Get on ‘tinternet

Making sensible “green” choices often present something of a dilemma. Take drying your hands after a comfort break, What is better for the environment, using an electric hand dryer or paper towels? The answer appears to depend on what your vested interests are!

The reality is that generally it takes several paper towels to dry your hands properly, or longer than you are prepared to stand in front of a hot air hand dryer. As Ben Elton commented back in the 80s, “they should just hang up a pair of jeans on a nail” whilst wiping his hands on his bum.

When Karen rang up over the weekend, she told me about these remarkable hand dryers she had seen in the toilets at Toddington Motorway Services. “Get on ‘tinternet and look them up” she said, so I did. Made by James Dyson of Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner fame, the Dyson Airblade is a three year engineering rethink of a proper solution to the problem. A 400 MPH narrow jet of cold air totally dries your hands in ten seconds. They also look very futuristic as well! (Wikipedia suggests there may be some controversy though).

Dyson Airblade handdryer

The Press section of the Dyson site has very restrictive use of their images, fortunately there is a public domain one at Wikipedia, often a great source for useful legitimate images.

(They don’t have them at Toddington North, she checked on the way back!)

Can’t Cook, won’t cook…

Chef BearWe have a little problem with our cooker. It is gas on the top with two ovens, one a combi grill and the other fan assisted.

A couple of weeks ago, the fan oven continued to heat after being turned off. It produced a cloud of smoke burning off the grease on the oven walls and I imagine the fan didn’t like it too much, either. We turned it off at the wall and after it had cooled down and then it seemed to be fine after checking it out.

This weekend, though, it went dodgy again. My spam Fritters were rather overcooked and I twigged that the oven was way too hot. There is something doo-lally with the thermostat, although it does go off with the timer function.

Today, I took the back access panel off to see if I could disconnect the coil and still use the rest of the cooker. Surprisingly, the answer was no- there are three feeds from the incoming bus bar but losing the oven also loses the electronics and the piezo igniter (the hob is gas). I have to say how flimsy I thought the innards were and the wiring thickness looked barely adequate for the harsh environment encountered inside.

Cooker We have now booked a Hotpoint Engineer, although it isn’t cheap. There is a five year parts guarantee but they charge £35 to visit and labour is a further £55. (I exaggerate slightly, there is a penny change from both of these prices). We will get them to fix the wobbly knob while they are here, it wasn’t worth worrying about it before.

The bear is called Paddy the Chef and it is David’s. He had a trip to the Build-A-Bear store and helped stuff it himself. (Well, he got to keep his foot on the blower pedal).


Welcome to my new blog home!

windmills.jpgThe Co-Op in Manchester is well know for covering a large office block of theirs in solar panels. This photo shows a slightly smaller building of theirs which has a wind farm on top of the roof.

(This is really just a gratuitous post to get the hang of WordPress editing, but the snap caught my eye).

I’m not normally a fan of “More” postings, but I’m going to use one here- because I can.

So- give it a click- you know you want to!

Continue reading “Welcome to my new blog home!”

All things must pass

I have an announcement to make. This is the last post at Shades of Grey here at

What? I hear you cry, has the old fool thrown in the blogging towel?

Not at all. As one door closes, another opens. I’d like to introduce the new, improved, Shades of Grey hosted at its own domain using WordPress.

I’m still getting the hang of it in my new home but I’ve managed to import the old Shades and Morleygate posts more-or-less complete. (What we IT people describe as a Partial Success).

Thank you for reading. Please update your hyper linky thingys to for your further enjoyment.