Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Lockdown diary - relaxation?

Lock down next phase.  Great excitement - not. This morning an email arrived from Wigrams Turn announcing that the marina will reopen on Wednesday.  We are welcome to visit our boat provided we observe social distancing etc and use our boat's toilet rather than the marina one.  However, in line with the small print in Boris's 50 page thriller, we are not allowed to stay overnight on the boat.  As I write, an email has also arrived from CRT with much the same message - you can visit but not stay or cruise.  So it hardly seems worth it just now.  CRT says they will publish plans in a few days time indication how the canals may reopen at some future time. So we'll give it a couple of weeks and reconsider a short visit. I'm not complaining about the continuation of restriction. We have to remember that this pandemic started with one person, so as long as someone somewhere has it, it could all start again.  I'm content to stay put for a while yet.

It's now seven weeks since I fell off the wall and bust a rib or two and although it's a lot better, my back tells me I still can't do any heavy lifting.  I can feel myself losing fitness though. The old blood pressure is creeping up. Note to self- get more exercise.

Not to worry, I'm finding worthwhile stuff to do.  For a start I quickly knocked up a bird feeder post now that the tree where they used to hang is now so heavily in leaf that the feeders were hidden from view.  Kath on seeing the new post made some cheeky remark about Calvary.

You can see my camera set up to get birdy photos.  Birds are very clever you know.  When I point the camera at the fat balls, they land instead on the seed feeder and when I point it at the seed feeder, they go mad for the fat balls.  I have got one or two good shots though.

Notice my exotic chicken wire fat ball feeder.  Elegant it might not be, but the birds are fine with it and it cost nothing.

I got my last batch of bird seed from Sainsbury's but I shan't be using that again.  What happens is that the birds land on the feeder, then chuck nine tenths of the seeds on the floor while they hunt out the sunflower seeds.  The great tit snap above shows him caught in the act. The upside I suppose is that we have at last found a good use for our resident squirrel.  Now instead of raiding the bird feeders, he sits on the ground clearing up all the seeds that the tits have chucked out.  Result!

In a bid to attract goldfinches I've also bought a new feeder and filled it with nyger seeds which they are supposed to love. A neighbour two doors away gets lots of goldies that way.  Results so far in our garden?  Zero.  Ah well, it might take them a while to spot our new feeder. A blue tit landed on it yesterday but only for a second on its way to the fat balls.  

In other news I found a way to waste some more time indoors when the cold snap arrived.

This dogs breakfast of crocodile clips and wire is a prototype 2 watt guitar amplifier.  How does it sound?  Bloody awful to be frank, hums and crackles all over the show but that's not surprising with all those dodgy connections.  Anyway as it sort of worked, I made a proper soldered up version and installed it in an old wine bottle box (like you do) and now sounds rather better and it looks like this.

Hmm still need to tidy up the wiring. Notice also the elegant use of gaffer tape to stick the circuit board to the box - all PA equipment has to have gaffer tape by tradition and custom, so it's there purely for the purposes of authenticity you understand. The idea is to use the amp when I'm sitting on the sofa in the garden or in the conservatory.  Running off a PP3 battery it's not even loud enough to be heard in the next room but that's not the point really.  It just allows me to play a solid body guitar with a more realistic sound.   And as a bonus, there's room to hide a bottle of beer inside. As it could take anything up to 20 volts I did consider running it off one of Herbie's old domestic batteries I still have in the conservatory, but a 30kg battery driving a 25 gram amplifier circuit did seem a bit over the top, not to mention rendering it somewhat less portable. Either way,  I don't think Marshall or Vox will be panicking over the competition.  The cost to make? £1.18 for the amp chip.  The other bits and bobs, capacitors etc, I had lying about.  Oh I tell a lie, I bought a new speaker for it.  That was £7.94.  No expense spared.

So you see my time in lock down has not been wasted - well alright it has, when I should have been doing proper jobs, but at least I've been doing something.  Clearing out the shed can wait until my back is a bit better.


Eve Chick said...

The goldfinches in my garden prefer sunflower seeds to niger seeds and so do most of the other birds.

Herbie Neil said...

Eve, Yes I reckon everything likes sunflower seeds. I quite like them myself scattered on a salad. Not the ones sold for birds of course although I suspect they might be just as safe. Still no takers on the niger seeds -and I bought a large quantity :-(