April 23rd, 2014 at 10:06am

I wonder how this credit account business started. It’s a pernicious thing. You do a job for a company, and the bigger the company, the longer they take to pay you. I suppose that’s how they got big. And I guess that’s why rich folk are mean.

Anyway, as a one-man band and as a semi-retired trader who can’t be arsed to chase invoices, I don’t offer credit. Most people understand when I note that I will require payment on completion. Some people – company people usually – are perlexed; and some have the cheek to get cross:

‘And how will you be intending to pay?’

‘Well, won’t you invoice us?’

‘I will be very happy to give you a detailed and dated receipt, but I will need paying on completion of the job.’

‘So you can’t invoice us?’

‘I can invoice you, but will you be paying me on the day?’

‘No. Of course not. We’ll pay in 30 to 45 days depending on the month end.’

‘So you want me to lend you a couple of hundred quid for a month. I think you’re confusing a locksmith with a bank.’


life, politics ,

Emptying The Cellar

April 19th, 2014 at 9:53am

In addition to lots of time spent in hot water to try to ward off back problems, I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time wearing a dust mask. Although we’ve lived here for getting on twenty years, we’ve never quite gotten around to clearing or cleaning the pretty disgusting cellar that the previous occupants bequeathed to us. So, as part of the moving the shed endeavour, I need more cellar space.

The first thing was a horrible old non functioning fridge-freezer in the corner. The trouble was that either the floor has risen or the ceiling has fallen – London huh – built on shifting sands. The only way it was coming out was in pieces. Luckily my day job requires two portable but fearsome cutting machines. So I chopped the fridge in half. And before you draw in a gasp of horror, I managed to do it without cutting into any of the pipework and without releasing any Freon. It was so old that, a) it actually probably would have been Freon (it’s not any longer) but b) there was probably no refrigerant left anyway. Then I was able to drag it out of the cellar and off to the local recycling centre, where they didn’t bat an eyelid. There must be lots of people who cut fridges in half.

entertainment, life ,

Lathe Moved

April 18th, 2014 at 5:55pm

Number one son was home from university for the weekend so I got him to help me move the lathe. We used shoulder straps and temporary legs under the lathe. Nonetheless, it was a hell of an effort. I shall be spending the next few days in a hot bath with ibuprofen to try to ward off any back twinges.

Mind you, it’s never the things you expect that do your back in. Last time I was laid up with a bad back, it was caused by putting my socks on.

entertainment, life ,

Saw Table

April 17th, 2014 at 7:49am

As part of my burgeoning interest in proper woodworking, I’ve made a table saw. The recurring thing that videos of people’s woodworking shop demonstrated was that everyone who makes anyting serious has a table saw. Now, I can’t afford ¬£1000, but struggling with hand-held circular saw and panel saw wasn’t working. And the jigsaw is a non-starter; I don’t see how anyone does anything accurate with a jigsaw. So I made a table saw.

On the positive side, what a difference! So many jobs become possible and way easier. I made it so that the fence I’d already constructed for the router table fitted. I made a crosscut sled as well.

On the negative side, even with the guard, it’s terrifying. I’ve just bought a can of red spray paint and have coloured the guard and the throat red.

life ,

Finding A Good Solicitor (Not)

April 7th, 2014 at 8:00am

I don’t suppose the average villain looking for a solicitor has had much prior experience of such a search. Although I suppose a career villain probably uses the one recommended by his fellow ne’er-do-wells. So I wonder if more suspects end up with a guilty verdict than should.

I’ve been searching for a solicitor for the simple matter of a will. The first one had never heard of survivorship clauses. I used to ride a motor bike and, very occasionally one of the kids might be on the back. Well, if you’re both in an accident and each are sadly killed but one survives the other by a period of a few weeks – gruesome I know – then there’s the risk that inheritance tax will be paid twice on the bequests that arrive eventually at the surviving family member(s). Hence a survivorship clause in the will.

The second one, just made spelling mistake after spelling mistake, occasionally deleting whole clauses in the process of correcting spelling mistakes. I ended up using PDF document difference tools just to see what the hell (s)he had been doing in the eight or so drafts. Luckily the drafts had been emailed to me. And finally, I just gave up, paid the bill and did the final edit myself, as our copy of Acrobat is a full one that permits editing.

So, how the hell do you find a – perhaps mythical – efficient solicitor who knows their trade?

life ,

Scan Results

April 2nd, 2014 at 8:50am

My throat cancer therapy check-up scans are now eighteen months apart. I had one the other day. A PET-CT. All clear. Hooray!

The PET (positron emission tracks glucose uptake and shows tumours as they’re greedy buggers that slurp up the glucose). And the simultaneous CT (computer tomography, very detailed whole body X rays) show exactly where and what organ/bone/etc.

The waiting period between the scan and hearing the results at the next clinic never gets any easier however. They’re very good they time it so that it’s only a week or two at the worst, but it’s still nerve wracking.

throat cancer ,

Router Table

March 31st, 2014 at 6:50am

As part of a project to make a cabinet for a MIDI controller ( a virtual Hammond tonewheel controller), I bought a router. It made such a difference to “proper” wordworking, it got me into the whole thing. This time I did buy wisely. I got a Festool (middle of the range though; maybe I should have …)

It’s useful enough as a hand-held tool, but looking a tutorials on the web, I realized I needed to make a router table. It’s pretty much essential for working on smaller pieces. Even with the move of the workshop, however, there isn’t room for a dedicated table so I built it to clamp into the Black & Decker Workmate.

And one of the things that makes woodworking a challenge if you’ve not been doing it properly is the fence. This is what guides your circular saw in a straight line. Or in this case, it’s what guides your workpiece past the router cutter in a straight line. So I decided to make a proper fence; one with a dust extraction port and moveable in-feed and out-feed portions. I even added a T-track to hold stops, feather boards, etc.

life , ,

Chop Saw Moved

March 30th, 2014 at 2:10pm

Not much of an accomplishment. My chop saw is a very cheap modest affair. I wish I’d saved up a bit and bought a better, bigger one; really, a sliding compound mitre saw would have been much more useful. OK, four times the price but eight times the usefulness. Anyway the chop saw is now in the new conservatory workshop.

The main point is the dust extraction port. It’s yet another size. Not two pieces of equipment have the same size ports. OK, I expected to have to make an adaptor to get the anaconda attached, but I didn’t expect to have to make loads of adaptors.

life , , ,

Mill Moved

March 30th, 2014 at 1:09pm

That’s the first part of the workshop move accomplished. Me and #1 daughter moved the vertical mill, which wasn’t too bad. Although it’s described as a mini-mill, it’s still a substantial bit of kit. Much heavier than say a vertical drill stand. Nonetheless, the two of us moved it without too much difficulty. It’s now on a custom built stand which is just three sides’ worth of 18 mm MDF around four 2″ x 2″ uprights, and 18 mm MDF top and bottom.

The lathe is going to be much more of a struggle. I’ll have to wait for #1 son to visit home from university. In the meantime I’ve removed as much as I can: the chuck and the tail slide. I’ve also taken out all the stuff that was stored in the two pedastal/cupboards. I found a tap and die set I’d completely forgotten I had!

life, locksmithing , ,

New Workshop

March 29th, 2014 at 8:35am

I’ve been busy moving the workshop. The old workshop was actually a garden shed. She Who Must Be Obeyed had originally decreed that I wasn’t going to be spoiling the garden with a big shed. It was to be limited to 7 ft by 5 ft.

As I may have mentioned, the old shed – actually the 300 lb lathe in there¬† – was sinking into the garden. And I’ve developed more of an interest in proper carpentry; quite a few customers ring up with carpentry problems rather than lock problems. Now, you can’t get a table saw or a router table into a workshop that’s only 7 by 5, especially if it’s already got a bench, two key machines, a vertical mill and a lathe.

Well SWMBO need no longer be obeyed. Soon after the shed decree, she left us (me and the kids)! The kids have since mostly grown up, and although they won’t be leaving the nest right now, they will surely fly the coup soon. Won’t they? Anyway although it pleased me to use the conservatory as a dining area, no-one else particularly liked the idea. So I’m going to be allowed to turn the conservatory into a workshop. All the messy tools have dust extraction these days; and it just so happens that one of the good things that SWMBO did was insist on having a central vacuum system; so she didn’t have to carry the vacuum cleaner up and down stairs; just this giant flexible pipe the rest of us called the Anaconda. (Of course soon after that she insisted on hiring a cleaning “lady”.) Anyway this central vacuum is marvellous at keeping the workshop dust free.

So that’s the clean (ish) aspects of the workshop taken care of. The dirtier stuff isn’t so easy; this is the key cutting and the grinder and the metal filing. So that’s got to go somewhere else. It’s destined for the cellar.

The quid pro quo is that I have to turn the area of the garden where the shed was into a sun deck. The kids swear that on the rare occasions when the sun comes out, the only place it shines is on the shed; which pleases the cat, who likes to lie on the shed roof, but apparently pleases no-one else.

entertainment, life, locksmithing , , , , ,