Another escape room

This time we took Amelia with us since she wasn’t off sunning herself in Spain. We did the Wild West escape in Liverpool which was pretty good fun.

My wanna be model daughter and her crazy poses

After successfully escaping within the time limit and with all the gold we went to a Mexican restaurant on Bold St for a seriously awesome meal. La Parrilla served the beer in frozen/chilled glasses and they went down exceptionally well. The food was fantastic and we all had a great time before taking the bustrain home.

Nail Gun

I have my own nail gun. It’s a little one for doing quite small jobs like pinning T&G to the outside of the OG shed, maybe a light bit of furniture work or attaching a skirting board. What I needed was a kick ass nail gun capable of firing 90mm nails into a rafter and holding up the roof of my new building.

Fortunately – as always – Hodgsons had one.

This is by far the best tool I’ve ever hired. It’s heavy, it’s loud it’s dangerous. It’s just every man’s dream.

I was almost sad when I had to return it to the hire place. Fortunately I’ll probably rent it again when it comes time to putting the cladding up. I could use a hammer but at £24 quid for a days rental why would I bother with a hammer?

Workshop progress

Coming along nicely. All the stud walls are in, the ridge beam is up and all rafters are in place.

The next step will be to put a roof on. One option is a membrane followed by shingles or slates. The other quick and cheap option is to temporarily put some OSB up and felt it, then next Summer do a proper job. After that I’ll have to put a membrane on the walls and then clad to entire building in either Oak, Larch or Cedar.

Toad in the hole

I love a good Yorkshire Pudding and since I had a bag of good sausages left over from a recent butchers trip I decided to knock up a Toad in the hole with proper sausages for Em, Oli and myself – and a vegetarian Toad in the hole for Amelia.

Turned out pretty well I reckon. Tasted good too – but not so great trying to eat leftovers next day by microwaving it. Batter does not take too well to microwaving

Square Twist Nails

I used some rafter hangers to put up the mezzanine in my new workshop. Initially I just fixed them in place with some 40mm 3.5 screws. However on the rafter hanger was written to use square twist nails. Being a bit of a novice at this I’d never heard of square twist nails so I decided to investigate.

I bought a couple of bags from my local hardware store and set to it.

They are an absolute thing of beauty. They twist as you hammer them in and everything! Those rafter hangers are not coming out again!


Back in time when I was in London every week a gang of us would often go out and eat in swanky restaurants. I still often go out to swanky restaurants up North but not with the London crew. Martin was one of the London gang and he now lives up North too but we hadn’t seen each other for absolutely ages so we decided to lunch at Northcote and have a catch up.

Definitely worth it


On the same day that I finished my plumbing [ see previous post ] the ground workers turned up to dig up the bamboo. This bamboo was given to us by our neighbour about 15 years ago. “That’ll make a great replacement for the spots where the hawthorn has died” we thought. Turns out it was a spectacularly bad idea to plant it in our fence line. Spreads like a bastard. Grew under the path and started coming up in the garden. When I built my front shed I had a 1.5 tonne mini excavator that I thought I’d use to dig up the bamboo. It didn’t even come close. Didn’t budge it at all.

The builders turned up with a massive piece of machinery. Lifted up my path and got started. It took us a good while to find my electricity/water/data cables but once we did the digger driver was a proper pro and dug around them perfectly.

We ended up with two huge holes where the bamboo used to be. The next day the ground workers got busy with the dumper truck and brought over load after load of soil and filled in the holes again. I’m now waiting for some replacement hawthorn bushes to get planted and some grass seed to go down and all will be right with the world and I can stop worrying about invasive bamboo.


When we had the extension done we got a plumber in to do some stuff. Turns out he’s an absolute bell end. Monumental dick. Nearly ended up costing me a new boiler because he couldn’t be arsed flushing the system. Anyway. One of the other things he did was to fit a stop cock so that I could turn off my outside water supply when the weather gets toward freezing.

The input to the stopcock is a 15mm pipe. The output from the stopcock is a 25mm MDPE pipe that goes down the garden. So he fitted a 25/15mm stopcock. All good so far. The only minor problem is that the stopcock is unidirectional. It’s designed to stop the flow of water FROM a 25mm pipe to a 15mm pipe. The exact opposite of the situation we have. The upshot of this is that I could not stop the flow of water down the garden. This wasn’t such a big deal, I could cope with it, until the builders next door offered to remove my bamboo problem [ more on this later ] with a massive digger. The bamboo is growing directly above my water pipe and I was pretty convinced they were going to damage my pipe and my only solution would be to turn off the main stopcock in the house and we wouldn’t be able to use water until the pipe was repaired.

What the plumber should have done is put in a standard 15mm stopcock on the 15mm pipe and then just fitted an adaptor from the output of the stopcock onto the 25mm pipe. Piece of cake. No problem. Have it done in 5 minutes. Except of course since the pipe work has been fitted we’ve built a kitchen around it which makes access really really hard.

I had to chop the crap out of my kitchen cabinet, fit a series of 90 degree bends to avoid the waste pipe and introduce a 15/25 adaptor which can’t be seen in the picture above. All went pretty well until I had to introduce the adaptor. Getting a clean cut on a 15mm pipe is easy. inserting the pipe support on a 15mm pipe is easy. Everything to do with a 25mm pipe is really really hard. I couldn’t get a square cut with the cheap pipe cutters that the nobhead plumber left behind. I struggled to push the pipe insert far enough in. Both of which combined to give me a leak. Ultimately I bought a new pair of ratcheting pipe cutters which gave me an excellent cut on the pipe. I then fired up my heat gun on the MDPE to warm it slightly and make it just a touch more flexible so that I could get the pipe insert in.

Now the job is complete. I have a stopcock to stop the water going outside. The builders dug up the bamboo and didn’t even come close to my water pipe. It’s all been a massive waste of time.