If you have a lovely patio or deck or a gorgeous garden, then you need to have excellent patio furniture in order to delight in it. There is no finer end to a busy day than sitting outside on the patio with a drink and a newspaper or a book. I like to sit in the garden after the sun has waned a small, but before the mosquitoes come out, for a few hours reading a book.
There are many different styles of patio furniture to choose from that range from classic to modern. There is also a full range of choice in that there are chairs, loungers, swinging sofas, tables, outdoor fridges, barbecue sets and patio heaters amongst other things. A full set need not cost more than $1,000, but you can start with a table and two chairs and build up your patio furniture set step by step.
The many choices you have when looking for patio furniture are the style and the material it is made from. Most patio furniture stays outside all day and all night in any weather, so it vital to get furniture that is well-made and weather-proof. All weather furniture is usually made from plastic-coated steel, wicker, massive wood or moulded plastic.
Whatever you choose, make sure that the guarantee makes your choice worth the money. For example, I mean, if the furniture costs $200, but has a 12 month guarantee, then you should be prepared to pay $4 a week for your investment and everything else is a bonus.
Another tip is to buy your patio furniture from a respectable manufacturer or a trustworthy retailer, unless it is massive timber furniture in which case you will want a reliable local craftsman. It depends where you live of course, but any patio furniture is going to have a hard time of it and it will stay outside sometimes no matter what your intentions are now.
Standard plastic patio furniture is pretty excellent and will stand up to all but the coldest of weather, which can make it become brittle. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can have the same effect on cheap plastic chairs. White is the usual colour, but there are others. Make sure that you buy something that will take your weight, especially if you are a bit on the heavy side. I have had legs of plastic chairs go on me, but luckily I was on grass both times. On concrete or near the edge of raised decking could be very serious.
Once you have selected your patio table, chairs and possibly loungers, there are one or two other things that I reckon are essential to allowing the full enjoyment of your patio deck. For example, if you want to use your outdoor furniture in the evening you may find it cold or you may be troubled by insects.
This need not be a problem. You can get a patio heater for quite a reasonable price. A gas patio heater will keep up to eight people lovely and warm. To complete your patio furniture set, you may want a mosquito trap of some kind.
Owen Jones, the writer of this article, writes on many topics, but is currently involved with commercial patio heaters. If you are interested in patio heaters too, please click through to Residential Patio Heaters.
A tennis ball is very distinct and are used by millions of children and adults all over the world for playing tennis, of course, but many, many other less formal games too. They are not only the right size for tennis, presumably anyway at 2.7 inches or 6.7 centimetres in diameter, but they also fit neatly into a hand or a dog’s mouth. Therefore people use them for playing catch, for various games of softball like rounders and for throwing for the dog to retrieve.
While I was a youngster, all tennis balls were white, but now you would be very hard pushed indeed to find a white one if, if indeed it is at all possible. These days, all tennis balls are day-glow colours like yellow, green and orange. Presumably this change was carried out for the purpose of visibility on the TV screen.
The word ‘tennis’ comes from the French – ‘Tenez’ (pronounced ‘teney’), which meant ‘Take up Position’ or simply ‘Start’. The origins of tennis were nearly certainly well over a thousand years ago, when it was played by monks. The racquet or racket was the flat of the hand and the ball was wooden.
No-one is really sure whether the next innovation was to wear leather mitts or to modify the ball to leather, but whichever it was, there was clearly a go to make the game less painful. When the ball changed from being wooden, it was manufactured of animal skin, most often leather, sewn up with sinews and stuffed with anything that came to hand, such as straw, wool and hair – animal and human.
The thing is that these early wooden and leather balls did not bounce, so the game was very different back then. In due course, the monks started using ‘racquets’, but they looked more like bats than modern day tennis racquets.
In Disraeli’s book, “Sybil” (1845), the plot reveals how Lord Eugene De Vere was to travel to Hampton Court to play tennis, so the game was a familiar sport then, but it took until the late Nineteen Century for the game that we know today to become formalized by a set of rules. In 1874, Major Walter Wingfield was granted the patent for the rules and equipment of ‘lawn tennis’ and not much has altered since.
The next year tennis courts were established in the USA and then the game of tennis spread like wildfire. Wingfield laid down the rules of the game and the sort of apparatus to be used. The game has not changed much since then in essence, but it has changed a lot nevertheless. The outline of the court is different now and science has been applied to the equipment to improve it.
The original ball in the late Nineteenth Century was manufactured of solid rubber and so would have been quite weighty, but at least it did bounce which instantly made the game more fascinating and more lively. A bouncing ball made tennis into a more fascinating game to play and a more fascinating game to watch. The rubber ball allowed tennis to be a spectator sport that crowds would pay to watch.
Contemporary tennis balls have a rubberized skin, which is about eighty percent rubber, filled with air and covered by a layer of ‘hairy’ felt. The felt is vital because it gives the surface of the ball more grip and can standardize the bounce too. It also gives the ball a more foreseeable flight path even in the presence of wind.
The last aspect of modern tennis balls is the air inside. This can either be pressurized or non-pressurized. Pressurized balls give a better bounce whilst new, but they lose pressure with time and so are less reliable, whereas non-pressurized balls really improve slightly with use, which is considered a benefit.
Are you thinking of holding a kids’ party on St Valentine’s Day? Then you would be wise to start thinking of St Valentine’s Day party games for kids as well. Kids are more distress when they are bored than whilst they are boisterous. Thinking up games is not much of a problem but there are usually two things to take into account: the age of the children and your finances.
The bouncy house always goes down well with children. You could hire a bouncy house for the day and hang hearts and flowers around the outside. Check on the Net first that the firm renting out the bouncy house is a member of your country’s governing body for bouncy house rental businesses.
You could split the children into teams and hold an assortment of races. One race could be the ‘Race of Hearts’, in which the kids have to run to the finishing line and back with a stuffed heart (or pillow) between their knees. It always results in lots of laughter.
Another race could be to ‘Wrap Mummy’ in which every team gets a few rolls of paper kitchen towel and they have to wrap up someone like a mummy as a present. You could add bows and a name and address tag as well.
The teams could play ‘Mr and Mrs’ in which the compare gives a well-known name and the teams have to click a clicker, bang a gong or ring a bell if they know the answer. The compare may say: ‘Samson’ the answer is ‘Delilah’; ‘Hilary Clinton’ – ‘Bill Clinton’; ‘Queen Elizabeth’ – ‘Prince Phillip’. You get the thought.
Split along gender lines, you could play the ‘King and the Queen of Hearts’. Do you remember those round sweets with a heart on them and a romantic saying in the heart? Well, they do not cost a lot for a colossal bag of them. Give each child 50 or so and question them to stack them one on top of the other.
Whoever builds the highest tower in a minute goes through to the next round. Two boys against each other and two girls until there is just one girl and one boy left. They can eat the sweets, obviously.
You could lay a target on the ground, say one of your heart-shaped cushions, give each child an uninflated sausage-shaped balloon and write his or her name on it. Then the kids stand in a circle around the heart, say ten feet away, blow up their balloon and let them glide (without a knot in). The first one to land on the heart denotes the winner. Or the nearest to it. You could have one go each per round or they could fire at will until someone wins.
You could play Valentine’s Day bingo. This can get as elaborate as you have time for. You could make your own cards with hearts etc on them; if the children are young, you could call out pictures instead of numbers, but the most amusing of all is if the caller makes up some Valentine’s Day slang to go with every number.
For instance, when calling bingo numbers in Britain, it is common to say: ‘Legs 11′ and a lot of people will whistle; ‘two small ducks, 22′ and somebody always says ‘quack, quack’. Every number has its own saying and they are used with minor variations everywhere. You could make up your own like: ‘two hairy legs, number 11′ or ‘two gorgeous legs, number 11′.
If you cannot reckon of something appropriate for each number, only do as many as you can – they always get a laugh and that is what it is all about when you are organizing a St Valentine’s Day party for kids.
Hybrid cars are on everyone’s lips these days. $20, $30, $40 or even $50 for a tank of gas? Who in their right mind really wants to pay that sort of money? But, frustrated, the gas consumer sighs, but pays up. But, hybrid vehicles are being applauded for the small amount of petrol they need to operate, and they are flying off the lots of car dealerships each and everyday in ever increasing numbers.
But, what about a plug-in hybrid? Most drivers have heard that these cars are fantastic too. Then, someone might be asking him or herself, what exactly a plug-in hybrid is? How they work, and what the difference between a plug-in hybrid and a regular hybrid is?
Plug-in hybrid cars are able to run solely on batteries, but they can also use gas also. These kinds of hybrid cars share some of the characteristics of hybrid vehicles. They are also very similar to all-electric vehicles.
Plug-in hybrid vehicles must be charged externally by plugging them into an electrical power source. The combustion engine of plug-in hybrid vehicles is engaged only as a back up. These cars can run only on batteries if desired, but it is expected that these kinds of hybrid cars are recharged every day.
Hybrid cars can go just as many miles as a conventional car. Designed to go the extra mile where gas-mileage is concerned, hybrids can be driven on the highway, in cities, or wherever else a person needs to travel.
On the other hand, plug-in hybrids are meant to be driven commuter-length distances, meaning between twenty and sixty miles. Used in this fashion, the plug-in hybrid does not have to make use of its back up combustion engine, but plug-in hybrids can go further using fuel as well.
Hybrids help to minimize pollution, but they still pollute the air. Compared with plug-in hybrids, hybrid cars still have a long way to go as far as pollution is concerned. Since plug-in hybrid cars can run solely on their battery power, they don’t have to emit waste fuel emissions at all.
Plug-in hybrids really do combat greenhouse gas emissions and plug-in hybrids use virtually no oil, imported or not. Studies have shown that electric hybrids emit at least 67% less greenhouse gases compared with petrol cars. Since the product used to power plug-in hybrids is completely renewable, the difference in greenhouse gas emissions may be even greater than the study showed.
And so there you have it. Those are the main differences between plug-in hybrids and regular hybrid cars. It makes a huge difference, but you would be surprised how small that matters at the current moment. And that’s only because plug-in hybrids are not being sold to consumers at this present time. But this article should get you excited about the wonderful plug-in hybrid car, coming soon to a forecourt near you.
And it’s going to be a spectacular debut too. People already really like regular hybrid cars, but they haven’t seen anything until they see the new plug-in hybrid cars. But, for now, maybe they should just be satisfied with what they have, because who knows? Before plug-in hybrid cars come out, something even better might be introduced onto the market.
Fishing is a thinking person’s pursuit. No matter whether you fish for a leisure activity, as a sport or for a living, you have to be able to outfox the fish you are searching for. Not just that, but unlike most hunters, you cannot see your quarry. You have to work out where it is likely to be and what it is likely to do.
Anglers normally fish alone, so it is not surprising that every angler has a couple of of his or own personal methods and preferences. This goes for any type of fishing, but it is particularly a fact of some fish. This usually means the huge and the clever (well, for fish) species. One of these clever varieties is the bass.
Bass fishing techniques vary due to several circumstances including temperature, season and type of water and coast line – whether you are fishing fresh or salt water.
If you are fishing for bass off a boat, then you are probably fishing in deeper water, because bass swim in deeper water while it is cold, so make certain that you have all the safety gear and that you know how to use it. Furthermore, you should become aware of your country’s or state’s legal requirements.
For example, if you take people out with you, you might have legal responsibilities or there may be seasons when you may and may not fish. These very from area to region and have to do with spawning and maintaining the levels of stock.
Bass experts have their own techniques, as was mentioned above, but a lot of bass fishermen recommend fishing at night. This is not a terrible notion as there is less likelihood of getting your line snagged up with others, particularly if you are fishing off a rock or the shore.
Fishing for bass at night is not a terrible system for other reasons too. Although there are different kinds of bass, most of them are shy and careful, so if they reckon that the water is over clear, they may choose to bottom feed. This is one of the areas where local knowledge and expertise plays a huge part.
Bass are cautious predators and also a small bone idle They prefer to hide themselves somewhere and wait for their victim to pass close by. Therefore, a rocky shoreline is perfect bass fishing territory in the summer months when the bass swim and hunt closer to the surface. In the winter, you will need to fish the bottom water where it is somewhat warmer.
Whilst bottom fishing, bass will be searching for small fish and sand worms, whereas in the summer they are feeding on the top and will not expect to find any worms. Then they will be looking for small fish and insects that have dropped into the water, like flies. Bass are meat eaters, so berries, seeds and bread should not be of much use, but hey, not all fish behave like the text books say that they ought to!
The thing to keep in mind is that local conditions matter and although fishing with a rod and line is necessarily a solitary and silent sport, especially in fresh water, fishermen like to socialize afterwards and pass on their expertise. So, if you are having distress with catching the fish you are looking for, join a local anglers’ club and mix with the experts.
Fishing equipment is called fishing tackle by specialists and hobbyists and it usually refers to rods, lines, hooks, sinkers, spears, lures, bait, reels, nets, and so on. The fishing gear that is attached at the end of a line is called terminal tackle
The word tackle referring to fishing equipment comes from ‘takel’ which first meant the rigging of a ship, that is, the gear consisting of ropes supporting a ship’s masts and sails. Later, the same word was recorded as having a different meaning, that of apparatus for fishing and that meaning has been preserved ever since.
The most rudimentary fishing equipment is made up of of a rod, a line, a hook, a lure, a bait and a weight or sinker. The line is a basic cord specially made for fishing that is both long, strong and yet thin, so that fish do not notice it. There are various questions that an angler questions when buying a fishing line, like its resistance, stretch, strength et cetera. The line will be selected based on what species of fish the angler hopes to catch.
The sinker or weight, also called a plummet, is really only a weight that helps in casting the hook and the bait as far as possible from the shoreline or from the boat that the fisherman is using. They are usually made of lead as their purpose is also to sink and to get the bait closer to the fish in the water as quick as possible. But, lead sinkers have been banned in some parts of the world, especially the really small ones, which are often called ‘shot’. If eaten by birds or other fish, the lead, which is known for its high toxicity level, will cause the death of the animal.
Another basic piece of fishing equipment is the hook. This device meant for holding the bait on the line and for hooking into the fish’s mouth. It is fastened to the line and the fisherman can choose from a very variety of shapes and sizes.
And last but far from least, is the bait or lure, without which the fishing equipment cannot be effective. A lure is a device attached at the end of the line that looks and moves something resembling the prey of the fish you are after. Its purpose is to catch the attention of the fish with its colour and movement. Artificial flies, tiddlers and sand eels come into into this category. When the fish bites the lure, it becomes hooked.
Whilst, bait, on the other hand, is the stuff really attached to the hook. Bait is often of two types: animal or foodstuff: ‘animal’ refers to small fish or other water creatures, insects or crawlers and ‘foodstuff’ refers to things like grains, such as wheat, bread or whatever the angler thinks might attract the fish.
We all realize that we ought to exercise. Some individuals even like doing it, but unfortunately for society and most of us in it, the majority of us cannot be bothered to get off their backsides, which is why the populations of Western countries are turning to lard before our very eyes. This is a shame not just for the people involved but for the tax-payers who have to refill the public coffers in order to take care of them when they get sick.
So, how can we motivate ourselves to take more exercise? Clearly government health warnings are merely benefiting advertising agencies and the media, so what else? Perhaps, they could tell us: ‘Play tennis once a week, you will delight in that vodka a whole lot more afterwards!’. Or ‘Play a round of golf first and that G&T will taste better!’ Or: ‘Walk a mile to the pub, have a pint, walk back and have another one, you will need it!’ The puritanical way certainly has not worked, so why not give realism a shot?
I mentioned golf there more or less by accident, but it strikes me that going for a game of golf and having a drink with your friends later is a whole lot better than watching it on TV with a can. It is not only the walking either, which most of us do not do enough of anyway, but it is the actions involved with hitting the ball – the swing and hand-eye co-ordination as well. And the social life afterwards, and loads of people miss out on a social life especially after retirement or the death of a spouse.
Now golf might not seem to you to be an fascinating sport and I know that point of view whole-heartedly, but that is because it is not until you realize how hard it is to hit that ball hundreds of yards onto the green that most people can grasp the difficulty of playing the game well. That might be right of the majority of sports, but golf does look so leisurely, does it not?
One of the excellent things about golf is that you can play with golfers of comparable ability to yourself so that you do not feel embarrassed or ‘out of place’. If you join a ramblers’ club after 30 years of watching TV, you will soon feel ancient and past it, but golf is different, because there is no pace, no rush, you can take as long as you like, you can let people ‘play through’ (go on before you) and you can call it a day and go back to the club house whenever you like.
Many retired people take up golf, especially if they were used to being active at work, but it is also a leisure activity, that you can take up if you reckon that you are not active enough at any age. It is surprising how much a small bit of extra exertion can help stave off stiff limbs and chubbiness.
All buildings require repairing and this includes churches. In the past, it was not so much of a problem as it is today, because the congregations were larger, so if everybody chipped in, the maintenance could be completed.
These days, the congregations are smaller,so donations have to be higher. The price of maintenance has also gone up substantially. One of the main methods of topping up the maintenance fund is by fund raising, which involves holding fund-raising events.
It seems that every charitable organization is having the same problem, because in an average sized town, there are often a dozen fund-raising events every Saturday and Sunday. There are church fund-raisers, scout and youth club fund-raisers, school, YMCA and Women’s Institute fund raisers all battling to be the prime event of the weekend.
This amount of competition makes it hard to choose which type of event to hold. In this piece, we will take a look at some of the most well loved kinds of fund-raising events – maybe the kinds of events that will raise the most money for your charity’s building or your favourite excellent cause.
You could hand out catalogue order books. Some catalogue order books are non profit-making, which means that the catalogue company does not make a profit so that your church can. These catalogues are usually accessible just to churches, but some schools run them as well. If you do not want to step on anyone’s toes, you could run your church’s catalogue just during the school’s summer holidays.
You could hold cookie dough sales. If every household in the congregation gave two pounds of cookie dough, the kids could go out and sell it on Saturday and Sunday mornings. This works well a couple of days before a huge Bank Holiday like Thanksgiving or Independence Day. it also works quite well throughout the summer.
You could hold a dinner dance with guest speakers. The dinner could also have a theme – a different one (or none) every time, until you find the most well loved: Barn Dance, Viennese, Cajun, Gypsy et cetera. The food would match the theme and so would the music. The speaker must not be the vicar or the charity’s president, but must be someone off the guest speaking circuit – someone who can bring the house down with humorous anecdotes and tales.
Do not make them cheap, aim to double your money and invite local business to buy a table of six or eight for their star employees and customers. If you go down this path, you could also organize a boxing event with dinner jackets and a five course meal.
Question the local amateur boxing club to help set up a series of bouts with a neighbouring town and offer them 20% or whatever. They may do it free for the free publicity or they could hold the raffle (the prize could be the winner’s boxing gloves signed by all the contestants).
You could hold a day out with a difference. You could have a travelling honest erect its rides (but pay a rent for the privilege) and you could have stalls and small ‘cafes’. You could hire a bouncy house for kids to go moonwalking (and charge for it), but what would make it really different would be if the local amateur dramatic society place on a suitable play for you.
I do not know what you would call suitable: it could be a classic, a comedy or even a pantomime, but obviously you would have to give them time to study their lines, so you would have to plot well in advance. They hold outdoor plays like this in rural Thailand and they are hugely well loved for miles around.
Twenty or thirty years ago, no-one in their right mind would have gone to Croatia, unless they were in the army, but that has all changed. Nowadays, Croatia is part of the European Union and is much more hospitable to tourists.
One of the tourist activities that Croatia is building its reputation on is skiing. It is a warmer country than northern France, Switzerland and Scandinavia, so it is feasible to take a skiing vacation in the mountains and end the holiday off with a week at the seaside.
One of the best skiing regions to visit is Zagreb and in particular Bjelolasica, which is where the Croatian Olympic skiing team trains. The facilities in this area are brilliant and the prices are a lot cheaper than you would pay in either in the French or in the Swiss Alps or in Scandinavia. In fact Croatia offers fantastic skiing facilities at a very affordable cost.
The Croatian skiing community is of very high quality and they know that they have to compete with the history of the more well-known French and Swiss ski resorts so they really pull all the stops out to make sure that the tourists and sports people who come to their country get value for money and want to come back again.
They comprehend that word of mouth advertising is the best and the cheapest form of advertising that you can get.
Another well loved Croatian skiing destination is Platak. Platak is located nearer the Adriatic and can be a bit more expensive than Bjelolasica because it is a bit cut off, but it just depends where you want to go and what you want to do.
Platak is a excellent all round skiing resort which has plans for improvements on a huge scale. Over the coming years, Platak will have more ski slopes of different levels of difficulty and more hotels and chalets of all price ranges.
You would be forgiven for thinking that there may be a language barrier in Croatia and to be honest there can be, but the ski resorts are all staffed by people who have learned most of the common European languages. It shows how much can be done in twenty years if the government and the populace have the right and the same perspective.
Croatia has a very varied cuisine, so tourists and skiers from all over the world ought to be able to find plenty of suitable food and drink. Croatia has a border with Hungary and their wine is very excellent. All in all, Croatia offers excellent skiing facilities at a knock down cost, but quite how long they will be able to offer these brilliant facilities at these attractive prices is still to be seen.
If you are a dedicated skier, it could be worth going to Croatia and buying a time-share or some other type of accommodation now before the inevitable cost rise when the rest of Europe realizes how cheap skiing in Croatia really is.
If you make your mind up that you want to keep to a traditional style diet, as a rule of thumb, you ought to find a weight loss plot that is rich in fresh fruit and vegetables; low-stout dairy products; white meat and fish; whole grain cereals and plenty of drinking water and by that I mean at least eight to ten 250mm glasses a day.
Being heavy can cause a lot of other issues, in addition it being a problem in its own right. Obesity makes rapid movement, stretching and reaching hard. Surplus sweating can be an embarrassment and it can result in chaffing. The range of fashionable clothing available can be constrained too. In addition to these problems, studies have shown that being overweight invariably leads to health problems such as hypertension, cardiac issues, sleep apnea and diabetes.
The only resolution to this bundle of problems is to shed those extra pounds around your waist by embarking on a healthy weight loss diet plot and following it religiously. I will give you a few general pointers below to help you slim down and reduce the risk of spending your later years running in and out of hospital.
Nearly all of the traditional weight loss diet plans proposed by dietitians and nutritionists start with the simple exhortation to reduce your food consumption to the amount you require to carry out your every day routine. The problem is that it sounds simple, but it is one of the toughest things to do. It takes a lot of determination on your part. But, you could start by eating and drinking three-quarters of what you normally eat. Once you can handle that, reduce the percentage again.
Try to make every calorie count. By that, I mean, if you are going to eat 200 calories, make certain that they are contained in food that will do you excellent and keep you feeling full. A bar of chocolate will give you a blood-sugar rush for 20-30 minutes, but a doorstep of a cheese and salad sandwich made from whole wheat bread washed down with a glass or two of water will give you plenty of fibre and vitamins and fill you up for a couple of hours.
It is always a excellent thought to keep a diary of what you eat and when. This way you can compare days and weeks and see what works best. It also helps if you are reducing your consumption in stages. Mark what you eat with the amount of calories in that part. If you do not know exactly, guess it. Writing something down is better than nothing.
The next part is the part I don’t like – exercise. Regular exercise. The excellent news is that it does not have to be too much. Two thirty minute walks a day is pretty useful. Once in the morning and once in the evening. Or walk in your lunch time and after your evening meal. If you like, frequent visits to the fitness center are even better, but they are also simpler to miss or give up altogether.
Owen Jones, the writer of this article, writes on many subjects, but is currently involved with lose weight programs. If you have an interest in losing weight too, please go over to our website now at Why Can’t I Lose Weight?