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Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Mark Rimmell

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Second Bedroom Work Continues [Mar. 3rd, 2017|02:15 pm]
Mark Rimmell
I'm looking forward to the day when I can return to this post and think to myself "I'm glad that's all finished". Maybe that day I'll put some before and after pics up in a new post.

wall1wall2
Before and after plastering.

rad_alcove1

New radiator will be installed in this alcove

radPlinthgluing
To make installation easier and neater,
I put together a plinth with a mitered frame for the radiator to stand on.
It also will allow access (either side and in front) to pipe work for maintance.
I am using as much reclaimed timber as possible.

rad_plinthb4rad_plinthaft
The plinth beffore and after sanding.
The whole floor will be stained and varnished later.

skirting
Fixing the skirting on the opposite of the room from the radiator.
I decided to glue this in place because I don't think the brickwork would surive nailing or drilling.
The glue is reversable, and should we need to remove the skirting at a later date it won't damage the wall.

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Plastered. [Feb. 6th, 2017|05:18 pm]
Mark Rimmell
I have difficulty allowing others to work on my house. I find it very stressful getting tradespeople in. The usual conversation when discussing the required job goes some thing like this:

Me "I want this, and this done, and it needs to be done like this and that."

Trades-person "No one does it like that any more." or "That'll look old-fashioned." or "I can make it look more modern by doing it another way."

Had none of that with today's trade. Mick the plasterer arrived on time, did the job, no fuss, no drama.
We'll be having him back soon to do the stairs and landing.

wall1
Before being covered in chocolate icing.


wall2
After being covered in chocolate icing.
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Can sleep.... [Jan. 9th, 2017|03:11 am]
Mark Rimmell
This has always been a problem for me. Back in 2002 when I started this LJ thing, I was having problems with insomnia. I was just checking some old posts and here we are 15 years later and I'm still having issues with sleep. I know it's probably due to coffee, but I like coffee and I use it as fuel.

In other news Ian and son stayed this weekend. Which was fun. Finally got to try out The Tap Room, new (not's so new now) bar in town. Very good selection of beer. New rule in my life no beer unless friends staying. Lost 28 lbs between the end of September and Christmas, put 3 or 4 lbs on over Christmas. I want to get back on track with the diet.

Work on the house continues. I'll try and get some pics of the stairs to the attic tomorrow. That part of the project is coming along nicely.
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Christmas... [Dec. 26th, 2016|07:48 am]
Mark Rimmell
I really wasn't feeling the Christmas spirit this year. 2016 has been a crappy year seemingly full of death, death, death and hate,hate,hate. I think 12 months of bad news has left me emotionally bruised. Added to that, I've been ill for a year. On the plus side I feel so much better this Christmas than I did last year. Last year's pneumonia left me with in a bad way and it's been a slow recovery. Once again I'm ill at Christmas, but this time it's just a cold (typing that could be tempting fate) but it's a cold with a silver (slimy) lining. This is gross, but weirdly the snotty cold is actually helping me clear my sinuses, which up until the arrival of the cold just drained down the back of my throat. It's such a relief to be actually able to blow my nose and something comes out.

In other less snotty news...

Christmas day I took advantage of the town being quiet and took Sampson out for a long walk around the High Street and along the sea front, he thought this was most excellent. Then went to drop in on Jo at work, before heading home to do some prep for Christmas dinner. Jo came home from work around 2pm and we had a drink or two then exchanged gifts. Rather chuffed with the multi tool and pocket watch Jo got me. I'd hung stockings up for Jo and Sampson not wanting to leave out the dog.

I wasn't expecting too much from the Doctor Who Christmas special this year, the previous series was a big disapointment. However I rather enjoyed this year's offering. Maybe I was in the right mood for it, maybe not having high hopes helped.

The diet has been put on pause for a few days. Not that I've pushed to food boat out as far as I've done on previous years. Last year was the exception due to illness, but usually Christmas is the season of excess for me. I hope I don't undo the 28lbs I've lost since September. I may not weigh myself again untl mid January.
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Bedroom [Nov. 29th, 2016|11:42 pm]
Mark Rimmell
bedroom
This pretty much where we're at in this room as I write this.
Sash-window fitted, fireplace that matches the one in the master bedroom restored and fitted, most of the plaster-work patched, all the gypsum plaster skim removed from the external wall (it was neither use or ornament). Since this photo was taken, new coving has also been installed around most of the room. Jo has been filling, and sanding, and filling, and filling....
dado
Sample of dado (aka chair-rail) and the sketch in my notebook.

Just over 32 meters of wood trim, in the shape of dado and picture rail , arrived tihis morning and is currently laying on the lower stairs, well and truly in the way. I hope to get all the trim on the walls over the coming weekend, all except the one wall that still needs plastering.

In other news...

The work on the attic stairs continues. I need to fit a new newel base at the top of the stairs before I can trim out the stair opening and then restore the landing ceiling. I've made a test newel post base and that seems to work ok. So I need to make the real newel base based on that test piece. One more job in a list of scores.
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(no subject) [Nov. 26th, 2016|06:21 pm]
Mark Rimmell
Coving would go up a lot easier if the walls met adjoining walls and ceilings at 90 degrees, not the 87 degrees and 92 degrees we have here.
I'm reminded of these extracts from 'The Haunting of Hill House' by Shirley Jackson.
No human eye can isolate the unhappy coincidence of line and place which suggests evil in the face of a house, and yet somehow a maniac juxtaposition, a badly turned angle, some chance meeting of roof and sky, turned Hill House into a place of despair...
And later in the book...
"Every angle”—and the doctor gestured toward the doorway—“every angle is slightly wrong. Hugh Cram must have detested other people and their sensible squared-away houses, because he made his house to suit his mind. Angles which you assume are the right angles you are accustomed to, and have every right to expect are true, are actually a fraction of a degree off in one direction or another. I am sure, for instance, that you believe that the stairs you are sitting on are level, because you are not prepared for stairs which are not level—“
Yeah, Hugh Cram built our house I'm certain of it.
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Lost Phone (Datapanic in the Year Zero) [Oct. 25th, 2016|06:21 pm]
Mark Rimmell
The other night (3am) I was setting off to bed. Usually, the last three things I do before putting head to pillow are;

1. Plug in phone to charge, and occasionally set the alarm.

2. Take off glasses.

3. Turn off light.

Not always in that precise order. On the night in question, I looked around for my phone. No phone! Checked in bedroom, living room, went out to car. Did the same again while calling the phone on the landline. Knowing full well that I keep my phone on silent and non-vibrate, well I may see it light up. After an hour of increasingly frantic searching, I had decided that I'm probably lost it at Dover B&Q (the last place I remember having it) I'd knelt down to check the size of some wooden trim. It was now 4am and I was fully convinced the phone must have fallen into the wrong hands. I imagined a terrorist cell were emptying my bank account into a number of shell companies or offshore bank facades and Ayman al-Zawahiri was currently reading my private email. It was only a matter of time before I'd be wrongly implicated in an attack, either because I'm unwittingly funded it, or my phone would be used to trigger a dirty bomb or both scenarios at once. Yeah I'd had a drink earlier in the evening and by 4am I was losing the plot. All the same, I was mentally kicking myself for not taking my own advice and password protecting the phone.

What would have helped is having some sort of "find my phone" app on the phone. I'd set one such app up on the phone when I got it, however, I hadn't quite got around to reinstalling it after the big crash/reset debacle earlier this year. Just as I was about to go and reset the passwords to my paypal, online banking, facebook... Jo had woken up assessed the situation and tried ringing it at the same moment I shook out the duvet for one last desperate check and I was rewarded with the sight of my phone hurtling across the room with the incoming call screen brightly lit up. Had the phone crashed to the floor exploding into a dozen bits I couldn't have cared less, it hadn't fallen into evil hands and I wasn't going to have to explain myself to the authorities. As it happened the phone survived its brief flight and was soon being treated to a new "find my phone" app, password protection, and encryption.
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(no subject) [Oct. 13th, 2016|11:05 am]
Mark Rimmell
Nixie tubes are being manufactured again. Not a mass produced product of a large Chinese factory, as I suspected would be the case although this could still happen. The worldwide demand must surely soon outstrip the remaining stockpile of NOS Nixies and at some point, this will come to the attention of large manufacturers. In the meantime, this chap in the Czech Republic is producing handcrafted artisan tubes. After watching his video I was figuring the tubes would be at least $400 each. I am astounded he is retailing them at $150. His failure rate must be very low, not surprising given the attention to detail in his product and the lab conditions he has created for his working environment and manufacturing process.
He hopes to expand production and this should bring the unit cost down, eventually bringing them to a price I can afford for the DD/MM/YYYY and time clock I want to build into an 18th-century style clock case.
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(no subject) [Oct. 9th, 2016|11:50 pm]
Mark Rimmell
Had to bump start the car today. Some idiot fell asleep in the car park, this in its self doesn't usually drain the battery. However as the idiot fell asleep with the engine off and the lights on... well that may have done it. Luckily Jo was able to push the car out of the car park and over to the top of a slope. Very relieved the car started on the first roll down the slope, didn't want to ask Jo to push it back up the slope for a second crack at it.

I should probably mention I've done my back in and I was helping push, but jumping in once the car was rolling was a little hair-raising.

In other news.

Jem's been clearing the garden. It was probably one of the dump runs that did for my back. He's cleared tons of ivy off the concrete fence, I'd leave it but the weight could bring down the fence eventually. Although for now the fence seems rock solid, but unsightly.

I've been working on the stairs to the attic office. I need to get the stairs sorted then the landing ceiling can be boarded and then plastered along with a couple of walls I've already boarded. I was going to make the newel post bases, but on reflection decided buying some ready made bases wouldn't cost much more than the raw lumber, they should be drilled accurately, and should save some time. I ordered three bases from Sovereign Stair Parts, and although they haven't arrived yet, I'm already rather pleased with the service because they have recalculated the shipping and refunded half the cost.

2016-10-02 13.31.35
New newel will go in here.
I love the randomness of the tools, from precision to the brutal.
I should treat my Japanese saw with more respect.
The top step into the office will have to come out and I'll probably have to make a new one. This is a little anoying because I don't like having to do jobs twice and I'm not sure I have enough bits of the reclaimed boards to mage another step. As it is I've had to strip and sand down an old length of trim recovered from the attic opening to try and match in a couple of long lengths around the stair opening. More on that when it is in place.
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OK Here's the plan... [Oct. 3rd, 2016|02:46 am]
Mark Rimmell
attic landing 4

This is it.
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Remove all the nasty bits. [Sep. 30th, 2016|06:08 pm]
Mark Rimmell
attic_stairs

At some point during the lifetime of this house, someone replaced the stairs up to the attic. If I understand the scars on the wall and the position of the original hole into the attic, there was a very steep staircase originally. The replacement stairs are alright in themselves. However, the balustrade leaves much to be desired and seems in part to be made of old fence posts, I'm sure there's still mud on the end of one of them.
Because the top newel post needs replacing before the lower landing ceiling can be replastered, I finally got up the nerve to remove the offending fence posts. Even though I've been assured that the newel post played no part in holding up the stairs, I wasn't taking any chances and propped up the stairs with acrow props. Happy to report there was no sudden sagging as I cut through the six-inch nails that held the fence/newel post in place.
Now all I've got to do is figure out a more elegant method of interfacing the new newel post, various lengths of timber trim and all the new plastering.
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Dog Navigation Lights [Aug. 11th, 2016|12:10 am]
Mark Rimmell
I noticed Sampson's eyes glow red and green in flash photos. I thought at first it was due to the angle of dog to the lens, but it turns out it's due to his left eye being a little different.

sameyes
I don't deliberately take face on flash pix of animals, at the very least it must be a little startling.
I accidently left the flash on when I took this shot.
It seems Sampson is missing the tapetum lucidum in his left eye. This makes his left eye glow red and his right eye glow green. Just like navigation lights on a boat. More information on the tapetum lucidum here. I don't suppose it bothers him and his night vision is very good, he always lets us know when there are foxes in the garden when he's looking out the back window at 3am.
nav_lights

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Recent Conversation in a Secondhand Bookshop. [Aug. 4th, 2016|01:39 am]
Mark Rimmell
I love secondhand bookshops, some of the owners are delightfully bonkers. I've had some of the most bizarre conversations in secondhand bookshops. Maybe it's me.

Most recent conversation as far as I can recall.

Me "Have you got any copies of Boswell's Life of Johnson?."

Owner "Who's it by?"

Me "Errr... Boswell, James Boswell."

Owner "Why?"

Me thinking 'wtf?' but saying "Errr... well... I'm looking for a particular volume of a 1884 edition."

Owner looks at me blankly.

I'm completely wrongfooted by this but I babble on "I'm looking for volume 2, published by Bell. Err... 1884?."

Owner "I wouldn't split a set."

Me "Oh I wouldn't ask you to, but if you happened to just have volume 2 on its own or with one or two odd volumes from the edition?"

Owner "I haven't got any editions."

BINGO! That's all he had to say in the first place.

I'm thinking of going back and asking for something else, now I'm prepared for oddness I can have some fun.
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(no subject) [Jul. 27th, 2016|08:24 pm]
Mark Rimmell
shedkeyhole

"Finally, I ask you to look at the shed door, which contains the keyhole. Look at the thousands of scratches all round the hole - marks where the key has slipped. What sober man's key could have scored those grooves? But you will never see a drunkard's shed without them. He locks it at night, and he leaves these traces of his unsteady hand. Where is the mystery in all this?"
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Hot Stove Action [Jul. 18th, 2016|12:27 am]
Mark Rimmell
See that stove in my all time favorite film?

kind-hearts-and-stove
Look! There in the bottom left-hand corner, just behind the perambulator.
That's the same as my stove.
Well, it's actually the slightly wider version with a hot water tank on the side.
I'll let that slide.
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Tonsil-bloody-litis! [Jul. 13th, 2016|02:54 am]
Mark Rimmell
Tonsillitis and another chest infection. I thought I was feeling a little under the weather. Was very rough last night, so went to see the Doc yesterday morning. Doc prescribed penicillin and other squirty stuff. I had no idea you could still get tonsillitis post tonsillectomy, but yes you can. This information left me wondering what was the point of cutting the offending lumps out 30 odd years ago. Then I remembered that repeated bouts of tonsillitis between the age of 1 and 21 left me with tonsils so big that when moving to a new doctor, he marveled at the size of them and called in his colleagues so they might also marvel. One of the marveling throng of MDs asked, "How do you swallow?"

Fast forward a few months post tonsillectomy, and I was marveling at my ability to swallow food after only chewing for a few moments.
Fast forward 30ish years. Just woke up (2am) with raging sore throat, came downstairs to rummage for paracetamol. Said drugs found, now sitting waiting for them to kick in, but right now cold water is helping.

Now I just want to get better so I can get on with all the work I have.


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My Great-grandfather's Fish Shop [Jul. 11th, 2016|11:39 pm]
Mark Rimmell
Finally found a picture of my great-grandfather's fish shop. It's a still from a film.The film appears to be a "borough in bloom" film possibly made by the local authority. These two chaps are probably from the Council Arboreal Department.

Boyton-Rd4
I've been in contact with a couple of people who lived in the same road and it turns out the shop was open at the front like a lot of old fish shops with a big marble slab along the front, you walked in under that veranda. Apparently, there was still a stuffed fish on the wall when the terrace was being demolished.

And below is what the same stretch of road looks like today.

Boyton-today
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Dog Day Afternoon [Jul. 7th, 2016|07:07 pm]
Mark Rimmell
Dropped Sampson off at the vets this morning for teeth extraction and ear scrubbing. I was on edge all day, jumping out of my skin everytime the phone rang. He's home now, A bit subdued, laying at my feet right now. He's had a drink and some boiled chicken.

A sample of his weird ear goo is off the lab.
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Found this while doing some work in the garden. [Jun. 10th, 2016|11:43 pm]
Mark Rimmell
2016-06-10 15.31.08
At first, I thought it was ceramic tile bit as I dug down further I realised it was an enamel sign. It looks like a previous owner used it as shuttering when doing the concreting around the shed. What little I can see of it seems in surprisingly good condition. I hope it hasn't been cut down to fit the job.

2016-06-10 15.31.14
I followed the line of bricks along and lifted the slabs and it seems there's another sign in there.
I can't get them out yet, as we were putting in a temporary patio area for a hot tub. I'll be making a better and more permanent base if we decide the location proves favourable this summer. Either way, all being well I'll be digging out the signs in the autumn.
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Patching the floor. [Jun. 5th, 2016|07:32 pm]
Mark Rimmell
The cables for the landing light switch were routed over the top of the skirting-board, and had then been painted over. There's a lot of this sort of "botch it" work around the house. While the plaster was off the wall I rerouted the cables and put them in trunking in the wall. This left a hole in the floor. Usually, I'd swap out the damaged board, however here it was under the wall and I am not about to dismantle any more of this wall just to fix the small cable hole.

So...
2016-06-04 14.19.04
The offending hole.
The skirting-board has been removed.

2016-06-04 14.19.46
I drilled a hole into a scrap of plywood with a forstner bit to use as a guide.


2016-06-04 14.25.08
Then drill down about 4mm into the floorboard.


2016-06-04 16.16.53
Cut a plug the same size as the recessed hole.
I use knots if patching pine because they are easier to match in.

2016-06-04 16.37.48crop
The patch once sanded. I may draw in the grain, but by the time it's stained and varnished it will hardly notice.
The skirting is a mock-up, the finished article will be reclaimed wood to match the existing landing skirting.
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