Pros and Cons (by )

The downside of this morning:

Jean woke up about at 2:30am, when I was just drifting off after unwinding with a good book after a late night working, and wailed. I went and picked her up, and she quietened instantly, then fell asleep on my chest as I sat with her. I slipped her back into her cot, substituted her teddy bear for myself in her arms, and went to bed.

About half an hour later, I was starting to drift off again, when she started to wail again.

Repeat this a few times.

Then after a while, she stopped falling asleep on my chest, and instead was playful. But then screamed if I left her alone. Brought her into my room to see if she'd fall asleep being hugged, but just ended up being poked in the face by a curious baby. So we set a DVD playing to keep her entertained in her room, and tried to get to sleep again.

But the DVD finished, so she started crying. I went back and made it play again. This time, she started crying before it was finished.

Tried getting her to sleep in the bed with us again, no cigar.

Eventually, she drops off at about 6am or so. I'd never quite made it to sleep, but I managed to at about 6:30am. Slept clean through the 7:30am and 8:00am alarms to wake up in time to take Jean into nursery and woke up at about 11:30am, feeling a bit grotty. At the time of writing (3pm), Jean is still sleeping happily in her cot (thankfully...).

That's the bad news.

The good news is that the electricity bill came today!

Now, last winter, when we'd just moved in, Sarah was cold, and Jean was cold, and all we had to heat things with were electrical heating and the single coal fire at one end of the (long, thin) building, so we used a LOAD of electricity. Out here in the sticks there's no gas pipeline, and we don't have gas or oil tanks; electricity heats our water, cooks our food, and (apart from the coal fire) heats the house.

The bill for that quarter was based on an estimate. An under estimate. When they got a reading last summer, we ended up with a wopping huge bill, that they said we could pay off in installments, along with our predicted next bill, based on the new estimate of our usage.

So for six months, we've been paying £300 a month in electricity bills; half paying off the winter before, half paying for this winter.

So it's a good thing that the bill has come, because it means this period is over. The bill was for fifty pounds; their estimate of our usage, minus what we paid in direct debits. And since we now have draught-reducing and convection-limiting thick curtains over all the windows, have figured out how to convert the coal fire into a blast furnace, and have portable gas heaters, when we send them our meter readings, we're hoping they'll have found they overestimated our usage and pay us back money...

Which will be welcome, as things are still rather tight!

Monday Morning and *It* Begins (by )

I have insomnia all night - fine - first rays of light I go to do the luandary and what not and what do I find? - BLOOD, blood everywhere. Disturbed I come across kittens and a decapatated rabbit - only a little one as well in the stable.

The kittens? Are they kitten killers? Not sure they did not seem that interested in it when I removed it from infront of the washing machine - so perhapse it is a Tim kill? Then on top of that the machine was already going with Barabaras washing as she puts it on timer.

I think oh I'll have a nice cup of tea only to find the kettle does not work - quick investigation - Al left it unplugged from where he used the blender for dinner. relieved I plug it in and - oh - it still doesnt work 🙁

So I currently have a suacepan on downs stairs - thinking we may need a new kettle as it is still our only source of hot water - the shower producing either luke warm or scualding trickle - you choose.

All in all not a very promising start to the week in my opion.

Jean and the order of things (by )

I have been playing with playdogh with Jean as she has become interested in my fimo exploits! My plan though it is unlikely to work is that this is Jeans Playdough and this is Mummys playdough (yes your right not going to work but hey its fun trying!).

We sat there at her little table with it but she got upset when I mixed colours to make eggs and stuff - she seemed more interested in putting it all back into the pots (unfortunatly she did try to shuv it all into one pot which was interesting). However she did sort of grasp the idea of putting the stuff in the little moulds that come on the lids. It was fun 🙂 - though I did discover that playdogh is actually really difficult to modle - really difficult!

Social engineering (by )

Bruce Schneier's blog as an article on a recent diamon heist carried out purely through social engineering. No high-tech descending on wires through skylights, gymnastic climbing through nets of laser beams, or reprogramming advanced electronic locks. Nope, the perpetrator just earnt the trust of the staff by appearing to be a nice harmless guy.

No amount of snazzy technology can prevent this kind of thing. Sure, you can make it harder in some ways, but people will still be the weakest link.

My suggested solution to this kind of crime is to make it everybody's civic duty to test security systems. Teach social engineering at school. If somebody is caught in an attempted non-violent non-property-damaging security breach attempt, congratulate them. If they manage to pull one off and get away with it but then fail to report the fact, throw 'em in jail - but if they DO report it and turn the goods back in, they get congratulated and a reward from the victim's insurance company.

Sure, this makes an actual malicious robbery slightly less risky (as long as you don't damage anything or anyone during the attempt, which is clearly against the rules of a good-natured security probe), since if you get caught in the act you can say it was just for fun and you'd have handed in the winnings if you'd not been caught, but actual successful robberies at that level are rare. And with a segment of the population worrying at any possible security hole in search of a finder's bounty, there'll be less security holes to exploit, and the staff will be a lot less trusting of nice folks...

Putrescible Waste 2 (by )

Having looked into this a bit more I discover that a lady up the hill from us did indeed used to feed resturant waste to her wormeries but that she had to give the business up.


Becuase she could not sell the compost.


Becuase we import stuff cheaper than she could produce it for. Why are we importing compost? And she said it was from the Netherlands I think (well around there somewhere) - this concerns me as I bet it is peat we are actually importing and the peat bogs are a bit of an endangered habitate plus it is the cold climate carbon sink (like the rain forestests only for cold climate - peat is made from moss you see and it takes ages for it to all stake up like that and make peat.)

This is even worse when you think about the fact that we will be using lots of fuel to ship the stuff over - now I like international trade but things like this annoy me - there is no reason to import this stuff 🙁

Someone pointed out we have land which we could use for this perpose - for a start the land is not currently ours it belongs to Al's family but not directly us. Plus having spoken to this lady I think that we'd have trouble doing more than 30 resturants.

Still it is now on my todo list for when we have a) free time and b) money.

I am actually wondering about the practicalities of producing alcohol for non-culinary uses from such waste plus what of the volitile gases like methan etc... Maybe with the help of a chem eng student or three we could design some big ol' bacteria compost muching vats with pipes and what not to syphon stuff of?

This is obviously a new idea so it is not well thought out and there's bound to be fifty million problems but still its worth thinking about surely?

p.s. people feel free to still this idea and run with it though let people know about it and dont get your pantent locked in a safe so no one can do anything please?

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