Monday, 15 August 2016

Overwintering Chillies......

I read last year somewhere that chilli pepper plants are actually perennials, although very few people tend to treat them as such, instead sowing fresh seed every spring and discarding the plants in the autumn after fruiting.

So I thought I'd try an experiment ...

After a very poor crop last year from several plants, their first year, I brought the healthiest specimen indoors and overwintered it on the workshop windowsill.

With a very occasional watering, it survived the winter OK but looked a bit sick and bedraggled in the spring, so I didn't hold out too much hope.  Still, I trimmed it up and potted it on.

And look at it now after a summer in the greenhouse !    Hopefully there's still enough time for the peppers to ripen properly because they're supposed to produce a beautiful multicolour display.

from seed sown in 2015....

Friday, 22 July 2016

Cloning a laptop hard disk drive...

For the last couple of months I've been having problems with my No. 1 laptop, so-called because it's the one I use every day for business and entertainment, and so it's loaded to the gunwales with a whole range of software.

I've several other laptops; two higher-spec machines dedicated to analysis software only plus three serviceable older machines which were each previously the everyday No. 1 machine, and are kept as backups.  These earlier machines all run various versions of Windows XP.

The current No. 1 laptop is now three years old but was quite a high specification when new, and so it's well worth repairing.   The problems I was having related to slow boot times, which were getting longer and longer, and eventually the dreaded 'preparing automatic repair' loop which, in the end, prevented the laptop from booting up at all.   I'd previously ran diagnostics software from the hard disk drive (HDD) manufacturer (Seagate) which had indicated that the drive was about to give up the ghost, so the failure wasn't entirely unexpected.  

Three years doesn't seem much of a life for a disk drive, but this laptop is used day and night and is very rarely switched off - I also tend to use custom power settings which don't permit the disk to sleep if the machine's not being used for a while.

Anyway, I ordered a new 2.5" internal HDD, which is actually the exact same 1 TB capacity and type as that currently installed.   I thought about taking the opportunity to upgrade, but I don't need any more disk storage capacity on this particular machine.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Investment Review - June 2016

Here's an update of the combined portfolio as of today, the last day of June :-

Overall, we made very good progress during the last quarter, with new portfolio highs being recorded at the ends of April, May and June, despite the market uncertainties before and after the Brexit referendum.  

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Slow Start in the Garden this year ....

It's taking a long while for things to get going in the garden this year, mainly due to the cold we've experienced for much of April.

this is the problem, very cold, especially at
even inside the greenhouses....

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Investment Review - March 2016

Well, the first quarter of the year's gone already.   Here's the current Combined Portfolio position, as on the last day of March :-

Click on it for a larger image, although I think you'll need to click on ' more..' first.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Financial Planning - 2016 Review

It's been three months since my last post - things were very quiet on the work front at the turn of the year, but in the second week of January a great design and build project came along and I was very busy on that for around three weeks either side of a fortnight's holiday in sunnier climes.

And just when I thought I was in the clear, another project followed immediately afterwards and there's been more design and analysis works in parallel.  Let's hope I can get them all out of the way before the warmer weather really kicks in - there are gardens to tend and golf to play !

It's the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) on Monday for that first build project, with the client in attendance, so fingers crossed...

Anyway, back to the subject.   I'm now three years into the 'Grand Plan' (for an explanation and last year's end-March review, see this link), and so here are the updated graphs ....