Thursday, 26 February 2015


This morning I settled in to my eight, thirty call and listened to my colleagues and they reported the trials and tribulations of their latest projects. At some point during the call 30% popped her head around the door of the study and said farewell as she was off in to the office this morning …

… As I patently awaited my turn to give a verbal summary of this week's chaos the telephone rang. I knew my turn would not be for a while so I took the call … it appears that the Range Rover's computer is not to be believed as 30% had run out of diesel when the damned thing was claiming it had a range of 50 miles.

TP was dispatched to run 30% to the local garage for a can of fuel while I checked the manual and had a quick chat with a friendly mechanic to see whether the car's fuel system would need to be primed to get her back up and running. Fortunately the car started and 30% was able to continue her day with minimal inconvenience.

There is not much else to report. A reasonable quantity of work was done, the dogs were walked and funds were transferred to the Brickie, so he can go out and procure materials; hardly the most exciting of days.

I finally got around to topping up the Enfield's fork oil and a brake bleeding kit has been ordered. The new carburettor may well get installed this weekend.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

One foot in front of the other

I finally got my act together and massaged a few more handfuls of cure mixture in to the soon-to-be-guanciale. Forgetting this activity for a couple of days doesn't appear to have had any adverse affect and by Sunday it should be hanging from a meat hook, wrapped in a little muslin jacket.

Work went quite well. There is nothing of any great import to report and, again, an hour was found, late in the day, to walk the dogs around the Three Miler…

…  We have noticed, of late, that T&M have put on a few pounds. This is a combination of being spayed, less frequent walks and access to Whiffler's high energy puppy food. Their recent visit to the groomers has shown they have a definite thickening around the middle and 30% has finally agreed that they should be put on a diet. Hopefully increased exercise, no treats* and a calorie controlled diet should have them back to their trim figures by the Summer.

The Enfield project creeps slowly forward but most of the jobs lack massive visual impact. The electrical earth has been connected to a bare point on the frame and tested. Fortunately I appear to have a satisfactory negative earth on both frame and engine. The final drive chain has been fitted, but will need the tension adjusted at some point and I also started the refurbishment of the battery cover lock. This tiny little component has had it's pitted and corroded chrome de-rusted, sanded and treated. A coat of black paint has been applied and it should look good once fitted in the side panel.

It is now just a case of trying to do something every day on the Enfield, no matter how small of insignificant the job may seem … eventually I will run out of things to do and then I can try to fire her up.
* Tyson and Whiffler are partial to pieces of apple and these will continue to be offered. Marauder, however, much prefers biscuits and these are definitely off their approved food list.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

I forgot it again today too

Todays big news is that our Brickie has contacted us to ask if a start date of 6th March was "OK with us". That is possibly one of the most redundant questions I have ever been asked. We have lived with an eyesore of a wall for more than ten years and to go from quotation to start date in under four weeks is bloody fantastic … We simply cannot wait for him to get started.*

The working day went quite well and I managed to overcome the latest hurdle on one of my projects. 30% and I also managed to find an hour to get out around the Three Miler with the dogs in the late afternoon.

On the bike front I totally failed to change the fork oil, but I did affix the transfer to the panel that conceals the battery and spent a few minutes admiring tinware rather than mechanicals for once.
I then had a "fuck it"moment when I realised that there was no way that an eBay purchased lock would attach this panel to the frame and that a replacement can only be purchased as part of a full lock set …

… it looks like I may have to work some magic with WD40, wet and dry and paint on the corroded original.
* and it will be interesting to see how the locals respond to skips, excavation and a partially obscured footpath once work commences.

Monday, 23 February 2015

I forgot to rub cure in to the guanciale

Recently my weeks seem to be quiet at the start and busy at the end and today suggested that this week may well follow this trend.

It is fair to say that I was neither rushed nor overburdened today and actually found time to take a walk around the Three Miler with the dogs. The one call I did have was thirty minutes shorter than expected and I had to to little more than pay attention. My main accomplishment was the completion of a few mandated training courses which did a passable job of filling my afternoon.

Today's most significant event was puppy training, which went reasonably well apart from the solo exercise where Whiffler is supposed to sit, waiting patiently while I retreat up the Village Hall and only stirring when I call him to come back to me … He just does not get it! As soon as this exercise starts he just gets incredibly excited and wants to rush about the hall and see his class mates. The peculiar thing is that there is a similar exercise performed as a group which he does make a fairly reasonable job of.

I suppose we will just have to persevere and practise more at home.

Apparently we must have done something right as today we were awarded our Kennel Club Puppy Foundation Assessment. The cynic in me thinks that the passing criteria is attending more than six sessions without peeing on the floor* … 30% is perhaps more generous in her assessment of his progress.
*Whiffler, not me

Sunday, 22 February 2015

A lazy Sunday

I had considered walking the dogs on Sunday morning, but the rain had started before I had finished my breakfast so I redrew my plans. 

I wandered over to the Enfield and spent a few minutes fitting the front brake pipe before realisation dawned that I had a considerable quantity of pork in the fridge that needed my attention.*

The morning was therefore spent removing the cheeks from the head and starting a cure of guanciale. The trotters and other odds and ends were placed in the jam kettle with stock vegetables and seasoning and simmered for a few hours to give us a few litres of pork stock. By the time I had cleared up and also made up another batch of cure, so I would be able to finish the guanciale, it was time for lunch.

As pancakes had not been cooked on Shrove Tuesday, TP and I were recruited to prepare an American Brunch. TP made the batter and kept an eye on the rashers of bacon being grilled while I made a batch of short stack pancakes. It will come as no surprise that lunch was bacon, a short stack and maple syrup.

In the afternoon the rain continue to fall and I must admit that I retired to the embrace of the sofa where I snored for an hour or more. Upon waking I felt that I really ought to do something, so I settled in front of the Enfield and connected up the speedometer cable. I now need to re-fill the forks with oil before I can finish the connection and routing of cables through the casquette.

That means yet another parts order .. this time for copper washers.
* Kathy H-R had phoned on Saturday to invite us to her birthday party and also to ask if we would like a pig's head and trotters. We said "yes" to both and a large plastic bag greeted us when we arrived home from our trip to Evesham yesterday.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

I now own a kazoo

This morning 30% and I had a few errands to complete.

Our first stop was Alcester where 30% paid a visit to her long absent Audi. The damned thing has been in the workshop for a good couple of weeks, if not more, while they try to locate an electrical fault that results in a constant check engine light. They are progressing component by component and reassured 30% that the labour bill was not enormous … yet.

I, on the other hand, went next door to the Motorcycle dealer from whom I purchased the Shitter. I needed a new brake light switch and wandered in on the off-chance that they might have one kicking around. The Proprietor was keen to hear how I was getting on and actually provided me with a switch spring free of charge. I wandered out a happy man.

We then headed down the road and popped in to the meat wholesaler and Builder's Merchants; a product catalogue and a few choice cuts were chucked in the back of the car.

Our next stop was Evesham where I was treated to a tour of Lidl before we visited the Picture Framers to collect a print of some ratting terriers and the cleaned C18 painting of a Hunter. The oil painting has cleaned up beautifully and we now face quite a difficult decision … do we restore further or frame as is.   We now have  the name of a local picture restorer and probably need to take it to him for an assessment and advice.

These errands consumed the morning and it was time for lunch upon our return. 30% and I then headed out around the Three Miler with Tyson, Marauder and Whiffler. We had a lovely, if muddy, walk and an obligatory dog washing session was completed upon our return to The Pile.

A fairly lazy afternoon followed. although I managed to recruit some assistance from 30% and finally assembled the Enfield's rear brake lever mechanism. This is a complicated assembly of rods, spindles, levers, bushes and pedals due to the fact that this model is at the point where Enfield realised that market share might improve if they went with the gear change on the left and the brake on the right like every other new motorcycle on the planet.  Consequently this convoluted mechanism is required to connect a pedal on the right with a brake drum on the left hand side of the rear wheel.

Dinner was taken very early this evening as 30% and I were out for one of her Christmas gifts. I had managed to acquire front row seats for a performance of the I'm sorry I haven't a clue tour at Cheltenham, so by half past six we were thundering down the motorway towards this Gloucestershire Spa town.

I have driven past the racecourse many times before but this was the first time I had ever visited it. As a venue for a comedy performance it can be summed up as follows; The auditorium is perfectly adequate but it is connected to a complete and utter cluster fuck of a foyer. It was badly laid out with refreshments stalls squeezed either side of the entrance to the toilets. This created a chaotic jumble of people who were trying to offload or take on fluids. Basically the Organisers didn't seem to have put any thought in to crowd management which surprised us in view of the thousands that visit during Gold Cup Week.

My mutterings about the foyer were soon put aside as we took our seats and settled to watch Messrs Dee, Sell, Garden, Cryer, Hardy and Brooke-Taylor perform their ridiculous antics. It was a brilliant evening filled with laugh out loud moments including one where Tim Brooke-Taylor was twerking at me …

… You probably had to be there.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Sometimes I wonder about my son

Today TP and I were in the kitchen and he was grazing. After checking the fruit bowl for grapes, he scanned the shelves for cashews or pistachios before selecting a storage jar of shelled peanuts.

"Dad, what sort of nuts are these?" he asked. I pointed out that these were the nuts 30% put out for the birds and he looked at me with an expression that suggested he thought I was taking the piss.*

He opened the jar and tipped a few nuts in to his hand and laughed as I repeated that he was about to eat bird food. I called to 30%, who was in the lounge, and it was only when her dulcet tones** reached us and confirmed my statement that TP returned the peanuts to the jar.

Apparently he has been snacking on them for the past few days and a blackbirds, three starlings and a robin are preparing their case for retributions.
* I do so frequently … I see it as preparation for when I release him back in to the wild.
** Think fishwife!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Hmmm! I seem to be working for a living

There is not a lot to see here as I was head down all day.

When I say all day, what I actually mean is that I was head down until about half past three. By this time I had run out of steam* and spent the remainder of the working day listing and planning what I needed to complete tomorrow.

30% was out this evening at the wedding reception of a frolleague. I was invited, but had more sense than to schlep miles in the rain, on a school night, to spend a few hours with my work mates.** 30% had Jules for company so I stayed at home and prepared a supper of Haggis and Mash for TP and me.

I suppose I should provide a status report on the Enfield too. Nothing major has been competed over the past week but the odd job has been attended to when I have had a few minutes spare. The right handlebar grip, switches and clutch lever re all now fixed in place and the bulk of the wiring loom has now been reconnected, including the front indicators. I now have the correct parts for the rear brake assembly and a trial fit this evening showed that the brake rod will need some tweaking … and possibly brute force … to get it all back together.

The weekend is fast approaching so perhaps it will get done then. I am also conscious that March is almost here and I would love to have her back on the road by the Spring.
* I learnt many years ago that I am a morning person. The hours from seven until noon are when I am at my most productive and that is when I try to schedule my more complicated or arduous work. Don't get me wrong; I will shovel shit at any time, but it just seems that bit easier before the sun reaches it's zenith.
** Attempting to stab "nibbles" from a paper plate with a plastic fork whilst holding single glass of wine … I don't think so

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Picture Post

After slacking off yesterday afternoon,  I was definitely back in the saddle and was head down all day.

As a consequence there is very little to report, other than the fact that we have accepted our Builder's quotation and will soon be choosing bricks, coping stones and paving.

I am now definitely back in the swing of things and am actually enjoying having plenty of work such that the end of the working day is suddenly there, rather than waiting for it to crawl up to meet me.

While working today I looked at my calendar and realised that it is only six weeks until our first holiday of 2015.  We have a week booked in a cottage at Pwll Du on The Gower and, with that in mind, I thought I would add a splash of colour to the Journal and publish a couple of photographs that were taken there in April 2013.
Towards Three Cliffs Bay, April 2013
Who is feeding that bloody squirrel apricots?

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Out to lunch

Back in December last year I received an abusive Christmas Card from Grandad Jack. I did what was expected of me and promptly called him and abused him back …

… the upshot of this exchange of insults was that we agreed to meet up for lunch as soon as he, and the current Mrs Hawkins, returned from their Winter Cruise of the Atlantic and Caribbean.

Well, that nautical adventure had obviously been concluded as Grandad Jack called last Saturday and today was earmarked for "lunch".

We had a lovely time catching up on each others news over a bite to eat at one of the local pubs. It was a bloody good job that I had a quiet afternoon as, even though I showed restraint and only had two small glasses of red, I was not particularly productive this afternoon.

Future outings were loosely discussed, including one with Judge Dread if he can be coaxed up from the South Coast.

Monday, 16 February 2015

A busy start to the week

Little of any significance happened on Sunday and it is a matter of a sentence or two to summarise it's passing ...

… The dogs were walked in the morning and the afternoon saw a trip in to Redditch to visit Stevie and the Elf in their new home. The Redditch trip involved a minor detour to the supermarket and  we discovered the joys of their car wash while you shop service. For the princely sum of ten English Pounds my memory has been jogged and I can now report that the Range Rover is, in fact, silver rather than shite brown! The only other thing of any great importance was a rather lengthy snooze on the sofa before dinner.

Today I was up bright and early and I hit the laptop very soon after seven. I cleared down my in-box and planned the day's varied activities and deliverables. I also checked my diary and ensured that the first half of the morning was free. The reason for this frenzy of activity was that I wanted to head over to Hitchcocks Motorcycles to sort out a few braking components that were slowing progress on the Enfield … that is an interesting concept; a lack of braking components slowing progress?

Fortunately the cosmic tumblers once again clicked in to place and I found myself wandering in to Hitchcocks' showroom shortly after nine o'clock. The issue with the rear brake spindle shaft was soon resolved, a few other items were added to my box of goodies and I was soon heading home … Unfortunately I managed to get caught in a huge jam resulting from an accident and I arrived home nearly an hour later than I had planned.

Fortunately my absence had not been noticed and I settled to what turned out to be a very productive day. Requirements were clarified and documented, a meeting was attended and minuted, my appraisal form was signed and returned to my Boss and a rather complex process was followed to request the development of a solution element. By the time I finished my day I was rather impressed by my productivity, if I say so myself.

This evening saw the weekly trip to puppy training and Whiffler's performance was marginally improved although I have the feeling that I may well be tempting fate by saying so. He is still far more interested in the rest of the class than me and it is only chunks of cheddar that manage to persuade him to perform the exercises. A packed class meant that the hour passed quickly and it seemed that we were soon on our way back home.

The only other news was that the Builder's quote has arrived and is more than we had hoped but less than expected so we are likely to be engaging his services in the next day or so.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Putting on the brakes

This morning was taken up with a trip in to Alcester and included a wander around the supermarket, the discovery of a rather nice Gentlemen's outfitter, and the purchase of a number of stuffed toys to entertain Whiffler. We also checked out a rather fine, but grubby, antique bed frame at one of the Antique shops as we have a loose plan to turn the Purple Bedroom in to, well, a bedroom. The frame was lovely but there was some damage to one of the legs and it was impossible to see the extent or whether repair was feasible …no sale.

In the afternoon I finally settled down with the Enfield and did my best to avoid fitting the loom. I planned to install the front brake lever and brake master cylinder but soon discovered a problem. The master cylinder needed to be drained … One of the cover's screws was removed without a problem, but the second was an absolute pig and appeared to have been manufactured from the cheapest steel on the planet. The head was soon knackered so it was time to get Medieval on it.

I cut a new slot in the screw head with a mini grinding disk but it still failed to budge. At this point I checked out a replacement part and learned that the failure of a twenty pence component had the potential to cost me more than one hundred and thirty quid for a replacement master cylinder. I finally overcame this obstacle by carefully drilling out the head of the screw with my pillar drill.* It finally came free and I was rewarded with a dousing in very manky brake fluid.

After cleaning everything up I could progress no further as a replacement screw would need to be purchased along with a new diaphragm, so the front brake reassembly was put on hold. I then settled to the rear brake assembly.

I had trial fitted a number of the major components of this sub-assembly so was reasonably confident that it would go back together. However, as soon as I attempted to screw in the grease nipples I realised that something wasn't right. After a thorough inspection it was apparent that I had either been sent the wrong part or that the machining of the part had not been completed. Either way this activity was going no further and a trip to Hitchcocks needed to be planned for next week. Arse!

This left me with no option but to wrestle with the grubby spaghetti of the Enfield's loom. I decided to break myself in gently by separating and installing the coil as a first task. Then I suddenly found my auto electrical mojo and it all started coming together. My library of photographs taken during the disassembly was an absolute boon and I soon had the main loom elements loosely attached to the frame.

By the time I finished for the day I had got most of the loom laid out in it's original position and a good few of it's connectors had been reconnected to their partners. There is still much to be done and I am sure that several sessions with a multi meter will follow in the next few days or weeks.
*The shaft of the machine screw was removed with the aid of mole grips

Friday, 13 February 2015

Here endeth the working week

Friday's big news was that Whiffler was dispatched to the Grooming Salon and returned looking a much leaner beast. 30% may prefer him fluffy but he now looks, most definitely, like a poodle and she is not going to have explain that he is neither a Labradoodle nor a Golden Doodle to people she encounters.

On the home front I finally managed to get hold of a set of pdf files for our building work after a number of glitches which can mostly be put down to the fact that iOS and Microsoft Outlook just don't work properly together. Christ knows why attachments are either stripped out or converted to an unreadable format, but I eventually found out how to get hold of them and sent them over to our prospective Builder. Hopefully a quote will follow in the next few days.

On the work front my day was quiet but today was 30%'s first day back at work since 9th December and it is fair to say that she was shattered by the experience.* She is on a phased return to work** so is only working a few hours a day for the first week but the social contact after weeks at home really took it out of her.

We had planned to go out for a bite to eat at the Oak but when she was wandering around in her pyjamas at five o'clock I realised that we were going to be eating in. A fire was lit and I offered to head up to the Chinese Takeaway but then promptly fell asleep on the sofa and woke to a pasta bake.

Here endeth the working week.
*  Lord knows how the poor sods in the office dealt with it after two months of peace and quiet. I did try to warn them!
** I'm still unsure whether this is for her welfare or to allow her colleagues to slowly get used to having her back in the office creating Merry Hell.

Thursday, 12 February 2015


I was up even earlier today as I needed to be in the Office bright and early.

It was going to be a long day as my Boss was up from darn sarf and a curry was planned for this evening. The morning was spent in a meeting with a colleague and a fun couple of hours were spent reviewing a set of process diagrams and outlining the necessary tweaks so they stood a chance of working if ever implemented.

We were finished by lunchtime and my afternoon now had a purpose as all of the diagrams would need to be redrawn. At this point I should mention that my Boss's visit to these faraway lands was multipurpose. He had a series of meetings and telepresence calls to attend, the aforementioned curry and my end of year appraisal meeting. It was this latter appointment that was foremost in my mind. There was no appointment in my diary just a casual statement from the boss that we should link up at some point in the afternoon for my end of year.

It was fair to say that I was feeling quite apprehensive about this meeting. From my perspective the first half of the year had gone reasonably well but the second half had not been great at all. I had worked a monstrous RFP that was a complete and utter clusterfuck* and this was followed by three months where my activities are best described by the term scratching around for something to do. I quite like working, or perhaps more accurately, I quite like being employed as I have a family, three large dogs, a mortgage and collection of motorcycles and a regular income ensures that this list doesn't get any shorter. I therefore need to do well in at work so that I can afford to live.**

The afternoon waned and my Boss was conspicuous by his absence. Eventually he appeared at half past five and asked if I had time now for a chat. We wandered in to a nearby vacant office, sat down and he beamed at me … it was fair to say that the appraisal was effusive and very complimentary. I was awarded an exceed rating and told that the future looked rosy***. It is fair to say that I was incredibly relieved after what I had viewed as an average year at best.

It was then time for an early dinner so we wandered out, linked up with a few colleagues and spent a pleasant couple of hours in a nearby curry house.

As days go, this one went far better than expected.
* not one of my making ... the entire project was badly managed and approached by both The Neat & Tidy Piano Movers and the prospective client. Actually I was brilliant.
** I definitely fall in to the work to live section of the population. The other sections appear to be live to work (the sad and dull) or claim benefits to live (the work shy)
*** Pay rises and bonuses were mentioned … perhaps I am a shit for mentioning it, but it is still amazing after the appalling treatment I received at Dante's Nine Circles of Hell from remuneration perspective. They were, and still are, oppressive bastards that instil fear in to their employees in order to make them grateful they still have a job and willing to accept erosion of an immobile salary by inflation.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Work and play

I was up this morning quite a bit earlier than I have had to for a while.

The reason for this was that 30% had booked the dogs in at the Groomers and today Tyson and Marauder* needed to be dropped off at 8.30 sharp … I duly arrived at the allotted hour and handed over the leads to the Groomer. She took one look at them followed by a quick feel of their coats and advised that there was no way that they could be bathed and brushed.** Their coats were too matted after a couple of months of muddy lanes and frequent washes without subsequent brushing. They were going to need to be clipped very short.

I agreed to this course of action and left them with her. The only problem is that Whiffler's coat is even longer and 30% absolutely adores him in his current fluffy state. She was mortified when she learnt that he is likely to come home on Friday a lot less hairy.

My working day was spent developing an information pack for one of my projects. I will need to engage a team to provide a solution element and hopefully this pack along with a set of process diagrams will tell them enough to deliver the goods. Knocking up this pack and an assortment of calls filled the day and five o'clock soon arrived. I stood up from my desk and wandered out to survey the Enfield.

With the front end reattached I was able to re-insert the ammeter and speedometer in the casquette. Once that was completed I headed out to the garage and retrieved the clutch lever, left hand switch assembly and decompressor cable. The next hour was spent attaching these to the bars and connecting up the two cables.

At this rate the loom and rear brake will get installed over the weekend.
* Whiffler will be done on Friday as they are unable to groom all three on the same day … it just takes too long.
** as arranged and requested by 30%

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

It should steer now

At the end of today I can report that much reassembly took place and the Enfield now looks pretty similar to how it did on 25th January.  TP provided the necessary assistance to lift the bike from it's supporting blocks and the steering now turns beautifully with none of the notchy feeling that was apparent the last time I reached this point.

It will need to be lifted back up on to the blocks for another few days, as it will be far easier to continue the reassembly with the bike in an upright position than canted over, as it is when supported by the side stand. The next activities are likely to be assembling the rear brake mechanism and reinstalling the loom but those are the first of a very long list of things that are yet to be completed.

I am guessing that there will be pressure to relocate it back to the garage now it is able to stand on it's own and that the weather will soon be improving.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Who fiddled with the thermostat?

I seem to have started the week with a surge of productivity. After initial reluctance to get going this morning, I settled with a plain sheet of paper and started to draft out a process diagram based on some notes I took a couple of weeks ago. By the time the working day had ended I had drafted another three processes to complete the set and had minuted a call for my Boss.

During the day it became apparent that we have some form of unknown presence that delights in turning the thermostat down. 30% claims she has nothing to do with this but, I put it to you m'Lud, would you trust the word of a woman, of a certain age when sudden hot flushes are common place?

As a result of this action I was bloody freezing today and, after resetting the thermostat to a more civilised 20 degrees C, I also lit a fire in the study and shut the door. I am guessing that I will need to set up camera traps to identify the mysterious being that is turning the bloody heating down. I am currently offering the following odds on what these traps will capture:-

500/1        A stranded Andorian*
1000/1      TP **
800/1        Tyson, Marauder or Whiffler ***
75/1            a Poltergeist
50/1           a crazed, nut job environmentalist that thinks
                    20 degrees C is killing the planet
1/2             30%

On a slightly saner plane, the postman delivered my water pump grease this morning, so I was able to spend a happy hour packing the Enfield's headstock bearings with grease and reassembling the bike's triple tree.

Further re-assembly was not possible as it was puppy training this evening so 30% and I took Whiffler to arse about with his mates! There are moments of obedience but they are very brief. He just wants to play with all of his classmates … talk about the very definition of frustration.
* one for the Trekkies
** Quote: " do I know where the what-a-stat is?"
*** They like it toasty

Sunday, 8 February 2015

This year's big project

The main event of the morning was a visit from a builder to discuss our plans for a retaining wall and remodelled steps up to the front door. He arrived on time, didn't seem phased by our requirements, seemed to ask the right questions and left with a request for an electronic copy of the plans and a semi-commitment to get something over to us towards the end of the week.

Our first impression was that he was very young but had a maturity beyond his years. I became aware of him when he did some similar work at a house down in the village so we already know that he is reliable and capable. I guess we just need to see what his quote looks like.

I used what was left of the morning to get a few coats of paint on the gaiter clips that I de-rusted and primed yesterday. Lunch followed and then I headed out around the Three Miler with the dogs.
Upon my return I settled with the Enfield's left fork leg in my lap and a Dremel in my right hand …

… When I bought these nearly new forks I was advised that there was an issue with the brake caliper mount and that some tweaking might be necessary. The recent assembly of the bike's front end showed that the inner face of the caliper did indeed sit too close to the brake disk and as a result the mounting lugs on the fork leg need to be ground back a couple of millimetres. 

I was fortunate that I was able to use my other Enfield as reference material and spent a good few minutes examining it's brake set up before I attacked the caliper mounting lugs with a mini grinding wheel. The job seemed to go well and the Dremel was perfect for grinding, sanding and polishing the aluminium fork slider. I may have another go at the mounts before final assembly to give a little more disk/caliper clearance but I was quite pleased with the way this job went.
That wraps up the main events off the day. A fire was lit, dinner was eaten and we settled in front of the TV for the evening.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Not much happened

Saturday was a fairly quiet day.

Most of the morning was taken up with a trip over to Stratford. 30% hit the supermarket and I headed off across the retail park to pick up a couple of cans of paint. By the time we had finished and were back at home it was time for lunch.

In the early afternoon it was time for some painting …

… Most of the heavily corroded Enfield components had been replaced but there are two spring clips* on the forks for which I cannot find a suitable replacement. I previously ordered replacement parts but they look nothing like the originals and just don't fit. Consequently early this morning I sanded them to bare metal, degreased them and applied a coat of rust treatment.

By early afternoon the rust treatment had dried and a few coats of rattle can primer was applied to these slim bands of metal. Previously I have hand painted de-rusted components but these would have been impossible to hold and paint so have been suspended on cotton thread and sprayed in a makeshift spray booth. The primer looks acceptable and all being well the colour coat will be applied tomorrow.

I then persuaded 30% to accompany me on a walk and we headed out for a shortened version of the Three Miler. On our return to the house a fire was lit and I did very little else for the rest of the day.
* They clamp the gaiters to the fork sliders

Friday, 6 February 2015

For once ...

… the cosmic tumblers all click in to place.

Our garden wall is in a horrendous state. It dates back a hundred years, if not more, and acts as a retaining wall for our garden, which is four feet above the level of the road.

When we bought The Pile we were aware that it was in a dreadful state. It leant over at quite an angle and in places it had collapsed. The inside of the house had been similarly neglected and that is where we have been concentrating our efforts since we bought the place back in 2004. Recently, however, we have been making steps to replace the wall and have had plans drawn up and completed the necessary consultations with the local planning department and the Council Tree Officer.

A couple of days ago the Tree Officer dropped us a line to let us know that she is happy with our proposals and we are good to go. So this morning I finally got around to ringing a brick layer … I left him a message, asking him if he would like to contact us about providing a quote.

I then wandered in to the kitchen and looked out to see a Highways Department lorry and a number of workers in Hi-Vis jackets loitering outside The Pile. This piqued my curiosity so I headed out to ask what they were up to. A very pleasant workman advised that they were going to cut back all of the ivy that over runs our tumble-down wall and cut back the verges so that the footpath is restored to it's original width. I made sure he was aware the the Yew Trees had preservation orders, which he did, and then I went back inside leaving them to it.

About an hour later they departed with a huge quantity of soil and vegetation and I wandered out to survey the results. I couldn't believe it. The local authority had come out and performed the preliminary site clearance for our wall project without being asked and at no charge … Result!

The icing on the cake was when the Brickie rang later in the evening and we arranged for him to come out and have a look at the job on Sunday morning. He will now be able to see exactly what needs to be done and we are certain that £500 pounds of work has already been done by the Council.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

If I was a horse they would have shot me years ago.

After 2014's multiple trips to Birmingham to have a dental implant, I am now in the safe hands of my NHS Dentist for the routine dental care that involves check-ups, scale and polish, fillings etc.

Today I was back in her chair for the second time in the space of a week. At my last check up she noticed a cavity and today I had it filled. Normally that would be it, I would now be free to munch on whatever I liked and just pop back in six months time for another inspection, however that is not the future for this particular tooth. The filling is only a temporary solution and the Dentist wants to see me again in three months time. IF the filling has been effective at removing the decay then the Dentist plans to remove the filling and replace it with a crown.

At this rate, with so much porcelain in my mouth, I'll be seeing Henry Sandon in future instead of Mrs Pilay!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Apparently water pump grease is best.

I made an early start on Wednesday so that I could take a short break at nine to drop my bearing races and cups off at Redditch Motorcycles.  The professional opinion was that the machining made them a very tight fit and that a press would need to be used to insert the the bearing races in to the cups that hold them in the frame's neck tube. I left them there and headed home to resume work.

My day went well and I even found a free hour to take the dogs around the Three Miler. I would have brought them home clean but half way around Whiffler found an open ditch and decided to run along 50 yards of it's length … mucky little sod!

By four thirty I had achieved my main objectives which included a modicum of shit stirring on a project where our team were engaged, then ignored. Our collective view is that some Empire Building has got entirely out of hand and it is time to get some management focus on a Programme that appears to be reliant on a bunch of overpaid Contractors with no proven ability to develop anything more complex that a PowerPoint presentation.

As I said, by four thirty I was just about done so headed back down the road to pick up my bearing races. Chris had obviously had a busy day and hadn't got around to pressing them in, so I spent twenty minutes chatting while he sorted them all out. He was also very helpful in suggesting an appropriate grease for the roller bearings and that I should use a threaded bar and metal plates as a primitive press to install the bearing cups/races.

I headed home with this new knowledge and eventually* settled in front of the Enfield's neck tube … Christ it was a pig of a job! I recalled Chris' comments about the machining and, in desperation, ran a mini sanding drum around the bearing cups. That mild abrasion was enough to allow them to be pressed in to the neck tube rather than skewing as they had tended to do before.  They were still bloody tight but they are now in and I hope they never need changing again.

I just need the grease and then I can start putting the damned thing back together again.
* A hypo and an associated recuperative snooze delayed progress by an hour or more

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Head down

Working for a living certainly makes the day go faster and today positively sped by.

At the moment there are political issues in my area of work and, as a result, we do not have access to Operational Architects. It will therefore come as no surprise that I have had to take on this mantle too* in an attempt to progress one of my projects. Over the past few days I have attempted to design an appropriate model and today I passed it out for a peer review … It was well received, so the next step will be to get the project team to review and, hopefully, sign up to it.

The remainder of the day was filled with calls, minutes and actions and it was soon time to knock off.  The evening was spent puzzling over, and fiddling with, a set of taper roller head bearings for the Enfield. It soon became apparent that I would need a professional with access to a press to insert the bearing races in to the sleeves … It looks like I will be nipping down to Redditch Motorcycles in the morning and I hope I haven't terminally jammed the race in the sleeve … oops!
* In this particular project I have been the Requirements Architect, the Project Manager in additional to my primary role as Solution Integrator. I had better watch out as the lavatory cleaner is looking a bit peaky today!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Work 'n play

After many weeks of very light duties it has taken me a while to get back in the saddle with regard to managing a reasonable workload but, after today's performance, I think I am just about there.

The bulk of the morning was spent performing the electronic equivalent of doodling as I started to sketch out an Operational Model for one of my projects. The afternoon was mostly taken up with calls and I was even diligent enough to draft and issue a set of minutes before I knocked off and took Whiffler to puppy training.

Puppy Training! … How can I describe puppy training?

On the plus side; at least he was slightly more focused than last week and, to be fair, he did reasonably well at the exercises where he was required to sit or lie down while I stepped away from him. He had never done either of these before and sort of understood what was required of him.

However it is so hard to hold his attention and he just so wants to bugger off down the room and play with the other pups. I have a faint recollection of Tyson and Marauder being a nightmare for the first few weeks and can only hope that he eventually gets it and settles down at school.

Comment of the evening came from Brenda; the class leader; "I thought poodles were supposed to be intelligent" followed closely by "He isn't anything like your other two".

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The sooner I start the sooner I get it sorted ...

It is likely to come as no surprise that Sunday morning was spent dismantling the front end of the Enfield.

I made an early start on ancillary components like indicators, handlebars and gauges but there was then an interlude while I waited for TP to emerge from his pit, break his fast and decide on Sunday's outfit. He eventually appeared fully dressed mid-morning and we soon had the bike back up on blocks. Shortly thereafter we had the front wheel out, the forks removed and the casquette and steering stem were lying on the floor. TP received an honorary discharge for services rendered and I headed out to the garage to retrieve a hammer and a selection of drifts. It was then a few moments work to removed the bearings and drive the bearing races from the frame, steering stem and casquette.

By the time I had finished it was lunch time and afterwards I headed around the Three Miler with the dogs. After yesterday's wet snow I was expecting it to be vile but the roads and verges had dried considerably in the cold weather and when we returned none of the dogs needed bathing … I was bloody amazed and I am sure that 30% thought we had just spent the past hour sat in the pub.

In an attempt to convincer her that I had actually completed a walk, I settled on the sofa in front of the fire and snored for the next ninety minutes.

As the afternoon drifted in to the evening I wandered back to the corpse of the Enfield and considered my options. I could do sweet Fanny Adams to the front of the bike until new bearings* arrive alter in the week. I therefore grabbed a box of parts from my stash and started to dry fit the rear brake pedal components …

… that should keep me busy for a while.
* and a new ammeter … I knackered it dismantling the front end this morning