Monday, 21 April 2008

The quantum physicist decorates his house

Not strictly true, but the gist of this weekend. A couple of parents came up for the weekend to help demolish the hallway. It seemed slightly silly, as it's the "room" that gets used least, but hence the area that we were most unlikely ever to tackle without moral support, and to be honest I think that we were both afraid that it was the wallpaper that was holding the house together. We were partly right.

On Saturday we spent a happy day stripping the delightful wood-chip wallpaper with the help of the parents' wallpaper beast, covering ourselves and most of the house with sticky glue. The cracks in the wall weren't as bad as we had imagined, but it was slightly dissapointing to discover that in putting in the window, the barbarians had managed to destabilise a large area of plaster and half of the ceiling. The piece de resistance (I can't find how to do accents!) was on getting the wallpaper off the ceiling to find that the plaster board that was the ceiling above the stairs was only joined to the actual ceiling in a couple of places and the gaps had just been covered with stretched wallpaper. Definitely sub-optimal. We were pretty tired after all that, so we ate dinner, the parents retired to their B&B, and we, in a fit of not knowing what to do with ourselves, went to see In Bruges, which is offically one of the best (and funniest) films that I have ever seen!

Day 2 was assigned to trying to deal with the mess that we had made, so we had an exciting trip to B&Q to which I was allowed to drive (and no-one seemed shaky-legged due to fright!), and then played with expanding foam! This was definitely the way to deal with bits of wall that no longer met other bits of wall - much easier than crafting carefully cut pieces of wood in wedges! And it made a wonderful mess - a cross between really light meringue and something from a Dr Who episode. Then we learnt how to plaster and started to fill up some of the more alarming holes in the wall. It was at this point that we started to doubt the relevance of our education and considered that maybe some practical skills might have been a useful foil to quantum theory and nuclear physics. Nevertheless, we were able to prove that removing wallpaper definitely causes the probability wave of the walls to colapse, and that knowing the rate of movement of a wall was no help in establishing its position.

Now we have a very narrow, long hall way which is almost very beautifully plastered. We only have to deal with the ceiling before we can re-wallpaper. But considering that we don't have a weekend free now for about 6 weeks, it looks like it might just be a lick of paint for the time being.

Monday, 14 April 2008


For his birthday, Nimmy bought Ian a GPS and a cryptic card which just said on it. So this weekend, we went out to find out what the point was! Its basically a treasure hunt for grownups. You use your GPS to locate a “cache”, normally a tupperware contatiner hidden somewhere interesting, and inside it find a log book and some treasures. You sign the logbook to say that you found the cache and exchange one of the treasures for something you have brought with you. Some caches are quite easy to find, some very hard.

We thought that we’d start with an easy one, up on the moors on Rudland Rigg. We drove up to the suggested parking spot, walked about a mile up the track (ian will be able to say exactly because the GPS told him (along with our speed and favourite colours!)!), and then left the path following the GPS to find the cache. It was hidden between two large rocks, and was pretty easy to identify once we knew what we were looking for.

Ian and Nimmy find their first cache

As the hail loomed closer we carried on up the track to the next cache, and fortunately only got hailed on a little. In this cache we found a Kansas Geocoin. Its basically a metal coin (this one from Kansas), that can be tracked. So you update the website to say where you found it and where you moved it on to, and the owners can watch its travels. We pocketed this to add to the travel bug (same idea, just a bug rather than a coin) that we picked up at the first cache, and wandered back towards the car in the sun.

Another cache

After lunch we found two more caches, and then decided to head back to York via a cache that wasn’t on the map. Bit more difficult, because you can’t work out what public footpaths are going to lead you from the road to the cache, but we thought it would be a bit of adventure. We drove for a while with Nimmy shouting out the distance to the cache, and when it started going up again we abandoned the car and set off in the right-ish direction along the nearest path. After about half an hour we reached a lake behind Gilling Castle which we had never seen before, and then set off up the clay-iest, muddiest steep hill into plantations that we had ever trudged. We spent quite a while in the woods trying to find the cache, but in the end gave up as we weren’t entirely sure whether we were on public land or not, and we were looking for a cache in a wood “under a log”! It was probably just as well, as when we reached the main path again, the GPS was off by 200 yards – it must have got confused under the trees. Never bodes well for finding caches with that sort of accuracy!

And another

It had suddenly got really late, so we drove sleepily back to York and had a roast dinner with Mikey and Roo before sleeping very soundly!