Bubble in the desert

A blog I started whilst on a GE "Bubble" assignment in Nevada. I'm back in Cambridge (UK) now but still miss the desert and my friends out there.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Lunch for Some American Friends of Friends

Reflecting on how my American friends looked after me in Nevada we were very pleased to cook Sunday lunch for Mara and Tara some friends of friends from Nevada. Nice to meet them at last - I hope they didn't mind my cooking too much. They were very polite about it at least.

Some photos of Sol

Just had a little photo session in Sol's new giraffe gear. Oddly the red eye seems lessened in the photos because the rest of the room was quite dark. I was pleasantly surprised by these!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

High point of the weekend - giggling

Weekends looking after Sol, who likes being carried most of the time, can be pretty intense, especially with a bad back.

On Sunday afternoon I had him sitting in a cardboard box on the spare bed, well, it's my bed really. He loves sitting in cardboard boxes, especially when I make them into Star Trek shuttle craft. Anyway, I was putting my washing away and despairing about the lack of pairs of socks. So I started chucking them over my shoulder and onto the bed.

The little man sat amid a shower of socks and pants and giggled his head off. It's really cool to make a small person chuckle. And then it is really quite something that he figured out for himself that something funny was going on. I wasn't even laughing myself, I was just throwing socks and pants around but he found it very entertaining.

My boy chuckling has got to be one of my favourite things!

Humane Mouse Traps - they really work!

Yolanda did one of those standing on the toilet seat shrieking moments classic of the sudden mouse appearance. I've used the Live Capture humane mousetraps below so we tried that again. A blob of peanut butter on the trap and a bit of smelly cheese and we caught our little friend - ok it took a few days but it worked and we didn't have to kill him.

The only downside with these traps is that if you don't check them every 6 hours or so the mouse can die. I thought that had happened today but when I opened the trap next to a nice hedgerow outside the church, he shot out of there like a greyhound from a trap.

Got mice, get a humane trap!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Switch to 100% renewable energy with one phone call

I've been a fan of Good Energy for a long time. Most energy suppliers have some sort of 'green tariff' but it is really only Good Energy, a small company in Wiltshire, that supplies electricity from 100% renewable sources.

If you sign up from my recommendation, quoting offer code: 2001460 you will get £25 off your first bill and I will get a £25 finders fee. You can call them on 0845 456 1640 to sign up.

The more individuals sign up for renewable energy, the more demand will be demonstrated for this means of supply and perhaps we can all start doing something about climate change just by changing our consuming habits.

Good Energy are also actively promoting Micro Generation.

They can even supply your gas and have an interesting take on doing that.

So, why not think about doing something about climate change and reducing your carbon footprint from just one phone call? Good Energy costs a little more than energy from other suppliers but it is really not that much different.

We finally ordered the red duck - Skoda Octavia Greenline Estate

We finally paid the deposit for a new Skoda. Buying a new car really goes against the grain but we managed to get £3,500 off from the scrappage deal and a further 4% off. The dealer was pretty furious that we had managed to get such a deal. I nearly walked out to buy it somewhere else since I was so disappointed at the rudeness I was confronted with whilst paying for the 2nd most expensive thing I have ever bought. But I suppose the more unhappy the dealer the happier I should be with my bargaining.

I think the poor salesman nearly had a breakdown as we showed up for the 3rd time at the showroom, with our noise machine, and still considering which car to buy. Both the Fabia Estate and the Octavia Estate are exceptional cars. We ultimately went with the Octavia Estate. Road tax on this will be £30 a year from April because of low emissions, partly due to it making 64mpg. The way we drive we hope to exceed the stated mpg.

It was a hard decision to buy a new car. We really wanted to stay true to our values and get a very economical car - this lead us towards a recent or new car. With the scrappage deal we realised buy a recent second hand car would cost us more than buying a new one. Not only that but buying new meant we could specify extra options which seemed important, such as ESP and curtain airbags. Our unreliable salesman advised against this but a little research gave us a strong impression that ESP is well worth paying for. Just take a look at this video to understand the difference between ABS, Traction Control and ESP...

It's going to take up to 12 weeks to arrive so we hope the old Punto's head gasket will hold out a bit longer for us.

Friday, January 08, 2010

New car - what colour? Sol decides

Without using the power of speech we let Sol choose the colour of our new car. WHAT a NEW CAR? Yes, it has come to that. We can get a Skoda Octavia Greenline (64mpg) with a £3,500 discount for our old banger - AND a further 4% off the new price.

We would rather buy second hand and get no pleasure from having a brand new car. Well, we get a bit of pleasure from getting a more economical car, one that will cost just £30 a year to tax (band C), and from some extra safety features. But a second hand one would have done, had they been reasonably priced and this economical.

We decided to skip the metallic paint options and choose from the 3 standard colours: white, red and blue. I quite liked white but Yolanda really didnt (and feared we would have to wash it too much). So, we looked at the red and the blue but could not decide between them.

So, we involved Sol in the decision making and fetched 2 ducks, one blue and one red. In three trials he picked the red every time, so we're going with the red!

... perhaps when he can speak he might say, 'RED IS FOR DUCKS NOT CARS' but we will have to wait and see. We plan to keep the car for 20 years so he might end up with it eventually. Unless of course the plug in Prius is too tempting later this year but we'll have to wait and see, at the moment we don't have anywhere we could plug it in!