Jeremy Harris

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Jeremy Harris last won the day on May 19

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About Jeremy Harris

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  • About Me
    Retired scientist, made the decision to build our own home a few years before retirement, then had the good fortune to be able to retire early and start the self-build journey. Started our build in late 2013, took far longer than anticipated to finish, but have now moved in and we are enjoying having a house with no bills at all (except for the blasted Council Tax...). The house pays us a modest income from the excess energy we generate, over and above the energy we use for heating, cooling, cooking, hot water etc, so we now have a healthy retirement holiday fund.
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    Wiltshire/Dorset Border

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  1. If you've got a spare hour or two we could do with a water feature. I've had a pond liner sat here since just after Christmas, but the chap that was going to dig the big hole has stopped working because of the lockdown. We were hoping to get the pond finished before Spring arrived, too.
  2. My limited experience has been that onduline is easy to cut and fit, and seems to last a long time. It's only real weakness is that it's relatively easy to damage, especially when installing it (it doesn't tolerate being stood on a corner well), but once installed it seems as robust as anything, really. I'd opt for it, just because it's much easier to work with (although it does make a mess of saws and drill bits).
  3. Our PP included a GSHP initially, but when I costed it up it was more than 4 times more expensive to install and would have taken several decades to recover that extra cost from the saving in energy use through life. There was also a much higher maintenance cost, because the antifreeze in the ground loop needs changing every few years, and the stuff costs a fortune, as it's a special environmentally safe mix. I had planned on a DIY GSHP install, too, to save money, using the units supplied by Kensa, down in Cornwall ( https://www.kensaheatpumps.com/ ). They were very helpful when I spoke to them, and had we decided to go for a GSHP I would almost certainly have used them. I had to get a minor amendment to our PP to switch to an ASHP. but this was pretty quick and easy, and the planners had no problem with it. It seems that planners have now realised that ASHPs are very quiet, with the advent of inverter driven units, so there is no appreciable noise nuisance (I think this may have been the reason for needing PP for and ASHP).
  4. Could do with a cool spell right now. Just come in from sawing very, very hard oak sleepers and screwing them together with 150mm stainless timberloks, to make a couple of raised beds. Managed to finish one of them, but the combination of the heat, and the embuggerance of trying to work with rock hard oak has almost finished me off. Found the torque limit of my cheapo Makita clone brushless impact driver though. The local sawmill let me have the sleepers at a discount, and delivered them the same day, as they'd had them sat in their yard for a few years, and they were a bit grubby. What I should have realised is that oak gets very hard as it seasons, and these seems to have reached peak hardness. Even pre-drilling the holes I was twisting up timberloks like corkscrews. After trying a few lubricants, it turns out that the best was silicone grease. No idea why, as I don't think of silicone grease as a particularly good lubricant normally. Still, the technique is honed now, so with luck, making the second one tomorrow should be a bit easier.
  5. Sorry, @jack , I genuinely didn't mean to cause offence at all. At the risk of unwittingly causing more anger, I'll just repeat that it seems that they are just expressing the forms of glyphosate salts in their formulation. The answer is in that quote from Wikipedia, specifically this key bit (perhaps I should have highlighted it to make it clearer, I thought it better to include the whole paragraph to give context): This product contains a mixture of glyphosate salts. FWIW, lots of products, including many drugs, are sold as salts, or mixtures of salts, of their active ingredient. The reasons for doing this are almost always related to stability, storage, ease of handling and packaging and safety when used I think, it doesn't usually change the way the stuff works very much, if at all. It may be that sometimes the formulation, choice and mix of salts, etc is driven by IPR issues, although I think that many of the patents might have expired by now. I don't know for sure, but it seems that many companies are now selling glyphosate in various formulations, whereas years ago Roundup was pretty much the only one available, I think (was back when my mother used it on the farm a lot).
  6. There's a reasonable explanation as to why glyphosate is sold as a salt, rather than the acid, in this paragraph lifted from Wikipedia:
  7. The full name of glyphosate is glyphosate isopropylamine, the isopropylammonium salt of glyphosate.
  8. That definitely looks a bit odd! Looks as if there had possible been a board there at some time. that's since been removed (goodness only knows how). Best bet is probably to scrape out a couple of inches or so and fill it with a mortar mix I think.
  9. Seems to be just another very expensive version of glyphosate: https://www.progreen.co.uk/fileuploader/download/download/?d=0&file=custom%2Fupload%2FKurtail_EVO_Safety_Data_Sheet.pdf It annoys me a bit that the marketing deceivers think they can increase profits by selling a standard product with a new name that deceives people into thinking it's something other than it is. In this case, they are charging £34.79 for 0.5l of glyphosate at a strength of 240g/l, whereas Gallup 360, a general purpose agricultural glyphosate, in more concentrated form (360g/l) is only £30 for 5l, so less than 1/10th of the price.
  10. I can confirm that streaming definitely doesn't stay in sync! We have a Roberts portable internet radio, plus a RPi Zero W that streams R4 into the ceiling speakers in the kitchen. The two are never in sync.
  11. We had a complaint about the height of our ridge once the house was up. Luckily I still had access to a Total Station and the OS steel pin from when they surveyed the lane was still visible by the drive entrance. The planning chap came out, we set up the Total Station over the pin and showed that the ridge height was slightly lower than as shown on the approved plans. During the course of the conversation with the planning chap, I asked him what sort of leeway they allowed and he reckoned that anything up to about 100mm out would generally be absolutely fine. No idea if that's a widespread rule, or just his personal judgement, but it seems reasonable to me.
  12. My view was that there were some tolerances that were super-critical and some that really didn't matter too much. A factory manufactured panel timber frame build needs more thought than block and brick. I think, as there's not much scope for being able to change things once the frame is built. This is what caused my soil pipe problem, as this poked up through the floor slab it needed to come up into a clear space close to a wall, but it ended up about 20mm too close to the wall, just because the tolerance wasn't tight enough on its position. My experience with window openings was that the window company didn't start making them until the house was up and they could come around to double check the sizes of all the openings. My guess is that they do this because they have learned over the years that the as-built dimensions may not tally with the drawing dimensions.
  13. I had much the same problem with tolerances, and when I set a 2D positional tolerance on the position of our soil pipe, where it comes up through the slab, of +/- 30mm the ground works chap thought I was joking. I should have made the tolerance even tighter as it turned out, as it ended up being too close to the inside face of the wall and caused me a fair bit of work putting in a small offset to allow the internal soil stack to fit OK. Our window openings were specced to be 5mm bigger all around than the frames, something that the window supplier came around to check.
  14. Interesting, as we live in a very quiet rural village, have extremely good soundproofing, triple glazing etc and our MVHR is completely inaudible when running normally. It can just be heard when in boost mode in the bathrooms, kitchen and utility room, but even then it doesn't make more than a very quiet hum in the bedrooms or living room. As boost only comes on for ten to fifteen minutes when the shower is running, or where there's a lot of steam from cooking, the very slight noise increase isn't an issue. If an MVHR system is making audible noise then that indicates a poor installation, perhaps without adequate silencers on the ducts and without vibration isolation on the unit itself (anti-vibration mounts for the unit and short lengths of flexible vibration isolation duct at the unit). It's also essential that the system is correctly balanced during commissioning, so that the extract and supply air flow rates are set to be equal overall, and that the individual terminal flow rates are correctly set for each room. As commissioning is a bit tedious, and needs a sensitive air flow measurement device, it seems this is often skipped by some installers, even though it's a mandatory requirement to show compliance with the regs. Finally, our bedroom supply terminal is in the wall, rather than the ceiling (not ideal, but we have vaulted ceilings) and is about two feet from my head. My hearing is still fine, yet I cannot hear any noise from it at all. Our house is timber frame, too.
  15. Very common technique when patching up wooden boats to just fit a graving piece, or Dutchman. Works well, and unlike filler it tends not to show later, as the graving piece with move in pretty much the same way as the underlying timber. To make a Rolls Royce job it's best to make the cross grain part at an angle, but I doubt it's worth it for something as easy to fix as this.