Cracking On.

I’ve been making a few attempts to return to running, in between bouts of plague weakness, but every time I do my foot immediately starts hurting again. Happily, all my races have been cancelled this year, so I’m not losing out. The one that looks to be actually happening is the Warrington Way, a 40 mile loop of Warrington. That’s in November, due to the small field and the natural separation over that distance, it looks promising that it can take place. 

I was hopeful about doing that, but my foot is just useless. I’ve had enough of it. It’s been 21 months of bothering me, now is the time to rest it until it heals properly. This can take up to 9 months. I’m going to test it every 3 months.

The thing that decided me was the plague weakness. It progressed from recurrent, 2 or 3 day bouts,  to 2 solid weeks of feeling wasted, to a greater or lesser degree, every day. I decided to seize the plague ridden day and rest. It was that constant that I’d accepted that was it, my life was plague weakness from here on in. Then I noticed I’d been 3 days without it, 4 today. It’s not permanent. Yet. That is such a relief.

Nasty, nasty bug.

My resolve has cracked and I’ve fallen off the veggie wagon. Again.

In a karmic balancing of the scales I am back to pushbiking to work now, (to try and maintain some fitness and not die of morbid obesity now I’m not running) so I’m not destroying the planet as much that way. Not that that is a great consolation to the poor animals.

I had a sweet and sour pork and fried rice from the Chinese on Saturday. Wow. Literally the first thing I’ve properly tasted in about 3 years (since I got that bad cold that wiped out my sense of taste). Sorry piggy, but you didn’t die in vain, at least.

I’ve done a few things in the garden. I was looking at how to lay shed bases for when my uber-shed arrives (in 5 months!) and saw these plastic gravel grids.

The idea being you dig, then level an area, lay a weed suppressant membrane, click the grids into each other, then fill with gravel. This makes them strong enough to drive and park cars on, so easily strong enough to hold a shed. 

I wanted a bit of a test run, and fancied a gravel path. I have a pair of muddy boots in a bucket by the door for any time I want to walk down the garden, a path would stop that.  It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. The big thing I’ve learned is to buy a ton of sand. You can level off the dirt and tamp it down with a plank or by stamping on it, but my dirt is cleggy so it sticks to whatever is squashing it and lifts up again in clumps.

For the shed base I’ll dig in, roughly level off, then shovel in a ton of sand and level it off properly.

Anyway, after making heavy weather of the job, and it taking roughly twice the 10kg per square of gravel they said, job’s a good ‘un. I’m going to get some edging to prevent the stones from migrating, but yeah, happy with that.

It sounds like a tory drive.

Also I bought a mixed bargain lucky dip of perennials. When they arrived they were tiny and it said I had to pot them on. I did, but I’ve been wondering how to set them up for winter. Our dirt isn’t great for drainage, and they are still only small, and the slugs are a pain. I remembered I still had some plastic hoops left from when I cut up a barrel, so I made some temporary raised beds today. They should be happy as Larry in there.

Also, when I cleared the shed out to make it into my motorbike workshop I rigged up a tarpaulin roof between the fence and the shed and shoved all my gardening bits in there. It was only supposed to be a quick fix, but it was letting in water and the water that was running off was making the ground boggy.

I put up a proper roof of that corrugated plastic sheeting, with a gutter so the rain water runs into my water butt barrel. Then I cut a hole in the side of the barrel, wedged in a length of hose pipe and ran it to my bamboo. Now when it fills instead of overflowing it redirects the water to the “can’t overwater” bamboo.

These are just side issues, and quick projects.  Obviously the biggie is still the bike project.

Nath’s bike has been put on the back burner. I’m really fixating on the the NTV.

I’m getting there. I’m one job away from splitting the engine casings. Then it’s pull the rest of the guts out, clean and rebuild. *Then* things get interesting. The one job is pulling the rotor, but the workshop manual says you need a specific tool for that so I’ve ordered it today.

They say when you’ve stripped it as far as I’m doing it’s standard practice to replace the bearings and seals. To which end I’ve just got an electric oven. I was going to buy it for £30 but the woman has damaged it, huge dent in the top, so she said I could have it for free. That way I can heat (and expand) the engine cases so the (frozen and shrunk) new bearings just drop right into place. Wendy has said I’m not allowed to cook my engine cases in our oven so I had to get one for my shed. She’s still going on about “stinking the house out” and the interestingly piquant “chemical death” flavour to the food from the last time, all those years ago. Unreasonable.

One issue I’m struggling with is one of the bearings is discontinued. I want to do a proper job on them, but I just can’t source the parts. For the rest of the bits I have a plan. Instead of buying all brand new bits and second hand bits (£45 per piston, £19 per set of piston rings, £45 oil pump, nuts, bolts, etc etc) I’ve seen a complete second hand engine. I’m bidding on that. I’ll strip that and use it for parts. I’m still getting the engineering practice (twice!) but it won’t cost as much.

Anyway, here’s where I’m up to with the engine.

Actually, I’m a bit further. I’ve taken off the gear change externals (the bar sticking out on the left of the picture and the black linkages attached to it) and the starter motor (the cylindrical thing on the top left of the picture).

I need a special tool to take off the rotor (the big round thing.)

I’ve already taken off the water pump (silver thing with the pipe coming out of it).

As I say, get the tool, take off the rotor, and I can split the cases. Clean everything out, hopefully source some new bearings, replace, rebuild.

Fun times.



PS, We’ve got a new kid.


She’s got my hair.

Wendy has found some charity that feeds, educates, and save kids from being abused and trafficked.

Emelyne want’s to be a doctor, so we’re sorted when the Tories finish selling off the NHS. She’s only 5, so it’s a bit of a long game, but still, cunning plan, Wendy.