This week's throwback Thursday takes us back nine years, with a post from 29 June 2008.
As you can see, we finally managed to get started cutting the grass. It’s still not dry enough though, so we are having to cut on the highest setting, leave it to dry for a couple of days, then go back again and cut it progressively shorter. Meanwhile, twenty percent of it is still around 60cm (two feet) high – except in the wild area, where some of the nettles are more like two metres (six and a half feet) high!
We have been keeping a close eye on the latest brood of swallows in the workshop. On Sunday, the call from the nest was rather like inside the Little Shop of Horrors – “Feed me!“… and so the parents did feed them – not so much little and often, as just plain often. By Thursday evening, the cry was “It’s getting a bit crowded in here, Mum!“Two days after that, and they looked about ready to fledge!I am looking forward to having my workshop back.
We are probably all familiar with Murphy’s Law, which can be summarised as “if it can go wrong, it will“. There is a little known corollary to that law which extends it to say that it will go wrong at the worst possible time.
After feeling really good about the MX-5 passing its contrôle technique last week, we decided that while we were taking Hobie for his check-up with the vet, we would make an appointment for the Astra to be tested. It has to be done before 4th July, so our appointment is for 5:30pm on 3rd July. That way we shall have plenty of time to correct any faults – overnight at least!
To prepare for the test, I took a good look at the brakes – front OK, rear about as far from OK as it is possible to get. During a shopping trip to Montluçon we popped into Norauto and bought a box of disk pads. Back at home, I slackened the nuts on the rear right wheel and casually went around to the rear left – where I bent two wheel braces trying to slacken one nut. I then got out the torque wrench to try again. 175 foot pounds of torque didn’t budge it!
I decided to lift the back anyway to have a closer look at the right-hand wheel, so I got under the car to place the trolley jack and
OH MY GOD, THE EXHAUST IS HANGING ON BY A THREAD!We now have an appointment with Norauto on Monday at 9am for a full service, brake work, exhaust work and AC investigation. Isn’t it fabulous that you can do all that online and have confirmation in less than half an hour!
This has been a seriously expensive month! Being the anniversary of our arrival, this month’s outgoings have included insurance on two cars, preparation for the test and testing of two cars, house insurance, health insurance, water bill – the list seems endless. We really should transfer some of the savings from the UK bank to boost our flagging emergency fund, but the exchange rate at the moment is a joke and will be until the UK government gets a grip on the economy.
Mr Bricolage have done me proud by having the mulching kit for the tractor in excellent time – I think about three days from when I confirmed the order (after they had told me how much it was going to cost). We collected it and tried it on Thursday afternoon. I need to sharpen the blades to get best performance, but it is, so far, doing all I asked of it and I have great hopes for the rest of the season.
Having spent some weeks without being cut, it is going to take a few cuts to get it back in shape, but we are quite pleased with the results so far.Last year we bought a stupidly cheap bonsai specimen from Intermarché. It looked OK until I dropped it and broke the ceramic container in which it lived. I have never been much good with Bonsai and, in any event, am not overly happy about the way they are produced – picking off leaves in mid-development and wiring the trunks and branches to make them look old. We decided to release it into the wild – plant it out in the autumn and see how it gets on.
Finally, I switched my main PC on this morning and – nothing. It looks like either a fuse has blown somewhere inside the thing or the Power Supply Unit has failed. Happily, the last thing I did yesterday was to refresh the backup of every scrap of my data onto an external disk, which I have now attached to my notebook. One thing of which I can be sure is that it was not the result of a power surge, lightning strike or static burst, because:
- There has been no electrical atmospheric activity for a while
- Nothing else, not even delicate equipment like ADSL modem and ethernet switches are affected and
- That PC and the ADSL modem are protected by a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), whereas everything else is only behind simple surge protection blocks.
One thing I carried from my two decades with Twinings was the need to have alternative systems. I like to think that there is nothing (apart from main electricity and a broadband connection) that is not duplicated in one way or another. To use a buzz word, there is no single point of failure here! To use another buzz word, if Twinings taught me nothing else, they taught me about the value of redundancy!