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Archive for February, 2022

No other way to put it – Utter Crap

It seems that LED lights are not the only things that Poundstretcher sell that simply don’t work. As well as a subject I’ve covered in the past wherein Poundstretcher sell Hitachi-branded light bulbs that at best last months, often weeks and which are therefore to be avoided like the plague, I’ve also now discovered that their pretty looking white earbuds-with-microphone are utterly ABYSMAL. Binworthy in fact.

So, do I expect decent BASS for a couple of UK pounds? No. Do I expect ultra high quality? No. But, do I expect them to actually work? YES. I was in a hurry this week for some cheap earbuds as Amazon were out of stock of most suitable models – so off I went to Poundstretcher in Hexham.

When I got to my destination, I plugged the neat-looking earbuds into my phone – AWFUL. I plugged them into my Oculus – AWFUL. The volume controls don’t work and the sound quality is utterly ABYSMAL. Not only that but they don’t properly fit my bog-standard ears. I can’t afford to be an audio snob at my age, my hearing isn’t up to waxing on about frequency range (I’m lucky if I can manage 8Khz never mind the oft-quoted top-end 20Khz figure) but I expect the very basics to work in any set, no matter how cheap.

The Chinese are often blamed for producing rubbish – but I think that’s wrong – they produce to a price and specification – and clearly actually working was not part of the spec that Poundstretcher provided for their white in-ear buds – just as longevity wasn’t part of the spec for their Hitachi LED mains lighting (if you hear the oft-abused claim of 10s of thousands of hours for LED lights, it’s nonsense and applies only to the basic LED when properly driven – not when fed with the cheapest possible power supply – I do however expect to get years, not months or weeks out of modern lights – but I digress).

For reference in both cases I’m referring specifically to Poundstretcher in Hexham, UK. I’m beginning to think that we should just avoid the place.

While I’m here, credit where credit is due, we recently visited the nearby Hexham Homebase store. I’m no fan of their normal pricing but on offer they had 2-for-1 sets of orange flicker garden lights… the sets comprise 4 lamps and so what we came away with were 8 lamps for £12 – looks like a bargain if they last. They’re now up in the garden. I noted some sensible features – they’ve reduced the lights to something like 8 in a vertical row, inside a frosted tube in the main lamp – with the wiring at the TOP and a drain-hole at the bottom. The on-off switch is ALSO inside at the top – sensible. Time will tell if the seal holds (I’m at a loss as to why people fit on-off switches to outdoor lights which automatically turn on at night anyway).

May 2022 Update

The above solar lights are working in Spain with only one infant mortality to date. See this post for more on the lghts and please note, at long last our UK base is no longer in Wark (nearby, but thankfully not in a listed building with all the fun that entails).

A Good, Productive Start to 2022

Willow Cottage post-Christmas lights soon to end up at Bedrock.

After weeks of atrocious weather in Northumberland and even more atrocious power cuts, this week has seen some decent sun and we’ve been to visit our ex-Spanish neighbours and good friends over near Penrith, met up with an old pal from my FSB days and we’ve plans to visit local friends at the weekend – just as we’re having a shedload of work done to the house and garden.

Engraved Bedrock sign

Meanwhile despite Chinese holidays, I’ve acquired my second laser engraver of the season – and it’s a winner – with more around the corner.

Thanks to a very helpful neighbour making me some decent wood blanks as well as a great eBay site, I’ve been busy engraving signs for here (gate and rooms) and Spain.

Engraved bedroom sign

The signs of course started off a bit iffy but I’ve finally gotten to grips with spacing and the various techniques needed to do a half-decent job. In-between our travels and projects, we’ve done more than our share of shopping despite the UK’s current need to overprice everything.

Solar lighting

On one of our shopping trips, I found some new solar lights at HomeBase and bought them during a short 2-for-1 sale – talk about timing – 8 for £12 (2 sets of 4) – same price as the usual cheap rubbish per lamp but they look decent.

These will soon be going to where there is actually some sun, very soon as we prepare for the first mask-free hot summer in what feels like years.

We’ve both been very busy this winter between repairs, improvements and writing not to mention fittting a weather shield to the heating system (note the “mind your head” below), something that should have been there from day one.

Segmented, 3D-printed kitty

However, its done now and with more improvements to come. I cannot wait to get on that ferry, taking with us the segmented kitty our friend Suzanne made for us along with our three real kitties.

I thoroughly expect this will be the last cold UK winter the trio will have to endure as the future PLAN is to fly back for short trips to see friends and as need be.

Weather shield for the air-source heating