PSA Heat

It snowed again, the gritter failed to make an impact (but I'm not sure one came this way.) The school was shut so World Book Day didn't happen here, my wife was late from her night shift (waiting for staff to arrive), and the boiler stopped working.

What to do when the condensing boiler repeatedly stops working in the winter, it gurgles like a boiling kettle before the error indication appears, and resetting the thing fails:

It's likely that the condensate drain pipe is frozen outside the home.

  1. Find the condensate drain pipe; it'll project out of the bottom of the boiler case,
  2. Locate it outside,
  3. Pour hot water over the pipe outside,

If that doesn't clear the ice:

  1. Turn off the boiler at the mains switch,
  2. Find a bucket or a washing up bowl,

At this point I must stress that you need to be aware if you mess this bit up the very least of your worries will be the size of the repair bill:

  1. Disconnect the pipe from the bottom of the boiler and collect the spurty water on the wall behind and the floor beneath the boiler, anywhere but the bowl or bucket,
  2. Leave the vessel there to collect water,
  3. If you have a hose that you can connect to the drain fitting, fit it and drop the end into the vessel until the outside temperature rises,
  4. Turn the boiler on again; no gurgling!


I just heard Loki.

For the last few years his voice was the last I heard every night and the first every morning; nights it now seems missing me, mornings definitely wanting his breakfast.

06:45 today, as my wife got back in bed after a pee: it doesn't pain this 99.9% atheist much to admit I took it to mean he let me know he arrived in Heaven.

Loki cat 2001-2018 RIP

April 1st to February 23rd; we'll even miss your shouting.


No attempt made to be articulate here, a followup to my last post.

I've known Loki cat (aka Loki Lou) for pretty-much 17 years; all his life bar the first few weeks of it. I was there after he had his bits done, saw the red crusty… I was there as he made his first attempts to climb stairs. I've had to rescue him from a couple of 'next-doors' as he decided returning back over the fence was too hard. I've fed him every day for the past, what, 13 years bar the cattery visits, picked up his poos and mopped his pees; and when we've needed to take him to the vets I've been there too, including that time I accidentally threw him down the stairs and sprained his leg. I stole his and his kitty family's chicken on Christmas Day 2004, he never forgave me; as it should be.

Speaking of the local cattery, taking him there before we went on holiday a few years ago in a cat box in a pram gained me a reputation I don't think I'll shake in a hurry. He doesn't like cars, see.

He's been an annoyance ever since he turned into an (agile) little old man and started humping soft toys, soft clothing, indeed anything, everything, soft. It's not so much the act itself but our night-time sleep disturbances from the noises he made…

I haven't a clue if all cats are as empathic, but he's just known when a cuddle will help, and he's helped. Lots. He's known when to stay out of the way too.

He's outlasted his (genetic) brother Marble, his sister Gizmo (always the proud princess), the lovely, lovely Mary, and the typically-scaredy-cat Nelson.

He's always been a handsome chap with, to my untrained eye, a look of the kitten about him. But, since Christmas, he's got old and infirm very quickly. Today he's hardly eaten a thing.

So it's time.


April the 1st, his birthday, will be…


It's time.


My first \#WednesdayChallenge of 2018:

"Eeeeee!", said Ozzie Reynolds as he shot headfirst out of control down the new water slide.

Awed by what seemed his sheer terror, Georgie Stokes & Arnie Sommerfeld also shrieked as they fell.


(Theme chosen by : "rān|reyn|reɪn". Objective: write a short story at, to a theme, in one post.)


The new washing machine is… it's got more programmes than the previous one, and more flexibility too! I'm…

/me rubs thighs enthusiastically…

Apologies to those of you on pnut,io who saw the multiple postings when my rssupdatepnut app failed; all I had to do was add code to overwrite the previous post date file with the latest post's date, if they were different.


That expression 'it never rains but it pours' is very much in effect right here right now.

The washing machine died yesterday, with my work shirts inside, undies and socks, and a couple of irreplaceable t-shirts. The door locked, no water drained. Yes, I did indeed turn it off and back in again!

I also turned off the cold water inlet valve. Yes I did. Yes.

No, not entirely.

It's surprising how much water can accumulate in a short timeframe on a tiled utility room floor. And how long it takes to mop it up!

Even the guys who replaced it couldn't get into the machine, even after taking the back off.

This post should have been entitled 'The Tale of the Lost Undies'.


A mish-mash of themes follows; it's been a while since my last confes, er… blog post.

Um… Python programming is addictive. If I could use it at work to do engineering I'd be even happier!


Started last October, my second-ever Python script: PigPen, a social networking app for the social network, Mainly feature-complete where features exist; apart from those that don't work. A mentions or messages alert companion application would be a good thing to write, sometime.

Crypto, a cryptocurrency notification and alert application, designed to send regular, timed messages over the Pushover system. Now with added 3-graph goodness of the previous 24 hours' movements! Currently also sends messages to my dev channel at, but it currently seems a little pointless.

rssupdatepnut, periodically checks an RSS feed (currently my blog, but it could be a news feed) for updates, which it should eventually post to and other networks. Designed to run periodically. Incidentally, the publication of this post will be its first live test!

The future:

I've set myself a few professional goals for this year. Yes, 2018.

  • My maths skills have atrophied; I'd like to be re-updated to engineering college ONC level by December. A project would be good, to inject a bit of real-world reality into the proceedings.

  • Organisation and working 'smart': I've adopted the Bullet Journal logging and diary system. With a bit of luck it'll help end my indecision and tendency to bury stuff. One of its strengths is the 'Migration', where incomplete tasks are pushed forwards during the weekly and monthly reviews.

Personal goals too!

  • Reliability would be great!

  • I missed February's \#ThemeMonday. Sorry all, it's been an odd, kind-of crappy start to the year.


  • I nearly blogged about my recent longest-ever poo, an epic of 35 minutes I'll never see again; and the effort in pre-flush preparation, I…


Two rather expensive days, emotionally and financially:

£130 - Loki cat to vet:
Suspected congestive heart failure
£ 30 - Loki cat followup:
Heart problem confirmed, not acute
£612 - 4 new tyres + tracking:
Highlighted by just-about reaching the vet
£327 - Ruby overnight vet visit:
Who ate 1/4 pack of Smarties and the chocolate off a Crunchie bar? (Chocolate: poisonous to dogs.)

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