Friday, March 23, 2007

A few pics - of my retirement dos

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What a hectic but exciting time

I was fortunate to say my last goodbyes to my colleagues and friends at work on two separate occasions, the first was on the 15th March 2007, which was my last working day in the office.

That day, in fact the whole week was very busy, as there were many jobs still to do, and unfortunately a few were left incomplete, but I did try to finish as much as I could.

It was lovely to be able to say goodbye to some good friends, in particular to Rosie, Sheila, Karl, Veronica, Bhavi, Sham, Graham, Michelle & Claire ...... and the kind words from everybody makes me quite emotional just thinking about it.

Thanks to all for the leaving pressies, the cards and the book of words, I will keep these secure to help me remember the good times I had at work.

The second opportunity was on the 20th March 2007 after the Audit Committee, where I got my chance to say goodbye to more people, including Tony and Ruth. The bowl I received is definitely growing on me as I am sure it will be given a prominent position in our new home, and will be a visual reminder of my time at MHT.

This was my last ever day ( well half day) of work before retiring, though I am sure I will have lots of different sorts of work to do in our new home in Poole.

A big thank you to all ..... I do hope to keep in touch with friends and colleagues and they too will keep in touch.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Retaining Walls

I have been researching this subject as it has caused us problems and delayed the proposed house purchase in Poole, so if you would like to know a little about the subject, here goes with a few principles:

Retainer walls are used to hold back a bank of earth or similar, retainer walls are not as straightforward as simple walls, as the soil directly behind a retaining wall will exert lateral pressure upon it, the amount of pressure varies with the type of soil and its moisture content, but that earth pressure is always there, so when a retaining wall is designed, one of the principle considerations will be will this wall withstand this earth pressure?

When the wall is relatively short in height, the mass of the wall itself should be enough to counteract the loads being placed upon it.

Where this is not the case, there are two main options:

1. Improve the ability of the wall to resist the earth pressure.
This could be done by increasing the mass of the retaining wall; alternatively it could be achieved by increasing the strength of the retaining wall.

2. Control the earth pressures acting on the wall.
The characteristics of the retained soil can be 'improved', a common and proven way to do this is by adding reinforcement that modifies or changes the behaviour of the soil.

This diagram illustrates a basic retainer wall for heights up to about one metre.

The important points to note are that the foundation is laid on a solid base of clay or stable ground, that the rear of the wall in contact with the earth should be protected, and that there should be some method of draining the bank, through weep holes.

Also it is essential that the correct bricks are used. 'House bricks' are not usually suitable, frost resistant/low salt content is the key issue.

There you go –

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

What a busy few weeks.

So much stuff belonging to David & William was moved to Martin's flat and deposited safely in his loft - thanks for taking that Martin, I guess you will sort it out with David & William when they return.

Well Suri has now completed the sale of her house in Potters Bar, and all of the furniture is now in storage, it was a tight squeeze but the removal men managed to fit it all in and only one breakage - sorry Sue it was your pressie to me a few years back - the bottle garden - oh well things don't last forever.

Thanks to Geoff & Brod ..... we had a restful night after the move, after a very pleasant meal and a couple of drinks.

Next morning we checked out the new place - the retaining wall seems to have been repaired ok, then we headed back and dumped ourselves with Dan & Sophie - a really big thank you for their offer to put us up for a few weeks.

Still sorting out the inspection of the wall, not really decided what is the best option ..... decisions, decisions always so many decisions.

So we are now technically homeless and retirement is coming up fast - exciting times ahead me thinks.

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