gurthaew: (Orange)
John the dry stone waller has just finished and is now tidying up. The new wall looks wonderful and shows how bad the old one is/was. I am keeping as much of the unused stone as possible as I think I have a fair amount of renovation work to do on the remaining lengths. Or perhaps I should wait until ODBS get another contract in the area and see if I can get them to knock another section down.Read more... )

gurthaew: (Default)
Not having posted for a while, I thought I should ramble on for a while.

The computer is fixed finally. Sony Vaios seem to have a screen brightness problem when booting up from sleep mode and default to the power-saving-too-dim-to-read mode. Having got itself into this state it then refuses to come out of it with anything this side of a full power up reboot from scratch. Searches on the Viao "help" forum have failed to find a fix for this. Emailing the Viao support troll didn't help either.

After going through a full reboot so that I could read the dratted thing, I noticed that it had lost the wireless network and denied that there was one around for it to play with. I reset the wireless router by switching it off and on again, no joy. That took a second full reboot. Having got past that I noticed that the internal cooling fan was running at full speed, something it does when the CPU is being utilised at or near maximum. A check on the processes running showed that winpm-32.exe had grabbed more than 80% of the resources. I wasn't sure what that was, so did a quick search and found that it was my email program. Full reboot 3 stopped that, although why it was doing whatever it was doing was beyond me. Pegasus Mail has never done that before and has always seemd to be pretty benign. Whilst searching I did find a wonderful conversation between a Pegasus Mail user and Symantec's support desk regarding the latest update of the anti-virus program deciding that winp32.exe was a virus and deleting the file so that all email function was lost. About one third of the way down the page is the conversation between Cassiopeia and the help desk numbskull. It makes amusing reading because I didn't have to suffer the pain of going through it myself.

The TS accounts are available in draft form and I have to sit down and analyse them so that I can field and questions on them, including the official Mike Percival tough-question-for-treasurers (tm). Then there's the calculations for the annual subscription rate to be done.

The dry stone wall man has delayed starting for a week so that he can finish up the job he's doing in Surrey.

Does anyone know what DINNA URGET means, especially when applied to Australia?

And now a little quiz... How much would you pay for these bath taps with integral shower head?

A few clues behind here. )

gurthaew: (Bayon temple)
After the visit of the "expert" from Oxford & District Building Services on Friday 12th. March, I contacted Aviva, who insure our house, about persuing a claim. I had told them about it just after it had happened and they had given me a reference number. The lack of progress from Oxfordshire Highways and their sub-subcontractor was getting ridiculous and I felt that I was being ignored.

Aviva arranged for a loss adjuster to come around and view the damage, and he arrived this morning. After looking at the damaged area, all the photographs I had taken and the somewhat minimalist documentation from Oxfordshire Highways, he professed himself to be baffled why the guilty parties were dragging their heels over such an obvious liability. He has accepted the quotation from the dry stone wall expert (£1385.00) and will authorise the release of a cheque from Aviva payable to dry stone wall man and that should be here next week. He will pass the details across to their recovery team to get full redress for Aviva, their costs and also my time for the attempts I made to deal with it. So, ODBS are now looking at a bill of something approaching £3,000.00. If they try to challenge it, the costs will escallate rapidly because the recovery team uses a legal team with considerable expertise.

All in all, a succesful morning's work.
gurthaew: (Default)
Well, I've just had an interesting hour with a professional dry stone waller. He has inspected the damage and thinks I have a good case against the people what done it. He has a fascinating portfolio of his work and there are some lovely walls that he has repaired and built. He was able to describe the construction of this wall in considerable detail, much better that the "expert" fron Oxford & District Building Services. In fact ODBS man didn't even spot that it was a dry stone wall, he thought it was a rubble wall with lime mortar. Obviously there is a difference in estimations for the repair. ODBS reckon that it is about 2 man days, professional wall man said 7 to 10 days depending on the weather. 10 days would be in continuous torrential rain.

The major difference here is that ODBS would simply concrete the old stones back into the wall whilst the professional said that he would need new stone from the local quarry to do a proper job, about 4 cubic metres of it.

Time, I think, to get a claim form from the insurance.
gurthaew: (Orange)
Way back when, or October 5th. 2009 to be precise, I posted an entry about how the progress of the demolished garden wall was going. Various attempts to chivvy Oxfordshire Highways about lack of progress have produced little action, until finally they passed me off to the actual company that did the work. 'Phoning them got me through to their claims department who acknowledged that they had received the paperwork from Oxfordshire Highways (which in itslf is staggering progress), had spoken to their experts and then tried to deny everything. "It was a weak wall" is the stock excuse.

After much argument someone finally called me back and arranged to see the wall with me. at 11am today., Friday 12th. March. The man arrived at 09.40 instead and declared the whole wall to be in danger of collapse and that they could not be responsible for such an obviously dangerous structure. I didn't question at the time why they hadn't spotted it before they started work and allerted me or the council to the likely collapse. Neither did he spot the marks on the wall where the work gang had hit the wall. So, if he's their wall expert I must be an Olympic standard synchronised swimmer.

Fortunately, there is a local walling specialist who is a member of the Dry Stone Wall association, and he is coming tomorrow morning to give me a quotation on the repair., and hopefully give me some further information on who is most likely responsible for the damage. Watch this space.
gurthaew: (Default)
We received a telephone call from someone who works for the highways department requesting further information and asking to visit to see the damage. At 2.30pm said person arrived bearing a blank claim form and a camera and he then inspected the damage. He had obviously spent several hours immersing himself in the Oxfordshire Council manual for denying everything so only spoke about possibilities although he looked at the wall and said it wasn't in very good condition. Precisely how anyone should interpret this is baffling - it's a rustic stone wall made with rough cut blocks and held together with lime mortar so it would never look like a modern brick wall. I suspect it looks like that so that it's in keeping with the grade 2 listed building behind. I wonder whether the wall is mentioned in the original listing.

I have taken numerous photographs to support the claim. The one above is typical and has 6 white plastic markers pointing up towards areas where the contractor's digger has collided with the wall stones. This is the only part of the wall where the digger has hit and, unsurprisingly, the collapse occured about midway between the two outer markers.

As a rough guess it will take about 2 man days for a builder to dismantle an rebuild the wall.

They are due to finish the resurfacing tomorrow, a layer of coarse stones and tar will be put down and then compacted by a small, vibrating roller followed by a smooth surface layer. Quite how the remaining part of the wall will cope with that kind of treatment remains to be seen. When they have finished I assume they will pack all their equipment and warning signs away and depart thus leaving me with a wall that is in danger of falling outwards onto the path. At the moment i have placed one of their barriers against the wall so that no-one will get close. Maybe I should call the highways people after the workmen have gone and demand that some protection and warning bits are left?


gurthaew: (Default)

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