J R Hartley eat your heart out

Its time to dust off my fishing tackle after the winter break. The sun is out and them trout must surely be getting ready for a bit of fly action. I was keen to miss the mad rush at the start of the season but today might be difficult to stay away any longer – the family are all busy with ponies (new arrival today making my wallet clench) – so I might slope off and get my line wet at Blagdon Lake… North shore I fancy. It will be cold and I will only catch a cold but it would be nice to make a start. Pics later if I get near the hallowed ground.



Pig sty pool conversion

Pig sty pool conversion

Our friendly farming neighbours, the Fords at Yeowood Farm, have almost completed a year long conversion of some old pig kennels into a very swanky commercial swimming pool – soon to be available for hire by the hour.
A great example of farm diversification, particularly as they’re also growing large amounts of Miscanthus (Elephant Grass to you and me) to provide biomass fuel for a huge new boiler which will supply hot water and heating for the pool and their adjacent home. Neat.
As an hommage to the building’s hidden past, the pool boasts a splendid porcine mosaic in one corner – see pic.
I will add a click-through to their pool hire site when it goes live in a few weeks.

Aga? Aaaagha more like. Fuel costs way too high.


Keep your wallet tightly closed

Quick check on the oil tank this afternoon. Helpfully it doesn’t even have a reliable level indicator. This means going back to basics and dipping a stick then crudely gauging against the side of the tank.

We completely ran out of oil two weeks ago so its really easy to work out that one third of the last delivery has already gone. And an 800 litre delivery, so that means about 260 litres. Even at 63p a litre, I reckon we’re polishing off £12 a day just on oil, with another £70 a month on electricity. This has got to change.

So the beloved old Aga is definitely for the chop which is gutting.

Better news is that we quickly bought a bargain Falcon range cooker on Ebay rather spontaneously and – get this – it will pay for itself easily next winter by saving us at least £200 a month. Hardly thrifty but OOSH all the same.

Oh you (not so little) little beauty

Shock! ‘Carmakers manipulate emissions tests’

Shock! 'Carmakers manipulate emissions tests'

No sh*t.
It turns out that car performance tests are heavily manipulated to show a false trend of dramatic improvements over the last few years. This is the thing with asking turkeys to plan for Christmas: they’ll fib about the date if you put them in charge of the calendar.

c/o Jorn Madslien, BBC News

To pitch or not to pitch…

That is the question.

Personally I’ve rarely been able to make a tangible stand on this. I’d like to say otherwise.

Free pitching above your weight is hard to avoid in the early days: exposure to potentially valuable experience is just useful. And many agencies don’t bat an eye at unpaid work-experience these days – kinda the same thing for graduates? I often work for nothing if it feels important enough – do it all the time. But that’s different.

Being asked to do ‘sale or return’ creative is pretty crap unless it creates access to something or someone new/useful/insightful/…wealthy.

I’ll give a little of my time and see what happens. Let’s call it a fee-neutral approach.

Blog. I can’t put it off any longer.

Working from home today in front of the Aga. Sounds and looks kinda dreamy but the truth is, I’m quite cold.


I really like old stuff. And this Aga is undoubtedly a fab, crusty, 60+ year old hunk of iron so we inevitably love parking our butts on it. But it costs nigh on £100 a week to keep one room barely above freezing and the ‘hot’ water tepid. Hardly a device to warm the cockles of the thrifty-at-heart.

So with some regret, this old gal is high on our list of priorities for tidying up our new home. Mind you, we’ll decommish water-heating first (notoriously inefficient even by Aga standards) and see how much oil she burns just for cooking and heating.


Nel has other ideas. Her basket is comfortably within the warm zone.