31 August 2011 (Wednesday) - Worms and Candles

Day Two of my unexpected holiday, and so I spent a little time tidying the garden. Yesterday I trimmed back all that was growing over the hedge from next door. This morning I mowed the lawn. It hadn’t been mowed for a month, and having strimmed the edges, mowed the rest and raked up, I then did the job all over again: so thick was the grass. And having raked up, the compost bin was again full to overflowing, so another tip run was in order.
Having done the tip I then mucked out the fish poo filter. I must admit I’m on the verge of giving up with my pond. It’s cost thousands of pounds to build and equip in the first place, and here we are four years later with it just full of green smelly water. Over the last year it’s happened so many times that I spend out on filtration media, flocculants, and all sorts, and I get the pond clear for about a week, and then it just clags up again. The fish don’t seem bothered about it, but I am.

With postie having brought the bank statements I then went through the monthly accounts. Apropos of nothing I thought I’d do more than just check the bank’s sums this month. I thought I’d find out what some of the direct debits are actually for and see if I can’t make any economies.
For example I’ve been paying twenty quid a month to Scottish Widows. I’ve often wondered why. It turns out that this is an “Extra Cover Policy” which was taken out as part of the original mortgage twenty five years ago. When we sort out the mortgage, I can cancel that policy and cash it in. I’ll get a nice little bung from that (hopefully).
And every month I pay £6.25 to “Dom and Gen”. I’ve often wondered who Dom and Gen” are. So I phoned the bank to find out. They gave me a phone number and after holding on for an age it turned out that this is a policy that covers any breakdowns that the washing machine might have. Which is very handy – it’s been making funny noises recently.
I then had a serious look at the Sky subscription. I’m sure that at sixty quid a month I am paying for too much for something I rarely (if ever) watch. (I’m thinking of changing to a  Freeview box, but I doubt the rest of the Tribe are…)
I’ll leave the monthly charity donations for the time being – they aren’t an economy I want to have to make just yet.
But there’s no denying that the biggest economy I can make is on my car. Much as I like having a car, do I really need one? I *could* cycle round Ashford like I did in the past (for many years). And taking bank loans, petrol costs, insurance, road tax and servicing into account I would save hundreds by not having a car.

Being the last Wednesday of the month I was rather looking forward to being rude about the arky-ologee club. But unfortunately (for some) they don’t meet in August. So instead, ‘er indoors TM  took the opportunity to flog candles to an unsuspecting public.
And then I had a result. Last week I asked an IT aficionado of my acquaintance about the problem I was having getting any games to run on Windows 7. He recommended I downloaded “Steam” – it’s an application on the PC which plays various games. Steam itself is free – you pay for the games. I rather suspect my graphics card might not be up to some of the games, but it plays Worms Reloaded just fine. That’s good enough to be getting on with. It doesn’t have NeverWinter Nights, but it does have Myst. I can vaguely recall hearing good things about that game…

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