Saturday, 30 January 2016

The Falcon is dead, long live the Falcon !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, 

I something sad to report this week, the mighty Falcon range cooker, which is a British brand built in Falkirk in Scotland and a brand I have loyally supported for many a year, is no longer British owned. 

No longer built in Scotland and no longer a true Falcon cooker. The parts are all made in a factory in the Midlands.

Falcon joins the ever growing list of Good British brands that have fallen to being bought by foreign owners. You are no doubt familiar with the brands I've listed below who have met the same fate !
HP is the famous brown sauce of the Houses of Parliament (hence the name). Nevertheless, it is owned by Americans: Heinz purchased it in 2005

House of Fraser is owned by the Sanpower Group, a Chinese corporation that bought it this year for £450 million ($716 million)

Branston Pickle was also acquired by Mizkan, last year for £92.5 million ($147 million).
Weetabix, the famous breakfast cereal, has been in Chinese hands for two years.
Hartley's Jam was bought by American corporation Hain Celestial in 2012
The car manufacturer Jaguar was bought by India's Tata in 2008. Before that it was owned by Ford 
A third of the milk drunk in Britain is owned by foreign companies: Wiseman Milk is now part of the German group Müller
Tetley has traded on its English heritage for decades. However, it is owned by India's Tata Global Beverages.
Boots UK is the latest British brand to defect: Walgreens, the biggest pharmacy company in the world, bought it this August for £5.65 billion ($9 billion). It was previously owned by Stefano Pessina, an Italian entrepreneur.
And so the list goes on, to list them all I'd be here all day !!

Falcon is now part of the group AGA / Rangemaster / Falcon / Fired Earth which in turn is owned by Americans: The Middleby Corporation.

The Falcon cooker itself is now basically a Rangemaster clad with "Falcon looking" panels. The Falcon typically costs £3500 and the Rangemaster £1600.

So it is with much sadness that I would suggest when looking for your new range cooker, save yourselves a load of money and buy a Rangemaster ..... they're essentially the same machine. 

My faith has been shattered ..... Now, don't get me wrong, I feel that the Rangemaster cooker itself is a well made, competent cooker and good value for it's money but a Falcon it ain't !!!

The Falcon is dead, long live the Falcon ! ...... Jules.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Raindrops keep fallin' on me head

Ey up my faithful blogworms, Up here in the frozen North it's been rather less than frozen for a good while now, in fact, we've been absolutely wet through !! 

However, despite the devastation caused, there's been one aspect of it ( and probably only one ! ) that's been useful !!  Rainwater harvesting ! .... Water is a precious resource, although up here at the moment that would probably be a hard idea to sell, and it should be used wisely.

Gathering up and using rainwater off your roof for toilet flushing, clothes washing, outside garden use, running an outside tap, washing your car and general rinsing of stuff makes sense. You don't need pure clean water to do this. You get, on average 100,000 litres of the wet stuff fall on your roof every year and it's free ! use it ! .... I do, and here's how.

You don't need to spend thousands on burying tanks in your garden or any of that malarky unless you actually want to !   
It can be done on a tight budget and save you money on your water bill.

Bring it down off your roof, a few pounds here spent on guttering fitting and fall pipes. Borrow a ladder and a mate if you need to, it's easy to rig up.

Send your lovely free water across to some tanks to store it. I've used a mix of old water tanks salvaged out of lofts and IBC's, which stands for Intermediate Bulk Containers ( basically a big plastic cube inside a pipe framework ). You can also scrounge old IBC'S from factories etc that are usually glad to see the back of them when they've been used.

I've also taken a pipe off my garage roof to to add more supply, waste not, want not !

Send it through via normal plastic plumbing pipe into your house, I've sent it into my utility room which is on the end of my garage as it was convenient. As long as the pipe coming out of your tanks is 600mm or 2ft. higher than the tap you want to connect it to, you'll get a flow.

Here I've put in a filter to simply get rid of colour and sediment so I can use it to supply my washing machine.
From the filter to a small single shower pump to drive it and it works a treat !

This pic shows a water meter I put in just to record how much I use but you don't need it, I was just curious as to how much I could save from the roof.
It shows 157,332 litres used off the roof since I put it in in May 07, that's 17,481 litres a year I saved since the system went in. This equates to 28% of our water bill !!. Worth saving, you decide !

This shows a simple manual system of isolating valves to switch the system between freewater and mains. Very important as for a of couple of winters, I've had some a the biggest ice cubes you've ever seen this far south of the Arctic ! and we've needed to go back onto the mains. That really is the only drawback and in our terms really only a minor setback to this very low cost system for harvesting water from your roof.

Now my system has capacity for 6,100 litres when full ( or around 1,350 gallons in old money ) and with that I no longer run out in dry spells but your system doesn't need to be that big.

To use a minimum of 1 x IBC of 1,000 litres, 1 x filter unit, 1 x small pump and a selection of pipes and fittings, you could have a useful system for under £400 depending on how and where it's located and add to it over time, like I did, if you need to. 

Anything you save and use is free, it all comes off your water bill, you have your own supply during a drought and you're helping to put a lower demand on the grid. 

With how I started this blog off, maybe, if loads of people start to rainwater harvest then there would less of it trying to get back into the rivers and cause flooding ! 

Pipe dream ? You decide ! And if you want a low cost rainwater harvesting system without spending thousands of pounds but still make a difference ..... Call us, we'll come and have a look for you.

Dripping wet, soggy and growing webbed feet. Jules.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

One trick pony ??

Ey up my faithful blogworms, If I ever wanted to shown an example of incompetent timber worktop fitting, this would be a good one !!

I was called out to have a look at this poor homeowners worktops and this what I found, spot the deliberate mistake ..... but more importantly, the ridiculous, idiotic way they put it right. 

You cut the hole the wrong size, ie: too big, you replace the section of worktop .....simples ! You don't bodge it up by nailing a cheap beading round the edge. 

Any reasonable kitchen fitter knows that the worktop should overlap the edge of a Belfast sink so that the water runs into the sink.

Needless to say, this doesn't, I wonder why ?

Other points to note are:

Looking at the front of the sink, the corners don't line up left and right, one overlaps, the other is set back. 
That means the joint into the next piece of worktop is in the wrong place by about 40mm.  You can see it clearly in the bottom photo.

The tap is too far back and the worktop leans back at this point so the water runs the wrong way, hence the sitting water damage behind the the tap.

The worktop section to the left of the sink is badly cracked partly due to the stupidity of the beading and partly to the fact the worktop is only oiled on the top, no oil is to be seen anywhere on the underside of any of the sections of this worktop layout. 

Massive fundamental error on the part of the installer ! 

Every part and I mean EVERY PART of a set of timber tops must have a minimum of 3 coats of Oil applied to it so it creates a humidity balance that minimises ( or stops completely ) the tendency of the wood to crack when it dries out. 

This layout was clearly fitted by someone who has absolutely no bloody idea what he's doing and what makes me the most annoyed   ......  is due to his incompetence, it's another person to add to the growing list of people who don't like and wouldn't have timber worktops and someone whose paid good money for a crap job  !

I am feeling a bit like I'm banging on about a single subject for too long in my blogs at the moment and next week, I promise, we'll have a change of subject. Trouble is, is that I only saw this mess earlier this week and it was too good an opportunity to pass up. 

Please, please, please don't despair over timber tops but do check out previous similar work carried out by anyone you're thinking of employing to do this type of work.

I'll even email you my instructions and care leaflet F.O.C. for you to use as a guide to how it should be done !!!!

I'm definitely not a "one trick pony" but I felt this story needed to be told !

Be careful out there ! Jules

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Talking Eco in the Yorkshire Dales

Ey up my faithful blogworms, Happy New Year and let's make 2016 a good 'un !

Just to start with a weird fact ..... During the month of December my blog stats show the 42% of the people who read my blog came from .... Russia ! Now if any of that turns into business, it would be a hell of a trip to site ! 

Anyway, trivia aside, for 2016 I'm prepared to make an offer to you, my Eco kitchen supporters, and it's this .... We are aware that our business has spread nationwide and consequently we are making deliveries and fitting over a much larger distance than ever before. So, how can we make it easier and a more pleasant experience ??

Here's how .... For all enquiries through our website for Eco kitchens, we're offering you a weekend break away to sleepy little Ilkley, nestled in the Yorkshire Dales to come and see us at our expense ! 

If you would like to come and see us, we can arrange a stay at a comfy pub with good food in the heart of town, putting you in the centre of all there is to see and within two minutes walking distance of our showroom.

The deal is .... we will book you into the pub for 1 night on a Bed and Breakfast basis, you pay your bill, bring it to us and if we get a kitchen order from you then we refund the cost of your stay off the cost of your kitchen work. This offer is only open to full kitchen orders, subject to our discretion. For a more complete set of offer terms, email us and we'll mail you back a detailed leaflet.

You get to enjoy a weekend away, see the sights, talk Eco and we pick up the bill ..... How many other kitchen companies do you know that offer such a great deal in such relaxing surroundings. 

We are number 19 on the map, bottom left corner and our proposed pub is number 38 in the middle at the bottom.

The Dalesway is the best located pub for visiting us but we do have alternative choices still within town just in case there are any issues with availability.

So now your brand new Eco kitchen comes with the added value of a a free weekend away, chill out, eat and sleep well, take in the sights and talk Eco with us in a more relaxed atmosphere without rushing around and being restricted to timetables.

Hoping to see a lot more of you in the coming year. Jules.

Please check out: for more info on things to do while you're here