Archive for November 2011

In the pipeline:

Posted by on November 29th 2011 in Rambling on...

I'm sorry that there's not been much meaningful blogging going on here recently. I'll try to make amends.

There are a few things pending, not world-class stuff but what do you expect for nowt?

  • I've had a couple of nights using the wooden boxes that masquerade as my observatory. Some planets and plenty of Messier objects have been squinted at. You can expect reports as soon as I've processed the pics.
  • I've not been fell-walking for far too long. In order to rectify this I've booked a weekend at YHA Patterdale, 9th - 11th December, I feel the need to wander around a few of Wainwright's Eastern Fells. Hopefully there'll be snow. Holler if you're likely to be around there that weekend in need of a beer.
  • I'm testing a soft-shell. It has a hood that can be detached. I'll bet that fussy Sloman chappie won't like it though 😈



Observatory progress – warm-room nearly finished

Posted by on November 13th 2011 in Astrostuff, Making stuff, Projects

Done on the cheap...

  • Second-hand slabs from eBay for the base
  • Free old second-hand shed for most of the walls (thanks to Brian)
  • Free reclaimed chipboard for the roof, inside and out (thanks to Paul)
  • Free reclaimed MDF for lining the walls (thanks to Marc)
  • Free reclaimed 8" x 1" T&G planks for the floor (thanks to Geoff)
  • Free second-hand carpets (thanks to Mum and Dad)
  • Free cadged off-cut of kitchen worktop for the work-desk (thanks to Graham)
  • Even the creosote was bartered from my neighbour, in exchange for some unwanted roofing-felt (thanks again to Paul)
  • Oh, and free quality-control, tea-making and labour (thanks to Graham, Geoff and Ella)

Had to shell out for felt/primer/adhesive, some four-by-twos for the floor frame, a few bits of ship-lap cladding from the timber-merchant, dirt-cheap loft-insulation for inside the walls and ceiling, some cheap lighting from Ikea and some other sundry electrical bits.



It's usable now but there are a few things still on the to-do list:

  • Fit the cadged-for-free reclaimed guttering/downpipes to direct the run-off into water-butts
  • Paint the inside, using up old paint that I have in the attic
  • Get the old kettle from the attic and install it
  • Get shot of the set of encyclopaedias that we didn't have the heart to burn on bonfire night

Maybe soon the weather will be suitable for using the place for sky-watching rather than book-storage.

Review – Montane Lite-Speed H2O Jacket – First outing

Posted by on November 11th 2011 in My reviews, Shiny new kit, Testing for review


This jacket has been supplied on a "review-and-keep" basis by Adam Smith, representing Go Outdoors. It's the Montane Lite-Speed H2O, the Go Outdoors link is here and the Montane link is here.

I would have given it a proper "on the hill" test some time ago but whenever I've been on the fells or out in the countryside the weather's been fine, so I've had to resort to wearing it in other circumstances.

So... this jacket is billed by Montane as "THE WORLD’S LIGHTEST WATERPROOF JACKET"... I can now confirm that it is very easy to wear, being light and sufficiently waterproof to withstand an hour's downpour while working on the garden. It coped well with the mud and sweat of some unseasonal digging, some condensation did form on the inside during the most demanding bits of manual labour but it was all dry after the mandatory tea-break.

On the plus side:

  • it was easily cleaned with a quick hose-down
  • it kept me warm and dry
  • I didn't lose it

On the minus side:

  • there are no pockets
  • the crinkly cuffs are uncomfortable and don't stop water running wrist-wards when hands are raised
  • the neighbour was giving me funny looks (but that could have been because I was digging in the rain)

Overall impression:

  • It does what it says in the sales blurb
  • I don't think it is as good as the Montane Featherlite Smock
  • I will wear it on the fellside and will report back on its performance, but I won't be gardening in it ever again
  • I don't think it's worth Go Outdoors' £90 RRP - for that sort of money I'd want pockets and better cuffs

Next time out I intend to get some pics of it in action. Today there was nobody about that I trust with my camera in the rain!

If you're in the market for a waterproof jacket, Go Outdoors have plenty of other waterproof jackets for your perusal here.

Fire in the hole!

Posted by on November 10th 2011 in Celebrations, In the garden

Saturday night's bonfire party here was the best yet. Over 40 guests, one magnificent "Bob" (one of Guy's relations, according to his makers), hundreds of fireworks, lashings of food and drink, and enough wood to keep the fire blazing well into the small hours and smouldering for a couple of days after. This time I had a few breaks from ignition-duties and managed to wield the camera a bit:


Bob and his Minders.



Bob's throne and dais.

The guests start to arrive.

The incineration begins.



Shaky yet colourful guests.

Sparkly things.

Sparks and flames.

Purple and blue.

Red and green.

Red and gold.

Red, white and blue.

White and gold.

You give them food, drink, shelter, seats, warmth and entertainment, and this is how they repay you.

Who wants to be a Fireman when he grows up?



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