Thursday, May 28

New Woodworking shop

Cycled over to Cowplain this week and noticed one of the small shop units being set up as a little ole 'hardware' shop, with a specific bias towards woodwork. When i walked passed i noticed some quality tools hanging from the walls and the fitters getting the shop ready for opening. Can't remember the name of the shop, but it looks like an independent and it opens on Monday, 1st June.

Hope they do well, at least the owners won't get deranged abusive comments of the sort that Planet Trash got when it opened in Waterlooville.

(Added 1/06/09) - I can confirm that the new 'hardware' shop in Cowplain is called 'Big On Wood'.  They have a catalog in the shop a bit like 'Argos' and they can order items for collection the following day.

The shop sells more domestic type of products than the web site would suggest. Including door furniture (handles, latches, hinges etc.), saw blades, drills, gardening equipment etc.

(Added 18/06/10) - Looks like this shop has closed down and been replaced by something else. The last time I passed through Cowplain I couldn't see it.

Friday, May 22

Find out about trees in our area

You can learn more about trees and the local tree warden scheme on the 2nd June at a FREE event organised by Friends of the Earth and Havant Borough Tree Wardens. The Havant Borough Tree Officer and the Tree Warden coordinator will be at the meeting to discuss the scheme and tree matters with the hope of recruiting more volunteer tree wardens in the following areas:

Leigh Park

Time: 7.30pm
Date: Tues 2 June
Place: United Reform Church Hall , North Street, Havant.

Tuesday, May 19

1000 more homes??

The local councils want to add more homes to the 2,000 already planned for the Waterlooville MDA.

There will be a consultation on Sat 20 June at the Pedestrian centre in Waterlooville, 10am to 2pm.

You can also make your opinions felt at Winchester City Council web site.

Tuesday, May 12

Comparison of 'Natural' Paints

Having used a number of 'alternative' paints now, i thought it might be worth summarising my experiences. Note i can't comment yet on robustness or their performance against mould:

Earthborn Emulsion

Positives: low carbon, eco friendly, potentially easier to dispose of, brushes cleaned in water.
Negatives: comes in a plastic tub like many paints these days.

Earthborn emulsion gives a nice uniform finish to a wall and is a reasonable price. My Little Eco based in Copnor Road, Portsmouth sell it (online only) for about £17 for a 2.5litre tub. The colour i used had an interesting quality when applied in that it dried a more opaque colour than when wet. So basically the paint actually covers better than appears when it is still wet.

Nature Paint

Positives: Powder is compostable, packaging is a paper bag, low carbon, eco friendly, brushes cleaned in water.
Negatives: The colour appears slightly uneven on the walls, although this might be due to my poor mixing skills!

Despite the colour issue, this was my favourite. I think it's the fact it comes in a paper bag and mixing it is like cooking! You feel like you are doing something that was done hundreds of years ago. The bag can be recycled. Basically no hazardous waste.

Auro White Gloss

Positives: low carbon, eco friendly, brushes cleaned in water although dried paint will need some white spirit or similar, finish is excellent.
Negatives: Potentially long drying time.

Still using this paint. The first coat on a 'test' door frame took 2 days to dry. But the second coat only took a few hours, so the drying time might change depending on humidity?? But the finish is excellent, looks like proper gloss!

I am a bit concerned by the fact that Auro gloss is made from vegetable oils, probably need to investigate this further, since we only have so much land for agriculture.

(Added 29/05/09) Regarding Auro Gloss paint: I can confirm that the first coat of Auro gloss paint takes between 1 and 2 days to dry, the second coat take a few hours. So there is a difference between 1st and 2nd coats. Also instead of using white spirit to clean stubborn paint off the brush, I just stuck the brush in Home Strip eco friendly paint stripper to soften it up before washing off. At least this eliminated the use of white spirit.

Sunday, May 10


corner shop Looks like Waterlooville will have yet another 'cafe', this time in the shape of Subway. The corner shop property under the clock tower building has morphed from shoe shop to motorbike shop, to gift shop and now Subway. Meanwhile the Stationary Store near the library has closed down.

The big retailers dotted around the borders of Waterlooville town centre have drawn people away from the centres shops. This results in limited options for occupancy in the centres small retail units. Large retail units such as Brantanos, have resulted in the closure of the smaller shoe shops. One wonders what logic the 'officers' and councillors of Havant Borough Council apply when they approve the big retail developments.

So there is a culture at Havant Borough Council that is resistant to new thinking in the built environment.The result is a gradual transformation of the centre into a charity shop and cafe haven.

Recently the towns small retailers were calling for council help in the down turn. To make up for the council approving big retail park developments, HBC and other councils are now being asked for compensation/subsidies from small retail businesses! Whose fault is that?

Friday, May 8

Paints and belligerent car drivers

Firstly, the test painting of a door frame has been successful. Auro gloss paint covers well and gives a nice hard gloss finish when dry, you wouldn't believe it was made from vegetable oils and other stuff. Drying time is a bit long compared to the old plastic paint most people still use. It took 2 days to dry enough for another coat, but it does dry to a 'tacky' level in a few hours, enough to not worry about it getting on clothes. I just need to do the rest now!

Secondly i witnessed an arrogant 4x4 car driver in the Waterlooville Retail Park recently who drove down the cycle/pedestrian path. He did it because he found it difficult to manoeuvre the vehicle and decided he couldn't be bothered to stick to the car routes around the car park. Basically he was taking a short cut, which he obviously thought he was entitled to.

But what was really shocking was the fact that two girls, aged about 14 were already walking along the section of path that he entered. They were forced to get out of his way. When someone shouted out to him and pointed out his error, he just stuck two fingers up at them.

There are many issues about this incident that indicate the sorry state of UK culture and Waterloovile community. The reason why incidents like this happen in the car park, is because Havant Borough Council sold public land to a commercial developer and later gave permission for the car park and retail park to be built.

In this process they also failed to provide equal and adequate routes into Waterlooville for pedestrians and cyclists. Prefering instead to appease the car owning public and large corporate businesses to dominate the built environment agenda, pushing pedestrians and cyclists to the margins. But also the incident shows that many drivers just live in a different world when they get into their vehicles and the bigger the vehicle the less concern they often have for those around them.

Saturday, May 2

Yes, low carbon paints look similar to high carbon paints!

Finished painting the walls of the kitchen using Nature Paint. It looks pretty much like any other wall paint, but the colour varies a little across the walls. Once all the walls were painted it isn't so noticeable. Also the slight colour variation gives an authentic 'old building' look.

Next job is to paint the woodwork using Auro white gloss paint. This stuff is made in Germany and the main ingredients seem to be processed vegetable oils, minerals, water etc. Should be interesting to see how it goes.

Save Vesta Isle of Wight factory

Despite the fact that we need as much renewable energy as we can get, the Vesta factory on the Isle of Wight is due to close. Yet the government is happy to subsidise car production with a £2000 hand out for new car purchases. Sign the No 10 Petition to help stop the Vesta factory closure.