Fascia time!

Posted in House on November 27th, 2010 by Coffee

Almost forgot to put this post up, which would mean we’d have missed documenting another step in the process!

Or intrepid reporters sent this from a visit last weekend. The fascia going up around the edges of the roof. Or we assume that’s what it is! Hopefully the roof has gone on in the week since this was taken. We’ll see!

In other news, in the last couple of days the water tank and all ancillary plumbing has been installed and hopefully filled. Hopefully now we can get on and plant a decent number of plants around the place and not have to cart buckets of water from the river to keep them alive!

Playing tourists

Posted in London, Travel on November 23rd, 2010 by Coffee

We took some time out of our busy schedule the other day to do a bit of sightseeing. St Paul’s Cathedral, to be exact.

Yes, we did live here for over 10 years, and yes, we have sat outside during that time while we’ve waited for guests of ours to make their way back out, but this was our first visit. The difference this time? Free tickets! Always a good reason to go!

And we were suitably impressed. As you can’t help but be. Although for the next 2 days my calves were feeling the effects of clambering up all the stairs to the very top. I’m glad it was in 3 stages. All in one go might have been just a bit much.

Would I pay? Hmmm. Maybe. I think its probably worth it, you know… to erm, pay to walk up all those stairs and to take in the lovely architecture! It really is quite impressive and quite tall. And the whispering gallery actually works. I even had a smile when Bec made me participate in the whispering just so she could say we had done it. And the views from midway and the top were good too… So all in all pretty good, I guess!

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more the tourist here, though!

This month’s new toy…

Posted in Geeky Tech Stuff on November 16th, 2010 by Coffee

It seems an age since I’ve had any new tech toys. Possibly understandable as we’ve been living out of suitcases for so long, but I thought it was about time I got myself a pressie. This time it’s a Amazon Kindle 3G. An E-Book reader. With a few tricks up its sleeves.

The most clever trick is that the 3G version can have new books delivered to it wirelessly over the cellphone network worldwide. (For a given value of “worldwide” of course, but it seems to cover anywhere I’m likely to be for the next few years anyway!) And for free once you’ve bought the Kindle. So I can get my UK books in NZ through my amazon.co.uk account, I hope.

So far it’s been a fun little toy. Same sort of size as a medium paperback and light enough to read with easily, even with the leather cover I also got to protect the screen. I can see Bec heaving a sigh of relief that maybe soon we’ll be able to go on holiday without the suitcase full of books that always seems to be needed! The e-ink screen itself is a bit of a revelation too. Not backlit like a normal laptop or tablet screen, so it’s really easy on the eyes, even with the small font I like to use. It does mean you need to have some form of lighting to read by though, and can’t hide under the covers with it. But it’s really impressive, and means the battery life is too.

The only issue I have so far is that a couple of books have some very odd formatting in them that adds white space in between paragraphs that is a bit annoying, especially when reading dialogue. And there doesn’t appear to be any way to fix this. But other books are fine, so I guess it’s up to the way individual books are published.

I’m still not sure how I feel about it all though. I really love my paper books, and there’s no way I’ll be getting rid of them all and/or getting electronic copies of the all, but the price of books in NZ has scared me since we’ve been back, and this might take some of the pain away until print copies are either on special or reduce in price in NZ.

Oh, and a couple of mildly interesting facts I’ve found out about books in the UK over the last couple of weeks. 1) There is no VAT charged on books in the UK, which could be used to explains a very small amount of the difference in price between countries, and 2) VAT is charged on electronic copies of books. Go figure. One more reason why a flat sales tax makes more sense than arbitrary distinctions for taxing some products not others…

All trussed up

Posted in House on November 14th, 2010 by Coffee

A few photos came our way from intrepid reporters sent out to survey progress. Looks like all the trusses are up now, and they’re working on the fiddly bits in the valleys…

My, that blue sky looks good from here!

Huge hole, tiny pipe…

Posted in House on November 2nd, 2010 by Coffee

After seeing the size of the hole they’d dug out, seeing what they were putting into it was a bit of an anti-climax!

Six loops of pipe about 100m long (each way) all laid out neatly. And that’s it! Apart from the joiny bits as well, of course! All to raise the temperature of some water and antifreeze from just above zero to about 10-12 degrees. For free. Well, that’s the theory. We’ll cross fingers that’s what actually happens!

And in other news, our trusses have arrived. Looks like there’s still a bit of work to do in spreading them out and standing them up though.

But for the next couple of weeks we’ll have to rely on others to fill us in on all the exciting happenings and take some photos for posterity, as we’re off to earn a bit of cash to pay for some of this!

Native Nursery

Posted in Plants and Gardens on November 2nd, 2010 by Coffee

I know, I know, I know. We’re still awaiting a few vital things for plant safety, like a decent water supply, but one of the local garden centres was having it’s big annual sale, so we thought we’d grab a grab-bag of natives anyway on general principles. (Oh, and ignore the Rhodo. It’s not one of ours!).

All chosen for the ability (hopefully) to deal with dry and exposed conditions. We’ll no doubt give you a full detailed rundown when we finally get around to planting them. As long as we can find the piece of paper with the right names on. And as long as they make it through the next few weeks until they’re in their final new homes.

To that end, we’re paying Megan in jet-planes for every plant she manages to keep alive while we’re away. We seem to have a bit of a surplus of them at the moment. But that’s another story I’ll keep for later!