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So, with a little break in the middle we've spent a week touring physically, and a week having our minds enlarged ;)

So, let's begin at the beginning. Late in the evening a heavily laden DAF (one with a cornucopia of spares, tools and indeed our luggage) clattered out from a quiet suburban street in Slough. Not the DAF we wanted to take; no; because that was stuck at a garage. Instead it was Vixy, the veritable home of light use that was to carry us around Europe*. Our 'plan' consisted of a ferry across to Calais (cheapest), then driving from there to Brugge (in Belgium). After that things got a bit hazy, plan wise, and involved the Ardennes, and Germany, and Luxembourg. That kind of thing.mahusive post about our tour )
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DAF Service Manual Cover

So, having discussed a variety of options for getting the piston rings compressed it came down to 'you need a ring compressor'. Since the ring compressor I've ordered from e-bay is the same as the one I bought it'll be going back on e-bay as soon as it arrives. I've ordered the correct ring compressor now (it's a splitable ring compressor) and will have another go as soon as that arrives.

Which left me in the challenging situation of, well, not having a car.

Or a bike.

Yet again I'm down to renting - I've reserved a car - so I can literally take back the van in the morning and come back with a rental car. :-/

Nikki commented on the fact that at the moment I don't appear to have a reliable car between the three of 'em; somewhat distressing though it is, and true though it is, I hope to remedy the situation; in so far as I've arranged for Rebecca to go back to JLH and have much more work done. New king pins, trunnions, new gearbox, new, new, new. Anyone for a philosopher's axe?

She's currently languishing outside the house, and the DAF is stuck on ramps. I'm praying - with all my heart - that once the engine's sorted we can get a bit of peace and quiet on the DAF front - although talking to Matt yesterday didn't give me great hope.

I still need to source a new accelerator cable for Jejy - and I need to package up and send off the shoes for Vixy (can do that on Monday too)... Anyhow, today is; instead of previously planned engine and DAF work, cleaning the house.

Fear the whining next week as I have to drive a modern car.
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I dropped off Kathryn's DAF (Vixy) at the garage this morning, which went fine. I'm praying that I'm right and that the clutch shoes are worn out... Anyhow.

One of the cooler things about owning a classic, or one of the things I enjoy anyway, is getting packages through the post that have fallen through a hole in time. Such was my experience today when a 'Cords' brand 1970s package popped through our postbox. I've recorded the 'unboxing'...

the cords box

There's something terribly cool about opening things that have sat for decades. Something fun about encountering design intended for a different generation (and they got the swoosh!*). Anyhow, so they arrived; sadly the ring compressor doesn't appear to have arrived. Hopefully it'll arrive tomorrow. However, what did arrive was the clutch shoes. I am so unutterably impressed by Jim Jack Services - they had the shoes arrive yesterday - called me to check on the details - and had sent them back by the evening. They arrived today - and look like they did when I last got new shoes.

Despite not having a manual I guessed my way through replacing the drum (it looked easy) - and eventually got it right (it was about 3mm out when I first did it) - and got the clutch back together. Then I made the mistake of having lunch.

Well, technically the lunch wasn't the mistake - no - it was sitting on the rug in the lounge. I've done this every day, but I've not been dealing with something quite as dirty as the contents of the clutch. And I was silly enough to clean out the flywheel too. So there was a lot of dirt.

It was on my jeans. Now it's on the rug.

Then I made the mistake of starting on the bike. I started in quite a good mood, despite the fact that the manual (and therefore my notes on how to wire the rev-counter to the old-style wiring, the circuit diagrams, and the explanantion of where the clutch should be adjusted to) remained elusive. I started stripping down Cherry Red 'zed, carefully working my way through noting where the wires went from the switchgear - and then it dawned on me...

I've got three partial looms from three bikes with three separate wiring and connection schemes. Seriously.

MZ changed their wiring for the later bikes, with their electronic ignition and electronic regulator; Kanuni changed the wiring again when they started building bikes, because they didn't do with the nice clicky MZ connectors. Oh no. They went back to the good solid DDR connection blocks with 55 wires going in and out of each one.

After a while it dawned on me that I had an impending disaster on my hands.

I needed a diagram, or something, to give me some idea of where I should be looking. The front end is more or less wired, the alternator is partially reconnected to the rectifier and regulator. I plodded through assembling it - discovered in the process that I really do need some obstruction wrenches because I can't actually get the Bing Carb (better, faster, more efficient) off Cherry, so Charlie's stuck with my old BvF (proper DDR, and has covered 120k miles). I sprayed the side panel (badly, I didn't have any primer, so it went straight over the blue paint. Fluo-Pink as it's called is not big on coverage). I also found a patch where the paint's flaked off the frame - I couldn't afford shot-blasting when I did it - so I wirebrushed and sanded the old paint, but perhaps I should have stripped it all off - because there's a small patch where it's flaked off.

When I spray the DAF I'll touch up the frame :(


Poor Kathryn arrived home as I stood in a rotten mood contemplating how in hell I was going to work out the wiring on the bike. Feeling like I'd taken 2 potential runners and made one impossible to fix vehicle.

But then I remembered this website - and a bit of dinking - and here we are with simplified diagrams and what each of the connectors actually is. Thank fuck.

Death and Rebirth

And in a totally unrelated to motorbikes, cars, or anything else I normally ramble about, I'd been contemplating writing something about Barack "Change we can't believe in" Obama's release regarding the DoMA. The problem is it's likely to come out as an depressed rant. I've been unimpressed with Obama for a while; his stance on abuse photos, on individual privacy, on illegal wiretaps; it's all been bad. So I guess the DoMA announcement seems like more of the same. Anyhow, so it was going to be a rant, but then I read this over Kathryn's shoulder, and it was articulate; intelligent; and it said everything I could have considered wanting to say, were I feeling anywhere near as good at expressing myself as this writer. So go read.

In final other news, after much work I've finally found a builder who has at least actually turned up, and quoted for the work on the driveway, and moreso has actually agreed to come and do the work. So next week for a day or two we'll have to get the fleet off the drive. Once it's done though, we should be able to get two cars on the drive. Which will assist in making-other-people-happy. :)

* I remember, years ago, when Amazon's swoosh was new and shiny there was a website snarking about everyone having swooshes which enabled you to design your new e-logo for your new e-business. It was swooshtastic.
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We made this (Rustic Greek Pie with Mushrooms in Balsamic Vinegar (Sauce?):

It tasted awesome. We made it using the cookbook bought from Costco, vegetables from our local farm shop (uh, and Sainsburys)... I can't really say how much I love cooking with Kathryn, it's sort of quality time, chatting, cooking, kissing, cuddling. Yeah, okay, we're still revolting.

I just can't say how much I enjoy being around Kathryn; and that our lives intertwine....anyhow.

We actually did some socialising - we suggested going out for a drink with a colleague / friend of Kathryn's from work ('m not sure how to describe their current status) - a while back; finally we actually did something about it and headed into London last night for a very nice dinner (Pizza / Lasagne) at an incredibly good price, doubly so for London; and then sat in the bar near by supping beer/cocktails (Mojitos)/water - chatting and generally being sociable. Kathryn noticed how much *more* sociable I become when I've got some alcohol in me. I am Raj, it's quite upsetting.

Still, we had a very nice evening; although mildly marred by First Great Western's usual high standard of service*, but still, we made it back uninjured... :)

Today's been the usual - a bit of work on the car, Vixy now has a correctly adjusted variomatic... and the exhausts on both cars now have a greater proportion of gun-gum on them than before; this will hopefully make Vixy much quieter - since she had about 4 holes before the silencer (resonator) and Jejy much less fumey (since both silencers were mostly holes).

We did a bit of weeding, the garden is continuing to be a lovely space; although the Acer's not looking quite as happy as it did. I'm not sure if it's got too dry or too wet, but there's not much I need to do about too dry because it's been raining on and off for the last few days. If it's too wet then we're similarly stuffed. The last plant there died, hopefully whatever afflicted it isn't going to afflict the acer...

We also made more yummies today, but I'll tell you about them another day (if the photo comes out)....
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So, I've updated the garden pics (March '09 Set) with some new ones to show a few of the things that we've grown. It's amazing and awesome to look at these leaves peeking through the soil and to think of what was there before. And amazing to think that just a few weeks ago we planted seeds. Just seeds. And now look. There's beans and peas and onions and a garlic and Angelica (whatever it is!) growing.

There's flowers appearing on our Daffodils. There's leaves on the blackcurrant and the gooseberry (the raspberry canes are still somewhat on the dormant side). Even the inappropriate but bought-anyway Japanese acer's got leaves.

It's so cool.

We did this.

We made this garden.

'course, nature's doing all the growing for us, and generously raining since we don't have an outside tap so have to fill the watering can in the kitchen.

But it I like gardening, I've decided.

[in tedious car news: turns out the brake hoses are standard parts, so I can go down to Allparts and say I need something that's this; which should mean it's cheap and not unreasonable to replace. Hopefully then the brakes will truly be sorted. If not then that's the end of the line for Vixy (I said that before, but I mean it this time). No more new parts].


Mar. 28th, 2009 10:10 am
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So, another week of nights approaches, and we're trying to get a car ready to go on holiday. The minor's exhaust is fouling the suspension, which should be fairly easily fixed. Rebecca is the most likely candidate; only the noisy gearbox and worn diff and suspension being a problem. Jejy's right out. Vixy's heading that way too. In fact, Vixy is looking like she might end up being a parts car for Jejy. In so far as I might pinch the engine, and possibly the seats.

Jejy then gets all new hoses, all new front brakes, new shoes, and a 21k mile engine. Vixy gets a worn out 79k mile engine and shipped off to a new home, keeping her new brake shoes and brake cylinders.

In other news I forked out for a new charger for the batteries. Years ago when I bought some Uniross rechargable NiMHs I went for the nicer charger that they had. It did NiCds and NiMHs and all seemed well, until, obviously, I looked deeper into the 'my batteries seem to die awfully quickly). It turns out it can't deal with more than 2,000mAh batteries. It's timer, not ΔV based, which means it's never, ever charged the batteries properly. The new charger (VapexTech, had a good review, somewhere) is ΔV based (although it has an over-time shut-off), sports specs for 2900mAh batteries (my highest capacity ones say 3,000mAH but probably aren't after having never been charged properly), and came with 4 shiny new 2,900mAH batteries. Hopefully the holiday snaps should be snappable.

Also, in the name of longevity it runs on anywhere from 100-250V at anything from 50-60Hz. Woot for portability.

Now, I'm gonna go shower and get working on the DAF. I need to get the rear brake drum off, because there is, what looks like a leak. Impressive, I feel, since when I tried to bleed it no fluid came out. A whole and proper WTF moment.

Anyhow. Shower. Car*.

* We were meant to be going protesting today. Can't though, 'cos we need transport. Granted we don't need transport more than we need to be able to breathe, but it's all a matter of timing :-/
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Not all car stuff today; to skip the car stuff just scroll down to where it proclaims that car stuff endeth. :)

So, today I shuffled the cars to get the Minor on the drive, and whipped off the ill-fitting exhaust, separated the 45 degree segment at the base of the downpipe (which I spent about 40 minutes attacking last time with 'penetrating oil', this time I got the Plus-Gas on it, and the thing just came apart. Simple as that). Then, with Kathryn's help, we reattached the exhaust.

Only took from 11am to 3pm. I'm not very good at exhaust fitting, and having done it we drove into town and... it's rattling against something at the back. Usually this is the exhaust hitting the fuel tank; not a soothing noise at the best of times; so that's something to attack later.

Then I spent about half an hour adjusting the mixture. She's been running rich and idling too high. A bit of a tweak to that and she's now idling at a much more sensible speed and lord knows what the mixture's doing. I suck at setting carbs up, I keep meaning to buy a colortune to aid in my attrociousness. The DAFs have a much more 'relaxed' carb than the HiF44 in the Minor, which is slightly worn (not terribly so, she doesn't hunt horribly at idle) and which has proper mixture adjustment.

Still, she's running okay, so I'm going to presume it's alright for the minute.

Next week will be more car stuff, hopefully, in so far as I'm hoping that the brake bits will arrive for Jejy and Vixy and we can get them assembled.

Then comes the difficult decision, which of the cars to take on holiday with us. We're looking at around 1000 miles plus whatever motoring we do while we're there. The minor's swivel pins are worn, but I don't know how badly. Jejy's a big no-no, without the new clutch drum she's not going anywhere far (so that's easy), but Vixy? Vixy's kind of an unknown quantity. Unknown quantities aren't good for holiday relaxing, I find, but on the other hand she's been recently serviced by a garage, she'll have new brakes, she's got a spare pair of belts in the boot...

...and only 21k on the clock.

We'll see.

Anyway, hopefully we'll have less car-posts for y'all once this is done. Then we can return to the 'house posts'

car stuff endeth here

Mind you, I ought to do a garden post because the garden is *awesome*. Kathryn spent time today breaking up soil and prepping it, then planted some of our wild-flower seeds; she's hacked down pruned the buddleia, out the front, which officially needs to be dug up and moved into the raised bed at the front, but since the builders haven't quoted (or contacted me) then, uh, that's not quite happening yet. The back garden is looking really very nice; when she takes the photos off her camera and flickr's them I'll linky.

It is just amazing to look at the ground and go 'my god, they're beans. They are our beans, that we planted and they're growing. I could get quite into gardening, I fear. It's really lovely though, to go out there, in the nice weather we've been having and see plants we planted growing, and indeed growing well. It's not like either of us is particularly 'green fingered', but we've got good soil, and my mum's around to help and advise us (and Kathryn's mom is available for advice too :) ) and it's come together to be a really restful place, potentially.

And the lie and deception which is the gravel-over-concrete path appears to be working.

Anyhow, now it's time to make dinner. So I shall scoot.
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If I don't get what I want done, and I imagine that it's a reasonable amount of work that I've set myself, I feel very negative about the things I did achieve. I feel like I should have worked on the Minor, but I know, logically, that I've never managed to get a decent seal on the LCB manifold without help. And therefore, what would have been the point? And had Jagdev have said 'yes, I can get the parts' when I rang then I'd've been stuck. On the other hand, when we hit mid-day I should have realised I'd not get the brake parts in time to fit and bleed them, so I should, maybe, have started work on the Minor.

At any rate, tomorrow I'll have to get up early and do the Minor. I can douse the connections on Jejy and Vixy in plusgas too, in the hope that when I come to try and remove them I'll actually manage to get them off in one piece.

Looking at the positives: While the radio is tatty, it is fitted. The parts I need are ordered and possibly even winging their way here. And I painted the kitchen window aperture (whatever it's called) with basecoat to cover the shite layer of paint and flakey plaster up at the top of the window and the not-great plastering I did on the left hand edge. Ready to paint, my arse.

As a side point, I've not heard back from the builders about the quote for new work or fixing the old work since their 'I'll ask such-and-such'. See, negative.
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So, the Dell and the Apple are both now on ebay. Shinymac and Lapytopy will hopefully go to new owners, although to be honest, I doubt the Dell will sell. Added to the near 100 quid I got from the first auction I'm hoping that I'll get enough from the Apple (starting bid 580 quid) that a MacBook (or ideally, a MacBook Pro) will be mine. I doubt the latter, but the former's definately achievable. It's a little weird to think that in a week I won't actually have a 'main' computer. The RiscPC's a bit past it, and the EntMac's only connected to a TV (and not a HiDef one) so isn't really useable in that way.

The DAF's been ministered to, yesterday the throttle stuck open, the kink in the cable caught on the cable inner and it also seemed to possibly be unhooked at the pedal end. I've checked it over, and it shouldn't happen again - but when the new inner arrives (it's going to the new DAF) then I should hopefully be able to replace it without too much pain.

This time I shan't kink it.

I went to pick up Kathryn after work yesterday, missed her junction and got to travel all the way into London before I could turn around. The traffic was awful and I ended up being around 40 minutes late :( But, it did mean that Kathryn had the opportunity to go out for more driving practice yesterday, and we pootled around Slough. Apart from the incident with the pedals (before we moved at all) there weren't any problems, but the traffic was lousy, and it opted to snow, which was a little cruel. Today I'm hoping to put an hour or two into clearing the garden a bit. I'm just going to suck down my Chai.

I've been incredibly lazy today. Really, ridiculously lazy. Although, to be fair, it took me ages to get the Dell posted on e-bay. It's taken days, actually, 'cos the photo-upload wasn't working last night.

As a side point, I've been listening to far too much VV Brown and The Ting Tings. The bloody VV Brown song (Crying blood) keeps getting stuck in my head. Too damn catchy.

And I keep wandering about going 'Aaaaree yoooooooou caaaaaalling meeee darrrrrrlin(g)...'

I had something else to ramble about, but I've forgotten. I blame the Ting Tings.

Oh, no, I remember; I finally got around to entering Snapshot Hunter again. It's not a great shot, some of the ones up there are way better (already, and we're only on like the 6th photo), my excuse is that my camera dies after 8 photos now. Do I need new batteries? Yes I do. Not this month though, I think I've spent my money for this and next month.

Oh, and yes, my minimal bid is on the shite DAB adapter. I won the amplifier, so we're all go for taking the Radiomobile to bits. Anyway. Chai. Garden. Collect Kathryn.
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Said my body at 4:45am. I'm not quite sure why, I think I was woken by my throat, and then my brain started listing all the things I need to do today. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) Kathryn said I wasn't to do anything that might upset my throat further - so my cunning plan to strip the paint on the door frames, and uh, paint them is off*.

I've still got a fair bit to get on with. When the frost's melted a bit I need to take jejy round to the tyre place, having found that the 'slow' puncture's got quicker, and that it's leaking from the valve. Now I can point and go "look, it's leaking from the valve; that's definately your fault, please fix it". I also am debating getting an external enclosure for my now spare SATA hard drive (what? why?!)...

Let me explain. I want to sell the G5 Mac. The G5 Mac currently sports 2 largish harddrives, a lot of memory, a 20" monitor, a 14" LCD monitor and so on. To sell it, I have two options:

1) Dump all my data onto and remove the second HDD.
2) Copy all my data onto the 500Gb ex-entertainment-Hackintosh drive in an external drive case and then nuke the two drives.

I think the latter is probably the better solution. Whilst it will cost 20 quid, it will probably add more than 20 quid to the value of the Mac, selling it with two big hard drives in. Mind you, if one of them is bigger than 500Gig it'll be being swapped around.

At any rate, I've been travelling in the DAF a lot recently, and it's come to my attention that the Radiomobile radio doesn't work...

It did work when we got the car, it stopped working a while ago, and has not spontaneously reanimated itself. But I rather like the look of it. Ratty and tatty though it is, it's part of the car's 1970s charm. The plasti-chrome is peeling and the volume knob turns on it's spindle. But I have a solution. Rip out its guts and throw them away.

I've finally found a cheapie company making (almost certainly lousy quality) automotive amplifiers (but you're in a car with no soundproofing to speak of). In fact, the one I've bid 75p for (but £9.99 shipping) also sports 2 inputs (but no means of switching between them, switches, presumably, are extra). But since I intend to gut the poor wee beastie, that's fine. I'm also hopefully going to get my grubby little hands on one of the Matsui DAB tuners. Back before I planned to move to Canada I debated buying one of these for the Minor. But they were 30 quid at the time.

Now, at a few quid second hand, they're tempting to again be the subject of my soldering iron. The plan is simple; gut the DAB tuner, gut the amplifier, make Radiomobile into DAB tuner. Leave socket for MP3/CD player. And lo, we'll have the perfect modern stereo in a 70s box.

Mind you, that's how it is in my head. How it'll work in practice is another question. The other thing I quite fancy, having driven the car a while now, is a small amount of illumination around the air vent controls and the hot/cold air selector sliders.

I usually end up waving my arms around under the dashboard to find them (when driving in the dark) so a little glowy white LED illuminating the up/down arrows seems quite tempting to me. And a little red/blue illumination on the hot air and cold air sliders also seems like quite a nice idea (potentially mounting them in a small piece of sanded perspex to diffuse the light). I'm slightly concerned she might look a little boy-racer though with the blue/red glow eminating from the dash, but at least I'd be able to control the temperature while driving without too much concentration. I'm also slightly concerned that I might get overly attached to Jejy. But hey.

This all comes about because I need to prepare Jejy to be Rebecca's temporary replacement while I fit the diff (when it arrives), the gearbox (when it's ready), the new swivel pins (when they're manufactured; if ever), trunions, poly-bush the front suspension, and repaint the damaged paint areas of the engine bay. Oh, and strip out the dash, find all the things that are rattling, stop them from doing so, clean out the heater, fit a new inline heater control valve (from a golf, apparently), and potentially convert her to Left Hand Drive (which involves moving the brake master cylinder and associated plumbing, remanufacturing the dash I made (otherwise the worry gauges will all be in front of the passenger), fitting the other gearbox front plate and somehow working out how to lock and unlock the passenger door from the outside), oh and ideally fitting a heated rear window that works, and in a perfect world sending off the speedo to be recalibrated, the revcounter to be reinternalised and the clock to be made to work (a car with a working clock! that'd be a novelty).

Just a short list of jobs...

So Jejy may have to do service for the minor for a while. Which is why I fancy a radio and a CD input.

Anyway, today I need to get my act together and sell the Mac, and possibly the Dell (although I doubt the dell is going to sell). And in aid of getting started, I shall now have my breakfast.

* Yes, yes, I know she's right, but it seemed like a good idea in my head :)
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Only, it must be said, that of a Resusci-anne*, but there y'go. She was in Asystole for which the outcome from resuscitation is pretty poor - and she went straight from compromised bradycardia into asystole, so we were pretty buggered. But I did my best, and since I've never seen a successful resuscitation then it's fair enough.

I'm hoping I've passed my ILS. They didn't stop me and say "Good lord, what are you trying to do!?", which is obviously a sign that things are going wrong, and they usually (or at least did last time) prompt you to get you going in the right direction, and the only thing that came up was atropine to treat her bradycardia. Since she was (notionally at least) bleeding into her abdomen there wasn't much we could do for her in the (imaginary) A&E. I hope I've passed, otherwise it'll be a bit embaressing.

I'm still really peeved about the ALS. I spoke to loads of other nurses and we all find it grating, because the trust doesn't run many ALS days, and the problem is the Doctors rotate every 3/4/6 months, which means that we'll potentially never get on an ALS course run by the trust. It's about 300 quid to do it, and I'm tempted, once I've read the book, to see if I can do some Agency work and book myself on ALS.

I wonder if my agency give me any discount on ALS...


In other news, I took the DAF in today, and she behaved impeccably. The traffic was awful, but we pootled along stopping every 8 feet or so as the accident on the motorway which closed my junction was cleared. Thankfully, just as I came up to the junction they reopened it, and I managed to get to my training on time. But the journey home was just as un-eventful. I fear the condition of the (expensive) clutch shoes when they come out - because the drum was fairly sharp edged, I suspect. And although I'd like to imagine that the friction material wore the peaks off a bit, I suspect that the peaks wore the friction material off and that those self-same peaks are in the process of destroying the shoes. I don't want to put ridged shoes on a good drum either. Poot.

But, in super-good news, and relating to the nature of awesome which the DAF club (who I must get around to joining (and I need to renew my MMOC membership as it happens)), a member of the DAF owners' club has offered to supply us both with a manifold that's in better condition than our really crackedy one and a drum which is not ridged to hell and back.

But (another but, not a butt), while I'm waiting for that to come, and the other DAF to surface from the garage in which it lurketh, I must get around to preparing my Mac for sale. This means: fixing the Sony monitor semi-properly, removing the second hard-disk, and a veritable cornucopia of file-shuffling. I am debating selling my dad's old DEC monitor. I really *love* the DEC monitor, it's 21" of shiny shiny trinitron goodness; but do I want to lug that all the way to Canada? At some point I need to move on from hording all the things my dad used, and perhaps it's time to let that go and get some shiny new tech in. I can carefully remove the sticker with his name on (and my stripey apple sticker!) and it can go on a new computer...

Anyway. It's bed time here in ChezUs. So off we toddle.

Oh, and Being Human? Excellent TV. Thank you Auntie Beeb.

* I just found out something truly creepy about resusci-anne; her face is modelled on the death-mask of an unidentified 19th Century woman. That is entirely freaky. I'll have to share that at work. *creeped out*
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It's Sunday, it's cold out, and guess what. I'm inside!


I can feel all my limbs, my peripheries are not the temperature of something you'd normally drop in a cocktail, and I can't see my breath. The lights fading and I'm not struggling to put in bolts in the half-light.

The minor has an exhaust, I'm not rating it as the best fitting exhaust in all of christendom, it's an Aluminised Steel one so it hopefully last a few years longer than a plain mild steel one (before it rusts and drops off). I've poked at LJ, Kathryn and I went out for a drive in the DAF - we went out for one yesterday and on hitting 40mph the L plate (a magnetic one) peeled up and flicked off the front of the car, fluttering gently into traffic. Sadly it meant Kathryn couldn't drive home from the store, so we checked the road today and couldn't see it... Instead, today, we bought a static-cling one which is living behind the front windscreen - seeming less likely to go fluttering off.

Assuming it's not pissing down with rain tomorrow I may even take the little DAF round the corner and get the front and rear windows removed and refitted in an attempt to stop the high rate of water ingress.

We've had a very nice breakfast, in a relaxed and quite decadent manner (Lady Grey tea, scrambled eggs with mushrooms and Parmesan; with toasted bagels and home* made jam (apple and ginger)) before we head out to inflict DAF on Slough. I've placed a bid on an e-bay Bread Maker - we appear to have missed the whole bread-makers being cool thing. Every shop appears to have stopped stocking them. The two laptops have all of a few quid between them - which is less great, but hopefully the watchers will bid in the last few minutes as normal.

Jejy still has a few quirks, most noteably a distinct leftward urge when braking hard. The idle's started to settle down now, which is nice, it was far too high (my fault) because I kinked the throttle cable (and also because I pulled it too taught). Other than that though, she's been a good little car, and definately is running better with the new air filter, the new insulated king lead & the insulated HT leads... :)

You'd think I'd've noticed the horrendous lack of insulation at some point earlier....never mind :)

*My mum's home, not ours...
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So, yesterday, as the sun blazed (well, in winter-terms) and the clear blue sky sat above my head I spent the day working on the laptops. They're both now working, and shall both be photographed and whisked onto e-bay (along with my mum's old pashley trike, in need of some renovation, but she's got a multi-geared beastie now).

Of course, to do this requires batteries in my camera. My camera, as we've discussed eats batteries for breakfast. In fact, oh internets, should I get it a decent set of batteries? It killed the Uniross ones in fairly short order, so I'm not sure it's worth forking out for decent batteries. It took about the same amount of time to kill the (alledgedly 3000mAh) MultiplePower batteries (about 1/2 the cost of the Unirosses) but they were new, whereas the Uniross batteries were quite old when I started to put them in the camera.

It does say in the manual "This camera will stomp all over the batteries you put in it, sucking out every last ounce of power before ritually disemboweling them" (or words to that effect). Since I can't afford a new, a second hand, or any sort of camera (specifically a Micro 4/3s Lumix would be nice, I imagine, although I've not played with one and may hate their UI) I'm thinking I need to get a new set of batteries. If anyone requires batteries for low power usage these are fine, they run my CDPlayer and the TV's remote control absolutely fine.

Or does anyone have a way of reviving NiMH batteries?

Anyway, off topic. So I've only just remembered to put them on charge so that I can photograph the PowerBook and the iBook. What I wanted to to put my mind to today was sorting out the DAF. It is, therefore, misty and cold today. The sky is a pale shade of grey and I can't see the houses at the other end of the street 'cos it's so misty / foggy. If it hasn't cleared up by lunch time I'll go out there anyhow :-/

So I'm kind of at a loose end at the moment...
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So, it's cold, frequently wet and windy. What would be less than ideal?

Guess... go on... guess.

are you right...? )
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Okay, so one of the Dremels is around 4,000 miles from the house, which is why we have another, second dremeloid*. This is for the sake of one bolt. But when it stops raining and I have some time, that bolt is mine! And once that's done we can move on to swearing at the clutch.

Also, repairing the inlet manifold is another of the exciting tasks on the list (because it's got a crack the size of the Grand Canyon in it**, and it's only a small car). For the uninitiated (who care) the inlet manifold is where the evil petrol(gas) which has been mixed with air in a careful stoichiometric ratio in the carburetor is sucked through to get to the cylinders before being ignited into a raging and rapidly expanding fireball by the spark plugs. (Suck Squeeze Bang Blow). Except in Jejy that careful mix is screwed by the cunning process of sucking in vast quantites of air through a great huge gap in the manifold. This we shall initially fix using the highly technical approach of slopping some chemical metal on it. Apparently that should be sufficient. If it's not then it's off to the welder for some aluminium alloy welding.

At any rate, progress shall be being made shortly. As soon as it's dry (because it's been both wet and windy today). On the good news front (there's always got to be something good) - we should hopefully have the garage, assuming the rentees of the house on the corner are happy to have someone else using the garage. It needs major structural reno's and for the sake of six months it'd hardly be worth it, but it's rent free garage space, so a couple (well at least 4) joists is definately worth it.

As a side point, how aweome is my beloved, she already owns a dremel. She is such a geek *grin*.

* A Skil 1415, I think, off the top of my head. Looks like a Dremel tho'
** I just watched the first episode of 'The Wire', having found it's been wildly critically acclaimed and I'd never heard of it, I had to find out what it was. The result of this is that I had to resist writing something along the lines of 'more crack than Baltimore'.
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So, the plan was to do the clutch on the DAF. This is, obviously a simple job...

1) Remove the bonnet, bumper and grille
2) Detach all electrics (including the solenoid on the carb, the coil, the ....)
3) Remove the air filter
4) Remove the exhaust and heat exchangers
5) Slip out the engine and clutch
6) Change the clutch
7) Put the whole darn lot back together.

Theoretically a weekend should have been enough. Hell, with enough light and it being warm enough it should have been done in a day. Unfortunately, mid way through day two (siezed bolts, the fact it was freezing yesterday) this bolt intervened:

DAF exhaust

It is actually impossible to reach with ordinary spanners, a 3/4" wrench or a 1/2" wrench (even with a UJ inserted into the mix). I'm contemplating a set of S-shaped spanners but I'm not sure I can even get it off with them. I'm suspecting that the answer is: Angle grind off old exhaust (which I suspect may have been badly welded), Replace. Put on new exhaust with S-spanners. Unfortunately this doesn't fit into the plan of having the car running tomorrow, or uh, any day this week.

It's very annoying to have been defeated by a single nut. Once that's off the engine can come out and we can attempt to change the clutch shoes, but until it's done we're stuck with a DAF on ramps with a tarp over the front on our drive. Not really what we had in mind.

On the plus side, we had a very, very nice dinner yesterday at Wagamamas in Windsor. And then came home and had a very nice evening at home :)

Also on the plus points, the minor's oil leak is now sorted, theoretically, and the heater while not pumping out heat is significantly warmer.
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Now, I hate to be revolting. Well, actually I don't give a fig whether I'm revolting or not, but I just have to say how awesome Kathryn is. She's sweet and kind and thoughtful. She's generous, intelligent, creative and wonderful. And today she was just so lovely; despite the temperatures of 2 degrees C (and below), the snow, the oil and the gunk she worked away with me on the DAF today. Without her it would have been impossible to get nearly as far as we did, and getting the bonnet off alone would have been nightmareish.

She is, I am convinced, the most wonderful person in the world.

That having been said, we didn't finish the DAF. 5 hours of solid work, we're down to detaching the exhaust from the head (the book seems very vague about this, in fact, it actually suggests detaching the exhaust somewhere else, but then it'd still be curving round the suspension). All the wiring is detached, the bonnet, grill, bumper, air filter, various other ancilleries are also now in the boot and hopefully tomorrow we can get to the clutch and fix the poor benighted object, and then get her back on the road.

So, five hours in and we have this:

DAF sans front

So, uh, wish us good weather for the morrow.
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The thermometer reports a whopping 2.1 Degrees Celcius (that'd be 35.8F) outside and we are working on the DAF. Well, right now I'm trying to find out if my toes are still attached to my feet and Kathryn is kindly making lunch. But we shall be back out DAFing in a bit. This is in aid of Kathryn getting a licence and not wasting the 120 quid of poundlingtons it cost to Tax the poor thing.

Unfortunately, it's snowing. Despite my denial of the snow falling on us, it continued. It's not snowing heavily...yet. I'm hoping that it's going to stop, although it seems unlikely to warm up. The weather forecast suggested 4 degrees, which would, I suppose, be an improvement on 2.1 :-/

Ironically, in a few weeks time we may have access to a garage. The owner of said house on the corner having said we can use it subject to the rentees agreeing. He's renting it out in a couple of weeks tho' and so we can't fix it or use it 'til then. I originally thought that 2 joists needed doing, but it looks like 4. Ironically, he suggested the workshop might be a better bet, but for the concrete wall, and the fact the ceiling has actually come down, and there's no way to get a car into it, he'd be right. The space would be lovely.
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So, yes, sorry for the inconsiderate post-spam, but I've been so tired this last week that I've not been able to post anything. This has, of course, been annoying for me because most of the things I wanted to talk about have gone from my head. You've got one work related post, I think there were going to be four or so, but can't even recall what they were going to be about.
And the spam continues... )

Anyhow, despite my desire to lie on this sofa and repeat yesterday's impressive TV feast* (I watched 6 episodes of Blackadder, and one of Homes under the Hammer), I really should get up and move and do stuff. What with the list getting longer by the day, and my effect on it so-far having been minimal.Read more... )
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Yesterday I engaged in shameless money grubbing, despite being exhausted I drove for an hour and a half after a revoltingly early wake up call, to go work in St. Marks Hospital for the Feverish and Sickly. I've done one shift there before - a night shift months ago - and bizzarely some of the staff were on again. And also somewhat confusingly we've had so many agency staff at the trust in which I work over the last few weeks that I knew a whole load of people who were at St. Marks yesterday - all of whom looked very confused when they realised I was out of my normal location. Not only that, but a member of the Ambulance Service who I thought seemed interesting, but never got around to working out how to say 'hi, shall we meet up for a coffee some-time'*, and who recently left our area to work closer to home, happened to be on duty too. So it was kind of like working in my own department.

I even knew how the system worked and were the drugs were... which was nice. It wasn't that harder day, although being one of the agency nurses I got shuffled from one place to another through the morning, ended up doing admission assessments, having my own bay, looking after an observation ward... It was all fine though.

Unfortunately, it has left me exhausted. The 3 hours of driving after how ever many days on shift has left me feeling drained. I slept in 'til nearly 10, which is incredibly unusual for me, and even now just ache. I need to sort out the exhaust on the mog, the front manifold of which is leaking like....well...something. Although I've asked (at long last) about the abandoned garage a couple of houses down, so if I've got access to that then that'd make all the jobs that need doing much more pleasant. Unfortunately, it also requires time; time which I don't currently have. ONe would think that you'd either have time or money, and though this month through a process of working a ridiculous number of extra shifts I'm able to actually look at my bank account and not wince, which is nice.

There may even be some to pay off the overwhelming debts that lurk on my credit card. And perhaps there's the possibilty that Charles Ware's Morris Minor centre might respond to my statement that I'm going to have to take them to court over the 'restoration' of Rebecca they did 7 years ago - in which case - the debt incurred fixing that restoration will be somewhat ameliorated.

Anyhow, I need to get on with doing Kathryn's present, the coffee doesn't seem to have kicked in in quite the way I'd hoped, but I am at least upright.

In other news I've sorted a place to sort the gearbox - so the new gearbox is off to them to be reconditioned (later today if I get off my arse) *and* I've got the clips to hold the trim in place on the DAF. Woo yeah!

* I'm always faintly worried that it'll (a) sound odd, particularly with the techs/paramedics because I barely know 'em, and (b) sound like some sort of come-on, when all I want to do is make some friends**
** Yes, I really suck at making friends.

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