A Few Home Improvements

concertina door

Summer is looming, or at least so I’m told, although looking out the window isn’t really making me very confident of that. But regardless, it’s time to start thinking about some of those jobs I need to do around the house, we have done a fair bit in the last few years since buying the place in a pretty shabby condition. The house is over 100 years old and was owned by a local farmer, who decided to sell off a few properties. The only problem is that although we got it cheap, pretty much everything needed doing. When you have a building survey done before buying the score everything from one to three, one being in good nick, 2 meaning needs minor repairs and three being needs serious work, everything on this house, and I mean EVERYTHING scored a two or three.

We had an extension built as soon as we could get the planning permission through, but this meant we had to create a new bathroom upstairs, as the downstairs one was being ripped out as part of the work (and later rebuilt with a shower in there instead), but once built, we had help with the electrics, but all the decorating and fitting a new kitchen was done by yours truly.

Since then we have had sash windows renovated, rooms re-plastered and/or skimmed, completely revamped the garden, so we have a vegetable patch out there now, and grass for the dogs, I even laid a patio.

So I’m wondering what to do next, we do have a fairly long wall which faces down the garden, so it would be nice to get some patio doors, or perhaps bifolding doors put in, so we have a nice unobstructed view straight down there. Although a bit more pricey, I’m inclined to go for the bifold doors, these would give us a big opening when they are folded back and would be great for summer parties and barbecues (assuming the summer arrives at all).

concertina doorThe other alternatives are to fit a new fireplace, the existing one is that horrible old 50′s or 60′s style with tiles around it, plus the back-plate is cracked, although it’s probably been that way for a while, so is not urgent, in fact, we barely lit it last winter because it was so warm. Or we could do up the spare bedrooms, one is useable right now but the other is in a pretty bad state and is just a dumping ground.

The roof has already been done and we had new windows when the extension was done, so now it’s more a case of things we actually want done as opposed to things which need doing urgently. The problem is that with my DIY skills these things all take much longer than I’d hoped.

Coffee or Tea

buy coffee online

It’s amazing how popular coffee has become in the UK, seeing as it’s a relatively recent introduction, compared to many other countries such as south America (as you would expect, seeing as they grow the coffee beans) and the middle eastern ones, where drinking coffee is firmly entrenched in their culture. In fact did you know that in Turkey it’s buy coffee onlineconsidered impolite to serve anyone other than the oldest person sitting at a table first, it’s funny really, considering that in the UK, you would be more likely to upset someone if this were the case and you poured the wrong cup first.

So as I sit here writing today, musing over exactly why coffee has become so popular it occurred to me that it may be more of a marketing thing than drinking tea. Consider the way that coffee shops have sprung up all over the UK’s towns and cities over the last decade or two and the image which is portrayed by the media of sitting outside a coffee shop in the summer time, drinking a short espresso or taking your time with friends over a cappuccino. The whole way this is marketed is completely different to the typical tea drinker, while the image of coffee is sophisticated and somewhat european, the tea advertisers are still very much about the homely and somewhat old fashioned image. Think of Johnny Vegas in his scruffy clothes, with the hand knitted puppet thing, it’s usually based in an old fashioned kitchen  Coffee drinkers on the other hand are usually portrayed as sophisticated, often in suits sitting outdoors on a sunny day.

emma bridgewater diamond jubilee mugSo as I sit here drinking my freshly ground coffee, from my Emma Bridgewater diamond jubilee mug, which was made in my rather excessive coffee maker, in the garden while I tap away on my laptop, I wonder why I’m not drinking tea instead. I can picture a cold morning, stoking up the fire, with all the windows and doors firmly closed while I brew a pot of tea, still in my dressing gown, the difference is quite stark.

The internet has probably helped, because like many other coffee drinkers I now buy coffee online, partly because there is such a wide choice, but also living in the middle of nowhere it saves me a visit to a speciality shop to buy it.

There is also the variety of tastes to bear in mind too, with tea, you really have normal (with a number of variations) or earl grey, you may have milk or lemon and possibly a bit of sugar, but there are your options. Coffee on the other hand can be strong like some of the foreign ones and espresso, or you can have filtered and americano, then there are the milky ones such as cappuccino and even iced coffee in the summer. Then you could have it black or white, the same as you can with a cup of tea, but just look at all the big chain coffee shops, they also have chocolate and cinnamon to sprinkle on the top.

Bifolding Doors

Bifold doors are becoming more popular

Despite the current recession, bifold doors are becoming much more popular, this could be for a number of reasons. Although it’s likely that the recession has prevented many people from moving home, due to financial constraints, while those who do still have the money are restricted because there are so few available properties, therefore many more people are remaining in their existing property, but spending on DIY and home improvements instead.

If you have a window in a nice long wall which faces out onto your garden, or open fields, it’s great to open it right up so you can sit back and watch the weather and wildlife outside. There are a few options, firstly the traditional patio doors, however they tend to be too narrow for this use. This leaves bifold doors and sliding doors as the best option the sort of thing they do at www.thepanoramicdoorcompany.co.uk. Although they will likely cost a bit more, they can be made to measure, so they can be fitted in whatever capacity is available in the wall (with the obvious approval of building control).

Bifold Doors

These are the type which fold back on themselves in a concertina type of style. the big benefit of these is that the concertina bit can go outside, so you really do have the entire opening completely free of glass.

Multislide Doors

These are not quite as popular, but none the less becoming a common feature in many houses, both urban and in the countryside. These are the ones which all slide back to a single panel, so you do actually have a slightly smaller opening, albeit a glazed one anyway.

Both types come in a range of glazing finishes and often with Aluminium, wood or plastic frames, so you can blend them in with the existing architecture of your house.

Most suppliers have showrooms, so you can go in and have a look, slide them to feel the weight and see for yourself what the quality is like on the bifolds.

Legal Advice for Your Environmental Blog – Part 2

So, you are well on your way to getting your environmental blog started up.  You have picked a theme, compiled your research and you are ready to start spreading the news.  You know that defaming another person’s character can get you into serious trouble and that you have the role of a journalist so media law often applies to you.  The difference is that most journalists work in a team with legal support and fact checkers as well as editors and contributions from a number of people.  Your blog is more about your perspective.
The general rule of thumb is that everything you post comes from you or is sourced off the net.  This means you are often at a disadvantage.  Even more dangerously, you may want to publish thoughts or a story on high profile figures but which government would often control.  This can be a very good thing but could also mean severe consequences for you as an author.  So you need to always ensure that you are protected whilst still getting the message across.

Freedom of Speech
Freedom of speech is a tricky issue.  Not only is it a way of expressing ideas freely but also a practice that has limitations.  Most people think that they can say whatever they want to under the broad umbrella of freedom of expression.  However, freedom of expression does not extend to speech that is hateful, dishonest, unjustifiably defaming or created with unnecessarily harmful intent.

Being Objective
It is extremely difficult to try and be objective when dealing with something that you are passionate about.  However, retaining some level of objectivity is essential when it comes to getting your point across.  The final decision should be left in the mind of the reader.  By trying to be as objective as possible, you will be less likely to get into legal battles because you are not necessarily enforcing your own ideas.  You are instead, allowing readers to make up their own minds by presenting them with facts in an entertaining and engaging way.  Subjectivity has a place in things like fashion blogs and humor pieces but environmental blogs should send a clear message without it having to be hammered in. Thanks to a friend (you know who you are) for the info which enabled me to write this article and also to the solicitor who does no win no fee who recently helped me out.

Your Rights
However, after all is said and done, you also have the right to keep your anonymity and not divulge who you are by name on your blogs.  There are a number of organizations who are working to protect this.  If what you are saying is legitimate and incriminating, you will find that outside claims and threats will flood in (especially from the culprits).  It is your right to inform the public of wrongdoings or suspicious behavior without leading them to an ended conclusion.  If you know that dolphins are being slaughtered in Japan and that the high mercury content in their meat is being fed to parts of the Japanese population, you can share this.  You must however, have solid evidence to back up your claims.

Legal Advice for Your Environmental Blog – Part 1

So you’ve joined the cause and want to get started with educating people about the effects of their carbon footprint and some of the ways in which they can help to play Captain Planet.  You have an important issue that needs to be discussed and you can’t wait to put your pen to digital paper and get the news out there.  This is a worthy effort and certainly something that the world needs more of but there are some limitations to what you can say and the ways in which you get your information and other content.

You must be aware of using other people’s work and rather try to generate work on your own.  Your content and fresh perspective is what’s really going to lend strength to your blog so take the time to create that content by yourself.  Make sure that you understand all the ins and outs before embarking on your project because you don’t want your efforts to be overshadowed by legal battles and repercussions.
Blogging is a Media Tool
Although a lot of bloggers prefer not to be seen as part of the media, they usually are.  As long as blogs are being viewed by audiences and are used to entertain, inform and cover current topics, they have a similar function to the media with a different method of implementation.  Your environmental blog fits into this category and is likely to ask audiences to scrutinize certain institutions, which means that you are particularly at risk.
The global media is a regulated industry with its own set of ethical rules, watchdogs, regulatory bodies and policing.  Because of the rise in popularity of blogs in the digital age, many of the rules relevant to media are also filtering into online content.  These rules and legalities relate mostly to content use, advertising, ethics, profanity, accuracy, rights, defamation and libel (written slander).  In many cases, content on the internet has been known to jeopardize future job opportunities for bloggers, despite being promoted as a tool to enhance a writer’s portfolio.
Defamation
One of the biggest issues with blog comments and publishing is the fact that there is a certain level of anonymity.  In these cases, audience members feel comfortable “saying” exactly what is on their mind which can often lead to the defamation of another person’s character and some extremely insulting remarks.  While there is freedom of expression to consider, it is also important that you never attack someone’s character (whether they are an individual, an organization, a business or a community) without having adequate evidence of what you are saying.
It helps to take ethics into account here as well.  You may know for a fact that so and so slept with so and so but you must respect their right to privacy before deciding to post the pictures up on the net and potentially destroying lives or breaking down their character.  There is such a thing as a blogger’s code of conduct, which will allow you a number of guidelines as to what your environmental blog can cover.

This post is courtesy of Eco Seo a specialist seo Swindon, to find them just search Google or your favorite search engine for seo Swindon.

Legal Advice ?

Just wondering if any of the regular readers here have any experience or advice about using a solicitor. It’s not something which I had really considered before, being a typical law biding soul.

However I had an accident recently (although a friend suggested not referring to it as an accident as this can imply that nobody was at fault) which has left me with a broken ankle, this in turn has stopped me doing my job as I drive most of the time.  However my boss has said that the company can’t afford top pay me for all this time off.  It could be up to 12 weeks before I can drive again according to the hospital, and even then, they said I wouldn’t be able to drive all day every day for even longer.

As you probably understand this leaves me in a somewhat difficult situation, as if work will not pay me, I certainly can’t afford to live on benefits and I doubt very much that they would pay my mortgage for me anyway, which just leaves the option of getting some legal help to sue the council, not something I would ordinarily consider, however this whole situation has left me rather skint.

The accident happened because I was walking back to my car carying a rather large heavy item which did obscure my vision somewhat, as I walked on a footpath there was a big chunk of the paving slab missing, my foot went in, my ankle rolled over and hey presto, broken ankle. Just to rub salt into the wound, I also got a parking ticket for overstaying at the car park too before a friend could get down there to move it for me.

So I’ve heard all about these no win no fee solicitors, even more so now after having a few days at home in front of daytime tv, but are they any good? Some are specialist personal injury lawyers, some clinical negligence and some seem to cover everything. Could I just walk into my local solicitors in swindon and ask them? And, probably most importantly are there really no fees at all?  I can imagine there is some loophole where they can charge some legal fees, or do they just claim their court costs from the other party?  These are all the things I am trying to understand before I launch right into it.

Ancient Monuments

stonehenge

One of the most famous ancient monuments in the country is Stonehenge.  Standing on the Salisbury downs, close to Amesbury in Wiltshire, much of it’s history is still a mystery, but what of the other monuments in the area, such as West Kennet long barrow or Avebury stone circle, and is there a connection between them? if so, will we ever fully understand the reasons they were built and what they were used for over the years?

To date nobody is quite sure why Stonehenge was built in the first place, some kind of worship, probably sun worshipping is the most likely due to the positioning of the stones in relation to the dawn sunrise. It could have been a burial site, and the BBC’s Time Team have recently discovered human remains very close to the stones, possibly the most significant archaeological find in the area for decades. It could have been some form of ancient calendar or perhaps a centre for healing. Regardless, it’s an impressive structure and can be clearly seen as you drive down the A344 heading to the west country. Close by is Old Sarum, an ancient hill fort, whilst clearly many century’s later, it’s worth a look if you are in the area.

Avebury stone circle is possibly even more unusual, in that the village stands partially within the circle, the reason being that many years after it was built the stones were used as building materials, only in the 1930′s was the circle renovated by Alexander Keiller an archaeologist of his time. Many stones were stood back up which had been fallen flat for most likely many centuries and markers were placed where some has been removed and broken up completely.

Avebury had two avenues (wide tracks marked out on each side by standing stones) one of which has been reinstated and follows the road from the stones towards West Kennet.

It’s a favourite with druids, hippies and tourists alike, so expect to find a wide range of people sitting outside the pub (which also sits inside the circle) on a summers day.

Silbury Hill is probably the most unique of all the monuments in the area, being a flat topped earth mound standing 40 metres tall, it is the tallest of it’s kind in the whole of Europe. It was developed over several centuries, however it is thought that the initial and much smaller original mound was created in 2660 BC.

Just across the road from Silbury Hill is West Kennet Long Barrow, one of 148 in Wiltshire, which is over half of the total in the whole country.  It’s 8 feet high and 321 feet long. It has an impressive opening at one end and an internal chamber which you can actually get inside to see the individual burial chambers.

It seems to have been used by many different people over the years and it is thought that it was used as a mass burial chamber for at least a thousand years, although recent archaeology has only found around 50 sets of bones, so it’s thought that as the people and their beliefs changed, they would clear out their predecessors bones so it was clear for their own dead.

The entrance used to be sealed off, this is apparent from the shape and size of the huge stones which are now standing in front of the entrance, these would have been rolled across the entrance to seal it off.

For more information about the ancient attractions in Wiltshire such as stonehenge and Avebury stone circle see the wiltshire councils tourism website visitwiltshire.co.uk