Indoor camping

I’m currently camping on the living room floor while the last two rooms upstairs get a 60 minute week long several week makeover!

Since we moved in we’ve been using the en-suite as a cupboard, partly because the shower leaked. It did make a pretty good cupboard though so clearing everything out took a while. The rest of the house is now full to bursting, even with full loads to the charity shop and tip! Need less junk! After enough flights of stairs to qualify for a Redwood Forest, Ferris Wheel and Lighthouse badge, it was finally all empty…

This is the first major work we’ve done inside the house since having children so we planned carefully. Here are the blueprints at a 1:1 scale…

(No prizes for guessing who added the extra stickers.)

Partly thanks to an amazingly helpful local planning department, we had an extra window after day one. And no walls.

By the end of day two first fix plumbing is done, and the new and improved walls were beginning to take shape. (The existing walls upstairs are literally just a thin sandwich of plasterboard and paper. Quality.)

At the end of day three first fix electrics are in, the walls were back properly and the bonus window is looking like a fantastic idea.

The plastering started on day four and by the end of day six we have one less artex ceiling, fewer holes in the floor, the door back. Even the new shower tray fitted, which was a bit of a relief!



The whole job was meant to take five days but unsurprising it’s overrunning. It hasn’t helped that the floor under the old shower has rotted through. This time next week, it’ll all be done though, hopefully!

Update: Hooray, it’s all done! (14th April)



Now I just need to do a spot of painting…



A month seems to have vanished since the last post so I thought it was about time I checked in. I’ve mostly been being a parent, and it’s pretty likely it will take several days just to jot down a few sentences between trying to entertain, feed, clean, and generally run around after a baby.

(First break due to waking up with an attack of hiccups!)

I actually squeezed in a tiny amount of DIY last weekend. Top of the list have been a few outdoor jobs to make the most of the weather, and minimise any disruption on what counts as a routine. Don’t think the hammer drill was popular there, especially after it turned out one of the holes wasn’t quite where it should have been. In my defense, I did measure everything; I just didn’t take in to account how wonky the house was! Still need to finish off putting the new house number up… in the right place… sometime!

(Burping duty!)

Wifey very kindly got me a new gadget this month too. I hate reading documents on computer monitors, so I’m definitely looking forward to the e ink experience instead. I’m rather mystified by the idea of a screen saver given the screen, but since it has one I now have a personalised baby calendar, which is nice. Much quieter than the real thing! Mind you, getting time to read anything might be tricky- I still haven’t finished Stasiland in traditional book form, which I started before I was a dad! In case of miracles, I already have a couple of free books, some epub Redbooks, and a guide to creating epub books on there.

(Trying to convince sleeping baby to sleep.)

(It’s asleep! Collapsing in a heap!)

I’ll be avoiding DRM content on principle, except maybe books from the library, which could be very handy for children’s stories! So far I’ve found a couple of tools which look promising for grabbing web sites for offline reading later:

I’m also tempted to try and convert my old internal blog to epub since Blog Central got archived, although I seriously doubt I’ll actually get around to that!

(Cleanup to aisle two!)

Well that was a longer gap than expected (a couple of days) partly due to preparing for a customer briefing as well as baby duties. That did give me the chance to do a bit more with calibre: as an experiment I created a simple eBook for presentation notes just by converting a .odt file to epub. The conversion worked really well without any effort, and it was quite useful to highlight things I needed to remember, and make notes before and after the presentation. Could be something I’ll do again in the future.

(It’s asleep again! Food break!)

The other reason for the lack of any posts recently is that they would have mainly been rants! I expect there’ll be plenty more rants in the future though, so don’t panic :)

After and before

Despite the distractions of an impending baby, we’ve also been making a bit of progress on the house lately. Most of the major work is done (I hope!) so it should just be decorating from now on.

The war on leaks is going well and after ripping out the old toilet last year, the new cloakroom is almost done:


An even bigger milestone was finally finishing the front bedroom. I don’t think we have a before shot for this room because it was just too horrible!

From start to finish it took about 14 months to complete! That was partly due to getting other rooms done at the same time, but there were a few minor complications along the way: the floor needed a bit of work, someone stole part of the wall and, just when all that was fixed, even more holes were required to install a cable for the new boiler! I do hope we don’t need any extra holes now the carpet is down!


I guess it’s probably time to get cracking on the nursery…


The old carpet has gone already and, fortunately, it looks like the floor is mostly ok! Which is lucky really: we don’t have 14 months to finish this room! Maybe not even 14 days!

Turn it down!

After setting off a MyJoulo logger just before Christmas, it’s already finished its week of temperature logging; this holiday is definitely going way too quickly!

The website seems a bit temperamental but after a few failed attempts to log on and several stalls loading and processing the data, it came up with a pretty unsurprising result:


Yep, the thermostat is definitely set on the warm side.

Still, it was interesting to get another vote on what the temperature actually is, having previously got conflicting readings from several other thermometers. (It seems I should recalibrate the thermostat back up a degree!) It was also interesting to see it showing the outside temperature, which must be based on the address details used to send the logger in the first place. Both indoor and outdoor readings seem to match what I was expecting:


Over all I definitely like the concept of re-usable data logging to give personalised advice, and MyJoulo is a pretty good beta. Aside from some confusion about what colour it flashes when it arrives, the logger seems to work well. At the end of the week you just plug the logger into a USB port to get a simple text file containing all the temperature data, and a device serial number.

The web site seems to have more teething problems but it did eventually work. I had assumed you need to log on to analyse the data but luckily they must link the serial number to your details since I wasn’t able to log on at all, even after resetting the password. I guess that I won’t get someone else’s details if I upload the file again after the logger has been reused but I have a copy of the data file just to see what happens in a few weeks!

The other slight disappointment was the actual analysis, which seems very basic. You can add your annual heating bill, but it might have been useful to get people to enter meter readings at the start and end of the week. It would also be nice to take account of temperatures in different rooms- maybe by sending a different number of loggers based on registration questions about where the thermostat is, or whether there are thermostatic radiator valves for example. Or you could just use a single logger in different locations over a few weeks instead. Maybe this is something that will develop over time.

The logger is now back in the return envelope ready to send off for its next mission.

Early Christmas Joulo

After a tweet from @andysc I ordered a free Joulo logger– well free stuff is always hard to resist! Plus, since the Hursley CurrentCost craze (also Andy’s fault?!) it’s seemed like the first few days of monitoring are the most valuable and that, in most cases, you could just borrow a monitor. So there was a nice surprise in the post today- a logger and a freepost envelope to send it back after a week. Neat. Much better idea than a load of energy monitors gathering dust in peoples cupboards.


After a bit of confusion/user error about what colour the flashing button was, it’s now sat on top of the thermostat recording the temperature. (Apparently it’s supposed to arrive flashing orange, which is clearly not green like it is after pressing the button, doh!) It’ll be very interesting to see what it comes up with at the end of the week, especially after I had a collection of thermometers all showing different values while trying to figure out if the temperature on thermostat was right the other day!

To be continued!


The next room on the list got pulled out today. Here’s the cloakroom just before destruction commenced:

Despite Jo’s four hour battle to get it in to a fit state to use on our first day in the new house, it hasn’t seen much use recently. Partly due to having a much nicer alternative upstairs now, and partly because I’d turned off the water to the toilet to stop it overflowing!

As with the kitchen, it looks better just having everything ripped out:

(It turns out the recycling centre is much quieter on a cold wet November evening than it is in the summer!)