Home life, TV

Home improvement

Yes, sometimes my blog isn't about transport. If you'd prefer to see only transport posts, you can use this link. Here's a post where I ramble on about recent upgrades around my house. Wall insulation I had wall insulation installed earlier in the year. The winter gas bill came in recently. It's down 37.7% from the previous year. We were away for a bit of time, but nowhere near tha

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Wall insulation

Improving my house's heating and cooling and energy efficiency is an ongoing project. 2008 Solar hot water2012 Ceiling fans and roof insulation2015 External blinds2017 Air-conditioning (a backwards step for energy efficiency, but a giant leap for comfort on very hot days) This week it was wall insulation. Obviously this is best fitted when the house is built, but in a house built circa 1

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Decarbonising my home

While my most pressing home renovation need is the bathroom (planning to do this the next time my sons are away on a trip), I was also thinking: Governments should be doing a lot more on climate change, but what are the major emissions in my home, and how could I decarbonise? The car. I recently bought a petrol car, because given how little I drive, I couldn't justify the cost of hybrid or e

Home life, Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

What is a “family-friendly” house?

When you're house-hunting, there's a continuum of numerous factors weighed against each other, including indoor space, outdoor space, location, walkability, and plenty more, including of course price. By walkability, I mean the walking distance to amenity such as parks, good public transport, shops. (Walkscore attempts to measure this.) From some points of view, perhaps the traditional posit

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I finally got air-con

(To just see transport-related blog posts, you can use this link -- which is also on the top navigation menu) For years I've resisted air-conditioning at home. Partly it was the cost, partly it was that I really wanted to pursue passive cooling as much as I could -- measures that used little or no energy. To that end, three rooms have ceiling fans, three more have standing fans. The three

Consumerism, Home life, Toxic Custard newsletter

How do I pay the electrician?

A couple of years ago I got a ceiling fan fitted in the kitchen. The electrician was pleasant, competent, and did a good job. He said he'd send me an invoice. He never did. A couple of months later I emailed him and asked him to send it. He acknowledged the email and said he'd send it. He never did. A couple of weeks ago I got a ceiling fan fitting in one of the bedrooms. The electrici

Home life, music, Toxic Custard newsletter

TreatYoSelf: Sonosed

Brace yourself... a non-transport-related blog post. A couple of years ago I bought a Yamaha surround sound setup, which has been fabulous. I'd single out the sound track on Mad Max Fury Road in particular; very immersive. Heck, even later seasons of the West Wing had some subtle surround going on, adding to the viewing experience. I've used it for music too, and it sounds great. I copied

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Ikea Billy upgrade

I bought some Billy bookshelves for the livingroom some years ago. I picked their beech colour... and then they discontinued it. While I love the look, and the reconfigurability of the moveable shelves and the fact that you can always buy more (well, except in beech, so not really in my case), I can't say I'm impressed by the strength of the shelves. Some of the longer (80cm) shelves of the

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Heatwave: external blinds under test

Over the weekend Melbourne went through our biggest heatwave so far this summer, and the first real test of my external blinds, which were fitted to the house early this year. Looking at the two nearest weather stations to me, yesterday the temperature at Melbourne (Olympic Park) peaked at 40.7 at 4:27pm. At Moorabbin Airport it peaked at 41.2 at 3:30pm. Happily by about 6:30pm the temperature

Home life, Toxic Custard newsletter

The Billing Season

Once a year, the planets align, and I get hit by heaps of bills -- often all three utilities, plus car rego and home insurance... It's pretty much a consequence of having bought a house mid-year (in 2005) and bought a car mid-year (in 2008) as well. Plus other, quarterly, bills seem to arrive around the same time. Everything arrives around the end of July, and is payable in August or Septemb