Home life

New toy: hedgetrimmer

A cheap and cheerful hedgetrimmer, $50 at Bunnings. To be used for occasional trimming of hedges (well duh) in between visits from Andy, my trusty gardener... specifically around the back of the house, where sometimes the hedges grow so fast it feels like the open space in the garden is getting a little smaller everyday. No, I don't plan to go all Edward Scissorhands and do any topiary..

Home life

The noise

Two mysterious noises have become apparent in the last few months. Both are virtually imperceptable in the daytime, but at night, in my quiet street, I can hear them from my bedroom. First there was the humming. It started sometime last year. It doesn't seem to be in the house anywhere - I tried turning off all the power one night at the fuse box, and I could still hear it. No, it's not coming

Home life

Pest control

This blog post is mostly for my own purposes, to mark when I bug-bombed the house, which I have done over the weekend. I last did it about 5 years ago, and it seemed to be relatively effective... for a while. But over this past summer, there seems to have been about a cockroach per week popping up, so it was time to get it done again. I do wonder though if I shouldn't be investigating (or ra

Going green

Yallourn: impressively big, but inefficient

On the way back from Walhalla, we decided (at Peter's suggestion) to go via Yallourn. He said there was a lookout with a good view over the Latrobe Valley, and the power plants, and the road through Yallourn was very close to one of them.. We started off by diverting off the road to a spot called Peterson's lookout. This turned out to be a long narrow dirt road to a view which, you'd have to sa

Home life

Insulation is back in my roof (just in time for winter, it seems)

Well, I'm getting there. Last week I had a ceiling fan installed in the livingroom. It'll help on hot days, and because I have ceiling ducted heating, also helps distribute heat better on cold days as well. To do this, the old light fitting was removed. I'm hoping it might be worth something -- I was never that keen on it, but it does appear to be an original, making it about eighty year

Food'n'drink, Home life

We lost power last night in the storm

Things I learnt when we lost power: Take-away pizza by torchlight a bad way to have dinner. A Smart Meter won't keep the juice flowing if there's problems in the local distribution network. I don't have enough torches. At least one per person would be good. The Dolphin mini LED torch I got recently is really good. Will get a couple more of these I think. Thank goodness for mobile in

Home life

The gamble of fixed interest rates

In October 2007 I switched to a fixed interest rate of 7.85% for five years. It turned out to be a terrible punt. The Global Financial Crisis hit the following year, with interest rates dipping to record lows. I shudder to think how much money I might have saved if at that point I'd locked in a low fixed rate. Maybe there's an alternative universe version of me who held off in 2007, and took ad

Home life

They’re not Smart Meters anymore, they’re Advanced Meters

They finally installed a new electricity meter at my house. This was after receiving three sets of letters saying "we're about to install it". It wasn't one of those much-criticised allegedly-defective Smart Meters though -- oh no, it was an Advanced Meter. So much better. Will be interested to see what effect it has on the next power bill.

Home life

Cleaning out the roof

I spent about 4 hours in the roof on Sunday, with an industrial vacuum cleaner from Kennards, trying to clear out some of the residual insulation and other crap from up there. I had thought the half-day hire would be enough, but man, it's hard work manoeuvring around up there, let alone with a big vacuum cleaner accompanying you. The placement of the heating ducts didn't make it any easier,