20 March 2008

Birthday Boy

OK, so I am a little late with this Post, but other projects have delayed it.

Ah, another year older and still here!

My 67th birthday was a low-key affair on Tuesday. Maria and I had a relaxed breakfast before driving to Plymouth so that Maria could try and find me a new brown leather jacket. She is always trying to make me more modern, something that I have resisted over the years, however she had already bought me some Jeans (surely jeans are for working, not looking smart) and a new shirt so I wore those for the trip. Anyway, off we went, stopping en-route at Kernow Mill for coffee, a very early Cream Tea and a browse (I did manage to resist the temptation to buy the "Single Malt of the Week or Month").

It is probably quite well known among my immediate family that shopping and me do not sit well together, but I have to say that the day went very well with not much "browsing". We did find a new jacket for me and then got one for Maria as she had just had a small win on the Premium Bonds. We had to wait for a while so that her sleeves could be shortened and took this opportunity to have a snack before setting off for home.

Annette and the dogs came for tea, but, because we had eaten fairly late, we decided to have a snack and have the Fillet Steak on the following day. It turned out to be very nice too. (the Steak that is)

I managed to accumulate some interesting presents, even though a couple of them had come a little early. Lawn Edging Shears, Extending Lopping Shears and a battery operated Air Compressor make up the more practical presents; all of these have now been used successfully. The lawn looks good from a distance with a nice sharp edge, the conifers have been lopped as shown in a previous post and the wheelbarrow is a little easier to operate now that the tyre is at a more sensible pressure.

Here I am posing, reluctantly!

Now all I have to do is study the book I received called "The Lawn Expert", and perhaps I can convert this patch of grass, moss and weed into something like a Lawn.

One of my other presents was an Energy Monitor, which tells me how much energy we use by having various equipments plugged in. Maybe this little gadget might help us to reduce our rather high electricity bill. My thanks go to all those who contributed to my day. Here's to the next!


09 March 2008

March Visitors

Saturday 8th March saw the arrival of friends Sue and Mick Mepham from Crowborough in East Sussex. Having stayed with them on a couple of occasions, it was good to be able to entertain them for a change.
Rather than cook on their first night, we decided to book a table at the "Two Clomes" at Quintrell Downs. As usual the food turned out to be good, plentiful and reasonably priced. The evening ended with a twist. Although we had regularly eaten there, we had never been on a Saturday before so were surprised when someone appeared at the table with a piece of paper and some Bingo tickets asking whether or not we were playing Bingo and entering the quiz. We decided to have a go and duly bought a couple of Bingo sheets and later some raffle tickets for the "Meat" draw. The Bingo turned out to be a washout from our point of view and we got absolutely nowhere so it was on to the quiz. After 40 questions we were not very happy about our answers but swapped sheets for the marking and ended up with a creditable score of 31. Meanwhile the raffle took place and one of Mick's tickets won some Gammon so not a total waste of an evening. When the results of the quiz were announced, we were pleasantly surprised to hear our names called out as the winners. A bottle of Red Wine was given as a prize, which was very acceptable since there was no entry fee for the quiz. As a team, we will now retire undefeated!

On Sunday the weather was a mix of sunshine and squalls, however we went out to show our visitors the sights of Newquay, during which we had coffee at a very blowy Fistral Blu cafe. This might be the last time we can afford to go there if Rick Stein gets his hands on it! We then drove up the coast, via Trevose Golf Club and Padstow to end up for a sandwich at Trelawney Garden Centre at Sladesbridge before heading home to batten down the hatches in preparation for the big storm that was forecast for the Sunday Night / Monday Morning. Maria and Sue provided an excellent Roast Beef dinner and Mick and I managed to finish the bottle of wine won the previous night.

It was certainly stormy on Sunday night through into Monday, and, as our visitors were leaving at lunchtime, we decided to relax, have cooked breakfast and watch the garden shrubs get blown about.

Despite the poor weather, I believe that the visit counted as a success and we look forward to seeing them again in October for the 89th Entry Reunion at Tunbridge Wells.

01 March 2008

Septic Tank

When we bought Roseveare House, we knew that there was a problem with the Septic Tank but decided that nothing was going to deflect our intention to buy the house so we chose not to ask too many questions, despite the very soggy ground around it that had a distinct sort of aroma!
Some time after we moved in I decided to have a look inside the first chamber cover; it was full to overflowing!! I had a look in the next Inspection Cover towards the house which had some fluid present but fortunately the pipe under the Inspection Cover next to the house was clear.
I found a local man who came along with his lorry and emptied as much as he could and, having had a discussion with him, it was decided that the only way to resolve the problem was to have a new Soakaway.

Here follows a quick lesson on Septic Tanks:
Chamber One - Where everything from the drains go. The "Solids" sink to the bottom where biological action breaks down the solids, effectively "eating" them, leaving fluids to flow into the second Chamber.
Chamber Two - fills to a certain level with fluid, which then flows out of the tank into a Soakaway - in theory this should be very clean water!
Soakaway - takes the overflow and dissipates it into the ground.

Our problem was that the fluid was never discharging from the second chamber, which simply filled up, then filled up the first chamber, allowing solids into the second chamber. The Second Chamber then overflowed out of the cover. Digging a new Soakaway was the answer and my local man knew a man with a digger - surprise surprise. He came along, had a look and a price was agreed upon. Unfortunately the weather then transpired against us and it was not until February that the work was carried out.

Below are some before and after photos; I have thrown lots of grass seed at the scar and now await everything turning green. There is some residual smell in the ground near the boundary fence but nothing much; it is also going to be some time before the ground around the tank dries out but, given a decent Summer, everything should be rosy by the end of the year.

The Machinery

Just about Empty

Covered Up

Raked and Seeded