Friday, March 06, 2015

Credit where credit is due...

It's not often you meet an inspirational figure but, when you do they come in all sorts of guises! My first was a friends Father, Horace Jones, he was an estate agent who taught me a lot about life and the art of selling but more importantly to listen to my "inner ear" and if alarm bells rang, act upon my instinct as those alarms ring for a reason! He also taught me to appreciate others in a roundabout way and to pay them a compliment if I can...

This post is a compliment to a work colleague who has not changed my life unduly, but, I have been proud to help him change many lives, day after day!

Chris is a teacher in a secondary school who has consistently, over the last ten(?) years that I have known him produce some outstanding lessons, outstanding results and some very big surprises on the way. 
His name is Chris Wust and he teaches Business studies at the Kings CE School Wolverhampton.

Chris trained at our school and once qualified he was taken on as a full time teacher. (Someone must have spotted something!) He has the most amazing but mixed up memory based around links he can make to football and his passion for a certain northern football club, a sharp wit, consisting of a daily barrage of crap jokes, one liners and "double entendres" and an incredible drive and passion for his subject and life in general. The jokes he doles out mercilessly to staff and students alike and the students...well, I think Chris likes to think they like the jokes. In truth he is a teacher that is really well liked by his pupils witnessed every end of year when students leave to go to pastures new.

So, why has Chris Wust made an impression on me?
Because he has taken students from many differing backgrounds through various competitions around the country and not only won the local heats but... the national ones too! He has done this year in and year out and as a mark of recognition his high spot was when Chris was recognised as the

"Most Enterprising Teacher of the Year" and presented a glass trophy by no less a person than Lord Sugar in 2013.

Never one to stand still, Chris Wust has carried on winning similar competitions ever since, tutoring his students in the way he does so well and as always, giving them the chance and direction to succeed!

If your interested you can read/see more here:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My new patio... an update eight years later!

If you go back to my posts to that beautiful summer of '06 you will see I  had a new Indian Sandstone patio laid and we were really chuffed!
The patio was as we expected and wanted but, is it, still eight years later?
Eight years ago just finished

In essence the design was flawed, money at the time was tight (isn't it always) and looking back we so chose the wrong material and should possibly have laid it upside down to how we did!

That sounds like we did everything wrong so let me elucidate!

The general design with the circle of stones in
front of the patio doors looks great, but late at night its the wrong side of the garden to get the evening sun. Shade from either our tree or a neighbours tree blocks that warm evening sun on that side of the garden, so installing it the other way round would have been so much more practical but would sadly look wrong for the building.

Why have we decided it is all wrong?
The Indian Sandstone comes in slightly irregular shapes and sizes, nominally all the same but, just slightly out in length and width but, thickness in particular. Hand cut, this is to be expected. Also, one side is smooth the other side is a nice riven finish. Riven looks nice, but holds the water after rain and in the winter this freezes and the stone is slightly prone to pieces breaking away. The smooth side would not have done this so much I expect and as a bonus, it would be nicer to walk on. Yes, riven can be a trip hazard especially for the old, infirm or, dare I say it, the slightly inebriated on a warm summers evening!

Just how dirty it was!
Over the years the only real work done has been twice annual cleaning with a pressure washer which makes a huge difference. Firstly in the Spring then again late Summer, also the pointing between the stones has had to be redone once about four years ago and in truth it needs doing again! We are about to patch it up but, if not successful, out will come the angle grinder and new "compo" duly inserted.

However... Indian sandstone, like all other sandstones and limestone, suffers with moss and lichen and that is the main problem. The moss cleans off ok with the pressure washer but the Lichen! It just grows into black spots and nothing but a wire brush (impractical) will get rid of it and it spreads and spreads. This totally ruins the look of the patio. So much so, I was considering having it ripped up and replaced!

The power of Google and the internet...
I decided a few weeks back to really sort this out once and for all so we "pressure washed" the patio to see how well it had faired over the winter. The result, although impressive at removing surface grime, did not please us one bit. The black spots were every where!
Just after pressure washing
showing the black lichen
The picture on the right was directly after pressure washing. I took it whilst wet as it stands out so well then!

General consensus of opinion on the internet is to use bleach, nice thick neat bleach and leave it work for some time. Repeating as necessary every few days. The results were poor! After three lots of bleaching and scrubbing very little difference was noticed. Really bad areas, and the picture (right) shows a better area NOT a bad area, showed very little change.

Stronger bleach was needed was my first thoughts... but where from?
More searching on the 'net bought up a suggestion. Sodium Hypochlorite, as used in swimming pools. Readily available from Ebay some was quickly purchased. The result was pretty amazing!
See the before and after pictures below and see what I mean.

Pressure washed and first treatment
The picture (left) is after pressure washing and one treatment with Sodium Hypochlorite. The lower picture is of the same slabs after a second treatment! I for one am suitably impressed!
I am now treating every last stone for the second time. Some areas are superb others I am going to try a third session on them but if they do not improve then I will wait for a nice day, pressure wash a quick sweep of the patio, then once dry I will treat the whole patio with a sealing solution.

So what's the procedure? It's not rocket science.
    After second treatment
  • Pressure wash the patio as best you can.
  • Let it almost dry and spray with a pump sprayer a neat solution of hypo all over having done a test piece first for safety's sake.
  • Leave it to work for about an hour and a half. You may see it foam slightly
  • Periodically dampen the solution with a fine mist from the hosepipe. This keeps it working and not drying out.
  • Wash the patio thoroughly with a hose. Remember this may well kill grass and plants so make it really wet to weaken the solution. I had little problem.
  • Take good care of yourself, wear suitable old clothing, gloves, goggles etc and keep the hose nearby in case you need to suddenly wash yourself down!
  • BE SAFE!

    The finished patio awaiting some baskets and planters to complete!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Today,I am blogging on an I-Pad! I bought home an I pad from work with a view to see if I should consider buying one! Working in ICT in a school has it's little perks and this is one of them. I have to say firstly that I am not an apple fan purely based on cost. I have used them extensively when I trained in design at Uni some years back and we do have a few at school but, generally I think they are little more than eye candy. If viewed as a tool then a thousand pound I-Mac is really no better than a thousand pound pc but, most people judge them purely on their looks! Sure, those in the know, like designers, will tell you they are more reliable and just do the job and in truth I think many years ago that was probably/possibly true, however, not so much, if at all, nowadays! So, what do I think of the I-Pad? Since I typed the above line nearly two minutes have passed... Somehow I lost the onboard keyboard and could not get it back. To make matters worse I opened up another tab and was asked to send feedback, which, would be infuriating enough if I had the keyboard but as it was gone it sort of made me feel like insult had been added to injury and I was swiftly beginning to dislike this novel piece of kit! On the subject of keyboard, it's a clever idea the way it works but have you tried typing I-Pad using capitals like I have just typed. The transition between screens to change to make a hyphen is not hard but is cumbersome. there will no doubt be similar scenarios but I presume you get used to it! I just decided to add an image from a website of the I-Pad and whether it is a vague army of the device or blogger but although it made all the right sort of motions and responses, no image can I see on this page ! Can you? I have now been using/playing with the device for about a half hour, I am used to an I pod touch so I had a good idea what to expect, but, sadly it's not growing on me as much as I expected! I will tell you more in the next few days... Moriarty

I gave the ipad back I genuinely did not like it. Its good for surfing and emails, playing music or watching a film but it is not a viable replacement for a laptop or pc when you want to start doing more. They are expensive and I have seen android tablets equally as good for far less money and so sadly... it had to go!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Ice Cream Man cometh...

This morning after nearly 28 years living in the same house we had an Ice cream man stop outside our house! Its only about the third time I recall one even stopping in the road...
Do these Ice Cream men know something about the weather we dont?!!? Let's hope so...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Driving, rushing around and total disregard for others...

Bad driving?
If you have read the title you probably have guessed that this is going to be a rant...but, it isn't! It's an observation...of sorts. It's about bad driving!!

Driving to work and back five days a week along quiet country lanes, through one set of traffic lights on a busy road and then up/down a long steep narrow canyon of a road I see all different styles of driving. Some good,, not so! The journey is five and a half miles, it takes me on average about fifteen minutes max and as I say it has a very narrow steep canyon through solid sandstone and brick retaining walls. Interspersed with various bits of street furniture like, lampposts, width restrictions, road signs and the like it is, for some, quite obviously one of two things.
  1. Impossible to negotiate and should be done with your eyes closed or...
  2. Sod you lot I am coming through!
I suppose I should add there is an option 3 in which I include people like myself, who have learned over the years the art of self preservation and how to, hopefully, dodge the people in section one or two!

So, just who is in section one?
Young girls applying makeup/people on mobiles or texting/drivers to frightened to drive/old ladies/old men/Sunday drivers (delete as applicable)

And section two?
Which "Celeb" owns this?
Reps/white van man/ 4x4's/power women (you know, the ones in a Porsche or similar, perfect makeup, sharp hair do, usually full of them selves on the phone in a hurry because they are sooo busy... Disorganised more like!) Senior Managers/Exec's (who think because they are the boss at work are also the boss on the road) all those with personal number plates that don't mean anything to anyone but them selves. You know who you are...go on think about your number plate now... go on....well? If I did not know you, would your numberplate mean anything at all to me? No!??! Then yes, it's you I am talking about!
"Miss Micra" is it you?

What inspired today's post?
Yesterday whilst following a white van which turned out not to be driven by a stereotypical "whitevanman" I watched as he took evasive action from a young lady coming down the hill in a Micra. She was in the middle of the road, the narrow bit, nowhere near on her side where, if she had driven appropriately, she and "whitevanman" could have passed each other. But no, she was in the middle and I waited for the sound of broken glass. "Whitevanman", took evasive action, narrowly missing said rock wall as she gaily careered on her way missing me and the following traffic by inches. Was she, myopic? No! Was she a cr*p driver? Probably! Was she on her mobile? Very definitely!
White Van Man stereotype...

Today, and this is the rub, same place but about a hundred yards further up the hill, in the narrowest section where there is road narrowing/calming measures, ie one lane, the same whitevanman in front of me (How spooky is that|!) and he has priority. Coming down the hill... you guessed it... "Miss Micra"! Does she stop? No...does she bl**dy 'ell!

This woman is a menace...along with all the others like her!

This weekend, I am considering fitting a camcorder to my dash to video my journey... If I see "Miss Micra" coming I will be taking avoiding action especially if I am following a white van! Then, I will post the video on here for all to see...

Have a good day all...
P.s. If I have pinched your picture off the net then I am sorry but thank you. (It must have been good as I chose it so please, take solice in that!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Red Bull Canimations

Hey all. Please, please, for me, vote on this! LittleAnimations, my son Tims business, has entered the RedBull Canimation Competition and needs your help! Please follow the link and watch his entry, comment on it, leave criticism, even like it, we need all the interaction with the video we can get to help get in the top ten. Please vote!

All the help I can get for voting is really appreciated. Just getting into the top ten means the film will be watched by major animation companies of the likes of Aardman and Pixar

Thank you all!

Red Bull Gives You Springs from Little Animations on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Adsense...will it make me a Millionaire?

Car Insurance Scheme Ref Multipla Owners 904

Adsense...will it make me a Millionaire?
In a word... NO!
In theory it possibly could if, enough people clicked on your pages and your adverts. But, in my case I doubt it very much.

So, why have I included Googles adsense/adverts on my blog? Purely to see how or, if, it works and wether it is a viable way of me earning some cash which I can give to my chosen charity!

Some of you may know I help run the Multipla owners club UK and that I have set up a car insurance scheme for the UK. (There is a link at the top of this post) Primarily, it is intended for members, but, as I always tell people "mention Multipla Owners Ref:904" when you ring Chris Knott Insurance up and they will try to beat your existing quote and make a donation to the club for our nominated charity. I won't go into what we make but its a nice feeling when we donate to Whizz kids or Cancer relief or whatever charity the members choose to support for the coming year.

So, that's why I am trying adsense.
Has it worked then I hear you say? Well it's been on about ten days now and my earnings have been £1.30!! Not a lot I know, but, "from little acorns mighty oaks do grow..."

Therefore, if your in the UK, please try my Insurance scheme and click my adverts. Not for me but for my chosen charity. If your outside the UK, then please, still click on the adverts but sadly, the insurance scheme won't work for you!