about JohnH

Sorted, fit. Current activities are photography, hiking, motorbiking, trail biking, music, geology/geoscience, dinner-at-home, travel and more.

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At the summit of Latrigg, Cumbria

Birthday sports walk up Latrigg (368 m.), the bump of dark grey Skiddaw slate that I see through my windows here. Keswick and Derwent Water below, and the fells are atmospherically wreathed in cloud which gives the panoramic view more depth than a boring blue sky!

View from Latrigg, Cumbria

Sunset at Kewswick

Gardening at the foot of Skiddaw

The garden growth season continues in the Cumberland cloud forest that I have inherited; the voluptuous Rhododendron flowers have now finished but smaller flowers are attracting bees and other pollinating insects. Untangling many years of neglect is exposing plants that have been strangled and revealing the planting plan of whoever designed this garden at the foot of Skiddaw (931 m.). The birds are even more numerous now there are perches and cover they can use, the field rabbits continue to enjoy the grass. The apple trees I planted back in March have taken fine. And a stupendous sunset at the end of the day.

More photos: Taming my Cumbrian cloud forest

Fixing the bean-to-cup espresso machine

One of the joys of being an engineer is fixing things. Espresso coffee machines are a socially acceptable form of steam engineering which you can operate without ever knowing of the mathematic horrors which the phrase “Steam Tables” evokes in an engineering undergraduate’s mind.

Fixing the bean-to-cup espresso machine

I have inherited a non-working bean-to-cup espresso machine, stated to be intermittent although I only ever had one coffee from it before taking the covers off. Beautiful miniature engineering from Italy, satisfyingly visual, even the steam pipes are transparent. But broken.
Simpler than rocket science, it seemed to me that the water pump was making the noise but not pushing the liquid through. No obvious obstructions. A replacement pump was an available spare. The water circuit was a bit fiddly to dismantle but I was encouraged to find the old water pump was jammed solid. I’m guessing that the previous owner had been ignoring the message to descale.
Substitution of a new motor worked a treat but hot pumped steam was almost immediately followed by messages requiring descaling. Once the descaling cycle was completed I was able to enjoy with satisfaction the best coffee yet here. Now for some experimenting to find which blends and beans taste best with Cumbrian water.

Insulating the loft

Another unglamorous job with taking on this place: insulating the loft. It’s a notoriously messy job, so protection gear is called for, which makes working a sweaty as well as dusty proposition. But I’m expecting a noticeable improvement in room comfort and maybe a reduction in heating bills as a result.

Sweeping the chimney

Sweeping the chimney... another use for these face masks we’ve all got a stache of now. Soot is an irritant and the fine particulate dust isn’t good to breathe. The chimney is capped so unfortunately no photo of the brush poking out of the top. The temporary curtain across the fireplace is to contain the soot and dust which previous owners didn’t sweep out when they stopped burning coal here.
It’s a fine ornamental fireplace: I’m presuming all the rock specimens are local but it’s going to take some time and specialist help to identify them all
That’s an electric fire on the left - there is central heaing here though it’s only just about managing and is scheduled for urgent replacemnt.