Another day in the dirt

Not all car stuff today; to skip the car stuff just scroll down to where it proclaims that car stuff endeth. :)

So, today I shuffled the cars to get the Minor on the drive, and whipped off the ill-fitting exhaust, separated the 45 degree segment at the base of the downpipe (which I spent about 40 minutes attacking last time with ‘penetrating oil’, this time I got the Plus-Gas on it, and the thing just came apart. Simple as that). Then, with Kathryn’s help, we reattached the exhaust.

Only took from 11am to 3pm. I’m not very good at exhaust fitting, and having done it we drove into town and… it’s rattling against something at the back. Usually this is the exhaust hitting the fuel tank; not a soothing noise at the best of times; so that’s something to attack later.

Then I spent about half an hour adjusting the mixture. She’s been running rich and idling too high. A bit of a tweak to that and she’s now idling at a much more sensible speed and lord knows what the mixture’s doing. I suck at setting carbs up, I keep meaning to buy a colortune to aid in my attrociousness. The DAFs have a much more ‘relaxed’ carb than the HiF44 in the Minor, which is slightly worn (not terribly so, she doesn’t hunt horribly at idle) and which has proper mixture adjustment.

Still, she’s running okay, so I’m going to presume it’s alright for the minute.

Next week will be more car stuff, hopefully, in so far as I’m hoping that the brake bits will arrive for Jejy and Vixy and we can get them assembled.

Then comes the difficult decision, which of the cars to take on holiday with us. We’re looking at around 1000 miles plus whatever motoring we do while we’re there. The minor’s swivel pins are worn, but I don’t know how badly. Jejy’s a big no-no, without the new clutch drum she’s not going anywhere far (so that’s easy), but Vixy? Vixy’s kind of an unknown quantity. Unknown quantities aren’t good for holiday relaxing, I find, but on the other hand she’s been recently serviced by a garage, she’ll have new brakes, she’s got a spare pair of belts in the boot…

…and only 21k on the clock.

We’ll see.

Anyway, hopefully we’ll have less car-posts for y’all once this is done. Then we can return to the ‘house posts’

car stuff endeth here

Mind you, I ought to do a garden post because the garden is *awesome*. Kathryn spent time today breaking up soil and prepping it, then planted some of our wild-flower seeds; she’s hacked down pruned the buddleia, out the front, which officially needs to be dug up and moved into the raised bed at the front, but since the builders haven’t quoted (or contacted me) then, uh, that’s not quite happening yet. The back garden is looking really very nice; when she takes the photos off her camera and flickr’s them I’ll linky.

It is just amazing to look at the ground and go ‘my god, they’re beans. They are our beans, that we planted and they’re growing. I could get quite into gardening, I fear. It’s really lovely though, to go out there, in the nice weather we’ve been having and see plants we planted growing, and indeed growing well. It’s not like either of us is particularly ‘green fingered’, but we’ve got good soil, and my mum’s around to help and advise us (and Kathryn’s mom is available for advice too :) ) and it’s come together to be a really restful place, potentially.

And the lie and deception which is the gravel-over-concrete path appears to be working.

Anyhow, now it’s time to make dinner. So I shall scoot.

Another long day in mechanic mode

So today was hard going. Started at 9:30, finished at 17:30 with only a break for lunch and a couple of quick trips to (a)Halfords and (b)Proper MotorFactor.

At one point I was so demoralised I stood staring at Vixy wondering both how she’d actually managed to stay running so well, wondering if the fault I’d found had anything to do with the poor idle and failure to up-revs on braking, and contemplating whether she should return to the internet in search of a new home.

However, thankfully (I think), I opted not to do that.

Faults found and rectified today:
– Idle / Braking: There’s an Electro-Magnetic doojit on the carb, it wasn’t actually screwed in. I’ve no idea if it was sucking in air around the barely attached doojit, but certainly, doing it up screwed with the mixture. Then I found that the pipe which covers the join between the inlet manifold and one of the inlet pipes (it’s got a flexible segment made by having a sleeve and a tube with a bit of rubber over it) was completely beyond saving. It was cracked and split and a mess. It’s been replaced. The idle’s now much better and the engine does it’s thing when you put your foot on the brakes.

– Oil Leak: Turned out to be the oil-pressure warning sensor. It was leaking like a secret government meeting filled with double agents. Having spent an entertaining twenty minutes with my newly aquired ‘shop towel’ (like J-Cloths but less strength in tension and way more absorbent) cleaning gunky oil off bits of the engine I lay under the car waiting for the dripping to start. Sure enough, there was the leak, oozing it’s way out of the pressure switch. Amazingly my local autofactor had one in stock. Took them about 20 minutes to find it, but they had it.

– Radio: Wired in and working, but I still need the bracket and an arial. Remarkably it can pick up Heart 106 (not that I like Heart 106, or it might be Star 106. It’s 106, anyway) despite not having an arial. The tape bit sort-of-works, and sound comes out of the really rather silly Goodmans Speakers plonked on the back shelf. I do need some means of attaching them as they don’t actually appear to have any means of attachment.

Discoveries of a non-awful nature:
– According to my wildly innacurate Autodata manual, the DAF has the pre-1972 wiring scheme. This is odd for a late ’73 car. However, the Autodata manual is noted for it’s similarity to the Haynes Book of Lies in the respect of ensuring things are accurate (like, for example, the non-existent Lockwasher I spent time angsting about).
– The exhaust really is an astonishing piece of bodgery. It changes diameter twice and appears to have been made by someone going ‘hey, that’s a big ‘ol chunk of straight exhaust; that’ll do’.

Things not fixed today:
– The brakes.

Discoverys of an unfortunate and upsetting nature:
– Jejy’s brakes are dangerous. I took her to the store to get the oil pressure switch and had one of those ‘oh-dear-god-I’m-going-to-die’ moments when I put my foot on the brakes at a junction. The slightly weepy front cylinder has become the ‘pouring brake fluid out in a very generous and lubricous nature thus ensuring stopping is a gentle and largely terrifing experience’. I had a look on arriving home, having got Vixy fairly much as far sorted as I could, and basically, the brake cylinder is the fucked. I’ve asked my local autofactor if he can order 3 brake cylinders for me, if not then they’ll have to come urgent-first-class-next-day-as-soon-as from Holland, which’ll be pricey.

Still, I consider myself to have rocked today. You may all praise me :)

Desiring sleep

Now, we all know I like a good whine. but I’m bored of whining now. My hayfever’s been attrocious this year; bad enough that I’ve not slept. That’s pretty rare for me, to have hayfever bad enough that it wakes me or stops me sleeping. Traditionally night’s been the time when I could forget about my hayfever. But not this year; I’ve not had a solid night’s sleep for about a week. I wake at 4:30am-ish, sneezing, coughing, barely able to breathe. If I’m lucky (like last night) I can eventually get back to sleep – but it takes a long time. And then I’ll wake up at 5:30 or 6:30 to the same problem. I usually give up then, because by the time I get back to sleep it’ll be time for me to get up.

I am, therefore, clattering unhappily towards complete exhaustion. I note, looking at my account, that the money for my prescription payment certificate’s been debited, so I shall make an appointment to see my GP this week. Hopefully I can get the nasal spray and the referal to Guy’s in London, where I can get some kind of allergy treatment. I can’t go on like this; I’m so tired I’ll end up doing something dumb at work.

Yesterday I was so bad at half four in the morning that I gave in and got up.

Anyhow, despite the tired I need to commence doing my ‘Induction Workbook’ for the agency for whom I’m commencing my employ. I need to get that in the post ASAP so I can start working for them – and get some shed-loads of cash delievered to my ailing bank account. It only arrived yesterday, and after spending the first 4 hours of my day proper (after the first three hours of sitting around sniffling) fixing the DAF – and then riding after the truck taking the DAF to the welder so I could have a chat with him – and popping in to Tesco – I was so knackered I had to sleep. I very rarely sleep during the day but I was utterly exhausted.

But the *good* thing about my little journey was that I found some local abandonment

It appears to be an entire abandoned industrial estate – Although I could only see about 1/3rd of the way down. Were I not so broke as to be worried about buying fuel for the bike midweek then I’d have gone back with my camera. But I am, so it’ll have to wait. Knowing me, and my failure to get around to such things I’ll probably not get around to it until it’s gone :-/

In other news – while looking at someone that Kathryn liked reading posts from on quiet_thrills (moshimoshi_13), I found her link to The Fugitives. I really like their stuff, and perhaps thankfully they don’t have an album – I’m torn, I’d love them to have an album so I could buy it, but I can’t buy it at the moment, and so it’s less things for me to desire). And then today on Boing boing there was Clara Belle, who also doesn’t have any released albums. So I’m still mainly just waiting to get the AM album. Unfortunately and deeply irritatingly Ubuntu’s audio just doesn’t seem to be working properly on here. What’s more bizzare is it works perfectly from within firefox, but VLC and the movie player that come with Ubuntu just produce either clicky-unpleasant noises over the music or don’t make any sound at all.

All in all, the Ubuntu experience (well kubuntu) isn’t going as well as I might have hoped.

All it does is reinforce my desire to pay off my debts and buy a mac laptop. Shiny.

Anyway, I should get on and do some work, so that I can go to work later :-/

Huge house / holiday / car update

Oh lord alive, I’ve not updated for a while, and there is much to say… There follows:

So, let’s start at the beginning (since that’s generally a good place to start). At the beginning of the week (the one before the one before this one), as we commenced our ‘week of tormenting the house’ we discovered the availability of one, free, DAF44. Now, to those who are unfamiliar with the DAF, it’s a car with a constantly variable transmission driven by big belts. It’s really awfully clever, and now, apparently, Mercedes do something similar.

At any rate, I’d fancied one for a while and it seemed like the perfect (simple) vehicle to get Kathryn so as she had an automatic to drive to work. It does, however, need some floor.

It’s also not a runner. Ignoring this, at the beginning of the week we headed down to see it, and decided that for the cost of transporting it, it was worth it. So, at the end of the week Joggernaught (not Juggernaught) arrived outside our house, somewhat reluctantly, and covered in a 3 year accumulation of tree-gunk. Some scrubbing by Kathryn (and a little light helpfulness from me) and she was kind of off white. Not exactly going to win Concourse, but presentable. Which probably relieved the neighbours. J-g needs a service, some fresh petrol, and I spent a lot of time persuading the passenger side door to shut. It’s in need of a little adjustment still, but it does shut, which is altogether goodness.

Annoyingly, the idea was to get the car and decide later if it was salvagable, but it’s kinda cute and it’s burrowed into mine (and I think Kathryn’s) heart somewhat. But there’s a financial limit on what we can do, so we’ll have to see what we can sort. Kathryn’s devoid of driver’s licence at the moment anyhow, and we’ve not even got the Autodata manual to get it serviced, so it’s just sitting for the time being. Shots of the DAF are here

The week, however, was mostly spent gutting and redecorating the office and the bedroom. This did not entirely go to plan. Essentially, the idea was that we’d empty the bedroom and the office, sand and paint the office walls (which were already stripped), strip, fill, sand, paint the bedroom walls, paint both floors, varnish ’em and move back in. Oh, and construct a desk and a wardrobe at the same time.

Unfortunately, although it mostly went pretty well, we had two disasterous walls in the bedroom (which now await my attention to replaster), and some lazy sod had applied wallpaper over old wallpaper. This doesn’t come off unless you attempt to apply filler over it, at which point it leaps from the wall with reckless abandon. And the wall that used to have a fireplace in is also a complete state – one which requires us to attack it either with cloth or wallpaper, as it’s also a strip-and-replaster job otherwise.

But we achieved an astonishing amount (with some assistance from my Mum and Parmito, who popped down for the day and opted to spend the day sugar-soaping the walls in the office); the bedroom is so-much-nicer…

Before:

Bedroom, before decorating

After:

After decoration, or at least part way through

A bit of a change, I hope you’ll agree.

To be fair, we’ve not spent the last year sleeping on the camp bed, but it does let you see how hideous the carpet was.

So yes, the office now looks like an office, too. This is awesome…[House reno photo sets]

Anyhow, because of the disasters we were a day late heading from there to Brizzy to see Nikki and Kate. But we piled in the car and headed down to see them having spent some time making the house liveable. Having got down there we headed down to Weston giving Pepper and Eddie a chance to run around like maniacs, and Kathryn, Nikki and I a chance to take photos of them running around like maniacs (and a few of each other). Despite the sun-shine the wind was cold, April this year feeling a lot like, say, November.

Anyhow, ‘cos I’m lazy, the photoset from Weston is here.

We then spent a few hours the next day (monday) mooching around Bristol. I love Bristol, it’s a great city, and were I staying in the UK it’s one of the places I’d be happy to live (and could actually afford to live). Oxford is beautiful, but way too expensive to stay; Brighton (the last place we visited) is another I’d happily live in… Anyhow, I wanted to show Kathryn what I mostly feel is ‘my city’, so we took a bit of a wander. Mostly around the St. Nicholas market area; we were going to head up into Clifton but unfortunately, no one warned us that Fopp has reopened. Sucked in as we were by the sound of cheap music and cheap books calling us, we ended up spending far too much time and money in there… and thus Clifton and the Camera Obscura and such shall have to wait for another day.

So the photoset from Bristol is here… (see, really blindingly lazy, but you’re getting an update, what more do you want?!).

Anyhow, we then headed up to the Lakes, this was for somewhat of a working holiday in that we had 7 hotels to visit to check out as wedding venues. In the end, what we thought might be a hard decision turned out to be astonishingly easy; in that one hotel really stood out as being just the most gorgeous views, the nicest staff, and just really the hands-down winner. After some trecking we did come up with a second, but it’s not really in the area of the lakes I love. It’s a beautiful place, and quite definately a fantastic venue. Had we not have seen the one we’ve fallen for then it’d’ve been first. But yes. So I rang the Registrar today; there’s not many times available, so when I get home from work today we’ll have to sort it, hopefully.

Because my birthday fell while we were in the Lakes, we did take a day off from venue hunting, and wandered up to Easedale tarn. Kathryn got me a shiny shiny book (and it turns out a Suzanne Vega single, and something that’s not arrived yet…). It was wonderful to be up in the fresh air, on a mountain, in the quiet again. Just looking out over the vista was beautiful. Being as we’d not done lots of walking to build up to it, we just went up to the Tarn and back down – but that alone was a fair walk – and the weather though cold was clear and sunny most of the day. It rained for literally a couple of minutes (really lightly) just after we got back, and while we were preparing to head out for Dinner. Kathryn also took me to dinner at an italian restaurant in Grassmere which was just lovely. The food wasn’t anything to write home about (it was fine, not unpleasant or anything, but definately itallian as cooked by the english), but the company was excellent :)

The next day was back on the road, touring more venues. Poor old Brick’s exhaust’s temporary repair started to give up; I suspect the road up to the hostel was to blame, but he soldiered on; slightly more throaty and distinctly more rattly than is ideal… and we headed, after touring venues, down to Manchester.

The lakes photos are here.

Kathryn’s friend Helen lives in Manchester, and she showed us the city a little (We toured Ontario basin in Salford before heading in to the city); we spent lots of time chatting to her and her housemates, and had a very good chinese takeaway. I had a thoroughly nice time – and it was really really nice to sleep in a proper bed. It was also fantastic to meet one of Kathryn’s friends. I’m not very good at being not-shy, but I tried… No photos from Manchester because, well, most of the things I wanted to photograph were inconveinently located in the kinds of areas where taking a camera out is an invitation for someone to take the camera…

So, huge thanks to Helen for showing us some of Manchester and putting us up for the night :)

Then onward again, this time to Brighton. 

Brighton is one of my other favourite cities; although I’ve not spent much time there, that which I have has been good, and it has a thriving music and culture scene. Unfortunately, it’s also home to West Pier, something which I have watched disintegrate since my youth. I love West Pier, I think it’s the most damning inditement of our Listing laws that there is a Grade I listed building lying in the sea. One which could, and rightly should, have been saved.

Anyway, ignoring the ranting, the plan was to chill out in the afternoon, get some food, head to the hostel to book in and go clubbing. All of which we did. We headed to the museum too, and encountered work of a very cool musician called Al Start; we also risked life and limb entering a variety of bookshops and other-small-thing shops, but the clubbing bit? Friday night at the Candy Bar was quite empty. Even come 11pm there was not much life there. We did have a game of pool, which was excellent, and then headed back to our Hostel. Finally we spent Saturday Morning touring the shops and going down to see Brighton and West Pier. We’ve already had the rant, so you could just have the photos

So, finally we get to the Car. Poor old Brick has racked up 1000 miles this week; he’s burnt virtually no oil, but he’s dumped around 3 – 5 litres of coolant. Flushing the radiator was inadequate, it seems. And while short journeys are conducted fairly reasonably, long ones are only okay as long as you are very, very gentle with the throttle. And no suddenly stopping for fuel or you’ll get that coolant explosion.

However, we seemed to get away with just topping up the coolant regularly; but what we didn’t get away with was 1000 miles on top of the 12 or so thousand miles on the temporary exhaust repair. It snapped sometime up in the lakes, and unforunately the hostel near Brighton was actually up an unmade track, and that spelt the end of the front section which, it seems, also had a temporary repair at some point.

Unfortunately, about 40 miles from home the exhaust gave up completely, shearing into 3 separate pieces; and the RAC bloke couldn’t bodge them back together. Thankfully, the very nice RAC bloke towed Brick home (despite me only having roadside assistance) – his argument being that it was freezing cold, and it’d take him as long as it would to wait with us. He was an absolute star, and will mean that the RAC get my recommendation and continued custom. They rock.

Unfortunately+, I can’t seem to get hold of a new exhaust for Brick. Well, I can get a stainless steel one, but I deem that somewhat excessive. Especially when Rebecca’s looking at being finished fairly soon…  I’ve got to head to work now, so we’ll save the rant about cars and money for later, shall we?

Holiday, Part 2; Photos and House, part whatever.

So, yeah. I promised I’d write something about this. Anyhow, after the lakedistrict we headed down to Bristol. I have several fantastic friends in Bristol who I’m very bad at getting down to see – and also I wanted Kathryn to meet more of my friends. So, a plan was hatched (thanks to LizBuf who pointed out that the harbour festival was occurring) and we headed on down to the land of Bristol on the Friday night before all piling into Kate’s Prius for a journey to the city centre.

On the way in we caught up with a little abandonment; the whole of that bit of the harbour is redevelopment prone – especially now they’re well underway with the waterfront developments further up. So the previously grotty and interesting end of the town is starting to be gentrified; but there’s still some interesting bits of fallingdownness. Impressively I largely failed to get any shots of the actual harbour festival; but some interesting shots of friends and some interesting shots of abandoned boats, or bits of ’em. Anyhow, shots of the weekend are located here

Next up we have another photoset; this is shots taken from London; mostly around Bankside powerstation / The Tate Modern. I’ve always meant to go to Tate Modern, and actually I still need to go, because we only really had time to look around an exhibit about urban life (which was ace) and then while Kathryn was busy I spent most of my London afternoon taking pictures outside or lounging on the grass, then we headed to St Pauls, and then off to Gay’s the Word (where I bought two books, despite knowing I shouldn’t, but one of them is called ‘The Wombat Strategy’ and therefore needed to come home with me). On my way home that evening I was treated to a gorgeous synchonised flying display from the local bird population. It was just *stunning*. Sadly the batteries on my camera were somewhere beyond flat, and lurking around in the micron thick range; I managed with much shuffling of batteries to loose two shots; one of which was in focus. It was just a glorious, glorious sunset and the birds were flocking and flying and… I just stood and watched for ages. So that photoset is here

And finally, in the name of updating you all; the fruits of mine and Kathryn’s labour. This is the bathroom as of today.

Holiday, part 1.

So, I had this faint intention of writing about the holiday in great depth, because it was a fantastic holiday filled with awesome.

But I’m too tired to do that. So, rather than wait until I forget about it I’ll sketch it for you shiny people, and then give you a link to some pics…

Day 1 was mostly spent travelling; the traffic was okay, I think; Brick performed flawlessly, apart from a weld on the exhaust failing as we off-roaded up to the hostel. Actually, it wasn’t as bad as the coniston one by any means, the track up is pretty rough though. We landed up at the hostel fairly late in the evening – and despite failing light took a little wander up towards Red Tarn / Helvellyn… the air was just so clean. It’s amazing, you forget what real, fresh air smells like.

Day 2 and we headed for a nice light easy walk; easing ourselves in – Kathryn had new (unbroken in) boots, and I am well out of practice with walking, so we walked down the mountain to Glenridding; and after a brief detour to buy waterproofs for me (because I’m a dizzy mare and forgot them) we headed  out to the ferry to get the ‘steamer’ (diesel, these days) to Howtown. From there the plan was to walk back around Ullswater, one of the Wainright walks; sadly there were about 3,000,000 people also with this plan, so instead we decided to nip up Hallin fell. Hallin fell took exception to being ‘nipped’ up; and we got rained and hailed on, sheltering behind the obelisk at the top. Once done with the rain and hail, and my boots having disintegrated, we headed down and (squelched) around Ullswater and the weather went back to being rather lovely.

Day 3 – and we headed to Keswick. Keswick is where most of my youth holidays were spent; so feels kinda home-y; we wandered around many bookshops, a few sweet shops, and also did some (of the vast number of) mountaineering shops (to replace my boots and get a knee support and a trecking pole (or stick, as I insist on calling it)). We also found a truly excellent cafe called the Lakeland Peddlar. My, that was some good food… And I also availed myself of Keswick’s exhaust repair facilities. Brick’s re-welded exhaust remained trouble free…but when we arrived to collect Brick there was a chap who, well, let’s say he was very excited to see an HC Viva still on the road. He all-but bounced, and asked to sit in the car (so I opened the door and let him have a sit inside)….
Day 4 – Helvellyn. The weather looked hideous when we started out; but the report said that the clouds would lift and the rain would stop and the sun would shine. And y’know what; it was true. When we were walking up Helvellyn we stood about 200 meters from Red Tarn and didn’t know it was there; and had to guess at which path was the one we wanted. We didn’t bother doing Catstye Cam (which we were going to do) because, well, we couldn’t see it. Anyhow, 3118 feet up, and the weather cleared a couple of times for us; giving us some truly breathtaking views. And by the time we were crossing Striding Edge it’d become a glorious day. We opted to walk across Grisedale Brow (where I shot my quick bit of abandonment; this dam), and down into Glenridding – where we would grab a pub meal before making the treck back up to the Hostel.

Day 4 – And we decided on a nice, relaxing day; visiting the museum in Ambleside; and wandering around many bookshops in Ambleside where we chanced upon a very informal, very friendly poetry night. It was excellent, and very friendly; and I deeply wish it existed in Slough. Anyhow, if you’re ever in Ambleside the poetic justice poetry night is well worth it.

Day 5 – We headed to the Potfest – a place where we could both have spent vastly too much money. There was some beautiful ceramic art and pottery there; some of it very reasonably priced. Some of it while reasonably priced also very expensive, and some of it oh-my-god-expensive :)

And then we headed to Bristol, but that’s a story for another post.

Anyhow, here’s the pics

Abandoned Norfolk

So, while wandering with my girlfriend we came across pseudo abandonment. It’s odd, because the adjoining buildings are part of an active university faculty, but these buildings, which one presumes are simply completely surplus to requirements are clearly in severe disrepair. There’s a sign up on one for planning permission to convert it into a bar…

Whilst the fencing wasn’t exactly set up to prevent entry (there was a huge gap in it), the buildings themselves seemed fairly well sealed…

This is actually the roof of what appears to have at one time been a stable. Further along it’s completely collapsed, big gaping holes allowing water straight into the building, this bit however is fairly much intact.

A shattered light fitting hangs from the wall; I’m not sure when we stopped using ceramic for light fittings, but I think probably in the 50s…

Interestingly it shows signs of having been rewired though, so perhaps the building’s been actively maintained until more recently.

And another shot of that roof.

On the opposite side of the courtyard there’s a barn-like building; a selection of broken and boarded up windows and doors bar entry; it appears to have some storage use – despite its condition. It’s even got new padlocks on some of the doors – despite the fact they don’t look like they’ve opened for years.

For some reason that glass in the previous shot was a complete nightmare to focus on. I’ve no idea why. It took about four shots before I got one that was in focus!

Looking downwards through the missing glass panes, you could see into the barn like building.

But from another angle you could actually see directly in – and it also appears to have been used as a stable…

Then there was this pair of round windows… reminds me of “playschool”.

In between them was this door; freshly padlocked and yet overgrown and with the metalwork the padlock’s attached to showing no signs of having been moved at any point in the recent past. No scrape marks…

Oddly, near my girlfriend’s house there’s a bit of abandonment, well, several bits, and so just ‘cos I’m too lazy to stick it in another post, here’s the abandoned shopping trolley :-)

Hope you enjoyed the pics :-)

Urbexing – Slough Abandoned

So, I went urbexing with Kathryn (I shall post about my fantastic 4 and a half days later); and this is the result.

Some dull locationy shots, and then some better shots…

The carpark entrance is blocked both by some barriers and some attractive concrete blocks. They’re also scattered around the back of the building (or, I guess, the side – since the back is a demolished factory).

The building’s pretty well sealed up – in fact, as we’ll see later it’s insanely well sealed up.

The little brick garden contains a little gift for rats and mice.

And so, on to the slightly more urbexy photos:

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Through a tiny little hole in the shutters you could see inside. It was empty:

These are the blocks – cylinders – which appeared to be filled with concrete. This partially disintegrated one shows the truth…

And here’s the excessive security surrounding what appeared to be an old side entrance to the building. I really don’t quite understand what an (ex)sofa supermarket needs with huge barbed wire fences and floodlights, but hey.

So, round real the back of the building was an almost completely demolished factory(?). Get yourself ready for some more cliches

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And here’s a bit of the local wildlife:

Slightly bigger versions are here.

Weekendly Updatitude.

So, I actually had a weekend off, which is quite weird, and I’ve spent it doing things which are fun/dubious/entertaining. First up, after a day at work which was less fun than it could’ve been, and actually invoked my ‘pissed off’ state – which I posted about here, James headed round and we went off to see his play.

Yep, his play. James has written loads over the years I’ve known him, and I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of it; I’m a big fan of his writing… But this is the first time I’ve seen a play of his. A short play, one act, but a good one. Yeah, I’m not good at reviewing things, so I shan’t try. Suffice to say I was impressed. It was part of the Windsor Arts Centre short-play competition, which is apparently bi-annual and run with the writer’s group. It was really a thoroughly enjoyable evening – reminding me how much I used to love going to the theatre, and just the act of going *out* – although it did take me about an hour to decide what level of neat I was going for and to find a combination of clothing that I declared suitable. Which was funny, ‘cos I wore the jumper the whole time…
Unfortunately, by the time the after-party occurred I had reached a stage of phenomenally tired. So, while James socialised I sat on a chair in the corner and endeavoured not to fall asleep. ‘m glad I didn’t drink any alcohol though; there was a distinct alcohol drinking urge, it being a pleasant evening out and the faint urge to have a glass of wine was there, but I resisted, knowing I was going to be asleep if I did. The one pissy bit was some incredibly irritating people behind us laughing, talking and generally being annoying through, well, the whole show – but particularly through James’ play. Mainly, I suspect, because the actor who they’d come to ‘support’ wasn’t in it.

How do you deal with that? I just wanted to turn round and tell them to shut up, but I didn’t want to make it worse, and nor did I want to make a scene in the middle of James’ play.

Anyway. So we headed back to mine, the icy temperatures waking me up somewhat, so a long evening of chatting was had and having done battle with the camp-bed, and warmed up the bedroom (cheapskate that I am, James got to sleep on the camp bed at the foot of my bed so I only had to heat one room) I slept like a baby (that phrase is odd, because babies, in general, seem to wake up a lot during the night).

Saturday came around and having, uh, talked really our way through the morning we decided to do a little bit of urbexing. All of 30 seconds of research and we had a site within walking distance. I need to process some photos, they’re not very good – although there’s a few arty ones; James with his nice zoom managed to get some rather better shots which actually look like we were inside the building (but we weren’t – although there is a way in, it’s not a safe way in, and I value my registration too much. It was very frustrating though, because we could see the inside through the grilles on the windows, but couldn’t really get decent shots of it). At any rate, they need some processing (mine) before they’re let out in the open, so you’ll have to wait for ’em. As a side point, it appears James (and therefore some others of you) may not have seen the Bristol North Pool shots – so here’s the links again: Gallery 1, Gallery 2.

Anyway, having frozen our peripheries off, we headed back stopping briefly for me to collect a bin – free of charge, of course – which is now my Kitchen bin. Ra.

We then had Pizza, a quick run to Tesco provided us with both Baileys *and* ice cubes, which combined to make a very chilled out evening. We watched Children of Men, which is a *really bloody good film*, and should have done much better. And actually, people should be made to watch our dystopian future. I also found my copy of Threads, should I ever want to depress myself thoroughly again.

Another late evening of chatting and gently consuming alcohol was then followed by a rather pleasant night’s sleep which – despite us both waking up early was another day largely spent talking, playing with the eyeToy games, and me hunting for Rez – ‘cos James’s never seen it in action (though I wasn’t planning on showing the accessory to him ;-) ). Sadly I cant’ find it, whilst I’m certain it is in the house, more than that, that I’ve *seen* it, I can’t work out where it landed up. I thought I’d brought it down to be with the other playstation games. But apparently not. I do now, though, need to find it :-)

At any rate, we chilled out and I fleshed out an idea for a Maker article I’m thinking of writing (yes, really); it’s actually something that *could* be a product – but frankly, it seems like too much effort. But making a one off one, that could be good. Can you copyright a design – but allow people to make it in a not-for-profit way? Only whilst I’m really happy for everyone to make their own, I’d be pissed if some company picked up on it and started making it. Anyone know?

Anyway, we made curry, sat down and watched Ultraviolet – which I still reckon is an okay film. Not brilliant, but pretty and moderately entertaining – although obviously that is assisted by the presence on screen of our Milla.

And finally, after James headed home, I did something almost unprecedented. I rang my sister, and just had a chat. I don’t know why, I just felt the urge, and did so. So that’s been my weekend, how’s yours been?

I’ve promised myself I’ll finish off some work before I get down to editing those images, but I decided to let myself actually enjoy the weekend off.

Dancing on Highway 401

I’m not sure what Canadians call motorways, I’m plumping with ‘highway’, I’m sure someone will tell me if I’m wrong. Anyway, the plan for today was dead simple – head up highway 401, then 400, then 11 and hop off at Huntsville. As I hopped into the car, I repeated my mantra of the moment; ‘Drive on the RIGHT’, and pulled out into traffic. Continue reading “Dancing on Highway 401”