• Tontec Touch Screen Set Up

    Setting up Tontec Touch Screen for the Raspberry Pi.

  • Weewx on Rasp!

    Installing Weewx and a La Crosse WS2350 Weather Station on a Raspberry Pi (RPi)

  • Arduino Capacitive Switches

    When I saw this Arduino capacitive switching demoed at UWE, Bristol I was sold on the little board. Pinball with paper clips and Maltesers!

  • Windguru Plugins

    Wordpress and Joomla Plugins for Windguru

  • Weewx QNAP
  • Which Winch?
  • Stoves for Woodlands, Bushcraft and Wildcamping.

    Buying a stove for your woodland or camping expeditions can be daunting with a vast selection on the market and strong opinions on the forums. Here’s my take on it.

  • Film Society

    In the bygone days videos and films were rented from shops on reflective pieces of plastic and magnetic rolls of ribbon. This is a software development task and an implementation task. (Taken from OCR 2507 Task 1 Jun 2006)

  • Magic 8 Ball

    The Magic 8 Ball is a toy used for fortune-telling or seeking advice, manufactured by Mattel and developed in the 1950s. Often used in fiction and for humour related to it giving very accurate, very inaccurate, or otherwise statistically improbable.

  • Dog Year Calculator

    Dogs do not age at the same rate as humans. Write a program that converts the age of a dog to the equivalent for a human.

  • Etch A Sketch

    Write a Etch A Sketch program that recreates the popular 70s/80s Etch A Sketch toy.

  • Cellular Automata

    A cellular automaton is a collection of “colored” cells on a grid of specified shape that evolves through a number of discrete time steps according to a set of rules based on the states of neighboring cells.

A Digital Ranch amongst the Wild Web

Ex-teacher & sound engineer. Now #Smallholder and #Woodsman working in Property and Electrical Installations. Into all things #STEM; #getoutside to walk, kitesurf and cycle.

So if you are one of the few lucky individuals to own a woodland you might be looking for a mode of transport that can be used to move wood and tools around your space.    Whilst there are a number of potential solutions, briefly covered below, this post explains why sit on lawn tractors provide a cheap and economical solution.

Other options:

  • 4×4 truck – Expensive compared to other solutions.   Can be used to get to the wood but requires wide tracks and large turning circles within the woodland.    Will still get stuck if used during poor weather/ground conditions.   A winch is almost essential if operating on hilly ground.
  • Tractor – Expensive and cannot be used easily over long distances outside the wood so will need to be stored on site.
  • Heavy Horse – Has to be fed and cared for daily but provides an environmentally friendly solution.
  • Quads –  See Tractor.

What kind of lawnmower are we talking about?

Not any old sit on lawnmower will do.    What you are looking for is ideally a Garden Tractor (left) or even a Lawn Tractor (centre).   A small standard sit on lawnmower (right) is not going to work for woodland work.

Garden Tractors can usually be spotted as they have a horizontal drive shaft, PTO at the front and/or rear and bolts hubs.  Lawn Tractors are very similar but will typically have vertical drive shafts, single under PTO for the cutting deck and key shafts for the rear wheels.   However, the big advantage of Lawn Tractors vs Garden Tractors will be cost.

Things to look for when buying a Lawn Tractor.

  • Manual Gearbox – The ‘best’ gear boxes are Peerless and spares/replacements are readily available.   Other geared gearboxes exist and work.  Avoid hydro as they tire with age and are less good when under load on hills.
  • Rear Wheels – Do they come off?    Key Axles are terrible for getting stuck on and a careless attempt to remove them can mushroom the axle.
  • Engine Size – We have found that engine size is not as important as tyres and weight over the rear tyres.    The little WH A90 above has a 4 speed box powered by a 8HP engine compared to either a 12, 16 or 17 HP engine all on a 6 speed box.  They all perform equally well off road and we find grip is the limiting factor.
  • Tyres – The standard lawn tyres are not going to work off road.   You will need some more suitable tyres.  We have found that tractor style quad tyres work better than traditional tractor tyres because the finer tread allows them to climb over roots without slipping.  Check tyre costs and include this in your budget.   Inner tubes are recommended as well because you can run lower pressures.
  • Tow Hitch –  Lightweight pin hitches are ok but will bend if the overloaded or the trolley rolls.    Ball hitches work better.

Useful Information and other links.

Originally posted on the Small Woodland Owners Facebook Group (August 2017)

Morning all. Continuing the theme of small stove reviews I took some photos of our Ecozoom in action this weekend.

Initially when we got our wood we bought a Kelly Kettle Base Camp Kit for around the £99 mark.  And whilst it is easy to light and will boil 1.6L of water quickly I must admit to being disappointed.   The key negatives of the Kelly Kettle for me are:

  • Its stability especially when full – it has to have somewhere flat to balance the top heavy weight of 1.6 litres of water.
  • You should only really boil it full – boiling or heating it when half empty reduces the life expectancy of the Kelly Kettle as the water acts to draw away the heat of the flame protecting the metal of your kettle. This means you are boiling a lot of water for say two and cannot really leave it on the stove for that all important second cuppa.
  • The Hobo stove attachment is a bit of a gimmick.   We’ve attempted to use it twice now and the first attempt to reheat some JO Beans took an age.  Despite constant feeding with small twigs we struggled to maintain enough heat to get them hot.  We gave up after 20 minutes.   Our second attempt was with Bannock Bread and the same issue was apparent.   We struggled to get a gentle consistent heat through which we could bake the bread.

So looking around for alternatives we finally settled on and purchased an EcoZoom Versa for around £110 and are so pleased with our purchase.

Since owning ours, we’ve done the essential sausages and burgers on it, cooked veggie stew for 8 using a Dutch oven and made many teas and coffees and in our opinion the stove has a number of advantages over the Kelly Kettle including:

  • It has controllable heat as you can pull/push the long sticks from the stove entrance to change how much fuel is available and therefore how hot it burns.
  • Because you are using a normal kettle you can boil small or large amounts of water; kettles can be left on the simmer and food to that matter too;
  • Its safe to touch even when going (see photo) and is also stable due to the weight of the insulation – great if you have children on site.

If I had to find any negatives I would say the only downsides are:

  • Weight due to the insulation
  • You can’t skimp on fuel to get it started but that’s just a getting to know your stove issue.  Since getting to know ours we’ve successfully lit it from sticks taken from another fire we’ve had going.

They are comparable in price to the full Kelly Kit or if you are feeling the DIY easy to make yourself.  This one is made from a chip oil container and piece of flue pipe!


A film society has over 300 members who are able to borrow from its library of more than 1000 classic films. There is more than one copy of some films. The films may be held in video cassette form, DVD form, or, in some cases, both.

Members pay an annual membership fee that allows them to borrow films free of charge. Members can only have one film out on loan at a time. Loans are not permitted to extend beyond seven days.

The film society needs a database to contain details of its members, its films and those films currently out on loan.

The table of members is to contain appropriate contact details for each member and the date on which their membership fee next becomes due. It should also ensure that a member can only borrow one film at a time.

The table of films is to contain information about each film copy. It should store the name of the film, its director, its year of release and running time, as well as a brief synopsis of the storyline.

The loans table will identify which films are out on loan and to whom.

(a) Members Table


  • Create a table called Member to hold details of members of the film society.
  • Explain the reason for including each attribute (field). Give the data type of each attribute.
  • Identify the key. [6]


(b) Film Table


  • Create a table called Film to hold details of films owned by the film society.
  • Explain the reason for including each attribute (field). Give the data type of each attribute.
  • Identify the key. [5]


(c) Loan Table

  • Create a table called Loan to hold information about films out on loan at any one time.
  • Explain the reason for including each attribute (field).
  • Give the data type of each attribute.
  • Identify the key. [5]

(d) Data Input

Create suitable data for each of your tables. Although the film society has over 300 members and more than 1000 films, your tables need only show a sample of the records the film society would hold. You should not attempt to create the whole database. Instead, your Member and Film tables should each hold at least 20 records. Your Loan table should hold at least 10 records. You should choose your data to be suitable for producing sensible results in the remaining questions.

Include a full printout of each of your tables. Screen shots are acceptable. [8]

(e) Database Queries

At the film society library, members should be able to interrogate the database. They should be able to: print a hard copy report of information about an individual film title; print a hard copy report listing all films made by an individual director; and run an alphabetical screen listing of all films currently available for loan. Create interfaces (of which there should be hard copy evidence) that allow a member to:

(i) input the name of a film and output to the printer the information held about that film. Provide at least two sample reports.

(ii) input the name of a director and output to the printer a list of the society’s films made by that director (with the years of release and running times). Provide at least two sample reports.

(iii) output to the screen a list, in alphabetical order, of all films currently available for loan. Provide hard copy of one sample page of your screen.

[9 Marks]

(f) Mail Merge

Create an interface that allows the film society to send mail merge letters to any members whose loans are shown to be overdue. Provide hard copy evidence of your standard letter (with mail merge fields) and show that your mail merge produces suitable letters to all members whose borrowed films are shown as overdue in the Loan table. [7]


This task was worth 40 Marks.  It was a software development task and an implementation task that orginally appeared in OCR 2507 Task 1 Jun 2006.  All rights and copyright to OCR.  Please refer to the OCR Copyright Statement for further information.