Sunday, 27 April 2014

Kindling on 'Drive it Day'

I did go for a drive early this morning to top-up our fuel for Saturday, when we drive to Ayrshire in Scotland. On my return from the garage I exchanged a cheery wave with a couple, top-down in their MG TD, obviously setting out for a nice run on 'Drive it Day'.

So, although I did drive the car on the day, it was not for long, as I had another task to perform in what was ideal weather for the job.
The rotten pieces of fencing
One of our boundaries runs alongside a former builders yard and the fence which was erected many years ago is rotten and dropping to bits. As two buildings were built by the builder alongside the fence, it was therefore rendered unnecessary and so I decided to take it down, not only because it would not affect our privacy but to provide us with a source of kindling for our fire during the winter.
...and a shot in the other direction
There was just one point, where the two buildings backed on to each other, when I would need to use my 'carpentry skills' to build another narrow fence, to block out prying eyes, which I did by using the good sections of timber from the old fence.
The small section of fencing.
The end result of all this effort is that we now have a wonderful stock of kindling for our fire, which should last for a few seasons, and it has tidied up the place immensely.

So, although my 'Drive it Day' was somewhat limited,  my wife and I will enjoy a full week of good driving over the whole of next week, so I won't feel deprived, and I hope to return with a good collection of photographs of our trip to put on my blog.

Monday, 21 April 2014

30" Inside Leg!

Pity me and all other men with an inside leg measurement of 30 inches, at least those of us who do not wear their trouser bottoms stacked up on their shoes.

We are a group excluded from the standard UK measuring system for trousers and it means that each time that we buy a pair of trousers, they have to be either 29", thus too short, or 31", which are too long.

It is because of this sad fact, that my trousers always cost me an extra £10, which is the amount my kindly Polish Tailoress charges for shortening them. In fact, she seems to charge £10 for any job regardless, I suppose on the basis that being a new arrival into this country, and not being totally au fait with the language and currency it makes life somewhat easier.

Anyway, what is to be done about us poor souls, it was after all simply an accident of birth and yet we seem to have been ostracized by society and condemned to pay £10 forever to get the things shortened, that is until my lovely Polish friend decides to increase her rate to another nice round figure, say £15!!!!!!

M&S need to know about our plight, as it is now possible that we of the 30inch leg are no longer in a minority and a revision of their merchandising policy might now be appropriate. Which I know might put my tailoress out of business but.........and then again, thinking about it, perhaps stack heels on our shoes is the answer.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

No flap!

This post is aimed at all those of us who drive Morgans with the 'Easy-Up' hood. Many of you I know will have already solved this very minor niggle, however, for those of you who haven't, I will continue.

I find it very annoying when I am driving along in my pristine machine, that very often the hood, so neatly stowed by yours truly, suddenly appears unkempt due to the fact that the wind has caused the bits of the hood at each side to come unstuck and start flapping.
The flap sticking out...
It is something that has niggled me ever since we bought the car and I did at one time consider appropriately positioned tenax fasteners, which would have solved the problem but would have rendered the driver severely injured after being impaled on the male fastener as it penetrated his skull!

At last a simple, harmless solution dawned on me, 15mm wide velcro cable ties, available on Amazon via Athena Crafts, Unit 3, Arc House, Gerrard Street, Stalybridge SK15 2JY for the princely sum of £1.89 postage free.
...and now tidied with the 'Velcro' tie.
Before fixing, the hood needs to be released, the tie wrapped tidily around the hood and outside spar and then the hood locked down as usual. Unfortunately they are only available in black and therefore do not match the 'Stone' coloured vinyl on my hood, but never mind they keep the hood tidy underway and are narrow enough to be quite unobtrusive.

Garden Cat Offensive!

Is it going to work? I doubt very much that it will, but at least I will have made an attempt to rid my garden of these fouling felines.
My constructed cats drying in the garage
On perusing my Saturday Telegraph I noticed an advert for 'three 'Cat Scarers', for around twenty quid I think. Well, on reflection I thought that the creatures had already cost me enough in time and effort to warrant any further expense on their behalf, so I decided to replicate those in the advert with my own version.
One of the finished cats looking quit aggressive I think.
So, having found a piece of plywood in my shed, I proceeded to copy a couple of the cats in the advertisement to the dimensions mentioned, cut out the shape with a jigsaw and painted them black with penetrating yellow eyes.
Can you spot the claw marks?
The result can be seen in the pictures and those with keen eyesight might notice that in one of the shots the cat appears to have three claw marks already on it. Could it be that it has been investigated at close quarters by the object of my extermination attempt?!!!!!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Recognise this chap?....

......Following on from the cat saga in my previous post, it became clear that over the many months since 'Worzel' was erected he has singularly failed to frighten anyone apart from my sister-in-law!

She was given the task of watering our vegetable patch while we were away on holiday and having opened the garage door giving access to the garden, moved forward and then, out of the corner of her eye, she caught sight of him.

Being a sensitive creature she was startled to say the least and almost suffered apoplexy, exactly the sort of reaction I was expecting from the local feline population.

That has not happened and the deposits of unpleasantness have continued to pile up, so 'Worzel' has been summarily dismissed, ie broken up into his constuent parts and committed to the local tip. Sadly my shorts, woolly hat and waterproof could not be salvaged, which is a shame as they could have made a useful addition to my somewhat depleted wardrobe!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Into the Fells

What a glorious day! One of those days when everything slots into place and brings with it a great sense of wellbeing. You may well this really my hero writing this or is it someone acutely sensitive to life's rich tapestry of pleasures, a poet perhaps?

Just so that you can rest easy, it is me that is writing this and what is more, it truly was that sort of day, until I ventured on to my newly seeded patch of garden and found that the next door cat had paid it a visit during the wee (literally) small hours, having circumvented my elaborate defences and planted a moist unpleasantness amongst my little grass seeds!

This demanded severe measures to prevent a recurrence, so I spent an hour erecting further comprehensive defences while putting out of my mind vile thoughts about placing a saucer of milk laced with 'warfarin' out for the beast.
Parked in Great Eccleston for our Dental and Confectionery appointments, Beacon Fell is in the distance.
But enough of this. The day started with a visit from our new Chimney Sweep who proved to be a first class chap who conducted himself in a very professional manner, even providing us with a certificate at the end of his labours. Excellent, and he will return to attend to the new home that has once more been built by our resident jackdaws. They are raising their young under the cowl on one of our other chimneys and once the young have fledged, he will return in order to place some sort of restraining material so that they will find another place in which to raise a family!
Almost there.

New arrivals
Then it was off in the Morgan to our Dentist where we always arrange consecutive appointments. We both thankfully received a clean bill of health and after treatment, with that ghastly de-plaquing device, we made our way to the delightful Confectioners in the village to pick up a couple of pies etc., for our picnic.
Coffee stop. Parlick Fell on the left, along with a very useful table/seat provided by the Council.
We then aimed for Beacon Fell Country Park, in the Bleasdale Fells, about half an hour from our home and enjoyed a really first class drive in full sun, under a cloudless sky and very little wind.
My lovely navigator
The views from this 873 feet high hill are absolutely tremendous and you can literally see for miles, hence it's use as an ideal spot for a beacon in ancient times. My photographs will tell the story.
The less lovely driver

The return trip was equally satisfying, until I ventured into the garden after putting the Morgan to bed, but you know all about that! cats!!!!

Monday, 14 April 2014

If stones were magnetic....

......I could have hired a huge electro-magnet and removed the lot of them easily from the soil, in preparation for sowing my old vegetable plot with grass seed!

Alas, they are not, so on my hands and knees, following careful raking of the soil, I collected what I could and reinstated them in the gravel path from where most of them had originated.

With my increased decrepitude, and with contemporaries falling like flies about me, I decided that intensive agriculture was not for me, so, with some sadness, the vegetable patch had to go and would be replaced with lawn.

Regrettably, the area concerned does not warrant the purchase of a 'sit-on' mower,( oh how I'd love one of those!) however, even in the absence of such luxury, mowing a lawn with the electric mower I already have will be easier than crawling about exterminating weeds and digging the area, regardless of what Monty Don says about the joys of growing your own! In any case, it's easy for him to say these things when I suspect he has an army of serfs to assist him on his huge plot.

The wonderful aspect of this reorganisation is that it will give me a lot more time to play with that little 'Le Mans Green' vehicle in my garage!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

The banks and braes of bonnie Scotland are calling!

During the first week in May we have rented a cottage for a week, just outside Irvine in Ayrshire.

It is now a few years ago that we took the Morgan to Scotland (see my post of 27/10/11 or 'Miscellany', July 2010 edition) and we are looking forward to another dose of Scottish life in Ayrshire the county in which the great bard, Robert Burns was born and lived. We shall of course be visiting the Burns Museum in his birthplace, Alloway, near to Ayr.

We'll visit other Scottish National Trust properties while we're there, one being Brodick Castle on the Isle of Arran which we are looking forward to tremendously, but whether or not we pay the £70 ferry fare to take the Morgan for the day, in addition to our foot passenger fares, is open to question.

I must admit that I am getting quite excited by the prospect of a week away with 'Nellie' and will shortly be getting things together for the trip, suitcase, luggage straps, checking levels, final polishing etc., etc., or to put it another way, all those 'desperately important' things that are imperative and get me out of the house and into the garage.

Yippee! can't wait. Just hope that the weather is nice.