Back but not for good…:(

The floor (and a dozen other “little jobs”) saga continues and I’m back from another two days (26 hours straight work). The floor is down, and now I’ve made the secondary skirting and fitted it…enough for 60 square meters…the landing is part floored…the first set of stairs cleaned of Georgian paint (does it have arsenic in it?) and sanded, the doors enlarged and skirted to match the room…the hole in the wall filled…the concrete hearth plinth (wrangled) raised and removed (how heavy?)…and new rolled edges made for the stairs…but I think they need a separate support strip making for the underside…but that’s for next time.

I’m shattered.

Everything went well except for forgetting the chop saw! Had to make do with a coping saw (and forget the irony of not coping whilst using a coping saw!)

I couldn’t live in London again. It’s horrific in almost every sense. Traffic. Police cars at VERY high-speed every thirty seconds. Rude people. Oblivious people. Shabby and litter ridden. Every second shop a takeaway food shop where you’d clearly need to be blind to enter and have the constitution of a spaniel to eat from. And parking rules that must have been drafted by the same people who drafted maastricht. No between 8.30 -5.30 unless you have a permit which has to be renewed every five hours…unless it’s a weekend when it lasts all day…unless you are in a RED ZONE park any time zone….of which there are so few that people NEVER leave after they get a place for fear of losing it! They actually resort to public transport just to retain their parking slot! Well done Boris. Inspired.

The apartment is near Canary Wharf…seen here over the A13, a five-minute walk away…

just the other side of the Limehouse Cut. And how they’ve cleaned the cut! You can see fish in the water from the road bridge. And the riverside life has increased as a result…as another poor camera phone pics shows…

People living on the cut! When I first lived in London you’d have died from falling into that water. And not from drowning.

Arrived home very late at 3a.m., tired, hungry, and filthy. Beans on toast, glass of wine, bath (with another glass of wine) and bed. Not an ideal early morning routine but it worked for me.

Tomorrow I’m going to empty the van of (apparently) every tool I own (except the chop saw) and then turn something on the large cast iron machine that makes wood go around that takes up a large part of the workshop.

And I must learn to say “no”.

Have you ever turned this…

I was brought two different types of wood yesterday. The first was Cherry – two great big lumps of it by Eric. The first lump was cut into two vessel blanks and one is already almost finished from the green. Photos will follow if it turns out okay. The second were long slim branches of a shrub called Berberis. The wood is bright yellow and there’s a tiny pith core which may be a problem, but time will tell. Have you ever turned Berberis? It turns really well and takes fine detail, and the colour is stunningly bright – brighter in fact than this photograph shows – but how stable it will be when dry is another matter.

It’s a new one to me, but I like it.

Another busy week beckons. A student, a demonstration, and another trip to London is on the cards but not yet set in stone.

One for the little man…

Nothing whatsoever to do with woodturning…but relates to the last post and I had to post because it’s a real case of “one for the little man”…and he would be me!

If you read this sentence from the last post ” (there’s more story here but I can’t bring myself to type it!)…” and wondered what it meant, I can now tell you…

no names (because I’m careful) but you’ll get the idea…

when I broke down I called my insurance company to contact the breakdown service we pay for through them (I hadn’t got the number in my phone – doh!)…

so they put me through…where are you? Etc. etc. We’ll have someone there within the hour.

Great. Thanks.

Oh…but there’s one thing I should mention, she says, your policy has been changed…you are now only entitled to a ten mile recovery…

No. You’ve got that wrong. We have return to home.

Not any more. We now only recover 10 miles.


(so…being already frustrated and angry and resolved to address this the next day and deal with getting home first.)

so recovery man turns up and thirty minutes later confirms what I’d already told him it was…no diesel getting to engine. So he can’t effect a roadside repair.

I can tow you to our garage and we can fix it in three or four days he says.

That’s not much use to me is it, I say. I have a customers chairs in the back and still have 75 miles to get home and it’s late.

Well we could tow you home but you’d have to pay, he says.

So he gets the boss on the phone and he quotes me £135. No choice but to agree. So I do. Take me home.

On the journey back the boss calls for the card details and takes the fee.

That was Tuesday last week. On Monday I noticed that they had taken £273.20 off me!!!!

So I call recovery company. You’ve made a mistake and taken too much money.

No I haven’t.

Yes you have. (and on like this for a short while…)

No Sir. You have. I clearly told you that was for each way.

NO YOU *&^*&(^B  DIDN’T!

So I phone the breakdown company via the insurer. Not much help. They call recovery company who maintain an innocent demeanor and breakdown company take their side.

And then I remember the 10 miles allowance. Ok, I say, notwithstanding the enormous un-reported change from home recovery to 10 miles, why was the 10 miles not deducted from the trip? They’ll look into it and call me back. They do. They already deducted the 10 miles, Sir. NO THEY DIDN’T! LOOK ON YOUR ROUTE PLANNER. MARK THE JOURNEY! IF YOU ADD 10 MILES TO WHAT THEY CLAIM TO HAVE TRAVELLED YOU’D HAVE HAD TO GO BACKWARDS FOR 20 MILES JUST TO MAKE THE FIGURES MATCH! CAN’T YOU SEE THEY’RE LYING?

Ahem…we can’t do any more, Sir. You have to write to complaints.

So I did. There and then. I copied the breakdown report, the bank statement, and drafted a long and detailed letter stating my case. And expected to be bent once again over a dirty barrel and abused.

Breakdown company called on the phone this afternoon. We’re very sorry but recovery company insist they said each way. We’d like to offer you £20 as compensation for your trouble!


I don’t want £20. I want £111.20, which is what they owe me after £135+VAT…which is what I agreed to pay.

Can’t help you. Very sorry.

Marvelous. Great. Just lovely. Well thanks for nothing. I’ll cancel my cover with you. You’re as bad as the breakdown company. And you haven’t even addressed the issue of the 10 miles either.

What 10 miles?

Did you read the complaint letter.


No you didn’t, or you’d know.

Just a minute, Sir.

Ah…I see. I’ll have to call you back.

So they do. The recovery company has admitted a clerical error and will refund £39.20.

Whoppie do.


What now?

We’ve decided to send you a cheque for £117 instead of the twenty.

WHAT! ARE YOU ALL MAD? All I asked for was the £111.20 I was overcharged. Where does £156.20 come from?

It’s what we’ve decided to do. And we are going to look into the activities of the recovery company. This isn’t ending here.

Good for you. Thank you and goodbye.

Oh…just one more thing….you have to call the recovery company to give them the card details so they can refund the money.

So I do. And Mr Smarmy refunds the money (though not showing as yet)…but I don’t care. The £117 covers what I believe I was owed. So if it clears all the better. If it doesn’t…well…he’ll get his when they “look into” his activities. If he’s done it once I’ll bet a broken diesel control unit he’s done it before…

and there are two other “authorities” who have been informed!!

One for the little man…


It’s been a while, I know. Things have got in the way recently. Not least the damned van! After the starter motor I thought I’d have an easy time for a while, but no, it’s been anything but quiet.

On a return trip from London to collect some chairs from a client I was diverted through Epping to the M11 due to a crash on the A406. On the slip road onto the A11 the van died and came to a silent stop at the bottom of the slip. Oh dear.

A quick check and I knew what the problem was. No diesel getting to the injectors. Not good news at all. So breakdown recovery called and a tow back to Beccles (there’s more story here but I can’t bring myself to type it!)…

anyway, the following day I call Vauxhall for one of these…

And thankfully they had them in stock. I’ll come and get one now. By the way…how much?

£653 + VAT !!!!!!!!!!

Perhaps I won’t then.

I sourced one from EDU-EXCHANGE for £159 and money back for the return of the old unit. Fitted and all’s well. Which was good news as I had all-day demos in Coventry and East Sussex at weekend.

So a day to prep and away I go for Coventry where I had a great day with the Coombe Abbey turners. And then down to East Sussex that evening and a short but pleasant stay in the Ostrich hotel before an all day with Wealden turners. I had another good day, and even received a kind and flattering compliment from Alan Beecham. And then a long drive home to Suffolk. But nothing is that easy is it?

QE2 bridge at a two-hour standstill, Rotherhithe closed, Blackwall down to one lane. Queues everywhere. And rain! Rain like you’ve never seen. At 50 mph in the outside lane the windscreen wipers stopped! Argh!!

How I wasn’t hit as I slewed blindly across the carriageway I’ll never know. But I got there. And found a 13mm nut had fallen off the motor and the drive shaft had dropped off the spline. Found a nut in the tool box and off again. Late home. AGAIN! And tired and depressed. Bloody vans.

So…a couple of rush jobs to do Monday and not good when you’re in a bad mood, but needs must. So I got them done with a little pushing from John.

And then I thought I’d finish one of the multi-disc clocks from the demo at weekend. I like the colours.

And while I was away Crayon hatched her brood…

That’s Dad on the right. (sorry….left!)

So this week will hopefully be a gentle one. If not I’m really going to look at getting a cart and a dobbin.

Who’d do this for a living?

Still not woodturning…but an update…

Sorry for the lack of posts. I’ve been away in London since last Tuesday fitting a wood floor for a customer (don’t ask. Long story). It was a very hard four days. 60 square meters of it in a slumping Georgian third floor apartment.

Moving furnitire, ripping up old boards, levelling joists, moving new boards, fitting, and all again in a diffrent order. Oh, and putting in sound proofing along the way. And carrying all the waste and old boards down three floors to the front garden.

Long days and nothing to do in the evening. So I walked here, five minutes away, to see how the recession doesn’t seem to have affected the Canary Wharf crowd one jot…still drinking “fizz” by the waterside after work…

I did find a little Wood Sprite in the new boards…

I’m back in London for a day on Tuesday to collect some chairs for restoration, a student later in the week, club night Thursday, and two all-day demos at weekend to prep for. Otherwise I’m hoping to take it easy! And I haven’t seen John or the workshop for week! I hope I remember how to turn!