Thursday, 24 July 2008

Isn't weeding wonderful?

I never really noticed before (perhaps I thought it a chore), but weeding is a really relaxing occupation. I spent some time weeding today and after short while realised that I was actually enjoying it! I was able to simply let my mind wander whilst I was picking out weeds and forking over the bed.

Monday, 21 July 2008

A great book!

Having started gardening and growing vegetables I have been looking at a lot of books on the subject. I have also been browsing youtube. I thought I would share a couple of really good resources I have found.

The first is from youtube. There are around 40 videos as I write and that number is growing. The thing to search for is *claireasallotment* and Claire manages to put things over really well without being patronising. I am learning so much from her.

Secondly my wife brought me a book from our local library. I am going to have to buy this one. It is called 'The Allotment Keeper's Handbook' and is by Jane Perrone (ISBN 978-1-84354-548-4).

I can't stop reading this one. The book is one of those that are just a joy to read. When was the last time you picked up a gardening book and read it cover to cover in one sitting? It is soft backed and not too big so you can take it with you. It is also, importantly, a terrific source of information and inspiration with lots pf good reference. Jane has written it in a no-nonsense style that makes you believe you can do it too. I don't have an allotment but the information in this book works for anyone who grows their own food.

She also has a blog called 'Horticultural' and I will link it on the side bar. Great stuff Jane :)

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

High Definition

Just took delivery of a Humax HD FreeSat box today. It just connects right to the Sky dish without any need to readjust :) What a fabulous picture. Just right for Wimbledon. The picture on the non-HD channels is also brilliant, highly recommended. It also receives in Dolby sound so is a completely different experience all round! My plants are really coming on well I am pleased to say. We should have some tomatoes to eat very soon :-D Linda and I have worked out that we can get a vegetable plot built in the garden too so hopefully next year we will be able to grow most of our needs.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

New life!

This is really exciting! I planted some rocket seeds on Monday and now on Thursday, they are quite visible! Lots of small leaves growing over the compost :) The Spinach has not shown itself as yet but give it time. The mixed leaves are starting to develop too. I guess to those of you who garden, this must seem daft but I am loving it :)

Monday, 23 June 2008


I find myself in June already! Where do the months go? I have spent much of May and June (both of which have been lovely on the whole weatherwise) working on the garden. I have created a couple of raised beds and completely reworked the area around the shed. The old shed was rotten so it was taken down. I put it on Freecycle and someone came and got it. If you have a Freecycle near you, use it. It is a fantastic idea and you can put wanted ads on as well as putting your old stuff on there for other people. It is on the web and a quick 'Google' will find it. The only proviso is that it is all free, you cannot ask for any money. However it means that other people come and take away stuff that you do not want or need and it costs you nothing! Back to the garden. I got a new shed and a greenhouse. I have never had a greenhouse before but I am enjoying it thoroughly so far :) I have planted tomatoes, courgettes and cucumber as well as several types of lettuce and leaf. I also got a couple of strawberry plants for good measure! As well as all that I have sown some spring onion so we will see what happens!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

K3 update

I have been using the K3 for some time now and it is a wonderful radio. It still has some stuff that needs ironing out of course but I expected that. 40W from my K3 gives 400W from the Ranger 811 using the tune function but SSB probably only drives it to about half that, although I have found this to be a bit variable. I did find the TXGain function in the config menu though which allows you to compensate in SSB for up to 3dB either way which has helped somewhat. My FM filter should be here very soon and shortly after that the firmware is expected from Elecraft. This should give me the ability to use my Elecraft XV144 transverter to actually work the local repeater from my K3. That will be fun to try and I will report on my findings. We are also coming up to the Sporadic E season and I am seriously thinking about the second receiver option so I can monitor 6m while working the HF bands.

A year has passed!

Where did it go? This week sees the 1st anniversary of my retirement! I can hardly believe it. Linda and I have just about got used to the change. It is really odd as I worked from home during the last few years but of course when I was working my office was sacrosanct as I could have been on the phone trying to close a deal etc. Now of course I can be interrupted at any time, or at least Linda thinks so :D Looking back over the year the most surprising thing is that I have not missed work at all! I simply do not think about it. I really thought I would but no. A couple of colleagues keep in touch which is really great and listening to how things have gone since I left, I am really glad I left when I did.

Sunday, 24 February 2008


Well the rig only took 2 days to get from Aptos, CA to Morecambe! It arrived last Thursday Morning. I had the build finished by Friday morning and now I am starting to learn about it. What a terrific radio this is! I have linked it with Ham Radio Deluxe and started playing seriously with the data modes. The K3 has a built in data interface and it rocks!
Although the K3 is simple to use right out of the box, it is going to take some time to learn the finer points. I am enjoying the learning though and already working other K3's on the air in the UK.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

On its way!!

Well finally, after all these months my K3 is on its way from Aptos CA :) I am really looking forward to receiving this radio. I have already moved the shack around to suit it and to have the linear available. I have also made up leads for audio and for the transverter interface so I can run my XV144 from the K3 as well. I spent some time on 80m yesterday and worked 2 K3 owners, M0CIC (Roy) and G3SJJ (Chris). Chris was a huge signal and loud! I have been enjoying using the K2/Ranger 811 combination on 80m for a few days and had some great audio reports using the Heil Goldline on its broadcast insert.