Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Take My Money

After accepting a pleasant amount of money over the weekend in exchange for my planer/thicknesser, this week has so far begun with a stark ‘warning’ that makes me feel as though I’m ‘not allowed’ to keep any additional money that doesn’t come in as part of my average working wage.

It started when I opened a long-expected envelope from the local water company, who had previously told me that I could expect my first bill sometime this month… Well, at a few pennies over £200 for less than four full months of service and usage, that’s more than half my weekend’s profit gone!! This week, I was planning to buy myself a replacement digital camera for the Coolpix S8200 that Nikon have decided is now beyond economical repair… I still plan on buying something but I’ll be downgrading my budget, just as I was beginning to contemplate a low-end DSLR with that cash burning in my pocket…

So, at the current rate, I guess I can expect to be spending £600-a-year on water!!

Three-times my greatest expectation. I live alone. I use a shower in another home during the cold months because my bathroom is currently unheated. On average, I do the washing up every other day. I do not currently own a washing machine and I wouldn’t consider myself to be someone who visits the toilet more frequently than an average being.

So, I’m under the assumption that the 50m³ of water I’ve used since mid-November might well have something to do with the fact that the toilet cistern here hisses. In other words; it’s constantly emptying and filling, albeit at a trickle of a water flow.

I’ve tried to make the necessary adjustments; I’ve already replaced the diaphragm washer but none of this has stopped the unnecessary flow. So, now that permanent heating has finally been restored to the two main rooms in this flat, I think my next objective (ahead of painting) should be to stop the toilet cistern from hissing and wasting all that water.

My water usage is metered in this property and I can’t imagine what else it could be.

So, I’m currently looking at sending £350 by the time the weekend rolls around!

Perhaps this could be conceived as an exercise in accepting the recent income as a means of paying forthcoming expenses? I’m not someone who’s driven by money but it offers an undeniable lure when it falls in front of you and you begin to wonder about a way in which you could treat or reward yourself, without having to cut in to essential funds that are already reserved for mundane purposes.

For the time being, I'm waiting ever-patiently for this old electric hob to warm up...

For the time being, I’m waiting ever-patiently for this old electric cooker to warm up…

Later on that evening, I went to do a bit of cooking and with space running low in my oven, I realised that my induction hob wasn’t working. There was no power coming through, from what I could see. This evening, I’ve tried swapping the 13 amp fuse with one from another plug and while my toaster works fine, it’s not making any difference to my hob.

It’s come as quite a surprise because it certainly didn’t ‘die’ on my during its last use only days ago. I reckon it might have something to do with the fact that I’ve been causing saucepans of pasta to ‘overflow’ with boiling water… It is labelled with instructions on not to ‘submerge’! But then, it was a £35 appliance purchased nearly three-years ago. You get what you pay for.

So, I am going to need a brand-new induction hob as well. At what I payed for it, I’d be better off replacing it instead of looking at a repair (also, remember the Nikon camera…). I guess that these cheaper hobs aren’t really up to regular use and I am needing mine on a near-daily basis; as opposed to cooking while away in a caravan or something. In that case, perhaps I should also be raising my budget by an extra 100%… I’ll certainly be looking for a model with a 2-year warranty. Perhaps also a timer function as well.


One brand-new storage heater…

But to end on a positive and, after four-months of waiting; I’m pleased to reveal that my flat is capable of being warm again, after two brand-new night storage heaters were fitted over the weekend. I’m still getting used to the ‘new, burning-plastic’ smell (which should vanish within days) but it is so nice to be able to simply take the chill out of the air and to walk in to a warm bedroom in the depths and dark of night. I am concerned as to how effective they might not be (in the larger living space) if we are to experience a ‘real’ winter at the end of this year and there’s still the bathroom heater to be concluded but, for now, I’m experiencing a sense of weightless within some part of my mind…


…Two brand-new storage heater!!

Both heaters were fitted by a local electrician recommended to me through the power of Facebook. Now, he also turned out to be someone I knew at school and had lost touch with so it’s been extra-warming to be able to say hello again when I presumed that, after 11 years, it might never happen. I also got talking to his father-in-law who has his own passion for working with wood and it’s certainly got me thinking about all sorts… Not least how much I would like to have another workshop in the not-too-distant future and, well, how a large proportion of my skills and abilities are not being utilised in my everyday existence!

I’m no longer convinced that I properly understand how to set night storage heaters… Following the instructions in the manual, I’ve had the small bedroom heater on maximum settings for both Input and Output, in order to ‘burn off’ that sickening new-plastic smell. Now, I’ve always believed that the Input relates to the quantity (not temperature) of heat stored at night, while the Output controls the frequency (again, not temperature) at which that heat is released the next day… But, even an hour ago, this heater felt like it was still warming the room.

It’s been set at 6 and 6. In the living room, I’ve had the input at 4 and output to 1 and that doesn’t even seem to last until I go to bed. I’ll keep trying.

To try and turn that on its head and in to a negative, I could attempt to argue that I’ll only be spending twice as much on electricity now… But hey, it’s still cheaper per unit than gas!

Enhanced by ZemantaThanks for reading today’s ramble.

8 responses to “Take My Money

  1. Eddy flynn 18/03/2014 at 22:36

    hi Olly it always the way when you get a few quid in your pocket something that you didnt plan on replacing breaks, about that cistern hissing it sounds like the ball valve is failing if you can bend the arm down a bit i used to work for a well known holiday park and they made us do this on a regular basis before they would allow us to replace them it probably cost them more in water than new ball valves if its not a dual flush cistern try putting a small plastic bottle filled with water inside the cistern it uses less water per flush better still get some plastic water carriers and fill them in work lol,i think the water companies forget it falls from the sky for free

    • Olly Parry-Jones 19/03/2014 at 20:53

      Hi Eddy,

      Thanks for the advice.

      I’ve tried various little tricks but nothing seems to stop the flow completely – I can raise the arm as high as possible but it still won’t shut it off, even after replacing the washer inside.

      I do like the water bottle tip – one I picked up a few years ago but had somehow forgotten before now! 😉

  2. Tom Stratton 19/03/2014 at 13:32

    Olly, on the water bill front, we have a three bedroom house with two bathrooms and between 2 and 4 occupants at most time. Though we are conservative with our water usage we still like to be comfortable. Showers are taken by everyone everyday and roughly 2 baths used each week. We are not on a metre and pay £60 per month.

    Are you certain there is either no underground leak (we once had that problem) or another house running off your metre? I would certainly be asking water company to investigate…



    • Olly Parry-Jones 19/03/2014 at 20:55

      Hi Tom,

      Well, I’ve just sent them an e-mail as I’m clearly being billed too much. My suspicion is that there could be a leak somewhere… I’ve only just learned this evening that I don’t know where my meter is (it’s not where I thought) so I’m unable to check right away. I’ll follow the e-mail up with a phone call.

  3. bristolidler 19/03/2014 at 19:35

    Water bill seems way too high. Turn all water off and see if meter still turns…

    Could be the cistern or could be leak or neighbour’s water.

    We’re in a house paying £360ish for 2 adults over a year. Mind you, cistern on overflow for 8hrs added one months cost to bill about £50.

    Landlord’s responsibility to fix it.

    Good luck 😉

    • Olly Parry-Jones 19/03/2014 at 20:57

      As soon as I locate my meter (it’s not where I thought it was), I’ll try exactly as you suggest. I guess, if it’s still turning, that means there’s either a leak somewhere or that I’m accounting for an additional home’s usage.

      I’m waiting to hear back from the water company to see what they can do.

      Oh, this landlord’s gonna love me!!! 😉

      • bristolidler 19/03/2014 at 21:21

        If i remember right theres a black spiral logo that turns to show water being used so don’t have to wait for a litre to flow.

        If you’ve got a main stop cock you could turn that off to ascertain for sure that its not your water / leak.

        As for landlord – any tenant would do the same; it is entirely reasonable and the law backs you up.

        You’ve done more than many would to resolve it yourself before bothering him/her.

        Seriously, that bill is ridiculous. A family of 4 on a meter would use about that!!

      • Olly Parry-Jones 23/03/2014 at 19:27

        I looked and I searched and I even asked Bristol Water on where to find it… But they’re sending someone to carry out a leak inspection over the next few days anyway.

I welcome your thoughts.

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