Monthly Archives: August 2011

Built-in obsolescence?

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that nice pieces of kit are spoiled by thoughtless assembly?

The stainless scissors: Stainless? Really? Look at the rivet that holds the two halves together – a wee bit of brainpower would have told the makers* that this would happen.
The car numberplate: You pay thousands (well, I did) for a car. Within a few months the screws holding the numberplate start to rust, presumably because somebody couldn’t be bothered to use stainless steel screws costing one penny more. The rust soon spreads, and before you know it your car is rusting away to nothing.
My motorbike sidecar: I can’t remember how much this cost me but it wasn’t peanuts. Why bother to have aluminium trim on the windscreen if you are going to secure it with cheap and nasty screws that start to rust on the first misty day of the year? (Believe it or not, the maker of the sidecar is the best in the business).

Yes, okay, I really should get out more. But do I have a point?

*I’ve just noticed – could this be the same firm that makes these?
The mind is starting to boggle…

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Don’t suppose you have any tissues…?

Spotted in Homebase:

(Edinburgh, not Nepal).

Click on picture

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Pentland Plants: scary stuff

Toddler’s eye-view of rather large rabbit in the shop in Pentland Plants*. Reminds me of Wicker Man.

I spotted a rabbit in my garden recently, munching stuff in the veggie patch. This could be just what I need to scare it off.


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Biggar Classic Vehicle Show 2011

I took advantage of this month’s one sunny day (so far) to visit the Biggar Classic Vehicle Show. I know that probably sounds weird to you, but I just happen to like old engines. For something to do, apart from looking around and buying a few tools, I took photos and videos. The compilation is on YouTube, here. Not exactly Cartier-Bresson stuff I know, but it’s only a very small camera.

I realised I had been walking around the show for long enough (4.5hrs) when this little number started to look attractive:

I know it hasn’t got an engine, but it folds up. It would fit on the back of my motorbike.

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Rain, rain, go away….

I feel like apologising to Edinburgh Fringe Festival performers and visitors for the foul weather. I have lived in and around Edinburgh since I came to live in Scotland almost 12 years ago, and never have I encountered such persistent, solid rain. It’s not usual, folks! The odd cloudburst, yes. Even rain that goes on for a whole day. But never several days of almost non-stop, heavy stuff like this. I know the west coast gets more rain than we do, but in my experience (several visits to Skye and other odd islands…and Glasgow, of course) the rain on that side of our green and pleasant land tends to be drizzle rather than the non-stop heavy stuff. Scotland’s usual weather is changeable and reminds me of what people say about Cornwall’s – if you don’t like the weather then just wait a while (I know it is warmer and sunnier there, but that’s not my point. As someone said to me recently, you don’t come on holiday to Scotland for the good weather).

The street performers in Edinburgh must be getting despondent. I’m betting there hasn’t been much of this sort of thing going on this year:

For one thing, how would they keep the torches alight?
A bit of last year’s street stuff here
If you want proper reviews of the Fringe then don’t come to me. Click on Pilrig74 in my Blogroll

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penicuik Dental practice

I suppose that if you are an architect or designer you can write things how you like. As a conventionally educated bloke it took me some time to accept (though accept is probably not the right word) that sometimes people no longer use capital letters for proper nouns, or at the start of sentences. The new dental practice in Penicuik is clearly So Important That dentist is Capitalised While the town Of penicuik is NOt. Someone, presumably, thought that this sign would look good. Shame on them.

And we wonder why our kids get it wrong.

Let’s hope the dentists at the practice are better at their job than the signwriters / architects that dreamt up this rubbish. e e cummings has a lot to answer for.

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The bogwheel – progress

I’m ashamed to say that what with other committments I have been neglecting the old police bike. I have reached a stalemate with the numberplates. The bike in its original form had a front numberplate (I have photos of the bike from the 1960s) that was hand-lettered. As I am spending umpteen hundred pounds restoring this bike I don’t want modern, stick-on numbers. Until I get the front numberplate done I can’t fit it to the front mudguard, and until I fit it to the front mudguard I can’t underseal that mudguard, nor can I fit the front wheel or connect the front brake.

Ho Hum… anyone know a good signwriter, who can work in paint rather than in computer-cut, stick-on letters?

More here

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Whitmuir’s Wildlife Garden – the new pond

The new pond at Whitmuir The Organic Place is beginning to look less like a reservoir on a construction site and more like a place to find wildlife. Today, in rare gaps between cloudbursts, we transplanted around seventy clumps of native Scottish wildflowers (Scotia Seeds Pond Edge Mixture, raised from seed). If the young plants manage to survive being planted into what looked to me rather like potters’ clay, they will eventually flower, self-seed and spread. Watch this space. Even better, if you are lucky enough to be anywhere near Edinburgh, Peebles, West Linton or Lamancha, go and see the new pond.

As you can see, our work was closely supervised by The Management: ‘Just what, exactly, are you doing at my pond, young lady? And what have you done with my ducks?

More about Whitmuir Wildlife here

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