Author: Buck

The Sound Of Inevitability.

I’ve been bashing away at my clarinet and quite enjoying it.

I made it Covid friendly, in case I need in real life lessons.

It has a nice sound and you need to hold good embouchure and remember proper fingering. So all good practice. But obviously what I really want is a sax. I’ve been trying to force myself to learn time. How hard can it be? 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, or 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4? So, so hard. My brain refuses to multitask. I can either read the notes, count the time, or do the tonguing. As soon as do one I lose the other two. But I am persevering with a bloody minded determination. When it finally clicks I’ll have this cracked.

I’ve been keeping an eye on the second hand sites for Bauhaus Walstein sax’s. They are a Chinese copy of a much better brand and they punch well above their weight and price tag. The thing with the Bauhaus has always been quality control. You just don’t know if you’re going to get one like I had, which was superb, or a Friday afternoon job from a different factory, but still with the Bauhaus name. There have been several (ranging from £375 to £575) listed but none were quite right for me. For about £800 I could get a nearly new, bottom of the range, student Yamaha sax, but then you are looking at upgrading at some point. And to be honest, the reviews haven’t been that great. Which is something of a shock, as Yamaha is a benchmark.

Then I came across an odd one on Gumtree. A Grassi alto sax. I’m not sure why I paid it any attention at first because I’d never heard of them. I did some research. They were an Italian brand, some say this particular model was the best they did, and on a sax forum someone was asking whether to get a decent model, second hand Yamaha or the Grassi, and it was a landslide for the Grassi. I looked some more and apparently it’s “based” (cloned shamelessly) on a top of the range Selmer saxophone. Those go for about £6,000. This particular one was listed for £450! I looked on eBay and there are three of them listed, the cheapest is £1,200.

I MUST HAVE IT!

It’s nearly my birthday so I treated myself.

Don’t I deserve love?

And saxophones?

Obviously it was for sale in the back end of beyond. At the bottom of the Brecon Beacons, South Wales. I’d just fitted a new back tyre (which you are supposed to run in for 100 miles before you start throwing the bike about as the oil has to scrub off the tyre) so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and ride down there.

3½ hours down there, got my sax, 3½ hours back. 380 miles round trip. And off course, as soon as I hit Wales it started chucking it down. I’m glad it didn’t rain before as I’m not sure I’d have kept the bike upright, it was squirming around in the dry on straights. Too much power for an oily tyre. The thing is I had to have the new tyre. The old tyre had loads of tread, it looked almost new, but it had a slow puncture. I think that was what was causing half of the handling issues. I was thinking about trying to mend it, but the liquid patches stuff said don’t do it. The final straw was when I realised it was the wrong size! Well, duh! There’s my handling problem! I’ve not taken it for a run in the dry since I scrubbed it in, but I’m hoping that’s my bike sorted. Certainly looks the business!

Darkest Wales!

I digress. Saxy goodness! The geezer said he’d been playing it professionally until a medical condition, and that it had just been serviced. Given everything I’d read I was willing to take a chance. It’s a professional level sax, with a gorgeous sound. Buy one, have it spruced up, and that will do for the rest of my life, however good I might get.

It’s 41 years old so it’s a bit worn, but that’s fine.

I got it home and knocked out a few notes from the bottom keys, it sounded amazing! My memory is terrible, but from what I recall it sounded better than my Bauhaus tenor, or the brand new Yamaha alto I bought. As I moved up the keys I was having trouble getting any notes. I had a closer look and one of the pads was loose. Basically just placed in the cup, not attached.

I took it in to the nearest decent sax shop (Dawsons in Warrington has closed down, Wendy says) which was Curly Woodwind in Liverpool. Which is where I got my first sax, the Bauhaus, as it happens.

“Recently serviced” HAH!

The guy said it was a decent sax, with a lovely sound when set up right, and rated by those in the know, but this one had ancient pads. As he was handling it the loose pad fell out. He said that really it needs a total re-pad. The pads are the things that seal the air holes on the sax when the flaps shut. Just to state the obvious.

The orange thing, arrowed.

A set of pads alone is £120- £160, he said, but to get at them you have to strip all the key mechanism. So it’s a complete overhaul. Everything stripped, cleaned, polished, new pads fitted, oiled and rebuilt. Basically when I get it back it will be playing as good as new.

£350.

*blubs*

He said he could do a cheap patch job, stick the pad back in, seat everything again, but it would just be a botch. I think he was suggesting an option if I was just trying to sell it on. If I want to keep it, and play it, it needs the pads.

It will still be a lot cheaper than the others on eBay, and all the sax I’ll ever need, but it’s suddenly a lot dearer than I thought.

The other thing I’ve recently discovered on the sax front, is the Sax Mute One. Some Russian guy has invented basically a soundproof box with hand holes in the side. The sax rests on a stand, which supports the case, the mouthpiece sticks out the top, and you put your hands in the sides.

If it is as effective as it looks, I could actually get decent. Previously I was embarrassed by my crapness, and very conscious of making the neighbours sit through constant repetition of my loud, rubbish play. According to the blurb, and some guy’s blog (which is where I found out about it) it reduces the noise to telly/ office levels.

I don’t know if this has been doctored for sales purposes, but according to the video it sounds quieter than his speaking voice.

If you watch it for a minute from about 2 minutes 50, it seems amazing.

More money.

But once I’m set up that is basically it. The sax will always be better than I am and I’m thinking this could be the thing to save my sanity when I rest my foot for possibly a year after the last race of the season.

Talking of money, we had a bit of a scare when it looked like Wendy’s works weren’t paying her. It was just a glitch with bank, the money went in and all was well, but it was a wake up call. I’ve been being lazy, to be honest. If work have only booked me in for 4 shifts, I didn’t want them ‘phoning me on the morning of the fifth and calling me in on zero notice. Now I’ve changed my mind. I’m trying to get a regular 5 shifts/ 6 shifts. I’ll see how this job pans out if you are trying to be money grabbing. So far I’ve been happy on less shifts, it’s still well enough money to keep us ticking over, but from next month Wendy is on half pay. If I’m buying (and re-padding, grrrrr!) sax-s it’s time to stop being lazy. I’ve not been booked in for tomorrow but I’ve put myself as available on the app (agencies have really changed!) so I’ve put my uniform out, and I’ll leave my ‘phone volume on for calls. If they call, I’m on it. If I could get 5 shifts one week 6 the next (the legal maximum) at this job we’d be minted. I also recognise that I crave newness constantly, which often manifests as shopping. This will be a good opportunity to get a grip of that.

The only other big thing of late is I was thinking about the Endure24 race I’ve got in about 5 weeks. Because of my stupid foot I’ve not been able to put in any long endurance runs. I still didn’t even have a strategy for the race. Run until stop then run/ walk? Run/ walk from the start? If so what ratio? No idea. I asked the ultra runners on twitter but didn’t get any sort of answer. Then I found a definitive answer.

I don’t know if it the right answer, but it’s an answer so I’m going with it. I set out to test it out. As it was my first go, and I’ve not been working on my fitness and certainly not my endurance, I was testing the water as I went. At first I was running all apart from uphills, then after about 15 miles or so, I was running 9 minutes, walking 1. As you get tired that is a really great strategy, you don’t have to think of how far it is to go, you just have to run 9 minutes and then rest again. I let the distance and discomfort overwhelm me, to be honest, so cut it short to a 50K (32 miles) but for my first go, I’ll take it. On the day I won’t have anything else to do for 24 hours, so I’m hoping I can go a lot further. I actually took a 20 minute pit stop, (grabbed some grub, had a shower and changed) at 20 miles thinking I was going a lot longer. So it’s not a bad time, considering.

If my foot and mojo hold out I have some slight hope of doing the benchmark 100 miles. We’ll see.

Wendy’s still not right, but still bravely facing her fears. The doctor won’t up her dose until the last increase has had weeks and weeks to kick in.

Oddly, I had an episode. I’ve been getting very anxious at work, almost panicky at the slightest thing, then I was sat at home and work rang me and my anxiety just shot off the scale. I spent the whole evening stressed and looking at my ‘phone, expecting them to call me back. The next day I was fine and I’ve remained so, but that was a nasty reminder of how awful being it is to be like that. You sort of know it was terrible, but not really. Then it hits and OHNONONONONO! Anyway, don’t want any more of that thank you very much.

On to some levity.

Dino has been good.

Oddly some other dino stuff

Some random stuff

Awesome reenactment

Someone went into a sweary rant about the great Covid hoax.

And doggo related content.

Poor doggo!

And my favourite, cracks me up every time

Right,

Later,

Buck.

By The Light Of Past Mistakes.

We’ve had a frantic few days. Well, mainly Wendy has. Obviously the first priority was getting the car MOT-ed before the insurance changed their mind, or we got pulled by the plod. Wendy has decided to own the problem of the car. Up until now she has driven it, I’ve had it serviced, MOT-ed, etc. Not, as it turns out, very successfully. Rather than be in the dark as to the status of her car, she’s decided to do it herself now. Which means she’s had to do everything for the first time, on her own (as I’ve been working) and stressed out of her head.

She took the car for it’s MOT. Because of Covid she wasn’t allowed to wait, as I usually do, so she had to go for a walk for an hour. When she got back, despite me having gone over every tyre for tread depth, every light,the wipers, horn, screen wash, fluffy dice (OK, no fluffy dice) it still failed. They said there was a dangerous bulge on a tyre. I hope that was on the inside, because I didn’t see it. She went home stressed and told me. I said if she took it to the nearest tyre fitting place (Kwikfit) she could get back to the garage for the MOT certificate the same day. They kept her there for an hour and 15 minutes. Still madly stressed. Which meant the garage was shut so she had to get her MOT the next day, still with some minors. A chip in the windscreen, and slightly damaged valves on the on of the back tyres. Rather than mess about we ordered a new set of back tyres to be fitted at home, and we’ve got someone coming around the fix the chip. The tyres were done this afternoon, the windscreen gets fixed on Saturday. That’s it then, the car is MOT perfect. Wendy has noticed the aircon is only blowing cool instead of freezing so she’s booked it in for a re-gas on Thursday. Then it’s a perfect car for a couple of years more. Wendy has bravely adopted the motto “Be scared, do it anyway.” All these new things are destruct testing that resolve.

The doctor upped her pills but, whether due to the pills or the bump and consequent faffing about, she’s feeling more stressed. She said one of the possible side effects of the anti-anxiety pill is increased levels of anxiety. I’m not an actual doctor, but I can see flaws in that medication regime.

I’ve had a hugely productive couple of days. After my ride to Chorley to work (40 minutes, lots of it at *cough* motorway speeds) I noticed the front end still didn’t feel right. It wasn’t falling into corners but it was starting to wriggle at *cough* speed. I was worried it had the potential to turn into a tank slapper and throw me off. I couldn’t leave it like that so I decided on a course of action. Drop the forks, change the oil to the thicker, more shock absorbing oil, check it actually had the upgraded springs the seller claimed were fitted, get the oil levels exactly equal, then replace the forks 9mm higher through the yokes, which throws more weight forward to settle the front end. That was my plan for Sunday. If it still felt wriggly I was going to buy a new set of tyres for £260+. I don’t mind spending that much when I have to, it’s the main bit of the bike that stops you from bouncing down the road, it’s worth whatever it costs, but the tyres that are on it look nearly new. That was upsetting.

I went to drop the forks out (after removing the side panels, mudguard, brakes, and front wheel, *sigh*). There are two bolts on each fork leg. One in the middle one at the top. I undid the middle one and the fork leg slid out. WHAT!? Some moron hadn’t tightened the top bolts at all after fitting the head bearings. Big speeds, hard braking, with one bolt standing between me and a face full of fork leg. That would explain the wriggle as well.

Oh. Dear.

Ah well, I wanted to do the jobs, and I had it stripped, so I carried on. I did the oil, checked the springs (it is the upgraded ones, yay!) and changed the engine oil and filter while I was at it. I put it back together and, after resetting the brake, and double and triple checking I’d re-tightened every single bolt, I took it for a test run.

It’s like a different bike. It leans neutrally into corners, doesn’t wriggle or shake, and inspires confidence. I think it must have been the head bearings, then the top bolts being undone. The other jobs are improvements that I wanted to do, but I think I had it fixed at head bearings.

So, that was brilliant. Normally mechanic-ing jobs are a series of disasters leaving the bike not much worse than when I started. This all went smoothly and got the result I was hoping for. And it saved me the best part of £300 on unnecessary tyres! Win!

This morning I was up early and spent most of the day in the garden. I’m ready now. When everything grows in, assuming we don’t get any hard frosts (nothing forecast for a fortnight, by which time we’re well into May) I’m almost that mythical place where the gardening is “done”. All I have to do is watch it all grow into a perfect display. Yeah, I’m fooling no-one.

The usual routine is I grow great looking plants (dahlias, gladioli, etc) that grow to full stature, look brilliant for 10 minutes then lean and fall over and have to be snapped off to make way. This year I’m doing what Monty Don said and buying some mild steel rods and bending them into big plant supports. 6mm diameter, 3 metres long. He said, “I got these for about £2 each”. I rang the local steel stockholder, as Monty said, and asked for 15 rods. “We don’t sell to the public, try this place”. I rang them. “Not got them but we can order them off the first place. That will be £68.”

Errrr, no. No it won’t.

I rang around a bunch of other places and have got 14 rods for £35. That’s more like it. I’m picking up on Wednesday. The trouble is they are uncut, so 6 metre lengths. I’m going to have to saw them all in half to get them in the car. I went to B&Q get a cordless (battery powered) angle grinder to do the job easily. Their cheapest was £70 plus another £40 for the battery. I bought a £6 hacksaw!

I’ve order a cheap, new, Chinese angle grinder, with battery, off eBay for £55. Literally half the price. It’s not like I need a cordless that often, but when you do (such as when I had to rent one to saw a jammed, toughened steel, lock off my motorbike) they are invaluable. I’m really hoping the £6 hacksaw goes the distance this time. It’s only 7 cuts. Surely it will be good for that?

I think my frantic activity has just been prevarication. I’ve been putting off getting back to bike training. I did that 20 mile run last week and my foot wasn’t good enough to do any runs after it, and the bike has just been so, so hard. I think it’s just due to lack of consistency. While I was off with my shoulder and bored witless I was riding 6 days a week. Just recently I’ve been skipping a week at a time. I have to get back into a regular pattern. I got back to it today. a 1½ hour ride, with 3x 20 minute sections at 85 – 95% of your max. The workouts are tough and demanding, but the bit where you fall down and quit is mental strength. That is why you need to do it regularly, to get your brain used to it as much as your body. I was 18 minutes into the second block and all my thoughts were “I want to quit now” keep going “I want to quit now”. Then the on-screen text said “Decide now, you are going to finish this block” and I replied “Of course I’m going to finish!” and just like that my brain turned around. Instead of ‘I can’t go on’, I was all ‘BRING IT!’ I did the 1½ hours then straight out for a 4 mile zone 2 (slow) run. I’m off again tomorrow so I can do another catch up ride.

….Saturday.

I got the steel rods. I was slowly sawing my way through them when the guy from the metal place took pity on me and came out with some bolt crops and just snipped them in half.

Wendy took the car for the re-gas. As is the trend, it didn’t go smoothly. They’ve closed the waiting area so she has to wander around town and sit in the bus station out of the rain. She was terrified she was going to bump into someone from work, and the bus station was freezing as they had all the door open for covid. It turns out the pollen filter was clogged to death on the car (it has a pollen filter. That’s news.) and the fan is only blowing feebly. So the next job is to sort the fan. They gave Wendy an auto electrician’s number, but frankly she’s had enough stress now, so I’ve rung up and arranged it for Monday, my day off. *Then* the car will be sorted. The windscreen guy came and did the chip today.

The other big thing is, predictably, I’ve swung around to wanting to learn the sax again. Look, it’s the coolest thing in known universe, it’s not my fault! I had the thought about a week or so ago. Well, more of an idea that I’d like to work towards it. The thing I could never master was the time. I just couldn’t keep a count when the music went to half or quarter notes. I decided the best way to attack the problem was with a recorder.

They’re cheap, quiet, and supposedly about the easiest thing to learn. If I can master ‘time’ I can start from scratch and hopefully learn this time. I have started to make inroads. I’ve got two very basic, 3 note tunes, (the first in the book) that I can just about count out 1,2, 1,2, 1 and, 2 and, 1, 2. etc (It’s 2/4 time.) As soon as I had my first success I was looking for a sax. So much for restraint. Wendy has been the voice of reason though. Or a joy sucking harridan, depending on perspective. She pointed out I only sold my saxes last year as I was too bad to continue and it was making me sad never making any progress. And that the sax is very noisy, and I need to train at least half an hour a day, whilst still being embarrassingly crap. All fair points and I will bear them in mind when finding her a care home. Tomorrow. In the meantime I’ve compromised. I had a look on Gumtree and someone is selling a student clarinet about 2 miles away. It’s the full set up, Google says it’s good learner kit, but old, so nice and cheap. Splendid. It’s got a reed (like a sax) so you have to practice embouchure (holding your gob right), the fingering is similar to a sax (I’ve heard) but a lot quieter, and it’s got a nice sound, so I actually want to learn to play it for it’s own sake. The seller is out of town until tomorrow, then it’s opening to Rhapsody in Blue all the live long day!

Oh, one other thing, seeing as my poppies aren’t going to be brightening the shady part of my garden for the next 4 or 5 years (if they ever germinate, a few weeks now and not a sausage) I got to thinking about hostas. I saw one I really liked but even for a tiny little cutting plant they wanted about £12 on eBay.

I tracked down a cheap mixed bunch containing the one I wanted, got to checkout then a message popped up “After 30 years of supplying the UK we can no longer do so due to Brexit. We’d have to ship more paperwork than plants.” Super. Brexit just keeps on giving. That will be “cutting the redtape” and the “sunlit uplands” then.

Anyway I finally got a selection. Some crackers in it. I’ll either have a gorgeous garden or the fattest slugs in the UK.

A few bits of Twitter and I’m done. There was this, which in a sane world would have been the end of Bozo and his government.

Some random stuff

The hero the country needs right now

A nice snap of the light through the trees on my way to work this morning

I showed restraint

Missing mutt

And a philosopher I follow mused about Harry Potter and philosophy

Right,

later.

Buck.

Childbirth.

I’ve often heard that the only reason women can bear to go through with childbirth a second time is that they sort of forget about the unbearable misery of the first time.

I’m fairly sure the same principle applies to motorcycle mechanic-ing.

The front end on my bike turns in weirdly so I ordered new head bearings from the States. They arrived last week and I rang my local bike garage to get them fitted. He said because of the backlog from lockdown it was going to be the end of May at the earliest.

Meh.

I looked online to see how hard the job was. There was a video of a mechanic showing how to do it on a Kawasaki. He said you could buy a bunch of specialist tools, or you can do it without, then showed you how. It looked like an bit of an ordeal, but do-able. So on Sunday, forgetting past misery, I set to.

Everyone agreed it was a faff. To get to the job you have to strip the fairing off, take the front mudguard off, the front brakes, the front wheel, the handlebars, head thingy and risers, and the forks. Undo a bolt at the top of the stem, take out the two nuts and a washer then drop the stem. *Then* you start. Inside the headstock are two cups that the bearing sit in. Obviously these have to wedged in beyond any danger of movement. Which means extracting them is terrible job. Not to worry, said the video, inside the headstock are two grooves in the barrel so you can just place an old screwdriver in there and hit each side until it eventually drops out.

Nope. On the Kawasaki there are two grooves, on the Honda it a smooth barrel with zero purchase for hitting the bearing cups. Oh very dear. The bike stripped down to this and no way to proceed.

Luckily at some point in the past I had bought a toughened steel rod to bash stuff out with. What I had to do was beat and bend it into shape then grind it into a thin blade at the end using the angle grinder.

Not big or clever to look at, but that was the difference between me carrying on or being stopped dead. And blubbing like a girl. Then it was just a matter of hitting it with a hammer. Repeatedly. Again. And again. And again. Forever.

Eventually I got the cups out. I bashed the bearing off the stem, which was supposed to be the hardest job but was comparatively simple. Then just to beat new cups back in. Again on the Kwak it looked a simple job. On the Honda the brake pipes run under the headstock so there is no room to swing a hammer.

It took me all day. I started about 10.30, finished about 19.20. I’ve bought some fork oil and seals and I was going to do them while they were out of the frame but I was getting weak and tired and so, so cheesed off. I just wanted the job done. I took it for a test ride on Monday and everything seems to be working. That was a bonus. I wasn’t sure it was going to work. On my next days off I’ll do the forks.

Another mechanical fly in the honey smooth ointment of life was my pushbike. A while ago I bought a power meter.There is a built in power meter on my indoors bike trainer, but I’m not sure that’s reading right, which is why I wanted to fit the proper power meter. It just looks like a normal pedal arm with a round lump on the inside, about the size of 3 stacked 2ps. The lump is the clever bit that measures the strain on the pedal. I fitted it, turned the pedals and realised the fancy under-frame break arm was hitting my even fancier power meter. It was only a gentle hit, but if I was doing that thousands of times an hour it was soon going to smash my power meter off.

I went on to Twitter to ask the cyclist’s for advice as I couldn’t seem to google an answer. The answer, as ever, was expensive.

It’s a specialist brake that I’d never heard of. It is the very last word in brake technology, the ultimate rim brake, but the selling point for me is that it runs the cable through the centre so there is no arm sticking out to hit my power meter. I saw a shoddy one on eBay and bought that.

But the standard brake fits on the front of the bike, on one bolt. You need a special adapter to mount it on the two bolts of the underframe mount. Of course you do. So then I had to buy a new one, with all the mounting equipment, from the States. It arrived the other day and I’ve tried it. In principle it will mount now. So I can at least put the shabby brake under the back wheel where it’s out of sight and mount the pretty new one on the front where it’s visible.

I suppose I should say it’s not just about an accurate reading on the trainer. I could probably have lived with that. I certainly would have looked for a cheaper and easier option. But the training is all working towards a race. You build up so you know how much power you can sustain for the race distance. The power meter is the only way you can know you are hitting your target on race day. And having the best brakes you can get is never a bad thing. Especially if I’m planning on doing a hill triathlon.

Work has been good. After they asked me did I want a 14 hour shift and I said 10 hours is enough for me, they have been giving me shorter shifts. 8, 9 and 10 hours. That suits me. And I got 5 shifts last week, so all is well. I had one blip. It was a nightmare. They sent me to a drop I’d done before, I had the satnav on but I missed one turning. The satnav rerouted and took me a different way. At first I was fine with it because I’d been down that way before. Then suddenly it had me out in the sticks. Eh? I kept going, but it was smaller and smaller roads and the satnav kept trying to take me down single track roads. I kept refusing. It kept rerouting me. After me refusing to take a double deck (16′ 2″) trailer down a single lane road for the 4th time it started going mad. About half a mile ahead was a 13′ bridge! Oh no! I got out and ran to the bridge. Just before it was a road to a farm or something. I had *just* enough room to drive into it, but not enough room to swing around. I had to reverse blind back into the country lane. I got away with it without crashing and had to take the previous road. That lead me through a tiny village, then out onto a single lane road. I was proper panicking. My trailer was smacking into trees over the road, I couldn’t turn around, I didn’t know where I was and any moment I was expecting to meet someone coming the other way. Or a bridge. Or anything. I finally managed to pull up over a farmer’s drive. I got out and was shaking with the stress. The natives came out to gawp at the moron in the artic with a double deck trailer. They said I’d missed my turn. The farmer woman went down the road behind me to guide me as I backed down the single lane then reverse into an equally tiny single lane so I could do a three point turn. While I was pulled up I checked my satnav. The Royal Mail had given me the wrong postcode.

Royal Mail.

Postcode.

*weeps*

That was the most stress I’ve ever had as a driver. Over the course of 10 or so years driving I’ve had one low bridge, once on a single track, lost quite a bit, a few blind reverses out into the road. To have them all happen, one after the other, was just a nightmare. At one point (when I saw the low bridge ahead on a tiny country round) I stopped, took my glasses off, and literally had my head in my hands. Character forming.

I’ve been hanging on with this blog until we get a resolution to yet more stress. Outside our house we have two parking spots, and a bit of road so our neighbours can drive past. The neighbour straight across from us sometimes parks on the road bit instead of their parking spot. Usually it’s for better access while they clean the car or whatever. It made it a pain trying to get into the parking spot when Luke’s car was outside. Yesterday they parked it there then forgot about it. Wendy realised after dark that it was her mate’s birthday and the mate wouldn’t get a card in time unless she ran it around. She hopped in the car (without paying enough attention) did the usual reverse/ turn to back out of our spot and … BANG! Smacked in the door of the neighbours car. The Mini once again got off with a scrape. Wendy is still not right with her stress, that was horrible for her. She had to knock the neighbour up to tell her. She was really good about it, but Wendy was nearly crying. In fairness, it’s that neighbour who’s kid scraped loads of patterns into the paintwork of our car with a stone. She’s probably a bit relieved to have got rid of the guilt. Anyway, Wendy had a bad night. They exchanged insurance details this morning and Wendy called it in. That should have been the end of the matter, but the insurance asked “is the car in MOT?” Wendy said yes. Just to be sure she went on the government website. The MOT ran out in November. The don’t automatically send reminders anymore and oddly the garage hadn’t sent us one either. Wendy’s booked it in at the earliest possible date, which is on Friday, but now she’s got to ring the insurance back in the morning. Worst case is they say “no MOT invalidates your insurance policy”. I’ve done some looking online and I don’t think that will happen. I certainly hope it won’t. But until she rings them we don’t know.

Luckily Lisa knew exactly who to blame.

I’ll update this tomorrow, with the result, before I post.

Oh sweet relief! The insurance have said it doesn’t affect the policy! That would have been awful. We’d have had to get the neighbour’s car into a proper dealer and pay full dealer prices for a new door and wing. Wendy would have had her insurance cancelled, and have had to get new insurance, to ticking the boxes “Have you had an accident? Have you ever had an insurance policy cancelled?”.

Also the doctors have finally got back to Wendy and agreed to double her dose. Hopefully that will sort her stress out.

Something else has happened since writing the stuff above. I’ve been getting gritty, itchy eyes recently. I thought I had something in them but it kept happening. I asked Wendy to have a look and my eyes are swollen with red lines on them. Suddenly it dawned on me. The grow light for the propagator! I’ve given myself welding flash. I looked up welding flash and sure enough, all the symptoms, causes “strong ultra violet light”, welding, tanning lights, etc. D’oh! It’s like sunburn to the eyes. Can cause infection, cataracts and blindness. At least I now know that the UV plant light works.

And work have rung me up and asked if I wanted a shift tomorrow, but as there’s no work in Warrington can I travel to Chorley? I said OK, then looked at the shift. 45 minute ride each way and a 12 hour shift. Meh. It pays the bills.

The only other thing is my gardening phase.

I’ve bought a some plug plants

And some seeds.

The cactus dahlia have all started sprouting in the cold frame, and I’ve got the seeds for the grannies bonnet and Himalayan blue (and white) poppies on the go. All of which are supposed to be shade tolerant so I thought they’d brighten up the top of the garden under the window this summer. Then I watched a video. The poppies take 4 to 5 years to flower! OK, maybe not this summer.

That’s about it.

Here’s some twitter stuff then I’m out of here.

I had a binge on demotivational posters. I don’t know why but they crack me up.

Then there was some random amazing pottery.

A twitter chum was moaning she couldn’t do her 20 mile run due to injury so I took up the slack. This was 15 miles in. Not too bad. Slow, but not too much foot damage.

Duolingo trolled me

Salt. Wounds. Duolingo.

Some Dinos

And random twitter.

Later,

Buck.