First Christmas Dinner

Nottingham Council House with Christmas LightsToday’s record-breaking Council meeting lasted only 30 minutes. Tea had been pulled forward to 4pm, and we still had to wait an hour and a half before it was ready.

It being the last Full Council before Christmas, we got turkey with all the trimmings. The Christmas Lights have been lit outside the building for a week or so, the German Christmas Market is in full swing all around (relocated from the centre of Market Square by building work.)


New house update IV

Carpets are being laid later today (Tuesday) after which removal men move the bigger stuff, easing the space pressure in our current house which is presently furnished twice. (We rent furnished, and have a spare set of dining furniture, lounge furniture, and any number of beds.)

So much packing to do! And we will be moving in before fixing the drains or getting the building work done which could be interesting.

But still — nice new carpets. With thick thermal underlay.

Lara shot the Sherrif

I’ve been a little concerned by the tenor of the Tomb Raider game I’m playing now (TR3) . The emphasis has moved away from gunning down rare but dangerous animals (lions, gorillas, cougars, T-rexes…), various half-insane baddies (evil geniuses, reincarnated out-of-control Atlantean goddesses), and genetically modified freaks (centaurs, mummies, flying Atlantean mutants) to shooting unarmed American law-enforcement agents. I’ve just played a level where the main objective is to break into a high security compound, gun down about 8 unarmed guards, steal their quadbike and drive it out of the desert.

Unsurprisingly, when feckless Lara crashes the quadbike (she’s supposed to, not another of my unscheduled whoops, there goes the quadbike down the fifty-foot drop, boom, bits of Lara flying across the screen) she gets arrested and locked up in a higher-security compound.

Which she then proceeds to trash. They’ve taken her guns off her, so she’s left with only her feminine wiles. She flutters her eyelashes (a whole new key-combination) at various George-Michael-a-like inmates who off the guards for her. She doesn’t even need to get her kit off (Google Nude Raider if you must), and these lawless thugs are breaking lawmen’s necks. Then she runs amok in Area 51 mowing down a whole variety of increasingly well armed military policemen and soldiers before launching a missile to some undisclosed location and stealing alien technology right out of a flying saucer.

OK, pretty cool, but all this shooting soldiers, particularly the unarmed ones in the earlier level, is a bit unsavoury.

But since we’re going there, a few tips to running high-security military bases in Laraland:

  • Don’t put a tunnel right next to your high-voltage fence — Lara is quite flexible.
  • By and large, if you hear shots, and you’re a guard, you ought to do something about it rather than wait for the gun-toting Amazon woman to get to you next. She knows no mercy
  • Please, find somewhere else other than directly beneath it to put the button to launch the missile. Running away before getting frazzled by the blowback is a bitch.
  • Designing laser traps that with enough leeway to let people jump over them or crawl underneath them is a bit pointless. Scrimping on the lethal lasers was never going to be a good budgetary decision. No-one ever got fired for buying too much security!

After a few days shooting American soldiers, we now move on to butchering tribesmen armed with blow pipes in the South Pacific islands before finally going to London, and visiting the Natural History Museum. I don’t think she means to wander quietly around the dinosaur exhibit and join in the debate about whether pandas are raccoons or bears.

New house update III

The electrician has now finished, and phoned to tell us so. This is good, because it means we can get on with carpetting and decorating ready to start actual moving in in the not too distant future.

Electrician reported some of his findings, the most worrying of which is that the house had perhaps the most critical electrical fault possible, that the live and neutral were reversed at the fuse box, meaning the entire house was wired backwards. Now fixed.

Oh, and he said as he was leaving, the house was suddenly much colder. It sounded like the boiler was still working fine, but the radiators just weren’t working at all.

This sounded like bad news to us so we called round late last night, me on the way home from work and P on his way home from a rehearsal, to find the entire place freezing (well, 8 deg).

Flashing lights on the boiler. Eventually track down boiler manual, which is the installation guide, and a little too technical, but the fault is easily identified from the flashing lights.

It’s the sci-fi cop out of all time. Reversed polarity. Easily explained by the fact that the electrician corrected the previous polarity fault.

Must phone leccy back tomorrow. See if he can bring his sonic screwdriver.

My Inner Child

Internet quizzes, the first bastion for bloggers with nothing to say.

Your Inner Child Is Sad

You’re a very sensitive soul.
You haven’t grown that thick skin that most adults have.
Easily hurt, you tend to retreat to your comfort zone.
You don’t let many people in – unless you’ve trusted them for a long time.

Nothing surprising there…

Coming soon: Lara Shot the Sheriff. Bad girl.

New house update II

The electrician started work yesterday, and has taken up floorcoverings and started putting in sockets and replacing light fittings. I called around on my way home to have a quick look at what’s been done, and saw some of his discoveries in our house.

Concrete floorFirstly this concrete floor. We’d already seen this when we took up the carpet in the lounge. The first foot or so seemed a random floorboards and concrete mix. Why was there both? When we lifted more of the carpet it was obvious. The concrete shape is the original footprint of two fireplaces that were removed when the lounge/diner was knocked through. The house was completely remodelled inside. It was originally a front lounge, a kitchen/diner along the rear of the house side-to-side. The kitchen had a separate pantry, outside WC and a coal store under the stairs. The remodelling knocked the lounge and diner through, built a wall between the diner and kitchen, put the pantry and coal-store into the kitchen, and made an indoor loo, taking all the plumbing out of the outside WC and turning it into a cupboard. We just have to hope the chimneys and fireplaces upstairs are properly underpinned.

Space under floorThis is taken through the small hole you can see in the previous photo. There is about five feet of empty space under the floor, which explains why the floor feels so cold underfoot, and redoubles the need for underlay when we do get the carpetting done. There’s rather a lot of space under there.

Drawing under floorThe electrician has had to lift the laminate in the dining room. The floorcovering sits on lining paper, which had been illustrated by whoever put the floor down. A cartoon face and a tree with a fence and a gate.

Drawing under floor

Fireplace with tilesUpstairs now to the room that will be my office. Obviously, we knew about the upstairs fireplaces but wondered how you could use them, when the carpeting goes right under the grate? Lifting the carpet has revealed these original tiles, flush with the floorboards.

The house is definitely cold. I left an electronic max/min thermometer there 48 hours ago. When I turned up this evening, the heating was on full blast and had been for several hours, due to a mistake setting its clock. Thermometer read 16 deg C in the lounge, the warmest the house has been for the last 48 hours. Coldest temperature was 10. I already have an appointment with an insulation specialist. We’re going to need a heating inspecting too, I think.

Cold, cold!

Everyone’s blogging about how cold they feel. Me too. Damn that North Atlantic Oscillation.

I never used to feel the cold much — never wore jumpers, and slept with the windows open year round. I definitely need to stock up and get jumpers in my wardrobe for this winter.

Leaving the office this evening at just gone 10.30pm and my car was already completely frosted up. I’ve never had to scrape the ice off before. Last year was mild.