Archive for the “Doing” Category

It’s a common problem, up and over garage doors have a fundamental flaw that allows water, leaves, dust and even rodents to enter your garage. The gap at the bottom of the door allows wind driven rain, dust and leaves to be blown under the door into your garage.

Where we live, it’s very dusty as we still live somewhat on a building site, and we have many trees around us that in winter, create wind blown leaves to enter under the garage door. In our last home, we also had issues with pooling water entering under the garage door.

Thankfully there is a very simple solution that quite literally plugs the gap between the door and the ground; The Weather Stop. A simple garage door seal that is easy to fit, and creates a seal between door and floor.

Weather Stop is a bit like a fixed draught excluder that fixes to the garage floor, and butts up against the back of the garage door

stopping rain and leaves under garage door

The system consists of a heavy rubber seal that is angled to slide under the door, and a round ‘bulge’ that fits up against the back of the door. Once the door is closed, the gap completely vanishes, and rain, leaves and dust cannot be blown under the door.

garage door seal

As you can see from the above photo, the weather stop seal runs the length of the door gap, and is cut to fit around the door frame, creating a complete seal

Fitting is very simple, the kits comes with sealant, the rubber seal itself, and instructions. All you need is a sealant gun, a pencil and scissors or a sharp knife.

Once fitted, you can see from the other side of the garage door the gap below the door is sealed completely.

preventing leaves rain and dust entering a garageYou can order Weather Stop garage door seals from Amazon (you just need to work out the gap between the floor and your garage door) – ours was 20mm high and I ordered 3.1m of seal to cover the entire width of the garage.

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We moved house back in October last year, and one of the things that had been playing on my mind was how to board a loft in a new build house.

Now logic says that you just lay chipboard over the rafters in the loft, which is great if the insulation up there is not higher than the depth of the rafters. In new build properties, like the one we brought, the insulation can be up to 27cm or more; much higher than the beams, meaning there are only really two options; crush the insulation down, or remove some insulation, and then lay chipboard over the beams.

Both of these solutions are bad! Why? Because compressing the insulation causes it to function much less efficiently; air trapped in the insulation is what make it work, compressing it forces out the air, and stops it working. Compressing the insulation can also cause damp and mold in the insulation as air flow is restricted around the insulation material. Removing the insulation is also bad; it was put up there for a reason, removing some of it will drop the amount of heat that is retained, leading to a increase in heating bills..

Through various internet searches and general digging I found a few possible solutions, these all involved raising the loft floor in some manner to allow the insulation to stay in place, whilst allowing a secure floor level in the loft. Most of these ‘solutions’ involved some sort of stilt system attached to the rafters in the loft. To be honest, they all looked extremely difficult and slightly wobbly.

I eventually found a system from LoftZone called StoreFloor. This was a ‘stilt’ system, but the stilts were triangular in shape, providing a much stronger, and secure stilt

loft boarding supports

The stilts then use a metal bar across them (at 90 degrees to the beams) on top of which the chipboard flooring can be attached.

boarding lofts This allows a raised surface for the boards to be attached to, and in the majority of cases, leaving a good gap below the boards and above the insulation for air to flow around and through it, meaning that mold and other nasties won’t start to build up there.

The stilts themselves are also made from strong plastic, making them both lightweight, and strong (the patented shape also adds a lot of strength to them).

The other great thing about the solution is that it’s modular, meaning that a small space could be created first, and then expanded at a later date.

We arranged for one of the LoftZone guys to come round and take a look at our colossal loft space, and they came up with a few possible layouts. StoreFloor can be either fitted by Loftzone and their fitters, or, you can buy the StoreFloor components and fit them yourself, just like our great DIY neighbour did; I’m not quite as confident crawling round in a dark loft as she is, so I opted for the LoftZone guys to install it for us.

The photo’s don’t quite show how large the loft space is, but it did include a few ‘obstacles’ such as air ducting that ran across the loft space;

boarding loft space

I wasn’t entirely sure how they were going to cope with this, crushing the tubing would be bad, and running the ‘elephant trunk’ over the boards didn’t seem sensible either, they sensibly came up with the solution of burying the truck slightly under the insulation.

boarding a loft

The boarding was quite quick, a single day (probably actually three quarters of a day) was all it took to get all the supports and the beams in place, and the boarding attached. You can see above the metal beams running across the beams, supported by the triangular supports.

loft boarding a new build house

Once the supports, beams and board where fixed, it created a huge storage area, raised up above the insulation, covering the central third of the loft. A loft ladder allowing easy access was also fitted, including a neat little ladder landing platform;

loft boarding a new build property, placement of ladder

As you can see below, the now secure raised area;

loft boarding a new build property

If you have good insulation in your loft, or you have anew build property with deep insulation, I’d fully recommend using LoftZone FloorStore either by buying it yourself or by getting the LoftZone guys to do it for you

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You may have noticed the last update to the blog was way back in January, its now October.. Thats a huge break in writing.

So, what have I been? Some of you will know.. others won’t, some won’t even care.. Way back around November time I started noticing (and so did other people) things about me, that just didn’t seem, right.

My speech was becoming slurred, my memory was getting really bad, and I was having real issues concentrating, and generally communicating. Being me, I tried to shrug these things off, and it was only after a trip away in February when my wife physically couldn’t wake me up one morning, and my left arm was extremely stiff and painful to raise up, we agreed it was time to get someone to have a look at me. Here started a long journey, and one that is still going on, and may go on for some time.

Obviously the urgency was to check for all the horrible stuff that you just always hope and pray isn’t going to happen to you, things like strokes, and brain tumours. This was quite a frightening time, because, you just don’t know.

I had MRI scans, unfortunately having your head stuck in a magnetron for a long period while they scan your brain for what they called ‘organic anomalies’  doesn’t give you any special powers, and it’s not an overly pleasant experience. The only upside really being that within a few weeks of poking, scanning, prodding and attaching to various gizmo’s, the consultants managed to rule out the two most terrifying things that might be wrong with me, and thankfully, this meant I wasn’t likely to leave this mortal earth ahead of my time (phew!)

Next, more tests.. possibly one of the strangest was when I was hooked up all night to a monitoring machine to measure my blood oxygen levels and heart rate (amongst other things!). I did feel a little like I was on a day trip to Kabul, and it was quite worrying at 11pm at night when the unit went ‘BEEEEEP’, lit up like a Christmas tree as it armed itself automatically.. Feeling a little like the bloke out of ’24’ . Laying almost motionless in bed, my finger glowed red all night from the blood oxygen monitor, the cats chasing my finger if I moved a muscle.

I’ll spare you the various poking and prodding that went on for the next few months, and through all this I kept having to look on the positive side that there was nothing nasty in my head which had it in for me.

So the upshot of all this is that I’m still having great difficulties, and I’m still not back to myself, in fact, I’m still on long term sick leave. My speech can, on days be awful, and I’m sorry but I WILL forget things you tell me, or ask me to do, and if I stop mid sentence, have slurred speech or use the wrong words, I’m not drunk, I’m just having issues…

Why am I telling you this…? Well, mainly because I do want you to know I’m still here, I’ve not vanished, and I’m starting to find writing a bit therapeutic.. I also do want to start catching up on all the wonderful things that, despite the last eight months, have been good, and should be recorded for future reading..

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So back in November I took part in NanoWriMo, which is basically an exercise in writing 50,000 words in a 30 days, it sounded like fun, and I thought it would be a good way of generating more ideas and content for that book apparently we all have inside us..

I’ve written on and off for years, a short idea of snippet here and there, and actually having a book published is something I’ve always wanted to do. Nanowrimo was actually very useful. I completed the 50,000 words, although it was mainly just random ideas and thinking, plots, and thoughts, enough to at least start working from, a few people have read snippets of some of the more formulated stuff, and so I thought I’d put one snippet up and see if anything came back:

History had one major disadvantage, it was old. Not that old wasn’t good, it was more the fact that being old, things aren’t quite so clear. It’s like your granny who gets to that certain age when things aren’t quite recalled as clearly as they once were. Its those moments when she tends to forget who you are, why you’re coming to see her, and why you seem bothered that a total stranger cannot remember your name, after all, what are you expecting her to be, some sort of mind reader? Turning up at the home of an old lady and expecting her to guess your name like you were her son or something. History is, the slam of the door of a lady that quite clearly doesn’t know you, and better still doesn’t want you on her doorstep playing some guessing game of ‘what’s my name grandma’ like she was some turn of the century mind reading act from the west end. History, quite often forgot, got a bit confused and wet itself in it’s old age.. This is how New Ears Day came about..

Somewhere though history, the exact reason why people donned large comedy plastic ears and ran around shouting ‘Happy New Ears’ on the first day of the first month has been lost, or, if not lost, slightly misplaced. It was the ministry that ensured that nothing ever was lost, or if it was, it was replaced by something just as good, if not better that took your mind off the fact that you’d just lost something important because you suddenly had something much more exciting, supplied by the ministry of unlost items. In fact he had once misplaced a rather grubby, well, he forgot exactly what was grubby and misplaced, as upon a ministry visit, he found his shiny new sugar spoon (minus the bowl), which, he was sure was the item that he’d misplaced in the first place. At some point the exact reason of whatever the thing was that was to be done on the first day of the first month had been replaced with something better by the ministry of unlost items, possibly due to people losing interest in the original event, of course the utter strangeness of plastic ears didn’t matter to the ministry, since it was a tick in the box, of ‘item found/replaced/customer didn’t notice the loss’ on the annual audit.

The brief I set myself for NanoWriMo was “Things are a miss with the world, quite literally, the odd woolen sock isn’t just getting lost in the wash any more, whole flocks of sheep are going AWOL.. Where all the stuff going? Why does a hypnotic cat look rather sheepish and who misplaced sanity..?” Of course reserving the right to completely change that at any point depending on humor content and potential writing abilities!!

A few people have likened the stuff I’ve written so far to a number of other authors (which I’m assuming is a good thing!), and I know reading some of their work has rubbed off a little bit during my life! So the question is where next, I have a few chapters ‘written’ although still in quite a random state, the story is still morphing and developing, and the Sugar Bowl, and the hypnotic cat are very important…

..I’d be interested in your thoughts…

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I often sit back and use off the wall things to work out whats happening, and to get ideas.. I’ve not really written here for some time, and I miss being able to record my thoughts and ideas.. I had a play with Wordle over lunch today to look at what I have talked about here.. and see if that gave me any ideas on where to go with what I’ll write in 2010..

In 2009, so much happened.. I’ll probably add a new post on that at some point and do some general catching up.. but looking at the wordle above for my site.. I guess its pointing towards writing!!

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Tomorrow NaNoWriMo starts, that’s national novel writing month for those not used to acronyms. I have always wanted to write a novel, or at least some sort of book, and I though taking parting NaNoWriMo might at least kick start some ideas if nothing else. It’s ironic I guess that I’ll be spending evenings and weekend writing, given that I’ve failed to write here as much as I used to.. maybe it will kick start that as well!!

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1 and the goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

so if nothing else… I hope to generate some ideas for “that book thats in all of us”.. if you want to follow my progress.. you can watch at my NaNoWriMo page

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So last night was Halloween, because we’ve only just got back from Honeymoon we gave the normal Halloween Party at Clearwell caves a miss this year.

Instead we did a family party, I couldn’t get any contact lenses in time so I dug out the make-up for the old man again (I did this for a 80’s party as well a while back).

The make-up this time took a lot less time, given that I’d done it before, but I did add some beard material, which rather than a single stick on beard, was in fact, individual fibres of grey hair, all loveingly stuck onto my face by hand.

Michelle also dug out her costume from last years halloween party, they completely covered up our tans from the honeymoon, and quite a few of our relatives didn’t recognise me, but it was good fun.


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With only a few days now until we get married, it was wonderful to get invited on a river dinner cruise by friends.

We cruised up the Thames at Reading for a few hours, enjoying a fantastic meal and drinks with friends.

The boat only takes approximately 12-15, so our small group had it exclusively.

After dinner we stood up on deck listening to music as we cruised down the river..

The ‘Candlelight‘ is a lovely boat, and something we’d definitely look at doing again, and is also extremely cheap when you have a number of people going.. They also do a curry dinner cruise!!!

It was also nice to see friends just before the big day…

Again all photos on my flickr set..

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Well we’ve been very very busy with the wedding and stuff and its amazing that we only now have about 9 days left.. so the titme of this article in today’s Reading Chronicle seems very fitting!!

We are featured in an article about Spice the society and activities group…

For the non keen of eye… that’s me and Michelle in the bottom left of the article.. It’s a fantastic group, and whatever it is you want to do.. from the simple to and just plain out of this world crazy.. They’ll probably do it…

The best events for us have been the weekends away.. The Halloween Ball at Clearwell Caves, or Invading Center Parcs.. If you do a search on the blog you’ll find my previous posts about these.. But their list of events cover everything from walks, special access to Stonehenge, Tank driving, sports, dinners, helicopter training, you name it.. they probably do it.. They also run the club UK wide.. so even if your not in the Thames Valley and Solent area, and you want to get a life… they can point you in the right direction..

You can click here for a full size image of the article..

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IMG_3080.JPG Yesterday was Marvellous 2008 down at Wellington Country Park.

Despite the forecast of rain.. the day was scorchingly hot and sunny.

Playing the tribute list were Bob Marley, The Gee Bees, T-Rex, Abba and Earth, Wind, and Fire.

We always love marvellous, its a great day out, and we get to spend the day with friends, drink wine and eat.. and you can’t get much better than that really!!!

It seems like not that long ago that I was rushing back from London to get to Marvellous 2007 , how time flies!!!

I took a few photos.. and ‘edited’ some as well…

We had a slight hang over this morning..

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