evening she was about as good as she gets, and it was 'almost' a pleasure for a change. .TVd nothing. . ended up actualy sitting down and reading all the way through the instruction manual for the FT-7900 radio! Not so much learning it - more just trying to get a grip on all the things it 'can' do (and compared to what I read earlier about the 8800). . sucked another annadin tablet and then cooked and ate two eggs, four sausages and half a tin of baked beans with four pieces of bread and butter followed by large numbers of biscuits. . TVd until bed around 1am.
24 - Up around 6:20am. Overcast. Not raining at the moment, but lots forecast for later and even gales for the coming days. . . walked a little earlier than of late, and managed to pull it off before any significant rain . . recovered at home with a coffee before then heading up Mums to potter in her garage and await the fence panels/timber delivery. Took a saw, spirit level and morse code key with me! lol I'm gradually gonna have to transfer LOTS of my tools up there for when I eventually get round to tackling the fence project. Took the morse key with me so I could while away the 'down time' by having a search through Dads old jars of nuts and bolts, looking for any which may be able to be used for mounting the keys I have on project boxes. . .searched through jam jars of nuts and bolts in Mums garage until the delivery duly arrived around 10:30am - in the rain. All looked ok thank goodness. Stacked everything up in the garage and then soon returned home in the rain, before even heavier rain eventually moved in . . .PCd and then radiod locally (all day!!!?) for ages as heavy rain fell all day! . . napped for just over an hour . . walked and managed to 'mostly' miss the continuing rain showers. Back via town. Bought a pack of burgers . . TVd/guitarred a little. . cooked and ate four quarter pound burgers in buttered and mayo'd bread rolls, followed by an entire bar of Sainsburys cheap 'basics' milk chocolate. Boy that stuff is good - and so cheap. Sucked a square at a time and couldn't stop until the whole bar was gone! . . to bed around 1am. Some big trouble with my mouth today. A lot of pain. So bad, it woke me from sleep on more than one occasion. :o( Several annadin tablets through the day. It's more/worse than 'just' tooth ache I think!! :o(
23 - Up at 8am after really almost no sleep at all!! Sunny spells again, but pretty chilly out to start with. . . walked . . spent the morning digging over the soil at the bottom of the front garden where I removed the hedge, trying to extract more of the rubble and buried roots of ivy and weeds etc - many of which have started showing signs of starting to grow back again since I last dug it over! Hard hot work with the hack, and bucketloads of stuff to shift. . around midday the online-shopping delivery guy called to say he was running late and would be here soon. My delivery slot was supposed to be between 11am and 12. Just carried on digging etc until he eventually arrived. . helped carry everything in and then checked everything off and stowed it all away as best I could. Even with my having given advanced notice and rung up and all of that, they were still unable to supply the four tins of sausages and baked beans I'd ordered!? That's irritating, but I can live with it. The all important bulk purchase of 4x17kg sacks of Wagg Worker and 120x tins of dog meat in jelly WAS all there thank goodness. Bit of a problem finding a place to store it all! . . raked it all to a suitable level and then called a halt to the garden work, with that patch of bare earth now looking in rather better shape than it had done. VERY tired! I still haven't decided what I'm going to do with it, but if I simply end up putting down some grass seed, it's now probably in more or less good enough shape to do so. I'll be leaving it bare for the forseeable future, to see if any more bits of roots I missed suddenly reappear growing, and to allow the rain to settle everything down and reveal more small bits of surface rubble, chippings and stones to laboriously pick out. . . cooked and ate four sausages, chips and half a tin of baked beans followed by some biscuits . . . napped for only a couple of hours at most. . with the forecast for the next several days all wind, rain and gales (typical bank holiday!), I mustered up the energy (which I'd been lacking earlier after all the digging and carrying of boxes of shopping) to drag the mower out and mow both back and front lawns . . . walked . . . TVd . . . ate the last bit of chopped ham and pork in a single sandwhich, crisps, a lump of cheese, banana and large numbers of biscuits . . 'early' to bed around midnightish.
22 - Up around 8:20am. Sunny spells. Slow getting going. Walked late. Back via the store for some milk, bread and butter . . The prospect of having a go at replacing mums broken fence panel has started to prey on my mind rather. The last time I looked at her fence, it suddenly became apparant there really was absolutely no point whatsoever in trying to replace just the one broken panel and rotted post. The whole lot needs doing - badly! I think I've mentioned here before, that the main problem with the unique construction of her fence, is the fact that the existing uprights (bolted to cemented in the ground angle irons!) are 4" by 2" timbers - which you can't buy anymore! Only a close metric equivalent, which is actually several millimeters narrower!! Sat down and drew the whole fence on a piece of paper, trying to work out what effect just slightly narrower upright timbers would have, and whether or not it was actually liable to be possible to do, by 'easing' each end of the fence up, panel by panel to compensate!. . Coincedentally Mum rang to touch base. Told her what I was doing and suggested I'd pop up later to have another good look and measure of everything.. . sawed a couple of bits of metric 4"x2" style timber to take with me and then walked up Mums to have a closer look at her fence and measure up etc, etc. . .after a very close inspection of it all, I think it 'may' just be possible to get away with it - by starting in the middle and working out towards each end. . . eventually back home to check this and that. I 'think' I should be able to pull it off. If it were mine, I'd give it a go. . Left Bella at home and popped up the builders yard to order stuff - for delivery. Ordered four 6x5 Grange Lap panels, one 6x3 panel, and four 3.6m lengths of 47x100mm timber to make the posts - all for 153.39 including the 10 delivery. The timber was coming from Paignton, so it was agreed they'd deliver it Friday Morning - which suited me what with shopping coming tomorrow and all. Also bought a box of screws for 11.11 and walked those home. RIGHT. Lets get all that delivered and then it's just a matter of building up the mindset and having the weather to give it a go. I am in NO hurry!!!! .. .gave Bella a flea tablet. Her scratching appears to be on the increase again, and I DID spot a flea on her when up Mums earlier . . ate most of a small tin of chopped ham and pork in sandwiches with crisps, followed by a little chocolate . . napped the remainder of the afternoon away . . walked with a coffee. Listened to the slow morse and local club net on 2mtrs for a bit before getting bogged down in politely chatting to a passer-by for ages . . . guitarred/TVd . . ate half a packet of chocolate biscuits! . . TVd/PCd until eventually to bed after 4am. Difficulty getting to sleep!?
21 - Up around 8am. Overcast and cooler . . . walked . . . PCd and did an online 'big' (177) shop. And so disappeared the entire morning! I swear it used to take me less time to drive there , run round and grab the stuff off the shelves and drive back!! As I'd been previously advised, I gave them a weeks notice before delivery AND a phone call after having placed the order, to 'warn' them I was ordering in bulk (the dog food mostly), to make sure they have enough in stock and I ACTUALLY get it all. The woman on the phone allegedly checked with the store while I held the line, and confirmed there should be no problem with their meeting my order, so it was agreed I'd change the (free)delivery date to sooner, and went for this Thursday instead! What are the odds half of it won't arrive as a result of that now? <worry> . . ate pilchard sandwiches, crisps and biscuits . . felt so, so tired all day - again. Napped the afternoon away until around 7pm. . .annadin tablet. Walked with coffee. Actually felt rather uncomfortably chilly in the breeze all of a sudden. Felt like winter is on its way already! . . guitarred/TVd . . ate a couple of buttered chelsea buns and bowls of rice krispies . . to bed around 2am.
20 - Up around 8:45am - woken by the sound of a nail-gun - again! A nearby house has had a lot of garden (fence?) work being done these last few weeks (the same house that saw some HUGE bonfires in its garden I think) and it seems as though all I've been hearing for weeks is that damned nail gun. Keeps making me jump, and has woken me at different times on several occasions. . sat drinking a coffee in the conservatory, all of a sudden a strange dog appeared sniffing around in next doors garden. (Bella got a bit guard doggy and snarly through the fence!) The dog looked in rather poor and unkempt condition, and I started to get all concerned it was a stray. Shut Bella in the conservatory and without much encouragement after having opened the back gate, had the dog come into MY back yard. I imagined I was gonna have all the hassle of having to try to do something about it. Just then, I heard someone calling from a house just down the lane. Turned out it was their dog! lol I'm gonna have to make a mental note of just exactly who has what dog nearby. Can't understand why I never see that one, to get familiar with. It could do with a little more 'care' I think! Quickly returned it to its owner. Phew - thank goodness for that. . . .walked and back via the store for a few supplies . . PCd/radiod briefly. On the radio, one of the guys suggested he could pop in later tonight after the club meeting he was going to, for chats, and to let me compare the reception on the HF radio in his car parked outside, with that which I get on mine. Mine is SO deaf, doing such a comparison would be VERY useful to me, to determine if it is all about location, or if my radio/antenna setup is in need of 'attention'. The prospect of having someone visit was a little unsettling to say the least (I NEVER have visitors!) but I readily agreed. . . did laundry and vacuuming chores. With the rare prospect of having someone visit later, I ended up de-dusting and cleaning up a little throughout the house, and generally trying to tidy up things here and there just a little. Extremely hot and humid. That basically was pretty much all I did ALL throughout the day! I generally just live amongst the layers of dust and dirt, and refuse to waste my time doing lots of cleaning all the time (especially when, with a Bella, any such cleaning doesn't last more than a few hours!), so I guess it WAS very much in need of doing - everwhere! . . . ate a banana. Walked . . . PCd/radiod until the trio of radio-amateurs arrived to visit around 9pm. Coffee and chats. Bella was VERY good, considering we never normnally have anyone in the house like that - let alone three all at once all of a sudden. I started off by keeping her contained in the kitchen whilst people came in, before eventually letting her join us all in the living room. She was her normal uptight self, but had some stroking and fussing from people, gave her paws to people and 'held hands' like she does, and even played a bit of ball with one when he went into the kitchen to put the kettle on (while I was in conversation about the VX7 'issues' with someone who also has one). All in all, I was surprised and delighted at how she 'behaved'. :o) Sadly, the visit DID seem to confirm that my radio/aerial setup IS deaf, and it's not just because of my location! :o( . . . STILL not particularly hungry after they'd all left, but felt I HAD to eat something, and ended up eating a six pieces of bread and butter pile of corned beef sandwiches followed by a few squares of what appears to have become 'gone-off' chocolate! . to bed around 2am.
19 - Up around 8am. Misty - and a bit of a 'lift' on VHF again - lots of french voices around. . . walked around 9am in the mist which then seamlessly turned into drizzle! Damp and wet feet - Aaaagain! . . PCd, catching up on this for the first time in a few days, whilst monitoring radios. It IS of course not unknown on the marine bands (and the rest of course) for people to end up mistakenly having their radio permanently transmitting, when the mic gets wedged against something or similar. (I'm always VERY careful where I put my microphones on the cluttered desk, so as not to ever have it happen with MY radios!) Of course the trouble with when it happens is, that the station can't hear any transmissions whilst they are transmitting, so it's impossible to inform them of the issue. All that can be done is wait it out until they notice or happen to move the mic etc. Given all of that, it seems quite bizarre to me how the coastguard will quite frequently under such circumstances, put out an obviously 'irritated' call asking that vessels check their radios because 'someone is putting out a blocking carrier on the calling frequency' in such and such an area. Being they are the 'professionals' and all of that, you'd have thought they were knowledgeable enough to know that the average person transmitting like that, is NOT going to be able to hear them making that (or any other) call! Weird. They seem to forget the average joe doesn't have a vast array of switchable antennas all over the country, and multi frequency simultaneous monitoring and full duplex everywhere! (I wish! lol) . . chatted on the local repeater for a bit, and even had a suprise call-in during the conversation, from a french station (F6FCM/P over near Brehec in Brittany!) . . PCd this as the heat of the day increased, and the local drizzle and fog burned off to be a hot sunny afternoon - which also as usual, saw the radio 'lift' conditions become pretty unstable and largely subside. . . just couldn't get going with the day at all and after dabbling with the guitar just a little, ended up largely just sitting around and pretty much waiting for a different day!! . . .ate a couple of mini porkl pies, pastry slice, crisps and chocolate . . napped, had trouble being roused by the alarm and somehow ended up sleeping through until around 8pm!!!!! . . skipped the walk . . TVd . . defrosted and then microwaved a huge packaged frozen joint of beef in gravy (actually given to me ages ago by P across town! Originally cost 7!!!!) Ended up totally gorging myself and somehow ended up eating the whole lot in one go, with four buttered bread rolls!!!! (It was very tender, so my 'tooth' was 'just' able to deal with it - although I probably mostly sucked it to death rather than chewed it!) Could've fed a family of four on that amount!!!! Overdid it, and then had to sit around motionless in front the TV for hours, feeling VERY full and a bit fragile. .BB called to touch base . . PCd a bit and eventually to bed around 4am.
18 - Back up around 9am, with difficulty, after too little sleep. . walked in the slightest hint of drizzle, all the while clearing to very warm sunny spells . . . vacuumed at length. Boy - has it turned really hot. A good 24C in the house. . guitarred a little out in the front garden until Mum arrived with the papers and food donations for chats. While my back was turned, just before she was going to leave, I caught her sneaking 60 into one of the drawers of the three piece suite! 'Payment' for having sorted out her gutters etc the other day! She INSISTED I take it. :o/ Seems SO wrong. . . ate the remaining mushrooms concoction from yesterday with four pieces of bread and butter followed by some chocolate . . .napped for only an hour or so. It was just too hot to comfortably sleep . . listened to radios a little. Lots of 'lighthouses on the air' on HF and a bit of a lift on VHF. That all somehow sowed the seed of a desire to be out and about in the good weather and listening to stuff on the radio. There ARE times when it'd sure be fun to be able to go portable with an HF radio. . eventually made a coffee in my 'hip' thermos flask and mustered up the energy to walk around 6pm. . walked all the way through FGn then down around the bustling harbour, out past the Breakwater, past the open air swimming pool (a handful of people swimming), and eventually all the way out and up to the lighthouse on the top of Berry Head. Extremely hot and humid! . crossing the land up on Berry Head, Bella raced ahead and tried to run straight across one of the cattle grids they've put in up there!!! She came to a bit of a crashing halt half way across it!! Jeeze - lucky she didn't break a leg! I was more careful approaching them all from then on, and safely navigated her through the gates alongside, each time we came to one. . Would you believe it - the actual viewpoint on top of the 150ft cliffs by the little lighthouse (allegedly the shortest/highest lighthouse in the country?) was all socked in with a thick sea mist, drifting across in clouds, and there was no view to be had at all. It was of course also VITAL that I kept Bella tightly on her lead up there. With her hyperactive erratic behaviour, one could almost guarantee she'd end up falling to her death over the cliffs if I let her loose! Tied Bella to a bench and dared to be distracted and sat and played with the radio a bit in the cooling 'white-out'. Bizarrely, it also appeared that the radio propogation had dropped off during the time it'd taken us to walk up there (over an hour), and everything was really quiet! I ended up just chatting locally breifly on the local repeater (TR) for goodness sake! All in all, rather pointless walking all that way!! lol . . sods law in full force, as we started to make our way all the way back, the mist began to clear! Typical! . . eventually walked back down to the Breakwater slipway next to the lifeboat station, and gave Bella a bit of ball play and swimming. . eventually returned around the still bustling harbour, and climbed back up to have a sit in the diminishing daylight on a bench on FGn. Sat around recovering from the long walk with cigarettes and my flask of coffee. The coffee was still quite warm enough, but three hours seems to be about the limit for that little flask. .back in the dark just after 9pm. With hindsight, the whole time I was out must have been the quietest I've heard things on the radios (on ALL the bands I was monitoring) for ages!? Typical! . . returned Mums ansaphone call and breifly touched base . . TVd . . ate four small ham rolls, a couple of jam tarts, biscuits and chocolate . . eventually to bed after 1am.
17 - Up around 7:15am. Not raining at the moment, but windy, grey, and threatening yet more showers. . by the time I walked it WAS raining again - pretty hard. Walked in full weather gear and got soaked again -feet especially - again! :o( Back via the store for a few supplies . . . somehow ended up chatting locally about nothing much on the radio ALL morning, as the weather cleared to slightly better/drier! . . returned Mums earlier call confirming her gutters appeared to be functioning ok in the rain. lol . . drank a glass of red wine. Cooked up a mushrooms, onion, diced ham-rings, mushroom soup, garlic salt, grated cheese concoction and eventually ate a small bowlful with four pieces of bread and butter . . napped until around 6:15pm . . walked and sat around with a coffee for ages. Back somewhere around 9pm. Shocking how the nights seem to be rapidly drawing-in already, with it seeming as though we haven't really had a 'summer' this year at all! The walk home was pretty much in the dark already! . . PCd a bit of this . . . guitarred/TVd/PCd the night way until finally to bed after 4am!!?
16 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up just after 8am. . . walked in the dry breeze. Headed for Mums on the return, to have a look at her guttering. :o( . climbed her step ladder and quickly cleared the debris from the front gutters. There WAS a little in them, but it really didn't seem anywhere near enough to have actually caused the symptoms of the rain 'cascading over' which she'd reported. Worrying - and meant it wasn't that simple and I had to start looking closer at the downpipe end of things. . at length, after a good inspection and 'tapping' all up its length, it became apparant things were definitely blocked and the downpipe was actually half-full of stuck rainwater!! Managed to just bend all the fittings enough to be able to remove the top bends and manouver the downpipe up a few inches out of its cemented into the ground socket. As the pipe came out of the socket, with a woosh, all the trapped stinking water and some debris poured out all over the driveway - very much confirming it WAS indeed fully blocked! . . spent AGES with various implements from the garage, digging around in the narrow pipe socket, trying to dislodge and remove all the blockage material. VERY obviously, it quickly transpired that much of the problem had been caused by the damned workmen who'd re-rendered Mums walls last year or whenever it was. They'd obviously not taken any care in keeping the pipe socket in the ground protected, and bits of cement and all manner of other debris had gone down into the pipe! What IS it about people/workmen today? They just don't seem to give a toss about ANYTHING, other than 'appearing' to do 'some' work, just get the money and run - never mind do a 'proper job'. All of them - always! Both myself AND Mum live in absolute terror of HAVING to have someone in to do ANYTHING, because it ALWAYS ends up with having further problems as a result! (In fact, just the other day, Mum'd had the gas board in to service her central heating/hot water combi boiler. Sure enough, when the guy had left, she discovered the blue indicator lamp was no longer working, and she'd had to ring up and call them to come back out! She was actually waiting-in for them, AGAIN, while I was messing with her gutters.). after much struggling (and losing of knuckles!) digging/spooning stuff out, I eventually managed to get a bit of stiff wire pocked down the pipe and even ultimately the hosepipe, and gradually managed to dig away at 'most' of what was blocking the pipe and subterraneous u-type bend. Getting the pipe completely clear was impossible, because it appeared that the roots from a nearby small, slow growing fir tree had managed to start growing into the pipe!!!!!!!! Nevertheless, I managed to get it clear enough so that any water put into the pipe, DID now 'quickly' disappear. If it was mine, I'd settle for it. It'll HAVE to do. . checked both sewer manholes in Mums garden were clear and looking ok, and eventually put everything back, washed it all down with the hose and called it quits - somewhere around mid afternoon!! Well - that's 'today' all taken care of then!!! Did at least manage to get the back lawn mowed. . . ate tinned tounge sandwiches, crisps and chocolate . . napped . . raining again/still. Skipped the walk . . guitarred in front the TV almost all evening ( as heavy rain fell) until my fingers were sore. . ate a tin of mushroom soup with four pieces of bread and butter, two bananas, biscuits and chocolate . . . TVd until bed around 2am or later.
15 - Up around 7am, aroundabout when the forecast unseasonably bad storm of strong wind and heavy rain began to arrive in earnest. . debated with skipping the walk, but eventually went for it, because if I start skipping the morning walks aswell as the evening walks, I'll be on a slippery slope to skipping them both and end up never walking Bella at all! . . walked in full weather gear (useless - not at all waterproof, even a little bit) and got drenched-through by the time we returned . . PCd a bit of this . . .radiod locally just chatting for hours as MUCH rain continued to fall . . messed with the VX-7 for a bit, trying to get to the bottom of why when I'm running 'dual watch' and running a memory bank scan on the main VFO, the damn squelch keeps getting opened on the sub VFO every few seconds for absolutely no valid reason whatsoever. . at length, after much messing around with all the memory banks etc, it appears to me that it's an 'internal issue' with the damned radio. Not seen that documented by anyone anywhere? NOT a 'fault' as such, but more some sort of 'interaction' between the two VFOs when used in that way. Seems to happen all over the place with different frequency pairs. Hmmm? Bit disappointing that. . . eventually showered and got into some dry clothes for a change (socks especially). . .walked with a coffee in the dry but in a VERY strong gusty wind! On the exposed green, it really was blowing an absolute gale! SO blowy, it was actually not possible to comfortably sit on my usual bench for coffee and cigs! Eventually sought refuge across the road and in the lower small bit of the green, which was just slightly sheltered by its high boundary wall. Played ball, drank coffee, smoked cigs and simultaneously listened to the slow morse on the local club net - all the while being battered by the gale force winds. Bizarre way/place to spend my time. lolol . .became aware of some sort of loud music being intermittantly 'blown up' from the harbour on the gusts of wind. Eventually turned the radio off and headed down to the harbour to see what was going on. . a small crowd was watching a steel drums type samba band playing under the long arched concrete roof of the old fish market. It actually sounded really rather good as we walked up - they were playing Michael Jackson's Thriller! With the band all set up at one end, the shape of the underside of the arched concrete roof was somehow funneling the noise and focusing it directly into the centre all along the length of the roof - exactly where I just happened to stop to watch and listen for a bit. It was absolutely DEAFENING stood there. I even had to crouch down and really shout into Bella's ear to be able to get her to hear my commands for her to sit! Amazingly, given the crowds, passing dogs, the deafening noise, she seemed to take it all in her stride. Soon discovered that stepping six feet to one side, the volume dropped to a much more acceptable level. Sods law - that was the last piece in their set before having a break, so it sadly all soon came to an end! Sat around on the harbourside for a bit with a cigarette and the last couple of gulps of my coffee watching the crowds drifting by, before eventually heading home. Worthy of note - Bella WAS really rather 'well behaved' this evening for once. Good dog. :o) . . . Mum called and told me she has a 'gutter' problem over her front door!!! In all the heavy rain we had earlier, the rain had apparantly been cascading off the gutters and straight down to the floor, right by her front door!!!! Damn. I'll have to have an urgent look at that for her! Wish she'd called earlier after it'd stopped raining - too late and dark to do anything now, and more rain soon forecast! :o(. . . drank a glass of red wine . . cooked and ate chips with a small tin of salmon . . TVd until bed around 1am.
14 - Up around 7:30am. A bit of a sunny spell but then mostly grey with a threat of rain . . walked and back via the store for a couple of supplies . . really seem to be going through the mill at the moment. VERY down/non-functioning again! :o(. . didn't really want to, but ended up poking at components and oscillator ciruits for hours. Ended up being a TOTAL waste of time. No matter what I tried (with the components I have to hand - and admittedly, I haven't tried 'everything'), I could NOT get the 'Kent - copy' circuit using the 4047B IC to sound 'appreciably better' than what I've already acheived with the 555 timer!?? Part of the trouble playing these games is the collection of components I have to hand. EVERY single circuit I bump into on the net and try to copy, seems to require a different set of different value components - many of which I don't have. I'd have to invest a load of money stocking up on all manner of things, just to to be able to experiment and try stuff - with every likelihood it wouldn't work out anyway! I'm VERY close to just tipping the whole lot into a container, sticking it in the back of a cupboard, accepting defeat and calling it quits, just to be released from the infuriatingly frustrating 'chore' it's become! :o( . kept at it for hours (feeling increasingly short tempered, despairing and down) and actually managed to succeed in getting a circuit working using the 'XR2206 monolithic function generator' IC I've had laying around awaiting attention for ages. I'd had really high hopes for THAT IC, because it 'allegedly' produces a TRUE sinewave output (amongst others). Well - perhaps I SHOULD buy some different value components and pursue experiments with that still further, but as far as MY ears could tell, it did NOT sound like a nice sinewave (like I'd expected) at all! HUGELY disappointing that! Yet again - my little customised 555 circuit with all its 'faults' (mostly 'just' the way the volume 'appears' in a sudden, impossible to get linear 'lump') sounded better to my ears!??? . eventually just turned everything off and walked away from the big mess all over the desk! . . . ate corned beef and mayo sandwiches, crisps and jam tarts . . napped until around 6pm. . walked . . TVd all evening, feeling VERY down and hardly moving. . ate dunked biscuits and bowls of rice krispies. My mouth/teeth/gums have become SO bad and sore, I can hardly actually eat anything now! My last useable chewing tooth is now aching and on its way out. I'll soon have no choice but be on a soup diet! :o(. . . to bed around 1:30am.
13 - 'Woke' around 7am after almost no sleep at all, managed to snooze on then didn't wake again until around 10:20am!!!! Rain and a breeze. . slow getting going. Spotted a flea on Bella before setting off. :o( . . walked in the rain in full weather gear . . gave Bella yet another flea tablet . . just sat around TVing nothing, feeling down again, tired out and good for nothing. The national news (text) on the BBC included a report about the cardiac-arrest diver in Paignton yesterday. He did NOT make it and was 'declared' on arrival at hospital. :o( . . drank a glass of red wine and cooked and ate four quarter pound burgers in buttered bread rolls . . . napped the afternoon away until around 6pm. Woke really badly overheating and feeling a bit iffy . . walked. Bella 'acted up' throughout, and made it a thoroughly miserable walk - AGAIN/as usual. . .PCd this. . . TVd . . ate a banana and three small jam tarts . . back to bed around 1am.
12 - Up around 7:45am. Grey and a bit misty - or even drizzley? . . walked in full weather gear (overdressed really) in passing rain showers. Watched from FGn as a small private fishing boat was escorted back into the harbour by 'Lone Wolf' and then the scrambled main Torbay lifeboat. It'd apparantly put out a mayday out by Berry Head earlier, when its main outboard engine had developed what turned out to be a small electrical fire. It safely limped back in using its backup outboard. As a precaution, it was escorted back to the lifeboat pontoon, and the coastguard called the fire brigade, just to make sure nothing was smouldering and liable to burst into flames. A total of THREE fire engines ended up turning up on 'blues and twos'!!?? . returned in another rain shower with soaking wet feet again . . . PCd a bit of this while monitoring radios, as sunny spells returned. The 'coastguard troops' were all called out to a diver in cardiac arrest in the 'Fairy Cove' area of Paignton around midday - with CPR underway!!!!!! :o( (weird - there 'appeared' to be ANOTHER cardiac arrest at around the same time on distant Weymouth beach, with rescue 106 airlifting the casualty to 'Musgrove' hospital!!) . a 'sobering' thing to be listening to - looking out of my window at the 'nice day' (chainsmoking as ever) - being reminded of how fragile it all is and how it can all come to an end at a moments notice, anytime, anywhere - and IS right now, every minute of the day, for someone, somewhere! :o( . . ended up feeling increasingly down and non functioning . . ate ritz crackers, pastry slice and a little chocolate . . napped . . . walked . .guitarred a bit. . I wasn't the SLIGHTEST bit interested, but it was the closing ceremony of the Olympics on TV tonight. I didn't bother with the opening ceremony and had regretably missed the two aclaimed funny bits (which I STILL haven't managed to see), so I felt, in the abscence of anything else worth watching, I WOULD force myself to endure the closing ceremony. Oh my god - WHAT a tedious feat of endurance THAT turned out to be! All completely outside of my understanding why SO MANY people are in-to all that utter nonsense - just for the sake of some 'sport'. I had expected something of a 'concert', but it didn't turn out to be anything like that at all. To be honest, it all just seemed a bit of a messy mish mash of absurdity - presumably aimed at increasing tourism? Like - an actor dressed as Winston Churchill quoting Shakespeare from atop a huge model of the 'Big Ben' tower (Elizabeth tower or some such is that now called?)!!??? (WHAT an insult to Churchill I think!) . I could hardly bare to continue watching it all! . PCd a bit with the TV on next to me, just so as not to potentially miss something worth seeing. . BB called to touch base. Chatted for ages - much of the time just giving a running commentary on, and 'slagging off' the latest bit of bizarre 'circus' absurdity appearing on the TV of the closing ceremony. . at long LONG last, the 'ceremony' came to an end. Funny thing was - as far as I could tell, it just seemed to somehow fizzle out and leave an atmosphere of total anti-climax!? The rest of humanity no doubt thought it was all marvellous!????? I don;'t understand. :o( . .very down . . aimlessly PCd/TVd until deep into the early hours. Coastguard troops were out and about for much of that time, apparantly searching for an elderly missing woman with alzheimers (not found)!! Such sadness. . . eventually to bed around 4am or gone!!! Difficulty getting to sleep. :o(
11 - Up around 7:30am. Sunny with some breeze . . walked. Actually quite a strong breeze blowing, with a bit of a chop on the waves in the bay. The breeze was making it feel MUCH cooler. . . sprayed the last of the vinegar and water solution in the spray bottle, onto Bella - just to use it up, rather than because it's actually necessarily 'doing' anything. Without question, Bella's flea infestation DOES appear to have noticeably 'calmed down'. I'm certainly not counting my chickens, but I haven't actually managed to find any fleas on her during my frequent searches, for perhaps a couple of days. Her scratching appears to have 'reduced', and I'd even go so far as to say, she 'appears' to be regaining some of her lost hair and looking in slightly better shape overall. Bizarrely, another dog walker suggested that a similar 'respite' from the fleas appeared to be happening with THEIR dog. All very weird - but if it IS becoming less of a problem, for whatever reason, I am so, SO relieved! . . vacuumed all the downstairs carpets - AGAIN. . . did dish washing chores until Mum called in with the papers and food donations for chats . . . ate mum donated mini pork pies, crisps, banana and a couple of mini chocolate sponge roll things . . . napped. Very suprised to find a bit of rain had fallen while I slept. . walked with coffee and sat on the green for ages. Eventually back somewhere around 9pm or after. The nights are noticeably drawing in already. :o( On the way back, the neighbor was just exiting the rear lane to go somewhere in his 'salvaged from the scrapyard' camper van. He pulled up and invited me and Bella in, to the back of his mobile 'domain' for a quick chat. lolol It's had (and still needs ) a lot of work, but it IS, SUCH a cool thing to have to play with. So VERY jealous. If only I had the money! I just love the idea of driving about a bit, parking up somewhere as the mood takes you, sitting in the back with a coffee or some food, maybe playing guitar or radio or watching a bit of TV, and then having a sleep - before then hitting the road again and finding somewhere else to park up for a bit. I've ALWAYS fancied the idea. It'll never happen for me of course - pretty much like everything else I've ever wanted. ALL such dreams are over with for me now. :o( . . . guitarred. Nothing else on and ended up watching a bit of 'Easyrider' which was on one of the channels again . . bit of distant lightning in the sky! . . ate four large garlic-sausage and buttered bread rolls, ritz crackers and biscuits . . to bed around 2am.
10 - Up around 6:30am. Sunny but a threat of a sea-mist dulling things down a bit. .the seagull survived the night, but hasn't eaten or drunk anything. What do I do now then - wait-in for an RSPCA guy to turn up 'sometime', or put it out front (in the full sun!!) and do Bella's walk? . . PCd this at length . . reluctantly decided to skip the walk, and just carried on being all up-tight, 'waiting-in'. . played ball in the FRONT garden for a bit (so as not to disturb the bird in the conservatory), but it was SO hot out there in the FULL sun, I couldn't stand it for long. . 10:30am and STILL no sign of or contact from the RSPCA. This is starting to get me all 'stressed out' and feeling trapped (It doesn't take much!), never mind the CONTINUING suffering and slow death of that poor bird. It's SO broken, it can't even move and is now laying in its own 'mess'. It does at least appear to have eaten some of the water-soaked bread I dropped into the box for it. :o| . . caved in and called the RSPCA asking for an update about their intentions around 10:50am. They said they'd call me back. They did so within around ten minutes - and said the collection person would be here within fifteen! That rather tends to suggest to ME, that my call from last night 'disappeared into the ether', and if I hadn't just called them again, no-one would have come! :o( . . . . Sure enough, the RSPCA collection driver DID turn up pretty soon after. He said my call from last night had NOT been overlooked. It was just that they had SO many similar calls, he was rushed off his feet picking them all up! :o( 'Meatwaggon'! :o( . in VERY quick time he came through, plonked the poor seagull into a cardboard carrying box, and was immediately gone. . touched base with Mum and let her know. Sis1 and all the 'family' were apparantly spending the day on a beach somewhere near before visiting later. The plan was apparantly they'd be buying chips and then sitting in Mums garden to eat them in the evening. I need to show willing and try and be there for that . . sat around for quite a bit, actually feeling rather out of sorts and 'upset' about the seagull thing. . . despite the full sun and heat, I eventually decided to walk Bella, to make up for having missed her morning walk (which we 'never' miss). . walked down town and through all the holiday crowds and decided to walk all the way out to the breakwater beach, just in case Sis1 and all the family were spending the day on THAT beach. VERY busy around the place. HUGE queues of people getting on and off all the ferries! . no sign of Sis1 etc as far as I could tell on the VERY crowded beach (and I actually felt rather 'uncomfortable' stood there peering at all the sunbathers!). Bella was an uncontrollable handful on her lead, ALL the way! Hard, unenjoyable work! . walked all the way back around the harbour and headed off along the outer harbour wall towards BGdns. Pretty much the first time I've been back there since the Bella/attacking everything doberman incidents. . the churned up mud where Bella and I used to sit every day and play ball, had suprisingly recovered for the most part, and grass had mostly reappeared. Sat in some shade and played ball for a bit, but the atmosphere of the place has changed for me. It just felt threatening and dangerous (for Bella) sitting there, not being able to see what mad dog 'could' be suddenly coming along the paths from behind the bushes etc. Sadly I DO appear to have been turned into one of those 'overly' protective dog owners, thanks to past events - where I tend to call her to me at the sight of any nearby dog and hang onto her until the coast is clear again!!! I just seem to spend the whole time out with her, being up-tight all the time now. :o( She's ok - it's ME who can't face the prospect of her being attacked and ripped open YET again! . eventually very, VERY carefully made our way to the higher part of the Gdns, and once I was sure the coast was clear, sat around for a little longer - but I didn't enjoy it. Very soon happily headed home without incident. . ate pepperoni and mayo sandwiches, crisps and a little chocolate - as a helicopter 'buzzed' the town - at length!? Had me keep leaping up from my food to go peer out of the window to see what was going on. It was a very cool looking, sleek (retractable undercarriage), bright blue helicopter. It was NOT any sort of search and rescue type - and given the 'pod' hanging off the starboard side, and the weird way it was often being flown ('crabbing' - with the emphasis on the right side) I soon judged it was probably doing some sort of filming work. WHAT a fantastic day for it - crowds of people around the town, full sun, low altitude - must have been some amazing footage. A snippet eventually overheard on the scanner 'suggested' it was allegedly doing filming for the BBC. It eventually went zooming off at high speed at a higher altitude towards the south and I thought that was it and returned to my food. I was soon leaping back to the window again as it loudly did a fast low pass right down the valley and back out over the harbour and bay. Hope I get to see whatever program that footage may end up on. . . the food and my poor mood got to me, and I just could NOT hold out and try to be around for whatever the 'family' were planning for later! Touched base with Mum and told her I just couldn't stay awake, and they should 'count me out' of whatever they were planning . . napped but only managed an hour or so. Figured I HAD to show willing and try and put in an appearance and see 'the family', so tried to wake up and head for Mums as quick as possible. The bad news about that was, I'd had every intention of sitting in to await the end of an e-bay auction I'd been watching for a week, fully intending to bid high in the last few seconds and absolutely win it! It was an auction for an MFJ 418 portable morse code tutor. The type with an LCD screen of the characters sent. I really DO want to try to get my receiving speed up (in the full knowledge I actually probably never will), but hate trying to force myself to practice at the computer (which I haven't for ages - and have actually got rusty and worse of late as a result!!). I could REALLY use one of those portable jobbies, so I could practice in the comfort of the living room, as and when the mood takes me - during every advert break when watching TV would be a particularly useful way of using that ever increasing, infuriating substantial waste of time! Feeling 'obliged' to do the 'family' thing, and NOT be around for the auction end, meant I was almost DEFINITELY, NOT going to be able to win it for anything other than an absurdly high, 'early-bid' price. :o( Before leaving home, I DID briefly fire up the PC and put a restrained 'token' 30 something maximum bid on - just in case of a miracle. Pointless and I knew it. Because of my madness of recently bidding on and winning that leg-mount morse key I didn't really want, I've tried to be a LOT more restrained and 'sensible' with my e-bay activities. Just the other day, a whole bunch of stuff I've had watches on, I actually went through and put EARLY (rather low) maximum bids on, and then stopped watching and just let fate take its course, WITHOUT sitting-in trying to 'snipe' them in the last few seconds. Having 'revealed my hand' so early, I was outbid on EVERY single one of those things, and won none of them. As sods-law would have it, several of the items went for really low, 'bargain' prices! SO frustrating! My luck all over!. . walked and headed straight up Mums. Damn - they weren't there! They'd all already gone off somewhere. Damn damn damn! . . dabbled with the idea of returning home and doing the 'auction thing', but eventually decided to hell with it, and I'd best get Bella's walk done. . Sat on FGn for ages and even actually fired up the mobile phone and attempted to call Sis1 to see where they all were, but the battery was near dead (as always) and I didn't have the right number for Sis1s phone! . on the way home I did walk to the end of Mums road and look up it to see if any cars were parked outside, but none were, so I eventually figured I'd missed them all, and just returned home! . Grrrrrr - what an irritating waste of time! . . checked on e-bay and found the morse tutor had sold for 42.50 inc postage (a bit less than I'd expected) - and I had of course NOT won it. Humph. . . Mum called to touch base and tell me how they'd changed their plans and had all been out for a meal at the Breakwater cafe - but they were now all gone and heading home. Made me feel 'awkward'. Like it would appear they'd come all that way - and I 'couldn't be bothered' to put myself out to meet them! Ho hum. :o| . . guitarred for ages . . TVd . . ate bananas, ritz crackers, bowls of rice krispies and finished the bag of maltesers. . TVd until bed around 1am.
9 - Woke earlier, snoozed for a bit then up around 8am. Foggy. .briefly woke at the PC as usual, only to eventually go back downstairs to find Bella had thrown-up all over the living room carpet!! FFS! :o( Had to clear up as best I could before walking. . . dared to walk the beach and woods - but steered well clear of BGdns, 'just in case'. Lots of ball throwing and swimming on the beach for Bella before heading up through the woods. Eventually Back in full HOT sun . . de-weeded the border beneath the fence out front and then dug over the rough ground at the end of the garden for a bit, taking just 'some' of the stones out. Temporarily dumped all the stones in the de-weeded border until such time as I can work out what I'm going to do with the end of the garden, etc. They don't look pretty dumped there, but should at least keep some of the weeds from growing straight back. . the postman delivered the package of recently ordered electrical parts during the garden work. I ALSO accepted a courier delivered box for next-door who was out at the time. . eventually had enough of 'poking' at the garden in the heat and full sun (dripping with sweat!!) and ended up opening up the mail. Couldn't resist and ended up 'experimenting' through the rest of the day! . Used the new larger breadboard (which I'm NOT impressed with! Seems to be three seperate pieces 'slotted' together and then just stuck onto a sheet of sticky stuff! Cheapo rubbish?) and had a damned good go at making up an audio oscillator circuit using one of the 4047B Astable Logic ICs - actually just more or less copying the schematic from a 'Kent' practice oscillator. Didn't have 'quite' the right full set of components/values, to make an EXACT copy, but close enough alternatives to experiment with I thought. Took me hours of course - and ultimately I found it did NOT work!!!???? Could NOT figure out why, no matter what I tried. Even tore it all apart and tried again with another one of the ICs, just in case the first was faulty/damaged by me by handling!! Same negative results! Surfed and eventually knocked up a 'slightly' simpler/different oscillator design for flashing LEDS. Somewhere around this point, I quite by chance discovered the 'problem' was with the damned breadboard!!???? ENTIRELY unexpectedly, the track I was using for the power connections, 'appeared' to be internally wired in at least TWO parts, split half way across the board, rather than than being one continuous one as I had assumed!????? DAMN! I BET that first circuit I knocked up WAS working - if only I'd realised that about the board! . rebuilt the original circuit all over again, in a slightly different place on the board to accomodate the 'track split', and hey presto - it DID work - ish. . experimented LOADS, swapping in and out all manner of different value components for ages. Actually even got serious for the first time with a bit of 'maths', trying to work out a resistor/capacitor combination for a specific frequency of oscillation!!! Messed around making 'beeps' for AGES! At the end of the day, to my utter UTTER amazement, I reached the conclusion that the oscillators I had already made using the 555 timer IC, were as good if not actually rather BETTER than anything I could come up with, copying that 'Kent' type circuit with the 4047B!! VERY suprised by that! I was convinced it must be LOADS better??? The ONLY thing I found which was better than mine was the - um - 'linearity' of control of the volume - rather than the 'all at one end of the pot' type of control I can't escape on mine. Having said that, MINE 'appears' to be more desireably louder overall at full volume. All rather intriguing. I'm not sure I can see any worthy benefit in going the slightly more expensive 4047B IC route. Lots more experimentation needed!. . . paused at some point when I heard noise next door, and knocked on their door and handed over the box the courier had tried to deliver earlier . . eventually called a halt to the experimenting and walked in the heat around 7pm. . Just sat around on FGreen in shade in the heat for ages, 'wrestling' with listening on the VX-7 for a bit. Even Bella didn't seem particularly in the mood to be playing ball, and just sat for much of the time. Eventually headed home. Emerging back onto the 'main' road from the pedestrian path cut through between the 'little' houses, I was immediately confronted by the sickening sight of a this-years-young, baby seagull all smashed up and laying in the very middle of the road! It WAS still alive!! :o( Held my breath as the next car approached. It saw the big heap of feathers in the road at the VERY last minute, and thankfully veered around it (although with hindsight, it may have been better if they'd driven over it and quickly finished it off!!!). As always, I couldn't just ignore it and it's appaling suffering. Got Bella as controlled as I ever can, tied to my belt, and walked out into the road and slowly approached. It tried to get away a little, but it was SO very 'broken', it really couldn't move. Waived down an approaching car and got them to stop and wait in the middle of the road whilst I knelt down and succeeded in getting hold of the bird. I didn't have time to 'examine' it, but it WAS in REAL bad shape!! It had a (left) broken wing for sure, which I had to quickly try to fold back into a 'proper' position, to be able to pick it up. Turns my stomach a bit to think about it, but I'm not entirely sure I got that wing 'the right way round' when I did so! I think it may also have left behind a toe or two on the road when I did finally manage to clutch it to my stomach and get out of the middle of the road with Bella - nodding a 'thankyou' to the waiting car. Quickly walked home as fast as I could, allowing it to peck at my left hand and arm. Better off suffering having it do that, than perhaps try to reach my face and eyes with its sharp beak! . bit of a struggle with my arms full of broken seagull, but eventually got home, got Bella off her lead, got the front door open, and got inside complete with an empty re-cycling bin and the front door-mat! Rushed straight through to the conservatory and managed to get the bird safely into the bin and put the heavy rubber-mesh doormat over the top, before then calling the RSPCA. A long, LONG wait before I finally spoke to someone and explained (badly damaged bird requiring euthanasia - no transport). They said they'd get someone to call me back. Image of another soon to be dead baby seagull! Got a bowl of water and some of Bella's tinned dog food into the bin with the bird, but unlike the others I've had before, it did NOT show any interest in either. . The RSPCA very soon called back to say there was nothing they could do at the moment (not suprising really - it WAS around 9pm by now), and I'd have to keep it until tomorrow!!! Disappointing. That's a LONG, LONG time to be suffering like that. :o( Difficult to imagine it can actually last though the night, the massive injuries it's sustained! :o( . . touched base with Mum and let her know what was going on - AGAIN! . .ended up feeling pretty down about things in general, visualising the spectre of 'death' about the place - AGAIN - and imagining the suffering of the bird, and maybe even its parents, franticaly searching for their missing offspring which they'd worked SO hard to bring up! Ohhh - cruel world. :o( Who hit that bird I wonder - and then just drove off leaving it still alive in the middle of the road like that? Sick m*******cker! Hope their car was damaged. Actually - I am continually being reminded of how the world is full of sick m*******ckers thanks to that distressing video of a seagull eating a plastic bag I have on Youtube. I get e-mailed whenever anyone leaves a comment on the video, and am almost invariably 'upset' by the disgusting comments which are left by a world full of ignorant, cruel and heartless barbarians. One recent one in particular 'almost' had me make some form of 'unpleasant' response - from some idiot young kid (who sadly COULD actually sing and play guitar pretty well, but devoted that talent in the video I watched a piece of, to delighting in the suffering of 'others' (seagulls)!) - but I've learned to NEVER respond or comment in ANY way, especially to some idiot young f***er like THAT! 'I' cannot educate idiot barbarians - hopefully 'life' will quickly do that - HARSHLY! I've even had several others asking to use the footage, I 'think' in an appropriately 'positive' way, but I'm never ENTIRELY sure about their intended use or whether or not I'd 'approve', and I just can't be bothered to start getting into it all again, and simply NEVER reply to such requests. It's in the public domain - dare to use it - or not - WITHOUT my 'permission'. I'm tired. . . . drank a glass of wine and fried-up four quarter pound burgers. Eventually ate four burgers in buttered and mayo'd bread rolls, followed by half a large pack of maltesers . . TVd until to bed around midnight.
8 - Up around 7:45am . . put laundry on before walking . . hung out the laundry and then PCd/radiod pretty much through the whole rest of the day, having a serious go at getting to grips with programming up memories and learning just some of the complicated controls of the Yaesu VX-7 handie . . ordered a pack of four more cheap knobs for oscillator projects (the same as before) for 2.20 inc. postage. I'd had every intention of buying lots more, but when I finally got round to actually going to place the order, the listing suggested they only had one pack left. Quickly snapped it up, lest I wouldn't be able to get them again. Shouldn't have bothered! They re-listed lots more, and if I'd waited and ordered more, I'd have saved a few pence on combined postage overall. Ho hum . . eventually walked with the radios and coffee - my first walk out carrying the VX-7. Turned out to be a hint of a drop of drizzle in the air, but VERY warm and pleasantly humid. . sat around for ages radioing, messing around with both the VX-2 and VX-7 and doing side by side comparisons, swapping antennas, testing memories and their correct access into local repeaters etc, etc, etc. Overall, the VX-7 happily 'appears' to be slightly stronger on recieve than the VX-2 (with the non-standard slightly longer, dual band whip antenna fitted). What WAS a neat new feature to ME, was the dual VFO/dual recieve feature, where I can monitor TWO frequencies at the same time. It's all gonna take a LOT more playing with before I have even the most basic understanding of how to actually 'use' it. Ended up listening for quite a while to the coastguard frequency. Another cliff rock-fall over Charmouth way had apparantly just happened, and all the teams were being mobilised and the coastguard 106 helicopter detoured from where it was, to go 'oversee' things. Turned out to be 'ok' and no-one caught in it this time thankfully. Boy - the recent weather really does seem to have turned all the coastal cliffs into 'cheese'! Anyone on a beach stupid enough to be anywhere near cliffs should be SO, SO careful! . chatted locally on the radios quite a bit with M0EDY (in Exmouth) continuing with useful 'tests' . . . eventually back via the store for supplies and then stopped in briefly at Mums to see how her hospital visit went earlier . . . drank a glass of red wine and cooked up a pepperoni pizza with extra peperoni and grated cheese. Ate pizza followed by a little chocolate . . TVd until bed around midnight.
7 - Up around 7:45am, woken by some neighborhood banging or other . . walked. Returned in the rain . . . PCd/radiod locally as rain fell for much of the day . . the postman delivered the expensive leg mount morse key I should NOT have bid on! It's 'ok', but I can't believe I spent so much on it! :o( Guess I'll just hang on to it and keep it laying around somewhere for the forseeable future . . I HAD dared to hope - but found fleas on Bella again today, after what HAD appeared to be a definite lull for a couple of days. Vacuumed carpets and sprayed her with a bit more vinegar water. Pretty sure that stuff isn't doing any good at all, and I'm sure we are BOTH sick of the smell of it all the time! She is also now ACTIVELY resisting me spraying it on her, which makes for an unpleasant scruff-grabbing/forcing of her!. . ate tuna and mayo sandwiches, crisps and a buttered chelsea bun . . napped until around 6:30pm . . walked in the breeze and back via the store for bread and butter . . guitarred/TVd the night away . .ate more tuna and mayo sandwiches, biscuits and chocolate. To bed around 2am.
6 - Woke earlier several times again, snoozed on then up around 8:15am. Sunny . . walked . . PCd and knuckled down to sorting out a small list of bits and pieces I need to experiment with a different oscillator circuit (actually copying a commercialy available version), and then went on-line and at considerable length, added what I wanted, to my Farnell shopping basket. Only when I tried to finalise the order and process it through the checkout did it transpire they operate a 20 minimum order! I hadn't realised THAT! I was WAY below! Try as I did, I just could NOT justify buying anything else to push the checkout price up to over 20, so I eventually deleted the order and just wasted hours of work! Humph. :o( . . woozy headachey and tired. Sucked annadin tablet . . went on e-bay and ordered just a handful of components (some resistors and three 4047B ICs) AND a slightly larger 'solderless prototype board' than the awkward tiny one I have - all for 7.43 including postage. . . vacuumed the downstairs AGAIN (with BOTH vacuums! One brushes best - one sucks best - both are rubbish and gonna stop working at any minute!), DETERMINED to make life hard for any fleas/eggs etc in the carpets. . couldn't completely waste the sunny spells, even though I SO wasn't in the mood, and managed to muster up the energy to mow the lawns. Got the back one done and then took a fifteen minute coffee break and sat in for the end of another 8amp morse-key e-bay auction. I did NOT win it - it was sniped for more than I was willing to pay, in the last few seconds while I watched, before I'd even put MY sniping bid in. . carried on and mowed the carpet of weeds which make up what I call the front lawn! Trimmed back next doors hedge where it's wildly growing all over and through the fence I put in! Can't believe I did all that work only to STILL have to trim that damned hedge back all the time. If I didn't, the fence would disappear back into all the growth in no time. :o( . . ate corned beef sandwiches, mini cheddars, crisps and a couple of mini fruit pies . . . napped until the alarm at 7pm. Woke, with difficulty, with the same nasty tired/headachey/woozy feeling. . skipped the walk. Sprayed Bella with vinegar water out in the garden again. She's unfortunately learned to dislike it (the sound of the spray more than anything else I think) - and I have to grab the scruff of her neck and force her to accept it now! :o( . .Played ball with Bella in the garden for a bit as she dried off, although she didn't really seem to want to bother. As soon as I tell her 'we aren't walking tonight', she just wants her food. lol . . blobbed in front the TV for hours, sucking annadin tablet and feeling blah. . . PCd a bit of this . . ate bowls of co-co pops and rice krispies before to bed around 2am.
5 - Woke earlier several times, snoozed on then up around 8am. Sunny spells, breeze and showers again . . walked in full weather gear, but mostly missed the rain . . . next door was out cutting back some of the overgrown hedges in the lane. He said he WAS intending to do a tip run with his new trailer later, and offered to dispose of the four dustbin loads of hedge cuttings from my garage. Yayyyy. . .spotted the soakaway near the garage door was all blocked full of mud (making rivers of mud run into and through the garage every time it rains!) , and somehow spontaneously ended up digging a whole load of it out with a hand trowel! Dug down to about an arms depth before then trying to wash off the mud from all the decent chippings I'd recently put in there, by literally washing them by hand in a bowl of rainwater from the leaky butt. Eventually re-filled the alleged 'soakaway' with spare chippings from a part bag in the garage, and called it quits. Pointlesss. Soakaways NEVER work in my experience. Because of the lay of the land in the lane, the ONLY way to resolve that issue is to pour tons of concrete down and raise the level of the entire garage/carport floor area - AND put in some proper drainage. I have neither the money nor the energy - so for evermore whilst I live here, every time it rains, the water from the lane pours through the garage, destroying everything it encounters of course - and generally making the whole place damp and making for everything stored in there, to rust and ruin. :o( . . the neighbour and his new big trailer, complete with the dustbins of waste from my garage, were only gone for around five minutes - and then he returned, job done. Excellent. . sprayed Bella with vinegar out in the garden again, and ALSO gave her another flea tablet, before then having a good bash around the place with the vacuums - AGAIN. What a miserable waste of time it ALL is. Everything. All of it. :o( . . . PCd this . . . ate a banana, tinned ham sandwiches, mini cheddars and a buttered chelsea bun . . napped late until the alarm at 7pm . . walked, with a coffee. It'd been dry for -well - most of the day really. As soon as we go walking, it starts to rain again! Sat in the light rain playing ball on the green before then walking back home through town in a drizzle. Actually, despite the rain, as Bella things go, it wasn't a bad walk. The flea tablet (and vinegar? Yeah right!) appears to have done its 'temporary' job again, and she looks for all the world as though she has no fleas on her right now. Experience has proven of course, give it another day or two, and I'll be finding loads on her again. (What part of the Aliens film does this brief false lull equate to? Umm - "the perimeter is secure - we're coming in" perhaps? lolololol Tomorrow when I find loads of fleas on her again, I'll be the 'hysterical' guy - "Well that's just f**in' great. What are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do now?!" - again! :o\ ). . . PCd while listening-in to snippets of a distant coastguard search over Portland way. I'm actually not certain what initiated the search (a possible missing/suicidal person maybe?), but based on what I heard, featuring in the search 'appeared' to be photographs taken on and sent from the person's mobile phone! The coastguard teams were trying to work out where the person was from the pictures (while the police 'pinged' the phone to try to locate it!!) NOW for once we're REALLY talking 'local knowledge'! I've never overheard pictures from a phone being used like that before. It all got called off later when the phone was apparantly 'pinged' and found to have re-located elsewhere. Expensive waste of everyone's time again, again. . PCd/TVd . . ate cheese and mini cheddars, banana, mini fruit pie and a little chocolate before eventually to bed after 3am!
4 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 8:30am. Sun and heavy showers . . walked in the showers . .caught and killed around half a dozen fleas on Bella this morning!! :o( . . returned via town and bought a small 350ml bottle (because that's all they had) of Dufrais cider vinegar from the little Co-Op store for 1.52, and then a sprayer bottle from the shop. Had a quick look in the Holland & Barrett store and should have gone there first! Bought a 1 ltr bottle of Rayner's cider vinegar for 3.35. . . PCd this while monitoring the Riviera Amateur Radio club, out and about doing yet another 'special event station', transmitting from just up the road (in the mud?) at the Torbay Steam Fayre. Rather them than me in this weather! . . . checked instructions on the net and mixed up the whole small bottle of vinegar with an equal volume of water in the store spray bottle . . . Mum called in with food donations for chats etc . she didn't stay long because I was in such a filthy, down mood. :o( . . .sprayed Bella with vinegar in the garden. The whole place reaks of it! :o( . . vacuumed - AGAIN! :o( . . while my back was turned for a minute, Bella somehow took the skin off one of her elbows in the garden!! For gods sake! It's just never ending with her. One thing after another. It's just constant! 'She' is all I seem to be doing at the moment, one way or another! This is really driving me insane - and oh SO down! I should never have got her! And I absolutely MEAN that!! :o( . . . ate Mum donated mini pork pies, crisps, biscuits and chocolate . . PCd and sat and awaited the end of a key auction I'd been watching for days. I did NOT win it - and somehow really didn't give a toss either way. Around about this point, I apparantly went - um - well - frankly a little mad! Even madder than usual that is! With hindsight I have absolutely NO idea why - but for some reason, I casually awaited the ending of ANOTHER key auction which had 'come to my notice' over the last few days. I didn't even actually WANT the damn thing - but, perhaps because I was feeling SO down and like absolutely nothing mattered either way, I lay in wait 'just for the hell of it'(?) and 'sniped' a bid in, 'maybe' just playing with manipulating the final bid. I didn't at all expect to win it - just thought it'd go for a few s more as a result of my bid. Well - whatever the reason for my episode of UTTER madness, I am now regretably 27.99 (jeeze!!) 'out of pocket', and will be receiving in the post a 'J45 Leg Mount Morse Key'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :o( I don't recall ever having been so insanely stupid before - even during (or maybe ESPECIALLY during!) a 'down' episode!?? What the hell is going on with me?! (I HAVE been given to wonder - in a 'Stephen King'esque kinda way - is Bella (and all her 'difficult to cope with' behaviour and issues) turning me into her previous owner (whoever that was) - from whom she had to be rescued of course?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) . what on earth am I gonna do with that morse key? I guess at least it should be re-saleable for 'around' the same amount on a good day. A couple the same recently went for a couple of s more, so all is not lost I guess. What the hell WAS I thinking????!! I need to be 'on guard' against myself - more, as I am getting older it would perhaps appear!?? :o( ! . . napped . .back up to find Bella was all shaking her head and walking about all lop sided again, with irritation in her right ear. Nothing I tried improved it. Eventually walked (with difficulty) with Bella all shaking her head all along the way - even somehow slipping out of her lead and even having her collar come off on one occasion!!! Not her fault of course, but got me in a foul, FOUL mood - to be YET again, having something ELSE to worry about with her! . played ball on the green briefly, before Bella insisted on presenting me with her ball to throw, before then just hanging onto it and NOT letting me have it. We've had a LOT of practice - she KNOWS that get's me 'annoyed' with her. If you don't want me to throw it, don't bloody well present it! Called an immediate halt and headed straight back in a foul mood with her - again! . back via the store for milk . . did more vacuuming and put in a bit of time trying to partially dismantle and unblock and de-dust the 'useless' one I got locally on e-bay. It's just blowing dust (and fleas?) around everywhere, and has almost no suck to it at all! . . TVd/guitarred the evening off. . .ate a trio of tinned ham rolls, crisps, mini fruit pies and chocolate . .TVd and watched just a bit of the film 'Heat' which was on YET again. Only watched it again as far as the 'running gun battle' scenes. There's something about those scenes in that film. Highly watchable. Rather well done. Even the soundtrack sounds fitting and 'almost' believeable (which is a very rare thing, given how all of them are dubbed on later.) . . . to bed around 2am.
3 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 7:45am. Sunny . .Bella seems to have scratched her right ear in the night, and is all shaking her head and displaying 'discomfort' and irritation with THAT now! Mopped around in there a bit with a tissue as best I could. :o( She really has become a FULL time job! It's all getting me down rather! . . walked. A dog walker recommended trying 'apple cider vinegar' as a flea treatment, because he said it'd allegedly had a noticeable affect on HIS dog. I really have no time for such 'gentle' alleged remedies (if the expensive, made-for-the-purpose chemical warfare I've already tried isn't working, how the hell is some old wives-tale remedy going to work?!) but I really HAVE to try absolutely everything don't I!!! Another one I'll have to try, and cross off the list!! (!):o( . returned via the post office to draw out the tobacco money, and then popped round the corner and paid Ms wife the 92 for it . . . PCd and tried to sort out and get to the bottom of why my browser (explorer) won't display the 'gallery' parts of the local Riviera Amateur Radio Club website correctly. In desperation, I actually ended up downloading and installing the alternative browser 'Mozilla Firefox', and found THAT one displayed the website fine!? . Downloaded and installed Internet Explorer from scratch, and left all the standard defaults setup, and STILL it wouldn't display the webpages correctly. At length, it turned out that by hitting the 'Compatability View' button, it would! That strongly suggests to me, it isn't a problem MY end at all! What a waste of my time - although one silver lining was, the problem I'd been recently having getting Explorer to display google streetview, has finally been resolved and I can view it again as normal!?? . . . sat around feeling very increasingly down . .guitarred a little . . ended up just 'writing the day off'! Very 'down and out'. . ate cheese and mayo sandwiches, crisps, banana and a large buttered chelsea bun . . lay down to nap. Within a few minutes, just before getting to sleep, I was roused into quickly getting back up by the sound of Bella throwing up in the living room! Just what I need! :o( It's just neverending with her! Cleared up as best I could. In a terrible mood. I've just had enough. Enough of constantly - CONSTANTLY being a 'slave' to her, and fighting the fleas and trying to keep her under control and, and - I've just had enough!!!! Shut Bella in the kitchen/conservatory away from me, and napped for a couple of hours until around 7pm!!!!! . . skipped the walk . . sat around miserable/TVd the night away . . ate a pastry slice, crisps, banana and chocolate. . to bed around 1am.
2 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up around 8:30am. . . walked. Got caught out by a BIG rain shower and got absolutely drenched. That green has NO shelter and is windswept and just EVIL when it pours with rain like that! ABSOLUTELY dripping DRENCHED! :o( . .in fact, I was SO wet, when I got home (and the shower mostly passed) I figured I couldn't get any wetter, and now would be a good time to wash the car! I haven't washed it for absolutely ages, and aside from normal dust and dirt, the whole front has been covered in a film of green mildew for months - making it look like a real wreck. Hardly a priority given it isn't being used, but a day or so ago I found a 'business' card slotted into the timbers on my back gate out in the lane! 'Marldon Movers - Free Prompt Collections Of All Metals And Electricals. Prices Given For Cars etc. " That's presumably the second time that I know of, that 'somone' has been prowling up and down that PRIVATE lane behind all the houses, looking into peoples property to see what there is there! That REALLy unsettles me - and actually makes me pretty angry, that they then feel it's ok to leave their leaflets poked into my fence/gate! If nothing else, hopefully cleaning the car and making it look as though it 'may' still be in use and is just parked, will perhaps put off such people paying MY property such particular attention!! . washed the car down with just a couple of buckets of soap and water etc. Looks a bit better and more loved than it did - although there ARE numerous little splashes of difficult to remove cement, stuck to the paintwork all down the drivers side, from when next doors garage was rebuilt! Grrr. :o( Ran the car for a bit (it started straight away no problem) and just drove it back and forth a few feet (once I'd freed a sticking brake on at least one wheel)! . . retreated from more heavy showers and PCd. Finally started having a brief play with the VX7 while reading the manual. I need to use that on the desk for a bit I think, to try to get a handle on at least the minimum of required complicated menu sequences to be able to actually start carrying and using it! . The postman delivering the bulbs, morse key and the electrical parts from Farnell halted play. . The bulbs are in different (more up to date?) boxes to the expensive one I bought locally, and one of the 'ratings' IS slightly different - but on the face of it, I think they'll do. Lots of hassle actually replacing them in the ceiling fittings just to try out, so I just dumped them in a cupboard for trying out some other time (when I HAVE to). The morse key on its (unwanted) heavy metal base looked 'ok' for the money - but WAS missing a required part or two. (it HAD been listed as 'spares/repair'). Damn - I'm gonna have to do some work on that! . The Farnell stuff was fine and just what I'd ordered, although on reflection, I seem to have ordered too many sockets!? Twice as many as I'd intended in fact? How on earth did I make THAT mistake? I AM going senile! :o( . . dog walker M unexpectedly called in, with TWO large 500g packs of duty free tobacco which he'd once again been kind enough to get for me on one of his foreign holiday trips. Yayyyy. (I didn't have the 92 in cash laying around the house - he was very relaxed about it and said 'whenever'. Still soaking wet, letting everything dry on me, and with more showers passing through, I suggested I'd get the cash and pay him tomorrow.) . . . couldn't resist and ended up spending the next several hours playing with the morse key! Quickly ditched the unwanted heavy base and fully dismantled it to find out exactly what condition it was in and was actually misssing. Overall, it was thankfully actually in pretty good nick (despite some 'butcher' obviously having messed with it during its life). The screw-on metal braid strap between the base and key 'lever' was missing, as was a tiny circular metal shim which should sit atop the return/tension spring below the adjuster bolt. Knocked up a braid strap from a bit of suitable wire from the garage, with the ends simply formed into circles and soldered and filed flat, for the screws to clamp onto at each end. One missing screw was replaced by something similar from my screw collection. The missing little 4mm or so diameter metal shim didn't have to perfect - just do the required job. Actually managed to knock one up roughly by simply cutting a narrow piece off the end of a piece of suitably sized metal bar and filing it smooth (actually the 'T' bar from an old electric drill chuck key! :o) ). Anyway - it took a while, but eventually it was all cleaned and back in one piece and now working ok as it should. . carried on 'playing' and eventually drilled and mounted two of the new mono sockets into the case of my latest oscillator box and wired and soldered them up as necessary. THAT makes it possible to now connect that little oscillator with the key mounted on top, to the HRD software/PC via the 'line-out' socket on the left side, AND plug in a SEPERATE morse key on the right side if desired. Makes sense to have that 'external key' socket I thought. That actually makes my first attempt at the 'stand alone' oscillator box, entirely redundant now. VERY cool I reckon. VERY neat. EVERY 'shack' should have one, sat in a tiny corner of the desk - little more than the size of an attractive paperweight! lolololol If ONLY I could sort out the issue of not currently being able to have a headphone socket! If I can sometime/somehow rework the circuit/components and eventually include that too, it really would be a SUPER neat LITTLE unit, capable of doing everything a basic practice oscillator SHOULD do. . Image of my self contained 8 amp No 2 MkIII morse key and morse code practice oscillatorcouldn't resist, and eventually swapped the old mark II key for the latest MkIII, which 'I' see as neater and more in keeping with the overall 'minimalist' aesthetics of the thing. (A bit of an issue I am having, which I AM going to HAVE to resolve somewhow before I can make more, is not being able to find enough suitably sized nuts and bolts in my collection, to actually fix the keys to the lid of the enclosure!! NO idea where I can buy such things - or how I can work out what actual size and thread type I need, etc! To further complicate the issue, the 'height' or 'flatness' of the nuts on two of those bolts inside the increasingly cramped enclosure, is critical too so as not to obstruct the battery compartment! :o| ) . . PCd and fully tested the oscillator key/line-out socket, etc for a while . . . walked late and back via the store for a pizza . .TVd . . cooked and ate a pizza followed by four kipling apple tarts . . TVd and ate bowls of rice krispies before to bed around 1am.
1 - Up around 8:15am. Drizzle in the air. . . walked late in full weather gear, but pretty much in the dry for the most part . . PCd/just pottered around getting nothing done, as some heavy rain showers blew through throughout the morning . . tidied a few things up just a bit. . the postman delivered the flea tablets I'd ordered . . registered with the 'Farnell' uk electronics components website, and ordered 10x 9v battery snap-on fittings/wires, and 25 of the 'cheapo' 3.5mm mono panel-mount sockets I like for asethetic reasons (which I seem to be unable to find for sale on e-bay anywhere now!?) - all for playing with my oscillator projects (I'm aiming, over time (if I live long enough), to make ten - at the end of which, I should have designed at least one 'good' one! lol). Came to a shocking 29.28 inc VAT and postage - although, believe it or not, that's cheaper than I could have done it via e-bay. . .ate tinned ham sandwiches, crisps, banana and chocolate . . napped . . walked with radios and coffee. Sat around for ages listening to a local 2m net for a bit, before eventually dedicating both radios to listening to the marine band on different frequencies. A bunch of different distant rescues were all going on at once. Coastguard helicopter 106 was off rendezvousing with the Jubilee Sailing Trust tall ship 'Tenacious', for lifting some medical emergency or other, and as a result, another helicopter (109?)was scrambled all the way from Culdrose to come and lift a couple of people out of a dodgy situation over Seaton way I think it was. . sneaked a couple of carrier bags of garden refuse into the waste bin for tomorrows collection. Amazing how hot those bins of waste (in the garage) become as the green stuff starts to decompose. . . PCd a bit . . . groomed and found yet more fleas on Bella! :o( . vacuumed around 11pm! . . guitarred just a touch and TVd nothing. . drank the last third of a glass of red wine from the box and cooked up a buttery pot of rice, peas and chopped ham with a sprinkle of garlic salt. Ate the lot in one go followed by a few squares of chocolate. . . to bed around 2am.
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