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Date:2016-08-25 23:30
Subject:So next week (house updates start here, we hope)
Security:Public

So when we got our septic design done, we failed to communicate sufficiently well that the giant, old, big leaf maple tree was one of the trees that we were absolutely committed to saving. Since then we’ve moved house and got new jobs, and furnished our new apartment and so on. This has meant our house has been on hold. Given that we can’t put it up this year, that’d taken the pressure off anyway…

But now? Now we want to get moving again which is always tricky. Getting momentum going for something as big as a house project is challenging.

With that in mind, next week we are hopefully* going out to cut a little pathway so that we can move the septic. The first step in getting our house built. We also really need to go out and fill back in the original perc holes.

The original plan** called for the septic to essentially lie into the roots of the maple tree:

original_layout

The new plan:

modified_layout

See the beautiful modifications. Actually, this was done as a very quick sketch to explain to our septic guy what we want to do. He is, shall we say, ‘reluctant’ to be drawn on whether there will be any problems doing this, although we’re unsure why there would be, or why the soil 50 ft to the east of the current perc holes would be dramatically worse than the soil in the place they dug the first lot. And we both are of the opinion that there’s a lot of land we’re currently planning to leave ‘as is’ and just maintain, all of which we could consider for septic sites…

Anyhow, this time we’re going to be there in person so we can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. We’ve also marked out roughly the route of the drive (which we’ve kinda-sorta-sketched on the map). We’re also hoping to put the septic near the drive so it can be emptied, when that time comes.

Once the septic and well are in… we can actually start moving forward. Septic, well, power, foundations… then we get to design the building. The yay.

* While our groundworks guy gave us the suggested day, he’s not yet confirmed that we’re booked in with him for the time we said.
** We’re actually building a 2 bed house, but putting in a 3 bed septic

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-08-25 05:35
Subject:ElectraWoman and DynaGirl
Security:Public

So, tonight we watched ElectraWoman and DynaGirl.

EW & DG

It was fun, funny, and at times had some great, great jokes.

But it really needed a waaaay tighter script. I dunno if this harkens back to the original, but seriously, it was slow moving. Which is a shame, because like I said, fun and funny.

I think it was worth getting and watching.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-08-24 18:16
Subject:Org Failure
Security:Public

So my theory, such as it was, with setting the training class for 1200-1500 (rather than 1500-1800) was that I would grab lunch before hand. BUT I didn’t count on me actually hauling my ass into the outside to do exercise*, but which mean that because I didn’t get back until 9:30, and I spent 10 minutes faffing around warming down and drinking water… and then I spent another chunk of time trying to work out whether I was going to start baking bread before breakfast or after**, so I didn’t get breakfast until after 10.

Now, were I still back in Brizzle I’d go and grab a yummy but not too big lunch food from Hart’s***. But because I’m not, and I don’t yet know where to get a yummy but not to big lunch food (around here. I could in town, I think).

The only place I know near me that does a decent lunch is Bagel Brothers. They do a yummy bagel, but it’s not really small lunch before CPR training sized.

So today’s lunch shall be a banana, a plum, 3 crackers, a small piece of Welsh cheese, and a Lara bar.

Which is one way for me to lose the few kilos of weight I’d like to lose. But not really ideal.

I perhaps should have thought through the timing of my run a bit more.

* which I did, go me.
** neither, I cleaned the breadmaker and then discovered that we’re too low on yeast. But there were several vacillating moments of “I’m hungry” and “but the bread won’t be ready in time” and “I’m hungry” and then “it won’t be ready in time whatever I do” and “oh, shit, there’s no yeast”.
*** Mmmm. Pastie.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-08-18 05:32
Subject:Enter title here (because I’ve not)
Security:Public

The last few months have continued the stressful theme, with us moving to an apartment/cottage/small place having concluded that the amount of building that we’re going to get done this year is – well – less than we’d hoped. We’re still hoping to get the septic, well and possibly the foundations and drive / access road in. However, any building of the house is conclusively off until next year.

When we realised that we decided to move, and the last month has been a fairly urgently toned attempt to get our apartment to somewhere comfortable and relaxing. We trekked down to Portland to order our sofa*, and we found a book safe, which is beautiful and turn of the (last) century, and is filling up with our books, and looking delightful.

It’s facing our 1896 piano, which seems appropriate, albeit a little odd in what is clearly most commonly a student/bachelor pad.

Anyhow.

So last weekend we decided to say stuff the world and spend some time looking after ourselves. We had a massage, we used our gift tokens to go and buy tea and spices (we’ve had only salt and pepper since we moved in here), we had lunch at Darby’s, played board games, we watched Ghostbusters (2016)**, we went swimming in a lake, and we went and sat in a park eating icecream, reading the paper and enjoying the view of the inlet. It was pretty much awesome and wonderful and really necessary because Kathryn and I have seen each other only in passing so far this month – and will for the rest of the month because of my working hours.

And at the weekend we got a call to say that our sofa was ready. Up until now we’ve been using camping chairs, which are reasonably comfy but have no snuggling capacity. And then today, thanks to our lovely friends lending us their minivan, I made the run to Portland and back to get it. Sadly I couldn’t drop in on friends down there although traffic was so bad coming into and out-of Portland, I probably could have done without actually impacting the journey back substantially.

We even managed, after some trepidation and somewhat inept failure, to get the sofa into our house (it just fits through the door). And now we’re sat on a delightful modern take on mid-century and it’s suuuuper comfortable.

And y’know what? It’s starting to feel more like home.

I still have internal conflict about leaving the UK, or leaving the UK for the US (and not somewhere more liberal and lefty – and that would be more challenging for us both linguistically and culturally – like, say, Iceland****), especially as the debate continues to rage around Trump (you won’t be able to unsee that link) and I worry that the US will follow the UK’s deathspiral into rightwing insanity. But, at this point, I’m sat on the sofa, with a cup of one of my favourite teas, and I’m with the person I love, and y’know what, it feels pretty good to be in this moment.

* 4 to 6 weeks for delivery… being as it was handmade in Oregon – just a block or two from the store in which we saw one design and said “we like that, but we prefer the fabric on that one”….
** Which was awesome.***
*** I’m really disappointed to find that Kate McKinnon seems to have some significant transmisogyny in her recent past, because I was busy adoring her and her character.
**** Which I’ve never been to but is, I’m given to understand, very pretty

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-08-11 21:26
Subject:I’m not sure if it’s better or worse
Security:Public

So, the media server has been reinstalled. It has a shiny clean ubuntu install on it.

Yesterday’s endless stream of disasters seems to have slowed to a steady stream of awkwardness.

IMG_pdr7qy

And thankfully after endless updates which failed to fix the graphics card issue (which I’d forgotten about until yesterday when I foolishly applied an update in hopes it might fix other problems) the graphics card now works. This is because while I used to be a fairly adept Linux sysadmin I’m now somewhere between n00b and foolishly, dangerously, overconfident.

“Oh yes”, I think, “I remember how to do this.”

Yes, possibly back in 2001. But now you’ve just removed a foundation block and the whole edifice is trembling prior to falling over.

Anyhow, I’ve got the slimserver on there, and I’ve got the subsonic server on there, and there was a positive whirlwind of excitement. I’ve got the disks automatically mounting. Oh, the thrill.

Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that for reasons not yet fathomed by me, that after about 10 minutes it disconnects from the WiFi network if I’m not logged in. I’m tempted to just go for the really easy lazy and insecure fix of saying ‘auto log in’ for me, or at least testing that solution. Because tweaking it to say ‘keep connected to this wifi network’ didn’t fix it. Despite the fact it was streaming music over the wifi using Logitech’s software it still logged itself out.

Bah.

Still, it’s a step forward, and now back to studying.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-07-28 16:18
Subject:The one thing that faintly amuses me about the Brexit situation
Security:Public

Is that the rest of the world has finally got the chance to say to the UK “No, you’re a shitty small country with no real power”. Europe pandered to our whims because having Britain in Europe looked good. And because we were part of Europe – and Europe listened to us – other countries around the world still put up with our shit.

…but now, lots of countries are finally getting the chance to kick the bully while it’s down.

…and all the f’kin racist Brexit politicians are suddenly discovering nobody gives a shit what the 3rd rate little country in the atlantic thinks.

It’s a hideous disaster, but watching their pride in Great Britain’s important position in the world disintegrate is one of the few slightly redeeming features.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-07-19 00:12
Subject:Unnecessary whinging
Security:Public

Cut for unnecessary whinging.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-07-15 17:57
Subject:We have an apartment!
Security:Public

Of sorts. It’s kind of a studio-garage-partial conversion. It’s 500sq ft of tiny, but it’s our space that we shall unpack some of our stuff into.

Of course, that means that we have fun activities planned for the weekend like “Oh, we’ll need furniture” and “a mattress would be handy!” and “ah, yes, we got rid of the printer before we left” which Kathryn finds very useful for her job.

To be fair, our old printer wouldn’t have worked for her job anyway.

But I have just commenced the massive spending spree that will be us – 6 months from moving – sort of moving in*.

* We move in Thursday! After the EV capable socket gets installed. Wheee.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-07-06 22:24
Subject:Oh, well this is super fun.
Security:Public

So, I realise that having admitted to myself that yes, I do need a root canal, and that the tooth that they filled in England just before I left rotted enough in the 6 months in between the ‘you should get it checked in 6 months, or if you get any more pain, because I think you might need a root canal’ and the 6 months being up that I now definately need a root canal I might not be in the most positive of moods. Especially since I’ve already fore-spent $700 on the dental work already and this is now going to be more expense on top of that.

…and I managed to bite deeply into my lip after the last dental treatment which then got infected, which then made me spend Sunday lying down and exhausted and so ill I didn’t actually want to do anything. Not dinking on the computer, or watching TV. I just felt like absolute crap.

…and my allergies are kicking my arse *spectacularly* this year.

…and given the $700 bill which needs paying for the incorrect septic design that – and the $300 more for the new PERC holes and the $400 more for the new design work…

So I might not be feeling super positive right this instant.

But trying to find a 6 month rental is proving to be super difficult. Most of these people want 1 year’s lease, which we don’t want. And we don’t really want carpet because we suspect that carpet is what’s driving my allergies to be worse than normal (the UK allergy advice is ‘get rid of carpet’ as step one). Add in the requirement for somewhere to park the EV (with ideally a 40A outlet – although we’ve been running the gauntlet with a 30A outlet here) and it feels like we’re on to a losing streak.

I’ve had repeated disappointment over the last couple of days with people saying “rented it already” or “we need a longer lease”. So yes. Going well this is not.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-06-28 21:52
Subject:God damn
Security:Public

So, our PERC holes had to be dug on a day when we weren’t available to be there. That’s because we were running to meet the ‘if we want to build this autumn’ deadline — which we found out a few days ago is actually unachievable.

It turns out that even had we got all of our ducks in a row (which they are pretty much) then we couldn’t have hit it because the permit approval process for the septic is way longer than we were told by our septic designer. Of course, just before we found this out we had a great chat with the house permitting guy who told us that he ended up reviewing it – his current timeframe would mean we’d be able to make our build-date targets (based on the septic designer’s estimate of times). Of course we were super excited – then we find out that the permit process is at least double what our designer said… and sadness.

So, anyway, to get back (at least vaguely) to the point. We find out it’s not doable and are then out on the plot with our to-be-arbourist planning where our house will be and find that the oldest, largest tree in the entire 5.5 acres is the one they’ve decided to stick the septic right in the middle of the root system for.

This would, unsurprisingly, kill a beautiful tree.

Seriously, we talked about needing to protect the place with our guy-the-excavator – who dug the holes for our septic guy, and I expect that conversation happened with the designer too, although I wasn’t there. But Kathryn and I always rave about this beautiful tree.

So we go out with our arbourist who is first up horrified at the potential damage done already, then we realise that the system is pegged out right in the root system – and the alternate is also in the root system of the same tree.

Seriously?

Gaaaah.

So now we’re faced with nearly $700 of costs for relocating it because we took our eye off the ball and thought that people might actually give a shit about their environment. When we talked about it before hand the septic guy was all “oh, we’ll look at the site and dig some test holes and pick the best location”. All the holes are within about 40′ of this one poor tree.

Let me remind you again, 5.5 acres.

Oh lord. This is not something we need.

In other news, we’re off to look at some lettings to see if we can find a short term, uncarpeted 6 month lease so that we can do our building planning through the winter and put it up in the spring.

Also: The cake I’m baking erupted in the oven. Cue hideous burning smell. Also, in the 35 minute cooking time it’s come out like jelly. I’ve no idea why – it’s staying in there longer, but seriously? And also yesterday’s trip to the dentist turned out to be the first of 2 (on top of the original 2) – as my tooth had rotted out enough that removing the filling left me with a crown, instead of a filling, and he still is wondering whether I need a root canal. Yay.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-06-25 12:16
Subject:Oh crap
Security:Public

Identity is a funny thing. Before we moved I didn’t really consider the impact that not living in Britain would have on my own identity. I mean, I considered myself British – my friends often remarked that I was one of the most English people they’d ever met: driving a Morris Minor, listening to radio 4, drinking copious quantities of tea.

But I also considered myself a European. Really, fundamentally, right down in my heart that’s what I felt.

It kind of came to the fore moving to the US – because people ask where I’m from – and my desire is to say “Europe”, which is dreadfully uninformative. Sometimes it’d end up with me saying England as I scrabbled for an answer, but usually I’d settle on ‘Britain’ or ‘the UK’, but I’d stumble around mentally before uttering it. Yes – specifically I was born in England – and that’s definitely part of my identity, but my dad was from Wales, my mum is from Sri Lanka. Not only that, but my family have always been global in our outlook. We have travelled around as much as funds would allow and from a very young age I experienced the world outside the parochial boundaries of England’s green and pleasant lands. I very much felt that I was a product not merely of my birthplace, but of my heritage, my experiences and my upbringing.

I like to look outside the small box that is England and remember that diversity brings strength and vitality to communities. That the places I’ve least liked are the ones where diversity is lacking.

And so I cried this morning.

Britain – well, England and Wales, have decided to withdraw from the world.

I fear for friends and family there – almost every piece of LGBTQ protective legislation has been forced on the UK from Europe. Job protections, civil liberties, they’re all a result of Europe saying to Britain, no you can’t treat your people so badly. And as many of you are aware I’m not white – and nor is my mother or my sister – or her children. And they’re living in a world where the minority of Brexiters who are deeply, deeply racist are under the impression that the majority of Britain is with them. I don’t doubt that most ‘Leave’ voters aren’t vicious, xenophobic, small minded thugs. I don’t doubt that many of those who supported Britain’s exit either didn’t really believe it would happen, or were just voicing frustration at a dysfunctional political system and the austerity plans that have failed to improve their lives.

But like those who laugh at racist or rape jokes – giving ‘that kind of person’ tacit support – the bigots who shout at minorities and who would see the clocks turned back to the 1950s? They’ll take this situation as proof that everyone agrees with them. They’ll hold this pyrrhic victory close to their hearts and endeavour to embed their vile, hateful message deeper in British society.

And so I cried.

I don’t know what will become of the UK. I don’t know whether it will survive as ‘the United Kingdom’. Scotland and Ireland clearly have every right to sod off and leave England and Wales to sink in the mire of what may happen. I faintly cling to the tiny hope that the clear reluctance of the politicians in the UK to actually press the big red article 50 button is a sign of some partial get-out. Something which may leave the UK at least lurking like Norway on the outskirts of European integration.

But as to what actually happens next, I don’t know. I hope I’m wrong, but I side with those who think that this is a massive, massive disaster for the UK. I’ve often commented that I didn’t really understand why anyone listened to the UK anymore – it’s not like we actually still have an empire. In Europe we had amazing levels of influence. But now we’ve thrown that influence away. And now they don’t need to listen to us whine, or give us special vetos and get-outs. No one needs to give the UK special treatment, because we are just some cruddy little island off the coast of mainland Europe. So while I hope I’m wrong, I have little optimism to accompany that thought.

When we left for the US I thought the UK was going to hell in handbasket. I’d no idea it’d get there quite so quickly though.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-06-22 01:35
Subject:Breadsperimentation
Security:Public

So I’m still working on some kind of bread recipe that’s a bit like decent British bread, until I feel like doing something more sourdoughy.

After various experiments I’ve had the most success playing with this recipe.

1 cup warm water (tepid)
2 tablespoons sugar (trying a variety of things – thinking I might try molasses next)
2.5 teaspoons active dried yeast

1/4 cup oil (used vegetable, as in the original recipe – now trying olive)
2 cups white bread flour
1/2 cup (ish) brown bread flour
1/2 cup (ish) spelt flour
Perhaps a dash of wheat gluten
1 teaspoon salt

Place the water, sugar and yeast in the pan. Let the yeast dissolve and foam for 10 minutes. Add in oil, flours, gluten if using, and salt to the yeast and press start.

This makes a lightish loaf which isn’t structurally great but tastes nicer than the stuff we’ve bought. It’s kind of like a fair-quality UK supermarket loaf. Hardly amazing, but nicer than anything I’ve managed to find in the supermarket here.

I killed my sourdough, largely because it never seemed to be very exciting. I’d like to get in to making sourdough properly, rather than in the breadmaker, but haven’t quite summoned the energy. With shift work, sourdough’s a little tricky to keep alive and enthusiastic.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-06-13 17:59
Subject:La-la-la-la-land
Security:Public

So, this morning – after many discussions with my beloved – I called our realtor and said yes, we’d like that land.

We’re spending an enormous chunk of our cash on it.

We can only actually build on it if we get the loan which we’re only income approved on. So this is quite scary at this point…

We may be about to be come long-term campers, but hopefully we’re about to become builders.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-06-08 17:09
Subject:It’s been over ten years
Security:Public

But I still deeply want to get a copy of the white label Punk-a-wallah’s remix of Desi on the Streets of Calcutta. I heard it once on Radio 1 – then ran home and downloaded the show and saved that segment, thinking (foolishly) I’d just buy a copy of it on vinyl. Then I discovered it’s a whitelabel remix. Then I found out how hard it is to get hold of.

I’ve wanted it for 10 years, and I’m aware it’s going to remain an unscratchable itch.

The only copy I’ve ever seen is my own. And I’ve looked.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-06-02 00:31
Subject:Soooooo…. yeah.
Security:Public

I applied for this job a little while back. I didn’t really think I had much of a shot at it, and I had been on nights so it wasn’t my best application ever. I ended up hurled the application together, and submitted it when I was barely happy with it because I really wanted a shot at it — but they were already interviewing and I didn’t dare leave it any longer.

…then I got invited for an interview.

…and I thought “well, there’s no way I’ll get this”, so I was (for me) relaxed. I even slept some last night. But I actually quite enjoyed the interview, relatively speaking, and had answers I was happy with for most of the questions. And the teaching session I had to do seemed to go well.

…and I came home and thought “well, I did okay. I did not make an arse (nor an ass) of myself”. Thought I’d pop off an e-mail saying thanks (as is the custom here) and then wait a couple of weeks for the answer…

…but I just found out I’ve been invited for a second interview. Which is fantastic, and terrifying, because it means I actually do have a shot at this, which makes it much more terrifying. But also fantastic, because I’d really enjoy it, and it’s kind of the combination of lots of threads through my nursing career.

So that’s pretty unexpected. And scary. And cool. And so on.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-05-25 16:39
Subject:Happy towel day folks
Security:Public

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost.” What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.”

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-05-18 05:29
Subject:All hail my brain
Security:Public

So a few minutes ago I was looking at the ‘spreadsheet of optimistic numbers’ and was all “oh, yeah, we can *totally* afford to build the house. Easy”. When my wife helpfully pointed out that I’d neglected to include the actual cost of buying the land.

Oops.

Still, with a loan it should be do-able.

Now we just need someone to give us a loan.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-05-15 02:50
Subject:Today has been less positive than hoped
Security:Public

We spent some time talking to the strawbale architect consultant about building today, and the price for the timber frame alone is prohibitive, and startling given the costs we’d seen for kit-built-post-and-beam houses.

Some of the cost assumptions we can tweak, because we’re happy to do things like using used components as long as they meet current requirements. Both houses we’ve had had salvage bathroom components, and electrical I’ve discovered that Habitat for Humanity have big plastic boxes filled with sockets and light switches, some of which are clearly nearly new.

Also, our requirements for the kitchen are ‘it has a sink, stove and fridge’, we can “finish” it later. Indeed, the entire house, our finishing requirements are that the walls are plastered, and the electrics are in.

Anyhow, at the moment we’ve gone from excited to ‘trying to figure out some way to make this happen at all’.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-05-13 21:58
Subject:And now, with wheels.
Security:Public

So the Rav4 EV uses an obsolete charging standard. J1773 – or Magne Charge is a nifty contactless inductive charging standard, where you stick a paddle into a slot on the car and lo, charging doth occur. It’s actually nicer in use, I think, than J1772. Certainly, it’s less fiddly.

However, the charger is approximately the size of Spain. And weighs about the same.

At nearly 2ft tall and 18 inches or so across, it’s massive. Which I’d be fine with, actually, were it not for the tiny fact that this is a house we’re borrowing. So I spent today making a wall on wheels.

Well, this morning and some of the afternoon.

IMG_20160513_131913

A trip to Habitat for Humanity furnished me with an inordinate number of bookshelf brackets, then a trip to Home Depot furnished me with a chunk of 2′ x 4′ MDF which they cut into one 18 inch section and ‘the rest’ (I really am struggling to deal with all this imperial nonsense).

I already had a bunch of casters – which came of a plastic pallet someone dumped outside our old garage in the UK. Having grumped about it, I then retrieved it, and just before we moved concluded that the only really useful bit was the casters, so pilfered them and sent the rest to be recycled.

Handily, they were near the top of one of the boxes, so the whole thing cost about $30. The most expensive bit is the orange household totally inappropriate cable which is trailing out of the bottom of the shot. It’s the correct current carrying capacity, but it really shouldn’t be used in a role where it’ll have to move. But I’m hoping to zip-tie the cable out of the way in the garage, so it shouldn’t need to do more than a gentle roll of a foot-or-so, which shouldn’t mean too much flexing.

I pootled around 55 miles today and yesterday on 3/5ths of a charge, which puts our car’s range at a theoretical (and battery murdering) 91 miles. You don’t really want to use that last fifth of a charge if you want the batteries to last – which means it’s got a working range of around 70 miles. Which *should* be enough to take me to work and back without hurting the batteries. It should be dandy once we move to our new bit of land, if we buy it, because then it’s only 40 miles total.

Today’s news, I think we can afford a power connection to the land. So that’ll be nice.

We’ve asked about getting the tests done to decide what kind of septic is required (answer: the most expensive). The soil is apparently pretty crappy – perhaps we should budget for 800 tons of manure, too… Anyhow, the crappyness of the soil means that it can’t deal with, well, crappyness. So you have to build a septic with specially constructed pretend soil for it to drain and filter through.

Anyhow, we have asked permission to go do those tests :)

We’re also hoping to go look at an RV… which we might live in while we build…getting around the whole no accessories without a(d)dress* first. Living in an RV… that’ll encourage us to get on with it, eh? :)

* Well, a residential building

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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Date:2016-05-12 22:13
Subject:This is pretty tiring
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I know, I’ve been pretty quiet on here. Work’s been…well, I’ve had night shifts, and they kill me. And we’ve been doing a feasibility study on some land that the owners accepted our offer on. It’s scary. And tight. And we’ll need a loan, almost certainly, to be able to build.

There’s a slim, slim, slim possibility that if every single thing came in at the cheapest end of the quote and the fees from the county were at the lowest end, then we might – just might – manage to do without a loan. But in reality, a loan is in our future.

Also, it turns out, you can’t build an “accessory structure” until you’ve got a structure for it to accessorise to. Which is frustrating, because we were contemplating popping up our to-be-studio building first, which would have given us somewhere to kip overnight, because the place is a good half-hour from where we’re staying.

However, it seems like an RV/Caravan (aka Travel-Trailer)/Tiny Home might be acceptable, as it’s portable. And even if they did grump about it, then we could just move the trailer. Which is much easier to deal with.

Anyhow, so we’re doing a bunch of things – got quotes for wells, some limited ground clearance, getting a power supply connected, a place for poo, those kind of small insignificant things. I had a good tramp around doing our version of beating the bounds – trying to find the flags that mark the corners of the lot. Given that it’s basically raw woodland, this was quite the challenge.

But it was beautiful, and we’re hoping to be fairly minimally invasive – enough land for us to have a little garden, enough clearance for solar, and a medium-small house. US small, UK medium.

In other news, our quest for an EV has been fulfilled. We have a 2002 Rav4 EV – which is – well, it’s clean inside, but startlingly dirty outside given how it looked in the photos. It’s white, so its permanent state is probably going to be ‘dirty’.

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I’m waiting for Kathryn to get home, because then I can get her pawprint on the title document and go licence the wee beastie. But I took it on a little pootle earlier today and I can safely say ‘it both goes and stops’. It’s actually a nice car to drive. It definitely feels like a ten thirteen year old car inside. It’s grey plastic and simple trim. And the charge timer / pre-aircon-control is – well – what you’d expect. Chunky buttons and an LCD display. But, all in all, it seems pretty nice. And it’s got four seats, and will do nicely for ferrying things around. Including a me shaped thing.

ETA – I forgot to say. Dear god do I miss the UK’s plugs / sockets. I have spent the last few days attempting to navigate the seemingly innumerable different plug/socket options here. You might, if you weren’t here, say, if you were coming from Europe, make the foolish assumption that there were only a few kinds of common plug.

Say your normal house plug, then maybe a high current variant, and perhaps even a very high current variant. And perhaps a legacy low-power variant.

But no. I’ve been taken down an entertaining path where I bought what I thought would be the right socket – given I’d been told it was a 3-pin dryer plug. Only what turned up was a four-pin dryer plug. Which is fine, only that’s not what I’d bought. So I had to trek out and buy a four-pin socket. But I still needed a three pin drier plug for the drier end. And it turns out you can’t (easily*) buy three pin dryer plugs – you can buy plugs with a moulded lead attached, but not just the plugs themselves. Which means that I have hideousness of the first degree – a dryer plug (which has neutral and two ‘hots’) which goes to a junction with household style wiring (because I couldn’t really afford or justify 35 foot of 10/3 flexible cable) running to an exterior style box, into which is inserted a four-pin dryer socket – with the *shudder* ground and neutral linked together… which is apparently the way you get around these things…. (ugh).

Still, it all worked and nothing got terribly hot, and the car charged up just fine.

Now I just need to build some kind of portable rolly thing for the charger to live on, because it weighs approximately 87 tons.

Originally published at Mostly lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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