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I went to McDonald's...

Yeah, I know I shouldn't have. But the nearby Burger King is not yet open (though it looks like it'll be Real Soon Now ™). Plus, I could spend chèques vacances, so it was as if the meal was free. Kinda. ☺

My server was one of the more senior staff, she was wearing the headset for doing drive-thruthrough orders. She didn't push up the bottom of the chip pack. Maybe it has happened enough that the big bods of McDo are warning their staff not to be seen doing it?
She, instead, had a much niftier idea. Rather than holding the chip pack from the sides, and squeezing it open, you know, like any normal human... she pinched it front to back and sort of shoved a few chips in.
When I say a few, here's a photo as soon as the bag had been opened:

McFail the McChips
McFail the McChips

When the price of chips (I'm guessing maybe €0,20 per pack including cooking oil and wrapping) which is about a tenth of what they'll sell them for, to be this stingy with chips on a €20 order should be an embarrassment.

My meal was a Chicken Big Tasty, 9 Nuggets, 1 Chicken Wrap, and a McMuffin (not a bacon one, despite what the wrapper might imply). Get the feeling I was a tad hungry?

The Big Tasty, at least, was correctly made without tomato. And the coke, well, the brown wet stuff that tastes nothing like coke, was made up without ice.
However the biggest surprise were the nine nuggets. Another photo.

More McFail
More McFail

What kind of clueless inbred halfwits are they employing that can't tell the difference between six and nine? Even me, a sufferer of dysalculia, can tell which way up 6 and 9 go to be correct.

You know, I checked the coke in the car park to make sure it didn't have ice (throwing in ice is so automatically ingrained in McDo employees that I've watched them do it even after saying no ice) but I never thought I'd need to count the nuggets.

Well done McDo. I've visited you three times since the beginning of the current pandemic, and each time was shit.

I should have known better than to go to McDo.
Laziness got the better of me.

I did at least get the fun of seeing somebody go through the Drive-ThruThrough on one of those silly scooter things. Carrying his bag of nosh to the front of the handlebars, strapped between both hands, in a way that looks like it won't be long before he bounces off his arse.

There was also a young girl, maybe ten or eleven, wearing a black dress with white collar and cuffs, and dark blue makeup. Role model clearly Wednesday Addams. ☺


Summer sales?

Apparently the sales started on Wednesday. A little early, but whatever.

I went into Châteaubriant, as you might have guessed from the McDo whinge, and looked around the supermarket. I missed up Gémo and DistriCenter this time as I really didn't feel like it, and besides, anything good will have already sold out.

The Leclerc had a separate section for sale goods. Very little of interest to be honest. I got a pack of bag clips for €0,75. Whoo.


Electric coolbox

In Action, I got an electric cool box. Running off 12V, and a mechanism very similar to the dehumidifier (one of those solid state heat pump gizmos), the idea was to keep food cold on the way home.

The coolbox
The coolbox

The first thing that becomes clear is that this device can only be used when the engine is running. Plugging it in saw the battery voltage drop from 12.3V (normal resting) to 10.8V. The box claims 48W (at 12V). I'm not sure what that is in amps, but I'm going to guess something like 3A? I say this because after about ten minutes, my little power adaptor gizmo's thermal cutout kicked in. You'll see in the picture above that the coolbox is directly plugged into the lighter socket. It can't go via the three-way unit, it consumes too much power.

To be honest, while it was a little cooler inside the box, I'm not really convinced that the cooling mechanism is going to anywhere near as good as throwing in two €0,80 packs of frozen chopped onions. Maybe it needs longer to reach a 'cool' temperature within the box?
Still, it's a useful thing to have for keeping cold food fresh on longer journeys. I just need to work out how best to actually power it, because I kind of want the dashcam and speedometer working too...


Mower trouble

The right steering joint.
This doesn't look good.
This doesn't look good.

I'll try strapping it together with one of those screw-up metal clip things (like you use to secure hosepipes), only a little heavier duty. The DIY shop ought to have something. Failing that, I guess I'll have to hit the Autotractée Discount site. Which will be fun as I have an "unknown" mower and I don't know what the part is called in English, never mind French. To my benefit, the unknown seems to be a generic clone of... was it Electrolux? Somebody you wouldn't think would make mechanical mowers. The part I need is like the main bar to which both front wheels attach. A sort of |-------| shaped thing.


How to confuse automatic exposure / The Gloom

Take a picture of the house in the sun, with an evil storm in the background. Luckily it was a south-western wind, so this didn't come any closer than "Holy crap!" away. It was quite an active storm, going by the noise.
The Gloom.
The Gloom.
Actually, to be honest, in reality it was even more black than it appears in the photo. Think of "The Fold" in Netflix's Shadow and Bone (if you've seen that) and that's sort of what it reminded me of.


Stupid signs

There was a box at work (hence no photos) that said on the side "For you and planet blue". Every time I walked by it, I asked myself "What does Venus have to do with anything?".

I saw this at the Noz.

The box is hardly going to say Dead Plants
The box is hardly going to say Dead Plants.
I notice it clearly says "403". That means access forbidden, doesn't it?

I saw this in the bin at work. For a bit of mind-screw, the woman with the pack written in English that references the NHS said she picked up a load of packs in Spain.

Smoking causes heart attacks
Smoking causes heart attacks.
When I saw this, I mumbled "Smoking causes heart attacks. So does execise, and sex, and doughnuts". One of the women (a newbie, don't know her) promptly translated for everybody else. I left them to be fixated on sex and doughnuts (if your mind just went to a silly pervy place, you're about there).
Looking at the photo now, look at that. Dad is purple, that's why he's sick. His wife is... not actually looking at him. And sweet daughter just to tug at the heart strings. Why aren't you wearing masks? You two want him to die, don't you? I bet he's well insured. That's why you're looking at the O2 dosage gizmo behind his bed. You're wondering if you could serruptitiously turn it down a little to hurry him along, aren't you.

And finally, on my pack of Leerdammer cheese.

Made with good milk!
Made with good milk!
Well, it's hardly going to say "Made with absymal quality milk from cows despicably chained to each other deep underground in caves devoid of all natural light and fed a diet of mashed stillborn babies".


Additional speakers

I had the two reasonable (if small) speakers that I removed from Caoimhe right in the beginning. I decided to add them back in as the rear channel speakers in order to give a little more surround to the audio.
Note, in case clarification is required, that this doesn't make stereo become surround sound. What it does is make it not so obviously coming from the front.

The speakers were hooked to grilles in the boot separator. They are attached using pieces of plastic coated wire twisted together.

Mounting the speakers
Mounting the speakers.

The cables were held in place with twist-ties (so everything can be undone, should I wish to remove the separator), and then run to the front under the carpeting. This part was actually quite simple. The door seal pushes into place, so lifting it up exposes the metal edge (frame), the plastic edge (outer), and the edge of the carpet (inner). The cable can be tucked down behind the carpet, and the seal pushed back into place.
A few cable ties to hold things in place under the dashboard, and everything goes up to the centre of the front where...

Wiring the speakers
Wiring the speakers.
...the speakers connect to the radio unit. Luckily I had the two plugs that came with the radio, so I could pull out four of the connections to fit them into the plugs built into the car. You can see I'm holding two purple connections. The green ones are already fitted.

That done, I got out the old toy vacuum cleaner to remove the dust and gravel from the floor (usefully a metal panel so it was fairly easy to clean), dusted the inside, and then washed the outside.
Because these cars are basically plastic panels glued to a metal frame (and to each other), you are not supposed to use a carwash or pressure wash, as both could (in theory) rip the bodywork off. I don't personally see an automatic carwash doing that, as they're supposed to be fairly gentle. A can easily see a badly wielded pressure gun doing some damage.
I use a big sponge and generic washing up liquid. Outside, with the hosepipe. Well, obviously, the car is small but it isn't small enough to take it inside to wash with the shower. ☺

The carwash - me
The carwash - me.
I use a rubber hand wiper (intended for windows) to wipe down the bodywork and the windows. This helps reduce water marks (from contamination as it's well water, not filtered and deionised).


Not really what I'd planned to do today, but sitting in bed watching Netflix just seemed like something to do on a rainy day. And today, the rain stopped at about 8am.


My Covid arm

It's still a little sore if I poke it, but otherwise has mostly gone down. It isn't itching any more. So that effect, peculiar as it was, was less of a hassle than my hayfever.



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Zerosquare, 5th July 2021, 01:52
Both the no-load voltage and the voltage drop with a 4 A load (48 W / 12 V) seem to suggest that your car battery is not quite charged: oltage/ 
On the other hand, it's also possible that VSP cars have smaller batteries than regular cars.
David Pilling, 5th July 2021, 02:55
Yeah 48W is not a big load, think head light. Loading up with cold stuff to start with would help - as in don't turn it on until you've filled it with frozen peas. People with cold bags have special "freezer blocks", put in freezer and then put in cold bag. Presumably containing some chemical which is better than water (or peas). 
You can get 12V lithium jump starters... well it says 12AH capacity, so that would keep your cooler going for 3 hours - but on past form the capacity is often at 3.7V, which would not be as good. 
Maybe just a spare car battery.

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