Thursday, 14 November 2019

That was annoying & two deliveries

The electricity supply to our suburb failed at 11.00am today.  It’s going to be a ‘scorcher’ of a day and my guess is the electrical network can’t handle the load of all the air conditioning units.  The result is ‘brown outs’ where selected suburbs are disconnected from the network for a period of time to ensure the entire system doesn’t crash.  The annoying thing is we are actually producing more electricity from our solar panels than we are consuming.  However the system is configured by the utility company in such a way that when they cut the mains power it also disconnects our solar power.  as a consequence we sit in a hot house whilst our solar panels sit idle <grrrr>.

At 11.30am I realised I should check our garage electric roller door as I had a doctor’s appointment at 12 noon.  The emergency manual release mechanism didn’t work (another new project for the list) which meant I couldn’t get the vehicle out of the garage.  A frantic call to the surgery to notify them of the problem and an unsuccessful attempt to reschedule the appointment.  <more grrrr>   Then I remembered we had the Kipor generator from Waiouru.  The door was plugged directly into the generator and I was able to open it <phew>.  I made the appointment with 5 minutes to spare!

There were two deliveries during my absence. 

A small buck converter which is required for the rear view dash cam.  It will convert the vehicle 12V to the dash cam 5.2V.  I could have made a converter, however the area in which the converter will go is rather confined, hence the decision to buy something very small.

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We’re waiting on the dash cam to complete the project

The other delivery was 600 biscuits.  These are for the timber wall cabinet.  It will be made from Jarrah planks which I intend to biscuit join together to make the required timber panels.

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Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Moving Along

Yesterday the ‘wheelie’ bin was emptied.  This enabled me to place a layer of turf removed from the back lawn in the bottom to act as a cushion for the remainder of the brick and tile rubble in the bath.  With the bath now empty I was able to remove it.  My technique was to cut round holes in the wall  corners using a 90mm hole saw and then cut between the holes and the front edge of the bath using the reciprocating saw.  The bath was made of fibreglass so I used a wood blade.  The base of the bath was embedded in mortar forming a strong bond.  However by using a length of 4x2 timber I was able to break the bond and remove the bath.

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I started to break up the mortar and brick base with a cold chisel and hammer before realising all I was going to do was create more rubble.  Better to pause until the wheelie bin is emptied next Sunday.  There is approximately another four wheelie bin loads of rubble to be removed before I start on the wall and floor tiles.

The Australia Post courier arrive with one of our recent orders.

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The LPG hot water heater.  It’s labelled “Not to be used inside”.  That won’t concern us as it will be used with the camper trailer outdoor shower.

I purchased the cheapest heater I could find knowing it will only be used when camping.  The first thing I need to do is make a box to store and transport it.  I’m going to kept the polystyrene packaging which will hopefully minimise the potential for the heater to be damaged whilst travelling in the trailer.

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The heater came with a flexible gas hose and regulator along with a shower rose and hose.  The shower rose has an On/Off switch and the heater only operates when water is running through it so I should be able to turn the heater on and off using the shower rose.  This should reduce water wastage.

We kept the spare 12V water pump from Waiouru.  I remember thinking “If you are going to live on a boat, make sure you have an easily accessible replacement pump, because something critical like the pump will fail at the most inconvenient time”  Well having a spare meant the main pump never failed. Smile 

I’m going to use the pump to provide water to the shower.  The water source will be a 20 plastic litre jerry can.  There’s another job waiting to be done… making a box for the pump!

 

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Monday, 11 November 2019

Management

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She reduced altitude and spotted a man below. She descended a bit more and shouted: "'Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago but I don't know where I am". The man below replied "You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude".

"You must be a technician." said the balloonist. "I am" replied the man "how did you know?" "Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you have told me is probably technically correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information and the fact is, I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything, you've delayed my trip with your talk."

The man below responded, "You must be in management". "I am" replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?" "Well," said the man "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my fault!

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Annual 4WD Show

My friend Ken and I visited the annual Perth 4WD Show which has been running this weekend.  I was interested in pricing a suspension upgrade and bull bar whilst Ken was happy to browse.  In the end I didn’t spend any money and Ken splashed out on an expensive collapsible hand basin.  OK it was a $10 hand basin!

We visited the Opposite Lock stand where we had a long conversation with Brad, the sales representative for Outback Armour suspension systems.  Brad spends much of the year travelling around the continent appearing at the various shows.  During our discussion he talked us through the various suspension options for our Isuzu MUX’s (both Ken and I have a MUX).  At the conclusion I decided their base model suspension system would meet my needs.  there was a 10% show discount along with a “free” recovery kit.  I don’t have a full recovery kit so that would be a bonus.  However I didn’t spend any money, opting to accept a quote valid for 7 days.  If I proceed with the purchase then I’ll probably replace the vehicle suspension system myself which would save some money.  Ken has offered to help.  But them he’s a sneaky Aussie and probably only wants to learn from my mistakes   I thought that was a very generous offer and so typical of all genuine Aussies!

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We visited the show on the cool day.  It seems everyone in Perth had the same idea! 

There were plenty of campers and caravans on display.  Everything from the cheap Chinese (like mine) to Australian made Camprite Campers which I think cost a small fortune.

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Camprite camper trailer with swing out kitchens and batwing awnings.  Something I’ve done with our trailer for a fraction of the price.

The Australian designed and made outback caravans look different to your average European model.  Higher off the ground with a strong chassis.  Their problem is WEIGHT.  you need a large and powerful 4x4 to tow one of these.

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Isuzu were well represented with their display team.  One of the Isuzu utes as demonstrating driving up on two wheels (just like James Bond) whilst the MUX was taking spectators over their seesaw.

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Into 4WD low range and climb the platform

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Nudge forward until the vehicle weigh balances the platform.  Note the Isuzu DMax to the left up on two wheels.

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And then down the other side.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Another Project Completed

The patio was completed this morning when the boxing was removed and the faux lines cut into the surface of the limestone.  the last task was to apply a water based surface sealer.  This will need to be reapplied every 2-3 years to keep the surface in good condition (ie, no discolouration or stains).

From this

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To this

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Replacement of the pavers should mean no more weeds or ants!

We are going to wait three days for the surface to harden before returning all the furniture.

I’m still digging out the lawn one row each day.  The limiting factor is starting to be the amount of turf I can fit into the weekly ‘wheelie bin’ collection. Smile

The temperature is starting to rise with the possibility today will be the hottest day in November since records were kept.  On the other side of the country bush fires are raging on a 1000km front.  That’s the length of the UK.

Jan already has all the blinds drawn and exterior doors closed, with one air conditioner working.  With 6.4kW of solar panels on the roof we don’t have to worry about the cost of running the air conditions on a sunny day.  One problem with an ‘open-plan’ house is you must either heat or cool all of it.  We’re going to partially solve that problem with my next project which is to install a door to the lounge room.  Today’s inside job will be to measure and estimate the project materials.

Friday, 8 November 2019

How to pay too much

There’s nothing better than having a hot shower after a sweaty day in the Australian Outback.  I’ve decided to purchase the components to make a portable shower.

The 12V pump was easy.  We have the spare pump from the boat which I’ll install in some type of container.  We have an old 20 litre water jerry can which will be the water reservoir.  The hot water will be produced by an LPG instant hot water heater.  If you’re solo driving in the outback a shower screen isn’t particularly necessary.  It’s unlikely there will be human for 100’s of kilometres and I’m quite happy to scare off the local kangaroos snakes and dingos by exposing my taunt and terrific body.  However there may be times when you’re not on your own where privacy becomes an issue.

There are various designs for shower enclosures and I rather like the design of a folding en-suite.  Quick Pitch in Australia sell one for $555.  That seemed rather excessive and after some online searching  I found a website selling the same folding shower tent for $295.  The retailer was Ironman.  Further searching on eBay identified another supplier (KickAss) selling the same tent for $299.  By now I was getting suspicious, thinking these retailers are all getting their tents from the same manufacturer and re-badging them.  Going to the KickAss website I found the same tent they were selling on eBay for $299 at a price of $199.  Effectively the price range for the same item varied from $555 to $199.

More detailed internet searching revealed the location of the manufacturer.  China of course!  The manufacturer sells the tent at US$30 – 50 depending upon the size of the order.  Minimum order is 10.  The manufacturer will include a customized logo (eg, Ironman, KickAss, etc) with the minimum order.  Therefore for Australian $72 (plus postage) I could purchase a shower tent.  I just need to find another nine private buyers to achieve the minimum order size of 10.

This is what I’ve been considering.  It would be mounted on the trailer roof rack.

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It rolls down and folds out to form an open topped box

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For me, two things stand out with this research.  The price of the same item can wildly vary; and eBay isn’t necessarily the cheapest option.

However just to show there can be an advantage shopping on eBay consider our latest purchase.  The online 4WD Supa Centre shop was advertising a campfire folding grill and plate at a special price of $44 plus $15 postage.  The same item could be found on eBay for $45 with free postage.  The seller was the 4WD Supa Centre!!  Same seller, but cheaper on eBay.

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Obviously it’s not that difficult to pay too much!

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Second Dash Camera

We’ve purchased a second dash camera for the 4x4.  The first camera was fitted in late 2017 shortly after we purchased the vehicle.  At that time I selected a Viofo A119 camera with the gps option.  Not the most expensive camera and certainly not the cheapest.  Good value for money. 

Why buy a second camera?  We’ve decided to fit one in the rear window.  Too many people are getting hit from behind.  I blame driver inattention… damned mobile phones!  It’s also easy for the vehicle to get hit whilst parked unattended in shopping malls.  A camera with the ability to record “incidents” will assist in solving “who dun it”.  We’ve purchase another Viofo A119, but this is the latest model (version 3) which has ‘buffered parking mode’.  What does that mean? The camera records continuously, and saves the video footage to internal memory. When an impact or motion is detected, a couple of seconds (typically 10 or 20) before and after the event will be saved to the camera’s SD card, in a special write protected folder so it doesn’t get overwritten. An alert will also be shown when you get back to your car, so you will be aware something happened.

In order to have the parking mode always active the camera requires continuous 12V power, even if the ignition is off.  However this presents it’s own potential hazard as the camera could flatten the starter battery if the vehicle was operated infrequently.  Fortunately I’ve already solved that problem by fitting a voltage sensitive relay (VSR) between the starter battery and the existing electrical accessories I’ve fitted since purchasing the vehicle (eg, front dash cam, TPMS, 2 way radio, etc).  Moreover I’ve already run wiring from the VSR to the rear of the vehicle for the fridge and camper trailer.

Today I installed the wiring for the camera.  The only complicated part of the process was not knowing how the plastic trim was secured to the metal body of the vehicle.  I had to do some investigating to find an accessible route for the wires which needed to run from the rear floor of the vehicle up the passenger side pillar and through the flexible rubber hose into the hinged rear door.  I won’t go into detail on how I managed to install the wires because no reader (apart from Ken) has this model vehicle. 

Red arrows for Pip on Oleanna

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Remove the plastic cap and the screw underneath to pull away the top of the pillar trim

IMG_4167   Remove both ends of the flexible rubber hose between the body of the vehicle and the rear door.

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Remove the top of the 3rd row armrest to gain access up and down the pillar

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Remove the plastic cap off the back of the high brake light

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Run the wires from the brake light to the floor and reinstall the trim.  I’ve run two sets of wires which I’ll connect together as I think using one set might result it too high a voltage drop.  One thing I noticed when completing this task was the amount of Central Australian desert dust had permeated into what might thought to be inaccessible areas.

When finished go into the bathroom and apply band aids to torn hand. Smile

Now we wait on the delivery of the camera.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Slow progress

We were hoping the last of the spring rain had passed but we’ve had the wettest 31st October since records were kept.  There have been showers every day since which has played havoc with the plans for the patio.  The boxing has been installed and you can see I’ve been removing more turf one row at a time.  Well actually one row each day. <because I’m old>

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No, I’m not going to hand mix it or even hire a mixer.  I last mixed large quantities of concrete 30 years ago and my old body wouldn’t cope with the task these days.

Whilst we wait for the rain to pass I decided to make some progress with the 4WD breather kit.  The first task was to run the vehicle up onto the steel ramps and then jack up the rear in order to get the rear axle on stands.

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I’m quite safety conscious (mindful of my own mortality and you can see I’ve place a piece of hardwood timber behind each wheel to ensure the vehicle can’t roll back off the ramps.

The 3mm black tubing has been coiled for so long it was like a spring full of loops.  My plan was to soften the tubing in the warm sunlight and strung it between the trailer and frame of the swing.

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Nice idea…. but it didn’t work!  Trying to feed the coiled tubing through the chassis was like wrestling with an octopus Sad smile

It was going to be almost impossible to feed the tubing so I attached a length of blue ethernet cable to the end of the tube.  It was stiffer and easier to feed.

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Red arrows for Pip on Oleanna!

The next step was to wriggle under the vehicle and start feeding the tubing through the chassis.  I don’t like being under the vehicle.  My close-up eyesight isn’t good and my podgy (stout) frame struggles in the confined space.   I need a more appropriately sized assistant.  Where are you Paul Balmer?

Eventually the tube was at the rear axle and I could see the original diff breather.  But only after I’d removed the spare wheel.  The original hose fitting into the diff came out rather easily and I was also able to remove the short breather hose without difficulty.

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Old fitting with new fitting from the kit with the blue securing ring.

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The original breather hose wasn’t very long.

Connecting and securing the new breather tube too some time.  It’s important to leave some slack in the tube as the axle will move up and down when the vehicle is travelling.

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Axle connection (bottom arrow) and the tube was also connected to the original mounting bracket at the top.  I then had to remove all the slack in the tubing back to the engine bay.

This completed the rear axle breather.

Next step was to extend the gearbox breather.  Back under the vehicle <squeeze> and the first step was to remove the bash plate that protects the gearbox.  It is made from a type of plastic/fibre material rather than steel or aluminium.

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Held in place by six bolts.  Some outback dust there!

Well I couldn’t find the gearbox breather <grrrr>.  i’m going to need to do more research.  The bash plate went back on and I made a start on the front diff and actuator box breathers,

I found them in the engine bay in front of the air filter box.

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They are two breather hoses twisted double and secured with a cable tie.  The end is then wrapped in foam and plastic.  It seemed rather basic!  What I did was remove the plastic and foam before cutting the cable tie.  Next I spread some silicon glue on the end of the 3mm tubing and forced it inside the original breather tube before securing it with a plastic cable tie.

The tubing was then routed to the firewall and across the engine bay to my new breather mounting block.

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I now need to find out about the location of the gearbox breather to complete the task.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Another one has commenced

Well the back of my right hand is rather lacerated after I fitted the breather mounting block to the 4x4.  After a considerable amount of scratching the head I eventually decided the best place to locate the breathers was high on the passenger side of the engine bulkhead. 
Having decided on the location I needed to remove the strip of rubber seal which fits between the bulkhead and the bonnet.  This gave me access to the small plastic clips (arrows A below) which secures the leaf mesh over the rain gutter between the bulkhead and the windscreen. 



A piece of paper masking tape was position where the mounting block will go.  This both allowed me to mark the holes with a pencil and gave me a very a very small amount of purchase for the drill bit.  The bulkhead wall is on a 45deg angle and drilling a hole through steel at 45deg isn’t easy.  My strategy was to start with a 2mm bit and gradually increase to 5mm.  I placed a rag inside the gutter in order to avoid minimise the potential for shavings of metal from the drill bit dropping into the gutter where they would rust.  You can just see a piece of the rag in the photo below



As mentioned in an earlier post, I’m not going to use the supplied self-tapping screw to mount the block.  I’ve decide to use stainless steel machine screws, washers and nuts.  To both prevent the edges of the new holes rusting and to avoid the nuts coming loose, I liberally applied Sikaflex to the back of the mounting plate (E), the holes, and the reverse side of the bulkhead wall.  The plastic trim and rubber seal were then refitted (arrow D). 



The last part of this stage was to fit the breather filters



I’ll have to drown the 4x4 to get these filters submerged. Smile  Now I need to whip up the enthusiasm to get under the vehicle and do the difficult stuff!

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Maffi’s Problem

Let me be clear.  This is about Maffi’s problem with Open Live Writer and his inability to publish posts with inserted photos.  If you see Maffi please tell him to read this blog post if he wants to solve his OLW problem and be able to publish photos. 

I’ve been using Open Live Writer (OLW) without any issues, so when I read Maffi’s blog post that he was having problems I attempted to establish why.

Well I was so spectacularly successful that I had exactly the same problem.  I couldn’t publish posts containing photos…… and I couldn’t resolve the problem by following my own previous instructions on how to fix this <grrrrrrrrr>.

After two days I’ve finally been able to finally get OLW to publish photos.  This is how I did it.

Instructions

  1. Delete the existing OLW program via >Settings >Control Panel >Programs & Features >uninstall OLW
  2. >Start >Run > enter regedit.exe into the box and click >Enter
  3. Make a backup of your Windows Registry >File >Export   This will enable you to restore your system Registry if it all goes terribly wrong.
  4. >Edit >Find   enter “openlivewriter” (without quotes) and search the entire Registry deleting all references to OLW.
  5. Load your browser and go to the following website  https://ci.appveyor.com/project/dotnetfoundation/openlivewriter/builds/26774559/artifacts   I’ve checked this hyperlink and it does work.
  6. From this webpage download the file named \Releases\OpenLiveWriterSetup.exe
  7. Go to the location of the downloaded file and right click on it.  Click on the “Run as an Administrator” option.  Go through the setup and login prompts to reselect your blog. This will apply a new authentication token so you don't get an error when you publish.
  8. Once reauthorized, you should see only one listing for your blog (if you deleted all the OLW data in the Registry) If there are two listings, then delete the first listing of your blog and leave the new one. Click OK to save these settings.
  9. Right click on the OLW desktop icon and select ‘Properties’  Click on the ‘Open File Location’ button.  In the new window right click on the file named ‘Update.exe’ and rename it.  I renamed it Update1.exe.  This prevents OLW updating back to the old version.

Open Live Writer should now work correctly

If you load OLW and click on >File then >About Open Live Writer the popup window should show Build 0.6.3.0.

DO NOT download the Open Live Writer version from the Open Live Writer website   This link  http://openlivewriter.org    This website has the old version which DOES NOT WORK

Monday, 28 October 2019

Another Delivery

Fastway Snailway finally delivered my package…… it only took 11 days!  Meanwhile Jan receive a package from the UK in 3 days.  Well this is Australia……

I’d been browsing eBay when I noticed a breather kit at the very reasonable price of $40.  What did I get for my money?

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  • Steel mounting bracket for four breather.  The photo on eBay showed the bracket as anodized black but I’m not complaining
  • A length of plastic tube which will need to be cut for the four breathers
  • Some zip ties to secure the tube under the vehicle
  • Six straight tube connectors
  • Two elbow connectors
  • Four filter/breathers
  • Three mounting screws for the bracket.

The Isuzu 4x4 has four gearboxes

  • Front and rear differentials
  • Manual 6 speed gearbox
  • Hi/Lo range gearbox.

Why fit a breather kit?  The simple explanation is each gearbox is partially filled with oil and the rest of the void is full of air.  The gearboxes are sealed which prevents the oil leaking.  However when the vehicle is moving the oil and air gets hot.  This means it expands and if there wasn’t a vent (breather) the seal might burst. 

My 4x4 already has a breather fitted to each gearbox and the vehicle can wade through water up to 600mm deep.  The potential problem is when the hot gearbox is immersed in water it rapidly cools causing a vacuum inside.  Instead of the breather exhausting ait it’s sucking.  There is a potential for water to be sucked into the gearbox.  Water and oil in a gearbox can lead to serious issues.

So I’m going to remove the exiting breathers and extend the lines from the gearboxes to my new breather mounting block high in the engine bay.  Well that’s the plan.  However it does mean this fat old inflexible body will again have to squeeze and contort under the vehicle.  something I’m not looking forward to doing.

Saturday, 26 October 2019

What next?

Apparently Andrew Lloyd Webber has put pen to paper……. Coming to a West End theatre in late 2020.

BREXIT – The Musical




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OK… I shouldn’t be poking fun at the Brits.   It’s not the average voters fault they are so poorly served by their political representatives.

Actually all humour aside, the situation is bordering on becoming dangerous.  When the people lose faith in their political leaders it can result in extremism.  We know from history, this can lead to major conflict!

Friday, 25 October 2019

Aerobic Exercise

We’ve been doing more than our usual amount of aerobic exercise during the last two days.  Having accepted a quote to lay a Liquid Limestone slab in the patio area we needed to remove the existing pavers.  I’d estimated it would take us 3-4 days but we actually managed it in two.

First task was to clear the patio of outdoor furniture and the BBQ.  The second task was to start removing some lawn from in front of the pavers.  The area will be required for all the surplus soil that needs removing from the patio area in order for the slab to be 80mm thick.  The existing pavers are 40mm which means another 40mm of sand has to be removed.

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The surplus soil could be dumped onto the lawn however I have to remove the lawn in preparation for the pool and it didn’t make sense to move the soil twice.

We got into a routine of me lifting the pavers and stacking them into the wheelbarrow.  I’d then take them to the front lawn where Jan would stack them.

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Jan is going to attempt to either sell the pavers or give them away.  If neither works we will have to dispose them ourselves. Sad smile

The patio now looks like this…..

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I’ve decided to dig a trench along the red line and bury a 4” (90mm) PVC pipe before the pad is laid.  The cost of the pipe is minimal and we may need to get from one end of the pad to the other at some future date.  Hopefully the Liquid Limestone pad will be installed later next week.

Mick on Oleanna.  I still have the comment problem.   When I click in the comment box the email and name box appears.  If I ignore the email and name detail the comment isn’t published.  If I fill in the details it doesn’t accept my Gmail password.  I’ve tried with both Chrome and Opera browsers.