Thursday, January 30, 2014

eircom, orthopaedic boots and missing Australia

Well the 26th (Australia day) came and went and I had a brief chat with my mate Paddy in Ozz, which made me miss Australia, and the weather kept up its end and has been pretty woeful apart from yesterday when the sun came out and revealed the view which I sat and looked at for a good while. The Irish government are determined to make Ireland the wind farm for Europe which sounds wonderful but in reality is a real mistake. At the moment there is huge uproar about huge pylons that are to be placed through the middle of the country to transfer electricity to the Grid, the network is four times bigger than is needed to support the needs of the country and is being made to export electricity to the UK and France. Along with the network of wires/ pylons they are going to cover the whole country in monstrous wind turbines > 140 meters high. The politicians involved in pushing through plans ASAP without cost benefit analysis have stakes in wind farms set to make them millions.
If they did the homework they would see that other countries like Denmark that exports 70% of their wind power (because they have to, as their network gets overloaded in windy times) export it at a loss, why on earth would England pay high prices for electricity when they can get it for nothing from Scotland? if it is windy here then, almost always, it is windy in Scotland, as it is the same weather patterns that govern the wind.

Anyway I'm going on about bliddy wind farms not just as they want to put up 13 turbines in my view but the more research I do into them the more I hate the things. I can just hear my Mom saying you shouldn't hate anything, and she is quite right too, my Mom is always right. Ok that bit of sucking up done what else is news? Ehh I'm limping around fine style in the boot, it is the same as the one below

The wee blue button is to inflate the thing after you do up all the straps. Mine has a 2cm wedge in the heel for the moment probably to keep weight off the tendon so when I walk all the weight seems to be on my heel which gets sore after a while and because of the month off my feet the old legs get weary too but I dare say the muscle will come back quick enough now I'm walking again. When I take the boot off the tendon feels fine and I can move my foot almost as much as the good one, so I am tempted to throw the boot in the bog and go running around it in my kilt whooping but I shan't for another four weeks.

Eircom still haven't looked at my telephone line, nothing new there as this is Ireland, so I am still using a pay as you go dongle for internet access, means no Skype no land line and very slow internet but I shouldn't complain, ohh yes you should the squeaky wheel gets the oil boyo, I wont complain but I will ask for a discount on line rental etc for the time I have no line, that seems only fair.

Scotland play Ireland at rugby this weekend, it is always a big ask coming here and winning but good luck to the boys I might even dorn the kilt and rugby top and go down to the village to watch it, where is my tartan cap and fake red hair?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I can walk I can walk wooopee

Had the ballerina type cast taken off today and was fitted with a boot :) so the wheelchair has gone and I can get around good at last. Being able to put the foot on the ground is great and I have a support bandage on the left knee to help support it. The right leg is about 3 cm longer than the left one so I have a real wobble but that's kewl.

We had another storm last night but no more trees came down thankfully, was torrential rain last night and at times today.

I see in the news that China's Jade Rabbit Moon rover is in trouble after experiencing a "mechanical control abnormality", state media report, we encountered a Galway Woman driver at a traffic lights in the city that was experiencing her own wee "mechanical control abnormality" as she jumped a red light and cut in front of the traffic. I got a lecture about picking on the Irish from my brother in law but I,m going to continue in the same vein and say they must be amongst the worst drivers in the world, road markings here are a waste of paint.

 I can walk wooohoo, in fact I'm going to walk right now.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

some pics of the rebuilt wall

I managed to hop up to the gate and Angie pushed me over the cattle grid in the wheelchair and up the road to view progress, was the most fun I have had in weeks. They have rebuilt the wall along the roadside and put a bit of a fence up and done the wall where the trees had knocked it down. The bit where the trees were down will look nice when I finish with landscaping it.

Some logs going to Michael's firewood pile, he probably ended up with about 20 tons of wood.

The nearly cleared North side with rebuilt wall.

Michael and one of his boys, they are 9 years old and great workers. They were wanting to get off school the other day to come up logging.

The roadside with rebuilt wall and new bit of fence.
I will need to invest in a wood splitter down the track and am thinking of making a lean to at the shed to store all the wood under.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hospital checkup

Well today was my bi annual heart checkup and ICD scan and it all went well, had to travel the length of the hospital right enough which was a good workout in the wheelchair, I got a hand off a guy at one point when I was going up this long ramp, on foot you would probably have hardly noticed it but in a wheelchair its like Snowdonia.

Next Monday I am back in so they can change my cast to one where the foot is at a more normal angle at the moment its like a ballerina with toes pointing down, sounds funny ehh Rob the ballerina lol well you try wearing the wife's stilettoes with the heel broken off them for 3 weeks solid and get back to me. I have this longing to straighten my foot that comes in waves but hey what can you do.

The roof repairs are finally finished and there are two guys rebuilding the wall that was knocked down by the dozen trees that fell at the North end of the garden, the trees have been chopped into 25ft lengths and towed to the roadside by an excavator no doubt they will be taking them away soon. There is another bit of wall out the front the guys are going to spend a day on too and a bit of fence to go up. Cant wait to get back out there with the chainsaw reving its wee heart out, sawdust flying, dogs scattering and padded bra and high heels oops I,m a lumberjack and I don't care.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dry sunny day lends itself to roof pointing

The is a guy here today to point the gable end and an excavator coming to pull the trees that have been prepared off the bog to the roadside to be chopped up for firewood. We have put in a claim for repairing the wall the trees fell over as well as the roof and have fingers, eyes, legs and arms crossed that they will pay up or we will not be holidaying in Barbados this year, actually we weren't going to Barbados anyway lol but it sounded nice. I saw on the news some poor guy was killed defending his yacht against robbers in St Lucia hopefully they will catch the killers.

Gus is desperate to get out to go play with the chainsaw as he was allowed out all weekend to do just that but Michael had a few folks with him to help and they were watching the dog, I know myself that if he is with me when I am felling trees I have to keep a really keen eye on him that he doesn't get squashed and it is a pain.

I am going stir crazy stuck inside and really feel for people who have to spend their lives in wheel chairs, I wonder if there is someplace I could volunteer to drive people who have trouble getting out to the shops etc. That will give me something to do researching that.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

what a waste of time !!!

Well yesterday Angie took the day off to drive me in to the hospital, I was all set to have an xray or scan to see if the tendon was healing and the appointment was for 0945, got there and waited till 1230 to be seen, which I hate (why give someone an appointment time if you have no intention of meeting it) its just downright rude. Then a student DR looked at my chart and asked me how my heart was, grrrrrrrrrr I explained to him that stress was bad for it but it was actually my ripped tendon I was attending the clinic for. Get this he didn't even look at my foot to see if it was a nice blue colour or anything just went running off to his boss for instructions and came back with the news that I should come back in 2 weeks and have a new cast put on with a different foot angle. What a waste of a day. What a waste of hospital resources What a waste of, well whatever, you get my jist.

Its a wet day here again and the lawn is flooded were a drain is blocked I would love to be down there up to my erse in freezing water unblocking it but it would mean crawling so I guess it can remain flooded. Spending today watching Photoshop tutorials online and learning a lot, the information has the chance of being memorized but I doubt I will remember that never mind the tutorials.

Friday, January 10, 2014

A & E overcrowding

On the news lately the NHS A and E departments are being shown as massively understaffed and overcrowded. I'm no expert in this field but have spent 11 hours recently doing the corridor shuffle on a trolley ( poor nurses that had to push me around) and 6 hours in a bed after I had been treated and passed clear to return home, my experience, I think can be put down to bad time management.

The delay being initially seen by an orthopaedic DR was due to their being in surgery, there were two procedures in the operating theatre that day but instead of checking out what the queue was like  in A & E after the first one, they must have got scrubbed up again for the second one instead. The head nurse in A & E had looked at my injury and properly diagnosed it early in the piece. They decided to keep me in hospital but it was 10 pm before a bed came available.

The next morning a specialist saw me before 9am and a cast put on before 10am and I was passed free to leave after the physio had shown me how to use the crutches, myself and the bloke in the bed opposite didn't vacate the beds until after 3 pm so that was 2 beds that could have been made available 5 hours earlier than they were as the physio didn't appear.

I think the staff in the hospital do a wonderful job but nurses pushing around trollies, like they had to when I was there doesn't make sense, if they had a good manager and better procedures for bed allocation and vacation the whole A & E system would be freed up to work more effectively.

Rant over. The builders are rained off today but have started to reassemble the job, hopefully there are no winds over the weekend as it is Monday before they are back. Angie gets home around lunchtime from the UK and she is off until Tuesday as she is running me into the hospital on Monday I think.

2 Kinds of friends

There are two kinds of friends: Those who are around when you need them and those who are around when they need you. Thankfully I have a few of the first type the ones who are around when they are needed and will spend a whole day grafting to help out, thanks again Keith and Micháel who did a power of work clearing trees yesterday.

The insurance assessor was around earlier and he seemed happy enough with the claim although he said the house and contents should be insured for more than we have it down for. I have to get a quote from someone to rebuild the wall that was demolished by the falling trees on the North side of the house as well. Jessy escaped this morning and the builders ran her home after she was spotted away down at the crossroads in the traffic, she is in Coventry as we speak after getting a severe reprimand. Its very difficult looking after them when I am housebound.

Its a bonny day again today and the builders have started replacing the damaged bits, the weather is meant to change again to showers but no high winds in the next few days.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I love the sound of chainsaws in the morning.

Much better than the smell of napalm in the morning is the sound of chainsaws especially when they are clearing my fallen trees, big thank you to my friends Keith and Micháel for helping me out in my time of need so to speak. The other noise is the builders stripping the first two rows of tiles off my roof so they can get back to some sound timber to work with. Hopefully insurance is going to pay for the roof repairs.

Angie is away to the UK till Friday and today is a nice sunny calm day, 1st one this year and its like a different country when its like this, I am hoping the weather lasts till the roof is fixed, well actually it would be good if it was nice weather for a while but I doubt that will happen.
Temperature records were shattered in states across the US, including Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Michigan, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York yesterday. It was -17C (1F) in the small town of Hell, Michigan, prompting online jokes that the weather was so bad even hell had frozen over. I still prefer the cold weather to the incessant wind and rain but minus 17C is pretty dang cold.

The above picture shows most of America covered by snow and was taken from the US government's GOES-East satellite. It got down to minus 20 C here a couple of years ago and it killed off a lot of bushes that usually survive the winters fine.

I just finished my letter to the Planning department regarding the proposed changes to distances wind turbines should be from residential properties. see below.

Submission on Draft Wind Energy Guidelines

It was with dismay that I read, “Concerns of possible health impacts in respect of wind energy infrastructure are not matters which fall within the remit of these guidelines as they are more appropriately dealt with by health professionals”. Surely health and safety is one of the main re...asons there are any Guidelines to begin with, and most of the reasoning and arguments that are being debated and considered by planning committees all over the world are foremostly about noise and its consequent health effects on householders in the proximity of these industrial sites.

I make the following submission in relation to the draft wind energy guidelines:
I would suggest that it would be prudent for Ireland to take on the mantle of the benchmark setter in regard to the distance commercial turbines can be situated to dwellings and legislate for a distance larger than the rest of the EU nations. When people's homes values are being dramatically decreased due to the siting of these commercial wind farms you can expect more and more people to initiate court proceedings, as is happening the world over, with local government and planning authorities as well as developers becoming targets for class actions. In an effort to have the turbines switched off at night or even taken down altogether, Jane and Julian Davis from Deeping St Nicholas in the UK took the developers, landowners and operators of the Deeping St Nicholas turbine array to the High Court in 2010.
The legal case was paid for by NFU Mutual, their insurers, and is one of the first private nuisance cases brought against wind power stations. A settlement was reached before the court heard technical evidence from the Davis family’s expert witnesses. Confidentiality clauses mean that the Davises are unable to report the terms of the settlement. At the moment setback distance is not based on science but rather on geography and a desire to squeeze as many turbines into a space as possible, in order not just to satisfy a 20-20-20 directive but also to generate electricity for sale to the UK. The fact that Denmark sells 70% of its renewably generated electricity to its neighbours at a LOSS seems to have been missed by our country's policy makers.

The UK legislation is also inappropriate for protecting local residents from annoyance and harm caused by aerodynamic modulation of noise from wind turbines, due to their use of the noise descriptor, LA90, 10min. This descriptor is totally unsuited to characterising noise subject to a significant degree of amplitude modulation. In non-technical terms, LA90, 10min is calculated by measuring the noise level over a ten minute period, disregarding the noisiest 90% of the time and taking the maximum noise level in the remaining (quietest) 10% of the time. This may be a reasonable approach if the noise level is fairly constant, but if the noise exhibits significant fluctuations in amplitude then LA90, 10min effectively ignores the peaks and gives an estimate of the noise 'floor level'. I petition you to not allow use of this formula in planning application assessments by developers.

There is mention of guidelines restricting limit of 40dB(A) attributable to one or more wind turbines; my understanding of noise is that its level is expressed in decibels (dB), using a logarithmic scale. A difference of 3 dB is the smallest that can be detected by the human ear, while a noise that is 10 dB louder than another is perceived to be twice as loud, although it is physically 10 times higher in pressure. An increase in noise level of 6 dB or more causes widespread annoyance and disruption. The usual measurement is in dB(A), which emphasizes the range of sounds easily heard (consciously) by humans. A quiet rural night may have an ambient sound level of 20-30 dB(A). Fifteen hundred feet from an industrial wind turbine, the sound level may be 45-70 dB(A), at least four to sixteen times as loud. Another measurement is dB(C), which includes lower frequencies that are not so much heard as felt and have documented adverse medical and psychological effects. Lower-frequency sounds more easily penetrate walls and windows and are a significant component of wind turbine noise. Yet another measurement is dB(G), which includes very-low-frequency infrasound, which recent research shows the inner ear to be sensitive to. If you restrict to 40dB(A) this is allowing a disturbance of between two and four times the usual noise of a quiet rural night which I believe is too loud. Not including dB(C) and dB(G) measurements in the guidelines is also copping out of responsibility.

House and property devaluation.

I own and work from my home in Derrykyle which has uninterrupted views with not another manmade structure in sight as far as the eye can see; the choice to move here and not live in the middle of a city or under a flight path was for the peace and quiet. My home's value is greatly effected by its outlook and location. Gaoi an Iarthar (Enerco Energy Ltd) have proposed to build a wind farm development in Derrynea and Lettermuckoo, North of Casla in Connemara consisting of thirteen huge windmills 135 meters high, buildings, roads and a wind measurement mast; this industrialization of this area will drop the value of my house and land by 25% according to Real Estate Agents quotes. If wind farms were going to do as the developers state and save the World I could perhaps suffer a quarter of my life's savings being written off, but wind farms are not efficient or effective. The whole wind farm industry exists solely down to subsidies, with huge amounts of money being paid out to a few landowners and greedy developers, and this money comes from those of us who cannot afford it in the form of higher and higher electricity bills. The threat imposed on my well being therefore goes to the very fundamentals of why I am submitting my views to the committee.

Please would you acknowledge my submission.

Yours faithfully,

It already has 183 views on facebook and hopefully will get others to submit their views.

You may be able to tell from my blog that I am a bit bored being stuck in the house lol I don't usually waffle on as much.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

tree pics

Angie went round and took a few photos of the last trees to come down in the storm the other night and the builder was round to give a report on the sofit repairs, he thinks because the original boards are rotten the insurance may only pay for new plastic sofit not the whole job so he suggested that the rotten boards were taken off before the assessor appears and disposed of. No I,m not going to dispose of the assessor lol.
Today is calmer but the forecast is for more gales all the way through to Wednesday sheeeze.
Angie is back to work on Monday and has to go to the UK on Wednesday morning so I shall be left on my tod till Friday but my pal Keith is coming to chop some trees on Tuesday and the neighbour will pop in at some point when Angie is away no doubt. Being in a wheelchair really makes you appreciate how lucky people with full mobility are I think everyone should have a week in a chair to remind them. After I get sorted out I think I will put an ad in the shop for anyone that needs help getting about, down to the shop ect.

Friday, January 3, 2014

wheelchair replaces the office chair

Well the dr gave me a wheelchair to get around the house on so that is making life easier here and should give my left knee a bit of time to improve. We had another storm last night and another tree snapped halfway up and landed in the pond and also part of the sarking on the S gable end of the house got ripped off. Around 4am the wind was at its strongest, Salthill in Galway was flooded this morning with high tides and storm surge.

Flooding in Salthill, Co Galway
My friend Keith offered to come next Tuesday and cut down a couple of the trees that are still hanging up on others so I am going to take him up  on that offer incase the other trees come down with the weight of the hanging ones.
Alan and Angie are away to Knock to catch Alans flight, hopefully the roads will be open and he will get back to Inverness about 6pm this evening. He has filled the porch with wood for the fire but I have not lit it this morning as there were sparks coming out of the chimney last night and it may well need cleaned and the wind is still strong to Gale force creating a huge draw on the fire.

Hope everyone had a good new year and there are not too many sore heads.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year

A Happy New Year to one and all, hopefully 2014 will be better than 2013 was. I think I will remember 2013 as the year of the ankle, as Gail, George and myself all had injuries to the ankle this last year. It was also a bad year for diagnosis of cancers in my family and friends so hopefully this year will see remissions and people getting better.

Alan and I went to the pub last night, me in the kilt on crutches and lots of people were chatty. My left arm is giving me gip and makes the use of the crutches and even the zimmer frame almost unbearably sore so I am getting around on an office chair with castors like some sort of demented crab. It going to be a long 7 weeks being housebound. Alan is stockpiling logs for me in the porch and close to the house so they will be easier to get when I am on my own and he repaired a leaking join in a water pipe under the ground outside.

I have just finished writing to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government as they are asking for submissions regarding the wind energy guidelines and the minimum distances turbines can be from homes. I use Open Office writer as my word processor as it is free and has all the same features as Microsoft Word has, but I,m not positive that the spell checker has worked properly as either my spelling has improved immensely or it is on strike.