Prep bowl

We bought a nice prep bowl at the Muizenberg market.

Then I redesigned the kitchen, and the counter became too narrow for that prep bowl.

Then we started looking for prep bowls to fit the narrow counter, with little success.

Until we went to the Hout Bay craft market, where we found these two bowls:

We both liked the left-hand one more than the right-hand one, but due to the way the clay is fired to get the finish, the right-hand one is slightly smaller.

So we went back home to measure. And I figured that I could make the shiny one fit.

The hole is just inside the cupboard front edge, and it overlaps the batten at the back, but the bowl curves, so it fits, with a centimeter or so to spare.

And then I could fasten the top to the base cupboards, and fit the tap. Yay!

Supper last night was spaghetti Bolognese, Michelle’s recipe via Alosha. And I mixed some speculaas dough, it’s in the fridge, will stick it in the oven tonight.

Small World

I should have blogged the start of this story when it happened… I had the dominos, and I had a gas bottle, and I even had some spare flexible gas pipe, but I needed the bits to make it all work.

So I went by the Gas Appliance Centre in Lansdowne Road, with a domino in hand. Girl behind the counter (whom I can totally go in for, except she smokes) takes one look at this, says “yea, you need a hose barb female with a *mumble* thread, they come from the factory with a *mumble-something-else* thread, we have a tap, we can fix it… but we’re out of stock… come back in two days’ time”.

So after checking back a few times they get the fittings into stock (this place is sort of on my way to / from Lansdowne Boards so it’s no hassle). And I buy the two fittings, a T connector, a regulator and a bunch of pipe clamps.

All of this is currently doing duty making the gas dominos work over at the house (there’s still a bit of a leak I need to sort out though).

In the course of this all I spot that they also have cast iron woks, but small ones. Which is a Good Thing, since this was only days after Tanya bought me the Le Creuset. And I spot the corrugated vent pipe they use to vent gas geysers to the outside world. Figuring I could use this to join the miss-applied sewerage pipe to the extractor fan, I ask for a small bit of it. And she says “yea, my brother has off-cuts in the back of the bakkie, I’ll ask him to leave a bit here for you”.

And since then I’ve checked in a few times but the transfer from back of bakkie to under counter had not yet been made.

Which brings us to the other story. I removed four fans, actually, I lie, I removed two fans and the previous owners left us two fans which they removed or never fitted or whatever, from the bedrooms. That still leaves two fans in the house, previous owners were serious fans of… fans. Anyway, stuck the fans on Gumtree. A month or so later this girl phones, says she wants two fans, and she’ll send her cousin or friend or something to collect. No worries, say I, and I stick the fans in the back of the car.

So this morning a fellow pitches, says he’s here for the fans. And he drives a Gas Appliance Centre bakkie. Ahah!

So now I have the bit of corrugated pipe I need to finish the extractor fan installation :-)

Quick road trip

We had a bit of a booze-up at Amperbo on Friday, my brother had a few people over because the moon was full or something (actually it was his birthday but at our age we’re quiet about that).

So we looked and felt our best when we had to go to Knysna the next morning.

6 hours and 6 minutes of driving, 519km, at an average of 85km/h and 6.3l/100km according to the trip computer, which lies by about 1l/100km about these things. I normally get better fuel consumption but I was towing a parachute trailer.

The bottom half of the display cabinet we took to Knysna is on the trailer, the top half is inside.

Saw a nice looking Forward Control in George.

In Knysna we swapped the display cabinet for a dining room table, and then we drove all the way back again on Monday.

But at least we now have a dining room table :-)

Pot(ter)ing around

We got this yucca tree from freecycle. In a large pot with a small base, so it wasn’t very stable. We found a better pot at Builders Warehouse, transferred the yucca to that, and then figured that the new pot was still not big enough.

So we found an even bigger pot at Harry Goemans, which meant that we had to buy another yucca to go in the smaller pot.

In the process of transferring yuccas and moving pots around, I pushed the larger pot just a little too hard. Sprained my arm. Ouch.

But I think it looks good.

I’m your customer, not your fscking QA department!

Those following this blog will know that I’ve had many hassles with Lansdowne Boards. This is the second time I’ve run across this specific problem, which is that the board goes through the machine at a slight angle, which means that things don’t line up.

It’s not a lot, but it makes the front of the shelf stand proud by half a millimeter or so, and that looks bad.

The whole point of Lansdowne Boards‘ system is that they have the precision machines so that you can just assemble the stuff without using any complicated tools. In theory this is good. But if your machines are out of calibration or your operators just don’t care, this is the result — one pissed off customer.

So, sadly, I can’t recommend using them. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to suffer, and if you do know what you’re doing, you don’t need them anyway. Go to Davidson’s or someone else instead.

I suddenly realised why I’m so damned tired

Emotionally tired, I think, more than physically.

I looked back through some photographs… we’ve come a long way, and we did a helluva lot, but it’s not so obvious if you’re living it day-by-day — it’s much more striking when you look back.

This was the stoep area outside the kitchen door, back in April.

By July, it was looking a lot better.

Of necessity, Frank paved the bricks at quite a slope. This is good, from a water runoff point of view, but I had to chock the washing machine with a couple of 2x4s, otherwise it would bleat piteously and give up on the spin cycle.

I had planned a platform to keep the machines dry and off the deck, as well as a partition to keep the wind and dust at bay, and a table for sorting and folding the washing.

I’ll move the chest freezer when I have help :-)

And the worms ate into his brain *

Earthworms, that is. Specifically, recycling kitchen waste, leading to less landfill and a healthy garden.

I bookmarked this web site a long time ago. It has instructions on building your own worm farm and all.

So when I recently revisited the topic, I found that a whole lot of new web sites had sprung up. This worm farming thing is becoming popular.

In the order I found the sites:

Full Cycle Worm Factory, Wiggler Magic Worms, Wizzard Worms, Full Cycle Can of Worms, Mother Earthworms. They also sell worm farms at the Porter Estate market, but they’re the single-bin type, and I quite like the stacked bin idea.

The Wiggler (imported) kit sells for R930, including worms — probably not that much more than the bits to make my own would cost me. They also have a locally made one for slightly less, but I prefer the look of the imported model, which is what I ended up buying. I picked it up from Vernon’s house in Lakeside.

Yup, those are the worms, in the top box…

So now I have a colony of earthworms, eating some spinach leaves… will see how it goes.

(* Pink Floyd lyrics here)

The long-awaited shower post.

It’s been a quiet few weeks, blog-wise, and I prefer to think it’s because I had, for however brief a time, a life.

That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

Anyway, the shower in the main-en-suite. My original design featured two shower heads, a conventional rose at conventional height, and a large overhead rose. All of this controlled by a standard bathtub diverter tap (the type you would normally use for a bathtub / shower combination, or a bathtub with a telephone shower).

This is the best picture I have, I’m afraid — I was photographing the curved wall.

The large rose was a given — Tanya likes it, a lot. The idea behind the lower rose is that Tanya could use it if she didn’t want to get her hair wet.

Well, this arrangement worked, but the large rose kept dripping for hours afterwards. And Tanya ended up using the large rose exclusively anyway.

So yours truly devised Plan B, which is to fit a vacuum breaker, figuring that this would make the upper circuit drain more quickly. I also removed the lower arm and rose, what with it not being used and all.

Result : no change, large rose still dripped for hours… I think the water in the rose and pipe didn’t provide enough suction to open the vacuum breaker, maybe.

A lot of late night insomnia led to Plan C.

Spot the difference? Yup, those curved pipes are not for show. The shower now stops dripping almost immediately.

So, if you want a large overhead shower rose, you also need the pipe with the bend in it. Trust me.

Doing our bit to save the environment, part 2

Our water bill has been high every month since we got the house. I attributed it to the building and other work going on, but now that we’re settled in, it became clear that Something Is Not Right.

Specifically, we’re using about 40 thousand litres a month. That’s about 10 thousand US gallons.

So I thought I should make a daily note of the water meter reading, to see what’s happening (Many councils have a habit of estimating usage based on one month’s consumption, for months on end). Immediately noticed that the wheel is turning, even though I knew there was no water running anywhere in the house.

Closing the stop cocks available to me, I figure it must be a leak in the plumbing I didn’t replace. The water mains enters the property through a stop cock, from there (I think) it goes to two outside taps, and then to the junction which feeds the geyser (via a stopcock), the prep bowl and the toilets.

This is the junction, below all the other stuff I ripped out (picture from April 2008, when I just started). It feeds the geyser (thick pipe going left and bending up) and the toilets and prep bowl (the other side of the T junction). All the other cold water taps are fed from the geyser side of the pressure regulator, so that the hot & cold water pressures are the same, so that mixer taps work right. And taking the geyser offline doesn’t stop the meter.

So, the leak is either under the front lawn, at the junction, or under the house. I’m guessing the latter. Tomorrow it’s Frank and a spade, that’s the only way to find out.

Found the problem

This leak must have been there for… months… years… a long time. Strange that the previous owners never noticed. Or maybe they thought that paying the R150 extra a month was cheaper than getting someone in to fix the problem.