How to Build Chest Muscles That Command Attention!

Walk into any gym environment and it is quite obvious that a well-sculpted chest is desirable by most trainee’s lifting weights.

However, the newbies stand out like a sore thumb for some common mistakes and misconceptions about how best to build chest muscles.

Here are two tips to kick start your chest growth!

Use Compound Exercises –

Compound exercises are exercises that require movement by at least two joints. Examples of compound chest exercises are the bench press and dumbbell presses.

Most people love messing around with flys and cable crossovers because they feel ‘the burn’. The first thing you need to remove from your mindset is that ‘the burn’ equals muscle because that will lead to you training your entire body with flyes, lateral raises, leg extensions, tricep pushdowns and bicep curls.

You need to lift heavy (with good technique, of course) to illicit any kind of growth response from your muscles and quite frankly, you can’t lift as heavy with these little isolation exercises. You’ll be able to shift more poundage in the bench press movement because you have more muscles assisting you.

Why does lifting heavy matter? Well, the heavier you lift, the more muscle building (anabolic) hormones are naturally secreted into your body (such as testosterone) which will help with things like muscle recovery and muscle growth. Remember that muscle building doesn’t occur inside of the gym but rather outside of it!

Lift Heavy or Go Home!

Don’t Neglect Your Back! –

When I was doing a keyword search to get idea’s for articles, common searches included ‘build bigger chest’ or ‘build chest muscles’. Not once did I come across a keyword search to do with building a bigger and stronger back.

This leads me to believe that some novices are wrongly neglecting their back training (in fact I see this mistake every day at work!) – Why wrongly and what does this have to do with building a bigger chest?

Well, mainly for postural reasons. Many people don’t know that the chest muscles actually insert on the top of your arm. Now what happens if you constantly train your chest and neglect back training?

Your chest will become too strong as well as getting shorter and tighter whilst your back muscles will get weaker.

This gives people that hunched over, rounded shoulders look because the tight chest muscles have pulled the shoulders forwards and internally rotated them. The back has also become weak and can’t bring your shoulder blades back into their correct position.

Also if your chest is shorter and your shoulders are rounded, this will give your chest and your entire upper body a much smaller appearance. Give yourself and your chest the credit you’ve worked hard for! Balance your training – work your entire body!

These are just two quick tips on maximizing your chest’s potential.

You Can Sell More Using the Assumption Close

Joe went to the hardware store on a fact-finding mission to look at a new gadget he had heard about. He asked the clerk were to find the whatchmacallits, but instead of pointing, the clerk led the way, picked one up and asked, “How many?” This is an example of The “Assumption Close” at work. Joe came to him, Joe asked for the product by name. No need for a pitch. This was is a sale standing there ready to buy, right? The clerk closed the sale by asking “How many?”, reaching in the bin for more.

Joe stood there dumfounded and managed to stammer, “Well, ah, one”. Sitting in the front seat in his car in the parking lot Joe examined the whatchmacallit (which is what he wanted to do in the first place). It wasn’t what Joe had thought it might be. But since Joe had asked for the product by name and accepted the Assumption Close, he felt stuck with it, reluctant to take it back. Joe went home with a whatchmacallit he didn’t want.

The Assumption Close will work in any business. There is nothing to remember, just set about your business as if the sale was already made. By “assuming” the customer is going to buy it, your questions are all after the fact. Not “Can we deliver it?” but, “What time do you want it delivered?”

Funny thing, the assumption flows right to the customer, removing that part of the sale where the customer might be able to say no. With the Assumption Close, the customer has to “back out of the deal”, not say “no”. Backing out is a whole lot harder.

Newspaper and yellow pages ad people use it everyday. They walk in with no doubt whatsoever that the prospect is going to advertise. The only questions are how much and when. Their “technique” is simply to announce their presence and ask “Gotchayur ad ready yet?”

In many small businesses, Daddy got the store from Granddaddy and Sonny continues the tradition. The advertising people have been coming in for three generations; even Sonny assumes the they are “entitled” to his business.

The magic of the Assumption Close is so strong it transcends the selling process, eliminating most of it. It is safe to conclude every person reading this article has fallen prey to a skillful use of the Assumption Close. Maybe at the hardware store, maybe for a Yellow Pages ad. Provided the product is beneficial, there was no backlash.

The Assumption Close is just another tool in the sales arsenal that you should know and practice.

Who knows, maybe Mickey Dees will adopt it, too, and instead of asking “You want fries with dat?” they might proclaim, “You want your fries super size or regular?”

Proper Grinding Techniques

One might think this material really doesn’t need explaining but you would be astonished if you had seen people over time, destroy the work piece as I have seem them do.

First let’s establish what we are grinding for the purpose of this article. I want to focus on anything metal. Plate, pipe, iron, stainless, metal of any kind. I had the privilege of working with some of the most skilled fitters over the last quarter century. I was fortunate enough to pick up on their skills that helped me in my own career as a welder.

One of the things I learned early on was to use the proper tool for the job at hand. There is no need to use a seven inch grinder for a one inch pipe. Of course, that is an extreme example but proves the point.

When grinding there is not only proper tool consideration but also safety elements to ponder. Let us consider first the proper tool for the job.

There are air grinders as well as electric grinders. Most situations will call for right angle electric grinders that work off of alternating current (ac). This is the common household or construction type grinder that is purchased from most hardware stores all over America. I can not speak for countries outside of the United States. For normal service a four and a half inch electric model will be adequate. The next size up is a five inch that is designed for more industrial type service. After this is the six inch, 7″ and the 9″. A great all purpose grinder that can handle both light and heavy applications is the 5″ Makita model. I personally owned two Makita 5″ and modified the safety guard so it would fit a 7″ wheel.

The reason for this modification was for better coverage when grinding and longer lasting wheel life.

Now Makita makes a 6″ and a 7″ grinder but at the time I bought mine they did not offer those sizes. When working with metal the size of the work piece has impact on deciding what tool to use.

When grinding for speed to move through hardened materials or materials that are relatively thick, it is best to choose a wheel that can hold up to severe load requirement. Usually a grinding wheel with a thickness of quarter inch is suitable.

When grinding on materials that are non hardened and not over 3/8″ thick, I would prefer a 1/8″ thick wheel. The lighter thickness wheel is easier to control as well. This wheel is perfect for surfacing a bevel on a pipe material, whether hardened or not. When I say hardened I am referring to metal such as stainless materials.

Technique in grinding is extremely important when approaching the actual application of the grinder as it comes in contact with the material. When using the right angle grinder the wheel should not dig into the work piece when making contact unless a groove cut is desired. The ideal contact point on the grinding wheel is about an 1/8″ of an inch back from the edge of the wheel. This can not be accomplished when digging the edge of the wheel into the work element. The wheel therefore must be laid more flat to the surface of the work piece. Laying the wheel surface to the work in this way will allow for more control and transition in the actual grinding.

When grinding on a round surface such as pipe, it is better to go even further in on the grinding wheel toward the center of the wheel. This will ensure better control over a bevel approach. Keeping the wheel slightly inclined on the surface of the pipe until the desired bevel angle is achieved.

When working with pipe, this beveling approach will give a more factory type surface when grinding as if a machine put on the pipe bevel edge. Moving the wrists from side to side or front to back keeping the proper angel of the grinding wheel will give a better overall finished surface. Most of the time an experienced worker will have access to torch beveling machines that can cut the initial bevel before grinding.

When cleaning up this type of cut on the pipe there is no need to really work the bevel since it has been cut into the surface of the material. When cutting on plate or pipe that is not beveled more work will be needed.

Inside of the pipe has a different type of grinding abrasive that is used called a cone rock. We will save that for another article. Be careful as you near the portion of the bevel where the outside of the pipe surface is reached as to not dig into the outer pipe surface reducing the size of the outer dimension of the pipe. Take your time and do the job correctly the first time.

Please bear in mind that safety glasses, grinding shields, ear plugs, and guards are all put in place with the purpose of protecting the eyes, ears, and face from dangerous metal shavings that can run the individual for a lifetime of hurt in a moment of time.

Get Rid of Cockroaches – 10 Useful Tips

There are many sprays and medicines which are available in the markets for getting rid of cockroaches, but the problem in using these is that, they have strong chemicals present in them, which can prove to be harmful for humans as well. Therefore, when trying to clean your home from the menace of these cockroaches, you can try the below top 10 tips for getting rid of cockroaches using home remedies.

1. Coffee Grind – The smell of coffee acts as a bait for the cockroaches, while the caffeine content present in it kills them.

2. Flour And Boric Acid – By sprinkling a mixture of boric acid, flour and white sugar, all in equal quantities, areas like kitchen cabinets, under the stove, bathroom drains, etc., you can kill the cockroaches in the most effective manner.

3. Fabric Softener – Since the cockroaches breathe through their skin, any strong fragrance can kill them. Therefore, by spreading the fragrance of fabric softener, you can suffocate the cockroaches and kill them.

4. Pandan Leaves – Pandan leaves are an excellent cockroach repellent. However, they are effective only as long as they are fresh, once dry through them out and place new Pandan leaves.

5. Cayenne, Garlic And Onion – A liquid mixture of the above contents, is a perfect solution for tackling the problem of cockroaches.

6. Hair Spray – Hair sprays are sticky and therefore, when sprayed on a cockroach, it will seal its wings and skin, thus suffocating it to its ultimate death.

7. Baking Soda And Sugar – While the sugar content in this mix acts as a bait for the cockroaches, the baking soda kills them.

8. Cucumber peels – The results of the use of these leaves are varied, while some find them to be extremely effective, others are not so satisfied with the use of these leaves for the killing of cockroaches.

9. Catnips – Catnips have no effect on humans and pets except for cats, which go crazy. Therefore, if you have cats in your home, do not use this herb for getting rid of cockroaches at your place.

10. Soda Bottle Traps – This is an old trick used by many housewives for trapping the cockroaches in their house. It is safe and can be real fun.

There are many other tricks which are used in different parts of the world for killing cockroaches, but amongst all of them, the above are the top 10 tips for getting rid of cockroaches.

How to Flavor Barley, Cooking Ideas For This Healthy Whole Grain

Barley is a plant that can withstand extremes in temperature and has a short growing season. About 95% of the barley grown in America is used for animal food or to make beer. Like all grains the outer husk of barley must be removed to make it edible. Whole grain barley (hulled barley) is the most nutritious form and the best to buy.

Unfortunately, most grocery stores carry pearled barley, which is more processed. The size determines how much of the bran and germ have been removed. The larger the pearl, the less it has been milled and the more nutrients and fiber it has retained. Whole grain barley can be found at health food stores. It has three times as much protein as rice, and like oats it can help lower cholesterol. You should also know that it contains small amounts of gluten.

You can get barley flakes and cook it as an alternative to hot oatmeal. Like oatmeal, it can be spiced with cinnamon and complemented with raisins or berries. You may also use it as a substitute for oats when making cookies. Bob’s Red Mill is one producer that includes the bran and germ and, thus, maintains the grain’s nutritional value. Without these parts, you are left with the same starch as found in white flour.

Speaking of flour, you may substitute up to ½ cup of barley flour for every 2-3 cups of regular flour called for in a bread or other recipe. Try this easy muffin recipe, which uses just barley flour. Whisk together 1 cup of barley flour with 1½ teaspoon of baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Separately beat together an egg, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and ½ cup of water. Add the dry ingredients and stir in 1/3 cup of raisins. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes (until browned) by filling muffin liners half full. It should make 6 muffins. Like white flour, barley flour may be used as a thickener. Try it the next time you make a gravy or sauce.

You end up having to cook whole-grain barley longer than the pearl barley. It can take up to double the time to cook, in fact, which I’m guessing is why it hasn’t become as popular as other starches. You can reduce the time by soaking it overnight (if you are good about planning ahead). However, a pressure cooker will reduce the time to about 40 minutes. While other grains double in size when cooked, barley expands to about four times its grain size.

Because it takes so long to cook, most recipes require that you make it before adding it to other foods, unless you are using a crock pot. So if you are just adding it to stews, soups, salads or casseroles, you need to cook it first. It has a great nutty taste that is hard not to like. Combine it with parsnips to expand that nutty flavor. For vegetarians it also adds a chewy texture that makes up for the lack of meat. Adding beans to the pot makes for a complete protein and makes for more leftovers.

If you have a favorite recipe that involves potatoes or rice or pasta, give it an added twist by substituting these starches with barley. It will be a nice surprise for both you and your family. Barley can handle any kind of spice you want to throw at it, whether it involves hot peppers or lightly aromatic herbs. I like using Szechuan peppers with barley, along with thyme and sage. Whether you sweeten the flavor with cinnamon for breakfast or use it in a hardy soup, feel free to spice up barley with any of your favorite seasonings.

Cockroach Behaviour

Did you know that cockroaches love to huddle in large groups? The larger the space for a growing population of cockroaches, the better, according to observations made on cockroach behaviour. One may absolutely shudder at the thought of possible a cockroach infestation in the home and may be completely unaware of the possibility of an entire cockroach colony living within the confines of one’s comfortable home. It is important that we understand the behaviourof these roaches and find ways to exterminate their hidden colonies.

One of the most fascinating observations about cockroach behaviour is the way that they make group decisions. New studies show that cockroaches seem to operate in a system of democracy and equality within the group, where they would consult one another in decision-making – collective intelligence based on individual decisions that will then affect the entire group. Who would have thought that such seemingly lowly creatures could govern themselves with a system that actually works for their benefit – collectively and individually?

The research, which was co-authored by JosÃ�© Halloy from Free Brussels University in Belgium, revealed a predictable pattern in the cockroach decision-making process and that they make decisions collectively about the places where they would inhabit. According to Halloy, cockroaches, Blattella germanica (Latin for German cockroaches) are silent creatures hence they use tactile, chemical and visual communication with each other. When encountering one another, they are able to recognize if they belong to the same colony, as their antennae, which are also called ‘nooses’, are incredibly sensitive sensory organs of ‘smell’.

The famous experiment conducted by Halloy and his colleagues involved and enclosed area with two red-tinted plastic discs that were mounted as “shelters”, where the cockroaches could scurry underneath, away from bright light. After a while of scrambling around randomly, all the roaches eventually gathered and huddled under the same shelter, as they love gathering in crowds. The intriguing part about this experiment was the fact that they collectively made a decision on one particular shelter, even with such a lack of intelligence, leadership and communication.

A simple explanation to this behaviourby veteran cockroach-watchers is that there are only two things that influence a roach’s decision – how dark the place is and whether the majority of their ‘friends’ or ‘clan’ there. Hence in the experiment, when there were enough of them to reach a critical mass, that shelter becomes more attractive to the rest of the roaches, which leads to them congregating in the most ‘popular’ shelter. Such behaviour, which is very similar to popular human culture, seems to show that cockroaches too are heavily influenced by peer pressure and would always ‘rock-up’ where the ‘party’ really is!

5 Belly Trimming Exercises to Get a Flat Tummy and Firm Abs

If you’re looking for a way to lose belly fat and flatten your tummy you may also be looking for the right belly trimming exercises to help you get firm abs. In this article I want to share 5 of those exercises that I believe you should include in your regular workouts in order to get strong and firm abs.

Reverse Crunches

This is a formidable ab exercise that targets the lower abs and the rest of the stomach as well. To do reverse crunches, you lie on the ground, bend your knees and pull them toward your chest. Your head and upper body should remain on the ground, though your butt can life a bit off the floor. Make sure to use your abs to do the exercise and don’t let your feet touch the floor on the return movement.

Hanging leg raises

This is a tough belly trimming exercise and requires a pull up bar. You hang down from the bar with outstretched arms and bring your knees toward your chest. You may not be able to do this exercise at first but it will build your strength up quickly and is very worth making the effort on.

Plank

The plank is a static stomach exercise but extremely effective. You assume a position that is similar to that of a push up only you rest on your forearms, not your hands. You hold this position for 30 second or more until you just can’t anymore. Make sure to maintain a straight back throughout the exercise.

Diagonal crunches on a stability ball

Using a stability ball usually makes a simple exercise that much harder. The diagonal crunch is no different and is an excellent way to work the obliques. You lie back on the ball with both feet planted firmly on the ground. Lift your upper body in a diagonal movement to one side, feeling the crunch in your obliques, return to starting position, and then lift yourself to the other side.

Hip lifts

The final ab exercise you can do to get a flat tummy and firm abs is to do Hip Lifts. To do this exercise you need to lie on the floor and raise both legs to a 90 degree angle to your body. Thrust both legs straight up using your abs to do the movement and to stop your legs from falling to the floor on the way down.

Do these 5 belly exercises and you’ll have firmer and stronger abs.

Is the VWAP an Important Part of Your E-Mini Trading Plan?

If you have read any of my articles you are aware of my complete disdain for lagging indicators. The inclusion and use of the Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP) on my chart would seem to be a contradiction (a hypocritical one at that) in my trading style. To that I answer “guilty.” This is a timely indicator to keep track of intraday movement and your specific positioning relative to the daily range. There are those that use the VWAP to enter trades; I don’t find it useful in that respect, but there are many other uses for this valuable indicator.

I have observed traders, and many trading room operators, initiate trades in the direction of the price movement as it moves through the Volume Weighted Average Price line. I’ve never traded it in this fashion as it is not a primary indicator for initiating a trade in my world. That being said, I have observed numerous traders, with some success, execute trades at the VWAP. Since I don’t trade this indicator in that fashion, I can’t give you hard data to support this particular trading strategy. I performed an unscientific and quick back-test (a perfunctory one, at that) that shows this strategy is moderately successful; not a “cure-all” for entering trades, not by a long shot.

Of what use is this indicator?

As I stated from the onset, there are many useful and some less than useful techniques for employing the Volume Weighted Average Price. For me, I use the indicator to establish a trade direction bias and to keep track of the market price relative to its high – low position throughout the course of the day. In a day that is rife with significant swings to the upside and significant swings to the downside it can become difficult to orient yourself as to your position on the futures chart; you want something that reflects a neutral position. Obviously, this particular indicator works quite a bit better than moving average but that still doesn’t keep it from lagging; so for me, it is a satisfactory trade-off to establish a normative value for the sum combining both volume and price movement. It’s sort of like having a GPS in a very large forest; at least you know where you started the day and can easily return to that spot. Traders seem to lose track of their positioning on a given day and it makes it difficult to establish trend or bracketing parameters.

The VWAP is a standard indicator on many trading platforms and the Internet is loaded with “do-it-yourself” instructions for programming the indicator into the platform API. I have only touched on a few of the uses of this indicator and further investigation by a curious trader will turn up a plethora of useful applications for the Volume Weighted Average Price.

Are Outdoor Patio Heaters Worth the Investment?

The first thing you need to know before discussing patio heaters are the basic functions. Many people enjoy sitting on an outside patio and enjoying the outdoors, which is why weather is an enormous factor to be considered. Obviously, during warmer months many people like to spend time outdoors; however, when the weather becomes colder families tend to stay inside and wait for warmer months to come. To make the most of your patio, no matter the temperature, considering a patio heater is crucial.

There are several design options in patio heaters but the bottom line is they are created to provide enough warmth for you to enjoy your patio year round, watching the changing seasons in comfort. There are directional heaters which will provide heat in one space or radiant heaters designed to heat up the space all around them.

You also have options in the type of energy you are going to use with patio heaters, each has their pros and cons. There are basically two popular types of patio heaters electric and propane. Electric heaters have no odor and many come with weather-proofed cords, however they may take some time to reach optimal temperature. Propane heaters on the other hand are completely safe and very fuel-efficient.

Patio heaters also differ in size, style and price. Many of these can fit easily onto an outdoor table and are decorative as well as affordable. For instance, the Coral Coast Deluxe Cast Iron Tabletop Patio Heater is made with a solid cast aluminum base with decorative lattice design.

It has a 100% safety shut off burner system, safety tilt switch that will turn the unit off if tipped, and comes with and electronic ignition. This propane patio heater heats an area up to 9 feet in diameter, and while its listing price ranges from $199.99-$229.99, you can pick this unit up on sale for under $130 at some online outlets.

Do you have a nice patio umbrella? There are patio heaters for use under your umbrella. You can easily attach the Dimples Patio Umbrella Heater to any kind of umbrella. This unit is a triple quartz radiant type heater that will fold away when not in use. The heater operates with whisper quiet efficiency, as there are no moving parts. It comes complete with an 8 ft weather proof cord and will provide you 1500 watts of constant electric heat. You can find this heater from many retailers at around $200 but you may find it on sale for about $150.

Are there benefits to owning patio heaters? Well if you enjoy sitting on the patio in any weather then the answer is a resounding yes! Even when the weather is questionable outside with a patio heater, you can enjoy the changing of the seasons, or even stargazing on a cool night.

You and your spouse or partner can enjoy an intimate moment together without freezing your tush off, or you can have a nice hot drink on the patio, even on a brisk morning. There are many benefits to owning a patio heater.

Diagnosing Flickering House Lights

To start with there are a handful of reasons for flickering lights. Let’s first establish if it is limited to one room, two rooms or the whole house. The reason for wanting to know this is to narrow the areas in which we will be looking. If it’s the whole house it could be your ESP (Electrical Service Provider) and from making a call to their repair department you might save yourself a service call from your favorite licensed electrician.

Once this is ruled out we can begin the process of eliminating items on the list. Remember to turn all power off to any light fixtures and electrical boxes before performing any work. For starters if the lights are flickering in only one room we can check the connection at the light fixture and at the switch. After which we can turn power back on and look for some flickering. Keep in mind that there are times that the problem may arise only after the lights have been on for a while. If we still have some flickering we can assume that the problem lies somewhere between were the switch is and circuit breaker, which brings up a point that we have been looking on one end of the problem and that at this point we could change gears temporally to look at the circuit breaker as a possible culprit.

When examining the circuit breaker be sure to turn all the power off feeding that electrical panel. Ensuring the power is off before inspecting the possible causes of the flickering lights is one of the safety procedures we will always be stressing. After removing the circuit breaker, inspect both the panel and the breaker for signs of heat buildup or arching, which will show up as pitting and corrosion where the breaker attaches to the panel or the busing on the panel. If these check out the problem could still be inside the circuit breaker itself which does not lend itself to internal inspection. At this point you can have it replaced and eliminate it from possible causes. While we are in the electrical panel, we should also be looking at the neutral wire for that circuit. A loose neutral wire can be just as damaging to the integrity of an electrical circuit as the hot wire. After checking the tightness of the screw holding down the wire, give it a little tug to be sure.

To recap, we started at the light in question inspecting the switch box and the junction box that the light is attached to. Everything seemed to be in order so we attacked the other end of the associated problem. After not finding any signs of what could be causing the problem the next areas of interest are from above or below. From here, the real dirty work is ahead of us. Now would be a good time to think about calling in an electrician if you are not up to crawling under the house or in the attic. This is where we attempt to trace the path in which the wire travels from the panel to the light fixture, all of which could entail a number of points in between.

Most houses that have not had any remodeling done would have one of two types of wiring, romex or conduit. If the house is really dated, it would be wired with Knob and Tube. After the circuit leaves the panel it more than likely will either go to a switch box or ceiling box with a light fixture attached. On occasions, in the older homes there may be a junction where the circuit branches out from there. This makes it somewhat easier to trace since we do not have to pull out switches or remove light fixtures. Remember that the most important aspect is safety and that you should always have the power off when inspecting the wiring. If you cannot diagnose the issue, you should consider getting outside help.

Thiamine (Vitamin B1) How, Why and When to Supplement

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Sources and Physiologic Functions

Requirements and Sources: Pork, whole grains, and legumes are the richest sources of thiamine. Outer layers of seeds are particularly rich in this vitamin.

Populations at Risk: The populations most at risk of developing a thiamine deficiency are chronic alcoholics in Western countries and those with an over dependence on polished rice as a staple in undeveloped nations. In alcoholics it may be caused by decreased intake, reduced absorption, and impaired ability to use the absorbed vitamin. Thiamine is spared by fat, protein, sorbitol, and Vitamin C. High carbohydrate intake, parenteral glucose, pregnancy, lactation, high basal metabolic rate, and antibiotics will increase needs. Also, it is readily lost in persons consuming raw fish, tea, coffee, blueberries, red cabbage, and cooking with excess water and baking soda. Breast fed infants of thiamine deficient mothers are particularly at risk, as death from cardiac failure can result within a few hours, even though the mother appears healthy. Other risk factors include chronic colitis, fever, malignant disease, sprue, and thyrotoxicosis. Intestinal absorption of thiamine appears to be controlled and limited, and modest increases in the serum concentration were accompanied by active renal clearance.

Signs and Symptoms of Deficiency: Children present with aphonia, cardiomyopathy, and polyneuritis. Symptoms involving the heart include tachycardia, cardiomegaly, and cardiac failure. Neurological symptoms include mental confusion, anorexia, ataxia, nystagmus, and weakness of hands, calves, and feet as a result of degeneration of sensory and motor nerves. Thiamine deficiency in adults is called Beri-beri and is characterized by dry skin, irritability, disorderly thinking, and progressive paralysis. In chronic alcoholics, a syndrome of Wernicke’s – Korsakoff”s Psychosis develops. Ataxia and Nystagmus (Wernicke’s ) develop early and, if left untreated progresses to amnesia, confusion, and polyneuropathy ( Korsakoff’s ). Complete recovery at this stage is seen in only 25% of the patients. Vomiting, diarrhea, edema, and weight loss are other non-specific symptoms.

Safety:

Due to relative increase in sympathetic activity, nervousness, sweating, tachycardia and tremors can be seen with excess thiamine. Edema and vascular hypotension occur as a result of capillary leakage. Allergies, fatty liver and herpes are common. Folates and thiamine cause seizures and excitation when administered in high dosage directly into the brain or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of experimental animals, but have rarely been reported to cause human neurotoxicity, although fatal reactions to i.v. thiamine are well known.

Biochemistry: The biologically active form of thiamine is TPP (thiamine pyrophosphate). It acts as a coenzyme in the oxidative decarboxylation at the pyruvate and the alfa-ketoglutarate steps in the energy producing Kreb’s cycle and is particularly important in the tissues of the nervous system. It also acts as a coenzyme in the oxidative decarboxylation ( of alfa-keto acids and in the formation or degeneration of ketols ) by transketolase in the Pentose phosphate pathway, the intermediary products of which are used in the synthesis of ribonucleotides such as ATP & GTP, deoxyribonucleotides such as dATP & dGTP, and nucleic acids DNA & RNA. Thiamine is also essential for protein catabolism, acetyl choline synthesis, normal muscle tone in cardiac and GI tissues, and for normal growth and appetite.

In human the storage of thiamine is is in greatest concentrations in skeletal muscle, heart, brain, liver, and kidneys. The human stores about 25 to 30mg of thiamine. ThMP and free (unphosphorylated) thiamine is present in plasma, milk, cerebrospinal fluid, and just about all extracellular fluids. Unlike the highly phosphorylated forms of thiamine, ThMP and free thiamine are capable of crossing cell membranes.

Recommendations: RDA in mg

  • Infants birth to 6 mos – 0.3mg
  • Infants 6 mos to 1 yr – 0.4mg
  • Children 1 yr to 3 yr – 0.7mg
  • Children 4 yr to 6 yr – 0.9mg
  • Children 7 yr to 10 yr – 1mg
  • Adolescent males 11yr to 14 yr – 1.3mg
  • Adolescent females 11 yr to 14 yr – 1.1mg
  • Adolescent males 15 yr to 18 yr – 1.5mg
  • Adolescent females 15 yr to 18 yr – 1.1mg
  • Adult males 19 yr to 50 yr – 1.5mg
  • Adult females 19 yr to 50 yr – 1.1mg
  • Adult males 51 yr plus – 1.2mg
  • Adult females 51 yr plus – 1.0mg
  • Pregnant Women – 1.5mg
  • Lactating Mothers – 1.6mg

Thiamine hydrochloride is the common supplemental form. Thiamine therapy for alcoholics may involve a single injection of 10-mg thiamine or 50 mg of oral fat-soluble thiamine propyl disulfide that permits efficient absorption in alcoholics. Erythrocyte transketolase activity is considered the most reliable index of the functional state of thiamine.

Thiamine B1

Food Source – Serving Size – Number of milligrams per serving

  • Pork (lean arm braised) – 3.5 oz – 0.60mg
  • Pork (bacon cured/pan fried) – 4.48oz – 0.88mg
  • Navy beans (canned) – 1 cup – 0.37mg
  • Pinto beans (canned) – 1 cup – 0.24mg
  • Pinto beans (boiled) – 1 cup – 0.32mg

Literature:

A cross-sectional investigation of patients with congestive heart failure being treated with loop diuretic therapy showed that thiamine deficiency may occur in a substantial proportion of patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) and dietary inadequacy may contribute to increased risk. Men and nonwhite patients with CHF appeared most likely to have evidence of thiamine deficiency, although this reflects, in part, the gender composition of the patients recruited for the study. Patients with more severe CHF (as indicated by lower percentages of left ventricular ejection fractions) had greater biochemical evidence of thiamine deficiency. Another study found left ventricular ejection fraction to be adversely affected by thiamine deficiency and described that, when these patients were supplemented with thiamine intravenously, the ejection fraction improved significantly. Thus, nutritional assessment of thiamine status, including dietary intake, may be an important component of care for patients with CHF who are being treated with loop diuretic therapy.

Cognitive functioning

A study by Benton et. al demonstrated the association between improved thiamine status and improved performance on a range of measures of cognitive functioning in females. No such association was found in males. Although it was not possible to establish the reason for a beneficial response in females rather than males, there is evidence that females respond differently to dietary factors.

Alzheimer’s disease:

Results of one study suggest that probable Alzheimer’s Disease (pAD) is associated with a decrease in plasma thiamine levels. In another study, a 40-50% decrease of thiamine diphosphate (TDP) was found in patients with frontal lobe degeneration of the non-Alzheimer’s type (FNAD). As TDP is an essential co-factor for oxidative metabolism and neurotransmitter synthesis, and because low thiamine status (compared with other species) is a constant feature in humans, a nearly 50% decrease in cortical TDP content may contribute significantly to the clinical symptoms observed in FNAD. This study also provides a basis for a trial of thiamine to improve the cognitive status of the patients. A mild beneficial effect in patients with Alzheimer’s disease was observed on supplementation with Fursultiamine (TTFD), a derivative of thiamine, at an oral dose of 100 mg/day in a 12-week open trial. Similar benefits were observed in another trial with high dose thiamine (3-8 g/d), while a 12 month study with 3 g/d of thiamine showed no apparent benefit in slowing the progression of dementia of the Alzheimer’s type. Thus, weak and contradictory evidence suggests that vitamin B1 may be helpful for Alzheimer’s disease.

Assessment of thiamine status

In several human studies during the past 10 years, thiamine status was assessed either by measuring thiamine pyrophosphate response alone or by using TPP response measures in conjunction of calculated estimates of thiamine intake from diet histories. Some investigators have combined estimates of thiamine intake with measures of thiamine status other than TPP response, such as erythrocyte TPP [18] or plasma TPP In several of these reports, poor thiamine status, as defined by TPP response, could not be related to less-than-adequate thiamine intake. Several authors have noted that valid TPP response measures depend on a kinetically normal enzyme. Hence, disease states, such as alcoholic encephalopathy, may affect enzyme-cofactor binding, and thus, TPP response. Rigorous statistical analysis of relationship between urinary thiamine excretion and TPP response seems to be lacking in the report generally cited as evidence of the validity of TPP response measures. In the ICNND report, categories of thiamine status appear to relate superficially to urinary thiamine excretion, but when there is no clear break-point in the curve for thiamine intake plotted against urinary excretion, it is difficult, in contrast to the case with urinary riboflavin excretion, to define deficiency. One author has demonstrated that in non-human species, pyruvate dehydrogenase appears to be a more sensitive indicator of tissue thiamine deficiency than is transketolase. A study by Gans et. al. raises questions about the usefulness of the TPP response as the sole indicator of marginal thiamine status. Thiamine status was measured in 137 incarcerated and 42 nonincarcerated adolescent males by use of both dietary intake data and a standard biochemical assay, thiamin pyrophosphate (TPP) response. Although average daily thiamine intake of nonincarcerated subjects was significantly higher than that of incarcerated subjects, both groups appeared to be at minimal risk for marginal thiamine status. Comparison of TPP response values indicated that there was no significant difference between groups. However, approximately 24% of the total population appeared to have less than adequate RBC thiamine on the basis of current standards for TPP response. Neither dietary intake nor reported previous alcohol intake was correlated with TPP response. Thus, clinical standards of thiamine deficiency seem to lack firm definition. Perhaps a better, more valid metabolic measure, such as thiamine or TPP in plasma, should be investigated and adopted. Also, intake data as well as some appropriate measure of enzyme activity or function may be important values to assess to describe the thiamine status of a group more correctly.

Summary:

Thiamine is essential in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It is also needed in the synthesis of ATP and GTP and nucleic acids DNA and RNA. It acts as a coenzyme in the energy producing Kreb’s cycle and is particularly important in the tissues of the nervous system. Thiamine is also essential for acetylcholine synthesis, maintenance of normal tone of muscle in cardiac and GI tissues, and for normal growth and appetite.

A number of claims have been made about the beneficial effects of thiamine on numerous conditions. (Fibromyalgia, HIV Support, Pregnancy and postpartum support, Canker sores – mouth ulcers, and Minor injuries)

Evidence strongly suggests that patients with CHF may benefit from thiamine supplementation. Patients with CHF who are on loop diuretics are shown to have thiamine deficiency and patients with more severe CHF showed greater biochemical evidence of thiamine deficiency. Thiamine supplementation is shown to improve the left ventricular ejection fraction significantly.

Thiamine supplementation may improve cognitive functioning and has been shown to improve performance on a range of cognitive tests in females.

Populations who are prone to be deficient in this vitamin, like chronic alcoholics, patients with malabsorption syndromes, and those who consume high carbohydrates should receive supplementation. Pregnancy, lactation, high basal metabolic rate, and parenteral glucose therapy will increase the requirements of thiamine. Breast-fed infants of thiamine deficient mothers should receive adequate supplementation, as death from cardiac failure can result within hours, even though the mother appears normal.

Our recommendation for adults is 25 mg/d. This amount can be obtained from approximately 41 servings of Pork (lean arm braised), 28 servings of Pork (bacon cured/pan fried), and 80 servings of Pinto Beans (boiled). The RDA for adults is 1.5 mg/d, although a range of doses from 1-25 mg/d is usually consumed. Thiamine therapy for alcoholics may involve a single injection of 10-mg thiamine or 50 mg of oral fat-soluble thiamine propyl disulfide that permits efficient absorption in alcoholics. Wernicke’s syndrome, which involves ataxia and nystagmus, develops early and, if left untreated, may progresses to Korsakoff’s psychosis, the neurological manifestations of which are irreversible in 75% of the patients. Fatal reactions to high doses of I.V. thiamine have been reported.

My Journey Out of Abuse, Depression and Homosexuality

I guess I grew up like any other kid in the suburbs, looking for ways to enjoy life. Bike rides, building forts, swinging on the backyard swing set, playing ball and swimming, anything to make me feel ‘alive.’ I was passionate, active and fully alive. As a youngster, though, my passion for life was suppressed. Very early I became acquainted with walls or boundaries that limited my ability to embrace life and experience it fully. An overly legalistic church and very restrictive parents kept me from venturing too far into life outside of our little world and instilled in me a timidity in my approach to life. Their motivation was good and loving; the world was changing rapidly in the ’60’s and ’70’s, and there were many unfamiliar and sinful behaviors being promoted as legitimate. The fences that were built for me – far from the actual lines of right and wrong – did keep me from wandering into many areas of sin, but the timidity that grew out of my fear of breaking the rules kept me from embracing life fully and contributed to the secrecy that nearly destroyed me.

At an early age, I responded to an invitation at church to receive Christ as my Savior for the forgiveness of my sin. My decision was fairly utilitarian. I needed my sin forgiven in order to get to heaven and I was afraid of going to hell. In spite of this, I did enjoy some times of spiritual life and growth as a child. I considered myself a Christian but really had no idea about a relationship with God. We went to church every Sunday and Wednesday night and something about the system of that small world felt safe. I knew I was a sinner, we were reminded of it every time we went to church, but I had no idea what to do with the tremendous amount of guilt and shame that this sin brought. When I was forced by others to cross lines into what I considered “horrible” sins, I did not know how to handle the feelings.

I was about ten years old when the name calling began. I was slight of build, intelligent, uncoordinated and musically inclined. The labels of “sissy,” “mamma’s boy,” and “fag” were quickly attached to me by the set of older boys in the neighborhood. It has always been natural for bigger, stronger boys to bully those they see as weaker. This derisive verbal ridicule quickly escalated into physical abuse. Causing me physical pain, watching me cry and reveling in my reactions to their torment became a favorite pastime of these boys. On one occasion they knocked the wind out of me and then stood around and laughed when I couldn’t catch my breath. On another, they led me to a bumble bee nest in the ground, threw a rock and then ran while I stood there, ignorantly, and was stung multiple times. I can still hear their laughter. It wasn’t long before some of the physical activity, fueled by their adolescent curiosity about sex, deteriorated into sexual abuse. I was held down and forced to perform sexual acts with them. I was younger and smaller than they were and the taunting about the size of my genitals and my smooth skin went deep into my mind. This was the final step in shutting me down spiritually and emotionally and the beginnings of my obsession with sex. I knew that these acts, outside of marriage and with the same sex, were wrong, perverted. Any mention of this kind of activity at church came with words like “Sodom and Gomorrah” and “abomination.” It would certainly not be safe to mention any of this at church! To add to my shame for participating in these acts was the shame of knowing that there was some pleasure involved. The pain of abuse would inevitably lead to the exhilaration of sexual release, something I had never experienced before. The combination of adrenalin from fear and hormones from sexual climax made an indelible mark on my young psyche. The enemy began to articulate a lie that ran through my mind; I MUST be at fault if I enjoyed any part of this! The fear instilled in me about these kinds of sin and what happened to “those” people who indulged in them kept me from sharing anything with anyone at home or at church. I suffered in silence, letting the message of the wound sink deep into my soul. I was a pervert! I could not see myself as a reflection of the Father who created me and redeemed me but saw myself as a reflection of my sin and wounds. The label was pervert and the lies built up a stronghold in me that would take years to tear down!

From that point on, I “knew” that there was something wrong with me. The deep sense of shame made me hate myself. Because of my timidity, I didn’t have the courage to face my abusers or my own sin and turn to God in repentance. Instead my shame became contempt, self-contempt in the form of self-hatred. I took every opportunity to put myself down, laugh at myself and I refused to engage in any activity in which I could not be the best. I shied away from anything athletic because my lack of coordination would be a clue to others revealing who I “really was.” The part of me that I hated the most was my masculinity. I hated the “macho” in others but at the same time was drawn to the strength that it represented. I equated the perception of strength with a false definition of masculinity that I knew I didn’t have. Gender confusion had set in. I was so weak, I had given in, I had been dominated, I was not a real man.

The gender confusion only increased my sense of shame. The shame of who I perceived myself to be is what motivated me to look for a way to hide. I was terrified that someone would figure out who I thought I was. Part of me, the true masculine part, simply withdrew. The other part decided that I would disguise my identity of “pervert” by being “perfect.” No one would be able to see past my perfect mask to the pervert within.

This mask of perfection evolved as I discovered ways that my flesh could compensate for the broken parts of my positive identity (virtue, community, power, gender). Having lost all sense of value (virtue) in the depths of my shame, I tried to perform in perfect ways that would generate affirmation. I had to have straight “A’s” in school, I had to be the best son, the first chair in orchestra, the teacher’s pet. When I performed well in these roles, I felt good about myself for awhile and was able to temporarily block out the shame. The problem with this mask, as with any mask, is that it had to be maintained. I could never rest. I must always become better and better in order to keep the affirmations coming. I graduated from high school at 16 with nearly a 4.0. Graduated from college at 20, married at 19, was ordained to the ministry at 20 and became a youth pastor at 21. I must be perfect… in school…at home… at church. I presented myself as self-assured, self-confident and superior but nothing could have been further from the truth.

My sense of my power to choose had been completely destroyed by the acts of abuse. Repeatedly, I was overpowered by the strength of others who were bigger and stronger than I. Regaining that sense of power required that I be in control of every situation in which I found myself. I manipulated the teacher into making me the teacher’s pet, became the president of my youth group, planned family events and bossed my friends around. Closely associated with this need to control was the need to belong to a community. Because of who I thought I was, I never felt like I fit in. My ticket into community was my ability to be in charge. Any group that I controlled became my community. They had to include me because I was in charge. That control was my way of showing strength, it was my masculinity. I had community but it was forced and shallow. Deep inside I believed that if they knew who I really was, they would not include me at all. My career choice was motivated by this desire to be in control. Besides my family, the only other community that I had been involved in was church. The Pastor was in charge at the church, so I was going to become a Pastor.

The greatest part of my wounding was the damage done to my sexuality. I believed the lies and labels that others had placed on me and secretly harbored those thoughts as my identity for years. My secret fear was that I was gay. I hid my true masculinity and used my control to ‘feel’ masculine and ‘look’ masculine to others. As far as leadership was concerned, I was the man. Inside, though, I was confused about my sexuality. This confusion continued to fuel my shame in spite of the mask. This cycle of shame and performance was an emotional roller coaster that was both exhausting and painful.

So, now shame had moved me into bondage. I was now living in bondage to my mask of religious performance and control. I worked hard to prove that I was okay and to distance myself from the labels and lies that plagued my thinking. While it appeared to others that I really was that “masked” person, the thought of who I believed I really was never left me. I was a pervert, trying to come off as perfect.

In my pain, I sought relief. Self-medication is a natural coping mechanism for anyone in pain. What do we do when we have a headache? We look for the pain reliever! Emotionally and spiritually we are no different. We look for something that will bring us pleasure, something that is available and that works to reduce the pain. My medication was closely associated with my journey. Pornography, masturbation and sexual fantasy provided an escape from the pain and pressure of the constant performance required in my role as Pastor but increased the sense of shame. Religious performance eased the pain of feeling like a pervert but led to exhaustion and further acting out. I entered a period of my life where I lived in the destructive cycle of striving and indulging. I worked hard to be the best and most caring Pastor I could be, but then when exhausted or criticized, I indulged my flesh in pornography, masturbation and sexual fantasy. The repetition of this cycle led to a deep depression.

The enemy used depression to create a fog that would lead me down a path of despair. The truth became even harder to discern through the fog and the lies increased in strength. The stronghold of lies and labels was so strong that the truth couldn’t even penetrate it. I began to feel more and more that the wounded identity was the true me and that I would never overcome it. I begged God to take it away but I never addressed what was driving it. I went forward at church invitations and retreat campfires and promised God over and over that I would never act out again, that I would be faithful. The repeated unanswered prayers and the repeated broken promises worked together to create a great disillusionment about God. Maybe it was all made up. Maybe God wasn’t real. Maybe I was meant to be this way. Maybe He just didn’t care. Maybe …

The suicidal thoughts started very subtly, and in the fog, I didn’t even recognize them for what they were. I was tired, exhausted from the endless cycle of striving and indulging. I just wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. As this thought grew in my mind, I began to formulate a plan to make it happen. My double life had already taken its toll on me physically. I was experiencing high blood pressure, passing out spells and migraine headaches. No real medical cause was ever found for my symptoms but the doctors were more than happy to medicate them. I started taking more and more of my medication to help me sleep and help me to forget my struggles.

Finally, the day came when I didn’t care if I woke up or not. The thought that I kept repeating in my mind was that I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. I had preached morning and evening messages at church the day before and felt emptier than I could ever remember. I went into my bedroom and began swallowing pills.

I don’t even remember how far I had gotten in the process when my wife came in and I fell apart in front of her. By the end of that day, just 24 hours after another religious performance, I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and labeled suicidal. It was a humiliating experience. I was stripped of my belt, razor, shoe strings and anything else that I might use to harm myself. I was put in a room where I could be watched so that I would not attempt suicide. I was heavily medicated. I lost my church, nearly lost my family, lost my perfect mask and lost my capacity to maintain the facade of my past.

The psychiatric hospital was not the answer to all of my problems, but the Lord did use it to provide me with a safe place to let down my guard and share with my wife and others what was really going on inside of me (wouldn’t it have been awesome if the church had been that safe place!). HONESTY. This was my first choice toward life. Maybe it will help you make this choice as well!

When my journey was held inside in secrecy, it had great power over me. I felt like I was the only one who experienced these things or felt this way. Since sharing my journey with others, I have come to understand that we all have a story. Some involve much more pain than mine and some less but we all have a story and we all need to choose life.

Flyback Transformer-How to Locate the ABL Line

Whenever there is a complaint about monitor

contrast problem I will check on the flyback

transformer ABL (automatic blanking limiter)

circuit.

Sometimes a weak picture tube might caused

contrast problem. If the picture tube is

good, I will go straight to the contrast

circuit. The question is how do we find

where the contrast circuit located? Simple,

if you have a datasheet for the video pre-

amplifier ic, definitely you can find the

contrast pin. For LM1203N video pre-amp

ic the contrast pin is located at pin 12.

Replace this ic or trace from this circuit

to find the cause of the contrast problem.

From experienced, usually capacitors shorted

and resistor turned into high ohms were the

caused of the problem. A video pre-amplifier

can also be defective. To confirm whether is

circuit or ic problem, just solder out the

contrast pin and switch on the monitor. If

the monitor display normal picture (contrast ok)

then suspect the abl line circuit. If it remain

the same (dim contrast) replace the video

pre-amp will usually solve the problem.

The contrast signal came from one of the pin

(leg) of a flyback transformer which we called

it as abl pin. Many technicians have the

difficulty to trace the abl pin because

usually a flyback transformer consist of around

10 pins. Some pins are B+, GROUND, AFC, ABL,

X-RAY PROTECT, VCC, to HOT, HEATER, horizontal

centering and etc. But there is one and simple

way that i’m gone to show you how to locate the

abl pin. Use two analog multimeters set to x10kohm

range. Connect it in series (+ probe to – probe)

and measure the flyback transformer from anode

(the red cap) to all of the pins under the

flyback. You have to desolder all the pin or

just remove the flyback from the mainboard in

order to get an accurate reading.

If either one of the pin shows a diode

reading that is the abl pin. The reason we use

two multimeters is because the flyback circuit

internally have couple of high voltage diodes

connected in series. If you have a schematic

diagram or any monitor or television

troubleshooting book, you will see that the

internal flyback diode are connected in series.

By connecting two meters the ouput from the probe

is around 24 VOLTS which is enough power to check

the flyback internal diodes. After you have

determined the abl pin, you can proceed to follow

the line and find the bad components that cause

the contrast problem.

Television or tv flyback transformer generally

have the same design compare to monitor flyback.

Whether it is a montblanc flyback transformer,

rca, mitsubishi or sony flyback the checking

usually is the same.

Having a Wood Burning Stove Fitted – What Happened to Me When I Had to Replace My Old Parkray Boiler

First things first, the house or cottage in which we live was built in the late 19th century mainly of stone construction, for farm workers to live in close to their work on the farm ( normally called a tied cottage) and had been occupied by a family working on the farm prior to our move into the property in 1987, since when a certain amount of modernisation had been done by ourselves over the years, new bathroom, showers and kitchen etc.

At the end of July this year we had the chimney sweep in to clean the soot from our two chimneys.

The one that had been used non stop over last winter as our main heating was the worst as it had a Parkray multi fuel heater fitted into the wall with a surround of tiles and tiled hearth; this fire had been there since before we moved in and although pretty ugly had given good service over the years by heating four radiators and the hot water in the winter.

We had it fuelled by anthracite eggs or ovals, which gave plenty of heat but this fuel is getting very expensive, it also comes with certain ecological issues attached being a fossil fuel, which spoils our carbon footprint. We had occasionally burnt wood in it but it was not an ideal wood burning stove due to the grate being built for a coal based fuel.

“BAD NEWS” said the sweep when he had finished the job, “your back boiler is leaking into the grate and there is a lot of wet in the bottom of the grate”.

So, we had to bite the bullet and replace the fire with a new one of some sort, we had looked at all the different options over the years and decided against oil because we have access to plenty of wood from the farm. Also most of the modern systems depend on having electricity to ignite and control their burners, and because we are subject to power cuts in the winter, just when one is most vulnerable to the cold; it was important for us that we had a system that will work on its own, we wanted it to continue to heat the water and the radiators upstairs by convection to keep the house warm until the power supply returns.

Off we went to StoveTec in Hereford UK to look at what was available to us and just how much it would cost, we looked at all the models in the showroom and chose a Hunter multi fuel with internal boiler (Hunter are a part of the Parkray Group apparently), with single door with one clear pain of glass in the front, which I liked because it had none of the fiddly bits just clean lines and simple design.

Steve the owner of StoveTec then arranged to come out to do a site survey on the next Wednesday; whereupon the measurements for the base and the layout of all the pipe work was checked, and the chimney stack was inspected from the garden.

The quote, which was very reasonable and included the fitting of a new stainless steel chimney liner, was accepted and it was arranged for the men to start work the next week.

The team duly arrived and proceeded to start with the removal of the original fireplace, in preparation, I had already turned off the water and drained the system with the garden hose prior to their arrival.

As with all building workers, we made sure that copious amounts of tea, instant coffee and biscuits were available throughout the day in large mugs with a good quality tea bag per mug with various spoon-fulls of sugar and whole milk according to taste, which after the first day we learnt off by heart.

The removal of the old fire place created a large amount of dust and noise from the hammer drill and chisel, and a large quantity of waste rubble and a pile of bricks that I decided to save for any small garden project which may require a few bricks, a barbecue comes to mind, which is not a high priority for us but may come in handy in the future .

Once the old tiled hearth and surround had been broken up, the feed pipes to the boiler were now exposed enough to be able to get a hack saw in to cut the pipes and free up the stove for removal. It was very heavy and had to be manoeuvred onto a sack trolley to be wheeled out of the house and lifted in to the truck for scrap.

It was then that we were able to see what we thought was the full extent of the space available at the back of the fire, we could see a large amount of brick and stone infill, for what we thought must have been the original cast iron black grate; complete with an oven on the side, which looked so pretty in pictures but were extremely difficult to get the oven up to temperature and were dirty as the fire was open and not enclosed; but they normally had a trivet to hang or place a pan or kettle over the fire for cooking soups and stews.

But No, they had to remove two more courses of brick before the final aperture was revealed in all its glory, it really made the room look so much bigger, once all the rubble had been removed and a bit of tidy up had been done.

Meanwhile the men had placed the climbing frame and ladders up onto the roof and around the chimney stack so that the new stainless steel liner could be lowered into the chimney stack, once it was in place a plate was cemented in and a new chimney pot and cowl fitted to top out the flu.

Where the liner came down into the fireplace it was fitted into an enamelled stove pipe via a socket fitting on the end of the cut flu liner, and then into the socket on top of the new Hunter Stove.

Before the new stove can be placed into position there had to be a new base fitted on the floor of the cavity, we finally decided on large pieces of slate, which is more in keeping with an old cottage than the polished granite that we thought about first, this is fixed in place on the floor of the base level with a coat of cement and tapped level.

The next job was to fit a metal plate to the inside of the fire place above the new stove, where the new flu came through a hole cut in the middle to block out the rest of the chimney and stop any of the soot from the old fire falling down into the room in the future; this was sealed around all the edges to finish the lower part of the chimney off (this was later sprayed with black enamel paint).

With the hot water pipes connected to the boiler (the out flow hot to the top, and the inflow connected to the bottom on the opposite side of the boiler cold), the water was then turned back on and the system filled to check for leaks and and test under pressure with the pump running.

Then it was all systems go for ignition to see how it all worked with a fire burning in the grate. It was simply amazing just how fast the boiler heated up and hot water started to move up the pipes to the hot water cistern. It is now a week since we have had it up and running and we have now got the hang of it managing to keep it in over night with the aid of some very dry seasoned oak blocks.

There is no doubt in my mind that the main thing with running a wood burning stove is to have dry seasoned wood at all times otherwise it will not burn correctly and it willl not get hot enough, plus it will clog up the chimney with tar and get the glass front of the door all covered in a dirty black coating of soot and tar. I always think that if the wood burns slowly down like a cigarette glowing across its length the stove is working correctly and that the wood is dry.

The best types of wood to burn locally around us is oak or ash if you can get it, but I also have access to plenty of willow, which is OK if very dry, I occasionally get a bit of pine, which burns very fast and noisily spitting and popping away in the grate.

I can thoroughly recommend our wood burning stove and I look forward to many years of warm winters by the fire in the future.

Business Writing – The Memorandum

In business writing, the memorandum is a common document. Typically it is a short informational message sent from one person in an organization to another. In business writing, the memorandum is sent in a number of different formats: e-mail (most common), electronically formatted and published emailed document, e-mail with an attachment, or hard copy. Often, the hard copy memo is a back-up for one that has been sent electronically.

How to set up a memorandum Memos are set up in a specific format. The document usually has four tags: To – (enter the name of the primary receiver(s) of the message here; From- (enter your name if you’re the author) Subject – (no more than six words describing the memo’s main point, and Date – This is usually today’s date, the date the memo is being sent. An additional memo tag is “CC”, which technically stands for “carbon copy” and is meant for secondary readers, those to whom the message is also of interest.

Structuring routine memos Most business messages are informational and written with a clear and direct opening explaining the main purpose and point of the messages (this is called front-loading). The middle paragraphs or sentences, give more concrete details, developing the message, and finally, the close winds the message down, ends on a note of goodwill and requests any follow-up.

Requests In business writing, the memorandum is also used for routine requests. These are structured with the direct query somewhere in the memo’s opening. That can be uncomfortable to those who prefer to beat around the bush in the opening and are unaccustomed to asking for anything directly up front. Don’t be shy; be direct. Since this request is not meant to be terribly controversial or persuasive, the expectation is that reader will be receptive to the request. The body of the memo, then, develops some contextual details, and the close winds down, often giving an end date for the request to be met and asks for additional follow-up if necessary.

Different situations Memos can also respond to requests, describe a new procedure, or announce some major news. They can be fairly short, such as the invitation to the company picnic. Or they could take up about a screen full of type (anything longer should be sent as an attachment, since the reader’s on-screen attention is fairly limited, and typically, he or she is usually busy).

Writing Style Use plain English and simple words, and keep the tone fairly conversational, using the active voice (please not the passive!). Be sure, too, to avoid using any type of Instant Messaging abbreviations (to ensure that your document has a professional tone). Also, as with any written document, don’t forget to edit and proofread your work.