Category Archives: Life

Rebuilding an old bass guitar

Guitars and bass guitars have two parts that are very difficult to make in the home. The neck and the body. With some decent tools, you can work on a body. But once you’ve got them, adding the other bits is relatively simple, although if there’s a hard way to do something, I’ll inevitably find it! Continue reading →

A bit of IKEA hacking — slide out shelf for record deck

I recently built an IKEA “Bestå” unit as an entertainment centre in the living room. A source of frustration was that IKEA UK do not make a slide-out shelf for their Bestå systems, and I wanted to put a record deck on one, so I had to improvise.

The standard shelf that fits into the unit is 56cm wide and 36cm deep. I needed something a little smaller. I got lucky, I had a table that was going to be scrapped, about 8 years old, and when I dismantled it, I found the width of the table top was about 2mm short of 56cm! I’d planned on maybe 55cm, but figured that if I could get it into the unit, and it could move easily, it would do. I cut it to about 34cm deep. If you are attempting this on a different cabinet, you would need a similar or greater depth than the Bestå in order to accommodate the drawer runner.


Bestå drawer runner pair.

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A lot’s been happening!

How do you sum up the last month or so? It’s been crazy to say the least! Where to start?

After over 39 years in my job, I decided to take retirement, 8 months short of my retirement date. This was not an overnight decision, but one that I had been thinking about for a while. I’ll be a free man come October. Obviously going early means that, instead of 8 months’ wages, I get 8 months’ pension, which is at a reduced rate (for life) because I took it early, but I can honestly say that I value my sanity above financial matters. And I think I’ll be OK.

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Back Home, More Illness, and a more welcome Death

Back home from Malta, had a great weekend. Got a few songs in at the Karaoke and a huge applause for my first ever attempt at “Here Comes The Night”. And after the long Easter Weekend returned refreshed to work on 2nd April. Had a quite easy, stress-free day at work which is unusual after such an absence, but still managed to wake up sick the following morning. I had all this around June last year, one thing after another, and here it was again. I felt better on Sunday but by Monday it was back to square one. Monday the 8th April 2013. A day that started badly until ….

Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead

I was chatting on line to a friend when she told me that Thatcher had died. I had to start checking every news source, and they were all confirming it. The woman that had led a huge change in British Society, where our communities had been replaced with individual greed, the whole culture of “I’m all right Jack, sod everyone else” had started. It had shamefully continued under the government of Tony Blair PM. An anagram of Tony Blair PM is “I’m Tory Plan B”. And so it proved. Monetarism, privatisation, attacking the conditions of workers, putting people out of work, whilst all the time transferring huge amounts of money from the poor to the rich, it had all started with Thatcher.

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Bronchitis, Holiday, and the Death of a friend.

I woke up Friday 1st March feeling very tired and groggy – I wasn’t breathing properly, and decided to phone in sick. To be fair I thought I’d be back on Monday, and by the end of the day I was feeling much better. I even joined in the Karaoke at my local – a first! I had never been in there before, the place is supposed to be dead rough and nothing but trouble. But appearances can be deceptive. OK one bloke fell over drunk whilst trying to leave the pub, but actual trouble? Nope. OK the people there weren’t exactly fashion victims, but then neither am I. The only thing that really bothered me is that, when I sang “Handbags and Gladrags” there was a slight feeling of discomfort in my throat.

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Things can only get better…

Remember the defeat of John Major’s Tories, and smiley Tony Blair PM (an anagram for I’m Tory Plan B, too true as it turned out) and dancing John Prescott? Somehow, what followed will always taint my view of that song. After my last blog, the final insult took place! But since then things have picked up, with a couple of surprises that I was not expecting.

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Will I get better?

This is getting beyond a joke – on Sunday I woke up feeling I had a cold. Just a little one, nothing to worry about, and we had a band practice that afternoon. When I got to the pub, my bass amp wasn’t there in the basement. I checked all the nooks and corners, thinking I was late and my bandmates had played a practical joke, but no, they were later than I was! Went back up to the bar, and there it was, large and life and twice as ugly, on the stage. It had been borrowed, as it turned out with Mark’s permission. Jason had promised to take it back to the basement, but was too drunk at closing time and came back Sunday to find we were already practising and had lugged it, and a few other bits, down.

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What a horrid fortnight!

If my band’s live performances, my birthday, and my lovely girlfriend between them got June off to a flying start, what followed was not so good.

My fridge had broken down, and rather stupidly I relied on my nose to decide what food was ok to eat and what needed to be discarded. Waking up on 5th June, I felt really bad, but got up anyway. But I couldn’t go out – I was scared to stray too far from the loo. My lady had to go to the station on her own, and would be returning to her own home that night after work. This same problem continued into mid afternoon, after which I felt a little better. One thing I did that day, while I was stuck indoors, was to process the videos from Harlow and later leave them uploading to YouTube overnight, it really does take a while.

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Life back on track…

Yesterday I went to see my girlfriend. We had a great day. Before I left, she told me something that may have a bearing on why she is so lacking in confidence. I’m not going to share it here, suffice to say that couples argue, and in doing so say things they don’t mean to hurt each other. Some of those things may have a greater, longer term effect. If you meet someone at my age, they always have a past, and you never know what that past may have done to them. Overall, it was a day that made me feel that our decision to get back together again was the right one. It was lovely.

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It’s Easter!


Easter is supposed to be the annual celebration of the resurrection of Christ. Which is why it’s not at the same time every year, but depends on the cycle of the moon. And why we celebrate by stuffing ourselves with chocolate eggs, and represent Easter with images of rabbits.

Hmmm… moon cycles, eggs, rabbits. All seems a bit “pagan fertility” to me. And the word Easter itself – it comes from an Old English word “Ēostre“, a pre-Christian Germanic Pagan festival.

But who gives two hoots? We get an extra two days off work and for that reason, I love it!

Happy Easter everyone…