Freesteel Blog » 2011 » July

Friday, July 15th, 2011 at 7:21 am - - Cave 1 Comment »

Did the long hot drive down to the Pyrenees over two days. It was raining when we set up in the campsite.

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Friday, July 15th, 2011 at 6:53 am - - Whipping

Went to Berlin for the last week of June to OKCON 2011 to give a ScraperWiki talk about how it can solve all your open data conversion needs.

Foolishly, I took the hard seat option on the train from Cologne to Berlin, which was a harsh night. I was unable to upgrade it on the way back, so faced another night in a bolt upright seat in a six person cabin next to some chinese women telling me to put my shoes back on because my feet were too smelly. Smelly feet is a sign of discomfort, and with just about every other part of the body in uproar by 3 o’clock in the morning, so the shoes were coming off inevitably. At my age I’ve lost my youthful flexibility so every contorted posture in a seat attempting to get my head down on its side results in ligaments and joints setting like dry wood ready to snap when I try to bend them back.

At 6am in Cologne train station I got surrounded by police who wanted to see my passport — as they explained — for no reason whatsoever.
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Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 at 11:19 pm - - Cave

So much to do, so little time, and now it’s the holidays. I had a trip to Berlin last week too.

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 at 10:27 pm - - Cave

[Small trip to put on record with some camera phone photos. Posted two months late]

I finally finished building two wetsuits over the winter from two sheets of 2.1m x 1.2m material purchased from Elios sub in Italy described as NEOPRENE HEIWA / NEOFLEX 3mm Superelastic Red / Superstretch Black for 88Euro each, glued with Bostick 2402 from Lomo watersports.

Tried them out on a Simpson’s pull through trip followed by a Swinsto’s pull through trip. Then had an inspection of the Rowton sumps and got halfway through the third one. I could have done it with less discouragement from Becka. They are large, barely below the waterline and the water was clear.

The design is zipless (with the addition of neoprene shorts to protect them) and copied from this New Zealand seventh wave design Si wore canyoning last year. I couldn’t find where to get the Japanese Yamamoto neoprene they talk about, but the Japanese Heiwa stuff is pretty soft and stretchy like no other neoprene I have handled.

I made some neoprene socks from a sheet of 5mm and they wore through on the heels and toe balls during one seven hour trip down the Milwr tunnel by Becka which involved 5kms of walking in knee deep water each way. I’ve sewn some normal neoprene (which now feels unreasonably stiff) in those places now to see how it holds. I suspect these wetsuits will need a lot of maintenance, like anything high performance. It’s all hand sewn one stitch at a time with Nybar thread. I suppose I could measure my rate. It’s at least a metre an hour. This might sound slow, but some board meetings go on for many times longer than this.

I also save a lot of time by skipping caving trips. On Sunday Becka and Tom went down some hard place in Easgill to survey (forgot the name), while I “wasted” the sunny day in the farm programming stuff on tunnel (like they weren’t).

There was a mud crawl involved, and they were using manual instruments, which meant Tom had to put his face in it quite a bit.

Oh, and from the same roll of photos, here’s what happens when you let someone keep a beehive in your garden. Becka is just mowing the lawn.