Saturday 29 October 2011

The saga of the purring poo pump...

'The Turrets' has it's own working sewage treatment plant.

There, I've said it!

Years ago, our drains went everywhere, vaguely downhill through the graves next door, under sheds, water towers and trees, until they arrived in the woods far away and therefrom God knows where. It was a system that worked up to a point.

That point was reached when they didn't arrive in the woods, because there was a serious blockage caused halfway down this Cresta Run of detritus, well, half a ton of concrete lobbed in from a great height by an unpleasant neighbour usually has that effect, so something had to be done.

After a bit of wrangling, and a little nudge from the insurers, the Environment Agency, the council (oh yes, they had to be involved; regulations you see), and several friendly neighbours further down the pipe, 'The Turrets' became blessed with a brand new state-of-the-art bit of kit, which deals with everything you can throw at it. (I didn't say chuck at it, there are ladies present...!)

But it doesn't always work because there are two pumps in it to carry out various turdal duties, and pumps don't last for ever, (unlike Puff the Magic Dragon), and we had to get a new system PDQ. Even some of the long-buried people next door were beginning to complain, and there was a rumour of a new 'Corpse Preservation Society' being formed...

(I'm only telling you all this, because BP occasionally reads my drivel, and will wonder what I was doing on Friday, while he and BP2 were slogging their way down to Exeter and back, and couldn't get me on the phone... But I digress!)

Shawn arrived after a month of disarray. We like him, he's a great bloke, and dedicated to friendly, good service. He had come to fit the new kit, which is actually a nifty little air pump, which delivers a stream of air to the system to create the microbic environment, and a good time is had by all. There was a little work to do before hand, and Scrobs' back was suitably hurt in several places by digging a four ft deep hole, which we didn't need, but the pump went on like a dream, and began to hum and purr like a goodun.

That's until, Shawn had just gone, and Scrobs had moved the new pump ever so slightly.

S*** B***** F*** it! It was just unbelievable.

Cellphone out, and a conversation started like this...

"Hi Shawn, er... (gulp) bit of a problem, the pump's stopped working for some reason, ha ha ha..."

"Oh, er... is the plug in the garden wall mate?" (he always calls everyone mate, even his wife, which is rather nice).

"Yup, firmly in place!"

"Could be a fuse then mate, try another one, or no, 'ang on, it might have tripped, but you won't know what to do about that... Try a new fuse, and call me back!"

(F*** off, nobody tells me that 'I won't know what to do...!)

"Fine, I'll do that; buzz you back!"

Scrobs runs to shed, to look for fuses; bugger, they're not there, of course, they're inside the house, have to take big Tuscan Tony style boots off, mud everywhere...

A few minutes later, it starts to rain.

Thinking at some stage between the shed and the boot-remover, and realising that Mrs S was due back in half an hour, and she'd be livid if the job hadn't been finished, Scrobs said to Scrobs 'Sod the fuse, I'm going to take the bloody thing apart myself...!'

Out with the screwdriver. Four screws. Panel off. Wrong bit to look at.


Four more screws. Right panel. Getting quite wet from increasing rain. Nothing untoward.


Twenty minutes to Mrs S's arrival...oh hellfire...cellphone...

"Shawn, all panels are off, what next?"

"Can you see the diaphragm each side?"

"Yup, both there."

"If it's raining, you could take it all inside and do this...!"

"Good idea, buzz you back" Escapes to shed...

Screw missing on next panel to come off, assume never there. Start to have bits of pump all over work bench, and getting confused. Peer inside workings and after several seconds, see one tiny glimpse of shiny metal, which shouldn't be there, in a logical sense, because I shouldn't be able to see it if the kit's working properly.

Four more screws.

Aaaaaah, got you you little sod! The retaining nut had come adrift, and the diaphragm was not phragming at all, just sulking without it's nut! A nutless, washerless sulk actually!

Nut turns out to be the wrong size, and had just slipped onto a tiny bit of thread when refitted for the few minutes it had worked, until it stopped, after it had slipped off again.

Bugger, and fifteen minutes to go before the Ferrari Punto squeals into the drive...

"Shawn, found the nut, it's the wrong size, I'll find another one!"

"OK mate, sounds like the problem! Funny that, when I'd put it all together last night, it was getting dark, and afterwards I found two small screws left over...!"

Now he tells me! Can't find a nut to fit, and up-end a huge metal box with several thousand assorted bits to find one, eventually grabbing one and it fits. On like a dream, start to reassemble everything, with ears cocked for returning wife.

Out to the tank again, and plug in. Nothing happens. Cellphone out.

"Shawn, all back to normal, but not going yet, any ideas?"

"Take the panels off, and I'll talk you through it!"

Four screws, then three more, then panic, then small shriek.

"Panel's off Shawn!"

"See the white cross piece? Nudge it with a screwdriver."

Nudge several times, well give it a big shove, but nothing. Keep nudging, and plug in again. Nothing.

"Could be a fuse now Shawn...?!

"Yup, do that!"

New fuse, panels all back on, stops raining, no sign of Mrs S yet. Switch on...


"Yhaaaaaah, all away again Shawn!"

"You've cracked it mate, great stuff, see you soon!"

Shawn's coming back next week, to alter the outflow, and I've got to have built a cover for the pump, as it needs to be kept nice and dry. Now that'll be a doddle, after becoming a credited drainage engineer, with two hour's acute experience and a lifetime's knowledge of various nuts and bolts behind me...

Tuesday 25 October 2011

FFS Cameron, pull your f*****g finger out...

Just today, I had a long-awaited meeting with three accomplished and professional property people. It had taken me three weeks to get these people together.

It was a sparse lunch, yeah, a couple of tinctures, but the theme was still exasperation, and severe angst at the failure of this blasted government with their lackey banks, to bring it on.

We discussed seven schemes. Seven big building projects, ranging from, roughly - £6m to £15 million pounds.

Each one, when costed, appraised and verified, (RICS standards I might add) showed a minimal profit for us, but, 10% of fees going to other starving businesses, like architects, engineers, builders etc. There was a huge element of 'funding' expectation (i.e. what the banks will rake in for their ludicrous 'risk'), but this stupid administration are getting as bad as the last lot. You'd expect a nulabour crowd to be incompetent and clueless where commercial expertise is required, but the piddling about we're coping with right now is insufferable.

That 10% going to others, (forget the banks' take, they'll stuff you anyway) therefore amounts to about £7,000,000 pounds, which will be used up by waiting, desperate, consultants, builders, sub-contractors etc. The figures are all calculated correctly, and they meet normal financial requirements for funding. There would also be approximately 425 jobs created from our schemes.

From now on in, we are forced to 'negotiate' with councils for planning permission. We're not digging out green belt land, despoiling the parks etc, we're commercial people, making jobs in business areas etc. Councils prefer to prevaricate for months, while the meter clocks up thousands of pounds in interest (banks again), and of course, they might well charge for their 'advice'. It's an utter disgrace that these little twerps can hold so much business to ransom, sit on their hands, and try to apply an obscure policy which is beyond his/her understanding, or they go on paternity leave.

So Scrobs is feeling a bit let down by Cameron and his bunch of wandering people. At this rate, he'll be asking the Hon Prospective Member for UKIP a few serious questions, like, 'If you get in, how will you look after your own country first...?'

Friday 21 October 2011

The Scrobs' Anniversary...

Today Mrs Scrobs and I are celebrating our 39th wedding anniversary!

Apparently, it known as 'The Lace Anniversary', so, to prove that romance is indeed not dead, we're giving each other a pair for our walking boots and going for a picnic with JRT on The Firehills near Fairlight...

The pic marks the spot where the it all started back in 1972!

Saturday 15 October 2011

Petty France ha ha ha...


Dear Sirs,

I'm in the process of renewing my passport, and still cannot believe this.

How is it that Sky Television has my address and telephone number and knows that I bought a bleeding satellite dish from them back in 1977, and yet, the Government is still asking me where I was bloody born and on what date.

For goodness sake, do you guys do this by hand? My birth date you have on my pension book, and it is on all the income tax forms I've filed for the past 30 years. It is on my National Health card, my driving licence, my car insurance, on the last eight damn passports I've had, on all those stupid customs declaration forms I've had to fill out before being allowed off the plane over the last 30 years, and all those insufferable census forms.

Would somebody please take note, once and for all, that my mother's name is Mary Anne, my father's name is Robert and I'd be abso-fucking-lutely astounded if that ever changed between now and when I die!

I apologise, I'm really pissed off this morning. Between you an' me, I've had enough of this bullshit! You send the application to my house, then you ask me for my address!

What is going on? Do you have a gang of Neanderthal arseholes workin' there? Look at my damn picture. I just want to go and park my arse on some sandy beach somewhere. And would someone please tell me, why would you give a shit whether I plan on visiting a farm in the next 15 days? If I ever got the urge to do something weird to a chicken or a goat, believe you me, you'd be the last people I'd want to tell!

Well, I have to go now, 'cause I have to go to the other end of the poxy city to get another copy of my birth certificate, to the tune of £30. Would it be so complicated to have all the services in the same spot to assist in the issuance of a new passport the same day?? Nooooo, that'd be too damn easy and maybe makes sense. You'd rather have us running all over the place like chickens with our heads cut off, then have to find some arsehole to confirm that it's really me on the damn picture - you know, the one where we're not allowed to smile?! (bureaucratic morons) Hey, do you know why we couldn't smile if we wanted to? Because we're totally pissed off!


An Irate Citizen.

P.S. Remember what I said above about the picture and getting someone to confirm that it's me? Well, my family has been in this country since 1776. I have served in the military for something over 30 years and have had full security clearances over 25 of those years enabling me to undertake highly secretive missions all over the world.

However, I have to get someone 'important' to verify who I am - you know, someone like my doctor WHO WAS BORN AND RAISED SOMEPLACE I NEVER HEARD OF!


from You Sure The Hell Should Know Who.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

A party in Surrey and a song in Worcester Cathedral...

Sorry to learn that David Bedford has died (obit here)

Here's a re-run of a post from a couple of years ago.

I only recently re-discovered this, while tinkering about looking for new stuff to record.

I bought the original 33rpm record soon after I saw a program by David Bedford on TV, and found that it was a quadraphonic version, which left me somewhat bemused as there were only six 'speakers' in the Turrets about then, and four of them were me and the family.

This guitar solo, which was recorded in Worcester Cathedral, just rings so many more bells, especially at a point about 55 seconds in, when the kit he was using produced a note 25 seconds long, and still creates rear-neck-hair-stand-upment... There's one hell of an ending too, if you're minded to hear the whole piece.

It is probably the most self indulgent bit of playing I've heard in a long time, and combines my two favourite instruments to perfection!

And also this is sad news here too!

I'd first heard of Bert Jansch and John Renbourn at a memorable party in Coulsdon years ago.

I must have stayed pretty sober, because I can remember another chum there, extolling the virtues of this great guitarist, and I went and ordered the record.

It is memorable to me, as it was the first bit of music I ever played the future Mrs S, on the first ever occasion that she visited the Senior Turrets...

RIP - another one; sad all this...