Thursday, 31 October 2013

The crash of October 2013

Back in July last year, I celebrated passing a bit of a blogging milestone ... two years of blogging and 10,000 reads.

Although I set this blog up just for me as part of the post-twisted-one's healing process, it was still kind of nice to know that someone other than my mother and Kim was finding what I was writing of some interest.


Well, another year has passed and I've quietly celebrated a few more positive milestones since then:
  • My page view count has gone past 50,000 (where google starts indexing it);
  • My post popular post has over 5,000 reads - which is more than my entire 150 something posts got in the first 18 months; and
  • My Tassie Trails facebook page has passed 250 likes (actually I just noticed it's nudging 400).
There's also been some milestones which haven't been so good.

tassietrails got hacked and taken down, not once, but three times in September due (I eventually found out) to a legacy piece of software which had a known vulnerability to hackers ... you can see the loss of data in the graph below as after the third hack (and not knowing how they were getting at the site) we decided to delete all users, change all passwords, lose seven days of data and go back to an old version of the website ...



and the there's the monthly upload milestones for tassietrails.org

I've had to upgrade my web hosting service twice in the last year, firstly to migrate over to Australian servers because the US ones were becoming too slow, and then a second time back in March because downloads had doubled and I was nudging up against my 4GBs of monthly download.

So I doubled it thinking that would be that.

Much to my surprise, just four months later I again found myself getting warnings that my site was nudging up against my new 8GB limit.

This didn't seem right, and with a bit of web site optimisation (namely realising that the background image and web site icon that was getting downloaded every time someone visited the site was chewing up quite a bit of bandwidth) I managed to get things back under control, and my site continued on.

Phew.

Three months later and despite the optimisation, at 12:37 today my site exceeded its monthly 8GB limit, and went down ...


Sigh.

On one hand I'm really happy that there are people out there who are finding all the tassietrails.org stuff useful (visitor numbers and visits are increasing rapidly ...)



But on the other ... this means more hours that need to be spent analysing download data and seeing if I can squeeze a few more months out of my current plan before upgrading again.

I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever get to ride my bike again.

========
POSTSCRIPT

Funnily after typing this up at lunchtime, I then went to a divisional workshop where our big boss came and gave a speech about Tasmania's future ... encouraging us not to think about just where we will be next year (elections and restructures are on everyone's minds), but to try and think where we will be in 10 years, and the changes, challenges and opportunities in front of us when we look out that far.

I deliberately don't write about work here, but I have to say his talk inspired me.  So for my little bit for Tassie, I bit the bullet and just paid for the upgrade to get my server bandwidth up to 12GBs.

Which also means I've now got time this weekend to go out and play ... bring on the challenge ...

The Departure of the Kindle ...

This week's lesson in life ... don't celebrate your victory until after you've crossed the finish line.

... or in this case until after you've turned your replacement kindle on.


Yep, I'm now the proud owner of two kindles that both don't work (my much celebrated replacement kindle was dispatched while still in System Diagnostic mode - something they can apparently only fix back at the factory).

But don't despair after another twenty minutes on the phone to Amazon support, a third kindle is now on its way ...

What could go wrong.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Return of the Kindle ...

Most of my toys have a pretty short life, and usually even when their life ends under warranty I just accept their deaths as being down to me and so don't do anything about it.

At least that's what I tell myself out loud ... in reality I know the deep down truth is that I hate dealing with call centres so much that usually I'd rather just buy another whatever I've just destroyed than have to go through the living hell that is trying to get something out of a large organisations call centre.

But, as you may recall, towards the end of my little European soujourn, disaster struck when I went to turn my kindle on one day ... and nothing happened.



Given I had only read half a dozen books on it I felt a bit ripped off, and went against my deepest principles and called Amazon ...

What can I say ... it all started as I expected when a guy that I could barely understand started telling me to try everything that I had already tried having read their "What to do if your kindle won't start" FAQ on their website.

Ten minutes later, after I'd satisfied him that my kindle wasn't working, he then put me through to a 'specialist' who got me to repeat exactly what I had just spent ten minutes doing with the guy that wasn't a specialist, and I was this close to hanging up when much to my surprise my specialist friend declared . .. "Hmm, it does look like it's not working ... I'm just authorising a new one to be sent out to you right now ... yes, that's done."

Say what? rewind please ... you're sending me a new one?

Yes, he assured me it was already in the system.  All I had to do was take the broken one back to the nearest UPS within 30 days and I wouldn't be charged for the new kindle  ...

"Ah",  I thought to myself, "there's the sting in the tail", I knew this was too good to be true as I pointed out to my specialist friend that I was in Australia and we didn't have UPS here.

He assured me that we did.

I assured him that I'd just googled "UPS in Australia" and that we didn't (at least not in Tasmania).

He asked for a minute to look into it ... and then came back onto the phone and ...he apologised.

Say what again?

Yep, he agreed that there was no UPS within 200 kilometres of my location and therefore he agreed it was unreasonable for me to return it.

10 days later ...


I have a replacement kindle ... and I'm impressed.

I have to be honest and say that was twenty minutes well spent.

But for now you have to excuse me, I still have enough time in the rest of my lunchbreak to get onto Amazon and buys some more books ...

See ya.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Cranky Penguin

It was touted as the hardest mountain bike race (for its distance) in Australia.

The organisers even sent out a newsletter a couple of weeks before the race actually suggesting that people consider downgrading to the shorter course.

Notice those hills in the background, that's where we're going.

1,500 metres of climb in just 43kms or over 2000 metres of climbing in 70 kms.  There was no doubt in my mind that the Cranky Penguin was going to be epic .... but I'm not enticed by epic ... I'm only interested in things that are awesome.

Therefore, I consulted my book of awesomeness, and after realising that I couldn't follow the normal route to awesomeness in a mountain bike race (ie. train hard and win my category) there was only one real pathway left to me to make this a guaranteed awesome day ...

I'd ride the hardest mountain bike race in Australia ... in a penguin suit.


Just in case you're wondering, the book of awesomeness does warn readers that there is an awful lot of overlap between the definitions of "awesome" and "completely idiotic"  - the main difference being that awesome things work, idiotic things don't.

For example, here's another example of something that could potentially fall into both of those categories ...


This was Darren (sorry if I've got the name wrong) and he was doing the entire race on his unicycle.  That is also rather awesome, probably (if I admit it to myself) more awesome than doing it in a Penguin Suit.

So the race ... where do you begin ... it was sublime, technical, acclivitous, beautiful, vertiginous, and did I mention steep?

It was also like being in a f__ing sauna in that penguin suit.

By the time I'd got up the road climb from the town to the Penguin MTB Park I was well and truly at the stragglers end of the field and I felt like I was a frog (penguin?) in the proverbial pot of slowly boiling water.

Then the real climbing began up Mount Montgomery and I was starting to realise that there was a good reason that there was only one (still potentially awesome) idiot in the field of 200 riders wearing a penguin suit.

You see, mountain biking in a Penguin suit has lots of things going against it: Like the heat, the chaffing, the inability to see behind you and the extra challenges it presents when you need to repeatedly mount and dismount at short notice on technical sections (it did occur to me in the first few kilometres that maybe I should have tried to ride a bike in my suit before the race).


The challenge of dismounting became particularly evident as I headed down the fun, but very technical, section down Keddies Creek, and let me tell you getting your onesy caught on the seat as you're trying to dismount on a 45 degree slope before crashing into a creek is not a moment you want in your life.

Therefore, with much regret, I rolled into checkpoint one and (as Penguins are known to do) I moulted my outer layer (in what I was told was a puff of steam) and continued on around the next section in my summer feathers.

It was so awesome getting out of that suit.  Even though I was now heading back uphill my speed still increased and I loved the section up the Gnomen / Duncan climb to check point two, despite getting lapped (already) by the lead rider of the 70km marathon just before I got there.

It was also at this point that the sweat session in my penguin suit came back to haunt me as I suddenly felt like I usually get at the 70km point of a race - cooked and fried.

I really struggled up the technical single track heading up the South Duncan trail, though to be honest there was some seriously steep inclines and declines in this section that I would have struggled through even if I was still fresh.


Finally, I hit the 'steep hill' which we were warned to bring our climbing gear to get up and because I was expecting the worst, well, I found it pretty easy as it was really only a short (50 metres?) climb.


and then (as promised) I came out on a very sweet and fast dowhill run (just wish there had been a bridge at the bottom of that creek) before coming back onto the washed out track and enjoying a superb (flat to uphill) ride back to checkpoint 2.


Now my recollection of the route profile from this point was that it was a downhill run all the way to the Leven river, then a nice flat ride along the river back to check point one and on that basis I figured I was cruising it.

Unfortunately my recollection missed out a rather large climb and descent between the "downhill run" and the "nice flat river riding" bit and consequently I found myself plugging back up a completely unexpected climb cursing penguin suits, empty water bottles and bicycles which don't have engines in them.

Jon McComb being slightly (just slightly) more awesome than me
as he laps me going up Purtons Road.
I do confess that I flirted with the idea of taking responsibility for my predicament at this point, however I decided that that would be tantamount to admitting that wearing that Penguin suit was a mistake, and that as making a mistake would not become someone who aspired to awesomeness, I decided to continue to blame the world for the pain I was going through.

Finally (and I mean finally) I got to what I now know is the top of Purtons Road and went flying down the very steep descent which I had thought was the descent I had done after checkpoint 2.  I guess that would have been one advantage of doing the full distance ... I'd at least have known what was ahead of me on this section when I came around for the second lap.

Then I got to enjoy the ride back along the river (and I ask you am I the only one that wanted to just stop racing and go for a quick swim in that river?).


This section was gorgeous, and the riding was (as promised) very north-shore.  There were quite a few compulsory dismount points, and a few other short sections where I chose to dismount, but this was still my favourite section of the whole route.



But of course this section had to end, and because this is the Cranky Penguin, it ends with not one climb, but two short sharp climbs back to Checkpoint 1 (now masquerading as checkpoint 3).

A banana, some cold water poured over my head and a couple of lollies later and I was feeling human again, which could mean there was no denying the inevitable ...

It was time to get back into the Penguin suit for the ride back to the finish line.

I regretted that decision.

I regretted it a lot.

I regretted it every stinking pedal stroke back to the finish line.

I regretted it when I was climbing the road back towards the MTB Park and the poor marshall there had to stop clapping because I took so long to get to him and his hands were getting sore (or was that just in my head?).

I almost died when the lady at the start of the singletrack said "not far to go now, just two kilometres ... or are you just on your first lap?".  first lap?????? wtf???  (there was no second lap, but at the time I was sure that they were going to send me around the park twice and I already decided that I would DNF rather than do two laps).

And I think that like a lot of other cyclists, that last section of track through the mountain bike park just seemed torturous as it twisted and turned on itself with the end never seeming to get any closer (small suggestion for next year: would be great to have 5km, 2km, 1km, 500 metres to go signs).

But then I emerged out onto the Speedway and it was only then that I realised that I wasn't about to be sent around on a second lap, but that I was actually heading for the finish line ...

Crossing that finish line was awesome.

Getting out of that penguin suit was awesomeness squared.

Did I love this race: Yes.

Did I suffer: Yes (according to my Strava data, I managed a 221 (Extreme) on the suffer scale)

Do I hope it will be on again next year: Yes, yes, yes.

Do I think it will become one of those iconic races on the racing calendar around Australia: Yes.

Will I ever do it in a Penguin Suit again: ... ah ... probably not .... but I'm thinking if I do, and for it to be awesome ... I would have to do it in a Penguin suit on a Unicycle ... or would that just be completely idiotic.

=========================================================================
POSTSCRIPT (and happy ending for the onesy).

Just in case you're wondering, my Penguin Suit has left me for a better life.

As I was disrobing after crossing the finish line, I made a comment along the lines that I may never want to see my wonderful penguin suit ever again (you can guess what I really said) at which point a gentleman who was selling cold drinks in a nearby tent said he'd have it.

Thinking he was joking, I took a double-take and registered that he was standing under a banner which read "1st Penguin Scouts Group".

He figured that (after a wash) their scout group could use it, and so seeing a happy home for my onesy, I handed it over for what I hope will be a better life ahead.

The end.


Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Hobart Show

This weeks lesson in life is that you can't go around hyping Kim's kids up about what's on at the Hobart Show and then expect not to have to take them there.


I honestly didn't know that, but I do now and the outcome of this was that for the first time since I was a young kid, I went to the Hobart Show.

I had very low expectations, and they weren't hugely exceeded, but they were exceeded which made it a good day.

On the downside, the animal shows have really gone downhill,  there only looked to be a dozen dogs in the sheds when we went there, there weren't that many more cattle, and when we went and visited the cat display all the poor kitty kats were hiding wherever they could ...

spot the kitty cat ...
But Markus and Zara got to spend an hour (yes, a whole hour) walking around choosing their show bags and Markus (much to everyone's surprise but his own) actually won a prize by shooting six basketball hoops in a row.

Unfortunately the guy then tried to rip him off by giving him a dodgy little lion (you might notice all the cooler toys on display in the photo above) but Markus decided to take the money prize instead.  I like that kid.

We put the Kids on the gee whizzer, because Kim thought it was the "kids one" ...


it wasn't ...


... and as the speed increased, big smiles and waves turned to bowed heads and looks of growing fear.

But the real highlight was the dinosaur petting zoo that was the main reason we'd come here.


It was a brilliant show, really fun for kids and adults and definitely worth going for.


One last visit to the showbag sheds and that was our day at the show.

The surprising thing is that I reckon I could be convinced to go back again ... in around 2023.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Another Wednesday Night Paddle ...

... wherein I profess my love for my new Tiderace Pace 17.

Pace 17 Tour Kayak


I didn't mean to race, in fact even as I'm typing this I'm still not sure if I'd call it 'racing', but as circumstances turned out, probably 15 to 20 people turned up for last night's club paddle, and out of that group I started chatting to George, and George happened to be one of the first people to start paddling out from the beach, and so I found myself paddling in the front group for the night ...

There were four of us in this group, just holding a steady pace for the first few kilometres, then as we went past Long Point I think it was Larry who surged a bit, so I accelerated slightly - just to keep up with him of course and see how the boat would handle - and then Phil jumped onto my tail ... and yea, well, we kind of, you know ... got into a racing type scenario without really racing.

At least I did.

Actually, once I'd poked my head out in front, I found it ridiculously easy to keep it there which is why I love my Pace 17.  Heading directly into the sea I found that even with no paddling fitness (I haven't really been in a boat now for five months) I could just accelerate away from the others down the back of waves and get a five to ten metre jump without really trying ... it was ridiculous and it was all down to the boat I was sitting in.

On the way back, I deliberately started paddling right at the back of the group, but then I started jumping onto some small runs, and playing around ... and again before I knew it I was back paddling with the front paddlers thinking to myself  "Oops, I'm not supposed to be here."

Look, I'm way off anything resembling paddling fitness, and I'm not saying I was going particularly fast last night, but what I am saying is that the Pace 17 makes a bad paddler look good in my opinion and I like that.

I like it a lot.

I might need to rename my boat from "Commodore's Folly" to "Commodore's Jolly".  No, that just sounds wrong doesn't it.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Mt Murray Meander (Rogaine Setting)

If you'd asked me how I was at about 9am this morning, I would have told you I was one of the luckiest people on this planet.


You see at that point in time I was the only person in the world to have a copy of the map of the upcoming Mt Murray Rogaine and having made my way to the southern end of the map by car, I now had a full day ahead of me to just roam around vetting controls.


Yep, it was a sunny day, I didn't have to rush, I didn't have to decide which controls to visit (because I had to visit them all), and before me were trackless paddocks, coastline, hills and bushland to explore.


I was in Heaven.


Five hours later I was so frustrated I wanted to scream and I never wanted to see Mt Murray or go rogaining again as long as I lived.

I had found just four of the twenty to thirty controls I had planned on vetting, and I had spent something like three of those five hours trying to find three other controls with no success.

Now before I put you off this event, let me explain that I had a particular problem that you don't have during the rogaine event - there were no controls set out on the course.

All there was to tell me that I had navigated to a control point successfully was a little piece of yellow tape such as the one in the photo below ...


Do you see it?  Yes? No?

If no, then you begin to understand the problem I had.  I'd navigate my way to within 50 metres of the control, no problems (I can now say this having come home and verified my GPS track) but I couldn't then find those stupid little pieces of yellow tape and hence spent ages wandering around and around in circles not knowing whether I was standing on top of the control or had majorly stuffed things up (let's face it, a real possibility) and was nowhere near it.

One control for example was up a creek bed and should have been simple to find, but I walked up and down that creek bed four times, then started second guessing whether I hadn't gone up or down the creek far enough, or even if I was in the right creek, but I never found the tape despite my GPS track later showing I had walked right past it every time.

Heck, at one of the control tapes I did find, I walked away a few metres to take a photo, turned around and even though I knew where it was, it still took me five seconds to find the tape.


So at the time it wasn't a good moment.

However, I've calmed down a bit now, and have talked to the course setter and we've come up with a plan B where he's going to set the controls and I'll go back out and do a big day vetting them after he's done that.


Hopefully I'll have a more successful day when I've got something to lock in on.

As to the course area, or at least the small part of it I got to see, now that was awesome and if you're sitting on the sideline wondering whether to give Rogaining a go, I'd have to say this would be a great map for beginners and experienced rogainers alike ... and if you do see any yellow tape near the controls, please don't let me know.

Friday, 18 October 2013

World's worst SPAM email ...

We all get SPAM, and most of it is pretty laughable, but this one came in on Monday and I think it has to be the worst SPAM email I've ever received ...



I mean even ignoring that the subject is misspelt, I think you have to agree that it's not likely many english speakers will fall for this message ...

Monday, 14 October 2013

Flat Battery

When I rode to work this morning, Mt Wellington was covered in a light blanket of snow, and I was a walking icicle by the time I got to work, but when I left this evening, the sky was blue(ish), the sun was shining and it was just too nice a day to ride straight home, so I went for a play instead.

With a vague idea of finally checking out the section of the Pipeline Track that had been opened up to cyclists below Ferntree, I headed up the Hobart Rivulet Track, and was pleased to see how well the 'hill bypass' section has been built,  but what thrilled me most was when I got to Degraves Street next to the Female Convict Factory and instead of seeing the bike path along the street blocked up with firewood and parked cars ...



Instead I saw this ...


Cars parked in such a way as to keep the track open to cyclists, which just goes to prove that change will happen, it just takes time.

My next little exploration was up a small track leading off Old Farm Road behind Cascade Brewery which I'd seen advertised as a Strava Challenge on the Dirt Devils MTB website, but which I'd never ridden.

It was a nice enough track shut off from vehicles by gates at either end, and it dropped out onto Marlyn Road and then onto Strickland Avenue, however to be honest I think I would have preferred just riding up Strickland Avenue as although it shortens the route, the flipside is it's quite a bit steeper.

Once onto Strickland Avenue, I had tremendous fun when I overtook a road cyclist out for a training ride who was none to pleased to be overtaken by some overweight, middle-aged guy on a crappy mountain bike with panniers on the back and so he proceeded to try and chase me down for the next good while.

After keeping just in front of him for a while, I started feeling guilty, so I put on a spurt of speed at Strickland Falls corner and accelerated away, and that was the last I saw of him (I was to pay for this little bit of cruelty later).

At the junction of Huon Road and Chimney Pot Road, I finally jumped onto the section of the lower pipeline track opened up to cycling on a trial basis and headed up towards Fern Tree to see how ridable this section of track was, and for the first 700 metres I was absolutely delighted.

Then I came to the Longhill Creek Aqueduct and hit this ...


The never ending stair climb with the "no cycling on steps sign" up, so the last two hundred metres of the track ended up being a steep push (or carry) up  to the Fern Tree Tavern.  Not fun with a heavy electric bike.

There was a side track which I explored on the way up, and although there were less steps on this route it was more a walking track and didn't look like it would stand up to cycling, plus from the top end there is a clear sign pointing cyclists down the steps ...


So while it was a nice scenic route, overall those steps are a real barrier to the use of this trail for mountain bikers as evidenced by the complete lack of any signs of use by other cyclists.



After backtracking to Chimney Pot Road I figured it was time to start heading home so I followed Chimney Pot Road for a while before cutting off on a series of fire trails to get to, and then over, Tolmans Hill and eventually home.

Unfortunately, whilst pushing up the final steep pitch to the watertower on top of Tolmans Hill I thought I spied a new track heading off into the bush ... not being able to resist the temptation of new trails I followed it only to find myself in the area that has been shut off by a developer and then back down at the bottom of the hill, forcing a second journey to the top.

And it was somewhere about here that my electric bike decided that enough was enough and the battery went flat leaving me to get from Tolmans Hill to the top of Mt Nelson under my own steam.

Let me tell you if that road cyclist caught up to me here he could have ridden circles around me and still beaten me to the top because an electric bike without a battery is a very slow beast indeed.

Still, despite a full day at work I got to go out and explore three new trails and still get home before dark, which means that even though it's still snowing ... Summer must be well and truly on its way.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

European Cycling Holiday ... The Costs.

Anyone who has read my blog for a while might recall that I'm fascinated by what I see as a disconnect between what many studies show cyclo-tourism is worth to a region, and what I can figure out it is worth using myself as an example.


So, I've been home long enough now to total up the damage and get some idea of how much this last little junket to Europe cost me, and the answer is ...

Seven thousand, five hundred and fifty two dollars and sixty eight cents.

Yes, I know that no normal person should be able to figure out how much they spent on a holiday to anything like that sort of precision, but what can I say, I'm a Virgo and I like precision.

At least that sounds better than saying I'm mildly obsessive-compulsive.

Or that I'm a freak.

Actually, that figure is a bit rubbery as I cashed in a life time's worth of credit card points to get a thousand dollars knocked off my airfare bill, and I've also included in the total above about $400 worth of bike packing gear which I bought specifically for the trip ... but never ended taking over with me.


If I include all of that, the holiday would have cost $8514.17, and here's the breakdown of where it all went ...


I was out of Australia for the best part of 41 days, but taking into account the distortions of flying half way around the world and back, I was only away for 40 nights, of which I spent 31 nights in hotels and B&B's, 7 nights camping and two nights in planes and airports.

That means on average I spent about $80 per night on accommodation and $45 per day on meals and other odds and ends (Just for posterity this was at a retail exchange rate of around Euro 0.61 to 0.68 to the Australian dollar).

This is the money, as far as I'm concerned, that mainly went into the local shops and businesses along the route that benefited from my holiday ... so about $125 per day, or $138 per day if you include money spent on local transport (trains and buses).

This is much less than my previous trip to the USA and Canda ($194 per day) and it's even less than the holiday Goldfields Trip Kim and I took in Australia ($147 per day).

If, however, you include airfare purchases and other expenditures back here in Australia, then the out of pocket cost was $199 per day (or $224 per day if you include the opportunity cost of foregone credit card points).


Where would I put this trip on the Budget to Luxury range?

I'd probably call it a ' comfort economy' trip ... it was somewhere between a budget trip and and an expensive one.

I could have saved a lot of money if I'd taken a stove with me and cooked more meals and I could also have camped a lot more, but while I didn't scrimp on myself, I also wasn't excessive in my expenditure, usually staying in nice three star hotels and only eating out once or at most twice a day (given breakfast was usually included with my hotel rate).

I could easily have doubled my expenditure on this trip if I'd wanted to eat out at fancier places and stay in more expensive hotels, and I did benefit from travelling towards the end of the tourist season.

If I'd been inclined to plan my trip a bit more I probably could have saved quite a lot of money on train fares as well as I always paid the highest price possible by just rocking up at the train station on the day I wanted to travel and buying a ticket.

So yea, I guess I am convincing myself more and more every trip that we as cyclists do spend quite a lot of money locally.

Go us.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Miscalculation

One of my neighbours put their recycling bin out the other night (it wasn't even recycling week) and it was filled up with those packaging fillers so items don't get damaged, you know these things ...



It was also a very windy night, they had over-filled the bin and surprise, surprise .... it blew over and most of those little things blew onto my front lawn.

Oh, yay.

So when I got home tonight, I found that Kim had brought the kids around to stay and having just walked past all these things on my front lawn, I had an inspiration and offered them 5 cents for each one they picked up.

Ten minutes later my lawn was all clean again and the count commenced ...



I was expecting it to cost $4 or $5.

It cost $18.90 and I suspect from their rather exuberant dances of joy that I'd just been done over good and proper.

What really hurt though was that they wouldn't take an IOU, and as I only had a $20 note, well they were OK with rounding up what I owed them to $20.

I used to have to cut and stack 10 tonnes of firewood when I was their age to earn $20 and it would take all day.

In fact thinking about it ... $18.90 for ten minutes work, that's way better money than I'm on.

Expensive miscalculation. Clever kids.  

I wonder if I could pass the bill onto my neighbour ...