Faster hot water

The hot water in my house used to be provided by an immersion heater fed from a cold water tank in the loft (2 decades ago) and was distributed by 22mm pipe. When a gas boiler was installed the original pipes were left in place.

Having recently had the boiler replaced (with a higher maximum hot water output) I investigated what I could do to reduce the time taken to get hot water out of the tap and discovered that the 22mm pipes leading out of the cupboard went further than expected.

A 22mm pipe holds more than twice as much water as 15mm pipe so this results in a lot of unnecessary water in the pipes between the boiler and the taps. While this has little impact on the shower (mostly fed by newer 15mm pipe), it doubles the time taken for hot water to reach the tap in the sink because almost the entire run was in the old 22mm pipe (7 metres of it).

Even at a fast flow rate of 6 litres per minute that's an unnecessary additional 13 seconds for the hot water leaving the boiler to come out of the tap in the shower room and an extra 8 seconds for the kitchen sink at 10 litres per minute.

All of the 22mm pipes have now been replaced with 15mm pipes and the hot water now reaches the tap faster:

[Boiler with hot water pipes cut off] [Water pipe in 22mm branching off to 15mm]

[Water pipe in 15mm branching off to 15mm] [Pipe behind shower room sink in 22mm]

[Pipe behind shower room sink in 15mm] [Boiler reconnected with 15mm hot water pipe]

Shredded gears

After 11½ years my paper shredder has finally given up. It's now very loud and doesn't work very well because it only has two teeth left on one of the gears:

Stripped plastic gear with only two teeth remaining

Prescription Lenses for the HTC Vive

I've been using prescription lenses with my HTC Vive for a year now and they're fantastic. Wearing glasses is really inconvenient because adjusting the position of them can require taking the headset off, and they usually overlap badly with the headset lenses (so there are parts at the side I don't see and parts above and below that I don't need to see). With lenses on my headset all I have to do is put the headset on and I have normal corrected vision of virtual reality with no loss of view.

Virtual Reality Headset Prescription Lens Adapters for the HTC Vive

I purchased them from VR Optician (previously and would strongly recommend them for anyone using VR who wears glasses. They fit on top of the Vive display and are easily removable.


A month ago I was on holiday in Brisbane. I arrived in the early evening so I got a takeaway and attempted to check into my apartment. This took about an hour because the out of hours key safe wouldn't drop the card and they had also managed to give the room they planned for me to someone else.

I visited both the City Botanic Gardens and the Brisbane Botanic Gardens as well as the Museum of Brisbane and the Queensland Museum.

I went to Shorncliffe Pier and walked most of the way to Brighton along the coast. The suburb of Shorncliffe itself was almost deserted.

I walked the skywalk at Tamborine Mountain and along "Gallery Walk".

I spent a day at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, taking lots of photos of Rainbow Lorikeets and walking around the Kangaroo enclosure.

I went to Redcliffe for a day trip to Moreton Bay with Brisbane Whale Watching. There were a number of whales around and I managed to get photos of them breaching.

On the last day I took a tour to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland & Noosa.

I took a few hundred photos and some videos. It was definitely worth the effort and space in my hand luggage to take my 100-400mm lens with me to get photos at the wildlife sanctuary and of the whales.

Shrinking liquid detergent

Persil have shrinkflated their liquid detergent products from {25,40,60} washes down to {24,38,57} washes. Their website hasn't been updated yet but the new products have appeared on Tesco's website.

They haven't reduced the size of a wash (it's still 35ml) but the initial price for 38 washes is £8.00 whereas 40 washes only costs £7.00. At over £6 per litre this is significantly more expensive than the usual special offer prices of £3.33 to £3.57 per litre.

Shrinking toilet paper

Less than two years since they last did it, ASDA have applied shrinkflation to their own brand toilet paper "Shades So Soft" again. This time the sheets are shorter and you get fewer of them. In April you could buy 24 rolls with a total area of 63.20m² for £8.00 but from May the same 24 rolls (also £8.00) have a total area of only 59.18m². That's 1½ rolls less paper for the same price. We're now down over 2 whole rolls of paper since 2016.

Contents: 24 rolls, 2 ply tissue. Average 210 sheets per roll. Sheet size 120mm x 104.5mm. Total area 63.20m².
63.20m² for £8.00 (2018-04-02)
Contents: 24 rolls, 2 ply tissue. Average 200 sheets per roll. Sheet size 118mm x 104.5mm. Total area 59.18m².
59.18m² for £8.00 (2018-05-02)

They're still advertising it as Bigger Pack Better Value too.

Laser Engraved Light Switch

I've used a laser cutter to engrave a light switch with symbols for the two switches outside my shower room:

  • Shower light and extractor fan
  • All other lights in the room
[White 2 gang light switch with a shower symbol engraved above the left switch and a light bulb engraved above the right switch]

Restoring a Garden Bench

More electric sanding, the remains of my mahogany wood stain and rubber feet... the second bench is now complete and back in the garden:

[Bench before starting work] [Bottom side of the bench after partial painting]

[Seat bars after painting] [Top side of the bench after partial painting]

[Bench outside on slabs next to the greenhouse]

[Euros Hoylake 2017]

Last week I was in Hoylake, England to watch the Scottish team compete. I took far too many photos.

There were a different mix of pilots from some countries this year and depending on how you calculate the top country, England is ahead of Germany. David Van Boven from Belgium won first place.

Garden Bench with feet

I've now added rubber feet (solid rubber door stops) to the first garden bench and put it back outside:

[Bench leg with rubber door stop on the bottom]

[Bench outside on slabs next to the fence]

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Content authored by myself is just my honest opinion.

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