Category Archives: General

Tyre punctures

What’s with me and tyre punctures I wonder. Bought a car only three weeks ago, went on long distance to Cornwall for a holiday, then one of my front tyres went flat on the second day! Similar things happened to me after I bought my bicycle. Three or four punctures within the first month or two. Very unlucky. This time it was costly as well, as the object that pierced through the tyre was too close to the side wall to mend, which means the whole tyre needed replacing. Ouch!Looking on the positives, we have car breakdown cover so we didn’t have to even change the car tyre ourselves. And we have a full size tyre that comes with the car so we didn’t need to go looking for a local tyre shop to deal with the punctured tyre immediately. Thus we were able to carry on where we left off for the rest of the day. Lastly I think we saved almost 30 quid on our Michelin tyre thanks to the advice of one of the mechanics at Kwik-fit, a tyre shop. Actually his advice, which was to send my punctured tyre to another nearby tyre shop to get it mended, did not work because that tyre shop does not mend punctures that are close to the sidewall as well. The mechanic personally thought the puncture was not that close to the sidewall and could be mended, but he is restricted by company’s policy, hence the suggestion. Anyway we wanted to keep all four of our tyres to be of the same make, but the second tyre shop did not have one in stock. So we got a quote and called Kwik-fit to see if they have one around. Had it not been this initial quote, Kwik-fit was planning to charge me 30 quid more for the same tyre! My friend was surprised as well as he thought Kwik-fit is normally fairly competitive. Looks like these shops will rip you off if you have not done a bit of homework beforehand! Well at least not all is bad. And we had excellent weather throughout our holiday as well 🙂

The 11th hour

Like my friend asked, “When did a documentary last make you cry?”. I certainly could not remember when, if it ever did happen to me. The nature has been for too long far too underrated. To put it in figures, according to David Suzuki, it will cost the world approximately $35 trillion dollars a year to replace what nature does for us for free! Hence it is baffling when we talk about economy, growth, and whatnot, the wonders of nature are not included in the equation. It is as though humans are above everything else in nature, and that we have the rights to take it for granted. Makes me very sad. It really does not matter to me if human eventually extincts. The Earth will survive, so as other life forms, albeit simpler ones. We just don’t deserve to live if we do not change the way we think and live, so as to maintain the Earth at a condition suitable for human to live. Keep living irresponsibly, and keep coming up with theories to justify your existence above everything else.

Great Britain and the United Kingdom

Great British Venn Diagram

Huge findings! I haven’t realised that there is subtle difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom. I know Republic of Ireland is not part of the UK. But I didn’t know that Northern Ireland is not part of Great Britain! A friend of mine also then see the slightly misleading name given to the Olympic team, called “Team GB”. I wonder if this has caused outrage in the past among the Northern Irish.What was confusing for me before was that the International Irish Rugby team is made up of both sides of Irish players. Anyway, this is a great Euler diagram that explains the relationships among the British Isles PERFECTLY! 🙂

Very quiet Christmas this year!

Oracle Reading, by Bobonacus

It’s been very unlike Christmas this year in the UK. There isn’t much festive mood, no Christmas tunes heard in shopping malls, and considering that we are less than one month away from Christmas, this is not looking good. Perhaps people are finally feeling the wrath of the recession. However having said that, the house prices continue to rise again this month. Confusing.Winter this year has been very mild as well, except today, when it went down to -2 degree celcius in the early morning. Had to scrap ice off the windscreen of my company car. Hate driving in winter. Anyway looks like we are not going to get a white Christmas this year. In any case, we will not be spending Christmas in the UK. Why do I care…

Complete bathroom installation

It finally comes the time when we will go ahead and redo our bathroom, after procratinating for at least two years now. Hey we have our reasons. You know, it’s a massive job, and we know very little knowledge about plumbing, home improvement stuff etc etc ;)First of all, we want to replace our tiny storage electric boiler. The water pressure from this boiler is too low to power a shower, which is what we want. Then our bathroom is not big enough for a bath tub and a shower enclosure together. That means we need to remove the bath tub before we can fit in the shower enclosure. Because of the existing pipe works, we will also need the builder to do some boxing in. And since we are going to be doing so much work to our bathroom, we might as well replace our basin and WC with better ones…We have just done a calculation. Including rough estimate of the labour cost, the whole thing is going to cost us around £5k! Afterall this figure is not that far off from the one given by the B&Q guy. Apart from the fact that B&Q’s materials will not be used, as recommended by any of the installer we asked. And the small detail that the labour cost is only about half the one quoted by B&Q! In fact this lower figure has even included the boiler, and its installation charge too!We don’t yet know if the quality of work of this installer is satisfactory. We only know he sounds competent and honest. We found him from the Little Green Book. I can understand why people may feel more comfortable dealing with B&Q, as they are certainly a big company with presence almost everywhere in the UK. But the truth is they also outsource installation works to people like him anyway. So at the end of the day you will still need to trust these people that they will do a good job. Otherwise there will be nowhere to start, which was what happened to us 🙂 Wish us luck, and oh latest news, W has just ordered a mirror, 70% off from Bathstore, to help do some damage control to our wallet 🙂

Clay pigeon shooting

When I first heard of this activity from my colleague I thought it’s going to involve shooting birds! Obviously I was wrong. It is actually one of those Olympic events where they shoot at flying clay discs. Silly me, but don’t you agree that the name is a little confusing, if you have not heard about it before?Anyway just managed to catch on the second outing with my company’s social club last Saturday, organised by my colleague who is a member of the shooting club. Very fortunate we are. Particularly after finding out on the day that the shooting range is actually located inside an army camp. In another words without my colleague I think it will be vey difficult for me to get in and to be able to play with a shotgun.So the place was very well guarded, with armed soldiers guarding the entrance into the campBeAns before we could lay our hands on the shotguns, we were warned about the fire power of these shotguns, as part of the health and safety briefing, as usual. When we carry the gun around the ground we were told that the gun should not be loaded. And we need to keep the shotgun in open position, so that others will feel safe around us. From then on I got quite stressed knowing that I’ll be using such a powerful weapon, of mass destruction from my point of view anyway, for the next two hours.I felt slightly better after firing my first shot. The recoil from the gun was not as bad as I anticipated. And it was incredibly simple to operate the gun, although it does require some clever skills to effortlessly open up and reload the gun. The size 20 gun was however a bit too heavy for me (20 is the size of the cartridge). Towards the end, I was really struggling to hold up the gun with my left arm. I made such complete mess with my final few shots that it was embarrasing. Nevertheless overall the whole thing was more fun than I thought it would be. The coach was excellent, friendly and approachable. The weather turned out to be very good. And most of all I managed to hit some discs, although it was all down hill towards the end. But will I take up this sport, as one of my hobbies? Most probably not. Handling fire arms is just not something I find pleasure in…

Home alone

W has just taken off to Paris to meet up with her friends who are coming to Europe with AirAsia from Malaysia. Not the inaugural flight, but now that I think about it, still among the earliest! We’ll be flying with AirAsia too in a few months time, hope they can maintain their standard!Anyway that means I’ll be home alone for a few days, woohoo! 🙂 Well nothing to be too excited about really, as I’ve been tasked to continue cleaning and tidying up our flat, as her friends will be staying over in our humble abode after they have “gatecrashed” Paris and Brussel. But before that I’ll be making my way to the pub, again (after playing Werewolf yesterday with my colleagues for Comic Relief), to watch this season make-or-break match for Liverpool. Damn I’m anxious. Will see what I’ll do after that match, as my mood will very much depend on the outcome of that game. It’s so unnecessary I know, but there’s so much at stake! Come on Liverpool!

The art of catching mouse

My colleague just found out that a mouse has sneaked into his house this week! Haha. Initially he found newspaper in his storage room bitten into pieces. Then next day the rice sack has a hole in it. Looks like the population of mice in Britain is really on the rise. I myself have already caught two mice in my flat! And we are so careful with our kitchen door nowadays that we put a cardboard barrier between our kitchen and the door, in case we have to leave the door open, by just a wee bit, to air the kitchen when we cook. Gives me great amount of inconvenience, as everytime I go into my backyard I have to lift my leg above almost waist height to get over the barrier. I nearly get a muscle cramp once, no joke.

Live mouse trap

This is the live mouse trap I’ve used to catch the two wood mice. The first one was fairly easy to trap. It was trapped as soon as I put in bird seeds together with some toasted cashew nuts. The second wood mouse was very clever. We put toasted cashew nuts and pine nuts near the entrance of the trap and breadcrumb all the way into the trap. But somehow it managed to eat all the nuts without triggering the trap mechanism! We ended having to “extend” the seasaw-like trap mechanism using masking tape, and sticked toasted nuts on it, to fool the mouse into getting trapped. And you know what, this mouse did not go down without a fight. It actually tried to bite its way out of my plastic mouse trap. What a vicious little mouse!My mouse trap is now with my colleague. I hope it is still capable of trapping a mouse. He has tried using M&Ms (apparently mouse like chocolates, but M&Ms…hmmm) and bird seeds as bait. But so far the mouse is having none of it, and in the process has once again eaten all the breadcrumb trails! 🙂 Ultimately I think he will prevail in this cat and mouse game, but provided that he can up his game everytime he fails…hohoho good luck to him.

Use the NEW TYRES for the rear

Sounds logical if you were to ask me. So don’t really know why people seem to always have experiences about having been advised by local tyre shop to use new tyres for their front wheels…This is an email received from my brother:IMPORTANT!Wow! This is against everything my tyre shop has been telling me all this while. Have to remember this useful safety tip now.Watch this important safety video from Michelin. The video below will show u why u must always put the new tyes on the rear wheels. On wet roads, the new tyres at the rear of the car will prevent its tail from spinning because of better grip in the rear and hence ensure higher driving safety. Heed this advice seriously.Where to put the new tires? Watch this video from Michelin. It advises to put the new tires always on the rear wheels.

Groceries packaging

The other day we bought some ready-meals and some groceries. In just one day our bin was filled with an entire plastic bag of rubbish, almost all from packaging, it’s unreal. Most of the time we cook from fresh produce, so it really hit home to see so much waste coming from our everyday consumption of food. My friend is right to point out that nowadays people are so involved in working like a slave to earn a “good” living that they haven’t realised that a lot of what they earn are use to pay for things and services we don’t really need. Let’s face it, apart of the basic human needs of food and shelter, the rest are one of those things that are just good to have, not really necessary. In order to appear attractive, clean and convenient, some companies have a separate department that focus on how to package and market their products. Everything is so value driven that it now gets to a point where it is ridiculous, because the world is becoming so efficient by the year that a lot of the so called “values” are created to merely keep people employed. People thus have to work harder and harder to pay for others to do simple things that they could have done themselves in the old days and luxury items that we hardly ever need! The world has certainly seen a lot of progress, technology wise, standard of living, with better healthcare etc. But our way of life, particularly the Western way of life, is in need of serious comtemplation.