how much wood does a woodchuck chuck?

logs for the stove

Attentive readers (if there are any) will recall that we installed a woodburning stove last year – a thing of much joy, and much smaller gas bills (even more joy). We have been acquiring cheap wood all summer, and even scavenging from the tip, in preparation for the threatened freezing winter that awaits us, to the point that our little back yard was overrun with bits of timber waiting to be chopped up – but nowhere to store it.

We were keeping our bikes in a bike tent, which was not, shall we say, the most durable of shelters, and it died completely during the gales last month. So we measured up, and got the local shed place to quote us for building a bike store plus log store, to go all along one wall of the yard. £790, they quoth. So when we’d picked ourselves up, we googled a lot, and ordered a wooden bike shed off t’internet for £159, and a log store similar for £200. They arrived this week, and Pete manfully assembled them; the bicycles are now ensconced cosily in their new abode, with the bike trailer and various other bits and bobs, and the log store is now not quite where we planned, but in a more convenient place. This entailed trimming a bit off the kitchen window sill, and taking the log shed roof off and cutting it to shape, but this didn’t seem to phase ‘im indoors, and up it went.

So yesterday and today, between us, we have split pretty much all the logs we bought cheap a couple of months ago, and stacked them in the woodshed, and have chainsawed up all the other bits and bobs of salvaged wood, and we have space for another trailer load, which I have reserved for a hundred quid from the bloke we bought the last trailer load, and that will be enough to see us right through the winter, $deity willing.

There’s also about six bags’ worth of logs in the house, in the log station and stacked round the fire, and several bags of rubbishy (but very cheap, or free) bits and bobs that came from last year’s skipful, or salvage, or whatever. So at least the living room will be warm, even if we can’t afford to heat the rest of the house 😉

And the gas direct debit is now £21 per month, which is nice (although I bet it won’t stay there).

In other news, I have new glasses – my prescription had changed a huge amount, to the point where I needed less strong lenses (!), so I now have rimless ones for the first time ever, and I’m really pleased with them. And I can see properly, which is a bonus – no longer have to take my glasses off to read my phone! Also got a pair of photochromic ones in cool Gok Wan frames, and tempted to give up contacts all together for now, as they’ve been playing me up, but then of course that might be due to the script change, I guess.

weekend 13-14 august 2010

shoes on Hornsea beachNot overly exciting, really. Walked into town on Saturday afternoon, had lunch, prodded some camera shops (have sold my DSLR, and am looking for something smaller and lighter to replace it). Went to see Inception, which was very good indeed, but didn’t live up to its hype for me.  #3 on IMDB? – oh please.

The story was well thought out, but nowadays I find, by and large, there’s far too much CGI in movies which I presume they do just because they can. Given I’m currently reading Charlie Stross’ Merchant Princes series, there were altogether Too Many Worlds in my head, and I found it all quite difficult.

Walked home along Anlaby Road to West Park, where there was an Event taking place, but we didn’t care at all for the band on stage, and came home to soda bread toast and Marmite.

On Sunday, I finished constructing chicken soup, and also made a batch of coriander chicken and slung it in the slow cooker. We decanted some soup into a thermos flask, and packed it up together with chiz’n’onion baguettes, apples and cereal bars, and took ourselves off to Hornsea.

Started off at the shopping village, and bought me a new warm jacket (mine is far too big now, and Summer Camp is upcoming; you need a warm jacket at Summer Camp). Then we went to Hornsea Mere, had soup and sammidge, and set off to walk round the lake. You can’t – well, not without long waders. So we took ourselves down to the beach, and walked for a few miles. 55 minutes going out, into a ferocious head wind, and 40 back (I said it was ferocious). Lovely weather for a robust stroll, though I was glad I was wearing proper stout walking boots – lots of streams running down that beach.

Home to coriander chicken, dhal and rice and a slump. And that was that.

Oh – there was a letter from the Eye Clinic on Saturday, saying that I have “some background retinopathy”. Which is directly contradicts what they told me in April – same test, different department.  $deity knows, but it’s worrying …

joined up health care

Attentive readers may recall that I spent a fun morning in the Eye Clinic at Hull Royal Infimary in April, getting a full inspection, including a retinopathy test.  A couple of weeks ago, a letter arrived from the Diabetic Retinopathy Screening mob at the Infirmation, inviting me for an appointment.

I phoned, explained the situation, but they still wanted me to come in. So in I went this afternoon, and they did exactly the same test they’d done two months ago, thus wasting their time and mine, and the hospital’s resources. They indicated that there was no way they could use the first test for the diabetic stuff, which is just bizarre, really.

Uh HuhWe took a nice round trip, making a walk of just under five miles in all, in weather so hot and humid we were practically steaming! I bought a gel saddle in a bike shop on Anlaby Road, where they had an extraordinarily stylish men’s bicycle with cream tyres, a leather saddle and a wooden rear carrier – really quite splendid. If only I’d had the sense to make a note of its manufacturer, I could share it with you.

We wandered back through Western Cemetery, one of my favourite places. I hadn’t seen this one before. I really must get out there with a “proper” camera.


I spent the morning in the Eye Clinic at Hull Royal Infirmary; attentive readers may recall that what triggered all these medical visits and diagnoses was the optician telling me that the pressure in my eyes was over the limit that triggers a letter to the doctor, back on 9th March (it seems longer :).

So I trundled down there for 9 a.m. this morning, firstly having a fields test, then variously, four lots of eye drops, an ultrasonic measurement of my corneas,  lights bright and less bright shone into my eyes,  optic nerve photographed, apertures measured, pupils dilated, and lord knows what else.  And at the end of it – NO PROBLEMS!  Nothing at all – no diabetic damage, no problems with pressure, nothing at all.

To say I’m relieved would be a bit of an understatement, to be honest.  Here’s a picture of my right eye so you can see how well it is.

contact lens update

I expect everyone is bored to death reading about this (if they’re reading it at all), but I want a record for myself, so …

I went back to SpecSavers on Friday for a checkup – I’ve had no problems at all with the lenses except for my close vision (which is truly dreadful), so Vicky has adjusted the prescription, and thinks I will at least be able to chop an onion without wearing reading glasses.

I want some extended wear lenses – not for everyday, but at least for when I go camping, or am out late, or some such.  When I first went there, she gave me very strict instructions that if I ever fell asleep in the lenses, they’d have to be thrown out, and that SpecSavers didn’t do an extended wear toric that would be suitable for me.

So I explained to her that I understood all that, but could she give me a prescription anyway, so I could buy some elsewhere.  At which point she said that, in fact, the lenses I have from them _are_ extended wear, and that she wouldn’t recommend (obviously) that I kept them in for 30 days, 3-4 nights would be a problem.  This all seems a tad bizarre really, but there you go.

So, with trepidation, I slept in them on Saturday night, and they were absolutely fine! I shall build up my tolerance over the next 10 days so I can do 3 nights on the trot, and then I’m set for Spring Camp – huzzah!

p.s. my optician is doing her motorcycle CBT – she’s in her mid fifties, and about 5.4", so I think that’s terrific!

these are cool

Polarised off-the-shelf bifocals – just what I need when out and about, as I can’t read anything now without reading glasses.

On eBay – got a pair in black for too