Archive | July 2016

Sparky, boilers, decorating and alarms that go off in the middle of the night!

The sparky’s been, sorted out and replaced the  switch that was causing problems earlier in the week and plans have been made for another switch and a socket to be replaced too.

Well that’s what we thought until Caroline started to do some washing up…

No hot water. One call later to our boiler installer and the matter was almost sorted as we had hot water again once various stages had been gone through over the phone.

Twelve hours later and the boiler was serviced and AOK – the problem had been with the local water pressure and not the boiler.

In between these two, we had a trip to our local B&Q to get the items needed for some decorating. And a new bulb for the light in my workspace.

One brighter bulb was bought, fitted and is doing the job, even though the stylish wire lampshade had to be removed to get the bulb into the light fitting.

It may be a bare bulb in there, but it’s still stylish and the future’s brighter than it was!

B&Q‘s staff did a great job in answering our questions and pointing us in the right direction for the items needed and also came up with a couple of suggestions as to how other things could be sorted out.

And then…

The alarm sensor on the landing went off at 3am this morning.

Nobody was making toast or cooking kippers, but we were woken up by the screech and I suspect that the neighbours also had a disturbed night’s sleep.

Then it dawned on me. I’d had this happen a few years ago when I had a flat in Skipton – it was a warm night and whilst windows were open, there wasn’t much airflow. The house was stuffy and the alarm went off. Loudly…

Other windows were opened up and the air started to flow. The alarm box eventually shut up, but that may have been the result of my silencing the box when the push button reset refused to work! Keith 1, Alarm Sensor 0.

I somehow suspect that it may be an early night tonight to catch up on lost sleep and that a glass from a bottle of carefully chosen Tawny Port might just help matters!

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New books and sparkies…

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Yes, it’s Tavira again – one of the first pics to appear on wisepacking.

Most of the morning has been taken up in going back for the future.

No, I haven’t taken delivery of a DeLorean, but I have been going back to the roots of wisepacking and looking at early posts from 2014.

Little did I know how it would develop. There have been a few hiccups, but I wouldn’t have guessed that visitors would come from all over the globe.

I expected views from the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and others from the usual suspects, but I didn’t expect views from Nepal, Turks & Caicos, Trinidad & Tobago, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Ecuador, Qatar, American Samoa and South Sudan.

The reason I’m going back to wisepacking’s roots is simple – there’s a work in progress which involves taking a look at what I’ve written over the last two years, updating it, editing and ensuring that the spelling is in English English rather than the American English that my word processing software keeps trying to correct it to…

Some 15,000 words are in the document file and I suspect that the end result may be around three times that word count.

The plan is to publish a Kindle book when the backpacker travel season kicks in and to update/upgrade or remake/remodel when necessary.

It’s just a short posting today as there’s a sparky (electrician to the uninitiated) coming along to look at the house lights after a problem occurred on Saturday afternoon.

We’re not dancing in the dark, but wandering around upstairs is being done carefully pace the sun’s gone down. Fortunately we have a street light out the front, so leaving the blind open on the landing helps overnight.

We’re not going to have power or indeed Wi-Fi later on, so the writing is done for now, the email needs to be checked and the Kindle pulled out when the power goes off.

One year – err…

You may recall that yesterday’s post mentioned quite a few likes that have been used on our travels, but there are also a few (and I mean a few) that haven’t quite worked for us.

Some people love Crocs, others hate them and will happily take the mickey out of anyone who wears them. I have some, love the comfort offered by them and appreciate the ability to just wash them in a sink or to wash them in a shower whilst you’re still wearing them.

They don’t take up that much room  in a pack, particularly if you stash them carefully and pad them out with pairs or socks or whatever. Choose a plain navy or black pair and by heck, you’ve also got footwear that will go with quite a few outfits in a capsule travel wardrobe.

I used mine extensively last year, but there was a problem that couldn’t be denied. Naturally sweaty feet (like mine!) and Crocs don’t always mix, no matter how often you wash your feet or your Crocs.

So a replacement had to be found and I ended up rewinding twenty years for the solution. A pair of Clark’s ATL leather sandals. I had a pair back in the mid-nineties that were sent in for magazine-related testing.

If memory serves me right, the advertising for the sandals was headed up by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. The sandals were smart, comfortable and wore well. The leather uppers and leather inner section of the sole units did their job and while they did take a little while longer to dry out than normal sports sandals from that time, I didn’t mind because they were so comfortable.

The latest versions on the ATL theme are just as good. Comfortable from the off and they’ve been worn extensively over the last year, so much so that I’ve been seen wearing them without socks in supermarkets and takeaways in the depths of winter (I’ll hasten to add that I was using the car to get around and not walking to said establishments).

There’s still one pair of Crocs doing the rounds though and a modified pair in the boot of the car too. Only one out of the original three pairs bought in 2013 have bitten the dust, and that’s because the cushioning was rather crushed after so much wear and the sole units had been holed in a couple of places after close encounters with tent pegs.

The small packable Rohan day bag I bought last year is still around, but it’s not used that much now. The idea was great, but when I used it, I realised that it needed a bit more compression potential to make it work properly.

It was good when it was almost full, but when it wasn’t, it was a bit of a pain. I ended up leaving it in our room on our Lisbon trip and used my shoe bag.

This simple nylon drawstring bag did the job, coped with loads large or small and ensured that if someone tried to get in the bag whilst I was using it, then I’d know about it because the cinched closed entrance hole on the bag was usually nestling in my armpit, a ticklish area at the best of times!

Anything else? Well I’ve been using Salomon shoes and boots for years, but the couple of pairs of ventilated shoes that I bought last year weren’t as good as I thought they were going to be.

One pair’s shock absorption wasn’t wonderful after three months and when one of the lacing loops came away whilst in Coimbra last year, I gave them to a good cause and lightened an already light travel pack.