Thursday, 30 June 2011

Parks and Houses

This is the park in the gully behind our house.  It’s a reasonable size and appears well patronised.  Actually I suppose it would be well used given everyone seems to live in rows of terraced houses with no front yard and very little room at the back.  Using our house as an example; at it's widest point; with my arms extended I can easily touch both the back wall of the house and the boundary wall.
On the high side of the park it is possible to see the more compressed terraced houses.
Four or five stories high on this side whereas the opposite side looks more exclusive.
However you will notice very few of these houses have a garage.  Obviously they were built before most people owned a car.
I’m starting to think the value of a home may be based on the priority:
1.  Garage parking
2.  Off street parking
3.  Parking available in the street
4.  No room for parking in the street
These houses appear to have garage parking although the lane is rather too narrow for me!
A nice group of houses

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


We have discovered there is a park located in the gulley on the opposite side of our hill.  At one end is the rail line going to the south west.  The rail bridge crosses the gulley passing directly between the rows of terraced houses either side.  It’s quite a busy line so I assume the occupants of the adjacent houses have become used to the vibration and noise.

Can you see the small arches in the base of each of the large arches.  Most interesting!

Here is a better view

The arch over the road has a double curve which must have made it particularly interesting for the stone and brick layers

Behind this bridge are the piers of a second; now defunct; bridge.

Interestingly, these piers looked newer that those forming the adjacent rail bridge.

I wouldn’t be surprised if some famous TV personalities reside in the general area.  Corporal Jones of “Dad’s Army” is one possibility.

Whilst the nemesis of “Mr Bean” may live near here!


Meanwhile “Oliver”; the runaway oven who had collapsed exhausted opposite our house; was mugged of two knobs yesterday and then during the night had his face kicked in by some of the local yobs!  At midday a van arrived to collect him.  Initially I thought he might be off to the oven hospital but then I saw “recycle” on the side of the van.  Oliver went to the crematorium!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

A Warm Summer Day

Taking advantage of the weather I took a brisk walk around the neighbourhood yesterday.  Blue skies and a temperature around 24 degrees meant I wasn’t troubled by either the heat or cold.  The walk covered approximately 16 kilometres and was just sufficient to get a general idea of the area.

GPS Trail

There were no serious hill to climb however I did find Central Park in the north quite interesting.  In one of the car parks adjacent to the Argyle Football Stadium a flea market was in full swing.

Above is a view looking south east towards the city from the park.  Centre left is the tower of the GuildHall and centre right are the column from the RN Memorial and the lighthouse which are both located on the Hoe.

Another view from the lower slopes of Central Park looking south to the harbour.

Monday, 27 June 2011

More Oven Story

Well obviously my reputation with ovens has spread. 

Not only have there been a few oven comments on the blog, but during the night this fellow tottered around the corner of the lane opposite our house before coming to a halt with exhaustion some 20 metres short of our steps.

The rotten devil knew I’d have to walk past him when we headed to Sainburys later in the morning.  He tried to catch my eye as we passed but I managed to place Jan between him and me.

Hard Copy

Whilst we have endeavoured to set ourselves up as paperless as possible it has proven to be impossible to totally eradicate the need to print documents.   Obviously room on the boat is a critical factor and so when looking for a printer the essential criteria was; small footprint; ease of storage; and price.

Whilst walking through the Plymouth CBD I noticed a wireless hp inkjet printer on special in the window of WH Smith.  At just under £40 I thought it was a bargain not to be missed. 

Whilst its’ footprint isn’t as small as we would like, the fact it has wireless connectivity means it will not have to be co-located with the laptop; but can be placed wherever we can find space; and can actually be shared by all our devices.

I had a slight struggle getting the printer wireless connectivity to recognise our local network.  I think this was more a problem with the Zoom router configuration rather than the printer.  Anyway, it now works!  We will be able to store the printer in some corner of the boat and on those rare occasions when we need to print something it can be placed in the nearest free space where we can wirelessly connect to it.  Well that’s the plan!  

Anyone who has purchased an inkjet printer will know that the ink cartridges supplied with the printer usually have very little ink in them.  My next step will be to work out how to refill this particular type of cartridge.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Dunelm Mill

Today we made a second visit to Dunelm Mill.  Not the same shop, and certainly not the same shopping list.

Jan was after a wool fleece topper pad for the bed; more hand towels, kitchen utensils and a 5 litres pail for her bread making.  She was successful in purchasing everything except the pail. It is proving somewhat difficult to buy a 5 litre pail with a sealed top.  Wickes, next door, had 5 litre pails of paint and I suggested we purchase the paint just to get the container.  Apparently this wasn’t an acceptable solution!

I think the walk was just under a mile each way and this time it stayed dry. 

After arriving home Jan did some serious Amazon surfing.  The pail is available at £2.90 and the postage was [only] a further £2.90.  I’m sure we could use 5 litres of paint somewhere! Smile

In the afternoon I finished cleaning the oven, only to find it has a short to earth which trips the circuit breaker when you turn it on.  I would have done better to check the oven worked before enthusiastically launching myself into cleaning it over the last three days.Smile

Two men separately call on Jan at the house today.  Initially I was suspicious, but then I realised they were delivering her presents from Amazon, courtesy of gift vouchers from both sons. 

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Settling In

Settled a last.  We have kindly been given some accommodation which has enabled us to cease living out of a suitcase.
The previous occupants of the house were four male university students and it has taken a little while for us to get the place to a state we are comfortable with.  The biggest challenge was the oven. 
I think it would be fair to say they rather liked grilled food and like many young males averse to cleaning.
If you are going to enter a coalmine then you need a miners lamp.  Smile
Plenty of elbow grease and three days later there was a considerable improvement. 
Of course the real reason for all this work was………………..
Back to delicious home baked bread.   No doubt I will be able to convince Jan to bake more now she has a fantastic oven. Smile

Friday, 24 June 2011

How Many Channels

We are settling into our temporary accommodation and gradually accumulating the ‘bits and pieces’ we will need on board Waiouru.  I found an old CRT TV in a cupboard and carried it into the front room.  Whilst the TV worked there were no channels!  After some searching on Google I concluded the TV was analogue and the signal in this location is digital. 
In the afternoon we walked to the nearest ‘Comet’ electrical  appliance shop and enquired whether they had a very cheap Freeview set top box.  We were able to purchase a ‘Proline’ for just under £18.
I should explain to our non UK readers there are two types of free TV transmissions in the UK.  Freeview which is a terrestrial signal and Freesat which is a satellite signal.  The latter requires a satellite dish whilst the former uses a conventional aerial.
Originally we had planned to use Freesat on the boat but having read it is sometimes difficult to find the ‘dot in the sky’ we have purchased a TV with both the Freesat and Freeview tuners.  So what will we do with this extra Freeview set top box?  Well we intend to have a ceiling mounted flip screen TV in our bedroom.  It will need a digital set top box.
Anyway,  I fitted the Freeview set top box and unfortunately we couldn’t receive any channels.  I waited until the rain stopped (yes… I know it’s currently summer in the UK… and we were warned about the weather before leaving Australia)  then traced the coaxial cable back to a junction box on the outside of the house.  It didn’t have a lid and was full of water.  The ends of the coaxial cables were also very corroded.  With a bit of jiggling around I was able to create sufficient spare cable to cut back the ends and remake the connections in the box.  Then I make a temporary lid with masking tape.
Back inside and the Proline suddenly found hundreds of channels.  I’m used to a maximum of five.  Hundreds are just overwhelming!  Skimming through the list I realised many of them specialise in a particular area of interest.  “Gray Rabbit” caught my eye….. obviously a children’s channel.  <Oops; backtrack>.  It’s “Gay Rabbit”!  Maybe not a children’s channel.Smile
Jan didn’t come to bed until the early hours of the morning.  I suspect she has been ‘surfing’ the "Adult” channels <just joking>!
It’s going to take us some time to work out which channels are of interest and those we can ignore! One thing is for sure; there is a large selection to chose from.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Mayflower Steps

An interesting walk down to the Mayflower Steps at Plymouth today.  Whilst I knew the Mayflower had departed from Plymouth and vaguely recalled the steps being mentioned during my early education in New Zealand I couldn’t miss the opportunity to go and have a look at the location.

However I had to find it first.  My wanderings down through Plymouth actually led me to the wrong harbour.  However it was a pleasant walk and along the way I passed Charles Cross Church which was bombed during WW2 and the ruins left as a memorial to all those who lost their lives during this period known as the “Plymouth Blitz”.  The target of the bombers was the naval dockyard but most of the bombs fell on the city causing extensive civilian casualties.

Unfortunately I continued walking in the wrong direction but eventually found the inner harbour; albeit the wrong side!  This is what the wrong side looks like at low tide.

No!  I hadn’t walked as far as China.  It was just the name of the restaurant.  Still, the walk did me good and I eventually made my way around to the correct side of the harbour.  This is a photo of “Pilgrims Point”.  I believe the portico was erected in 1934 and there is some doubt about the steps beyond them being original.

There are three bronze plaques beside the portico.  The first refers to the Mayflower

It reads

“On the 6th of September 1620, the Mayoralty of Thomas Townes after being kindly entertained and courteously used by divers Friends there dwelling, the Pilgrim Fathers sailed from Plymouth in the Mayflower in the Providence of God to settle in New Plymouth and to lay the foundations of the New England States The ancient Cawsey whence they embarked was destroyed not many Years afterwards but the Site of their Embarkation is marked by the Stone bearing the name of the MAYFLOWER in the pavement of the adjacent Pier.”

So it would appear I need to go back and look for the stone that marks the spot!

The second plaque has a link with New Zealand and that rather surprised me! 

The Tory arrived in Wellington NZ in 1840.  It is commemorated in NZ with the naming of Tory Channel which is one of the drowned valleys that form the Marlborough Sounds at the northern tip of the South Island.

Finally there was a plaque commemorating the return to Plymouth of four of the six Tolpuddle Martyrs after being transported to Australia for their part in establishing and leading a trade union in 1834.  Now this is a piece of history I do recall from my early school education in New Zealand so many years ago.  What I hadn’t know was that after their return to England the majority of them subsequently migrated to Canada.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

It’s only a bargain if you need it!

Today we went to Braunston and walked around the marina.  We happened to notice two famous boats we have previously only seen on TV.  I just had to take a photo

After Braunston we drove north to the “Comet” store in Leicester to look at TV’s.  Why Leicester?  Well we had identified via the “Net” that they were the only shop in the area that stocked a TV which met our criteria.  We specifically wanted the following:

32” screen (any bigger would be too big for the boat)

LCD/LED back lit (low power consumption and excellent picture)


High Definition

SD card slot and USB port

Inbuilt FreeSat and Freeview Tuners (no additional power consumption for a separate set top box). 

I started our search in Australia and had identified the approximate price of a TV with these specifications would be between £800-1000.  However, FreeSat has subsequently lost popularity to FreeView and cable.  We believe we will need the FreeSat to take the signal from the Camos satellite dome on the roof of the boat.  Having both FreeSat and Freeview means we can use either the sat dome or a conventional terrestrial aerial if the “dot in the sky” is not available.

So this is the TV

A Panasonic Viera TX-L32E28.   It was the only one they had in the shop and had been reduced to £424.99.  Nothing is lost asking for a discount on display stock and they dropped the price by another £39.95.  They no longer had the box so we asked them to place a cardboard sheet either side and bundle it in bubble wrap.  I don’t understand why someone else hadn’t purchased it.  Beside it was the same TV without the FreeSat tuner and its price was £668????

Another item we can tick on our list of things to do!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Smelly Car

After spending a day in the London area having meetings we headed back to our accommodation in Rugby. 

On the way the car developed a strong smell of something very hot; a smell of baking.  My nose isn’t as good as Jan’s; she was the first to notice it and mentioned the car smelt of hot baked bread.

The thought of the car overheating or catching fire concerned me and I frantically started to scan the various gauges.  Modern cars don’t appear to have many gauges!  The smell got worse.  I was looking in the rear vision and side mirrors to see if there was any smoke – there wasn’t!  The water temperature gauge reading was normal.  OK; it was a rental car; bit I still felt obliged to do something.

Just as I was about to slow down, stop the car and check what had gone wrong, the smell changed!   And then the Nestl├ęs factory appeared.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Our First Folly

Peter and Margaret took us to lunch at in the Hartshead Inn located in the hills east of Manchester.

In the background was the ‘Folly’.  The canal isn’t too far away and I have made a commitment to myself that one day I will walk from the canal to the Folly.

The lunch was excellent and the Inn had panoramic views over Manchester.  The vista was slightly spoiled by the overhead power transmission lines so I’ve erased them in the photo below.

Somehow I think the Inn was once a farm

All too soon our day with Peter and Margaret was coming to a close.  We will definitely catch up with them and some future date and return their hospitality.

Jan obviously had a great day!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

A Day Near Manchester

We had a most interesting day driving north to Bolton just north of Manchester.  We spent our time with fellow blogger Peter and his wife Margaret from nb Kelly Louise.

They took us to the Portland Basin Canal Museum located in an old Ashton Canal warehouse on the junction of the Peak Forest, Ashton and Huddersfield canals.  The museum was quite interesting; probably even more so when Peter started to translate the local dialogue coming from the mannequins! Smile

The museum is on the ground floor and the basement.  It appears the upper floors are apartments.

I hate to show my age but I actually recognised some of the implements and furniture in the kitchen and parlour.

Outside moored in the basin was favourite mother-in-law’s accommodation

When we walked out to view the canal junction it started to look very familiar.  We had passed this way when we completed the Cheshire Ring in 2007.  I remember we either misjudged the turn or the towpath leapt out at us!

The Peak Forest Canal was a particularly attractive area which we will have to cruise again at some future date.