Monday, February 14, 2011


More snow finally giving the roof a good weather trial. Now suffering paranoia that this construction will be knocked down peremptorily. I don't think it is under the same threat from bureaucracy, but I didn't imagine anyone could be as stupid as some of the people I have spoken to over the past couple of days, so I must get a little more proactive and try to ensure that I do retain some rights over it just in case.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rescue of sorts

We borrowed the crane and rescued the wreckage of the board from the junk pile. I'm not sure where it will end up, but at least it might get reused somehow. The guys really chopped up the base trying to find out how it was attached. If we had known, all it needed was four cuts around bolts and the thing could have come off whole.
I have found this a very educational experience. Never trust the bureaucrats and get your rights in writing. I will never be doing any work for the city again without written agreements.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Recently my fascination with panoramas has rather faded, but I used to like fiddling with them. If you are interested, this one can be viewed with PTviewer a very old free viewer that still seems to work. This photo composite was taken back when I made the poster board in the picture some years ago in collaboration with a friend.
Today when dropping my daughter off at the station I noticed activity in the area and found that the thing had disappeared. I went back home and called some people in the know, they knew nothing about it, so I returned and asked the chaps in helmets on site what was going on. To cut a long story short, the usual idiocy of a bureaucrat with no brain had meant the death sentence for the work had been signed a month before and nobody even thought about trying to continue the use of the thing. I did some following up and did my best to express my disbelief, but to be honest I feel that I should have been handing out the caps with the " too stupid to insult" logo. They would have been worn with pride.

Friday, February 11, 2011


After the shaping, scorching with the torch and then wire brushing and polishing.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kyokumen kanna

One of my most used electrical tools is the plane with a curved sole. It is useful for shaping after roughly removing bulk. In this case shaping the bracket or pillar head piece I was lifting to offer up to a joint in a drawing the other day. According to my improvised knowledge of Japanese, kyoku means curve, men means plane or surface, kanna is a plane so this is a kyokumen kanna. Spokeshaves have a Chinese heritage here, so they are called Nanking kanna after the southern city in China, even though they do a similar job.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Laying down on the job

The fatter of the two logs had to slide down next to a kind of store house, so I used the block on the descent also to control its movements, but the other 6 meter long number had a clearer drop so I was able to convince it to heed the urge to fall, in some spots it meant laying down on the job and punching it through vegetationand fallen branches or over stumps with both legs as prodders.

Sunday, February 06, 2011


I got the chain block and a few wire rope sections up the slope and pulled the two logs I want to positions where they could be pushed or pulled down to within reach of the crane truck. Lots of stumps about to act as barriers to stop rogue movements down the slope and a few of the local flora were thrown into service as posts to hook the chain block on to. I got warm enough to take off the jacket.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

More Logs

Out on the mountain last thing today looking for more timber to scavenge. The same site as where I got the longer cypress timbers for the roof project, no more cypress of the size I need, but some logs of cedar should fit the bill. I think I will need to lighten them down with the chainsaw before I can haul them out. One is only a little over 4m, but the other I need will be over 5m and about 6x8 inches in section once it is cut back. The slopes are clear of leaves, but the shrubs down in where the logs had fallen were pretty wippy and grabby, I shall take some instruments to clear them back a bit next time I go. Today I only went to measure after striping the logs of their bark

Friday, February 04, 2011

Vanessa Whitburn Bombing Destroys Ambridge

A little news headline about the Borsetshire crater from earlier in my 2011.
Archers fan? Hmm, perhaps not a die hard, but I had it in my list of regular podcast listens and since the advent of the Internet and listen again on the BBC I had very much enjoyed catching up with characters I had not heard from for nearly 20 years. Mostly familiar from when I had listened in on the wireless when younger and living on the isle of blight. I had noticed over the past few years how some kind of plot pooh was thrust through the bars at me every Christmas in a nasty but obvious twist, so I was slightly on my guard this year.
Living in Japan had isolated me from the world of Ambridge and now it has been taken away forever. The disgusting episode they came up with for their 60th anniversary was a complete turn off and in my universe there is now just a large crater where the mythical village used to stand. After I listened I did a little searching on the web to see if there was any opinion on the subject and it seemed that many long term listeners were also left inwardly staring at a crater. The woman editor of the series is obviously some kind of skilled psychologist, I no longer even think about listening in, I presume she must be the master pooh flinger I had perceived in the wings over the past few years.
Perhaps she might find her calling working on some kind of drug addiction or anti smoking campaign, she clearly has a talent for putting people off things. Her own comments seemed to indicate she was happy that so many people were so upset with her efforts as it meant publicity for her show. Sad that these kind of dictators are allowed to rule even in the opiate world of soap opera. Smug flingers are by far the worst. Some people even commented that they had enjoyed the program, I think reading that was when I realized I was no longer in the same universe of listenerdom.
I hate it when a bad bit of writing appears on the horizon and you can see it coming down on you from miles away while you are strapped to the tracks. At first one hopes one is wrong, but then the horrific unstoppable sadism of the person wielding the typewriter slams into you and if you are lucky you wake up with a start before the train hits, I am afraid I just lay there while it ran over me. Clearly some people enjoy just that very same thing.
I suppose the crater is my way of avoiding the intolerable reality that all except Nigel and those others who escaped through earlier deaths are now doomed to live out their fictional lives under the tyranny of Ms. Whitburn. As for the real world actors, wow, what terrible suffering.
I feel very sorry for the rest of the village who were all killed in the disaster. I think I will miss Jill most. When I get a little older perhaps I will take up bee keeping as a tribute.

Thursday, February 03, 2011


Not so much the single toss of the caber, but the repeated activity of lifting this piece stayed in the mind as a potential drawing theme. Each trial to mate up the joint in the standing piece with its corresponding new mate on a piece on the stalls outside the home requires a bit of effort, but luckily nothing like the effort involved in mating up each one of the joints on the roof project, this time working on a much more manageable scale, probably a bit bigger than it appears here though. I spend much of the time fondling bits of wood, but still call on the stuff for luck when things seem in doubtful mood.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Most of the time I don't notice the sculpture messenger in the home, but sometimes the light catches it in a new way and I am tempted to snap it. Today in amongst the washing hovering above the stove it just seemed like an altogether strange object to be in the home anyway, but it takes all sorts doesn't it.
I popped up to the sculpture by the road the other day to see if it was all OK, surprised to find that someone had stolen the 2 100 yen coins from among the donations placed on a rock in front of it. Pretty sure of the culprits, hope they are either in true need or twist their ankles on a regular basis. Judging by the digital camera one of the pair was sporting I would not walk too close to them as the onset of ankle twisting could be imminent.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

More logs

Starting the new month with the first moves on the new project. I borrowed the crane to fetch some logs that will form the framework on the extension I will build. We didn't need the crane to load up, we just rolled the logs on to the truck, but unloading them on to a rack in front of the house would have been difficult without the crane or a serious set of winged helpers. I did the steering while my daughter twiddled the crane levers.