Saturday, 20 August 2016

Tales from the new shed...

Well, I can't get much else in the space and so I had a bash at getting something done in the new shed.
It seems it works, too as I've managed to get a friend's one-off Delage GP well underway.  His great Uncle, it seems, one "Bummer" Scott,  (NO! Dutton Minor, stop that) bought a 1 1/2 Litre GP Delage from his mate, Malcolm Campbell and raced it in somewhat modified form at Brooklands, etc.
My chum had bought himself some lump of resin from an ebay seller some time ago and started to remove the exhaust, but had given up and so, decided to pass the whole job on to me. Not only to correct the body, but make for it a scale, brass chassis with all the necessary slot car bits on.  So that's what I've been at for a week or so recently.
Old "Bummer" enjoying his latest toy

The modified body and scale brass chassis.

The body on its chassis, with an aluminium cockpit and in the background the new Brooklands exhaust.

I have also managed to get some more planks on the Vanity model. We now have 4 a side, no thanks to epoxy glue tother day, when for no obvious reason the mixture failed and let the planks go loose!
So, much as I don't like the stuff, I had to scrape all the epoxy off and replace with PVA and get on with that.
Add to that some work on the lathe and we seem to have got ourselves comfortable in the new workshop.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Enervating Emneth...

As most of you know I have moved house recently, to a wee village in Norfolk where Thomas the Tank Engine was written by the Rector of the local church, W. Awdry.

Yesterday, my bike was finally transported over on a trailer borrowed by my son-in-law and today, needing some cheese for grating onto my jacket potato, I decided to press the velocipede into use to get into the village.
Now the village stores is fine and dandy and massively extended recently to become almost a SPAR superstore, but I like the little local places, so, butchers being a diversifying bunch these days, I went to the award winning gent of that persuasion for the essential accoutrement to a jacket tatey and got a creamy but strong mature cheddar.  His little shop is full of similar kinds of goodies.  Pickles, jams, cheeses and very fresh vegetables from the farm.  His minced beef was superb too.  Alas, the Post Office didn't have any bread, so the SPAR shop it was for a loaf and a TV mag. for the Mrs.
The bike behaved and proved that a boiziggle (see Flan O'Brian) is the most efficient way for a man to move.  This time, unlike the first, I didn't fall off it and got back to safety just before the rain began.  It was an uplifting ride, the first of many, I hope.  It really would have been silly to use the car for such a short trip, especially with it running on 3 cylinders because the computers have decided there's an "anti-polution fault".
I'm tired of this nonsense, so have bit the bullet and booked it in with the local garage for a diagnostic check. Every time it beeps and puts that dross up on the dash with a wee engine light, it loads the pootah with "codes".  These have to be read by a diagnostic programme and the "shit" sorted out as the man described it.  I warm to a man who has to sort the "shit" out of an array of computerised excrement and is honest enough to say so and I am quietly hopeful of a positive outcome from a village garage that was so busy I could barely squeeze onto its forecourt and of whom, having decided to support my local once again, I hear good things.  Whilst the car is at its one o'clock appointment I will try out the more attractive looking local pub of the two available, the Gaultree Inn. The other one displays "Sky Sports" stickers outside.  I can think of nothing more guaranteed to have me running for the hills!  I have escaped the running and jumping show that some third world mob have put on for the saddoes of the world so far and have no pleasure in watching England constantly failing to do what it once showed it could.  Whilst the village centre is set on Gaultree Square, I can find nowhere called, simply, Gaultree, as pointed to by one of Norfolk's less necessary signposts. Similarly, Pingle Bridge is, amongst some others, a pure fantasy place, but it has a nice new signpost pointing resolutely to it, but you won't find it!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Tramways and trolling, ha!...

Because I share some interests with friends I thought I would join a Facebook page on Tramway Modelling.  Ye Gods, what a bunch of stiffs!  I got approval today and left it today!  Some turd reported me for trolling!  I asked the perfectly reasonable question, "why don't trams get modelled to the correct gauge?".  I get a torrent of modellers' abuse for wanting things to be right and the old saw about we do it for fun.  Well hey, misery-guts, so do I.  I just like it to be right, all down the line.  If you can't tell the difference between 16.5mm and 18.8mm, you should maybe take up golf.  I ain't saying that you're wrong to do it your way, just that the way you do it is wrong, as in inaccurate. That is beyond discussion.  It's a fact. You may chose to live with the error, but don't try ignoring it or defending it in my company or I too will get all defensive...and I WILL defend doing it right, whether you think that's trolling or not.  Whatever trolling is.  I guess because their little enclave of shit modellers hadn't heard of me they assumed I'd come from nowhere to "troll" them.  As if I had the spare time to do that.  I asked a question...they chose to be offended by it...tough titty, tram fiddlers. That's the attitude that has ensured smaller scale tramway models have been absolute garbage for decades and still don't improve.  Unscale gauges, jerky motion on poorly laid commercial track, overspeed mechanisms that are bought in and not made, all set in an urban background that looks like it was cobbled up for the sake of having something there, rather than nothing.  All the problems of model railways in the '50s, 60 years later!

Needless to say, I left the page to save the poor dears the trouble of kicking me off!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

A shame, but also very worrying...

This week, our older son and his family are staying with us. They have come down from the frozen North,border country. Officially England, but after being Scotch 13 times it is to this day unsure of itself, is Berwick.  I say Scotch, because nobody has yet explained to my satisfaction what the difference is twixt Scottish and Scotch.  Why are people Scottish, like the borders, but whiskey, beef , broth and mist are Scotch?
Anyway, down they come. The girls, twins of 12 years this Saturday and identical, slide through in a slovenly way grasping laptops and phones (at least, as far as I can see, one each).  The boy, 14 and better now than he ever was comes similarly equipped but at least attempts a joke about it.
6 months ago, all were playful, fun and full of beans.  This time they have become ignorant, surly, sullen, argumentative, ill-educated little know-it-alls.  And that's just the girls.  We probably won't see them again. There's so little point, when all the time they have been here they have hidden away in our spare bedroom which is precariously half full of moving home detritus, playing on their 'phones or communicating at a distance with their laptops.  Their only conversation with us is "where's Mam?"or "Where's my charger?"  They seem incapable of joined speech or any activity which demands they let go of the Holy Instrument.  I am so incensed by this attitude that I tell them to hang on to them or, if I find one, I will take it away, hide it and when it pleases me I will clamp it in the wide jaws of my woodworkers' vice and slowly crush it, thrilling to the tiny tinkling cries of utter destruction that will emit from the glass, plastic and other components.  I will bag it all and send it back to them at my pleasure.
You know the really frightening thing about this?  They can barely understand half of what I say. One of them, whilst arguing with me about their future admitted she had no idea what "alternative" meant or what language I was speaking.  She was serious.  What this is a sensor of is the fact that in the future they will be effectively bloody useless.  And so will most of their kind.  The underclass. The ones who used to be bred as cannon fodder and mill slaves.  But we aren't fighting anywhere much any more and there are no mills to grind them down, so they will become dangerous without the slightest notion of why.  They will become frustrated and unfulfilled without realising it is entirely their own doing.  It will be in their hands, quite literally, the little slab of plastic and glass that I have not been able to crush, will have dulled what little remains of their brains to the point of utter dependability upon technology. Technology which is already fragile and often unreliable.  They are moving into a world with less and less electricity. There will be power shortages. Even in California, there are now! In their world it will be a commonplace.  But these kids didn't understand how it all worked. They didn't even have the nous to work out where their battery power comes from. They didn't know what a power station was. Why?  Because their teachers are the most appallingly incompetent bunch of wasters and because they are almost proud to have never watched the news, believing that they can't because they only get "movies" on their telly.  Their ignorance is almost mind-blowing in its completion.

It will all lead to a position in the future where there will not be enough people with the intelligence or information to even slightly HELP to run things, never mind the world.  A few nerds will NOT be enough.  The multitudes of brain dead morons like my grandchildren will see to that.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

New boots and panties...

Well, perhaps, new phone and house, anyway.
We have moved into our new home and have just been activated with 'phone and Internet.  Mine after the dongly thing and wire was returned to the machine, Chris's automatic and instant.  173 emails, mostly crap were sifted through and reduced to a minuscule total of worthies.  Is it all worth it?  Well, I didn't really miss it and indeed it was really quite pleasant developing a routine that did NOT include the nightly sit through the muck and bullets of ethereal communication.

I have been putting up shelves in the shed and emptying boxes marked "workshop", wondering what in Heaven is in them all.  One shelf fell down overnight as the screws were too small to force the Rawlplugs into the holes and down it all came.

Garden furniture scraped and repainted today and paper on the feature wall of the lounge.  The old showcase that my Grandfather made in the 20s is coming back to me after being with daughter, then son for years.  That'll need some serious burnishing and polishing!  But will hold, dust free, my most treasured models and items.

Well, that's us, then.  New neighbours  (actually our only previous neighbours were cows and sheep until the landlady's skanky daughter moved into a twin unit next door and played Bang crash repetitive noise through a disco level hi-fi for hours on end). It was our complaints about that which led to us being here, ultimately and we are very grateful!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Rocking horse poo, Hen's teeth, etc...

A longish time ago now, I made a contact with a Swiss gent, who I managed to persuade to commission me to make a pattern of an Invicta Low Chassis S Type as a potential slot racer.  I had always wanted a model of an Invicta, it being one of my favourite pre War cars.  And an old friend, Mike Hyatt had always wanted a model of an Invicta as he was brought up in an Invicta owning and racing family.
Well, the model was made and delivered. The client was delighted with it and then we waited....and waited.....  Nothing happened. I eventually made contact and the client pulled the oldest trick in the book..."Oh, an expert has looked at it and there is so much wrong with it that I shan't be making it now".   Ha!  What you mean, my friend, is you have run out of money and can't afford to make it, but haven't the balls to say so.  Been there, seen that, so many times.

So I told him to send the model back and I would put right any problems.  To my amazement, he did! And what did I find?  About half a millimetre discrepancy on the bracket that holds the front axle on the static version of the model.   But the model would only be needed for slot racing anyway! Nothing else was found.
Knowing I'd get nowhere with the client, I decided that I would get my copy after all and so, after waiting so long, would Mike....he deserved it.
This morning, a parcel from Steve Francis, resin caster extraordinaire, arrived and in it are 2 sets of Invicta mouldings and the original master.
So, Mike, who is now officially a very happy bunny and I, have a model so rare, that nobody else has a copy anywhere else in the world.
This could be a slot car I actually build!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

4 weeks on nearly...

And after my TIA, if that's what it was, I am driving again.  Nice, but I really did enjoy being ferried around. It was so nice to be able to look at stuff, rather than just vaguely see it rushing by.  There is a kind of trance-like turning in on oneself about occupying somebody's back seat while they mutter to their partner in the front and the world trundles by outside.
But, nightwork for the son-in-law and repairs to the daughter's Jeep forced my hand. Drive or starve.

Medically, I have a checkup on Monday about the TIA, I've had a checkup of no great conclusion, about the heart attack and I had a 48 hour ECG strap on me.
But I still have a slightly numb left leg that goes hot and cold and although my right arm is working fine again, my left arm is a little numb and gets coldfingers.  All things I will have to report on Monday.  My long term back ache problems are now more severe if I bend unsupported, but that can be dealt with.  I am finding the 30 minute exercise regime very difficult to keep up as walking round here will kill you with boredom!  I might get a pushbike again.

On Monday also, I am meeting a chap who I haven't seen since we were 17.  We first met as we both walked into Parklands school on out first ever day of what passed for education in those days.He was 5. I was 4 1/2. We're both now 63.  Amazingly he lives where we were for our 5 day break recently.  And used to live where we also visited. his Mum lives near us on the coast and he's combining visits.  It will be very odd to meet him again. Hehas had the most conventional of lives and I....have not.
No doubt his kids will have been to university and gone on to allegedly good jobs.

We shall see.

I have been doing frames and a building form for making a 152VO model boat. I have even ordered an outboard, sans brushless motor.  No point in buying one of those till the boat is made.  Have also made a Group 44 Spitfire for a friend and am now doing a hardtop for a Mk1 version of the car.  So, keeping busy, but not exactly busting a gut over it.