Thursday 28 January 2016

How to make a solar box cooker

A few years back, I made Martin a solar box cooker for his birthday.  It still seems 'magic' to me: who would have thought you could make a real oven that really gets hot using only the sun and a bunch of 'rubbish'?!
Recently I was asked for some guidance by someone else wanting to make one.  My reply is below.
Note that there are three main kinds of solar cookers (box, panel and parabolic) - these notes are for a box cooker.

Friday 22 January 2016

2015 Christmas gifts

Knowing it was going to be a busy Christmas this year, I had to keep my gifts pretty simple so I'd have time to rest-up well before all the visitors arrived.  That meant that many more people than usual got simple things like preserves or got bought presents.  Still, I did manage to make a few things: here are some of my favourites.

Beard bells for Martin's brother-in-law Chris (based on beard-baubles, but made of tiny jingling bells instead).  I couldn't resist after I came across the idea :-)

New Zealand-themed bags for my niece and nephew (patterns here and here)
Bill the Cat-themed gardening gloves for Martin. I broke a number of needles sewing the motifs onto the gloves - next time I'd glue them instead!)

Psalm 92:1-4 framed for Martin's Mum.  The verse is printed, not hand-written, and the motif was cut-out using a cool cutting machine Martin borrowed off one of his colleagues.

Trekka-themed tea towels for Martin's Uncle Mike.  Trekka is the only car actually designed and made in New Zealand.  The photos on the tea-towels are pictures of the actual Trekka they owned (the same car, with and without it's bolt-on fibreglass top).

Christmas/New Year activites

I haven't been blogging much recently: as all my energy's gone to spending time with some very special visitors then recovering from their visits!

Firstly, my brother and his family came over from Scotland.  I hadn't seen Keith for three years, and I hadn't seen Carolyn or their children for 6 1/2 years!

On one of their first days here, Martin and I joined them for a swim.  Here the adults are resting on the beach, with the kids still enjoying the water.
Aidan and Megan got me started with learning to marble paper.

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Assisted dying in New Zealand

The Health Select Committee of the New Zealand parliament is currently considering a petition on assisted dying (i.e. voluntary euthanasia).  The petition asks:
That the House of Representatives investigate fully public attitudes towards the introduction of legislation which would permit medically-assisted dying in the event of a terminal illness or an irreversible condition which makes life unbearable.
I am strongly against such legislation so have written my first ever submission to a select committee outlining my opposition to it.  If you'd like to do the same (whether or not you oppose it), you can do so here.  Submissions need to be in by February 1st (i.e. Monday week).  The process is very simple: you click on the 'make on online submission' at the bottom of the page (having first clicked on a picture to indicate you're a human) then either type your submission into a box or upload it as a file.  You are also given the option of asking to appear before the committee to explain your views.  If you're able, I encourage you to do so: I gather they tend to pay more attention to submissions that are made in person.