What To Buy The Jet-Setter In Your Life

Gifts for Travellers

Stuck for present ideas again? If the recipient loves to travel then there are loads of tech, travel fashion or nostalgic gift ideas for you. Here are a few.

Who are the most difficult people to buy presents for in your life? The art of giving gifts has been the subject of a recent psychological study which looked at the amount of time people spend thinking up present ideas for recipients of either sex. This revealed that men took around 40 seconds to think up ideas for other men, but took up to 60 seconds when pondering what to buy for the women in their lives. Females involved in the study also took around 40 seconds when deciding on gifts, but there was very little difference in the amount of effort it took based on whether the recipient was male or female.

One of the best ways to come up with a present idea for your nearest and dearest is to consider how they spend their leisure time and what their favourite hobbies are. If you’re buying for someone with a love for travelling, then there are some fantastic options available to suit any budget.

Vim and Vigr Compression Socks

For those who travel long-haul, compression socks are a must to keep your blood circulating and prevent clots. But such items are not well-known for being attractive – until now. Gone are the rubbery accessories that are impossible to get into, and in their place are a full range of fashionable compression wear that will ensure your ankles remain the same size as they were before take-off. Your recipient will simply love strolling down the aisle in a pair of these.

Bespoke Personalised Maps

This gift is ideal for those who love to reminisce about their trips. The days of slideshows are long gone, but you can still proudly display memories of a favourite location in your home – they make a great conversation piece when you have guests over. Large wooden letters are a wonderful addition for the coffee table, bookshelves or sideboard and they’re incredibly thoughtful too. Have a map of your recipient’s preferred destination printed onto them – this might be a trek that they were particularly proud of completing, or a romantic spot where he or she got engaged. You could even give this gift as a mini-clue before revealing that you’ve also booked holiday tickets to visit this special place.

In-Ear Translation Technology

Who doesn’t love a bit of tech? And this gadget is the most useful of all for travellers who may be somewhat lacking linguistically. Google’s latest innovation is the Bluetooth Pixel buds headphones which pair with the Pixel smartphone.

By tapping the right ear, the recipient must say ‘Google, help me speak Dutch’, for example. They should then speak directly into the phone, where the app will translate your words into Dutch or another of up to 40 languages of your choice. If your recipient finds themselves in a situation where they’re unable to understand the person that is talking to them, the Dutch speaker can also speak into the phone where their words will be translated back into English, making the conversation complete.

The key to finding the right gift for your loved one, is to consider what they’re interested in with regards to travel. Are they passionate about the latest gadgetry, like to look fashionable on a trip or love feeling nostalgic about those special memories? Have a think about what makes them tick before you come up with some great travel gift ideas – and no-one will know if it took you longer than 40 seconds!

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Have Plans For The iPhone SE 2 Been Scrapped?

Why the Apple iPhone SE may not be replaced in the near future; rumours and counter rumours including possibility of new version with same design as iPhone X.

Apple’s ‘budget’ smartphone may not get a refresh unlike the rest of the range

It was widely expected that Apple would give its compact iPhone SE a significant refresh this year – possibly ahead of the launch of the next generation ‘main’ iPhone range slated for September 2018. More recent reports contradict this, however, and hint that Apple may leave the two-plus year old phone as it is for the foreseeable future.

What to believe?

The iPhone SE rumours

Since the SE has been on the market since March 2016 and is based on a body design dating back to the iPhone 4, a refresh or even full redesign seemed very much on the cards sooner rather than later.

Two predictions surfaced:

  • An all-new body design based on the current iPhone X to align with the likelihood that all iPhones will feature the X body style when the range is fully revised later in 2018
  • A similar body design to the present handset but with updated tech along the lines of existing models such as the 7 or 8 (the present SE features basically the internals of the 6S from 2016)

Possible ‘fade out’ of the SE altogether

Another theory was the possible natural ‘fade out’ of the SE as a phone model by leaving it unchanged before deleting it from the range at some stage. This is less likely as the SE is popular for one or both of the following reasons:

  • Its 4 inch screen makes for a compact body so appealing to those who prefer a smaller phone and don’t require a larger screen
  • The price point makes it more affordable compared to models further up the iPhone range – it starts at £349.00 so making it £200 cheaper than a 7 and half the price of an 8

On the question of price, while the SE gives users a ‘cheaper’ way into iPhone ownership, those who would like larger screens but find the buying new costs of Apple’s smartphone – especially the ‘Plus’ versions – prohibitive could take the refurbished iPhone 6 Plus route and save significantly.

Why might Apple not replace the SE?

It seems odd if Apple aren’t planning a refresh of the SE in view of how long it’s been on the market – bearing in mind the screen tech and body dates back even further.

The source of the rumour that there may not be a new SE is an accessory manufacturer, Olixar, who make cases for smartphones; they say they’ve had no word of a new SE model.

It makes sense that accessory makers would be in a good position to make predictions based on sound intelligence regarding forthcoming smartphone releases. They’re likely to get accurate industry information so equipment such as cases, chargers and the like can be designed and brought to the market in time for a new phone’s launch.

There again, the same company not so long ago thought a new SE was in the pipeline.

Other reliable sources such as industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks it more likely that Apple may not launch a new SE just yet simply because the company has enough on its plate with a fully redesigned iPhone range in the offing.

…But then again

Another theory is that, if the new SE (or whatever Apple may decide to rename it) does follow the slim bezel design of the iPhone X and the next generation of handsets, the company wouldn’t be keen to release it ahead of the rest of the range since it could steal their thunder.

It’s possible the entire range of iPhones, including a replacement for the SE, could be launched in one fell swoop in the autumn of 2018.

Replacing the current SE with a design based on the iPhone X body would be a canny move in that, while it could be the same compact size of the present model, it would effectively have a larger screen thanks to the very slim bezel design.

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Truckers are the Unsung Heroes of the Business World

Paying Tribute to The Men and Women Behind the Wheel of Commerce

The captains of industry who develop innovative products get all the plaudits. But it would all be for nothing without our transportation infrastructure.

The world is full of great innovators, who are credited with delivering products and services that have revolutionised our lives. Alan Sugar played a major role in bringing personal computing to the masses in the 1980s. Then at the turn of the millennium, Steve Jobs brought us the wonders of mobile technology and was largely responsible for the smartphone revolution.

Except that’s not entirely true. In Europe, and indeed across the globe, whether it is in the USA or the vastness of Australia, the economy really runs on wheels. Without road freight, these product innovations would never make it out of the warehouses and onto the shelves. Here, we take a look at the important role of the men and women who keep the economy rolling across the motorways, autoroutes and highways.

European road freight continues to rise

The latest available figures show that in 2016, European road freight transport went up by 4.5 percent over the previous year. This was the highest it had been in five years, and is the clearest signal yet of a continuing slow but steady recovery in the overall European economy since the dip experienced in 2012.

More than half of the freight we see being transported on Europe’s roads is travelling long distance. Much of this can be explained by the immense growth seen in emerging markets such as Lithuania, Romania and Poland. UK freight companies are seeing increasing trade with these markets and are offering regular groupage services, at least once per week.

Are there alternatives?

There are always alternatives, but as far as European transportation goes, none of them are compelling. Air freight is fast but expensive, sea freight is slow and inefficient, and as for the trains – the European rail network is at breaking point, and has suffered from so many delays and failures over recent months that shippers have lost all confidence in it. The entire infrastructure needs a major overhaul that will take years.

Meanwhile, road freight is cost effective and at the same time offers speed, flexibility, and reliability. And that is thanks to the unique individuals behind the wheel who often spend weeks on the road keeping the European economy flowing.

What does the future hold?

Technology plays an important role in every part of our lives, and across every industry. The road freight sector is no different. Already, freight companies are using technology to help shippers and receivers track their cargo in real time every step of the way. If there is a delay due to traffic congestion in the middle of Belgium, they will know about it, and be briefed on the revised delivery time.

Going forward, this is an exciting time for the transport industry. Electric vehicles are certain to supersede diesel at some point in the coming years, while increased automation and smart safety technology, such as automatic braking will make the roads safer for everyone.

For those unsung heroes who literally deliver the conveniences of the modern age, that can only be good news.

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The Most Powerful Free Marketing For Businesses

Car wrapping and commercial vehicle branding is an effective and cost-efficient way of marketing businesses, and has proven to be an effective marketing tool for a variety of industries, including trade, retail and hospitality.

 

Cost efficient

Billboards, TV commercials and radio advertisements are all effective marketing tools but are needless to say, expensive. You would need to pay huge rent for billboard space and air time on TV and radio, and these would need to be renewed again, usually at a higher rate, once the contract ends.

Commercial vehicle wrapping on the other hand is both effective and cost-efficient. It’s an outdoor and mobile advertising tool in one. Car wraps draw attention from people at a minimal cost and are designed to be changed easily so you wouldn’t need to worry about the vehicles paint and body being damaged. It’s not only a fantastic advertising tool but it also keeps your vehicles in good shape, protective from any dents and scratches.

Maximises use of asset

Car wraps make good use of our company car or van investments. Instead of your business cars being used solely for transportation, you can now also use it as a marketing means. Every time your company car leaves the businesses premises to deliver goods or services, it’s also mobile advertising all at the same time!

It’s a clever strategy as business vehicles travel around frequently, usually around the local area and sometimes further afield. Even when the vehicles are parked in the office or along the streets, it’s still advertising for the business.

Increases consumer reach

For billboards and road side ads, consumer reach only goes as far as where the board is situated – you can’t expect people who don’t travel in that location to see your ad. TV and radio advertisements only cover the market who are tuned into these media platforms – not to mention you have to choose peak hour-airtime to receive the maximum attention: and that can get pricey!

Car wrapping can increase consumer reach with very little effort required. Even with your business cars just parked along the road, or caught in traffic, your car-wrap message already reaches your potential clients.

 

So, if you’re up for some marketing savings and optimising business cars, car wrap advertising really does increase your brand recognition and makes the best out of those traffic jams!

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Thinking Of Moving Back To South Africa?

Tips For A Stress-Free Relocation

Moving back home is a big step, but with the right planning and attitude, there’s no reason why it can’t be a success.

If you have settled in the UK but long to return to South Africa, then there is no reason why you can’t move back. With the right planning you can make your move home as stress free as possible. Still, some concerns may remain. What about job opportunities, or finding the right property? Many South Africans worry that moving back home will mean leaving the pets that they have grown to love in the UK as well. To put your mind at rest, here are some tips for making a success of your return home.

Think about your finances

Before you move back to South Africa, it’s important to think about your career prospects. If the reason you left the country in the first place was to find work that suited you, then really take the time to assess whether you’ll now find those opportunities at home. Look at whether you’ll need to make sacrifices in your salary, and don’t forget to plan for your work/life balance back home as well. If you work for an organisation with a presence in South Africa, then it could be worth enquiring about a transfer too.  If you come to the conclusion that you’ll be well off financially, it’s time to start planning the move.

Decide on a location

Think about where you want to re-establish your roots in South Africa. Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Johannesburg are some of the country’s major cities, and it’s here that you’ll find a wealth of employment and educational opportunities. Each part of the country offers something different for returning nationals, so think about the interests and skills that you have cultivated in the UK before deciding on somewhere to settle down. Of course, if you have family still living in the country, you may want to live near them and rely on them for support in your first months back home.

Bring your cat with you

If you have a cat here in the UK, you will of course be worried about taking it with you. After all, flying a pet out to another country is a nightmare, right? Wrong! By letting Fetchapet Ltd take care of your cat export to South Africa, you can have your beloved moggy join you back home with no hassle. Fetchapet is passionate about the health and happiness of the animals that they look after, and will inform you of everything that needs to be done to ensure that your furry friend’s journey goes off without a hitch. They’ll even provide a custom-made carrier so that your pet can travel in comfort.

Will you make the move in 2018?

Most importantly of all, remember that you have changed, and so has your home. Expecting to go back home and find everything just as you left it will only set you up for disappointment. Think of your move back to South Africa as a brand new chapter, and embrace all the changes and challenges that come with that. With your pet by your side, it won’t be long until you are fully settled back in the country that you know and love.

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Cold Food Transport Brings Supermarket Prices Down

Positive Knock-On Effect Of Germany’s Efficient Distributions

Ever wondered why German brands Aldi and Lidl are claiming a larger market share of the UK supermarkets year on year?

Germany has been ranked top of the World Bank’s Logistic Performance Index which analyses the efficiency of supply chain networks in both domestic and international markets. Attributes that are considered when determining Germany’s position as world leader of logistics include the quality of infrastructure available for trade and transport, shipment prices that are competitively priced, reliability of delivery times and the ability to track and trace consignments.

Success Of German Operations In The UK

Synonymous with efficiency, it is Germany’s ability to produce top class logistics that is partly responsible for the international success of the nation’s own supermarket brands such as Aldi and Lidl. Both companies are growing steadily within the UK and are rivalling the biggest names in the industry. Aldi has recently overtaken the Co-Op to become our fifth largest supermarket chain with a market share of 6.9%, whilst Lidl has also beaten luxury brand Waitrose into seventh place with a healthy industry portion of 5%. The combined share of both Aldi and Lidl has increased 80% since 2013, proving that our love of German brands doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down.

Brits Love Low Prices

One of the draws of both these German supermarket chains is the low cost of groceries, which is made possible by focusing on a limited range of goods as well as the low cost of cold food transportation that has brought the food to the UK. As cold food transporters such as Kuehl Speed expand out of Germany to bring more efficient and reliable courier methods to the supermarket industry, Aldi and Lidl are set to double the number of UK stores they hold. This in turn will continue the price war with bigwigs Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons, forcing their prices down lower to the delight of British shoppers.

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The Best North London Towns

The Growing Appeal of North London – it’s Not Just for Hipsters

Over the past 20 years, north London has become one of the most desirable areas to live in the UK. Which towns should be on your radar?

Go back to the 1980s, and places such as Hackney, Haringey and Camden were associated with crime, poverty and post war slums. Yet anyone who has not visited between then and now – perhaps one of those legendary gangsters who fell foul of the law and has been “away” – would literally be unable to recognise the north London of today.

It is easy to label it the Shoreditch Effect – but the shabby chic and pop up shop culture that brought the word hipster into the common vocabulary only tells a small part of the story. Despite challenges in the broader economy, Islington letting agents have seen a steady increase in demand for properties among people from all walks of life and demographics. Young and old, single professionals and growing families, all are flocking to north London.

Here, we lift the lid on some of the most popular communities, along with what makes them so tempting to those seeking a slice of north London life.

Islington

You can walk into the city from Islington in less than 30 minutes should you wish to do so, yet stroll down Camden Passage and explore the antique shops, clothing boutiques and street traders, and you will think you are in a small market town. Emerge into the air of Upper Street, and you are faced with a dizzying array of eateries. Food critics often call it “supper street,” and with good reason.

A community with a somewhat bohemian history, Islington still has a unique character, and plenty of cultural attractions, such as the Screen on the Green and the famous Almeida Theatre.

Finsbury Park

While Islington basks in its history, Finsbury Park, lying just to the east of Holloway Road, is writing its own story. This is exactly the sort of place you would have steered clear of 30 years ago. Today, a range of redevelopment and regeneration projects have given birth to a whole variety of modern homes, accompanied by no end of cafes, bars, restaurants and shops.

While the area is growing increasingly popular with wealthy professional couples and families, it is still home to plenty of second and third generation immigrant families. It all makes for a vibrant and cosmopolitan community.

Kentish Town

Kentish Town used to be seen as a great spot to live for those who like the hustle and bustle of Camden but want to live a little outside it. This is certainly true, but it misses the point in as much as Kentish Town has plenty going for it in its own right, and is more than just a “Camden overspill.” Kentish Town has a great range of pubs, clubs and nightlife, with something to suit every age and taste, from a quiet pint to a night of dancing.

The properties are largely of the traditional Victorian terrace variety, many of which have been converted to flats, although there are some exciting new developments appearing in converted industrial premises too. There really is something for everyone, so call Stadium Residential today to view your new home!

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Common UK Pests

A run down of the most common pests found in UK homes from the tiniest dust mite to the larger rodents such as rats. When a pest isn’t a pest such as the honeybee.

An overview of the most annoying, disruptive and common pests in the home

Along with invited visitors, our homes can also unfortunately play host to certain unwanted visitors in the form of common pests. From tiny fleas and mites to larger creatures such as rats, pests come in all shapes and sizes and can cause damage, injury and disease to name just three hazards.

Here are some of the most common types; fortunately, prevention can help stop many pests from appearing in the first place, and pest controller services with effective disposal techniques and equipment can help get rid of those who do decide to pay a visit.

Bed bugs and dust mites

Bed bugs and dust mites are common household pests, and so tiny they can hardly be seen with the naked eye. Both can cause allergic reactions amongst humans, and in order to keep them at bay areas need to be kept dust free and (in the case of bed bugs) bedding needs to be cleaned and changed regularly.

Careful vacuuming and treating with specialist sprays can help.

Moths

They don’t cause a health risk and the majority of the 2,000-plus species are harmless,  but some ‘qualify’ as pests due to the damage their larvae can cause to clothing and soft furnishing materials.

Delicate and expensive fabrics such as silks are at risk as the moth caterpillars like to eat the protein (keratin) in natural materials including wool and cotton.

Ants

Ants often nest outside on lawns, in warm soil or under paving but aren’t thought to be hazardous in themselves although the idea of an army of them marauding through food cupboards is enough for most householders to seek their removal.

A small infestation may be dealt with by ant killers available in supermarkets and DIY stores while a larger infestation may need pest control experts.

Cockroaches

A dangerous pest in that they can carry diseases such as salmonella, gastroenteritis and dysentery amongst others.

They’re very tough insects and breed quickly so require swift action from a pest control expert to stop an infestation before it gets out of control. Like many pests, they’re attracted to warmth, food and water so keeping food out of the way and not allowing water to collect in old vessels are basic ways to prevent them appearing.

Wasps

Mainly a nuisance because of their sting, wasps are more active in the milder summer and spring months. They may build a nest in or around your home such as in the loft, the eaves or in another space or cavity.

If you suspect you have a nest of have definitely noticed one, then professional removal is recommended as the DIY approach can be dangerous; wasps disturbed may well attack in larger numbers and this could be doubly dangerous if you’re accessing the nest up a ladder or entering a confined space such as a loft.

A word about

Bees

Bees are not pests but some may nest in or around your home. Like wasps, they sting so DIY removal is not recommended. They’re less aggressive than wasps and, depending on exactly where the nest is and how large it is, it may be left safely and the bees will die out naturally at the end of the summer.

Honeybees can be removed with the help of the British Beekeepers Association but they can’t help with other types of bee such as bumblebees and solitary bees. This page on their website shows the differences.

Flies

A common sight as most properties experience the odd fly or two in the warmer months, but they are dangerous pests and can become an overwhelming infestation if left unchecked – some species can go from egg to adult in just a week.

Flies carry some nasty diseases such as salmonella and E coli.

As with many other pests, flies are attracted to food and thrive in less hygienic environments so keeping food under cover, or preferably away from the open, will help as would something as basic as a deep clean of an area and denying access by shutting windows and doors and using fly screens.

Keeping bins and standing water covered is a sensible move, and in areas where food is prepared fly boxes or electric fly killers are effective.

Mice

Extremely distressing and annoying pests to have in your midst, mice can cause damage through their gnawing and spread disease through their droppings and urine.

They only need the tiniest gap to access your property, and don’t require much food each day to thrive – a sliver of biscuit lying in a crevice or a handful of crumbs on the floor make a significant addition to a mouse’s daily dining.

Keeping any cracks, gaps and holes filled in (don’t underestimate how small a gap a mouse can get through) is a start in preventing their presence as is keeping food debris cleared up and containers on all foodstuffs as their sense of smell is highly acute.

You may feel inclined to try and get rid of a mouse yourself through using a trap or similar, but be aware there may be more than one around. A call to pest control experts should help not only rid you of the mice present but prevent them reappearing.

Rats

Perhaps the number one most despised pest of all, rats – like mice – can cause all kinds of damage to property through their gnawing, and spread highly dangerous infections through their droppings and urine such as Weil’s disease and salmonellosis.

Rats can breed very quickly, so left unchecked a minor invasion can soon become a full blown infestation.

As with mice above, rats thrive on untidy environments where food is available. Therefore, refuse bins inside and outside should be kept covered and emptied as frequently as possible; areas should be kept clutter-free; don’t put organic food waste on compost heaps and keep food stored away in containers with well fitting lids.

If any tell-tale signs of rats are present such a droppings or gnawing marks, it’s best to call pest control experts in quickly.

Prevention and cure

The key advantage of using professional pest control experts to deal with your pest problem is, not only can they ensure their safe and effective removal, they’ll also help ensure there is no recurrence in the future.

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How to Stop Your Outside Tap Freezing

Keep the Water Flowing and Avoid Burst Pipes This Winter

Frozen taps are an inconvenience and can result in expensive damage. How can you keep yours ice-free during the harshest weather?

As homeowners, we face the same old challenges every winter, and often they are the ones we remember our parents facing while we were growing up. If the phrase “that tap always freezes in winter,” is familiar to you, then perhaps this is the year you will prevent history from repeating itself and do something about it.

When the temperature drops below zero, there is always the possibility of water in the pipes freezing, and plumbers in Edinburgh and throughout the UK will be expecting the usual flurry of activity as we reach the coldest months. You might think that a frozen outside tap is not a huge cause for concern, but it can cause serious, and potentially costly, damage.

Ice expands

When water freezes, the crystalline ice molecules are of lower density than those of liquid water. This means that when a given quantity of water freezes into ice, it needs more space – in other words, it expands, and if it is in a confined space, it will need to find a way out. This is one of the reasons it is so important to have antifreeze in your car – if you use neat water and it freezes, it will simply crack the engine open.

The same can happen in your pipes and tap if they are full of water, and the first you will know about it will be when the ice thaws and the water starts spraying out through the ruptured pipe.

What to do

You can reduce the risk by making sure all your pipes are adequately protected. Underground pipes or those inside the house should be reasonably safe, but any that are located outside are certain to freeze if you do not take action to insulate them.

Think which pipes are the most vulnerable – if you have lived in the home for a few winters, the chances are, you already know the weak spots. Don’t forget the pipes that are on an outside wall, or those that run through any unheated crawl spaces.

Switch off

The simplest solution is to simply shut off the supply lines to outside pipes and taps in advance of a cold snap. You will probably have a shut off valve in the supply line somewhere near where it passes through to the outside. Close it off, drain off any water in that section of pipe and there is nothing to freeze.

Of course, this is not a solution if you need to use the water supply, for example if you have livestock.

Insulating pipes

You can buy insulating sleeves that will do an effective job of preventing the water from freezing. These fit snugly around the pipe, and are then taped in place. Alternatively, you can use fibreglass or rockwool insulation.

Make sure you insulate every single spot, and be sure to go all the way around the pipe – this can be fiddly where it runs close to a wall.

Protecting taps

Finally, remember that the taps themselves contain water. You can but covers that fit tightly over them and will reduce the chances of them freezing. After a particularly cold night, check the taps by running off a little water whether you need to or not, as keeping it flowing will also help.

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Why You Need a Topographical Survey for Your New Development

Large projects, such as new housing developments, can often be costly affairs; therefore, it is imperative that the planning stages are meticulous and well thought out. A topographical survey is the very first part of the development process, and is the foundation in which your new project will stand.

 

Transforming sketches

Knowing what is on the land is vital, especially if you want your development to proceed without incident. A thorough topographical survey is like a window into the future, providing a vision on how your empty site will transform into a stunning new development.

Everything needs to be planned out, such as where drainage pipes will be placed and where to build foundations for a flat surface. Topographical surveys give developers the data they need in order to make the right decision the first time.

Saving time and money

The right information from a survey will allow planners and architects to foresee any problems that may lie ahead due to the way the land sits. The knowledge before the project can save time and money, as they can work their plans around the findings in the survey, rather than encountering issues half way through a build.

Everything from road markings through to maximum building heights and alignment can be included in a survey for a developer to work with, making a topographical survey an indispensable part of any successful project.

How a topographical survey works

Topographical surveys are conducted in one of two ways; either conventionally or aerially.

Conventional surveys are the most popular; they are carried out by land surveyors who look at the surface of the land and are generally still conducted in a manual fashion, despite the advances in topographical surveying technology.

Aerial surveys however are done by taking photographs of the land from the air. Two overlapping photos are looked at together to form a stereo pair that allow surveyors to see the ground’s surface from two different vantage points. This gives the surveyor a greater sense of depth than is possible with a single photo.

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DIY Car Repairs Anyone Can Do

Basic Repairs are Not as Complicated as you Might Think

Whatever the age or type of your vehicle, there are plenty of things you can fix for yourself, without needing to call in the professionals.

You will often hear car enthusiasts bemoaning the fact that these days you need to plug a car into diagnostic equipment and have the right software to do anything, and that the DIY mechanic is now limited to tinkering with those automotive survivors from a bygone age.

You also hear people saying: “never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” and that’s certainly the case here. Sure, if you want to get down and dirty with the engine management system, you’ll need some diagnostic equipment, but there are still plenty of areas such as renewing braking or electrical components and car paint repair that have really not changed at all over the years, and certainly will not need any special computer software.

Battery

With winter here, now is the time to be checking your battery. You used to get plenty of warning when a battery was about to die, with that slow cranking in the morning, but these days, car batteries give up suddenly. You can get a great price on a replacement online, and it will be delivered direct to your door. Fitting it is a cinch, as it just involves slackening and removing the two terminal connections removing the securing clamp, taking out the battery, slotting in a new one and reconnecting the terminals and the clamp. A few extra points worth noting:

  • Always disconnect the negative terminal first, and reconnect it last.
  • Keep the car keys on you in case the central locking suddenly deploys.
  • Make sure you’ve got the PIN codes to hand for the radio and any other systems.

Car paint

Minor paintwork damage is annoying. It can really spoil the look of your car, but you’d probably think twice about taking it to the bodyshop for a little graze sustained in the supermarket car park. Car paint in itself has certainly changed over the years, but the basic principles for its application and repair are the same as they ever. Be patient and allow as long as it takes to get a perfect key and you will be able to get a finish that a professional would be proud of.

Brake pads

Brakes starting to squeal? That’s almost certainly because the pads have worn down and need replacing. That’s exactly what friction components are designed to do, so it is a job that will inevitably come up from time to time. If the squealing becomes a grinding, you’ve left it too long and are starting to damage the disc, and that’s when things get expensive, so sort those pads out now.

Windscreen wipers

If you are struggling to see where you are going, you are putting lives at risk. Like brake pads, the wipers are made of a material that naturally wears down through usage, so if you are getting streaks across your screen, invest in a new pair of blades. They come with a choice of fittings, so look carefully at the old ones to see exactly how the clips work, and always replace them one at a time, so you will have the other one to look at as a pattern.

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Car Disposal the Best Way to Cash In your Old Car

They Buy, They Pay, They Take it Away

When your old car has reached the end of its useful life, use an approved disposal company to get the best price and avoid potential disaster.

These days, you probably have four or five different bins for different types of waste. Glass, paper, metal and plastic can all be recycled to reduce landfill and turn your waste into something useful.

When it comes to larger items, like fridges or televisions, there are special areas at your local tip where you can leave them, and they will be similarly recycled. But when it comes to car disposal, the options are not quite so obvious.

Selling your car for scrap

If you have something very old and unusual that has been slowly rotting at the back of the driveway for 20 years, you might find a collector or enthusiast who would be willing to buy it to strip off any useful parts to keep their own classic car running.

In the vast majority of cases, however, we are talking about a run of the mill, everyday car that is probably about 15 years old and has simply come to the end of its useful life. Hundreds of cars like these are scrapped every day, and a quick look online will yield pages of results. This search, for example, showed that if you are looking for a pre-2007 Ford Focus for £200 or less, there are more than 50 to choose from on Gumtree alone. Many of those are actually roadworthy, so it becomes immediately clear that if yours has no MOT and needs work to get one, nobody is going to offer more than scrap value.

Professional disposal

There is good news, however, and that is in the word “value.” A few years ago, scrap metal was practically worthless, and disposal companies would come and collect your scrap vehicle, but they would charge you to take it away.

Today, the process is quicker and easier than ever, thanks to the wonders of the internet, and you will not only get rid of the car easily, you will get some money back for it, too.

All that is involved is filling out a simple form, giving some basic information about the car, including its mileage, condition and whether there is any outstanding finance. The company will come back to you with a quote based on the market value, and if you are satisfied, they will transfer the funds to your account, and send someone to collect the car.

Benefits of using the professionals

The cost and hassle of trying to sell privately should not be underestimated. Even if you take out a free ad, like the ones on Gumtree, you need to be prepared for a flood of chancers knocking at your door. The truth is that those who are in the habit of buying cars privately in the sub £200 bracket are often not the easiest to deal with.

There are strict government rules regarding vehicle disposal, and you could face a fine of £1,000 if you do not inform them that the car has been scrapped. Not the ideal result if someone gave you £100 cash for it and took it away. A reputable firm will deal with all the DVLA paperwork on your behalf, so you know there will be no come back.

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