Sunday BBQ

My bucket BBQ needs more modifications, it’s still not good enough. Once up to temperature it cooks food OK, but the area of usable heat is quite small, you can only get two burgers on it. My next plan is to get some chicken wire and tinsnips. The inside of the bucket has a wire stand to keep the fire bucket off the inside of the outer bucket. This inner bucket has very few holes which soon block with ash making a very poor burning BBQ.

If I get rid of the inner bucket completely and – by using the chicken wire to stop the coal falling through – make the fire on top of the wire stand, there’ll be improved airflow and a bigger surface to cook on. The only disadvantage is the entire BBQ will become very hot and all the orange paint might burn off.

The tinsnips will be used to “improve” the airflow into the bottom of the main bucket. There’s nothing technically wrong with the BBQ’s design, but you do wonder if its designers ever tried to cook more than a single burger on one. It quickly becomes obvious that it is a pain in the arse to light.

In the future I will buy a larger BBQ that will work much better.

In Transit

Today I have spent most of my time sat in a car. In the morning I went off into Marlborough again to do some more expensive food shopping to stock Amy’s grandma up for a while. Then we had to drive home. To make the trip a bit more interesting I plotted a less motorway-intensive drive towards the M1, going via Cirencester, Stow-in-the-Wold and Warwick, then up the M40, M42 and after a bit of zooming down the A42, the M1.

Much nicer driving through the countryside on a sunny day than rocketing up the motorway sealed away in the car. Even if I did spend quite a lot of time stuck behind a tractor, low-loader carrying a grass cutter, two vans and a truck. The truck was from a contract bed hire company for the hotel trade. It was brand new, with an 08 plate and a pleasing blue colour. That’s how long I got to stare at it. All the way from Cirencester to the turning to Stratford-upon-Avon. I used the grindingly steep hills to my advantage and had some food and stared out the windows a bit.

It was a much more civilised drive back. I’m normally racing against time to be back at a decent time because I have something Important to do the day after. Not this time though. My car’s due an MOT and service tomorrow and that’s about it.

We made it back to sunny Scunthorpe for 5pm, taking about 4 hours in total. Then, after a brief rest at Amy’s I shuttled back to Wakefield, stopping at her local Tescos to do some shopping of my own. A bit of a step down from the weekend’s parading around Waitrose, but I did get a bargain on some organic eggs (and in a fit of irony some cheap chicken). My cupboards are now full and look like I live there πŸ™‚

So hot and sticky

My form room is like an oven, it’s horrible. My classrooms are like furnaces, and the students are unable to sit calmly when too hot or too cold. I have no idea why they pace around, it makes no sense. Sit down you silly buggers and stop winding yourselves up.

I have to teach in my form room tomorrow. No idea how this is going to go down. Fortunately the idiots in my form are off on other things that lesson, and the rest are quite nice.

Think I’ll make food for tomorrow and go to bed. I’ve got an observation tomorrow in the first lesson.

Ice Cream Sunday

This afternoon me and Amy went to the Blyton Dairy Ice cream parlour. It’s quite a random place, being in the small village of Blyton half way between Scunthorpe and Lincoln. Quite why people would bother driving all the way there just to have an ice cream is slightly baffling, but then again when you have the chance to eat pretty much any flavour of ice cream, it’s not an unpleasant experience πŸ™‚ The line of people waiting to be served an evident sign that the place is popular. If it were in the Lake District the line would loop twice around the building.

I had a double cone with ginger ice cream and Turkish Delight flavoured ice cream in it. The ginger had actual pieces of ginger in it and was really nice.

While it’s slightly odd driving so far just to buy an ice cream, it was a great afternoon out in the sun πŸ™‚

An evening walk

Me, Amy and her dog Twinkle went for an evening walk around the little pond/nature reserve across the road. It was quite nice, apart from the clouds of midges out for an evening snack. I took my camera along and took a few photos. We found a rope swing, and after testing it and giving it a once-over with my climbing head on (whoever tied it to the tree will die horribly if they ever take up rock climbing) decided it was about as safe as rope swings ever are, and we had a go.

Today was very hot, reaching a whole 25 degrees C, so Twinkle was given the hosepipe afterwards to cool down. She smells like wet carpet now.

At my parents

Here is Todd. Todd is a dog. See Todd run, run Todd, run!

From Random

Except earlier on today Todd couldn’t run in the sun, he had to wait, which was no fun. No fun at all. He was stuck in the kitchen with nothing to do.

OK, enough of that before it turns into a warped version of The Cat in the Hat πŸ˜‰

I’d been asked by my parents, who are off in Spain at the moment being rained on (the rain in Spain falls mainly on the tourists), to look after the dog for two days while my sister was at work doing long shifts. They’d agreed to leave me a key so I could get in. This suited me, I needed to visit Steve, who I used to work with and he lives down the road from my parents. So off I set.

I arrived at my parents and obtained the key. Then things went a bit pear-shaped as I discovered the back door was bolted from the inside, and I only had a back door key. Oh dear. The irony of this situation was not lost on me – here I was on the wrong side of a locked back door contemplating whether I could break in – not to steal laptops and Xbox 360s but to let out a by now rather wound up dog.

I texted my parents to let them know I was at home, but locked out. I also texted my sister asking where she worked so I could call her a moron in person, and maybe get the front door key. Making it fully clear that any dog mess found in the house was her problem to deal with.

She rang me back and gave me directions. We’ll skip the driving to her work and collecting the key, it was as boring as it sounds and contained no interesting drama. I came home and let myself in.

Wanting to get off to Steve’s to do some important stuff I let the dog out so it could have a crap. Only it wasn’t interested, and after five minutes of being prompted to go and pee, I put it back in the kitchen and said I’d be back later.

Off I went to Steve’s, I showed off my Macbook and we did some work. It got dark and I came home about six pm. It’s quite fun walking a black dog in the dark, it wanders off and waits for you to catch up. If you’re not paying attention it’ll remind you by nipping at your kneecaps.

I will take it out for a proper walk tomorrow to make up for being stuffed in the kitchen all day.

Writeup of my holiday in Spain is complete

As some of you might remember, I went on holiday to my parents’ apartment in Spain during the beginning of August (which doesn’t feel like a month ago!) and have just finished collecting the diary entries and photos that I took. Follow the link below to begin reading. It has been split into several pages, one per day with a few pictures in each. I’ve done it as pages, rather than diary entries so that it doesn’t get lost.

Last year my parents bought an apartment outside Orihuela in Spain. ItÒ€ℒs now finished and they have been going out to it every few months, bringing back photos. During the summer I also went out there for just over two weeks with my dad to see what it was like. We also went into the Sierra Nevada mountains to do some walking. In keeping with the last time I went to Spain – when I was about six – I wrote a diary and took some photos.

Spain 2007

Crinkle Crags in the sun

Last weekend I went to the Lake District with my dad. We stayed at the rather nice Langdale Youth Hostel where I discovered my camera’s batteries hadn’t charged; I managed to get about three pictures before they died. The Post Office just down the road sold non-rechargeables and I’m going to get my money’s worth out of them.

On Saturday we went up The Band and along Crinkle Crags. The last time I did this we got to see a helicopter rescue, but this time the only things in the sky were flies and gliders circling in the thermals. It was very warm and the walk up The Band wasn’t so pleasant, neither was the walk back down from Red Tarn. The scrambling over Crinkle Crags was fun though but I can’t work out why I find it so tiring to walk up and down a hill, but scrambling and climbing about on bits of rock isn’t a problem.

Hemel

This was the week when our largest single group came to visit. Hemel Hempstead School send 120 of their year 9’s to us for a week of activities. Fifteen groups of eight children plus six teachers. The place becomes rather full and noisy.

Like last year though, it went well. I had two full day mountain walks and this time I actually went on a proper mountain walk with the first group – over Cat Bells towards Dale Head Tarn and back down the valley. Nobody moaned about the walk. The other activities went equally well. I had three mountain bike sessions and the only eventful things that happened was that someone got the beginnings of heatstroke so we came back, then on another ride neither me nor my group could be bothered cycling in the baking midday sun so we went to the bottom of our ghyll and paddled in the water for half an hour.

I could do that all the time if it wasn’t for the evening activities that don’t finish until nine PM, or for the way there’s not a minute’s peace and quiet. By the end of the week my tolerance for shouting children was completely non existant.

Oh, and one evening when I wasn’t on duty I got woken up by the person who was on duty because our chef had fallen down the stairs and cut himself on a picture frame. He was in a right mess, lying in a drunken heap with blood all over his face. Took me a while to work out where it was all coming from, eventually I found a few cuts under his chin and tried my best to stick them closed. A tricky task made even harder by having to stop while he spewed into a bucket.

The next morning was funny, he said he’d woken up covered in dry blood with a sore chin and couldn’t work out why. It wasn’t until I filled him in that he managed to work it out πŸ™‚ His chin was better looking and I replaced the dressing with something that would actually hold the wounds together. He’ll have a few scars but nothing too severe. An interesting way to celebrate his 26th Birthday.