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TheMitchells last won the day on November 30 2017

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About TheMitchells

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    Bicester, OXfordshire

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  1. TheMitchells

    Electricity heating conundrum!

    No they dont use it very often, about 2-3 times a week. It is scary how much we all use for heating our homes. and we dont think the bungalow is very leaky. It has had cavity insulation added and there is plenty insulatio in the attic. But they do like it warm. They have even put in an order for a new electric fire so when they just want a little extra! But when they get the their age, I guess if they want it hot, why shouldnt they have it hot. 😀
  2. TheMitchells

    Electricity heating conundrum!

    Yes, that would have explained it but it wasnt - they were all up to temperature and it wasnt even the night it turned really cold. Possibly - there is a boost for evenings when you can open a flap and it lets the heat out of the core. But it should not have been open - although Dad may have accidently changed it. Its about the only thing that could do it. But still seems a lot of power. I just hope it doesnt happen again. We are doing readings every day now. Unfortunatly the washing machine cannot be used at night - the economy 7 comes on at 12.30 and goes off around 7am. And for some reason, it cannot be turned on with a timer. it has to be pressed to set it off. And its on the 'socket' ring at the consumer unit. the economy 7 stuff has their own consumer unit.
  3. TheMitchells

    Electricity heating conundrum!

    yes, thats an option. and I did think about getting them to the local sports centre for a shower there.
  4. Having installed my elderly parents in a nearby bungalow, we are trying to sort out the heating systems and electricity costs. It is a bit of a conundrum and maybe someone has an idea what could be causing the problem. The bungalow is heated by one night storage heater in the lounge and a rather large night storage system in a central cupboard, (left photo) through which air is blown when required into all the rooms, incudling the back of the lounge. This is controled by a thermostat in the lounge. The place also has a very large hot water tank in another cupboard which is also on the Economy 7 night time tarif. The econmy 7 stuff (tank and two NSH's) is on its own fused thing in the fuse box. Before buying the place, I asked about electricity bills and was informed that the average winter bills were about ÂŖ90. Hhh. Dont think so! We were taking reading of the electrcity over the course of the first couple of months as it got colder to make sure we had an idea of costs. Here is the spreadsheet. As you can see, the costs are far higher than expected. and I havent the foggiest what happened on the21st and 22nd Nov! Why did the night reading suddenly quadruple! parents assure me that nothing changed from normal. then we had two night really low! Our idea was to turn off each unit in turn to see how that effected the readings but 'something caused a major hiccup and they certainly cannot afford to have occasional costs of ÂŖ12 anight. On Sunday (yesterday)after a few evenings of relative similar readings, we turned off the heater to the hot water tank. And the evening costs did drop. On feeling the tank this morning, the bottom third was cold, middle third warmish and the top hot. So we are leaving it another night before turning it back on. They dont use much water at all as they cannot get into the bath and apart from the washing machine occasionally, they use a sinkful per day washing dishes. The heating is set quite high as Dad feels the cold and the house is certainly warm when I go in but not excessively (usually around 21oC/70oF in the lounge). They turn the thermostat up for about 10 mins in the morning then a bit more in the evening when the other nsh is probably not putting as much out. Any ideas what could have caused the sudden increase the other evening? Thats a lot of electricity to use. And are we doing the right thing to try to calculate what each unit is costing to run? I think we shall seriously be looking at replacing it all with a simple gas combi boiler in the summer. There is gas in the street and we can see many similar bungalows are it connected. And if we plan it with a future kitchen extension in mind, it will save us having to do it in a few years time.
  5. TheMitchells

    Bamboo/green screening

    There are plenty of bamboo varieties that would be suitable but they tend to be only aviailable from specialist suppliers. The ones you get in the garden centres tend to be those that are invasive. Bamboo root systems can be either clumping or running. Avoid the running ones! Phyllostachys is actually a runner but tends to clump form in our climate. The best bamboos for smaller gardens include Fargesia murielae 'Simba' - this grows to 2.5m and spreads to about 1.2m but is a lovely shaped bamboo with orangish stems. Can also be grown in a container. Fargesia nitida. - Upright growing and good for exposed sites. Purplish stems and dainty foliage. Up to 3m and spreads around 1m. Thamnocalamus crassinoidus 'Kew' - delicate, small leaves with stems which emerge powder-blue but age to red. up to 4m and spread 1.5m. All sizes are after about 10 years, so fairly slow. Be careful of Pleiblastus as they can spread a lot. And dont worry if they do not do much in the first couple of years. Underground they will be getting established and then they will start growing well. Hope that helps.😊 I'd also recomend Grisilinia - makes a readlly good hedge and is evergreen.
  6. If it helps - some years ago we too had an 8 year old Lab rescue and when I went to collect him, I saw him walking with the elderly lady who had fostered him. He looked so slow and overweight I was worried but once he started exercising and going for proper walks, he lost the weight and became another dog. I had him for another 6 years and he was fab. Labs are so intelligent he will soon pick up the training. To help with recall, we found feeding to the whistle a good trick. make them sit till you blow the whistle. then they can eat their food. They soon get used to coming when the whistle blew; You would not believe how quickly they arrive in the kitchen from outside. - and if practiced before doing it in the park, they should come straight back - as long as there is a nice treat to say 'well done'. and lots of praise.
  7. TheMitchells

    recipe disaster - help needed!

    Bu%%er - the yogurt is zero fat! will go for the mascapone - can always add more pepper if the flavour is a bit off...... will add a little bit at a time, once finished cooking, so its isnt too hot. this website is sooo useful! where else can you get such help at the last minute? Thank you!! x
  8. He looks smashing and so good that he now has a nice home! Whats his name? We lost our wonderful retriever last month and today we have been cooking lots of cakes for a coffee morning tomrrow morning in aid of Dogs for Good. He was one of their pups who came as a puppy for socialisation but when we realised he was useless and never going to pass the training we persuaded them to let us keep him. we had a good 12 years and he was a fabulous dog - everyone loved him as he was so calm and placid. he loved a good play with the tennis ball though and balloons were his thing! The house just isnt the same without him! Maybe in a another few months we will look at another dog but now yet. ☚ī¸ Our Nero. So glad that you have found a new friend! 😊
  9. Okay, its not really a disaster but hopefully someone can help avert one.... I am making a chicken in white wine sauce recipe for tonights big dinner. But the recipe asks for single or double cream for the sauce - I dont have any! And I dont have time to go and get some. I have mascapone cheese and Grrek yougurt - which should I use?? Help!!!😊
  10. TheMitchells

    Simple driveway - Not on your Nelly!!

    Thats what Dad suggested initially - but like an idiot, I thought we should do a 'proper job'! I should have listened - the wisdom of age......😄
  11. TheMitchells

    Simple driveway - Not on your Nelly!!

    Well, the answer came back from highways and its not good news. Having reviewed the proposals I would recommend that you make use of the existing access as in order to form another access would require stopping up of the existing as the Local Highway Authority would resist more than one access serving a single dwelling as per adopted policy. I would propose to provide an additional length of driveway leading from the existing access to the front door so that the highway ( including footway) is not required to be modified in any way which would be costly. So we are not able to add a new driveway, without 'stopping' up the old one as the policy is to only allow one access per property. And as the old one leads to the garage, thats not really an option. (Maybe). And taking the driveway from the origonal all the way to near the front door would be far too expensive. I have not measured it but it would mean a driveway a lot longer than planned drive and as the cost of our proposed one is around ÂŖ1000, we would be talking several thousand and thats not an option either. So much for helping the elderly to stay in their properties longer! So what do we do? 1. Ignore the advice and just make a new driveway where we want it. are they likely to send a Highways person out to check and take action against us? Unlikely, The council are bankrupt so I doubt they will want any court cases. 2. Block the origonal driveway with some planters that can be moved later. Make a new driveway as per our plans. We are only using the garage for storage. It means parking visiting cars on the road but we can cope with that. But would the Highways still insist on dropping the kerb, which they admit is costly. 3. Leave the origonal driveway, remove some of the hedging next to the footpath and if Dad parks on the lawn, so be it. Its not an official driveway. I'm tempted to go for option 3 - its cheap and solves the problem in the short term. if the lawn gets a bit muddy, we could always lay a few paving slabs for the wheels! Isnt Bureaucracy wonderful!😖😟
  12. TheMitchells

    Simple driveway - Not on your Nelly!!

    Thats good to know. thanks Jeremy.
  13. TheMitchells

    Simple driveway - Not on your Nelly!!

    Just contacted the planning department and they have said I do not need planning for the driveway.😊 However, I do need to check with Highways to see if they have any concerns over the footpath. And they are not answering the phone at the moment. While I could just go ahead with a driveway, as we are going for planning for the Wet room, someone will be coming out to check the build and I do not want to have problems later for failing to get authorisation. While others seem to get away with such things, I am one of those people who would get caught out - so its not worth the risk. I am hoping that as others have added driveways and do not appear to have had any strengthing of paths done, we will not need it either. and the kerb is so low, that it would not need lowering at all. Keeping fingers crossed.
  14. TheMitchells

    Simple driveway - Not on your Nelly!!

    Thanks for all the comments and advice. We will have to take some time weighing up the options and seeing what is best for us and parents. But as we are applying for permission for the wet room, it makes sense to add the rest on the same application. Will see if I can get a word with our builder to see what he says about the drains.
  15. TheMitchells

    Simple driveway - Not on your Nelly!!

    Certainly is something worth thinking about, if it avoids issues about planning.🙂