Saturday, April 28, 2007

The House That Jack Built

Finished. It arrived a few weeks back and sat idle leaning against the side of the house whilst I got up the courage to build it. I must admit to being a bit scared, being a Pom and all that. I know that Kiwis are genetically programmed to build houses and to be honest, this was a house. "Play" house just didn't do it; this thing had a freakin' deck and windows that opened.

The base was seriously heavy and at over 2.5ms was hard as hell to lift. I had prepared an area for it but the instructions warned (in bold type no less) to make sure that the ground was level else things would be nasty. Not a good idea to ignore bold type; I had done that before and I can still remember the screams....

I plodded off to the hardware store, bought some posts and cement, fired up the laser level that I'd used once before to put up a border, and off I went, all Kiwi bloke like. I used real Kiwi words like bugger, YehNoYeh and Damn these are my best pants and after a day had a great looking set of foundations fit for a palace.

The next day, Mrs R and I through sheer will power managed to move the base into place and I couldn't really believe that it actually fitted perfectly. Construction began in earnest and to be honest the instructions were real simple and once we had two walls in place, Mrs R left me and my hammer to it.

A few hours later and....

Apr 07 166

Since this photo was taken, armed with a renewed sense of manliness, I put in three more posts and a railway sleeper step at the front, and then a fence. The little R's now have their very own Bach and I will eventually get a Sauna......

Highly recommend Woodworx and this product. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't hard work 'cause it was but it wasn't hard to put together and everything was well labelled with every nail and bolt included; good instructions, an accurate hammer arm and away you go. I got a few cuts and bruises but there is nothing like the feeling of building your own house!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Bad Day at the Office

Ever thought you had a bad day at the office? Well I bet it is nothing like the day that these guys had judging by this sequence of 4 photos, courtesy of Worksafe Victoria. An archive of other dodgy workers can be found at Shockers of the Week.

Photo One shows a typical foundation excavation with a small water leak (kindly highlighted with a big yellow arrow):

Photo Two shows a bit more water but don't worry lads, we've got a pump, soon be nice and dry in there:

In Photo Three the extent of the leak becomes clear and it is anchors away:

And finally in Photo Four, a lovely new recreational lake, just don't get you fishing line caught on the crane.....

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Matt's Back.....Soon

I first saw the Where The Hell Is Matt video a few months back on YouTube. It is brilliant in its simplicity and the music sets off the whole thing beautifully. He's not claiming to save the world, he's not even out there spreading the word of God, he's traveling the world (something most Kiwis are genetically programmed to do) and he is accidentally raising issues of importance in his journal.

He is on the move again and he'll hit New Zealand sometime this year. His web site is tracking his every move and his journal is great reading and well written. It is through his writing last year that you get a sense of what is really going on in the world as he is not jumping from 5 star hotels but really travelling, the hard way, with a budget, and walking places. He was in Mali two days ago but the map now shows him in Ethiopia, a country with a tragic past and I suspect the ongoing trauma of that country will come across when he writes.

I think those fine folks over at Wellingtonista Towers could organise a great Blogfest welcome for Matt if he gets to Wellington; a mass dance at the top of Mt Kaukau maybe? Go on, register on his site and get him to our fine city; he doesn't mention us once in his NZ journal so we need him here. Maybe he could dance with Queen Helen......

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Petrol Head? Nah, I ain't that smart.

I drive an Audi and I like my car. I'm not a petrol head as I know very little about engines but I know what I like. I like reliability and power and I kind of get both from my car. It always starts but I do often get little flashing lights which seem to suck money straight from my bank account. I dread to think how much I have spent over the last 5 years since it arrived in a container from the UK.

It was a car we bought pre-children when we lived in a nice country town in West Sussex and is not very sensible these days having only two seats but I could not part with it. It took part in a daring 3am fog smothered rush to Worthing hospital in the winter of 2001 when Mrs R was in labour and has some fun memories.

These days, it isn't financially viable to sell it as it has depreciated to a level that it will probably sit at for another 10 years or so with little movement. A lot of the problems I've had relate to the salt corrosion from the UK roads even though it only spent one winter there and I suspect that the car dealers secretly love this little UK anomaly. The last bill was for over $2k because once the corrosion sets in, it is hard to stop, nevertheless, it is great fun and makes me smile on my drive to work, all 8 minutes of it....

Anyway, there is a famous love hate relationship between Audi drivers and BMW drivers. Audi drivers believe they are real drivers and like to feel the car on the road and become part of the car; they feel that BMW drivers are simply sitting in the car and moving from A to B. BMW drivers look at Audi drivers as "nearly made it" and "couldn't stretch to a Beemer, huh?". The rivalry was probably ignited further with these ads that I got e-mailed today [cheers Nic G].

First up, the BMW dig at Audi:
Ad 1

And the response from Audi:
Ad 2

Not to be outdone, the bling boys got in with:
Ad 3

And, not sure if this is genuine, a car with real class comes up the rear as it were:
Ad 4