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I've been busy, again

Another weekend, another dose of tidying stuff up. Last week I wore out the bearings on the washing machine passing loads of towels until it dawned on me that I simply don't need any more towels. So I have a stack of clean towels and the rest were shoved in the storage room to be forgotten about.
Today? Yet. More. Towels.

Oh my god.

And tomorrow, joy of joy, more stacks of random pieces of fabric. I think I'll put aside anything that looks "nice" (highly subjective term) and stick the rest in the cow shed. I mean, the storage room is already full of stuff. As is the supposed "third bedroom". Pfft.

But, it's coming along. Slowly. More of the floor is visible, few boxes of "what the hell".


Along the way I did discover something useful. If I feel like eating in the car, then...

A useful tray, should a useful tray be needed.
A useful tray, should a useful tray be needed.

Probably would have been a good thing during The Burger Days, but those days are behind me.


Another old phone

I found the old phone that I fixed up over a decade ago. It needed a good clean and it came up looking good.

Another S63 phone.
Another S63 phone.

This one is fitted with the grandma-earpiece (you can just see it tucked at the back) so two people can listen to a conversation at the same time.
As it is a carbon granule microphone, it sounds pretty poor, which is a shame as the quality in the earpiece is pretty good for a phone from 1977.

However, this one has some built-in magic.

Pulse dialling on a VoIP line? No problems.
Pulse dialling on a VoIP line? No problems.

The little box centre-foreground (encased in black goo) is a module that connects to the rotary dial mechanism (you'll notice the dialler is no longer in-circuit, the orange tape on the right) and counts the pulses in order to emit the equivalent DTMF tone.

The ringer works with the Livebox too, so this one is connected to the phone system to ring if I should ever get a phone call. I'll just have to remember to not actually answer using it, as the microphone quality is not good. Something to look into.


Potential new mower?

Saw this at the local DIY place.

ProGreen PG 84 HB
ProGreen PG 84 HB.

The engine is a Stiga ST350 (352cc) with electric starting. The cutting width is 84cm (I have no idea what Marte is), and the cutting height can be adjusted between 25 and 80mm in seven steps (Marte's cut height is "scalping the ground"). There's a 240 litre collection box at the back, so it won't spew grass bits everywhere. Won't that be a refreshing change?

More interestingly, it doesn't use gears. It's a hydrostatic transmission, so there's a rocker lever that is operated by foot. Press the front and you'll go forwards. The more you press, the more oil is allowed to pass through the system, so the faster it goes. Press the backwards side, and it operates in the reverse direction and, thus, goes backwards.
I'm getting used to it now, but shifting Marte's gears did a number on my arms for ages.

The price is €2299,00. This is about par for the course from a little local place. I have seen it listed for two hundred less, and three hundred more... More importantly for me, they will deliver. The guy said there's a fee for that, but it's "about twenty euros".

It is also guaranteed for three years. That they are willing to go a year over the legal EU guarantee period suggests to me that it's a reliable machine. "ProGreen" is a brand specific to... La Maison? I think that's what the place is called. It's been rebranded various times. I still think of it as "Super Catena" but it hasn't been that in decades. I think it's basically a rebadged Stiga 384, which is the same as a Mountfield model with '84' in the number (it's the cutting width). It's an Italian made mower. And having a plastic shell, I'm just going to guess it runs a tad cooler than my thirsty and hot Tecumseh engine.

Anyway, I hope Marte will limp on for the remainder of the year, and I can look to this for next year. We'll see.
I'll keep Marte around, however, if only for mowing the driveway. A while back, it was decided the simplest way to fill the holes was to chuck bits of rock into them. Epic fail really, as the weight of vehicles threw the bits all over. I could have told them that, but... Anyway, it's quite often that something is whacked with the mower blades on the driveway. Along with a pleasing shower of sparks. So excuse me if I'm not going to spend two grand on a shiny new mower to subject it to that torture...



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David Pilling, 4th June 2023, 13:06
...and if they ever scrap voiture sans permis, you can ride the mower to work, like Alvin Straight in the movie 'The Straight Story'.
Anon, 4th June 2023, 16:04
Two options for the very lazy: 
First option is to pave over the entire garden and make a terraced patio. I did this as my garden was on a slope and the back lawn basically unusable for anything other than decoration. Built a retaining wall and I now have a "terrace" and "courtyard" patio, with a few planting tubs stood on the terrace so I have some greenery. Although with the size of land you're talking about this might not be viable. 
Second option is to get a robotic mower, that will just go out and "do its thing" whenever, then come back to base and sit on the charger. I've seen these things running and they're actually pretty funky. Kinda like a Roomba with a grudge.
Rick, 4th June 2023, 18:40
David: It costs me as much to mow the grass *once* as it does to go to work and back three days. The mower engine is not at all fuel efficient. 
I wonder if it's a problem with my mower, or if that guy in the movie skipped over the "fill the tank in every town" part...
Rick, 4th June 2023, 18:50
Way too much to pave over (plus it would not only look crappy but probably cost more than a top of the range mower), and the ground is too rough to make use of a bot mower. 
I've just done a rough and ready calculation using Google Maps and it works out as something like 80×22 for the main part of the Western Wilderness, and that's not including around front, around back, by the potato patch (both parts), the eastern picnic lawn, the entire potager, and any part of the driveway (which is itself about half a kilometre). 
Plus, I don't mind using the big mower. Put on my noise cancelling headphones, fire up some Nightwish, and off I go. 🤘
J.G.Harston, 4th June 2023, 23:20
Get a sheep.
Anon, 5th June 2023, 01:39
JGH - and hope that nobody from Wales is passing? (Ever seen the movie "Twin Town"?) 
I still like my terrace. But the "lawn" that was there before was basically pants. The grass all died within a few months of me getting the place, I think it had been turfed just to sell the property. 
Have to admit though, I still like the idea of a "Roomba with a grudge". Give it some AI and program it to have a serious chip on its shoulder - and an intense dislike of door-to-door salesmen (and Jehovah's Witnesses). I'd predict a surge in amputated toes at the nearest A&E department.
Rob, 7th June 2023, 01:11
I've got a paved front yard. I could do with a mower for all the weeds that push their way up through all the joints..

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