9 Wet Carpet Cleaning Myths

Water has damaged your carpets. Maybe you had a toilet leak, maybe your water heater burst, maybe your kid left the faucet running in the sink for hours.

What should you do to dry your wet carpet to minimize damage to your carpet and pad?

First of all, there is some general information about carpets you should know that applies to all the myths .

General Information about Water and Carpets

Residential carpet usually has a pad underneath it. The pad can be anywhere from 1/4 inch to almost an inch thick. The pad provides cushioning and gives your carpet that comfortable, soft feel when you walk on it.

Commercial carpet in offices and stores generally doesn’t have pad underneath it.

Carpet pad absorbs water like a sponge: The problem with pad under a carpet is that it is a sponge and can hold many times it’s own weight in water.

Pad is designed to cushion your feet, so it is spongy by nature and will soak up water like the cleaning sponge in your kitchen sink.

Carpet doesn’t stop or hold much water:

Although your carpet may feel very solid under your feet, it offers very little resistance to water passing through it.

Carpet is actually like a sieve to water. A typical carpet will not hold more than a few ounces of water per square foot of carpet before it is saturated. After these initial few ounces of water have entered the carpet, any further water filters straight through the carpet and into the pad.

Water likes to travel:Water doesn’t stay put, it is always on the move. The rule to remember is “Wet goes to Dry”. Water will automatically move towards a dry building material.

Water at the center of a room will flow through the carpet and across the pad to the walls. It will migrate to the edges of the room in a matter of minutes or hours depending on how much water was spilled.

When you touch the carpet at the edge of the room, it may not even feel damp, but the pad could be saturated. This can be seen using an infrared camera. An infrared (or Thermal Imaging) camera is useful in finding the real area that the water has damaged, even if you can’t see or feel it.

In general I would say that the actual wet area in any flood (found with professional water damage meters) is about twice the size of what the home owner reports.

An infrared camera will show how water travels under the carpet through the pad. Even in a ‘small’ flood, water can migrate through walls and end up 2 rooms away within 12 hours.

Bearing the information above in mind, here are some common myths about wet carpets and how to dry wet carpets

Myth #1. The carpet will dry by itself

This is actually true, just like it is true that you could win the lottery with one ticket.

Yes, the carpet will eventually dry by itself. However, will it smell bad or have mold on it by the time it is dry? What other damage will occur while the carpet dries by itself?

Unless you live in someplace like Arizona or the desert where you have high temperature and low humidity, there is VERY little chance that the carpet and pad will dry before mold starts growing or bacteria start creating that wet carpet, damp smell. Typically you have about 72 hours to dry wet building materials before they start growing mold.

Even if the carpet itself dries, does that mean the pad is dry? There is very little chance that the pad is dry. The pad holds more moisture than carpet and is prevented from easily releasing the moisture due to the carpet above it and the sub-floor below it. So even if your carpet is dry, the pad is probably not dry.

Which brings us to another point. What about the wet sub-floor? Remember that carpet is like a sieve, and the carpet will pass water down to the pad very quickly. A saturated pad can then release water into the sub-floor.

Drying Sub-floors

Sub-floors are usually either wood or concrete.

Concrete sub floors are sponges too, except they are very slow sponges. They absorb water surprisingly quickly, but release it very slowly. So even if the carpet and pad are dried quickly, the concrete sub-floor could still release moisture for weeks.

Wood sub-floors hold water too. If they’re made of chip-board/particle board/press-board (small chips of wood held together with glue) and they are wet for more than a few hours they absorb water, expand, and lose their structural integrity.

When wet particle board dries it has almost no strength and you will find yourself stepping through your floor if you’re not careful.

Plywood or OSB (Oriented Strand Board) are much more hardy choices for a sub-floor than particle board. If they get wet, you can dry them, as long as they haven’t been sitting wet for long enough to warp. This falls loosely under the 72 hour rule. Another concern is dry rot which is a bacterial deterioration that takes 21 days to manifest at lower moisture levels.

Determining whether the sub-floor is wet or not can only reliably be done with a penetrating moisture meter. Different building materials have different acceptable levels of moisture, so you use the meter to tell you if the material is acceptably dry or not.

Depending on the region you live in, plywood is dry at around 20% Equivalent Moisture Content (EMC). In as little as 4 days, mold can start growing on wet plywood if not dried correctly.

So, we know that the carpet and pad are unlikely to dry quickly enough by themselves. But even if they did, is that all you have to concern yourself with when your carpets are wet? No, it’s not.

Like I said, WET goes to DRY. What this means is the water keeps spreading outwards from the source.

On one flooded carpet job we did, the carpet first got wet about 12 hours before we arrived. During that time the home owner used her wet vac to suck up as much water as possible from the wet carpet – about 100 gallons.

She just wanted us to dry her carpets. However, using the infrared camera and moisture meters, we found that her walls were wet, in some places to almost 12″ above the carpet.

Wet drywall, is that a problem?

The problem with wet drywall is the usual 72 hour problem.

In as little as 72 hours mold can start growing on that wet dry wall. Mold especially likes dark, warm places with no airflow. That describes the wall cavity – the perfect place for mold to grow.

So that’s the problem – wet carpet creates wet drywall which can create mold. Below is a picture of a wall after water had been standing for a long time.

To summarize. Yes, the carpet will eventually dry by itself. But you’ll more than likely have mold and smells by the time it is dry, and then you’ll be ripping walls and carpet out to fix the problem

Myth #2. You have to remove the wet pad underneath your carpet

There is a myth that you can’t remove water from a wet pad, even with commercial extraction equipment. People who say this are talking about the standard carpet cleaning ‘wand’ shown on the right. It is what is commonly used to clean carpets. It sprays hot water onto the carpet and then sucks it back up again.

The wand is designed to pull water out of the carpet fibers, not the pad and it does a good job at that. So if you have water damage on commercial carpet without a pad, the wand is a good tool to use.

However, on residential carpet with a pad, it extracts almost none of the water from the pad.

So how do you get water out of the pad so you don’t have to remove and discard the pad?

There are a number of new commercial extraction tools that will remove water from the pad. Our favorite is the FlashXtractor. It is a wonderful piece of equipment, probably my favorite tool. (We have no affiliation with the makers of this tool, and receive no compensation for mentioning it)

The FlashXtractor will pull buckets of water out a carpet that has been wand extracted to death!

Before tools like the FlashXtractor came out, there was a technique called “floating the carpet” which was used to dry carpet and pad due to the poor job the wand did of extracting water from the pad.

To float a carpet, you pull up a corner of the carpet and stick an air mover or carpet fan under the carpet to blow air under the carpet and onto the pad. While this method still works it is slower, less effective, and often stretches the carpet so that it doesn’t fit properly when restretched.

Floating the carpet is an old school technique that is unnecessary if you have the right tools, ie a deep extraction tool such as the FlashXtractor.

To complicate matters, bear this in mind. While you can dry wet pad, it doesn’t always mean you should.

If you have contaminated water in the pad you can dry it, but you will be leaving at least some contamination in the pad and over time, it will start to stink and rot. In contaminated water situations you will have to remove the pad because you can’t effectively decontaminate it while it is underneath the carpet. In the water restoration industry, contaminated water is called Category 2 (gray water) or Category 3 (black water).

Myth #3. You can’t dry a wet pad under a carpet

The truth to this myth is the same as for the question above. Basically, you can dry a wet pad, even without floating that carpet, but that doesn’t mean you always should. See the answer above for details.

Myth #4. You have to lift the carpet and ‘float’ it using blowers

The answer to this question is in the answer to question 2 above. To summarize, you don’t have to float carpet if you have a deep extraction tool and know how to use it.

Myth #5. You have to remove and discard wet carpet.

Sometimes.

If you have a black water situation (Category 3 water – contaminated water such as sewage, toilet leak or rising ground water), according to the industry standard IICRC S500, you have to discard the carpet. I believe this is because there is no EPA registered disinfectant for carpet.

However, if you have Category 2 water (gray water such as washing machine waste water, shower runoff,etc) you have to discard the pad, but you can clean the carpet and keep it.

Category 1 water (clean water – toilet supply line, fridge ice maker, etc), and it hasn’t been sitting for more than 48 hours, then you can extract the water and keep the carpet and pad.

The other reason water damage restoration technicians sometimes believe they should discard wet carpet is because the backing of the carpet will de-laminate when it is dried. The backing is the lattice webbing on the back of the carpet that holds the carpet fibers together. It is glued on. If it gets wet and stays wet for a long time it can separate from the carpet fibers and start to disintegrate.

How long is a long time? It’s hard to predict – depends on the carpet, the temperature, how wet it was, etc. Normally by the time the carpet de-laminates you’ve got a black water situation anyway, so the carpet has to go.

Myth #6. Professional Carpet Cleaning will dry your carpet and pad

No. Not unless they use a deep extraction tool that is designed specifically to remove water from the pad. A regular carpet cleaning wand will not remove significant water from the carpet pad.

Myth #7. To remove the wet carpet smell, you should have it professionally cleaned.

Yes, with a ‘mostly’ attached to it. The carpet cleaning machines and methods available to most home owners aren’t very effective. Compared to commercial carpet cleaning equipment, the carpet cleaning machines you rent from the local supermarket are like a moped is to a Harley. They’re the same thing, but not really.

Getting anything other than a light smell out of a carpet requires the high pressure and suction of a commercial machine. It also requires the expertise of a trained and experienced carpet cleaner. There are many causes and solutions to different smells in a carpet and knowing what to do and when to it requires training and experience.

If baking soda and vacuuming don’t work, your best bet is to call an trained and experienced carpet cleaner, preferably one that is also an IICRC certified Odor Control Technician.

Myth #8. If you dry a flooded carpet, you will not get a moldy wet carpet smell

Depends. If a carpet is dried quickly and properly there will be no smell. In fact, if anything, there will be less smell because the carpet has effectively been cleaned.

If the carpet and pad are not dried quickly and properly you will probably have a problem with lingering musky smells and mold.

See myth #2 for more details.

Myth #9. You have to use a truck mount carpet extractor to dry or clean a carpet properly

False. This is an ongoing debate that I don’t think will ever be resolved completely. Portable carpet cleaning machines have the advantage of short hose runs while truck mounts have the advantage of high power.

What it comes down to is really the technician holding the wand. A good technician on a bad machine will get a better result than a bad technician on a good machine.

Summary

If you’ve had more than a few gallons of water spilled on your carpet, you’re better off calling a professional water damage company to properly dry your home if you can afford it, or if you have insurance. As you leaned above, the problem is that if the carpets and walls aren’t dried quickly you could face a mold situation which is much more expensive to fix than drying the carpets.

Stain Removal in Carpet – Stain Removal Help

Hey guys … It's been a while since I've posted a helpful tip to add to your arsenal of automotive interior repairs I've given here on my blog.

So I thought of giving you a little bit on Stain Removal in Carpet. This is one thing I get a lot of questions for and that is how to get those nasty brown, or black, or even red stains out of the interior carpet of the vehicles I work on a daily basis.

The trick is not to it is not really a trick at all, it's timing and knowledge of what to use where and when. Getting to a spill before it gets a chance to soak in is your best defense against a stain in your carpet. If you spill something wipe it up and soak it up as quickly as possible and then flush with water and soak it up with a towel, or whatever ever you have at the time. But that's not always the case and that's where this little guide will help you, but really if you can wipe spills up a fast as you can and this helps to get the actual stain out later when you have more time.

One of the most common stains I see in vehicles are footprints or skid marks from dirty and greasy shoes. The answer to this is a de-greaser. There are so many different options to use in this situation, but I'm here to make this as simple as possible and effective. Supplies you will need are a couple of white towels, a scrub brush and a mild detergent, like lawn dish soap, a small pail of warm water mixing the soap to 1/4 oz. soap to gallon of water. Dip your brush in the soap and water, scrub the areas lightly with the brush making sure not to soak the carpet then wipe and blot with the towel. Repeat if necessary, wiping and blotting the area with the towel to remove the dirt and grime and the water, you do not want it to sour later if left wet. If you have a shop vac, use it to suck up the water and to fluff the carpet pile back up to dry better. Place a fan in the vehicle if needed to dry further if you've had a bad one.

Now sometimes more then not you will need something a little stronger to get the grease out. I use Castrol Super Clean, the purple stuff. I've used Simple Green at times too, and some of the products at some of detail shops I'm at time to time, so really any good de-greaser will work. Just spray the area with the cleaner, scrub with the brush, then wipe it up with a towel. Now if at all possible flush the area with water, this will help to remove the chemicals from the carpet and will help to preserve the natural look to the carpet. Some of those chemicals are pretty strong and if left can damage the carpet.

Soda pop and coffee stains, are another I run across a lot. Now this one can be booger to get out. A coffee stain if left can do permanent damage to the carpet and at times I have had to just dye the carpet to cover up the stain. If coffee is your problem, here are a few tips, catch the spill as quickly as possible then flush with mild soap and water like before with the grease, but you may have to soak it a little more to get it out. Now if this is an old stain, one thing you can try is hydrogen peroxide. This can be used as a mild bleaching agent. Just pore a little in a cup and with a tooth brush scrub it into the stain let sit for about 20-30 minutes then flush with your soapy water solution. If this does not work, I found a product at my local janitorial supply called called Perculator, it comes in spray bottle and is primarily a peroxide mix, and works pretty good, but it's still not a miracle worker. Coffee can be a pain, but with a little luck and timing on this one you can get it out. Now soda pop, if it's not orange or red which I'll talk about in a minute, can usually be taken care of with the warm water and soap.

Food stains can range from greasy french fries smashed in the carpet to dried ketchup, to jelly beans and candy. Most of these can be deal with with your soap and water. Ammonia can be added to the solution to help cut the greasy foods. Scrape the chunks out with a blunt knife before you get wet this will help to not spread the stain further. Candies might take a little more due to dyes added for color, wash as much as possible to remove the candy, if the stain stays you can try peroxide but like I said there are dyes in some candies that do just that, dye the carpet. Gum is another candy that can be removed with mostly picking it out but the rest might take a little chemical. Goof Off is a good one to keep on hand for a lot of different things, but it works great on gum too. After you pick most of it out just take a little Goof Off on a towel and wipe the rest right out.

Red Wine is sort of a food stain but treated a little different. If it's fresh flush with cold water and soak it up as much as possible. Try even a little club soda and pore directly onto the stain and soak it up with a towel. This should get most of it. One last trick is an enzyme cleaner, enzymes get right to it when it comes to food stains. They are known for removing food stuff stains, but I have not had much luck with red wine though so I'll talk about it in a minute on getting the red stains out of your carpet.

Now if you have a misfortune and happen to get a blood stain on your carpet then this one needs to be handled with cold water and not warm or you will set the stain. If it's washed then scrap the washed blood with a blunt knife to get the chunks out, vacuum them up, then scrub the area with cold water and a mild soap. Peroxide can be used to help remove the reddish tint if needed. Then flush again with the soap and water, then vacuum with your shop vac. One other remedy is a blood enzyme, which will eat the blood away. Blood Buster is good one, it's an enzymatic cleaner designed for bio stains.

One that I deal with upon occasion is pet urine. Talk about nasty … but, hey they have to pee too, just not where we always want them to. This one is one you can go to your kitchen for, vinegar, helps to neutralize the pains in the pee. Supplies for this one are paper towels if still wet, white towels, mild soap and warm water, brush and vinegar. First soak up what you can with if it's still wet with the paper towels, next take your soapy solution of warm water and soap, 1 / 4oz. of soap to a gallon of water, dip the brush and scrub the area with the soapy water, blot with the towel and repeat until the stain is gone. After wards pore a little vinegar over the stain and let set for about an hour. Lastly rinse with water and vacuum with a shop vac or dab with towels until mostly dry. If the stain is still there, let it dry, then apply an enzyme. Enzymes work really well for all bio stuffs including urine. The guys over at Petguest have come up with a 100% enzyme concentrate that is made for the elimination of pet stains and odors.

The old melted crayon stain in the carpet …. Man what a mess this can be, but believe it or not it's pretty easy to remove if you have a clothes iron and a brown paper bag. Scrape the major away with a blunt knife then lay the brown bag over the crayon and with the heated iron, rub it over the bag over the spot. The heat from the iron will melt the crayion into the bag. Just rotate the bag around to keep a clean side down and after a while the crayon will be on the bag not on the carpet. Patience on this one helps, but again if the spot remains try a little chemical like your Goof Off.

Paint is another carpet stain that can give you a bunch of problems. First thing you need to determine what kind of paint it is. If it's automotive paint then a solvent paint reducer or thinner can be used to remove it. I usually use lacquer thinner, works fast and removes most paint spills. Now if it's house paint, then scrape off the excess with a blunt knife and pull out the Goof Off, try not to spread it out to much, work small and from the outside in on the stain. I guess nail polish is a paint, but with this one use nail polish remover or straight acetone with a towel, and again work the stain from the outside in so to not spread it out to far.

Now this is probably got to be the worst carpet stain out there. The red stain in the carpet. This is caused by a # 40 Red dye that is put in a lot of drinks like Kool Aid and, red and orange sodas. If you run across this one there is only one way to remove it and that's with a strong chemical. I have found a product that I use on these type of stains and have had really good luck with it, it's called Red Dye Solution. There are others out there like Red Relief, and Red Out, all work pretty similar. You pore the chemical on the stain, and with a wet white towel and a steam iron you remove the stain. It is a time consuming project and with some luck all of the stain will be removed. Sometimes a little blue hue will be left from the chemical but it sure is a lot better then a bright red stain jumping out at you. But with a little carpet dye over the top and your good as new. You can find these products usually at your local janitorial supply shop or online. I'm working on getting some here on my site, so bare with me.

Stain Removal In Carpetcan be frustrating at times, but there is no substitute for a professional. These tips can help and may just save you but if you have any problems or feel that the stain is just a little above your head then do not hesitate to call an automotive interior repair professional like myself to come in a make your life a little easier. For those of you that are the professionals feel free to post your tips in the comments so we can all benefit from your expertise in carpet stain removal.

High School Wrestling: Building a Strong Foundation

I grew up on a farm in the Midwest. I engaged in a large volume of physical labor over the years. I lifted and carried thousands of hay and straw bales. I carried pails of corn and water. I carried bags of lime and feed. I dug fence post holes. I pounded metal fence posts into the ground. I pushed wheel barrows and swung sledgehammers occasionally. I carried rocks and chunks of wood. I pushed brooms and shoveled out bunks. I climbed an 80 foot silo occasionally. I walked all over our property. All of this activity helped me build a strong base of physical fitness. I was never “out of shape.”

When you are in the process of designing your wrestling conditioning program, you should keep the concept of general physical preparedness (GPP) in mind. GPP provides basic all-around conditioning in areas such as endurance, strength, speed, agility, coordination, and flexibility. GPP often involves using compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups. GPP can be weighted or non-weighted. General physical preparedness increases your ability to do more work. Therefore, the concept of work capacity is closely related to GPP.

According to conditioning expert Matt Wiggins, the use of GPP will increase your work capacity. With greater work capacity, one can do a greater volume of conditioning. Having greater work capacity is like having a bigger “gas tank.” If you have great work capacity, then you won’t “gas out” toward the end of a wrestling match.

A wrestler will absolutely benefit from improved work capacity. He will be prepared for intense work and will be able to recover more quickly. For instance, if you are wrestling three matches in one day at a tournament then work capacity and recovery are extremely important.

A wrestler must be prepared to wrestle hard for six to seven minutes. Improving work capacity allows a wrestler to train harder and more often. Remember to build a bigger “gas tank.”

Weighted GPP Examples:

  • Sled Dragging
  • Sandbag Lifting
  • Sledgehammer Swinging
  • Medicine Ball Throws
  • Tire Flipping

Non-Weighted GPP Examples:

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Burpees
  • Push Ups
  • Pull Ups

Athletes and Hard Work

Dan Gable spent summers during high school working for a construction company and a lumber yard. He enjoyed unloading trucks of cement bags and lumber. He lifted cinder blocks at the construction site. He got up at five a.m. so he could run four miles to the job site.

Boxers used to saw wood and split it with an axe as part of their training. They also used to do construction work that involved lifting, digging, sawing, and hammering. Boxing legend Rocky Marciano did all of that and more. He used to stand down in a pit and throw stones up out of it.

Another boxing legend, James J. Braddock, used to walk miles each day looking for work after his boxing career had stalled. Sometimes he would work on the docks unloading railroad ties. Braddock was no stranger to hard manual labor. When he had a chance to box again he went on to become the world heavyweight boxing champion.

Finnish powerlifters are known for their skill in the deadlift. Most of them had a background of hard labor, like lumberjacks, construction workers, farmers or something similar. They carried, lifted and dragged for their living. Similarly, legendary strongman Bill Kazmaier was an oil rigger and a lumberjack in his youth.

What I’m implying here is that hard manual labor is basically a GPP workout. As you can see, many great athletes have a background of hard manual labor. Does this mean that you have to work on a farm or on a construction site? No. Just find a good GPP program and work on building up your work capacity. You can lift sandbags instead of cement bags. You can do sledgehammer training instead of chopping wood with an axe. You can carry around dumbbells instead of pails of corn. Improving your work capacity will allow you to train harder and more often. Spend some time researching GPP and work capacity.

Working on your GPP and work capacity will help you build a strong foundation. As you enter your competitive season, you can start doing training that is more specifically designed for wrestling. Remember that wrestling is primarily an anaerobic (i.e. with oxygen) sport. The anaerobic system is what will primarily need to be worked after your season begins. Your most specific training will simply involve wrestling itself. If you have done a sufficient amount of GPP and built up your work capacity then the training to follow will be that much more effective.

How to Paint a Car Picture

So why is painting a picture of a car so hard compared to say a flower? Well, the main thing here with cars is if you don’t carry out every line in perfect proportion, if you just happen to make one little mistake then it can completely ruin the whole painting. The reason behind this is our brains are very good at remembering shapes and details around it. While a pink tulip can have different shades, come in different sizes, have different leaves etc, a car model remains the same, so when faced with a difference our brain will tend to spot it right away.

The idea is when you decide to start your next car painting, try to take your time and don’t rush the early stages, i am referring here to the part where you try to get all of the proportions right before starting to shade or paint your creation. Don’t let it get you down if you are not extremely talented with shading techniques or not the even the best with colors when you draw cars. The fact of the matter is, if you don’t manage to get the proportions right at the beginning the end result is usually a disaster. So you need to understand before going any further how important it is to get the proportions right. Which leaves us with the question of How do you do it? How do I do it?

Your first step is to start out with a clean sheet of paper, most preferably a pretty big one. Then go and find a picture of a car that inspires you to draw, a good picture of a car. This picture will now be used as a reference for your car painting or drawing.

Start of by drawing some soft lines on the paper, you want to try and get the general box proportion right. By box proportion I am referring to the most basic lines of the drawing such as the roof and bottom of the car. After having accomplished that, then start by adding on to your picture the front or rear of the car. This will probably be determined by how the car is positioned on your reference picture.

When you feel like you have done this and feel as if you have really nailed those lines well, then the next step will be to move on and start adding the small details to your picture such as the door handel’s, windows and the headlights etc. The next tip here is to not start doing the wheels to early because those are usually the hardest part. When you are happy with your overall lines of your car painting/picture then do the wheels. Then you need to take a well deserved break. Yes you heard right, make a cuppa take a time out. Why you might be asking? Well, this is an important step of the creation process as when you come back in an hour or so you will probably start to notice little things that need to be corrected which you didn’t happen to notice while you were drawing the car. So now add the small details and remember don’t start to shade and paint the car until you feel very satisfied with the cars shape and details. When you fell like you are happy with your design, then I would suggest you start to shade it carefully. Now how you shade it correctly is whole other topic topic, which I will be covering on my next article.

An Eccentric French Architect and His Dream of Rebuilding a Castle

If Axel Letellier and the Castle of Penne sounds a bit like the title of a Harry Potter novel, then sometimes that's quite appropriate. Axel is a man with a mission in Penne-du-Tarn, a small village in the French Midi-Pyrenees. It is not one that involves the triumph of good over evil exactly.

Rather it's about the preservation of ancient history and its fascination for children. Because do not doubt it: children are fascinated by what happened in the past. Dinosaurs, continental plates, witches and ogres, ancient Romans and Greeks, wars and plagues, giants and monsters, real or imagined, kids will soak it up with relish.

Axel is 34 now, a highly qualified architect. He is a specialist in the restoration of ancient chateaux and houses, meticulous to every fine detail from choice of materials to traditional tools and workmanship. His training and experience also means he understands (most people do not even begin to, and that includes French architects) the convoluted bureaucracy that surrounds efforts to reinstate old buildings and present them in their former glory.

There is no doubt that France loves its old buildings but it surrounds efforts to restore them with such a myriad of legislative requirements that the effect is to put off bewildered restorers. The buildings are abandoned for no better reason than that it's just too difficult to work through the layers of bureaucracy.

On top of that, grants or support for such restorations are minimal. You have to be very tenacious to go it alone. Axel Lettelier is clearly tenacious. Not only that, his determination on this particular project began at the age of 10. "My father bought me here then. I own it now. I bought it four years ago. I am a man of my word. "

Just what he has taken on is apparent when one first visits the massive promontory above the village of Penne where the castle was built around 950 and abandoned 450 years ago. It was closed completely to the public on health and safety grounds some 25 years ago. On 28 June 2010, Axel Letellier launched his project upon the press and public. To widespread acclaim, this remarkable architect with his passion to preserve and restore historic stonework, announced his future plans.

His wife, Sophie, a graphic designer, is developing an animated children's trail, complete with approbably attired medieval knights, weaponry, noises off and smells. Says Sophie, "It will be a very vivid illustration of what life would have been like for the soldiers here at that time.

The fortress teeters impossibly on the cliff edge, some 130 meters high and flanked by the Aveyron Gorge on one side and the River Aveyron on the other. The beautiful, unspoiled little medieval village of Penne with its 557 inhabits is eclipsed by the beginning monument reaching towards the sky.

The castle's origins are Celtic and over the centuries, the defenders were attacked by Romans, Franks and Saracens. In the middle ages, it was a Cathar stronghold and was assailed during the Albigensian Crusades. Occupied by the English during the 100 years war, the castle began to fall into ruin after it was sacked by the protestants in 1586 during the religious wars.

The soldiers fought back in various ways with a carefully zig-zag entrance path that ideally claims crampons and full climbing gear to mount. Unwelcome visitors could have seen well in advance and the three-part entrance way reflected a useful drop hole through which could have raised a multitude of stones upon the unsuspecting heads of guests. Later, it was axes.

So what is it that makes Axel Letellier want to bring this castle back from abandonment to real life? "It is my passion. I care so much about it. The people who built this, the soldiers who employed it. I want to make sure that powerful history is retained in the modern era, for my children, and my children's children." When he first visited the site, the very cliff edge supporting the castle had crumbled almost entirely away.

"It was a complete ruin." That made me very sad. I bought it with no planning permission to do anything with it and the Mayor of Penne was completely against me at every turn. "I have been through the French legal planning regulations on restoration of old buildings many times, for chateaux, other castles, old houses and I have good support from a specialist lawyer friend. I knew it would take time but that if I was determined, I would eventually get those permissions.

"Now the site is a hive of busy workmen working with traditional tools, carting materials up and down the steep path and gradually bringing the ruins back to life. fallen over the centuries down in the gorge below. "So far, I've spent about € 400,000 of my own money. I have no access to grant or public aid at all. We desperately need to raise more funds to continue. Rebuilding walls that are three meters thick, using traditional masonry tools and techniques, is a very expensive business. "

Plans for this year include the installation a visitors center as well as a cultural and educational center to portray the historical background. A battlement is to be reconstructed and what was the original library will be reconstructed and used for various events. There will be a 3D film depicting the construction over the centuries until the fortress was abandoned in 1585. "Yes," says Axel, overflowing with passionate energy for all his lithe and slight frame, "there is still a lot to do."

Ironman Triathlon Watch Facts – They’re Collectible, Inexpensive and Have a Fascinating History

The Timex Ironman Triathlon watch springs to mind for many when considering the purchase of a sport’s watch. Understandably, as the Triathlon model has been partnered with sports since it’s inception in 1984.

The connection was cemented in 1986 when Timex become involved with the famous Ironman Triathlon sporting event. Timex very cleverly aligned themselves with the Ironman Triathlon race which was in it’s early days in a stroke of what in hindsight turned out to be marketing genius.

The original name Timex Triathlon watch was then replaced by the name Timex Ironman Triathlon watch, the diving capacity was increased to 100 meters, a few cosmetic changes were made along with the trademarked name and a new icon in watches was born.

Urban legend has it that when the original watches were taken to the first Ironman race to test the market, the watches literally ran out the door (excuse the pun). Triathlon entrants all wanted one of the originals which created scarcity which in turn fueled demand and publicity. It was in those early days that the slogan for the Timex Ironman Watch “takes a licking but keeps on ticking” was coined and the famous partnership between the Ironman Triathlon and Timex as the major sponsor was born.

Timex has since developed a number of Ironman Triathlon watches ranging from fairly basic models with limited sports functions to top of the range high tech GPS and Data Link watches to meet the ever increasing demands of the Triathlon world. The basic Ironman Triathlon Watch still includes time, stopwatch (chrono), timer, occasion alarm, and three other alarms. More sophisticated models have GPS, lap timing, iPod interface and the ability to upload and download data from and to your computer (data link)/

The first of the Ironman watches were worn by military and law enforcement personnel as the watch was considered bulletproof and had a rugged look. That’s something that the Timex Ironman and Rolex have in common (perhaps the only thing apart from that they both tell the time), as Rolex watches were initially distributed during WW1 to enlisted men in the trenches.

In the early years the “Ironman Triathlon watch” was a man’s watch. Due to popular demand a women’s version which was smaller and also suitable for adolescents became available later in 1984. These early Ironman watches have become collectable and a quick search of eBay or collector’s sites gives a good indication of the prices they fetch.

The Ironman Triathlon watch didn’t change until the early 90’s when Indiglo was launched. This again proved to be a highly successful marketing move which was quickly emulated by competitors. Indiglo’s electroluminescence was trademarked by Timex.

Indiglo lit up the entire watch face in a brilliant glow and dramatic colors which was a great improvement over the previous glow in the dark watch technology where only the tips of watch hands and numbers were able to be seen in the dark. INDIGLO technology also used less battery than other back lit watches and was an immediate hit with consumers.

Later as fashions changed Timex made Indiglo more subtle with less flouro colors. Indiglo remains a popular feature of Timex watches, particularly in the Ironman Triathlon range and the Timex Heart Rate Monitor models. The brightness of the watch face is a great advantage for sportsmen training or playing sports after dark.

The next major change to the Ironman Triathlon watch range was the introduction of data link and body link which took the series to a new level of innovation.

The Timex name has often been linked to famous people and landmark occasions. Timex watches appear classless and are not subject to the status symbol positioning of more expensive watch brands. Timex are often seen being worn by the rich and famous and an often quoted example of that is President Clinton who wore a favorite Timex Ironman Triathlon watch during his inauguration (which he later donated to the Smithsonian museum). However, it is also true that President Clinton owned and wore a range of very elite and expensive watches throughout his term as president. Such as Panerai.

Timex Ironman Triathlon Datalink model 78401 graced the arm of astronaut Daniel T. Barry on the STS-72 Space Shuttle Endeavor . Even George W. was known to wear the durable and public relations friendly Timex during his time in office when the occasion suited. In another headline raising incident his Timex was mysteriously stolen from his wrist whilst in Albania.

A Timex Ironman Triathlon watch or any of the Data Link or 1440 series of watches are a rugged, long lasting watch with the respected name of Timex behind them.

In recent years other watch companies have given Timex some stiff competition, however, Timex is a household name and is synonymous with good old fashioned service and quality. Timex originally joint ventured with Walt Disney in producing the Mickey Mouse clock in 1933 and with their continued innovation and marketing magic it’s hard to foresee that they will lose their reputation as the most trusted, reliable and affordable watch any time soon.

When is it Too Late to Save a Marriage? Why I Think It’s Almost Never Too Late

I often hear from wives who are worried that they’ve waited too long (or not done enough) to save their troubled marriages. Many tell me that they think too much time has passed before they tried to make any positive change so they worry that there’s really nothing they can do to fix what’s been broken for a long time. And, many aren’t at peace with this and don’t want to give up. Many of these wives are looking for some latch ditch effort that’s going to repair their marriage before they are forced to throw in the towel.

I often hear comments like “when is it too late to save or fix your marriage because I’m worried that it’s just too late for us. Sometimes, I think that there’s nothing there anymore or that our relationship is so far gone that nothing is going to save it.”

Frankly, it’s my opinion that it’s almost never too late. I’ve seen couples who’ve actually been divorced get remarried. I’ve seen couples who had begun relationships with other people get back together. And, I’ve seen couples who can’t even stand to be in the same room eventually turn things around. In short, I’ve seen marriages that had long been left for dead rebound with a little effort, luck, and diligence. I will discuss this more in the following article.

If You Worry That It’s Too Late To Save Your Marriage, You Might Be Right Because Your Fears Can Become A Self Fulfilling Prophecy: I often hear from wives who say things like “I’m not ready to give up on my marriage. I actually still love my husband, but I know that it’s too late for us.” This is so unfortunate because the wife is going to give up, all but ensuring that she’s absolutely right about it being too late. If you allow these fears and assumptions to keep you from taking any real action, then you’re pretty much guaranteeing that you’re going to get precisely what you don’t want and what you fear the most.

If you truly want and intend to save your marriage, then you’re much better off vowing to take a measured approach, to do your best, and to wait and see what happens before you make potentially dangerous assumptions. It’s often best not to try to quantify emotions and relationships that often don’t fit into neat little categories. Focus on what you can control and try to believe that if you do that well, all of the other pieces will fall into place.

Times When It May Be Too Late For The Marriage To Be Saved: There are some instances where I’ve observed that the marriage is more likely to be over. These are instances where one spouse has been abusive to another (or to the couple’s children) and just can’t or won’t make any permanent changes to ensure that this will stop.

Another instance where marriage are sometimes over is when both of the parties has become completely indifferent and not invested. What I mean by that is that no one is angry, fearful, or jealous anymore. Both parties are at peace with the decision to end the marriage because both of them know that it came to natural end and that, although they did everything they could to prevent this, they fell short anyway.

However, I have to say that most of the time, this isn’t the situation that I see. More often than not, at least only one spouse is indifferent. Although it’s a bit more difficult to save the marriage when one spouse is indifferent (or thinks they are,) it’s not impossible if the willing spouse is able to make some noticeable and necessary changes on their own.

Instances Where It’s Not Too Late To Fix Your Marriage: Often, I will hear from people who tell me that they’re sure that their marriage is too far gone. They’ll confess that they and their spouse tell each other that they hate the other, fight all of the time, or are unfaithful. It’s as if they believe that if they can heap on a bunch of negative descriptions, I’ll finally give in and admit “OK, your marriage is too far gone. It can’t be saved.”

This almost never happens. Why? Because if people have taken the time to find and then ask me about their marriage, they most certainly are not indifferent about what happens to it. So, it’s obvious that at least one of the spouses is still somewhat invested and not indifferent. And frankly, it doesn’t always matter that they hate each other or are constantly fighting. Sure, they will have to change these emotions and behaviors. But the presence of strong emotions (even negative ones) at least show me that mutual indifference isn’t present.

And yes, people tell me that one of them are going to or have moved out. They tell me that they’re going to or have separated. None of these things derail me all that much. Because I’ve seen marriage such as this (including my own) rebound. I know that it can be done. The question if often not: “is it too late to save my marriage?” Instead it’s: “what am I going to do to save my marriage before it’s too late?”

Rather than worrying about placing a definition or restriction on your relationship, you’re often much better off coming up with an effective and workable plan. I learned this the hard way. Trust me when I say, it’s almost never too late to save your marriage, but the longer that you wait to take some effective and definitive action, the harder it becomes.

Real Estate 401 – The Option Period

The following article is not intended to provide legal opinions or advice, but only to educate buyers about the real estate buying process. You should always consult a lawyer before entering into a legally binding contract.

In Texas, the Termination Option, or the option period as it is typically referred to, provides buyers with an unrestricted right to terminate a contract to purchase property, for a specified fee within a specified number of days after the contract is signed by all parties. In layman’s terms, the buyer has the right to say, “No thanks, I decided I don’t want to buy your house after all.” Since this is an unrestricted right, there need not be a reason for terminating or cancelling the contract. The buyer does pay for this unrestricted right to terminate. Some of the more typical amounts I see are in the $50 – $75 range, but I have seen both larger and smaller amounts. The fee can be credited to the buyer or seller at closing, generally buyers are usually credited with the fee if the sale is completed but it is a negotiable item. The length of the option period, in days, is also negotiable but typical option periods are in the 5-10 day length.

Sellers are motivated to keep the option period as short as possible, since they are basically taking their home off the market and can have the contract to purchase their house terminated for no reason at all. In this case they receive only the option fee, which is a comparatively tiny amount. Buyers do occasionally use the option period as a cure for buyer’s remorse – the typical second guessing that buyers have after making a big purchase of any kind, but this is unusual in my experience. The option period is designed to be used as a time for buyers to have home, pest, septic and other inspections done and then renegotiate the price or negotiate for repairs if necessary. In this regard, a 5 day period is attractive for a seller but during a busy season, it can be difficult to get all inspections done and have time to negotiate before the option expires.

When the option period expires, if the seller and buyer have not agreed on specific repairs or price reductions, the buyer is agreeing to buy the house “as is”, as long as any repairs originally specified in the contract are completed prior to closing. Negotiating during the option period is done via a form called the Amendment to Contract. Repairs and price reductions are written in the proper spaces on the form and then negotiation commences per the manner described in the previous article: Real Estate 301. Often, the negotiation is done verbally between the agents and then the agreed upon terms are written in on this form and signed by both parties. Often when terms are agreed upon, the seller will ask the buyer to waive any remaining option to terminate, this is also done via the Amendment to Contract. This is to prevent the buyer from coming back asking for further repairs or reductions after an agreement has been reached.

Sellers are advised to refrain from making any repairs specified by either the original contract or the Amendment until after the option period is over. Unless of course, the seller intends to complete the repairs even if the buyer were to opt out, or terminate the contract. A seller might complete all requested repairs only to have the buyer terminate the contract afterward. This is another reason sellers often ask buyers to waive the option to terminate.

The Amendment to Contract also contains places to extend the option period if necessary to complete negotions or inspections. Once the option period is over, agents and sellers (and buyers) can breathe a big sigh of relief. It is one of the last big hurdles that must be cleared on the way to closing. There are reasons that could result in the property not closing, and plenty of things that must happen to ensure that the closing will occur but most of the uphill work is usually over after the option expires. Check back later for the next article in the series – Closing the Real Estate Transaction.

International Shipping With Different Types of Oceanic Vessels

There are several types of vessels which can be used for international shipping. Different types of ships are used for the various types of cargo that are transported. The design of each particular ship is a result of the specific needs of both people and businesses.

  • Container ships – These ships only transport cargo that is packed into standard 20′ or 40′ containers. The containers are then stacked on the ship, one on top of another just like Lego’s. This is the main type of vessel used foe the international shipping of personal belongings. This form of shipping has significant security benefits since no one can see inside the closed container and it can be lock and sealed.
  • General cargo ships – These ships transport various types of loose and even packaged goods. The numerous tons of fruits and vegetables are exported worldwide each year are transported on cargo ships. All major ports are well equipped to handle all types of cargo vessels.
  • Roll-on/roll-off ships – Vessels that ship passenger cars, trucks, and tractors. The name roll-on/roll-off describes exactly the way the vehicles board the ship. Usually through a ramp that leads directly into the belly of the ship. Almost all international car shipping is done using roll-on/roll-off vessels.
  • Bulk carriers – Bulks carriers are engineered for the shipping of large volumes of unpacked commodities. Business ventures in need of shipping commodities such as coal, rice, grains, and chemicals in bulk, will likely end up using a bulk carrier.
  • Tankers – Tankers are for shipping liquids. For example oil tankers are used for shipping huge amounts of oil internationally.

All these ships do their business in basically two ways:

  • Liner vessels – There are numerous shipping companies with liner vessels that travel along permanent routes. Their schedules are usually set like clockwork and, therefore, shipping costs are fairly predictable.
  • Charter vessels – Charter vessels function according to the whims of the people or businesses that employ them. Their routes, point of departure, time schedules and costs are a function of market conditions. A good example of a charter vessel is an oil tanker. As a matter of fact, an oil tanker does not necessarily know what his final destination will be. Even while in transport the oil tanker can still be redirected to the highest bidder. The same is also true for other commodities.

This concludes our first article in our series on the use oceanic transport vessels for international shipping. Next time we will discuss how goods, commodities, or any items are actually carried on the ships.

Is Air Duct Cleaning Necessary For a Condo?

According to the USEPA, The levels of some hazardous pollutants in indoor air have been found to be up to 70 times greater than in outdoor air. One major source of indoor air pollution is dirty air ducts. Each time the furnace or air conditioner is in operation, dust, dirt particles, debris, pollen, pet dander and other pollutants are drawn into the duct system. Over time, the particles accumulate in the ducts. The duct system eventually becomes the perfect environment for the proliferation of mold, bacteria, and other organisms.

The air is pumped through the system and dispersed throughout the home where family members and pets become sick. People with respiratory conditions such as asthma or people who are prone to allergies are at a greater risk of getting sick. Children and the elderly are also at a high risk of getting sick from poor indoor air. Fortunately, people now have the ability to have their ducts cleaned in order to improve the quality of their indoor air. People who live in condominiums have the same indoor air contaminants as homeowners and they should also have their ducts cleaned.

By having in-suite exhausts, heating/cooling systems, and clothing dryer units cleaned, Condo managers are providing residents with a healthy breathing environment. Dryers produce very large amounts of lint. There is a fair amount of lint that escapes the lint trap and gets into the vent system. Over time the accumulation of dryer lint can create a risk of a fire. Because lint is a highly flammable material, many insurance companies and fire departments require dryer vents to be inspected and cleaned regularly. Blocked airways and heat can cause lint to catch fire.  Also, dryers that do not vent correctly are less efficient and therefore are more expensive to operate. Cleaning laundry vents and exhaust systems are essential to reducing the risk of a fire and improving energy efficiency.

When there is improper air ventilation, the indoor air becomes contaminated with air pollutants. The decrease in air ventilation results in Condo residents breathing bad air. The air duct cleaning method used by many cleaning companies consists of a portable power vacuum and an air compressor. This type of unit, or a similar designed unit, allows technicians to reach and thoroughly clean a Condo’s entire duct system. The cleaning units are quiet so residents will not be disrupted.  Most companies use the most current duct cleaning equipment technology available. For example, robotic duct cleaning equipment is fast becoming a popular choice for many companies.

Many building are now becoming afflicted with a condition called ‘Sick Building Syndrome,’ including Condos. This term means that a building or home has contaminants in it that are making the occupants sick. Some main causes of Sick Building Syndrome include: toxins in such items as upholstery, carpets, treated wood products, cleaning products, as well as pesticides and certain types of plastic material that can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air, including formaldehyde. Biological contaminants can include pollen, bacteria, viruses, and molds.

Dirty or moist air ducts provide the perfect home for the accumulation of debris, dust mites, and organisms. This can result in ‘sick building syndrome.’ Because Condos can have an extensive duct system, it is essential to have the systems cleaned regularly in order to maintain healthy indoor air for the condo residents.

How to Make Silicone Moulds Without Air Bubbles

One of the biggest problems facing many small scale mould makers is air bubbles in their silicone moulds. The bubbles inside the silicone rubber mould itself are generally not a big problem. The problem is when the air bubbles form at the casting surface making the mould unusable.

There are several methods to use to ensure bubble free silicone moulds:

1) Special pouring techniques

2) Applying compressed air

3) Using Vacuum to remove bubbles

4) Using pressure to force air into solution

Special pouring techniques.

The surface where casting materials meet silicone moulds is the most important part. It is therefore essential that special care is given to ensure no bubbles form when pouring the silicone rubber into the mould box and onto the model. It is important not to simply pour the rubber over the top of the model in one go. Start by pouring a small amount of rubber into the mould box and start tilting it in different angles to make the rubber slide over all surfaces. This wets the surface of the model with a fine film of rubber and any air bubbles can be easily seen and popped with a pin or paint brush.

You can also use a paint brush to apply this first fine film of rubber to the surface of the model. Choose the method which works best for your silicone moulds.

Once you are satisfied that all the bubbles have been popped you can pour the rest of the mould making rubber into the mould box. Pour from as high a point as possible in a fine stream so that any bubbles in the mixture will pop on the way down. Aim this stream into the corner of the mould box and not on top of the model.

Applying compressed air to your silicone moulds.

If you have access to an air compressor you have an effective way of popping air bubbles. Ensure that you have about 30psi pressure and a small nozzle tip and after pouring the first small amount of rubber into the mould box blow the material over the model to wet the surface in a similar way to the first method. The first film of rubber should be bubble free.

Continue with the remainder of the rubber as described in method one.

Using Vacuum to remove air from your silicone moulds

Bubbles are usually a result of air beaten into the rubber during the mixing process. Ensure that you stir the mixture in a steady and slow action. There will still be air in the mixture however and this can be removed with the aid of a vacuum chamber.

These vacuum chambers use a vacuum to suck out any air bubbles in the mixture and bring them to the surface where they can be easily removed. Each vacuum chamber has their own instructions on how to use it but the following is a guide:

1) Use an oversized container for mixing. Allow for the mixture to double in size when placed in the chamber.

2) Mix both part A and part B in the container and place into the chamber. Close the chamber and start the vacuum pump.

3) The mixture will start rising to the top of the container. All the air bubbles in the mixture will rise to the surface. As the mixture approaches the top of the container release the valve which breaks the vacuum and the mixture will drop to the bottom and the air bubbles will pop. Do this two to three times to ensure all bubbles are removed.

4) Release the vacuum one final time and take the mixture out of the chamber. It is now ready for pouring.

The use of a vacuum chamber is usually only possible for mould rubbers which take a fair amount of time to set. Some of the quicker setting silicone rubbers will set too quickly and you won’t have the time to vacuum the bubbles out. Make sure you check the label on the product you are using.

Using pressure to force air into the solution.

This technique is useful for quicker setting mould making rubbers. It works on the principal of forcing air into a pressure vessel with the mixed moulding rubber. The pressure of the air will press down on the material and squeeze the air bubbles out.

The pressure vessels are freely available and are usually used by painters for spray painting. Here is the procedure:

1) Choose a mould box which fits inside your pressure vessel. Also check the setting times for your mould making rubber to know how long you have to work.

2) Mix and pour the mould making material into the mould box over the model.

3) Seal the pressure vessel and pressurise it to 60-100psi.

4) Let the mould making material set while under pressure in the vessel. Most mould making rubbers work really well with this technique.

If you are still getting air bubbles after trying some of these techniques get in contact with your supplier for further advice about the product you are using.

By Stan Alderson

Mentoring For Free Review That Could Save You Money

Do you enjoy getting stuff for free? I do. If you are like me then you’re going to enjoy this training program offered by Michael Dlouhy, where their message claims “It’s not your fault that you have not found success in MLM.”

In this review, I’ll go into detail about the pros and cons of MFF as somebody who experienced it firsthand, but is no longer affiliated with the program. I’ll leave the conclusion up to you as you will have all the information you need to make an informed decision about the inner workings of this program.

Mentoring For Free offers all the training you could possible want in the form of live and archived conference calls, e-books, and support from your “Mentor.” They offer a free e-book entitled “Success in 10 Steps” which highlights the secret ingredients to having success in this industry. Within this book are the 5 Pillars that you should use to judge every company by before you decide to join them.

One of the 5 Pillars requires that your company be older than 2 years old, claiming many companies fail in their first 2 years. While I agree that youth works against some network marketing companies, there are exceptions to this rule. It would be hard to promote an e-book that disagrees fundamentally with my primary company and it would be equally as hard to sponsor prospects into that company.

The logic behind Mentoring For Free is sound.

  • Educate people already in or considering network marketing about the industry and what it takes to be successful.
  • Teach them how to market this e-book, which will also teach them valuable marketing skills.
  • Recruit them into your primary network marketing company.

I’ll start with the positives:

  1. Informs people about the realities of Network Marketing
  2. Great training and mentoring
  3. Incorporates a system to teach you marketing skills
  4. Free e-book was a nice lead-in to offer value

Here were some not so positive aspects I found:

  1. Rather than brand yourself as a leader, you advertise for Michael Dlouhy.
  2. The program cost $20/month to have a replicated website to promote the system, but the site needs an updated look and feel.
  3. If your company doesn’t match the 5 pillars you’re in a difficult recruiting position.
  4. No affiliate program means there is no money to be made with the program whatsoever.
  5. I found the back office difficult to navigate and it was badly in need of a makeover.
  6. There are only a few companies in the entire world that fit the 5 pillars and one of them happens to be Michael Dlouhy’s primary company, Vitamark.

After really digging into the back office, training calls, and speaking with my “free mentor” it really came down to a marketing budget cut. When you are building a network marketing business you really have to watch where you are spending your money and time. I couldn’t justify spending $20/month and all that time marketing a system where I was not being branded as a leader. This is Mike Dillard 101. When you consider there is no chance to earn affiliate commissions, I realized very quickly that this program was not in my long term plans.

The Fish Pot is Michael Winner’s Favourite Barbados Restaurant 2007

Every year Michael Winner spends his Christmas holiday in Barbados, staying at the world renowned Sandy Lane Hotel. It is arguably one of the most exclusive places in the world to see and be seen at that festive time of year, with room rates approaching $3,000 per night with a 14 night minimum stay required. Food and drink not included. Release the hounds!

And as he does every year upon his return to London, Michael Winner publishes a Barbados Restaurant Review in the Sunday Times “Winners Dinners” column. Restaurant managers and owners are known to go into DEFCOM 3, high alert when “Winner, Sandy Lane, 444-2000” appears in their reservations book. His ascerbic (some claim cruel) wit and take no prisoners style of restaurant reviewing has both fans and detractors agreeing on one thing: you either love him or hate him.

Michael Winner has made more than 30 films in his career as a director. His best known film was probably DEATH WISH, starring Charles Bronson. But his weekly Winner’s Dinners column for The Sunday Times is how he is best known to foodie’s in the UK and USA. He visits the world’s top restaurants and then delivers a tell all recap of what went wrong, right or both.

In his recently published Barbados Review on February 10th, Michael Winner mentioned how the food at Sandy Lane had dipped last Christmas season. However, he still ate 35 lunches and dinners there, only going out seven times. One of the restaurants he visited was The Fishpot – a restaurant he had never visited in the 25 years of coming to Barbados. The Fishpot Restaurant, with its 21 room hotel across the street, is owned by Andrew and Patricia Warden. Winner declared The Fish Pot to be “absolutely terriffic…”

Mr Winner was not so kind to The Cliff, calling it “that so-called great Barbados dump.” Twisting the knife, he went on to say it was “the most overbooked, second-rate place in the world.” Ouch. We do not share Mr Winner’s vitriol having dined there recently ourselves with friends. A bit stuffy perhaps, but we were in our own little world and tuned out the little annoyances such as having the water glasses refilled mid sip—less is more, please. We will agree with his comment about the bored indifference cum affected attitude of the twenty something front desk staff but we found it all vaguely amusing in a WHO IS THE EMPLOYEE AND WHO IS THE CUSTOMER sort of way. All in all, more good than bad.

Another restaurant to feel the wrath of his indigestion was Daphne’s, sister restaurant to Daphne’s in London. Mr Winner said Daphne’s “occasionally has reasonable food but the service is so slow everyone complains in high volume.” We, too, have found the service to be spotty, but GM Marco Pavone works very hard to overcome the island time mentality of some wait staff that is the Achille’s heel for most Barbados restaurants. Daphne’s consistently delivers quality and innovative Italianbbean cuisine and you simply can’t beat the view.

But No. 1 on Mr Winner’s Barbados Hit List was The Fishpot. “You turn left out of Sandy Lane and drive 25 minutes, passing endless hoardings hiding upcoming apartment blocks and foreboding signs on wasteland reading, Prime residential site for sale. Eventually you come to old Barbados. There are little wooden houses, market stalls by the beach, cane fields and an aura of better times.” That is a Bajan version of MAPQUEST. “At the Fishpot you sit right by the sea, in an old 17th-century fort. It’s tranquil. It’s beautiful. It’s what Caribbean life should be.”

Michael Winner first went for lunch with Richard Hanlon, who he says is his “favourite interior designer”, and was so impressed he returned for dinner with music mogul Lucian Grainge and his wife.

“For lunch the Fishpot had fresh local lobsters, which is more than Sandy Lane could offer at the time. They presented lobsters from Belize which must have been on ice so long all their spirit and structure had departed.”

There is another Restaurant Review coming out shortly and we understand he talks about another of our favourite restaurants, the Lone Star. Winner has long been a fan of Lone Star but you just never know if an ill WINNER will be blowing. We await your words, kind Sir, with bated breath.

Blending Hair Lines For Male Waxing Clients

When waxing male clients we are often left with clear hairlines between waxed and unwaxed areas of the body. A classic example of this is during a back and shoulder wax, most men will have the shoulders waxed to follow the deltoid muscle. This has the advantage of keeping the hairline above the t-shirt sleeve, but for a particularly hairy client this may still be a problem.

There are several methods you can use to help blend in this hair line, usually a combination of them yield the best and most natural look.

Before you start waxing ensure you consult with the client about how far they want the waxing to go. Be conscious of where clothes are worn, for example the hairline for the shoulders would normally be above the t-shirt. On the abdomen and back check where the client usually where their trousers – if they are quite low cut you may need to go a little further down than normal.

When looking at the client’s body before beginning the treatment, look for areas where the hair changes direction. These often give an excellent working line that you can wax to.

Sometimes when you want to leave a particularly straight line you can apply strip wax across the hair growth and then remove in the usual direction against. This is done after you have completed the body of the waxing, wax to the edge you wish to leave and then go along with a thin line – only a cm or two wide over the hairline to straighten it out.

This is a technique I often use along the side of the body. The hair generally grows in towards the spine, you can run a line of wax down the side of the body to give a straight edge and then remove with strips as usual.

Once you have a hair line you are happy with you can now blend it in. To start with use your clippers, trim the hair down slightly just at the edge of the line, this will take out some of the weight which will look better. If the client is particularly hairy you may wish to suggest that they have some of their hair trimmed. For example if they have just had a back and shoulder wax, up sell a chest trim to tidy it up and give a more natural look.

The second technique is again using strip wax, this time apply the wax directly onto the strip – not the clients body. Fold the strip in half in on itself and very gently press the two wax sides together. This reduces a lot of the stickiness of the wax, so now you can wax directly over the hairline but you won’t remove all of the hairs only some of them which then thins it out.

Plastic Slip Sheets – A Good Option For Construction

The construction of the foundation has to be a fairly exact science. If everything is not calculated correctly, many issues can arise. Experts have devised many construction tricks and techniques that are used to avoid potential pitfalls during the building process. One of these involves the usage of plastic slip sheets. Using a slip sheet as reinforcement has been successfully used for many years in construction.

What is a Plastic Slip Sheet?

A slip sheet is a piece of plastic, typically polyethylene. It can be made in varying thickness, but it is often used in a 10ml form. Like the name suggests, the slip sheet is used to reduce friction and prevent movement or slippage. Using plastic slip sheets as reinforcement in foundation building helps to prevent cracking.

The Post-Tension Process

Slab-on-grade foundations are one of the most commonly used types of foundations in the United States. These foundations are quick and inexpensive to build (which is why they are so popular); however, they can be prone to cracking during the curing stage. Concrete can shrink as it dries; this can cause cosmetic damage to future floor finishes like tile, vinyl, wood, and carpeting. The type of soil – called expansive soil – is what ultimately causes the shrinkage and cracks. Expansive soil shrinks and swells as the water content changes.

To avoid the cracks, a process using plastic slip sheets is generally used. This process is called post-tensioning. Post-tensioning compresses the concrete, which helps it to resist shrinking and cracking that can be caused by the difficult soil conditions. In order to post-tension a slab foundation, steel strands are run through the concrete in a squared grid pattern. Each strand of steel is covered in plastic sheathing that protects the steel from corrosion and allows it to move during the stressing operation. The strands have an anchorage on each end. Each strand, along with its sheathing and anchorage, is called a tendon.

During the post-tensioning process, the tendons are usually stressed along one end; however, sometimes they are stressed along both ends. When they are stressed, the steel stretches — but it is kept in place by the anchorage. This works to compress the concrete, which, in turn, works to keep the concrete from cracking.

How are Plastic Slip Sheets used with Post-Tensioning?

The plastic slip sheets are installed directly below the slab, or between the slab and the bearing surface. They work to allow the tendons to move the slab smoothly across the ground. Without the slip sheets, the tendons would not have a flat, even surface across which to move. The tendons must be able to move easily across the ground in order to correctly stress the steel, as this is the only way in which the concrete will be compacted in order to avoid shrinkage and cracks.

If builders were to neglect to install plastic slip sheets – or if they were to install them incorrectly – the slab would resist moving, which would prevent the post-tensioning process from being successful.