In no particular order..

12 November 2011

Some weeks pass in a complete blur – I hit Friday and wonder what on earth happened to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  This week was one of those weeks!
So I thought it worth taking time to take stock and just remind myself what has happened, and infact there has been quite a lot!  So, from the top and in no particular order:

This week’s highlights

The fragrant Grayson Perry has stepped up to the mark – Portsmouth University Arts Department is proposing the closure of some of the practical workshops (small metals, glass and ceramics etc) and 16 staff face redundancy.  

Daughter is studying at Pompey and in frustration contacted Mr Perry’s PR.  She did not hear any more and thought that it was all in vain and then this week the local newspaper carried this feature. 

Mr P was a student at Portsmouth Polytechnic, which later became the university, and has called for the preservation of the workshops.  I have to admit that, in a week when the PM said that we had to ‘export more’ and following closely on the heels of the brilliant series on ceramics, which featured Mr P but also highlighted the catastrophe that is the British ceramics industry, there does seem some illogicality for loosing facilities that impart practical skills.  Here’s hoping that the intervention of Mr P (no doubt with Alan Measles providing counsel along the way) will help Pompey Uni big wigs see sense!

·          The B&Q eco house – I am careful to keep work and ‘life’ separate, but rules are meant to be broken and the inspirational B&Q Eco house at Bishopstoke near Southampton is an example of when!

      The house is simple in premise.  A year ago B&Q (for any foreign readers B&Q is an enormous DIY chain in the UK – and Europe.  Selling paint, power tools, kitchens, bathrooms etc.  You get the picture.), bought a pretty average 3 bed end of terrace house and set about making it fit for the ‘22nd Century’.

      While it is eco, it’s not scarily so.  You have to look hard to find the eco features (no composting loos etc.).  On the face of it, it looks like an ordinary house that has had a 'nice' face lift.  Scratch the surface and you find all sorts of high and low technologies lurking – all of which add up to make the house cost about £16.00 per month to run for a family of four!  (that’s all fuel bills!).  My work life is all about energy efficiency in property and with rising fuel bills this is something that touches on all our lives.  You can find out more on the B&Q website and I will be doing a blog about it on my work website– I’ll put a link in then, but for now I thought you might enjoy these features. 

The back of the house, very ordinary looking but it has been insultated and insulated and insulated some more.  At first floor level cork insulation was used and then cunningly disguised by very thin bricks, called brick slips, so you cannot see it.

These really are 'brick slips'.  The loft extension you can see behind was built in a factory and then delivered on a lorry.
This is the high tech 'shed'.  It houses all the gubbins for the Air Source Heat  Pump, which works a bit like a fridge in reverse and provides all the heating (no gas central heating).
(I should add that the shed is quite straight!  It's my photo that is somewhat on the p**s)

And the furniture has all been bought at charity shops or retrieved from the local dump.  All upcycled!   
The paints used in the house were either Dulux Eco paints or recycled paint from a company called New Life, based near Chichester.  

If you want to know more about any of the technology or finishes get in touch and if I don’t know then I will find out from James Walker, the project manager on the eco house.

·         Carpets cleaned – Ok, so not quite as riveting as Mr P or the B&Q house, but in my book an achievement!  I have a new dining room carpet (acquired at Auction for the handsome sum of £80.) It is a stunning carpet and now is a super stunning and clean carpet.  The mustard yellow now sings out and it doesn’t smell of farmyards any more.  Thanks to my good friends Rob and Andy for picking this up for me (oh, and by the way, if you are quick, they are having a November china sale.  Have a look at their website.

Curtains hung – I told you energy efficiency was my work.  Well after last winter (and it was sooooo cold here in Northamptonshire) I vowed that if I was going to spend another winter in the house then I needed to try to make it warmer.  Hence the carpet above and now the beautiful recycled curtains (£5 the pair from the local charity shop and dyed using Dylon washing machine dye) are hanging over the front and back doors.  They are thick cotton.  They could do with being lined, but I might just get some quilt wadding to add to them.  Just haveing them hanging up feels cosier.

·        Threadnoodle’s blog and snazzy whippet jim jams – treat yourself.  Have a read!

          The laptop had a hissy fit – and fixed itself!

And not so high lights:

·         The Whippet X caught a pheasant! (that’s me owing the farmer £40 – it was from a shoot though had strayed!  The gamekeepers told me that that is what they are worth ‘in the air’)

           The allotment has been vandalised (hanging is too good for them)

·         My aged dad had a fall (nothing too serious but a bit alarming to have Kent Ambulance Service on the phone)
            Not a lot of progress on the Bletchley Park piece – time is pressing on!  That is my main focus for the weekend (though Son No 1 is coming to stay tonight!)

1 comment

  1. couldn't find your email, so I post this here on your blog.
    Thanks for the comment on my blog - encaustics can be very accurate I think, but my stuff never is.
    The frustrating thing in the UK is that you hardly find the material necessary, and that you hardly find any artists doing encaustics. Whereas the US are encaustics paradise! It's such an exciting medium which you can use either for a whole artwork, or just for parts of it. And I use it with fabrics, too.
    What encaustic material do you offer in your hobby shop?


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