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Happy Birthday Mom!

It was yesterday, but I didn't do anything on the computer yesterday, so here's the video I made...

 

Green credentials?

In the (online) paper, some people are worried that the current situation in Ukraine might upset the current push to make things more environmentally friendly.

Guys? Screw the green agenda.

Seriously - if that is your concern, you're utterly missing the point. Because in these past two weeks(ish), things have changed.
This is pretty much a 9/11 event. It's a lot less dramatic, so maybe that's why you haven't noticed. But it is real and it is happening and we will all have to deal with the fallout - from Russian oligarch to pathetically-paid trainee nurse.

Several cities are smouldering piles of rubble. There's a crazy guy happy to threaten the use of nuclear weapons. You can rejoice in that a big chunk of European oil and gas is in a precarious situation, but bring a halt to that dancing when you also realise that the two countries currently at each other's throats are where we get most of our wheat from.
At the moment, the west isn't doing much except running away as quickly as possible (in terms of commerce and finance). We do not want to engage in a military conflict, no matter how convincing Zelensky may be, because if that happens then all hell will break loose. Trust me, we all want to march in guns glazing and kick those baby-killing bastards right in the testicles, but we know exactly where that path leads.

Which leaves a fractured world that's already suffering the whammy of Covid.

Which leaves a big problem for Europe which, for better or worse, was dependent upon Russia.

This means, we may need to start fracking. Yes, it can cause earthquakes, but sorry - we need our vehicles. Personal mobility, transportation of goods, and so on. You can't simply make cars vanish.

Oh, electric vehicles? Great idea... for the school run. Their range is not good, the batteries are still rather unsafe, and anyway while it isn't burning a dead dinosaur I would love to know where you plan to find all the lithium used in the batteries, not to mention the disposal afterwards. You know lithium batteries in smartphones start to lose their capacity after about two years of daily charge cycles? Mine is three and a bit years old and I certainly notice. Well, same problem is going to affect electric cars. Which means expense (for the consumer) and chemical waste.

As for biofuel? Screw biofuel. If there's a choice between planting wheat to feed people or planting corn for biofuel, anybody who picks the second option needs to be smacked across the head. Perhaps with a crowbar.

This isn't to say to ditch the whole green thing. Not at all, but the safety and security of people come first. Always. If you have problems with that, perhaps you ought to be out campaigning on behalf of CND rather than Thunberg. As long as idiots can wage war, our peaceful tranquility when we could do things for the environment is just a brief interlude between the violence. It's a peaceful tranquility that came to a screeching half at the end of February.
Trust me, people, China is carefully watching this. Not just for their issue with Taiwan, but also for how we're handling Russia.

It may be that a new world order will emerge. An amalgamation of Russia and China who know they can bully their way around the rest of the world.
Or it may be that Europe's various countries finally put aside their differences and realise that together they are a force to be reckoned with.
Or it may be that Putin's swansong is "we will all go down together" and nobody who is left gives the slightest inkling of a crap about the environment other than "don't go outside".

 

Speaking of which, I have made a small donation to the Red Cross' efforts in Ukraine (via the Amazon app). It's not much, but all the little bits will add up to be something useful.

 

Mower wheels

My ride-on mower's wheels were a solid piece of metal rotating around an axle. The wheels were a little off when I got the mower, and the kilometres I've put on have made the wear much more noticable.
I should have greased the axles. Hindsight is great, but then I'm surprised that it's a fairly soft metal and not a bearing in sight. It's literally this bit rubbing on that bit.

So I have ordered two replacement wheels. They're plastic, and only 26cm diameter. The current wheels are more like 31cm diameter, so I may need to have a crack at adjusting the deck position to cater for this difference. Just hope they fit the axle. ☺

But here's the thing. These wheels cost me €20 for two. So if it really doesn't work I'm not out by much - I could maybe even try building some sort of trolley using the wheels.
Proper wheels? Well, I don't know exactly what wheel I would need given I still haven't figured out exactly what sort of mower it is, besides an AYP/Husqvarna/many others clone. Which means when wheels are given as replacement part numbers... yeah.
Oh, and the metal bit (with no tyre attached) of those things costs between €70 and 160 depending upon which. It's a horrific price for a piece of metal.
So I'm going to try with some different wheels.

26cm wheels are quite common on Amazon. Larger ones? Not so much.

 

At Leclerc

As I was entering the supermarket, I saw a pretty decent looking generator for €199.
Generator
Generator.

Rated something like 2900W peak (30 seconds), 2800W max (rated; for five minutes), or 2500W sustained, with two sockets and a 7HP four stroke engine at 3000rpm, this generator would be a good all-round model for emergency use. 230V, 50Hz, 10.8A. Capable of running a fridge and some lights, but also powerful enough to cope with powering a kettle.
The price is also remarkably good. I can't help but think that it's not a price for a generator, it's a price for that generator. Still, looking online it's anything from €280-480 for it, though it looks like the one pictured is a more recent redesign.

No, I didn't buy it. France is largely nuclear, so I don't anticipate problems in this respect. Plus, not sure where I'd fit it. Oh, and it's 40kg which is... a lot for one person.

Still, it was interesting and a good price.

 

There's a cute little gennie on Amazon for €99,90. It's a little two stroke jobbie that can, at a pinch, output 780W... but it is more like 650W sustained. That wouldn't even run a microwave!
Oh, and looking at the reviews on Amazon, it seems to have a bit of an issue of being somewhere between difficult and impossible to start, and some might say the 650W output is "optimistic".
But, come on, a two stroke generator? It's a toy...

 

The supermarket used to have an "okay" English section in their foreign foods section. Thanks to Brexit, it's been dwindling little by little since 2016, but once the formal separation happened...

British food
British food.
All that remains now is the two boxes of teabags to the sweets and pickle at the bottom on the picture. It used to be the whole height of the shelving, and about twice as wide.
I suspect this is only here for as long as there are articles to sell, and they won't be replaced.

 

Double rainbow

Just got a soaking, but the photo was worth it.

A double rainbow
A double rainbow.

Yup, it has rained a lot today. Just like it rained a lot on Friday. And hardly at all on Saturday. Of course the Mom-goddess would not allow that! ☺

 

 

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David Pilling, 15th March 2022, 04:02
One use for a generator is power tools - without long wires, or the risks of mains power. Another is if your connection to the grid is likely to break. Before Xmas lots of people in the UK were cut off for a week - just a bad storm. Thing to worry about is the purity of the sine wave. A kettle won't mind, but some electronics will. 
Rob, 16th March 2022, 20:32
With the price of electricity going through the roof, apparently thanks to the spot wholesale price being tied to the most expensive means of generation in use at that moment (ie gas) rather than the cost of wherever the retailers actually want to buy it from (eg wind), I was contemplating a generator. However apparently we have enough tech in the house to consume 2KW even before I turn on the kettle or other heat makers. It was on 6KW before, with both oven and kettle on. I really need to work out where it's all going.. Anyway, I imagine it'll cost more in diesel than I'd save in leccy bills..
Rick, 16th March 2022, 21:27
Whoa... When nothing is actively running, I think the tech draws about 70VA. I could lose a little of that if I could be bothered to, like, unplug the VCR that I haven't used in a decade... 
 
But ~2kW of tech? The hell are you running? That's like a bar heater on full! 
 
The point, by the way, wasn't to save on bills, the point was to keep the kettle working when the wires were not. 
J.G.Harston, 19th March 2022, 00:24
RE: Energy. I've been arguing this for years, and getting told off by for betraying the party line. My previous hobby horse was "we've got 300 years of coal under Lincolnshire", now I argue "frack frack away, frack frack away!". 
 
Where I live, more than a dozen times an hour I get earth tremours around 2.0 magnitude - caused by buses just passing my house. This is 10^(2.5-0.5) ie 100 times as big as the limit placed on fracking sites. They have to shut down when there's a rumble less than the size of a jogger running past. 
 
We need to stop being dependant on foreign despots to support our modern civilisation - and without abandoning our modern civilisation. People who advocate abandoning modern developed civiliation - go ahead, there's nobody stopping you. You go and live in your yurt in a muddy field with only cow poo to keep warm. 
 
I tear my hair out when people advocate a fully-electric energy system, electricity is THE MOST INEFFICIENT way to do space heating other than piling up ten-pound notes and setting fire to them. 
 
Rob: If you've got a gas supply, then home-made leccy from a gas turnbine would be cheaper than both mains supplied leccy and deisel leccy. Even if gas doubles to 10p/kWhr a gas turbine generator would supply you at about 15p/kWhr, compared to 45p for the stuff that comes over the grid. 
Rob, 19th March 2022, 19:37
JGH: Hmm.. that sent me down a google rabbit hole. It's an interesting possibility, though finding something small and quiet enough that the neighbours won't complain looks like it might be something of a task.. (Being in an inner city mid-terrace gives me a few challenges..)

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