Showing posts from 2020

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.

A side effect of the Corona Virus

I've been restoring and repairing my workshop in the cellar of the Old Post Office following the November floods. The water was almost chest height in the cellar. One of the casualties was my Draeger dust mask. I have a, now repaired, dust extraction system, extractor fan and vortex, to capture the wood dust from the machinery, but the system needs to be supplemented with a (P2) half face respirator mask.  I've plenty of spare filter cartridges for the respirator, but the main mask had been immersed in sewage water, so I threw it away not wanting to breathe in sewage living microbes. I've got to the point on the workshop repairs where I need to renew the respirator to continue normal woodworking. Normally this is just a quick trip to Screwfix to buy a pack containing the Draeger 3300 half mask for painters and farmers. I quite like these masks because they seal well on my face and handle most organic vapours as well as dust. However it seems that, with the Corona Virus

BT Price increases lost them business

Here at the Old Post Office in Bridge Street in Belper there are two incoming phone lines. They were probably Post Office lines dating back for decades and then transferred over to BT when that took over the telephone system. We used to use Plusnet (a BT subsidiary company) to provide broadband Internet over those phone lines, until they had a prolonged spell of poor customer service (despite the stories in the marketing TV adverts). We swapped the Internet service provider to use Zen Internet about four years ago. They are not the cheapest, but provide excellent customer service, and they answer their support/sales phones promptly. We'd left the phone landlines in the hands of BT.  However a couple of days ago, BT sent me a notice of a price increase. They seem to do this annually without any real justification. It was only 1.7% this year, but it was the straw that broke the camel's back. I'd been considering moving from BT for a couple of years, even though I quit

Storm Dennis floods in the Old Post Office Belper

We were relieved to have only minor groundwater flooding in our cellar following Storm Dennis. After several years of nagging Severn Trent finally installed a non-return valve to stop their sewer from flooding our cellar. I've added a commercial electric sump pump in the cellar. It kept the water level down to a few inches when the water table temporarily rose as the Derwent was flooding. No more cloudy sewer water, just relatively clear groundwater. Sump pump, temporary position but doing the job The drain by cellar door; in the previous flood this was a metre deep in water The non-return valve meant our drains were blocked from the sewer for a few hours while it was overloaded. However that was infinitely preferable to the alternative flooding back-up. Across the road the River Gardens restaurant suffered cellar flooding. Severn Trent Water  really need to find a longer term solution for the overloaded sewers in Bridge Street in Belper. Meanwhile we were keeping an

A walk down the track to the Nailers Football Club in Belper

I've heard the owners of the lane are resurfacing the track, because people don't like the potholes.  We love them because it slows crazy drivers down. It gets so dusty in the summer. I took this video (6 mins) for posterity.  Meanwhile we have to find somewhere else to park for a week while the works progress.

George Street Walk in Belper Derbyshire.

Another video recording a local street . This time it is George Street in Belper. Several of the houses as Cluster cottages. They were built by the mill owners, the Strutts, to house the families of the Mill managers/supervisors. They are larger than the worker's terraced houses in Long Row .

A walk up Long Row in Belper Derbyshire

Here's a video walk up the nearby historic lane called Long Row. It contains terraced cottages built by Strutt Mills for its workforce. Here's a youtube link and also a vimeo link (no adverts).

William Street, Belper

Here's a video walking down historic William Street in Belper. It is just two minutes walk from the Old Post Office on Bridge Street. Here's a youtube link and here's a vimeo link (no adverts).

East Midlands Railway

Problems in ordering a train ticket for travel from Belper. A link to video story.  Annoying! Follow up 30th Jan 2020: The train was late in both directions. Coming home from busy St Pancras the reserved seating booking didn't work because of a a "computer problem", more likely they forgot to load the details. The guard apologised over the speaker system, but I'[m guessing the problem will be repeated.