Cast iron downpipe repair at the Old Post Office

 We had a guest (family) visit during the last weekend. I was outside the house while the guest was using the bathroom. I noticed the downpipe from the bathroom was badly leaking with draining bathwater gushing out against the brickwork of the house. It was obvious that the cast iron pipe had fractured clear through its circumference at about 2.5 metres above the ground and had become slightly displaced allowing water to gush out. Once the water stopped flowing I decided to investigate and got the ladder out to get close to the damage. On closer inspection I was able to ascertain that some mastic coated aluminium tape had come free from the back of the cast iron pipe. This tape had been painted over at least twice in different coloured paint, so the "repairs" were probably at least 15 years old by previous owners of the building. This had now failed.  The pipe is probably of Georgian, or possibly Victorian, vintage.  I measured the external pipe diameter with a caliper and ch

Post Lockdown drunks

Evidence is reappearing on the streets of Belper that the local bars/pubs are in operation again! This morning we woke to find a broken Stella Artois glass in our doorway. This is most likely to have been from a customer of the newly opened Rumours bar across the road. The George pub along the road has not opened from the Covid-19 lockdown yet.  Slightly further afield on Green Lane near the junction of King Street you have to dodge around broken beer bottles on the footpath.

Why we do not advertise on Google

At the moment, well for the past two years, we do not advertise our businesses on Google. The reason for this is that Google arbitrarily removed our holiday cottage from Google Maps even though it had been validly displayed as a business for three years before that time. This wasted hundreds of pounds of money we'd invested in online facilities.  While Google are within their rights to choose which businesses are shown on Google Maps, we are also in our rights to withhold advertising income from them. So they miss out on income from advertising our international consultancy. The money we spend on Internet advertising goes to LinkedIn and Facebook.

Using Ultraviolet (UVC) to disinfect during Covid-19

We run a holiday home rental business over in Wirksworth, and soon we'll be reopening for business following the initial Covid-19 lockdown. One of the problems we face is how to disinfect the cottage between guest stays. In essence we have to wipe down with biocide any surface the guest may have touched during their stay. All kitchen utensils, crockery, glassware, etc has to be cleaned. We also have to swap out and clean all bedding, towels, pillows, mattress protectors. All this has to be done in a gap of 4 hours between bookings. Even those precautions do not deal with soft furnishings such as, mattresses, sofas, chairs, curtains, carpets. So we need some way of dealing with disinfecting those soft surfaces. The rental agency (Sykes) has suggested the use of fogging machines. These work by tipping in a couple of litres of correctly diluted disinfectant into the tank of the machine. By various methods the fogger converts the liquid into a very fine mist. You spray this mist a

Using ebay purchased secondhand VoIP phones during the lockdown

As part of our work to support one the local Covid-19  support group s we are lending VoIP phone handsets to some of the organisers. The handsets are programmed to use the special range of distinctive numbers allocated by us to the team. To ensure good quality voice on the phone we are using Polycom desktop handsets, these are business quality devices designed for office use.  We're also helping the Belper Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group, but they have less complex telephone requirements. Once programmed by us, it should be just a matter of plugging the Polycom devices into the the RJ45 LAN outlet on the broadband router in the home and, after power is supplied, the devices automatically connected to the  Sipgate  service. The organiser team then obtain the full facilities of a distributed office PABX in their own home. It also protects the personal phone numbers of the organisers from general public exposure. There always are some weirdo's who would want to exploit personal phone

Event bookings

I've recently been organising an event which needed to have tickets issued, and also capture contact details of the attendees to allow follow-up email messages. A couple years ago I'd come across which is an Internet Cloud based system run by a small British company based in Kendal. I liked it then and used it successfully for some free ticket events. They don't charge a fee for free tickets. It is fully featured and takes the pain out of issuing, controlling and following up of tickets. For the recent event I decided to charge a small fee, to weed out the non-serious prospective attendees. I've looked at several different USA based systems, but was not happy with the features. I recalled the Trybooking system and decided to give it another go. Since my last use of the system a couple of years ago they have improved an already good system. From the attendees viewpoint it works well on PCs, tablets and Smartphones.  Their fee for chargeable

Some people are making money out of Coronavirus

One of the advantages of living in the Old Post Office is the large cellar, though it is a right pain when that same cellar floods. However the real plus side is I've plenty of space to store 5 litre containers of various fluids suitable for a Man Cave.   One of those liquids is Iso Propyl Alcohol. It's a handy solvent, but I used a lot during the last clean up of the cellar, wiping down tools and the like. I decided it was time to replenish the stock and went online to order another 5 litres. The last one was about £25 including carriage.  I was annoyed to find that all of my usual suppliers were out of stock of this very common solvent. People have been panic buying this too.  Iso-propyl alcohol is good for wiping down and sterilising surfaces. On Ebay and Amazon people were asking around £75 for 5 litres!  Eventually I was able to find a supplier who is selling at £12.30 ex VAT for 5 litres and have ordered through them. It will arrive in a couple of days.