Marimo Completed

This morning I gave up waiting and decided to make it up today.

I took all my bits and, using all the stones, had a go to see which I liked. In the end it was the pebbles I liked. I put them all in the tub and removed some till I was happy.


In the end I got to here. It’s roughly 1/3 medium to 2/3 water. I have no idea if that is aesthetically good or not but I am happy with it, if you choose to give it a try then you will likely go with something else.


I then added the two Marimo and put the lid on.

I took the extra stones back outside and then took the completed Marimo bowl upstairs to the bathroom.


It will sit in the sunlight for a couple of days so that the bubbles disperse. Once it has settled down again I will move it to my room. It may be a North facing window but its actually not so bad. It gets a fair bit of diffused light.

BTW… If anyone wants more info there is a great channel on YouTube that has lots of vids on the subject. Wendi Phan


Washing Machine Blues

Ok… This is one is all on me. It appears I’m a bit of an idiot.

We don’t use fabric softeners… Or rather we don’t any more. We haven’t actually used them for a few years. But we did have a brief lapse when we first got the washing machine we have now. We used it once, maybe twice. Seriously we still have the near full bottle and it now resembles something akin to bad yoghurt. I didn’t even realise fabric softener had a BBE date.

For the past few days I have been wondering where the strange smell has been coming from in our kitchen. Had the cat thrown up? Had something fallen between the cupboards and gone off? No… And No.

I was putting a wash on and I got a whiff of the strange smell. When I opened up the draw I saw, and smelled, this. Ugh. B-(


Not nice. I also need to point out that I have no idea when the last time that draw was even opened. We use liquid detergent you put straight in the tub.
Normally when our machine starts it does a kind of a… Purge? It will blast some water through and then push it out. I though it was to clean the pipes and the bottom of the drum to remove any old water that had been left from last time… Great idea, no? So I naturally thought it would clear out the draw too…. Or something like that. Well, no.

So now I need to learn how to clean the draws of washing machines.

At least I now know where the smell was coming from!

Carpet brushes?

For a long time I have been getting annoyed by the fact that I can’t ever really get the sheddings from a certain member of our household out of the carpets. I do, of course, mean exhibit A…


She is a long haired Turkish Van… She despises being brushed so she sheds everywhere. Our normal vacuum cleaner tries it’s best but it simply can’t get all the cat hair up. So a couple of weeks ago I bought a carpet brush. Honestly I didn’t think it would work.

The day I bought it I gave it a try. I’m not going to lie… It was good but not as good as I had hoped. As it turns out I had been using it wrong… Colour me surprised!

The brush I bought is only a carpet brush, not a carpet rake… I have been looking up carpet rakes for how to use it. *le sigh*

So yesterday I had another go with it with the new technique, to see how it went… SO MUCH BETTER!!!

After giving it a vacuum I then used the brush.


You can see the line of fur that the vacuum just didn’t get up. The worst thing is that I can’t tell the difference between the brushed and the as-of-yet brushed bit!
And yet so much came out… It also managed to get out a couple of bits of walked in crud too. Very happy with that.


In the end, after a single run I got this lot out. Not only that but it feels a lot fluffier underfoot. It’s only a short fibre rug but it has really made a difference!

This was only a cheaper brush. It’s this, if you were wondering… I’m going to try it on a few of the actual carpets in the house, see if it does as well on those as the rug.

Because this did so well I may upgrade to an actual carpet rake in time, maybe when this one wears out. Well… It’s better than shaving the cat! B-)

And It Goes On… And On

I swear I should rename this account to ‘Shit that goes down at work’…

So… Today’s fiasco? Well…. Go grab a cup of tea, kids. Sit yourselves down and let Uncle Kal tell you the grand story of the latest shit-show. >.>

This Friday evening, and I go to my first shift of the week, check my email and find out that our department head, who we oh-so-rarely see, has forwarded us all an email from HR telling us that we need to take our holiday entitlement or we will lose them.

You see, we are currently on short, fixed term contracts as this is only a pilot scheme. Ok… Fair enough. But nobody mentioned that we need to have taken our holidays before each fixed term was done. So now we all have to take our holidays, although we can carry over a small amount at our managers discretion, which he has allowed. >.>

So now, for the next 3 weeks till the end of September, which is when this contract finishes, ALL the staff have to use up their holidays. So I am off next weekend… Whether I like it or not. *sigh*
So we have to fit in all those holidays, even though we are short staffed and can’t really afford to have people off…

The worse part? Yes, there is a worse part…

There is overtime available to cover the holidays.
(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻




Her name isn’t Rio…

…But she may well dance upon the sands. B-)

Morning, folks! As I sit here typing this, it is 5:26am on a dark, slightly soggy, Friday morning and I have just come back from dropping the wife off at Leeds/Bradford airport so she can catch a flight to Rio… And I couldn’t be more proud. B-)

You see, she is off to the Paralympics. No, not as an athlete or a spectator, although she will no doubt be watching a fair amount of it too, but as a media person. How awesome is that?! She will be a part of the media team, those peeps that do the twitter, instagram, facebook, yada, yada, yada… All those. She is one of the unsung heroes that keeps everyone else up to date on what is going on.

For those of you that don’t know what the Paralympics are…. Read this!!!

My family is a big supporter of para-sports. For a while the wife was the manager of a sledge hockey team here in the UK and our daughter is a part of a local wheelchair basketball team. No, she isn’t an actual wheelchair user, she just plays it for fun. Although, side note, she knows a couple of the athletes heading to the paralympics. Another awesome thing! B-)

Not going to lie though. I don’t join in. I’m a supporter of the paralympics in as much as it is a thing… And it should be a thing, but I have no love for sports at all. I just don’t get it. And that’s fine. I don’t have to share the joy of sports to be proud of those that do enjoy it and actively help others enjoy it.

Anyway… This is really just a fluff piece to tell my wife that I love her and I’m oh so very proud of her. B-)

If you are interested and would like to know the schedule for the paralympics… Click here!

Oh, and Go Team GB!
(Other teams exist but GB is the best, so there!)

Lets Clean It Up!

Ok… It’s a stupid title that doesn’t match what the topic is about. Well… Kinda.


This is my aquarium. For some reason no matter how I photograph the thing it always looks worse than it actually is in real life. *sigh*
It’s 120 L (26 Gal) and is currently using 2 filters to keep it clean. And neither of them are doing a good job of it. Neither have enough filter space in them to keep up with my fish.

Now, as you may know, just before my hols I did a fair bit of overtime, about 23 hours or so, now I know what I am doing with that extra money. I’m going to go and replace my 2 not-big-enough filters with one MUCH BIGGER and far better option.



This is a bit of a change for me. This is an external filter rather than internal one. Normally you would put your pump/filter in the tank with the fish. But this REALLY limits the amount of medium you can have. With an external one, which is ironically what I learned to do with my pond out in the garden, you get a FAR better ratio of water to medium and so get more water cleaned.
Not only that but I don’t have to faff about taking the filters out of the water and risk spreading it out into the water, which happens more often than I like to admit. I just shut off the pump and lift out the medium and deal with it, nice and easy. No more soggy floors for me! YAY!

The other thing is that I won’t need either of the pumps or the air stone so I will also be saving on energy as this pump actually works out cheaper to run than any ONE of filters in there now, so removing both filters and the stone will save significantly. Not bad, eh?

And to cap it all it will be quieter… Something I’m sure the wife will be very happy to hear… Or not hear. Erm… You get what I mean!

If I have any spare money I may buy a UV addon for my pond outdoors. But I will have to do some research on those.

Set Up To Fail?

Warning… Wall of text.

At work me and the team I work with are getting strong vibes that the pilot scheme we are working on has been set up to fail.

Yeah, yeah… I know… Strong language. But hear me out.

When we were hired the advertisement was for a job only slightly resembling the job we are doing now. Now that isn’t such a shock to anyone that has ever done a pilot scheme. These things change as new things come to light. Fair enough.

The biggest problem is that the person who set this all up has, from what we were told, done this in a couple of other areas. So why the farcical start up? If he has done this before he should have known the most basic set up issues already and ironed those out in the planning phase. BUT YOU WOULD BE WRONG! O.O

From the get go we had problems.

  • The person who set up the whole scheme was let go immediately after our initial training/setup. More on this one later…
  • The garage we were going to be using was not suitable for us.
  • We were allocated more vehicles than we had spaces for in the garage.
  • We had no logistics trained people to oversee the stores/ordering system. Or even any ordering system in place!
  • No shift rota system was put together until AFTER we had started.
  • We had to change the rota because we were doing too many hours.
  • We are now STILL doing too many hours over the week but because we are doing a 5 out of 7 system it’s all good. (bollocks)
  • There was(lol, is) no official communication between us and the other departments.
  • Our original manager quit within the first month.

Fuck. >.>

From there it has not really gotten any better by the management making changes. WE have been doing that… Literally. And I don’t mean that our acting manager (ex part time weekend supervisor no less!) has been doing it either. It’s us lot on the bottom rung that has been spotting problems, fixing them and TELLING the management what we will be doing from now on…. And they have been ok with that! Holy shit!… I swear there is no oversight in this place.

The other important bit of information that you should probably know is that we are competing against another scheme. Oh yes. Also, that one was started long before ours, uses only temp agency staff and they were set up by professionals, from what we have been told. Rota, logistics, a well set up garage, the whole enchilada.
Not only that but the guy that set up our scheme left ours and then was immediately taken on by, and now highly praises, the other scheme. WTF???!!!

Not only that but we were taken on with a short, fixed term contract. Nothing strange with a pilot scheme. We then got an extension to that scheme… Now things are in the air. We have been given Chinese whispers that we have a 3rd extension, nothing official… But here is the problem. The place I work for, apparently, has a rule that you can’t give someone 3 short term contracts without taking them on full time. Oppsie?

I swear I couldn’t make this up.

So… What now? Well. It appears that whoever set us up to fail has failed… Or we overcame the odds… I’m not sure. Whatever… Moving on. The fact is that on paper we are scoring FAR better than the other scheme is. We have a lot higher vehicle to staff ratio, our vehicles are FAR cleaner, better prepared and we even go fetch vehicles from other stations when they are loaned out to get them cleaned. We even do our own Deep Cleans (imagine stripping your car down to the chassis and cleaning it and then putting it all back in, takes 5 hours) And that seems to have come as a surprise to someone.

So this week I haven’t been posting to my gardening channel, or even here, because I have been working extra hours at work. Mainly because since the scheme started 3 people have quit and not been replaced. We started with 10, we now have 7… And Management decided to send 2 of those, plus our one and only line of official communication, our supervisor, on a course for 2 weeks… YAY! So from 7 we now have 4… And one just went on sick. So 3.

3 people to do the job of 10, and one of those is a fucking wanker, and management see no problems here. *Sigh*
Oh… And a certain someone has pre-booked holidays next week so they are down to 2.


And people wonder why I, and others, think this scheme was set up to fail. >.>

It’s enough to drive a man to drink.