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About Stewpot

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    S. England; soon a plot in S. Scotland

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  1. Stewpot


    Intuitively, I feel that's not going to work out. Hunting around the web, I find that the Tesla Model S has a battery capacity of 100kWh (smaller cars are available). If you had a 10kW turbine working continuously at nominal capacity, and we ignore inefficiencies and energy losses in the recharging system, it would take 10 hours for a full recharge - in reality, probably two or three times that. And in a domestic setting, a 10kW turbine is pretty big. Depending upon how many miles a day you do, and how windy it is at your place, that sounds a bit marginal. And a turbine of that size is likely to cost several tens of thousands. Sorry to dampen your enthusiasm. An electric bike should be eminently do-able like that, though.
  2. I would say it's a mistake to have cement render on a stone wall like that. The more I find out about lime, the more persuaded I am that this would be the stuff to use in this situation. You will certainly have lime mortar between the stones. Lime breathes (incorrect terminology, since no exchange of air takes place - it is vapour permeable) and that allows moisture to escape the stonework. Normally, moisture can get into the wall in three ways - penetration of rain from outside, rising damp from underneath, and condensation from inside. By sealing up the wall with cement render, you are seriously limiting the ways the moisture has to escape again - the result is damp walls. The moisture needs to be able to evaporate out into the air. I'm not against cement - damn useful stuff, but your house was built before it was in general usage, and building techniques need to be different to use it successfully.
  3. Gad, more delights to come. Actually, the land registry isn't involved yet - that comes later, and hopefully the Scottish land registry won't be affected. Unless there is a good reason not to, I'm going to ask the solicitor to set a date to the 'conclusion of missives' (as they call the exchange of contracts in Scotland). I had hoped to get on site before the nesting season so that I can whack down the jungle that's grown up on site. That'll have to wait, now, but at least it's giving me time to draw up some house plans.
  4. Actually, I've had a couple of really good solicitors in the past, but they stand out amongst a lot of pretty poor ones. I had an on-going issue a few years ago - I got through 5 different solicitors, who were just indifferent and uninterested or incapable. The last one ignored much of what I had told him, and I had to re-write several letters for him to send out, because they just didn't cover the issue. Finally, he sent me a bill - I sent him a cheque for half the amount, telling him how disappointed in his work I was, and that I considered the account settled in full. Never heard back from him. But yes, my opinion of solicitors continues to decline. Some people would tell you I am already.
  5. What is it that solicitors find to do between instruction and completion? It's now fully 3 months since my offer on a plot was accepted, and I instructed a solicitor. There is no mortgage to sort out, no survey, etc. As far as I can see it is just a matter of confirming the title, and getting the searches done. And yet, still there is no timetable for completion. Initially, the solicitor guestimated things might be done and dusted around the end of January. Twice she's asked if I'm ready to proceed, and twice I've said yes. I get the impression that she only does work on the case when I ask her for an update.
  6. That's a much better idea. Good luck.
  7. Why are you thinking in terms of compensation? You can only claim compensation if you have suffered some loss, hardship or privation as a result of someone else's actions. In this case they just seem to have supplied sub-standard stuff, so the best outcome you can hope for is that you come to some agreement, or they replace it with something more suitable. And you have to give them the opportunity to put things right before you can sue them for your money back.
  8. That is, well... it's a bit of a shocker, isn't it? To be fair I can't see the whole of the room, to see its full effect, but it's hardly a decorative centrepiece. Is it possible to post the floor plans of the two floors, so that we can see it in context? Stairs can be a bugger, because you need to visualise them in 3D. What works well on one floor might not on the next. I'm guessing that you have a sloping ceiling on the first floor, which restricts headroom and prevents you from putting the stairs in the position you first wanted. But ProDave is right to ask what you want the outcome to be - that should be the first question you ask before any litigation. If you want the original option, well, it seems that that is impossible, so no amount of suing will get you that. Often, the outcome of any legal action, is that both parties end up being disappointed. Which is not to say that you don't merit some form of compensation. I'm no fan of spiral staircases, but could that be a solution? Because you are effectively dealing with a cylinder, you have some control over which way the top and bottom treads are facing, which may help. And it'd be prettier than what you've got. Or have you thought of asking the second architect (or some other architect) if he could find an alternative solution? Sometimes creative types can see a way round problems that us normal people though was impossible.
  9. If it's a paying gig, I'll be right round.
  10. I'm currently in Berkshire, and in the process of buying a plot in Scotland. I wasn't looking specifically in Scotland, but because it wasn't possible to visit a plot there and back in a day, I found a handful of likely plots on Rightmove and Zoopla. I did do extensive internet research on them all, and had eliminated many others. I checked with the estate agents to confirm they were still available, and then booked the smallest, cheapest self-catering place I could find that was convenient for them all, and spent a few days looking around. I photographed everything lots, spoke to locals, and tried to gain as much information about each plot and the area as possible. I made a return visit when my offer on one of the plots was accepted. Contrary to popular belief, in Scotland, you have not, at that stage, entered in to a contract, so I could have another long hard look at the plot before I made the commitment. I also visited a local solicitor (you have to use a Scottish solicitor for transactions in Scotland) to make sure I understood what I was getting myself into. And that's as far as I've got - quite what it is that solicitors find to do in the intervening time (two and a half months, so far), I've no idea, but hopefully, any day now, the plot will finally be mine. Good luck with your search. To put things in perspective, I looked at a plot locally to me - just one; I didn't trouble looking at any others - the local asking price of building land per square meter is 24 times what I am paying in Scotland. I'm getting a bigger plot for a fraction of the price, but I was quite bullish with my offer.
  11. I'd agree that that doesn't look like Artex. It's one of two things - water soluble textured coating, or non-water soluble textured coating. Test an area by keeping it moist for 20 minutes (wall paper paste is surprisingly good at doing this, on larger areas, but for a test area, just keep dabbing it with a wet paintbrush). If it goes soft, and you can now easily scrape it off, you have the former; if it remains firm, it is the latter. Early stuff that is non-water soluble from 40 or more years ago, may have asbestos fibres in it. This poses no risk to health, as long as you do not damage the surface. What to do about it? Well if it's water soluble, you could wet the whole ceiling and get scraping, but you are likely to need to skim the ceiling afterwards. If the stuff is non-water soluble, your only real course of action is to skim it. Sometimes, if the finish is very rough, and the ceiling uneven, it can be easier to plasterboard the ceiling, possibly with taped joints, or a thin skim over.
  12. I've been reading (or trying to) the caravan acts for a couple of days[1]; this webpage sums up the definition of a caravan as well as anything I've read, with a look at case law, as well: [1] Find them here:- Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960: Caravan Sites Act 1968:
  13. Imagine a world where 'being annoying' is prosecutable... I think it's likely that self-driving fleets will be operated by taxi firms. Having your own self-driving car will be largely unnecessary - you'll just have an app on your smart phone to summon a car when you need it; tap in a GPS co-ordinate, and off you go. I also predict that they will be equipped with internal cameras and microphones "to enhance your travelling experience", which will just happen to have facial recognition, will record what you say and listen out for certain key words. There will, of course, be multiple screens to supply you with advertorial infotainment, which you cannot turn off, and your journeys will be monitored and logged, including, for example, which house you stop out side; how long you are in there for, and how often.
  14. I'm beginning to think I misunderstood the phone conversation I had with Scottish Water a few weeks ago. They simply said it'll cost so much to make the connection[1], but they don't dig the trench, and pointed me to approved contractors who do. Are you suggesting that, come the day, they might refuse to make the connection? I suppose I was really after a guestimate of how much a contractor might charge to dig up 25 meters of lane. And clarification of the planning condition. [1] I wrote it down - it's under this pile of paper somewhere.
  15. As my old boss used to say - "All in the fullness of time". I'm not anticipating a problem (why would there be?) - five other houses in the area, all on mains water; it'll just need extending the extra bit.