While I was updating my blog yesterday, a very large house spider scuttled across the living room towards the fireplace. When I say very large, I mean by UK standards and not in comparison to spiders from elsewhere in the world.

I’m not scared of spiders, there are no venomous spiders that are native to the UK, or at least none that I’m aware of. The worst a UK spider can do is tickle slightly with their feet when you pick them up.

I’m sure there are several species of spiders living in our house, and many more in the garden. I was wondering how many species of spider there are in the UK.

According to an article on the BBC website, there are over 600 species of spider in the UK.

Now all I need is to find a handy guide to the most common species so I can start to identify some of the ones I see.

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Cutting the lawn

A bank holiday weekend and sunshine – how unusual is that. I have a petrol lawnmower which has given me many years reliable service, that is until last summer when the engine kept stalling. Eventually, with a little research on the internet, I decided the problem was a faulty diaphragm in the carburetor – I even found videos showing me how to fix it. So I bought the necessary parts, took the engine to bits, and for good measure also replaced the spark plug. Everything worked fine afterwards (thank goodness), or rather the the motor ran beautifully but then the rear wheels, which have an adjustable height, kept dropping to below the lowest setting. The height adjustment had broken! So I took the wheels off and repaired the height adjuster using a sawn off piece of bolt glued in place with Aradite. By then the weather had got colder and wetter, the lawn didn’t get a final cut before the winter and the wheels didn’t get put back on the lawnmower until a couple of weeks ago when I gave the lawn a very quick cut on the maximum setting.

So with the sunshine today I was finally able to give the lawn a proper cut, although first I had to go and buy some more fuel. Hopefully 5 litres will be enough for the rest of the year. Petrol tank filled, primed and started and I made  start, but the rear wheels still kept slipping to a lower setting, then halfway through cutting the lawn the back wheels fell off altogether! I got out the spanners and this time I fixed them on properly. I think cutting the lawn is going to be a regular job for a while. 

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Slow progress

This is the ‘Metropolitan Police Box’ so far – not much to look at yet.


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This isn’t the blog you were looking for!

Tomorrow is May 4th, or as we call it, Star Wars day (May the 4th be with you). It’s also the birthday of one our sons. We resisted the temptation to call him Luke.

The first film they made was great, a sort of fairy tale set in space complete with a princess that needed rescuing and a happy ending. The next two films they made were also quite good, then the whole franchise went rapidly downhill.

Star Wars is now part of our cultural heritage. You can tell something is part of our cultural heritage when it gets referenced in other films and everyone understands the reference (“I am your father!”,).

I love the line from the film when Obi-Wan says ‘These aren’t the droids you’re looking for’

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Continuing to declutter

We (my wife and I) continue to try and declutter our house. It’s a big enough house, but there still doesn’t seem to be enough room to store all the junk we hang onto, or at least not in a satisfactory way.

Part of this decluttering is an attempt to live a simpler life. We recently sorted out quite a few books that we never look at, or are dated (but not dated enough to be of historical interest) or that are never going to be read again. Also, if they go to a charity shop it will a) make some money for a good cause and b) the books will bring someone else pleasure.

Plenty of people have suggested various principles for decided whether you should actually keep something or not. In the end these really all come down to one rule – “Have I got a reason to keep this item?” Any other rules are just elaborating on what valid reasons there might be, and what are not valid reasons. 

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Royal Mail

We had one of those cards delivered with our post today – the one that says they wouldn’t deliver a parcel because it didn’t have enough postage on. It was 19p short, so now they want to charge an extra £1.19 for it (ie over 400% more than the amount it was short by), and either we have to collect it or if they deliver it we may have to wait up to 5 days, and we don’t even know who the parcel is from.

I don’t think we get a good service from the Royal Mail. Our post isn’t delivered until mid-afternoon, and I’m sure the postman or post woman used to knock and collect any money to pay if the postage was incorrect so you could at least see if you wanted to accept the delivery.

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Building a police box

I’ve started to build a Metropoliltan Police Box, of the type designed by Mackenzie Trench and still commonly found on streets in London (but not usually in junk yards) in the early 1960s.

I’ve got most of the measurements and pictures to help me build it from http://tardisbuilders.com/index.php?board=128.0

I’m building my police box from wood rather than casting it in concrete. I don’t intend it to be a permanent structure that would need planning permission. I’m also not worried about what it looks like on the inside.

As I have no money for this project I’m building the box using any scraps of wood I can find. This is going to be a challenge and take quite some time. I’m also taking a top down approach, that is, I’m starting with the roof (although I’ll have to source a lamp later). I figure the roof is the most difficult part to build, calculating the angles for the different sections of roof.

As soon as I’ve something to show I’ll start posting up some pictures. 

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