Standing Desk – Giving My Back Half a Chance

Gardening Peril

Spring was in the air and I managed to do my annual trick of pulling my back while gardening. It happens most years and it’s not only annoying but very inconvenient and embarrassing.

On My Knees

I had a trouble-shooting workshop up in London that I had to keep, so had to conduct half the meeting on my knees. Thankfully that was with some lovely clients that I know well.

Need to Change

I have virtually no problems throughout the year – just the first foray into the garden when my body hasn’t got used to extending the way gardening requires. Apart from banging my head on the wall while chanting, “I will exercise first before I do gardening”, I’m putting some other changes into place. I’ll be doing some remedial yoga and I’ve changed my office desk system around.

£600 – No!

There are  plenty of standing desks available online, but I couldn’t bring myself to part with upwards of £600 for one.

My wife had a great idea. Why didn’t I plonk the top of my desk onto a waist high bookshelf?

Standing Desk Come Bookshelf

The result is a lot more than impressive, it’s highly functional, very stable, doesn’t look half bad and cost me the sum-total of about an hour of my time to get in place including clearing off my old desk. See what you think.

 

 

Fats not Carbs

A lot of people, myself included, turn to carbs or sugars when we feel we are running out of energy. There is an alternative point-of-view that seems to be gaining a lot of ground: fats are good for you – carbs, less so. In particular, athletes can benefit from more sustained energy from shifting from a carb based metabolism to a fat focused one. The biggest problems I’ve found with this are established habits and taste. Slowly but surely though, shifting away from carbs is getting easier and easier – the effects are noticeable and the new recipes are generally interesting and inspiring.

Here are a few select statements from an article on the subject:

  • From a biological perspective, the body’s requirement for dietary derived glucose–which is in fact only needed by the brain–is absolutely zero because our livers can actually manufacture glucose.
  • When we consume a diet primarily composed of sugars and carbs we can begin to rely on glucose metabolism for energy.
  • This can lead to a number of problems including becoming resistant to important hormones that regulate blood sugar and hunger levels, and possibly even losing our ability to burn excess body fat at all.
  • When we become fat-burning machines we will have more energy, we will need to eat less and we won’t crave food any longer.
  • By switching to foods that are high in healthy fats–and potentially incorporating eating strategies such as intermittent fasting–we can actually retrain our bodies to be fat burning powerhouses, giving us longer lasting, more predictable energy levels and allowing us to shed unwanted pounds effortlessly.

Enjoy!

http://www.welcomevitality.com/home/how-to-burn-fat

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Tarp for VW Roll-out Canopy

This summer, one of the extras that I noted would make camping life for short stays a lot easier, is a tarp for the roll-out awning. It would provide an additional  degree of privacy, as well as wind and rain protection.

The cost of a 3rd party tarp (e.g. Brandrup) to fit a VW Cali canopy is around £160. The cost of a Quechua tarp around £20. The cost of a Kandor strip to fit canopy (6mm) channel around £15. As we have a good sewing machine already, the cost of sewing was around 30 minutes on the machine.

The result – a great, large, multipurpose canopy/ awning tarp. I’m extremely pleased with the result. And my wife is very impressed with my sewing skills!

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Kyham Portable Cupboard Repair

This summer, we parked the Cali for quite a few days in one spot. As is customary, I like to tinker. My  brainwave, for next year, was to set up an organised area in the awning. I have an old camping cupboard that would be ideal. But the joints have snapped which made it more like a jelly than a cupboard.

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This is a quick, relatively inexpensive solution that is not going to break anytime soon.

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I needed to pack out of couple of the holes for the thinner poles to fit well, so I cut down some old gazebo tubing together with some insulating tape to do the job.

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The cupboard is now rock solid!

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Going Solar

Having researched this subject for quite a while now, I was debating whether it would be worth putting solar panels on the roof of my Vdub, buying a portable array or just using hook-ups whenever I needed to re-charge the leisure battery. In the end, I decided I wanted the ability to spend several days at a time at campsites that would not necessarily have hook-up facilities. So I opted for these panels from Baird:

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Folded up – around 13kg so not so heavy and can be positioned to face the sun easily

They are not too heavy and I can store them easily in the bus when travelling. A couple of minor issues with the cables that were supplied, but otherwise seem to be very good.

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Testing the panels – steady 12.9Volts

I opted for 120W panels as these should easily cover our daily electricity use. Details on how to calculate this here. Fixing then up to the bus was not difficult, but entails getting some solar cable and connectors as well as some battery connectors. Details in pictures below. My California is a 2015 Beach – the wiring layout picture might be a useful reference for other Beach owners.

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Electrics under beach passenger seat
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Solar connectors attached to battery terminals
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Wires all neatly hidden and routed. The blue cable ties hold the routed cable securely Note solar plugs in seat side pocket – ready for attachment to the panel connectors

For security, I will padlock the panels to the bus with some cable, and to prevent any wind damage I’ll peg the units to the ground with some large tent pegs.