Author Archives: writinghouse

About writinghouse

I am an Author, Database Consultant and Guitar Player. I have no idea what that makes me.

ScrapHappy June 2018: Got a couple of minutes?

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Start…

A few weeks ago, the Chez Snail toothbrush gave up the ghost. Actually, it needed its internal rechargeable battery replacing but Braun, who make the thing, don’t want you to do that. So I did. And it didn’t work. I have no idea why, I just replaced the battery.

Anyway, we bought a new, less sophisticated toothbrush which didn’t have a built-in two-minute timer, so I thought I would build one out of old bits I had lying around. Yes, these are the things I have lying around – the Snailofhappiness has all the wool and fabric.

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The box contained something (I forget what) and I have had it since about 1990. The metal to make the front panel is off the cover of a hard disk drive, from about 2011. The timer circuit was one I made earlier (2005 or so) for a project that clearly never made it past the “hmm” stage.

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The LEDs are from an old mobile phone system that Motorola tried to introduce in the UK (I think it was called Rabbit or something). It never caught on. I and a friend bought an old roadside box and split the electronics within, in about 1994. These LEDs were a part of my haul.

The on/off switch comes from ever further back. In 1984/5, as part of my university degree, I worked at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories in the UK. It was like going to work in a Sci-fi film everyday – I loved it! During my time there, the old temporary hut (temporary = built in World War II) where I worked was decommissioned (i.e. pulled down) and we all mucked in to fill the skip with old junk – much of which we then fished out when no one was looking to salvage. There were pieces of computing history in that skip, and if I had had a car back then… Anyway, the switch for this scrappy project came from that skip (along with about 100 of its friends that i am still working through today).

The battery clip came from a broken toy.

The buzzer was going to be from an old ultrasonic parking radar thing but that buzzer was rubbish so I bought this one from a company as it was going bust (so bought it half price).

A bit of finagling later and it all works! Flick the switch as you start to clean your teeth, the green LED shines encouragingly, then after two minutes, on comes the red LED accompanied by a buzzer. Unfortunately, the new buzzer is, like the one it replaced, also a bit rubbish and you can’t actually hear it above the sound of the toothbrush. It isn’t a problem but I may try to improve it one day (in the very far future).

Throughout the whole build, I kept singing “Three minute hero” by The Selecter but with the words “Two Minute Timer”. Try it for yourself!

The Selecter – Two Minute Timer (well, OK, nearly)

These ScrapHappy posts are curated by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month. I have sneaked a non-fabric-based Scraphappy in when no one was looking!

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…and Stop

oOo

 

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Categories: recycling, repair, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 18 Comments

Why I walked 21 miles for Wildlife

A week ago (28th April), I completed a 21 mile walk to raise money for Denmark Farm Conservation Centre. Surprisingly, I suffered few ill-effects and was able to drink beer and eat chocolate again some thirty seconds after finishing. Last Wednesday, I strolled around Denmark Farm and tried to capture a little of why I want others to support the place as I do….

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Denmark Farm is a haven for wildlife whose habitats are being destroyed by Human activity…

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… even common not-very-pretty wildlife…

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…. as well as the classic stuff.

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Preservation of these habitats needs some Human intervention, and that costs money, even the dull stuff like fencing

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We also monitor wildlife as best we can to see the difference we are making

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And I have a wonderful place to come and write when there’s time!

If you would like to support Denmark Farm, we have volunteer days, a wide variety of courses, and holiday accommodation (Eco-lodge, glamping, camping). And if none of that appeals, you can always bung us a couple of quid on our donations page. THANK YOU!

oOo

Categories: bees, birds, Sustainable Stuff, volunteering, wildlife, Writing | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Why I’m Walking for Wildlife

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It’s a waste bin, it’s the Earth – go on, guess the symbolic meaning…

I promise this will be my almost probably last post about my sponsored walk! On 28th April 2018, I will walking from Aberaeron (in West Wales, UK) to Lampeter (er, still in West Wales, UK). I thought you should know why (apart from the obvious “because he’s totally bonkers” reason).

Wildlife worldwide is in crisis and it isn’t just cute furry animals, pretty flowers, or the other living things lucky enough to have come under Sir David Attenborough’s scrutiny. There is pretty much no order of life that hasn’t been negatively affected by human activities. One of the problems that humans appear to have is why the loss of an ape, a snail, a frog, a tiny water-borne flea or a mammoth elephant might matter.

When I say every living thing is connected to every other living thing, some of you will roll your eyes and zone out, probably thinking I am a lost hippy from the 60s. OK, feel free to do that. It doesn’t change the fact that every living thing is connected to every other living thing. So what you do to stuff affects everything else, and vice versa.

Places like Denmark Farm provide a sanctuary for wildlife, a place where nature happens, despite human activities. If it were to close, it wouldn’t be too long before another native habitat of a pile of British flora and fauna would disappear forever.

It seems no government ever really cares enough about the global environment to protect its native wildlife. It gives huge grants to companies to build infrastructure deemed “essential” whilst failing to see anything other than political and financial gain. Conservation Centres like Denmark Farm struggle on, feeding the rural economy and maintaining the precious ecosystem as best it can. Without that most unnatural of things, money, it simply cannot survive just like the short-tailed bumblebee (declared extinct in 2000).

Here’s the bottom line: destroy the flora and fauna and you cease to have a viable planet to live on. Unless there is some infrastructure company about to build us a new one (where are the Magratheans when you need them?*) then being able to travel from Leeds to London in an hour or so will be utterly, utterly pointless.

That is why I am Walking for Wildlife, for Denmark Farm and the Planet Earth.

Please give generously at: https://localgiving.org/fundraising/21miles4denmarkfarm/

THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH!

 

oOo

  • Legendary planet builders, according to Douglas Adams.
Categories: bees, birds, insect, Sustainable Stuff, Universe, wildlife | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

I’ve been unfaithful AGAIN – I’ve written a post for another blog site

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I know, it’s outrageous!

Please have a read here…

oOo

 

Categories: Sustainable Stuff, wildlife | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

I’ve been unfaithful – I’ve co-written a post for another blog site

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One reason for walking for wildlife

T’is true – have a read of it here:

https://www.denmarkfarm.org.uk/walking-wildlife/

I will be publishing my own post about the walk very soon!

oOo

Categories: Sustainable Stuff, volunteering, wildlife | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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