Tuesday 14th November 2017

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Not posted for a while, lots been going on. Far too much to mention.

In no particular order.

Retiled the wetroom floor with a very nice herringbone patterned procelain tile in several differing shades of grey and brown.  Went OK. fairly pleased with it.













This time it was properly stuck down with a special tile to tile bonding compound used first so there is not chance that the tiles will lift again in a couple of years like the last ones did. Only slightly and only on one tile but one is one too many! In addition and at the recommendation of the guru in the tile shop, County Tiles Salisbury, I also used a flexible cement based adhesive just to add a further layer of certainty.

If these lift again im going to weld 6″ armour plate down instead……

Unfortunately as the 1.5 bar pump that gets the shower up and going had seized up due to not being run for a couple of weeks. I ordered a recon kit consisting of replacement cerabic bearings and water seals but as I couldnpot be bothered to wait for it to be delivered I fitted a new Salamanfer pump in the meantime. So at least I have a spare on the box in the garage. May use this elsewhere in the house.

Also finally got round to smoothing out a pipe bend in the loft. I put in a new set of pipes to the bacthroom a few years ago asn as I was being a bit lazy I used grey plastic push fit. Nothing wrong with this but I did put too much of an up hill bend in when I did it. This made the flow to the bath and the cold tap in the bathroom a bit weedy. So I cut and remade the paipes in a proper flat configuration. Flow is still pathetic, not sure why but at least it not blowing air out for the first 30 seconds when you turn the tap on.

Also got a new telly. Sort of… it belonged to a mate at work whos little cherub of a daughter thought she would gounge a trench across it witha USB stick….. daddy was not best pleased and had the telly replaced under insurance. He asked if I wanted the old one for my garage. Bit of a result I though, free 55″ UHD curved 4K telly in the man cave… Got the thing home, cant see anything wrong with it, even the wife can’t see the scratch unless she’s about five thou’ away from the screen. Far too good for the garage, so its gone up in the front room in place of the meagre 42 incher we had there.

Only slight issue was that I had to move the two satellite speakers another 6″ away towards the walls as they would have been covered by the new telly. Had to chisel out more of the walls and also had to run and extend the HDMI cable as the connector block on the new telly is around the other side so the existing cables would not reach. Bunged my mate a couple of bob for his trouble, as  you do….







In other news…..

Short week at work as we don’t work every other Friday. So we’re going to York over the weekend. Drive up Satuarday AM, going to do the York railway museum on the Saturday and then the Dolls house fair at the racecourse on the Sunday. My neice is at York University so we’ll pop in and spend some time with her on the Sunday as well. Monday may go to the excellent aviation museum at Elvington before heading home.

No motor racing this weekend.

Just about to spend a hideous amount of money on getting all the driveway, patios and walling done. Also going to be buying a new oil tank and resiting it up the garden away from the house. Not where we want it but we can’t have it any closer due to the new oil storage regulations. So we’re goin g to have a concrete plinth put in halfway up on the left hand side onscured by the bushes then at the same timeget a new pipe run under the new patio area down to the house and up into the back of the utility room. Probably going to fit a ‘tiger loop’ and a flame arrestor at the same time. Might also get some real time monitoring on the tank levels.

Monday 12th December 2016

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Today is the first day of my extended three week and two day Christmas break and frankly, I deserve it……! I’m not back in until the 2nd Jan next year! God knows what sort of mess the place will be in on my return… and if anyone has adjusted my chair or hidden my fountain pen there will be ructions!

So, what have I done today?

Caught up on some social media contacts, spoke to a few people i’ve not been in contact with for a while, gloated at them as they are all still at work…… ha, suckers! eat my shorts….

Got the christmas tree down from the loft, did a few house hold type thingies, paid a national insurance bill, updated three websites, listened to some tunes, did some banking, drunk a fair bit of coffee,  chased up an order for some bespoke dolls house lights that we ordered at Miniatura in Birmingham in October, (You know you’ve made it when even your dolls house gets bespoke fittings!).

Then I thought i’d finished for the day but no, I had to put 10 pictures back up on the walls for the boss.

Read some more of ‘Gaudy night’ by Dorothy L Sayers.

Tomorrow I may wash the car…..


Monday 21st November 2016

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It’s been a while……

So what been happening? Probably quite a bit and if it wasn’t for this appalling memory some of it might even make it into print……

At work, another FM has decided he can’t stand the heat and has quit the kitchen. So thats another one i’ll have to train up……I think that’ll be number eight…..

Good news! I’ve treated myself to a nice pair of headphones, a set of Bowers and Wilkins P7 wireless…… Debs has said that my music sounds so much better…… now she can’t hear it…. Bowers & Wilkins P7

What else? Oh yes, completely drained and treated the central heating system. It was pushing hot water back into the header tank in the loft. I’m hopefull that this was just an airlock due to a buildup of crud which has now been moved on. One of the radiators in the annexe has got a sheared bleed screw so I will need to get this out before I can get water aroudn the system completely. This was broken off long before we moved in so there’s probably a load of stuff lirking at the bottom of that radiator. Will need to remove it and take it up the garage for a proper seeing to.


Went Swindon a few days ago and bought some new suits. These are very boring so here’s a photo of Deb have a cup of tea.


Then we went to Portsmouth at the weekend and did some more shopping… and food…..


Some freinds of ours in Turkey asked if we could send some toys over to them… so we did…


I then got dragged up the dolls house show in Birmingham…..20161001_145243

….and Debs smashed a window when a stone flew out the bottom of the lawnmower…..


(If anyone is curious, a six foot by three foot double glazed unit in toughened glass costs £160…… just in case you were thinking of rushing out and buying one).

Monday 4th July 2016

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Another lazy day……

Got a call from John Lewis at 07:30 to say that they would be delivering a new mattress and tumble dryer to my mum and dads house in half an hour…….

Mum and Dad live 40 miles away……

Jumped in the trusty Freelander and hammered up to Camberley, never once exceeding 70 mph…….m’lud…

Got there just in time to completely miss them…..

Installed the tumble dryer and pulled out the old dishwasher which is destined for the dump. Put all the new pillows and sheets etc. on the bed and made sure that the electric blanket was installed. Told mum and dad that we were going to take them to ‘Trilakes’ in Sandhurst tomorrow and that we would be up at 14:00 to collect them.

Popped in to see my sister in Frimley on the way back. Mavelled over the pond in the front garden that they had cleaned out  and restocked with fish. Looks really good.

Drove back home via Mercedes in Basingstoke. Picked up a new brake switch foir Cris and Andrea’s Smart Car. Going to have to fit this on Wednesday. Got back home in time to wach the tour de France and have some lunch.

Packed up two bracelets that Debs has made for some friends in France.

Made a top for the fish tank filter chambers. Cleaned out some more gunk from the pond and filled the centre pond with water. Hopefully this will be at the same level tomorrow so that will show that I dont have a leak from there. Hopefully then I can reinstall the main filtration system. Cleaned out the temporary pump (again) and set it to work.

Had tea, Very nice home made curry and wholegrain rice thingy.



Tuesday 28th June 2016

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Lots of work done today. After feasting on a breakfast of berries, yoghurt and walnuts, went out and started in the workshop. Painted all the louvre doors again with a second coat all round. You have no idea how long this takes to do properly……… without drips hanging off the bottom of the slats you painted yesterday.

Listend to the radio as I was beavering away, you would have thought the world was ending….. Brexit all over the news, every left wing, commie and labour supporter clamouring for Corbyns head to be struck from his shoulders and in true democratic-listen-to-the-people style, fell on deaf ears.

Roy Hodgson on the other hand had the good manners to quit 0.3 nanoseconds after the end of the match.

Cleaned out all the filtration system on the ponds. What a lot of er…… muck I think is the best way to describe it. Ordered a pond vacuum system from Germany which will help to get the silt and er….. muck out of the filter chambers without a complete strip out again.

I will also fit some drainage taps to the bottom of the tanks to let out the worst of the mud from time to time.


Come back in after getting absolutely splattered with all the er….. muck, had a shower and then tea.

Spoke to my Dad on the phone, gave Call of Duty a decent battering and hopefully there’ll be an episode of Death in Paradise on the TV later.


Saturday 25th June 2016

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So whats happened this week…. oh yeah, finally got to vote on the EU and we’re delighted to report that we’re going to have a go at running our own country again.

At last ….. couldn’t be happier. Its disppointing to see the amount of vitriol on social media about the result, some hightly intelligent people as well as some students have being quite nasty over a democratic decision.

We’ve both decided, we when I say we I mean the Tollgate Decision Executive (Deb) that we’re going to have a go at the low carb, low suger diet.

I’m OK with any diet so long as it contains unrestricted Haagen-Das………. i’m sure its going to be fine…

On a lighter note despite a real downpour for most of the day and a lot of thunder and lighting as well, we’ve managed to get some jobs done.

Painted the radiator in the kitchen.


Painted the old dolls house, the one that Debs has had since she was about 25.

Repaired the faulty light fitting in the garage (one of 19) with a new ballast and choke. (It had a dead short somewhere and kept tripping the MCB everytime the lights were turned on).

Went over to Hobbycraft in Basingstoke and got a really thin peice of frame mount so that I can make a template for the floors in the old dolls house and then tile the floor seperately then install the finished product inside. This will give a much better finish than trying to put each individual tile on the fllo inside which to far to tricky to get spot on.


Debs has also bought another dollshouse, i’ve lost count, this one is a modern looking one with a spiral staircase. Just needs a little bit of TLC to get it all spick and span.


Finished the VW Camper Debs bought me for Christmas…… very theraputic Lego…..



Popped in to see my mate Paul on the way back and foolishy asked how the purchase of the new bike was going…… this was a mistake as he’s just got off the phone to the bloke who was selling it….only he wasn’t, he’d changed his mind. Paul was not a happy bunny.

Tomorrow is Moto GP from Assen… Go Rossi!

Followed by Indycar from Road America



Saturday 19th December

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Well today was going to be one of those ‘do nothing’ days.

Yeah right,….. took a look at the porcelain skirting board that’s been lurking in a corner of the kitchen since those nice Italians sent it over from…… Italy. Offered it up to the wall by the side of the kitchen units and came to the conclusion that the wall had such a bend on it that there was no way that the skirting was going to sit straight.


So out with the hammer and bolster and removed the entire corner of the wall back to a straight edge. What they were thinking when they plastered this, god only knows….

Whizzed down to Wickes and availed myself of a small bag of rough plaster. Mixed it up and sorted out the wall.


Going to skim a final coat on tomorrow and then paint the walls again.

Also took the the door jamb off so that I could make the sliding door a bit smoother in operation. I spent hours doing this when I installed the new door but for some reason it had moved an bit on the runners and was binding very slightly.

Sorted that and filled and painted the jamb where I removed it.



Friday 18th December

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Tel left behind some DF Greive models that needed finishing as well as an unfinished Airfix kit of a Triumph Herald.

I thought that I would finish off what he started and put them in the display case with the rest of the models that he completed.

I deliberately did not redo or change anything that he’s done, I just finished it off.

This is the metal and resin figure of a Sergeant in the  Sutherland Highlanders a the battle of Waterloo.

The top one is done by a professional modeller, the one below is the one we did. I touched it up a bit, painted the base and the pike, apart from that its all Tel’s work.


This is the Triumph Herald (for those of you that are not professional modellers and don’t know the difference between a foot soldier from the 19th Century, and a red and white car from the 1970’s…..).

This one I did a bit more to, Tel had glued the bonnet in place so the first thing was to un-glue the bonnet and fit the engine. Not sure how he was planning on installing this at a later date, I expect he had a cunning plan. I then sprayed the body and basically put the rest of the car together. This was a fairly cheap Airfix kit. I spent more time filing and filling than spraying and gluing….

triumph_herald05 triumph_herald04 triumph_herald02 triumph_herald01

I then bought a nice new perspex case to mount the car in and then the proposal is to give it to Sonia, Tel’s partner, at an opportune moment.

Wednesday 16th December

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Well it’s been a while…….

Quite a bit has happened since the last posting, the main point being that we lost Tel in September.

He’d lived with us in the annex at the Tollgate in Whitchurch for over 10 years and had helped us to renovate the last three houses we owned.

Had a good send off for him at Thatcham crematorium and all the family and work colleagues came down from all over the place to see him off.

Had the wake back at ours which we thought was fitting.

Had a look back the through many years of photographs and put a few up here that summed up the time he was with us and are in focus……….

First two are taken outside in the back garden a few years ago during a ‘bobble hat barbie’ and yes, it really is that dark behind them. No light pollution round here!

DSC02606 January 2006 056

This is Tel with his grandson, Sid. Which is short for er…. Sid…… This was taken at 45 Cayman Close Basingstoke. He’s grown a bit since then, about four feet at a guess as he’s now 15.


This one was at 7 King Johns Road in North Warnborough which we had gutted at were doing up before we moved in.

This is fastest way possible to blunt a good drill…….

January North Warnborough 032

After we had been there for a coupe of years and the final coat of paint was tough dry (I kid you not) Debs decided that we needed to move again. This is to Whitchurch in Hampshire.

We then all moved into the tollgate as it had an annex.

We’ve spent the last 10 years doing major building works to the whole house. This is Tel bricking up a doorway, sanding the parquet flooring in the front room, and putting in some fence posts in the front garden.

bedroom_august_2008_006bedroom_august_2008_005January 2006 008april_2007_007april_2007_005

Before retiring, Tel spent most of his working life scraping pigeon poo and old soot off the outside of the nations better buildings. The one I think he was most proud of was working on St Pauls Cathedral in the 1960s and again several years later.

There was a film done by the Chaplain in the 1960s when it was first done which i’ve put up on you tube. I sent a letter to the Dean of St Pauls to check that this was OK from a copyright point of view, he said he was sure it was but he would have a word with his boss just to check. I assume that his boss didn’t have an issue with it as the house has not yet been vaporised by a lighting bolt…….

….. so at the risk of eternal damnation here’s the link.

Revealing St Pauls.

We think that is Tels had in the video turning the water hoses on, no speaking part so we assume no Equity card!

Additionally we also think that the small ginger headed geezer in the film is Tel’s dad.

Tel was invited back to St Pauls to speak to the Dean a few years ago to discuss the  cleaning work that was done. I’ve asked if there was a recording of this and they are going to have a look to see if one was done. Fingers crossed.