Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gone again

My laptop died a couple of weeks ago so I'm back to just ocassionally spending an hour or two in the internet cafe when I can.  So I won't be around much over the next while.  My first thought was too hell with debt, I'm going to use my coming-at-the-end-of-November-bonus to buy a good computer (until now I've bought second-hand ones from work, very cheap but they don't last more than a year or so - so in the last three years I've spent 300 euro on three different laptops, just not worth it).  But I've spent more time knitting, reading and listening to the radio or music over the last couple of weeks than I have done for months and it might be a good thing to not have a computer for a few months.  If I wait until I've paid off all my debt and then save to get one, I know I'll feel really good about it.  And if I don't manage to hold out the eight or nine months that's probably going to take, well, at least I can pay down as much of my debt as possible before cracking and adding a bit more back to it.  A bit of time might even mean that I research my options properly to make sure I buy something suitable for my needs and that will last a good few years.  Anyway, that's the plan at the moment.  I am going to buy an external harddrive soon though - my laptop is not quite completely dead and I can get about three or four minutes out of it in one go if it has been left alone in a cold place for a day or so (that trick of putting a dodgy harddrive in a freezer is not just an urban legend - for some problems it really does work althought when I worked in tech support we were supposed to absolutely deny that).

In the meantime I'm contemplating an iPhone to keep up to date with stuff a bit better but I'm very undecided.  The only reason I'm considering it is because work have arranged a special deal with vodafone so after a small one-off payment (around 50 euro), I wouldn't have any further monthly costs as it would be covered by the work flat-rate package.  When I got the email about it a few months ago I had no intention of getting an iPhone so I just didn't really read it properly.  I've heard people talking about it recently though and given that it'd be an easy way to at least have some online presence, I'm going to dig out that email and read it through properly.  I think something like basic internet and all calls within the country are covered, which sounds almost too good to be true.  But of course there is a downside, in this case the fact that since I would have a company phone, my number would be in the company outlook address book and I would essentially be contactable 24/7.  With my old boss that would have been enough to stop me because he would have taken advantage of it all the time.  But my new boss isn't like that and is very much into the idea of a decent work/life balance and all that (and really into it, not just paying lip service as so many do).  So it's something else to think about.  Or I could get an iPad privately - not sure it would do everything I'd need and it would mean tying myself into at least a two-year contract, which I'd prefer not to do.  All in all, lots to consider.

For now though I'd better head off to the garden centre/building supplies place and find something to kill moths.  Yes, I found the infestation of clothes moths finally.  And then another one.  Who knows how many there are.  I've gotten moth paper and these ridiculously strong-smelling lavender oil yokes for keeping moths away - luckily I already had lavender sachets in my wardrobe and drawers which might have prevented an infestation in my main clothes storage.  At least so far I haven't found any there.  Where I did find them however was in the cupboard where I keep my craft supplies - wool, material, candle-making stuff and anything else that might be useful sometime.  As I've been knitting again recently, I've been using stuff out of this cupboard.  And while searching for my giant needles, I dragged out the baskets of felting wool/roving and silk strands ('cos I thought it would be practical to take it all out of the plastic bags and have it in baskets instead - looks nicer and is easily accessible!) and noticed what looked a bit like a big patch of dust.  Looked closer and saw one or two moths and realised it was all the eggs that I was looking at.  This all happened at around eleven o'clock last Sunday night and I nearly cried.  It's a good thing I have been starting to feel better recently because if that had happened to me six months ago, I really think I would have ended up in hospital with a severe nervous breakdown.    I risked the wrath of neighbours and switched on the hoover to get rid of what I could see and after struggling with myself for twenty minutes or so I dumped the whole lot of baskets and roving etc. into a big plastic bag and straight out for the rubbish.  There would just be no way to rescue it - as soon as I tried to wash it at a temperature that would kill them, it would felt.  So, nearly two hundred euro's worth gone just like that.  Serve me right for not bothering to use the stuff more often after having gone to the expense of buying it!

Two days later it was the first really cold evening we've had and I decided to take out my patchwork blanket, which was over the other side of the sitting room on the basket which contained all of the ripped up t-shirts that I planned to make a rag-rug out of as well as the Lorna's Lace wool that I won in a competition shortly after moving here but which got all tangled and that I'd ocassionally take out to untangle a bit more.  I sat with the blanket snugly around my legs for a couple of hours and it was only when I was folding it that I noticed some 'dust' on one bit, looked closer and could see larvae squirming.  Eeeeww.  It felt like they were everywhere.  I hoovered the first patch of 'dust' I saw and what larvae I could see but it was kind of like cobwebs and as soon as I started seeing them, I just kept seeing more and more.  So the blanket went into a big plastic bag with the top tied securely but I just couldn't bring myself to throw it out.  Two years of work went into it, not to mention the amount of money the wool cost.  I've dumped the basket with the t-shirts and other wool, hoovered as best I can all around and have hung up sticky yokes as well to catch any moths that might already be around.  Now I want to see if I can get something to kill the already existing larvae.  If I can't I'm going to get a big plastic box with lid and leave the blanket steeping in water with lots of vinegar, which someone suggested might work.  After that I'll wash it in the washing machine as hot as I can without destroying it.  Or bring it for dry cleaning perhaps - not sure how they'd react to being handed something full of clothes moth larvae.  We don't really have moths like that in Ireland, so this is all new to me.  If anyone has any suggestions or tips for dealing with the infestation (or indeed on choosing a new computer) please leave a comment.  From what I've heard so far I've resigned myself to the fact that it may be months or years before they're completly gone.  But I want to minimise the damage at least.

Have a lovely weekend all.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

My Dream Farm

I'm watching the first episode of Monty Don's series My Dream Farm.  The series, according to the DVD cover, charts the progress of six new farmers in their first year of working the land, guided by gardening and farming guru, Monty Don. 

I haven't quite gotten to the end of the first episode yet but had to stop it to make a note of what was said at one point.  In order to try and capitalise on their resources, this couple came up with several ideas for adding value to the products of their farm.  One of those products is sheep and, given that a fleece will only sell for about one pound, they thought about using the wool to produce duvets.  They found a nearby mill to process the fleeces and Monty Don was able to arrange for a couple of commercial buyers to come and visit.  While both buyers thought that the price was too high, it's this line from the John Lewis buyer which has me seething: "[the price] probably hasn't been considered for a high street environment.  I think Dick and Pauline have really approached it from what it actually costs for them to produce one unit."  And this, I think, is part of the problem with our entire economy.  While allowing that economies of scale may lead to some savings, expecting a price to come down by 30-50% is a bit much, I feel.  They didn't seem to be fazed on hearing the news but I note that their website shows John Lewis as one of their stockists now.  I know a short DVD spot will never give the full story but I do hope that they were able to sell at more than what it cost them to produce!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Random thoughts

What on earth is this all about?  92 year-old refused whiskey because she had no ID proving she was over 18.  And this in a country that doesn't even have an official ID card. Reading this article just after having watched V for Vendetta again, it's just a bit worrying.

I've been paying very little attention to the news over the last while so am not too terribly informed about the occupy campaign.  But satire is always fun:

Someone just drove past with Come On Eileen blaring out the windows.  Loud music in cars normally annoys me but this time it has made me smile and I almost feel like getting up and dancing.  But my head is too stuffed up to contemplate that for long.

Read this today on a discussion board: "i really dont have the faith or courage to try a differnt brand"
You might think, fair enough, but what really bothered me might be more obvious if you see the start of the sentence " ive eaten this brand of turkey almost every year since i can remember".  Now, I'm a sucker for tradition in many ways but turkeys/meat just shouldn't be a 'brand', each individual animal should have its own taste based on so many different factors.

And a late edit to add that it may be silly, but I think I want one of these.  What a shovel!  And gotta love the spaghetti western music they've used.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Amazing sounding workshop in (I think) New York state

Jenna at Cold Antler Farm is having a workshop on emergency preparedness with one of the two speakers being James Howard Kunstler.  Wow, how amazing would that be?  Such a pity this isn't happening close to me.