Category Archives: Odds’N’Sods

Stories about life in Gippsland, food, DIY, technology, current affairs, issues and humour

The Veranda Project – Part 3

In Part 2, the internal panelling was completed and now I had to build a base (hearth) for the Chiminea, as the floor couldn’t be left in its current manner. So I went about looking for some suitable tiles that I could lay in the corner and, as luck would have it, National Tiles in Traralgon had just what I needed on discount, so I ended up getting four 600mm2 ceramic tiles. Now the larger the tile the more difficult it can be to lay but, in this instance it was a simple situation so laying four tiles wasn’t a major issue. I was careful to sand down any unevenness in the floorboards before laying down the ceramic tile underlay, making sure that it was nailed down well and then giving it a coating of underlay primer/additive. I thought that 4kg of tile adhesive would have been enough (according to the instructions) but I had to get another 1kg tub to complete the job. I even surprised myself as to how level and even it turned out, though the grouting was a pain to apply.

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The Veranda Project – Part 2

Continuing on from Part 1, with the completion of the external panels, the internal panelling was another aspect that I dwelled on for some time before starting the project. My first thoughts were to use decorative corrugated iron (the small stuff), but it couldn’t be sourced in one metre width (or height depending on how you look at it), which meant buying two metre width and then cutting it but cutting corrugated iron is an utter pain. The second option was pine lining, but it only came in 4.8m lengths, which meant wasting 15m of lining for what I needed (72 x 1m lengths). So as things coalesced, I decided to use cement sheeting on the inside as well, as it was reasonably cheap, could be easily cut to fit the framework, there’d be minimal waste and we could paint it so that the interior would be as light as possible. Ensuring that we didn’t severely reduce the light was an important aspect of this build.

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More Than Dirty Jobs

This post is somewhat out of left field for this blog and it came about because of a couple of videos that I recently viewed, which really resonated with me, considering many of the things that that I’ve experienced and what’s going on in today’s world, including Australia. Though not directly related to this story, but as a bit of an aside, from time to time a question is asked as to who you would like to meet, have lunch with or invite to a BBQ and, invariably, the responses or suggestions involve some lame celebrity, pop star, over-rated actor or the latest sports ‘personality’. Well if I had my druthers, I’d choose Mike Rowe. Some of you may have heard the name and can identify him immediately, others can’t quite pin it, while many others will likely give you a baffled look.

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The Cutting Edge

Following on from an earlier story about hammers, the other possibly most important tool ever devised by man, and one definitely found in every household, has to be the knife. Some suggest that the knife was the most significant tool; however, without a hammer (knapping), a knife may never have evolved or may have taken much longer to evolve; however, I’m not sure if anyone really knows how the knife came about. That said, I sometimes wonder whether one of our ancestors, wandering about a flint pile, cut their foot on a sharp rock and, on observing the result of stepping on a sharp piece of flint, perhaps a spark of an idea fomented and the knife was born. No one really knows when the first flint knife was created, but it most certainly was a long time ago.

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The Veranda Project – Part 1

Since moving into our country home close to five years ago, one of the most urgent tasks was to put a roof over the veranda, which we did a little while ago; however, there were still aspects that required attention. Firstly, while the veranda was well under one meter from ground level, I didn’t like the fact that it didn’t have a balustrade; as I preferred to err on the side of safety. Secondly, I also wanted to partially enclosure the veranda, because the prevailing weather blows cold wind and rain from one end (see photograph below), and when it’s not raining, leaves take over, producing a constant mess. In the long term, this isn’t good for the veranda and anything within. So with this in mind, we finally got moving on finishing off what we started some time ago.

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Sous Vide – Cooking Made Easy

I finally succumbed to the call of sous vide cooking and bought a sous vide cooker from Aldi, given the great price and warranty it offered. I’ve been fascinated by this cooking method for a long time, but the price of the sous vide cookers has held me at bay. However, like everything in this world, sooner or later products that at one time are very expensive and mainly used by specialists (in this case professional chefs), they eventually come down in price and effectively become commodity items. So it is with sous vide cookers and there are now a vast array of sous vide cookers available, starting from around the $120 mark, as for the Aldi cooker, and rising to prices in the thousands of dollars for commercial units, with the most highly regarded consumer ones around the $400-500 mark. But for a culinary hack like me, $119 is sufficient to try things out and learn about sous vide cooking.

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The Nanny State

In my story about The Good Old Days, I alluded to minority groups having a significant influence over societal changes and questioned whether that’s a good thing, but some of my comments appear to have been misconstrued as to who they were directed towards. So when another initiative by a group of Nanny State adherents, acting under the guise of ‘experts’ or do-gooders (well-meaning but unrealistic or interfering philanthropists or reformers) was announced, I thought I’d consolidate some of my views into a single story. I guess I’ve made it somewhat clear in a number of stories that government interference in our daily lives, to an extent that I’ve never experienced before, is one of my pet hates. Sanctimonious do-gooders, funded by taxpayers, need to have a reason for existence and thus keep coming up with more and more self-serving ideas to inflict upon everyone and it needs to stop.

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There Be Dragons

While taking my hounds for another run at Mossvale Park, I came upon remains from what appeared to be an unnatural battle between mythical beings. I don’t watch Game of Thrones (GoT) and I’ve never even seen one episode; however, as it’s almost constantly reported in just about every online news and other site known to World + Dog (that’s every man and his dog) it’s not difficult to be aware of what it’s about, as I impertinently satirised last year. So when I came across these remains, I immediately thought of GoT and the dragons that feature in the show. After a quick Google, the evidence was compelling.

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The Good Old Days

This is another one of those irreverent posts and one that arose as a result of some old and somewhat worn out things lying around the house that kept niggling at the back of my mind to bring together as a story. I’ve said before that I often like to make irreverent posts (or is it heckling?) about life and all of its foibles and, sometimes, those irreverent posts may make some sense. It’s a pretty shaky world that we seem to be living in lately and it makes one ponder (well, it makes me and a few others ponder) about things that were, things that are and things that might be, or perhaps it’s just nostalgic romanticism. Was there ever such a thing as the ‘Good Old Days’?

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Some Minority Groups Are Unimportant

Living in what is considered a fire prone area, though I don’t think it’s as bad as some make out, especially considering that just about every location in Victoria including suburbia is now regarded as being fire prone to one degree or the other, you need to be aware of what’s happening in your area during the fire season and be prepared. Ultimately, you can’t rely on others for your safety, but you do rely on others for information and support that allows you to make sound judgement calls, if or when a situation arises. This leads me to an issue about timely warning, appropriate information sources and how government views their role in providing these services in this modern mobile world.

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