Bricks & Mortar

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  1. Bricks & Mortar


    Have returned from t'COOP with the Fairtrade Carmenere. Can report that its also £6.00 in Scotland too - so credit to COOP for not just hiking the price up with our minimum pricing law. It was the cheapest red I saw on the shelves. Yeah, it's good. Someone mentioned the wipeout of French vineyards in the 19th C. Carmenere was one of the old grape varieties in the Bordeaux region. Unfortunately, it proved very susceptible to the bug, and were destroyed so completely that it was considered extinct for about 100 years. Then someone noticed the Merlot the Chileans were growing was a we bit different from other Merlots. Turned out the country was brimming with this variety, and they'd been mislabelling all those years. Something about the climate in Chile not suiting the bug that got the rest of 'em. Anyhoo. Bottom of my first glass. I think I have a new favourite cheap plonk.
  2. There's a massive skills shortage for brickies looming. We basically haven't trained hardly any apprentices in the last 20 years. Just got them all from Eastern Europe. 10 years ago, we sent an apprentice brickie to college. It was the only place in Fife offering the course, and some came from outside Fife. So catchment area of around half a million people. There were 10 on the couse, and only 4 finished due to companies going bust or making redundancies of the apprentices. I guess they were running 2 courses in the year, as he was only there for 6 weeks on, then 6 weeks off or something like that. It's not just about a piece of paper, although that is a large part of it. The other bit, is not just picking up the bad habits of the person you're learning from on the job. And we all have those, even if we don't realise it. I'd say its well worth his while. Much more so than most of the more 'academic' courses. Away from the course, he should be working to improve his speed. Any fool can lay bricks if they go slow enough. It's speed that'll make the bonus on the sites though.
  3. Bricks & Mortar


    Of the two, the Cab Sauv is the richer, heavier wine. The Malbec is a similar thing, but just a wee bit more drinkable on its own. But for someone not yet into red wines, I think you should be having them with food. Something like a Fray Bentos pie or cheesy pasta would be ideal. If you decide not to finish the second bottle, and save it for accompanying tommorrow or Monday's breakfast Fray Bentos, it should be fine. Won't keep more than a couple of days though.
  4. I got GDXJ on Hargreaves back in March. I'd exchanged some emails with support, and they assured me I could get both - they had to check to see the KIIDs had come through. Both GDX and GDXJ have KIIDs now, or did back in March, I'm not sure how often they need updated or renewed. So if your platform isn't allowing them, it's worth an email to support if you want them.
  5. See my above comment. From demolishing many brick walls, the holes are never fully filled. Usually between 25 and 75% full, and squidged down from the top. The brickies don't actually fill them before laying the next course. They rely on the mortar that gets squidged down the hole when they tap the brick down on top. But you're absolutely right that fully filling them makes a big difference. Had to demolish a net washing tank once, built in a fishermans back garden so he could wash his cotton nets, probably inter-war. They were fully filled, and high cement content mortar. I wouldn't have believed such strength was possible if I hadn't personally tested it with my sledgehammer. Jackhammers and masonry saws in the end.
  6. Agree with everyone upthread. Especially the ancient tale of how the holed brick originated. However, in modern times, the holed brick is produced in an extrusion process. I would guess it all started with wanting to save some clay, and reduce fuel in the kiln by making the brick much thinner at its widest part, consequently much easier to heat it right through. But the reason they've become ubiquitous, is the brickies on site liked them. You can slap down your bed of mortar, without any great care, just as long as there's a little more than 'enough' and you haven't filled it out to the edges. Place your holed brick on there, and tap it down till its right with your string line. You can really tap these a long way if you have to, because the mortar just keeps going down the holes. With a solid brick, you have to be quite a bit more accurate, and if you get too much mortar, you're better to lift it off and sort the mortar out with your trowel, cos otherwise the squidged mortar is dribbling down the face and the client is asking where you learned to brickie. You'll feel the weight saving if you're laying hundreds of these in a day too. And in an industry where the brickies get basic + a bonus for quantity laid, they're not shy about telling the boss, client, architect, char lady, visiting dignitaries and the bus-stop queue next to the site about the obvious benefits.
  7. Not ban. But import tariff. I think it's 10%. It's the main reason we have Nissan, Honda and Toyota plants. And the main reason they're periodicaly threatening to leave. And the main reason we're likely to end up with some sort of deal.
  8. I think this is tailor made for an Internet order from a specialist rope supplier. It's not going to get damaged. You'll buy the number of metres you want. Or the whole coil if you got any other ideas from this thread. Probably cheaper than any shop. And you get the choice of any type of rope under the sun. My washing line at present is 8mm orange polypropylene rope. Its a bit on the fat side for some of my pegs though. I make it work, but sometimes have to rake in the peg basket for the right peg to fit, say a heavy fleece and the rope. If it snapped tomorrow, I'd use 4.5mm starter cord. Partly because I have a 100m coil here, but I'm sure it'd be durable enough for the laundry if it stands up to builders knocking hell out of the pull starts. And I think that diameter would be better. The above mentioned paracord is strong stuff. I'd certainly use it if I had it, or it turned up at a reasonable price compared to alternatives.
  9. I'll have a go. Cash is my plan for the deflation. I'm holding on to pm stocks for the moment. But looking to sell and go into cash over the next few months, (as and when I think investments have run their course, or at the first sight of a dramatic drop if I time it wrong). I'm holding on in the short-term, for the possibilities of QE, or a commodities led melt-up, or the China trade deal going bad - any of which might lead to a last hurrah for the metals. I think cash will be a great place to be in the deflation, while anything and everything else might be going downward. Not a problem of mine, but if you have more than £85,000, spread it around in multiple banks, for the government guarantee. I don't particularly like the idea of being all-cash, for all the reasons you stated. I'll spread mine around in a variety of places, including under the mattress, buying a USD ETF, some in my HL account, bank account, business bank account, or in my Royal Mint account. Will look at the TLT ETF (US government bonds), and possibly put some in that, as the only non-cash thing I'd be holding - depending on if it looks cheap at the time. Timing the start and end of the deflationary period is of course, the tricky bit.
  10. I've had Briggs engines in lawnmowers and cement mixers before. They were fine, and if I'd realised the benefits of homogenisation while the majority were Briggs, I'd probably be looking to change my fleet to those. I've never used a snow blade, so not really sure how it would work. Presume you'd buy the snowblade somewhere, and need to weld or bolt a bracket onto the barrow to hold it. Either the chassis, or the sides of the bucket. I guess, the ability to angle it to one side or the other is important. Raising and lowering, to get you over kerbs would be a nice feature, if you have those sort of obstacles. I hope I get to hear about it on these pages if you do get one.
  11. Yes. Have found this on my Ford Transits, especially engine parts.
  12. This week, I've done pre-winter services to 2 generators, 2 petrol tracked barrows, a petrol pressure washer and 2 vibrating plate compactors. 5 of the 7 have Honda engines, and the online resources are fabulous, both for parts and how-to's. The Kubota and Kawasaki engines on the barrows were a real pain, both for parts and tech advice. The Kubota especially, is better quality than the Hondas and almost never breaks down, but when it does, it's a nightmare. Even had to order a part from Japan a couple years back. Going forward, I'm aiming to have all small plant items powered by Honda. Sell and replace those that aren't. I've already got a selection of spare parts on my shelves that fit any of the above Honda engines, which might be extended. Last couple of vehicle swaps were a Mitsubishi Shogun for a Vauxhall Corsa, and a Citroen Dispatch for a Ford Transit. In both cases, the earlier vehicles didn't have a fraction of the available support as their successors. For other DOSBODDERS into this, I recommend always considering whatever brand is sold in greatest numbers. Don't get bogged down with something that might actually be uber-quality, but only made in small numbers. A family member's Audi A8, is springing to mind.
  13. So, this came up on my Facebook. Being posted by multiple Labour supporting friends. Not really sure referencing Stalingrad and making the trains run on time is a good look for them... but they may as well crack on.
  14. The most quality item I've owned, is my wallet. Given to me as a present on my 18th Birthday. I remember I had about 3 wallets already by that age, but I've never bought another since, and the crap quality ones I had were gone within a few years. So, 30 years of being jammed in a jeans pocket, and just occiasionally in the breast pocket of a jacket as it was intended... including while dancing some of the world's sweatiest dancefloors, and its still going strong. Not without scars and general wear, but still holding my notes and cards without complaint. Once, in a drunken stagger back from a beach party on the West Sands, I sort of stumbled. About 100 paces later, I remembered the wallet in the hip pocket of my trenchcoat, except it wasn't there when I patted. I turned around, and guessed a hundred paces since the stumble. Pitch black, and the beach 300 yards wide at that tide. So, I counted out a hundred paces back, and dropped to my knees and swung my open fingered hand around in the sand. Turned the wallet up in seconds, and to this day I can't account for the fortuitousness. It's also been lost and found its way to the police station, while containing... shall we say substances of which they would not approve. But returned to me without question on production of some ID. I guess they never looked in the back pocket. And why would they, when the gentleman owner was of such obvious quality as to own such an item? Dents of England. Goatskin. This is the closest I can find on their site, but it's a bit smaller and doesn't have all the pockets and flaps of mine.
  15. Wouldn't discount some kind of 'arrangement', where the landlords get hammered, the banks reposess, and are 'incentivised' not to dump the property on the market to crash prices and evict tenants. Banks become the landlords. They'd see how they liked it over several years. Maybe they'd enjoy being masters of an army of rent-slaves, it would seem to fit their modus operandi - but as long as they didn't crash the market short term, they have the option to dispose of the property at some point down the line. Like, when it had doubled in value or something.