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Today is the final work day I'm not working.

It's odd. Two Mondays ago when I took the car to be looked at, it seemed like this holiday would last for ages.
Then I blinked.
And now it's almost over.

But, then, apart from the mechanic, the vet, the dentist, and a few pleasantries with checkout girls twice, I've interacted/spoken with nobody.



On a whim I pulled into the DIY place. I decided that if I didn't pull my finger out and get some done today, it would probably never get done.
The trick was to break it into two sections. For now, stick a couple of sockets on the side of the fireplace so I can plug in my Pi and not have to have an extension cable trailing across the floor.

A photo of wires and sockets on a table
The parts that I needed.

The cabling is expensive. That lot cost something like €45. It's 1.5mm 16A cable, but then it's hooked to a 16A breaker so shouldn't be overloaded. It's thicker than the extension lead cable and that coped with my heat gun and the vacuum cleaner.
I had planned to buy two sockets and install them side by side. But they were €4,50 each and this three-way socket fixture was €8 and it fit nicely.

The fiddly part was putting up the cabling. It wasn't hard, just hold it in place and whack in a cable clip with a hammer, it's just the position along the ceiling at the top of the joists was... fiddly. Ladders, balancing, holding the cable up and not whacking the hammer into soft fleshy appendages. That sort of thing.

Eventually I had the socket side sorted out, and then looked at the junction box. Inside is a 6 way screw terminal block to join the cable. Live is row 1, neutral is row 3, earth is row 5. I left some space between each of the conductors for safety, and since it fit like that.

A photo of a plastic junction box to join two lengths of electric cable
The junction box.

At some point in the future, I will run another cable to the back of the living room to power the internet stuff from a proper earthed socket. But not today, so that's why the junction box.
The junction box should have been a bit higher, but it was a pain in the arse to deal with, so I lowered it a little.

I didn't add another breaker for this, it is slaved off of the one that switches the socket in the fuse cupboard.

I checked all of the sockets with my socket tester, and everything looked good. So it was time to insert a plug to the little multiway socket that powers the Pi and monitor. The smaller plug is for the desk lamp.

A photo of things plugged into my new sockets
Things plugged into the new sockets.


More electrics

With the power to the house disconnected, and Epic Rock Radio still playing thanks to the battery backup that keeps the Livebox running, I decided to look at something that has been bothering me for a while.

In the hangar is a light. That light is controlled by a switch by the back door.
This switch.

Ancient old light switch
An ancient old light switch.

Not only was it wobbly, but the rubber around the cable had long since corroded so you could look down and see copper parts.
The other switch, by the way, controls the light in the hallway. It's a two-way switch that works in tandem with a switch inside. That one also needs to be replaced, but it's in better state and partly embedded in concrete, so I'm going to leave it for now.

The dodgy light switch looked just as dodgy inside.

Inside the ancient old light switch
Some interesting many-legged insects crawled out.

Time to pull all of that off the wall and install something nicer.

A nice new light switch
A nice new light switch.



I went shopping today, to get stuff for the long weekend and, yes, some ready meals for work. What I noticed was a lot of chocolate for easter.
I can't help but wonder what will happen to all of the unsold chocolate. Landfill?


Electricity price rises

"Conforming to legislation", the CSPE of my bill, which means "Contribution au Service Public d'Electricité" (no, I don't know what that actually means) which used to be €0,001/kWh is now €0,021/kWh. That means something that would have been about 25 centimes is now a fiver.
This in in addition to the flat rate (for service provision) creeping up a couple of centimes, and the unit price also creeping up yet some more.
A couple of years back, I'd have said my usual two-monthly bill was in the region of €60-65. Now? Well, today's bill was €95. So all in, it has risen by about half.
That's just shy of a hundred euros for 257kWh. Jan-Feb was about the same as Dec-Jan, and Feb-Mar was about the same as Nov-Dec; yet the payment at the end of January was €88, nearly a tenner cheaper for pretty much the same consumption.
It'll be less from now on. I don't have home heating, nor an electric car, and it's 12-14°C outside so I don't have much need to heat me, just open the windows!
It does mean, however, that the overall price of a unit (as always, calculated by dividing the bill by the consumption) is €0,37/kWh.



As I was rewiring the fuse box with the new cable, I noticed something mom wrote inside the door that in October 2002, the price of electricity (calculated the same was) was €0,12/unit.
But, back then fuel was under a euro per litre. So mom took me everywhere. She liked driving, so we went from Josselin in the west to Sable-sur-Sarthe in the east, from Cancale in the north to Montaigu in the south, and damn near everywhere in between.
Except the Mauges, that's a little to the right of Clisson. She got a bad vibe from that area, like something horrible happened in the war and it left it's mark embedded in the landscape.
It used to be a running gag that Venus would guide us home no matter what direction we were heading in. Actually, one of them was Jupiter, but I didn't let on. Why spoil the moment?
And, sometimes, she'd hand me the map and I'd have to work out torturous routes to get us back in a westerly direction without her having to drive into the sun. So we discovered loads of little towns. Sadly few of them exist on the map any more, thanks to small towns grouping together and changing their names. For example, a little further up the Loire from Ancenis is a place called Loireauxence. That name didn't exist prior to 2016. I know that place as Varades, it's where I've taken some video of the TGV blowing by in a "blink and you'll miss it" moment.
Also gone is Belligné, La Chapelle-Saint-Sauveur, and La Rouxière, they're all "Loireauxence" now.
I've already made my feelings on this nonsense clear, names of towns that have come down through history shouldn't have to be thrown away in order to make places "big enough" to qualify for certain state aids (such as keeping schools open). The regional government should hang their heads in shame that it's come to this.



So I fired up Newpipe on my phone to grab a copy of a song that I heard on Epic Rock Radio and I've forgotten what the song was (dammit!) because I noticed Veritasium posted a new video. One about how the number 37 is everywhere. It went on for something like twenty minutes and got very maths-heavy in the middle, so it's not a surprise my cache buffer got overwhelmed and the song I was trying to remember got flushed.
As he's winding up the video, I'm looking at the table. There's all sorts of junk on it, but nothing that's an obvious thirty seven.

I look on the bookshelf. Devoid of thirty sevens. I try to think of books with numbers in them, but don't get much beyond The Famous Five and The 39 Steps (or was that a movie?), Ready Player One, 1984, and something about a lot of spotted dogs.

Thinking that my life must clearly be bereft of thirty sevens, I sit down... and one is staring right at me. Did you spot it above?

To show that this is completely legit and not made up, here's a scan of part of my electricity bill.

Part of my electricity bill
Part of my electricity bill.
The number on the left (Conso kWh) is how much electricity I have used in this billing period. 257kWh. The big number in the blue box is how many coins they want from me for it.

95.81 divided by 257 is 0.372801556. As the third number is a '2', it rounds down to... thirty seven centimes per unit.
There you go. My own thirty seven after having just watched a video about thirty sevens.

When discounting the often chosen numbers '69' (gee, I wonder why...) and '42', he pointed at the 42 as the number in his own Veritasium element logo. I wonder how many people would have thought of that, or would have thought of 42 as being "the answer".
Fun fact: Sometimes when doing a chemical test at work, I have to wait a little bit before performing the test (it's a bit like turning on a tap and waiting for the hot water to arrive). I count off exactly 42 seconds. I even mention that I waited for 42 seconds. I guess none of the management are familiar with the works of Douglas Adams...

Just counted the white keys on my piano. Thirty six. Lucky escape, that! ☺ But not lucky enough, because if you discount the power button (special purpose) and the volume knob (not a button), my piano has exactly thirty seven buttons to control how it works...

There are thirty seven buttons on my piano
There are thirty seven control buttons on my piano.

How many thirty sevens are staring you in the face?



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jgh, 29th March 2024, 21:47
My internal voice is screaming that you've put that socket block rotated 90 degrees off! 
Rick, 29th March 2024, 23:08
Well, if you can find a way to fit it into that space *horizontally* without warping entanglement (and, no, moving the bookshelf is not an option), I'd like to hear it. 😉
David Pilling, 30th March 2024, 02:35
It was always said that after Easter, surplus eggs were melted down. Lindt rabbits seem to turn into reindeer. But this is an interesting moment: 
"Cocoa prices have surged more than 250% over the last year, surging to $10,000 per metric ton - nearly double the record high set 46 years ago" (1977).

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