Bellerophon symbol, variation 7
Sunday 2nd November 2008

A strange encounter somewhere near Bentham
So, yesterday, yeah, Stu and I went to Ingleton to collect the Morsø stove that M****** had somehow managed to track down (perhaps because their web-site doesn't list their full range of stoves). So we got to the shop and, conscious of the fact that I had had to park quite some distance from the shop itself, I told the guy there, "Erm. I wasn't quite sure where to park. Can I park outside your shop?" and he replied, ominously, "Oh, it's not here," but then went to the back of the store to got on with the lengthy business of doing all the paper-work. I reluctantly handed over my debit card and waited . . . and waited. At some point, a telephone conversation took place between the shop owner and the person from whom I would be collecting the stove from; it went a bit like this: "Yes, the Morsø stove, squirrel, ribbed sides . . . Yes? No . . . . ribbed sides. Squirrel. Yes. He's going to pick it up. Morsø. Ribbed sides. Yes? No, no - the Morsø. Yes, that's right. No - ribbed sides. Yes? Okay. And he's going to pick it up now. No, no, no. The Morsø, with ribbed sides. Right? Okay. Bye." Eventually, I was presented with a largely hand-written receipt, my debit card and a photocopied, hand-drawn map with directions to a nearby farm, where I could collect my stove from. So, after a bit advice about register plates, chimney liners and some other weird things, we left. About a mile or two away, the directions led us easily to this farm where a massive lorry trailer was parked up with its back gate/door open, and a large Morsø cardboard box was visible, pretty much confirming we had found the right place. Just as I'm thinking where to park, this farmer appears, looking more like a caricature of a farmer: oiled jacket, wellington boots, bright red cheeks, strange hat. We got out to meet him and he said something like, "Alright there? Mr Marshall, is it? Might wanna back yer car up there, yip" except I only managed to pick out a few intelligible words and the rest I just kind of assumed. So I backed the car up to the trailer and the farmer helped get the stove in (it weighed about 75 kilos) and that was that. I'm glad I didn't have to converse much more, as it would have been rather awkward, not being familiar with this strange dialect. Anyway . . . a very strange set-up, all in all. But we got the stove, that's the main thing. I was kinda wondering how many more of these Morsø stoves they had squirreled (see what I did there?) away in that lorry. Given the demand for this stove, it was tempting to buy their remaining stock but then I completely forgot to check whilst at the farm; I blame the farmer for bewildering me with his weird farmer dialect and manner.

Wednesday 5th November 2008

That blur is Issy on some kind of motorised vehicle (is that tautological?)
Guy Fawkes Night (or whatever you call it) at Jo's house. A****** managed to witness one firework before freaking and running off inside. Ah well.

Friday 7th November 2008

M****** took A****** and R****** for a walk in the park . . . I like the oranges in these pictures.

Saturday 8th November 2008

Belated fireworks
img_8858.jpgimg_8859.jpg I dunno what's going on here - it all seems so long ago. Thinking back, though . . . I think we had managed to talk A****** round to the idea of fireworks so A****** and I popped into town towards the end of the afternoon to pick up a few. A****** seemed to enjoy them but only from the confines of the house. M****** tried, but he really, really wasn't going outside.

Sunday 9th November 2008

Goodbye bathroom (and useless hole-in-wall)
These pictures are more for our benefit than anyone else's. I mean, who would want to look at pictures of a grotty bathroom? So yeah . . . we took these so that we had some kind of measure of progress made.

Monday 10th November 2008

New bathroom, day 1
img_8912.jpgimg_8913.jpgimg_8914.jpgimg_8916.jpg Again, the above pictures were just taken for our benefit, showing the progress of the new bathroom. Move along, move along.

Tuesday 11th November 2008

New bathroom, day 2
img_8917.jpgimg_8918.jpgimg_8919.jpgimg_8921.jpg So I think day 1 just involved removing old tiles and appliances, whereas today new plasterboard (or whatever it is) was attached.

Wednesday 12th November 2008

New bathroom, day 3
img_8922.jpgimg_8923.jpgimg_8924.jpgimg_8926.jpgimg_8927.jpg . . . and then today: skimming.

Thursday 13th November 2008

New bathroom, day 4 (and new fireplace, day 1)
img_8928.jpgimg_8932.jpgimg_8933.jpgimg_8935.jpgimg_8936.jpgimg_8938.jpgimg_8940.jpgimg_8941.jpg I reckon I had this afternoon off, as we seemed to have gone to The Mill Inn for lunch (food wasn't that good though). Tiling has started in the bathroom and work has begun on the fireplace.

Friday 14th November 2008

A****** the Lion (bathroom largely finished now)
img_8944.jpgimg_8945.jpgimg_8946.jpgimg_8947.jpgimg_8948.jpgimg_8952.jpg So there's a little story here. Someone at work had donated an A****** (as in the lion character from the film Madagascar) hand-puppet to A****** (as in my eldest son). I told A****** about the hand-puppet over the phone but I'm not sure he fully understood what I was saying. A few hours later A****** had made his own A******-the-Lion hand puppets, using his felt-tip pens, and proudly showed these to M******. Fortunately the ink washed off fairly easily, but not before M****** had taken a few photographs (I think A****** even asked for the photos to be taken).

Saturday 15th November 2008

People, I've found another planet for you
Blimey. I suppose there's not much point me saying, "I've taken loads of pictures recently and will put these on me web-site sooner or later," because, in time, that will be the case, and so such a comment wouldn't really make any sense. We're back in the house today (as should be obvious from previous entries (whence they appear), we recently had the bathroom and fireplace 'done') and last night and most of today (well, most of this morning) did loads of cleaning up. I would wipe a damp sponge along the floorboards in the 'living' room (is there a dying room?) and it would be black (the sponge). Not good. Lots of hoovering, wiping, cleaning, hoovering . . . etc. In the afternoon, Mouse, Simon and Nicola did pop over and we went for a brief wander around the park. Erm . . . But yeah . . . I managed to reverse the bathroom door, moving the hinges, handle and everything to the other side, so it felt like I achieved something.

Sunday 16th November 2008

The Spin-Statistics relation was first formulated in 1939 by Markus Fierz
img_8953.jpgimg_8956.jpgimg_8958.jpgimg_8963.jpgimg_8964.jpg I got big problems with my meta-tags right now. I'm talking about the tags that are attached to JPEG images. It seems like the Gimp has recently (i.e. version 2.4.6) started stripping away tags from my photographs whenever I make changes to a picture and then save it. Not good. It never used to do this. I've had to manually sort out the create date for a load of pictures taken recently, which is one hell of a pain.

Thursday 20th November 2008

What? A wood-burner? Are you mad?!
Christ. Whaddaya do if you want a wood-burning stove installed? First, you gotta break a little Catch-22 scenario: what kinda stove do you want? what kinda stove can I have? Well, what do you want? Well, what can I have? Et cetera, et cetera. Then you gotta decide on the power output. If it's over 5kW, you're gonna need some kind of air-block installing, so that fire regulations are satisfied and all that rubbish. So, you've decided on your stove but don't set your heart on it quite yet. Nowadays, every man and his dog want a wood-burning stove, so the wood-burning stove you're after is probably not in stock (and won't be for another two to three months, at least). Plus, due to the rise in the cost of iron ore (and general rise in cost of everything), the price you saw it advertised may change dramatically by the time you're actually in a position to buy said stove. Meanwhile, you ask people for advice about the installation of your wood-burning stove. But who do you ask? A chimney sweep? A roofer? A builder? A fire engineer? The salesman at the shop you're getting the stove from? The answer is all of the above and they'll probably tell you wildly different things. Some will quote you several thousands pounds to install the stove, some several hundred, some will just out-and-out refuse to do the work (too busy). So, you next need to sort out your hearth and chimney where the wood-burner is gonna sit. The stove needs space around it, due to the amount of heat generated when in full flow: 15cm clearance from each side to any combustible material, something similar at the back and lots of space from the front . . . blah, blah, blah. Now, have you had your chimney lined? Lined? What?! Lined, have you had it lined? What in god's name are you on about? A lined chimney basically is a chimney with a large, flexible metal tube running from chimney stack down to the stove itself (perhaps via a non-flexible, metal flue pipe). Do I need such a thing? Well, it depends who you ask. Some say yes, some say no, some say . . . it depends. But what kind of liner? There are types of chimney liner. If you have a chimney liner already installed it's probably fine . . . no, it will have to be replaced . . . no, it will last for a good 5 to 10 years if you're careful about how you use your wood-burner (tar deposits and all that, and don't forget to let fresh wood dry out for at least 18 months). A good chimney liner will cost yer £30 to £35 per metre and that's not including installation (add a few hundred there). But what the hell's that on top of your chimney stack? What kind of cowl's that? Do you even have a cowl? Do you know what a cowl is? Exactly. Pure craziness. And did I mention the register plate? Who's gonna fit that? Do I need a register plate? Do I? A register plate is just a sheet of metal (usually . . . it could be some kind of fire-proof asbestos thing if you're trying to cut costs) that sits above the wood-burner, where the flue pipe (did you budget that in?) meets the liner. So yeah . . . we're getting sick to death of the conflicting advice and the amount of people involved for something that should be so, so simple. I actually had a dream a few days back that I just got sick of seeing my wood-burner lying unused in the dining room and so piled a load of wood in and just lit it. I'm not at that stage yet. Hmmmm.

Saturday 22nd November 2008

Somewhere near Stratford?
img_8972.jpgimg_8975.jpgimg_8978.jpgimg_8981.jpgimg_8983.jpgimg_8986.jpgimg_8989.jpg So we've gone to see Pop and Cathie near Stratford-Upon-Avon and here we are checking out this cute little mini train thing.

Sunday 23rd November 2008

Your order will be processed directly by our experienced staff
img_8991.jpgimg_8992.jpgimg_8993.jpg This is A****** colouring in some . . . things at the brass-rubbing centre.

Monday 24th November 2008

Today we went to this little villagey thing called Bourton-on-the-water. There was this motor museum and a model of the village, which A****** loved. Of course, the model contained a model which itself contained a model . . . etc.

Thursday 27th November 2008

Hiding the fact you're dead again; underneath the power lines seeking shade
Still not much nearer getting our wood-burner installed. We need a flue pipe, a register plate, a different kinda cowl and someone to do the cowl thing (we've already paid our builder to do the other things). Gradually getting there. We are also a household of ill things, although R****** doesn't seem too bad. A****** went to the doctor today, as his temperature had increased substantially. Turned out to be a swollen/infected tonsil thing but nothing a load of Calpol and Calpol-like things can't fix. M****** and I have been suffering from what is probably the same thing, although the effects seem to have largely dissipated. Erm . . . R****** is still trying to do rather obscene push-ups and will otherwise get around by a combination of rolling and rotating on his belly. I guess in theory he has enough axes of rotation to get anywhere like that. Hmmmm. We've got R****** on various baby foods at the moment and he seems to be loving those. Erm . . . I think that's everything.

Saturday 29th November 2008

A strange fog descends, ascends, descends
img_9041.jpgimg_9045.jpgimg_9046.jpgimg_9048.jpgimg_9051.jpg Not sure if I quite managed to capture this adequately but there was a strange phenomenon this morning when the freezing fog (well, everything was freezing cold this morning) started to lift . . . it was only temporary and the rest of the day was eerily foggy and overcast.