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Moving House part 1

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

... or 'Why are Estate Agents so bloody awkward'

We have started looking for somewhere else to live. We really don't want to be renting forever because it's never your house so you're more or less stuck with the way things are. We can't install central heating or move the bathroom to upstairs or do any of the other things we want to do (such as sort out the kitchen wall properly).

We spent a while talking to mortgage advisors this morning so we need to wait to find out how much we can borrow. We know that almost certainly we'll need to move away from Earlsdon because it's a fairly expensive area. Small two-bedroomed terraced houses like ours are around £20,000 more expensive here than in other parts of the city.

On a number of occasions we have seen houses advertised on Estate Agents websites or in their windows and asked about them. In the majority of occasions they have already been sold. Why the hell can't they mark them as such or remove the adverts. It would take a matter of seconds to stick a 'sold' sticker on the advert or to take them off the website but they just can't be bothered. I wouldn't be surprised if they did it deliberately to get people interested. It really is so feckin' annoying and wasted so much of our time.

After making at least 5 or 6 enquiries we've only managed to view one property. It was much bigger than our current place but was at right at our upper limit. It'll be sold before we're in a position to make an offer though so we're effectively back at square one again.

That's Numberwang

Story location: Home / Blog / tv /

That Mitchell and Webb Look continues on BBC2. On the surface it's just another sketch show but it features the occasional touch of genius especially in the shape of Numberwang. Worth watching for that alone but there are usually a few other good laughs in each show.

permanent link

The 50p Fair

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

The 50p Fair is back in town, perfect the those who like to be scared and bruised in roughly equal proportions but are on a strict budget. The venue as usual is Hearsall Common.

We were going to go when it opened on thursday night but we were busy filling ourselves with Chinese food at Wing Wah, so we went tonight. We went on the Waltzers while we waited for Emma's friends to arrive. At one point we were spinning so quickly, all I could see was horizontal strips of light. It was good to get back onto steady non-spinning ground afterwards.

My trouble with travelling fairs is that I always seem to acquire mystery bruises. The Rhythm Rider was back (last seen at the Final Fling). This was the ride where there is a horizontal row of seats and it gets lifted up into the air in a circular motion, so you get lifted out of the seats and thrown left and right. I was more padded this time because I was wearing a jumper and felt ok when we got off.

The ride which caused the most pain was called the Sizzler and had a set of cars which spun around but stayed horizontal. I thought this one looked ok but as the central pillar spun the spinning cars moved in and out so Emma kept sliding away and then towards me. As it spun faster and faster, Emma kept sliding into me with more and more force. My leg was pinned against the lap bar and I was in pain for most of the ride.

My thigh was still feeling bruised this morning but there was no visible mark. For some reason my arm, which doesn't feel as bad as my leg, has a massive bruise on it. I won't be going back to the fair, at least not until later in the week when the bruising has gone.

Avast, me hearties

Story location: Home / links /

Today be Talk like a Pirate day. To avoid looking like the scurvy-filled landlubber you obviously are, ye must watch this video.

Storylog and Storyfilter plugins updated

Story location: Home / computing / blosxom /

I have updated the Storylog (v0.29) and Storyfilter (v0.39) plugins for Blosxom. Both now include file locking so there should be no problems with simultaneous access to a site causing file corruption any more.

Storylog now includes an ignore list for URLs and user agents so search engine hits can be ignored so they won't affect the 'most popular clicks' list.

Storyfilter now has the option to generate a list of all keywords, which is useful for site maps. This requires the line
meta-showkeywords: yes
to be included at the start of the story and fills the $storyfilter::allkeywords variable with the list.

Both plugins can be downloaded here.

Twycross Zoo

Story location: Home / Blog /

Sunday morning. Bored. Emma, not wanting to waste the weekend asked 'where are we going to go today?'. So we went to the zoo. It was a slow drive along the A444 and through Nuneaton although we did pass the curious dandelion fountain in the town. As we got closer to Twycross we passed near the curiously named villages of Sheepy Parva and Sheepy Magna, and a Sheepy Road which lead to them.

Twycross is quite a big zoo. I think we managed to see nearly everything but there are bound to be a few animals we accidently overlooked. We managed to catch the feeding of the elephants and penguins - these were popular events and attracted a big audience.


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Snap Crackle and Pop

Story location: Home / Blog / house /

There was a lot of rain on wednesday night and when we came downstairs thursday morning we noticed that water had started coming in through the kitchen wall again. The damp patch was working itself down towards the plug socket where the fridge and washing machine are plugged in.

On thursday evening we were in the kitchen preparing food when we heard a couple of loud 'crack' sounds. Neither of us could tell where it came from but we started to smell burning. I realised that the crack sound could have been an electric spark. We came to the conclusion that the water had reached the socket.

All of the sockets in the house are on one fuse, labelled 'Ring Main' with the exception of the one in the downstairs store cupboard, which was labelled 'Immersion Heater'. There had never been a heater there while we've lived in the house but the socket was still there. It only ever got used when I had to mow the lawn because it was next to the back door and handy to plug in lawn mowers or strimmers.

We plugged the fridge and freezer into an extension cable and plugged that into the immersion heater socket. We decided it was safer to have all the sockets turned off overnight in case more water got in.

socket with damp look, no socket

I had phoned the letting agents on thursday morning to let them know about the wall, so when the maintenance contractor came out on friday morning to examine it we told him about the water getting into the socket and that we wanted it moving or otherwise making safe. Later in the morning an electrician came round to remove the socket. The results can be seen above.

Spon Street and Spon End

Story location: Home / photography / pinhole /

Spon Street in Coventry contains a lot of the medieval building in the city, some of which were moved there in the 1970s. During daylight hours the street is usually full of parked cars. These photos were taken early on a sunday morning to try to avoid too many vehicles.


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Coventry Cathedral

Story location: Home / photography / pinhole /

Coventry Cathedral, build in the 1960s, stands next to the ruins of the 14th Century St Michael's Cathedral. The old cathedral was heavily damaged by German bombing in 1940 and now only the shell remains.

The photographs below compare B&W pinhole photos with colour photos taken from the same position.  

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Day of Rest

Story location: Home / Blog /

Sunday is supposed to be the day of rest. My arse! I have the day at home on my own because Emma is in work but thanks to the lack of buses I still have to get up early to give her a lift to work.

At least I get chance to go out and do some photography before the town gets busy. I have several weeks of pinhole photographs which I need to add to the website. Hopefully I'll manage to do that later today, after doing all the washing up, ironing my work shirts, mowing the lawn and trimming the bushes in the front yard.

permanent link

Heritage Open Day

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

This weekend celebrates Heritage Open Days where many of Coventry's historic sites are open for free, including many sites which aren't usually open to the public. We heard about this in one of the local papers and it mentioned the Lunt Roman Fort, which had been on our 'to-do' list, so that's where we went first.

The fort is near the airport, near the village of Baginton, and is quite small. The outlines of buildings are still visible but have been covered in concrete so no roman brickwork is visible anymore. A replica granary building has been erected and houses displays and models showing what the fort would have looked like.

This afternoon we headed into town to the tour of the old Priory Undercroft. This is part of the ruins of the original priory building from the 12th Century and isn't normally open to the public. The guided tour was very interesting.

Underneath the ruins of the old cathedral, one of the crypt chapels was open. This was used for services during the war, after the cathedral had been bombed. It was very small so they can't have fitted many people inside. We also went into the new cathedral to take a look around. It was very impressive and larger than we were expecting.

On the way home we popped into another old building - the Old Windmill pub on Spon Street. They were holding a Cider Festival so we had a couple of drinks as we were passing.

Eleanor Cross, Northampton

Story location: Home / photography / pinhole /

Eleanor Cross, Northampton
Pinhole photograph of the Eleanor Cross near Northampton.

Eleanor Cross, Northampton
The same view, taken with a normal camera.

Gel and Alysia

Story location: Home / Blog / Hamsters /

We decided to try and get Gel and Alysia to live together again. Gel looked very unhappy on her own and we thought it might work better now. There was no fighting this time around. Last time there was a lot of fighting but thankfully not much biting. If the fighting wasn't potentially serious, it might be comical, looking like a furry version of cartoon fighting.

We kept a close watch on them, having the cage in our room overnight so we could listen out for any fighting. Things have been ok for 2 nights now, and the two of them look happy together.

Gel and Alysia

We used to refer to Gel as a little Hamster Nugget because she was chubbier than Ira and Zac. Alysia is even more 'nuggety' than Gel.

Gel and Alysia