Great Reference Mr. Brown
Love that movie! Caught by a sneeze or was it a cough?
I have a self-flushing toilet. Not one of those novelty models from Japan, mind. No indeed, my self-flushing lav uses a unique system; it must be a DIY job, er, I mean a custom build. But what do I know? I had a peek inside and the insides are so unfamiliar I may just as well have been staring into an alternative toilet …
Avantgarde flush mechanisms are great until they need fixing.
Just pop down the local DIY store and grab the cheapest all-inclusive kit they do, Mr Dabbs.
Otherwise it'll be many more "Pffft"s, shrugs and €€€s.
(BTW It will turn out to be the o-ring silicone seal that absorbs water and causes water-filled bubbles on the surface of the seal. Just prick them all with a pin. Takes a while but is very satisfying.)
One worse has to be Leroy Merlin. Their Cotê D’Azur branch is just off an almost unmarked road which, if you miss it, puts you right into the A8 péage. The store is up a long winding roads at the top of a hill which peters out to a track before you see the entrance. Store service makes you long for the occasional insult you get at Castodrama or even (what my nearest and dearest calls) BalsUpitrand.
I note Amazon has one described as:
No Touch 100% Hygienic Hands Free Infrared Close Coupled Toilet Cistern Complete Fitting Kit Bottom Supply
It's just the close coupling to the bottom supply that has me a little concerned.
But at least it's hands free - not even one click.
That reminds me of a cruise ship we were on where there was a sign instructing you to use a paper towel to open the toilet door on exiting, but then didn't provide a bin for the used paper towels thus promoting the spread of whatever nasties (probably norovirus back then) that they were concerned about.
I've seen those, but you still have to find a cubicle that is clean enough that you dare sit down (I sometimes take wet towels in to clean the seats because of the scumbags who insist on using cubicles for a Number 1, then do it all over the floor).
But that reminds me of a toilet in a restaurant in Switzerland I was in in the 1980s. It was either Verbier or Zermatt.
The seat had a motorised plastic sleeve. When you pressed the button, a new length of sleeve was pulled around so you always sat on a clean seat.
The formula one (cheap staff-less motel in France) had toilets that automatically cleaned everything when the door was closed for the second time (so as not to wash the user) - my daughter was convinced that the pervasive moisture was a user failure and would refuse to go in. The problem with little children if you have to go in and out to help and encourage them is remembering not to close the door twice with them inside.
Back in the mists of time, when I studied chemistry, it was very much more important to wash your hands before, than after, the skin on your hands being somewhat thicker, and less permeable, than skin, *ahem*, elsewhere.
Of course, this is on top of wearing suitable gloves, using a fume hood, etc., and as a student, most of the chemicals commonly used were fairly innocuous, but it is important to teach good habits, to avoid ending up like Karen Wetterhahn.
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Supposedly true story: brother of my best friend was an aircraft mechanic in the Canadian Air Force. He was visited at work by a trio of American Top Gun types.
He pops into the washroom for a quick leak, and with hands and arms covered in some kind of aviation gunk, returned to work without cleaning his hands.
The hotshot Yankee pilot shouts "In the American military they teach us to wash our hands after using the toilet."
To which he responds "In the Canadian air force they teach us how to piss without getting it all over our hands '
This is just where technology and the use of it has gone completely bonkers. Exactly why does a toilet or tap need any form of electronics in it?
Handles and more recently push buttons have proved adequate for years only requiring the occasional washer of valve to fix.
I get the sensors in public toilets, particularly on the urinals but on taps etc, just stupid.
Even the fashion for the valves rather than siphons has created more issues with them leaking more frequently and the leak often unseen as the overflow is into the bowl. I know there was a lot of fuss about how the valves reduced water usage as they could "dual flush" but with the push to reduce the size of the flush it is now so inefficient, the small flush is useless and the big flush often fails on "solids".
Net result more water used instead of having one slightly larger flush.
Precisely. Why the need for extra 'smart' bits that will go wrong within a few months (just after the warranty expires)
Our facilities team took the opportunity to revamp our toilets during office lockdown closure.
Nice one, they were looking a bit worse for wear but they still functioned.
We now have fancy new toilets with electronic no touch flush senors, but and here's the kicker, after installing them they realised there wasn't any power by the new cisterns so they had to use batteries to power the flush. Normal triple A's!!!
Pathetic! Now every three or four weeks the toilets clog because the sodding batteries have died.
To make it worse everyone is now petrified that it won't flush after they've used the toilet so everyone is flushing once before they use it to check it's still working!! Batteries run out twice as fast.
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Having recently fitted several dirt cheap Wickes loos with dual (4 litre / 6 litre) flushes I can safely say that they seem to work perfectly well. Problems I've seen in the past (even with old-fashioned flushes) tend to be down to dodgy waste plumbing - if the loo isn't quite level (particularly front-to-back) it can cause problems, as can a too-tight bend immediately behind the pan or maybe a pipe which doesn't "fall" properly.
At least we have 4" waste pipes around here, rather than some other countries which seem to try to force everything down to 3" or even smaller.
Our own toilets are flushed using rainwater. We have a 7,500l tank under the garden which takes run-off from the roof, and a 24V pump which (now) runs from solar-charged batteries. Last winter it ran from a mains transformer - I'm interested to see how the system works over the winter this year. So far there has only been one day when the battery charge has risked getting too low to run the pump. I could put bigger batteries in, but they get quite expensive.
No, it'll never pay back - the price of potable water in our part of the UK is under 1p per 6l flush - but we have historically had a lot of problems with getting rid of rainwater around here, so flushing some of it down the loo helps considerably, and gets us a discount from our water bill - the "surface water rebate".
So we are moving into a nice shiny new office.
We have decided that the designer / architect needs to be shot, or at least fall down some artisanal stairs somewhere.
getting back to the relevancy.. they have installed the touch free loos like you mention.
While you do mention the random flushings when no one is there, you fail to mention the random flushings while you are sitting contemplating why you suddenly have a wet arse.
The blue stripes that change colour to indicate that you have flushed from outside of the door.
We also have a dark décor reminding me of the metal bars I frequented in my youth, but without their charm.
I could go on about the rest of the place but better not :)
Reminds me of so many airport toilets I've visited in the past (back when flying was still a thing). Sitting there, as still as possible - which let's face it, isn't that easy when you're "doing the business". Eventually, you move half a millimetre and the sensor behind your back decides that you've finished. Immediately, you're subjected to an arse soaking as the flush triggers beneath you.
I managed to hold back the laugh long enough to swallow the mouthful of coffee... but it was close.
"Ah, good, my groin has lit up. I must have new mail."
I was almost in tears after reading last week's column and that one sentence brought it all back, visons of Dabbsy poking at his illuminated crotch on the metro!
This one got me too.
Unfortunately, my mid-morning tea did not fare quite as well so I am now typing at an odd angle while it drains out of my keyboard - you can nearly hit CTRL-Y in one keystroke from this angle ;)
(I would say you owe me a new keyboard but have a pint for the entertainment)
I had a plumber to connect a gas hob. I had to give him wire wool and a heat conducting mat. He then wen to test the gas pressure and announced that we had a gas leak as there was no pressure. He called the gas emergency service who turned up and found no leak. They did find something blocking the hose on the plumber's gas pressure meter though.
A co-worker of mine once told me that however sure I might be that a gentle tap with a hammer was just what was needed to align a toilet properly, don't use that hammer. Porcelain does not handle hammers well. (His family seems to have been hard on toilets: a brother-in-law had accidentally shot a toilet in his parents' house--toilets tolerate bullets even less that hammer taps, I gather.)
The guy who recently came to fix the air-con on my car discovered the same thing about condensers. It doesn't matter how simple it might seem to just gently tap it into position, rather than wrestling with the corroded brackets on the underside of a car, you're running the risk of turning a profitable job into a loss-making one when you have to replace a £150 part at your own expense.
Oh yes. I, too, have had a man fix this or that thing. They inevitably turn up with one or two pieces of equipment, usually an angle grinder or a pair of worn out pliers (or is it a worn out pair of pliers?), proceeding to borrow from me the exact instruments they need to discarge their profession but are in no posession of, whereas I usually am, courtesy of our local Lidl's. Last week I bought there a roll of stainless steel welding wire just to be able to demonstrate to my acquaintances that, indeed, these are interesting times. Said professionals always mumbe something about my gadgets being consumer grade whereas their (non existent) equiment needs to be heavy duty stuff for real professionals, not these cheapo playthings, mind you.
I believe these men and women of profession are the true masters of the state-of-the-art supply chain management, just in time delivery and tools-as-a-service-to-the-serviceman-mfd-as-a-service.
"This strikes me a being a bit like a grocery shop claiming "We're located just around the corner!" when in fact you have to drive the first 27 miles to get to that particular corner they're just around."
I (used to) regularly ask our supermarket till staff about their carry-to-your-car service, just like the "ask us about..." sign requested.
"Yes, certainly. Where's your car parked?"
"On the drive at home." (Quite true as we tended to use Mrs_C's car).
Reminds me of the time I took dad's car to town to do some shopping. The car park ticket machine demanded that I enter the registration number of MY car. So I did.
Luckily our town's attendants are not stupid jobsworths. The fact that the fee had been paid was fine by them.
My brother, in town for a visit, told me that the downstairs toilet was running. I ended up taking off the tank, replacing the flapper, and putting the tank back on again. How the damn thing ever worked in the first place, I can't guess, for the valve couldn't be made to close--arms too short.
I should probably replace a couple more valves, but those toilets are wedged into spaces where it's hard to work.
You want Geberit flush valves. The entire active part of the valve unclips from a plain plastic cup that is attached to the cistern outlet. Any servicing, like replacing the seal, or even replacing the entire unit, is a tool-free job from the top. They discontinued the one in our bathroom. The new model clips onto the same base as the old one.
The plumber's email was a work of fiction. After he left the house, we never heard from him again.
It's the working man's equivalent of "just one click!" They say they will take a look and give you a free quote. What actually happens is either...
[a] they take a look and you never hear from them again (see above)
[b] they don't turn up in the first place... AND you never hear from them again.
Was he actually a plumber or Ikabai Sital? This might be a particularly Scottish thing but every plumber (or heating engineer as many of them prefer to be called) has an apprentice, who is supposed to be learning things but seems really to be a gopher and a target for abuse.
The washing hands before or after flushing argument above reminded me of Douglas Adams deciding humanity was doomed the second that a box of matches required instructions.
Corgi - small mammal owned by Her Majesty
CORGI - obsolete historical registration system for people working on gas powered devices (in the UK)
GasSafe Register - since 2009
If your workman is Corgi registered he is better off appearing at Crufts* than working in your premises.
*world famous canine show for the left-pondians, run by (see title)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Wait (couldn't find a stand, although there is a bag for one https://www.instruments4music.co.uk/equipment_bags/cobra_long_stand_or_tbar_bag_1700_x_360_x_150mm/25337_p.html
I have successfully used the "long stand". My mates didn't know I had set it up, but when asked by the campsite reporters what had gone wrong on our support team and the missing long stand, I got back to base just as they were asked if they had been there long enough ;)
It can backfire because there re some rare/specialist tools that sound like a prank. Shoulder plane anyone?
I know of one apprentice who has to be educated that there really was such-and-such a tool by a supervisor.
Not quite. A gas boiler / flue installer in the Uk needs to be registered with Gas Safe - almost the same as tho old corgi reg. An oil /kerosene installer needs to be registered with OFTEC and a solid fuel appliance installer needs to be registered with HETAS.
In real terms, all proper installers spend a lot of mney on crap bits of paper to show that their install will not gas you.
You sure it's Skelf? Try saying my name three times and imagine I'm standing beside the defective dunny. I might materialise...my IT support aura might work on it the way it works on allegedly duff desktops. "It's not worki...oh, it's working now".
Or you could just use the long drop front-wall, fresh air orifice combined with a wide capacity gutter installation below. Or the rear wall installation for those more private privy moments.
I already knew what PneumonoUltraMicroscopicSilicoVolcanoconIosis means? I admit I had to copy & paste it into an empty plain text file then character-step through it to figure out what was being said, but once I figured out the word my brain went "Ding! The definition of that is..."
And yet I suck at Scrabble? Sigh...
Something for the Weekend "I have just read your profile. Have you ever thought about becoming a real estate agent?"
This is my own fault for blindly accepting every connection request on LinkedIn. My network of professional contacts is in the hundreds but I know only about a dozen of them. The rest? I honestly haven't a clue who they are. They ask to connect and I accept.
LinkedIn should consider swapping its Accept / Reject Connection Request options for a simple Yeah Whatever button.
Something for the Weekend A robot is performing interpretive dance on my doorstep.
WOULD YOU TAKE THIS PARCEL FOR YOUR NEIGHBOR? it asks, jumping from one foot to the other.
"Sure," I say. "Er… are you OK?"
Something for the Weekend Which do you prefer: sweat or green slime? Both are being touted as clean sources of energy to drive electronic devices.
Hmm. “Clean” is not how my sweat has heretofore been described, least of all the morning after a garlic curry. But even my pit-pong pales into paucity compared with the environmental damage inflicted by a nuclear power station. And for all my lack of wattage, I positively glow in outrageously self-obsessed smugness. I must let my LinkedIn followers know.
Still, green slime – aka "blue green algae" – has its advantages over sweat. It is more plentiful for a start. Which would be the better option for powering small computers? It’s literally a power struggle between the two. And there is only so much sweat I can produce per day (despite Mme D’s observations to the contrary).
Something for the Weekend We're standing still. The suspense is unbearable. One of us is going to crack.
On the large projector screen is a message: "The application is not responding." Facing the large projector screen is a roomful of startup dudes. Staring back at them, and situated just underneath the projector screen, is the flailing, forlorn presenter himself: me.
"It's never done that before," I lie as I eventually give up frantically tapping the keyboard and jabbing the trackpad as if I was playing whack-a-mole.
Something for the Weekend Another coffee, please. Yes, I know we're about to start. There is always time for one more coffee. It's good for your brain. Thanks.
Could you hold my cup for a moment? I need to visit the restroom. Yes, I know we're about to start; you told me that already. There is always time for coffee AND a comfort break. Yes, I know the two are related but I don't have time to chat about it. I'm bursting here.
How about I drink the coffee straight away, nip to the WC, and return pronto? Slurp argh that's hot. Thanks, I'll be right back.
Something for the Weekend "We all know what we're doing today? Good. Do your best!"
With that cheery note, our new project director sweeps out of the 10:00 stand-up meeting and away to… someplace or another, I don't know, wherever it is that project directors go. Project managers can be found everywhere, usually nearby a waste basket overflowing with disposable coffee cups, but project directors? Who can say?
These project directors are a mystery. It's not a job title I'd come across before. They just swan in from time to time, managerial but polite and rather vague, then drift out again with a farewell motto such as "Do your best!" or "You've all done very well!" like Young Mr Grace.
Something for the Weekend My neighbor is talking to a rock. He is trying to persuade it to sing.
Urging him back to the barbecue, I make a mental note to abstain from the cheap luminous pink sparkling rosé that he'd been drinking. It's easy to recognize the bottles – I'm the one who brought them to the party.
He asks me to hang on a mo, turns back to his rockery – is it new? I never noticed it before – and addresses his favorite rock by name.
Something for the Weekend The bloke next to me is acting strangely. Sitting bolt upright and staring straight ahead, he is holding his hand, palm forward, level with his face.
"You don't need to raise your hand, Mike. It's not Zoom, ha ha," laughs the meeting's chair.
Mike remains motionless, stiff as a board, hand still up, not saying anything. So we ignore him and carry on with the discussion.
Something for the Weekend Robots want my face. This is horrifying – not just for me, but for you too. Just imagine: it means robots will be walking around with my face, stuck on their face.
Luckily for me, the process is likely to be virtual, not physical. Nor will I have to do a swap, thank goodness. Knowing my luck I'd end up with neither John Travolta's darling dimples nor Nicolas Cage's vacant visage, but the freaky mush of a post-surgery Bogdanoff twin.
However I'm getting ahead of myself; all of this is in the future. For the moment, we've just about reached a stage where it is possible to present a convincing-looking AI-powered synthetic video of a natural human face that speaks whatever you tell it to in any language you choose – in real time. You can use it, for example, to put a nice face on your product promos, training vids, and weather reports without having to hire an actor and book studio time.
Something for the Weekend How can you save the world's oceans? By investing in NFTs of course!
A global network of campaigning filmmakers, Ocean Collective, hopes to drive up awareness about declining marine biodiversity by developing a digital Museum of Extinction.
Items of artwork from the museum will then be sold as NFT purchases to raise cash to fund a documentary series on the topic along with other environmental awareness projects.
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