Way Past 40.

A Mini to Spain Part.Mini Days.

Posted by Nicky Smith Sat, April 07, 2018 08:03:29

Part 5.

The clear blue cloudless sky's lasted for the whole trip. I don't mean just to Portsmouth but the entire trip from the UK to Southern Spain. The Sun other than having to disappear each day as it has always done with the perpetual motion of the earth kept me company from the moment I began this crazy venture for the second time. No, come hell and high water I cannot say that things could not of got worse on the adventure thrown at me on this trip. It could have rained.

The trip to catch the ferry on it's second attempt was uneventful. It was filled with me being a bit of a nervous wreck keeping an eye on literally each and every new noise the mini made as we settled into each others company again. A squeak from behind had me thinking the wheels were going to fall off, then a slight knock from the front had me convinced the engine mountings were about to sheer. But he just purred along though at a steady 60mph not missing a beat on the three hour drive through some of the most stunning countryside the Cotswold's had to offer.

The fresh paintwork reflected the strong rays of sunshine and people were turning to smile, stare and wave at the little car as they overtook us on the motorways then as we passed through small towns and villages. This was the beginning of what would become the normal sort of attention the plucky little fella would get throughout the entire trip.

Soon enough I arrived at the port and once the usual ticket and vehicle checks were made we were driving up what seemed like a really steep ramp compared to the size of the mini onto the parking deck of the ship. The loader fella had a big grin on his face as he directed me into the correct position so the car could be strapped down.

“Don't see many of these making the trip across the water these days” he said still with that crazy big grin on his face.

“Probably not the best type of grand tourer!” I replied with a smile.

And there I left it in it's new parking spot for a couple of days. I didn't need to worry about it breaking down for a bit as we were going to be pushed along under someone else's steam for a while so there was nothing else to do other than dump my bag in my cabin and go and find myself a beer from somewhere.

Have you ever been on boat to Spain before? It's got some really varied and interesting people and groups on it. You have the bikers who want to go for a blast in a country where they will actually be dry and warm for a change. The truck drivers who mostly keep to themselves whilst being forced away from the vehicle they normally live in and maintaining the very solitary nature of their existence. Then there's the groups of lads and ladies, I mean ladies in the furthest extremity of the definition of the word here, who are using the crossing as a booze cruise spending all of a few hours on the Spanish mainland after docking before returning back onboard to start the whole boozy return process all over again.

There is always a presence of those taking their camper vans over or returning to their new homes in the sun. There always seems to be a presence of happiness and planning with these people who quietly plan what they will be doing and where they will be going.

Then there were a few folk like me. Not mad buggers who thought driving a classic mini to Spain was a good idea but those that were travelling by themselves for one reason or another. We are a rare breed who seem to recognise the happiness in travelling alone. It's not lonely you just have to be happy with your own company and enjoy passing the time in any way you see fit.

The boat though has limited things to do onboard. The main time passer seems to be drinking but even though I enjoy a beer I'm not a fan of getting drunk for no reason at all nor even if there really is one. So I spent the time bobbing up and down the waves just relaxing. I wandered the ship from bow to stern and back again taking in all of the floors and taking a deliciously long amount of time deciding what meals I should be eating when.

What I would recommend to anyone sailing on any type of ship though is this. Book a cabin with a window in it! The inside cabins with no windows leave you not knowing what time of day or night it is and that is really rather disorientating.

Soon enough the days passed and I could see the Spanish mainland appearing on the horizon and a couple of hours later we were docked in Bilbao and I found myself sat in the mini, engine running, waiting for the car in from to drive off.

As it did the ships exit ramp appeared with a very Spanish view in front of me and there was once again that nervous exciting need to poo yourself a little bit type of feeling in my belly. I selected first gear released the handbrake and bounced down the ramp off of the ship into the Spanish heat and sunshine to try and get this really old little car from one corner of Spain down to the other.

There was only 800 or so miles left to go...



It's Arrived!Mini Days.

Posted by Nicky Smith Sun, March 18, 2018 07:20:39

Why is it that whenever I want to move a motor around the weather turns bitterly cold or wet? I figure that someone somewhere is trying to put me off even starting the next new project so that I can keep the skin on my knuckles, the curses in my mouth and what little of the non grey hair on my head intact.

Having battled through the icy cold winds and snow showers we managed to get the little Burgundy mini onto my driveway. We did manage to get it running at the collection point and onto the trailer but a strong smell of petrol leading to the discovery of a rather large leak put paid to running it anymore at the other end to get it off again. Luckily my driveway is all downhill so it wasn't that much of a struggle.

Once it was settled into place and the goodbyes to the friends that had helped get it here were done it was time to have a good cursory look around the little fella. And it is a little fella. I had forgotten how small the mini's were once you got them outside into the real world! I remember how when I was young and stupid me and my friends would pick them up and move them around causing the owners no end of stress I am sure trying to find them in the morning. I best clarify they were not random mini's. We knew who the owners were and sometimes would pop back out hiding up the road when they came out of their houses to watch the look of "What the Hell?" on their faces when they saw an empty mini sized slot of the street where their csr should have been.

Back to the inspection though. There are a couple of things I had missed on my first look around it but nothing to worry about in the grand scheme of things. There's the normal welding but in order to start that the interior needs to be stripped out first but I'm in no rush to begin because the campervan needs a little TLC to get it ready for summer first.
With that in mind I have put the little car to bed under it's nice and new car cover that will hopefully keep the water out of the holey roof!
I do know myself quite well though and with the promise of lighter evenings starting from next weekend I do not doubt that the cover will soon be off and the interior stripped out before we know it.

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Something a bit different.Mini Days.

Posted by Nicky Smith Sun, March 04, 2018 18:25:22

I have been wondering what sort of project to do next for some time now or even if I should bother for a while and just leave things for a bit. But who was I kidding there was never not going to be a project kicking around. For one thing my wife would lose the plot with me being under her feet all of the time and there is no way that I could not have something to tinker with kicking around.
My pottering time is where I relax, spending the time to process my days in the background of my mind while bringing something back from the brink of being scrap yard spares to churning up mile after mile of tarmac with a new lease of life.

What to build next though? I have done a campervan, a couple of Land Rovers and tinkered with bikes. I needed something else to occupy my tiny mind but what?

I looked at a toylander type affair, which is still on the cards, but I kept drifting back to the rose tinted memories of rebuilding classic mini's way way back in the past. The more I looked into what could be next the more often I found myself drifting back to looking at mini projects that other people had abandoned or poor old mini's that had just plain got old and tired.

What amazes me is how much the price of these old motors has rocketed. I used to buy these cars up from as little as £20 just to break for spares but now that would be impossible. Rusty old tin cans now that I would not have looked at back then with any thought of restoring them are commanding money in the regions of of four figures which seems like lunacy to me. It is a sure sign though that you are getting older when you start making these comparisons and cars that were common place on the roads of your youth are now classed as classics. Indeed it would seem that I myself am becoming...Retro.

But a friend has made me an offer I cannot refuse on a little 1975 840cc classic mini automatic that is in need of some attention. This little motor will be here over the next few weeks and the rebuild will begin. This won't be a quick fix it up and turn it around job. I want to make a proper job of this one and to do that it is going to take some time along with a fair amount of cash that I don't actually have at the moment.
I think it will be worth it though, to do a proper job and have this plucky little survivor looking the mutts once again. Of course I will keep you all in the loop on how it all goes...that's if you want to of course ;)

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A Mini to Spain Part 4.Musings

Posted by Nicky Smith Sun, March 04, 2018 08:36:57

It was a dull grey late winter morning when the tyres started turning on the tarmac heading towards Portsmouth from Northamptonshire. The engine was ticking over nicely as we hummed along the A roads towards the motorway. I was feeling happy at the adventure about to unfold and wondered if anyone else had been stupid enough to drive the horrific mileage from the UK and across the whole of Spain.

The mileage ticked by in the relaxing uneventful way that a good long distance drive tends to do leaving your mind to ponder on other issues you have in this short existence of ours while the window screen wipers thump rhythmically clearing the light rain that was slowly but continually falling. I was quite content watching the trees and fields pass by whilst being overtaken by just about everything else on the road. No rush though I just wanted to enjoy the drive.

Up ahead the gantry signs flashing warning of a road closure that would affect my planned route but even as I was leaning forward to see exactly what the problem was through the mist I had planned an alternative way in my mind. It was about twenty miles longer but motorway miles are easy miles and the ferry wasn't sailing for a long time. I am a bit of a stickler for being anywhere I am going to early. I hate being late with a vengeance. Yes yes it's a very British thing but if you can't make the effort to be on time I think it says a lot about the sort of person you are.

So I diverted onto a different motorway clocking up more relaxed mileage when I noticed a two mile marker sign for a service station. 'A coffee maybe?' I thought to myself while thinking about how badly a stop this far away on a diversion would effect my arrival time.

Turns out a coffee stop and the time it would take to queue up to buy it and have a quick trip to the loo were the least of my worries as about ten seconds later there was an almighty explosion of red hot coolant and steam coming out of the front and sides of bonnet!

It covered the windscreen as instantly as it exploded making me jump out of my skin and having me pull onto the hard shoulder braking sharply.

What went through my mind at this point? You may think it was 'What the hell happened there?' or 'Was there anything else on the hard shoulder where I am pulling up blind?' but no that wasn't what went through my mind.

What I was thinking was 'Shit that's a fresh respray now covered in boiling coolant!!!!!! Got to wipe it off got to wipe it off as quickly as possible!!!'

Literally as soon as I stopped I was out of the mini pulling my shirt off and wiping the bodywork down trying to get the awful coolant off of that fresh paintwork. Thankfully it was still raining so that was helping. Only once this was done did I realise that I probably needed a change of underwear from the bang and panicked blind emergency stop of the side of the motorway.

'Best see the damage then' I said to myself whilst opening the bonnet and looking into the tiny engine bay through squinted eyes not wanting to actually see how bad it was under there.

Surprisingly only the radiator cap was missing which was nice but what the hell had caused the extremely quick overheating? I had been keeping an eye on the temperature gauge for most of the journey seeing as the old girl had been parked up for a good while before I bought it and nothing had seemed amiss, so whatever had caused this now was fast, I mean really fast and it was clear that I was not going to source the problem standing on the side of a motorway in the rain.

A quick call to the breakdown service and within the hour I was on the back of a flatbed heading back to the mini hospital to get Dr Bob's help on this one because I had called the ferry company explaining the problem and they agreed reluctantly to move my booking to the next boat out in two days time. I then spoke to my friend who was going to be expecting me at the south side of Spain in a few days to say it would be a few days longer.

He seemed to have a lot more confidence in me than I had in myself to sort the problem quickly and get Spain side still in time for his Wife's fortieth birthday, the day after I was now going to arrive.

No pressure then.

It was early evening when I got to Dr Bobs so we decided to meet back up first thing in the morning to get the little mini back in order.

At first light Dr Bob said to me 'You didn't run it around for the couple of weeks before you took it on this expedition of yours did you'

'No Bob, sorry' I replied whilst looking at the floor feeling like my Dad had caught me up to no good. Again.

'Idiot' he said with a smile 'Best get it sorted then eh' and with that we dived into finding the problem.

The problem turned out to be one of those 'What the Hell I have never seen this before' kind of moments. You see what had caused the rapid overheating was the heater matrix. It had collapsed and I mean completely collapsed internally. Classic mini's heater matrix's have over the years got blocked up causing you to have no heating then needing either a really good back flush or replacing but this little heater had just bypassed that stage completely and disintegrated internally chucking bits of rust metal and crap throughout the cooling system.

It was a nightmare cleaning it all out. The matrix was replaced after back flushing the engine time after time ensuring the crap was cleared. We then ran it up to temp, drained it all off and did the whole thing over again. Finally later that afternoon the plucky little mini was sat there ticking over sweetly once more acting as if nothing had ever been wrong with it.

'Now go and run it. Run it hard and run it far. Make sure it's OK before you head off tomorrow Nick' Bob said looking at me like he was my Dad again.

'Yes Bob' I replied sullenly feeling chastised again.

I did run it though. I ran up nearly eighty miles on the longest drive home I have ever done because I knew what was at stake now. I had no more breathing room I had to get this little mini to southern Spain or the surprise would be ruined. So I headed home and crashed out into an exhausted sleep rising to the sound of my early alarm which felt like it was going off about five minutes after I had got into bed.

I washed got dressed and grabbed my holdall. It got thrown into the passenger foot well and I fired up the little burgundy mini took a deep breath thinking 'At least the suns out now' while looking at the wall to wall deep clear blue skies.

With that I stuck it into first gear and headed of on the long drive to the port for the second time.



A Mini to Spain Part.Musings

Posted by Nicky Smith Sun, February 25, 2018 07:15:09

With the challenge accepted the hunt was on for a decent little mini that would be taken to southern Spain as a surprise 40th Birthday present for my friends wife. Luckily I knew a few folks that liked to dabble in mini's. They killed them, fixed them, modded them and generally lived an obsessive mini lifestyle so where better to start the hunt?

I made some calls and knocked on doors ending up drinking lots tea with mini mad friends. This was not a quick process because once you start talking to anyone about their passion it is never a quick conversation, after all this is their life their love their everything in most cases! It's never a simple 'Do you know of any decent mini's for sale?' conversation because the reply would be along the lines of 'Define decent and the type of mini you are looking for. Have you considered the year? Engine size? Do you want a particular special edition?' so you can see what the problem was going to be here.

To cut a long story short all roads led me back to a fellow I knew in Northampton called Dr Bob. He ran a company called The Mini Hospital that specialised in looking after....mini's! This was the chap who actually taught me to weld and he was a straight honest chap that would tell you exactly what he thought and the truth whether you wanted him to or not. I understand that he retired a few years ago from the mini repair world which is a great loss to that community because he was a living Google of mini information and an absolute whiz on the spanners.

Because of the nature of his work Bob always seemed to now of a few mini's for sale and this time was no exception. Sat in his workshop tucked away at the back was a little burgundy ancient mini that had been locked away in a little old ladies garage for donkeys years. It had just been through a light restoration bodywork wise and serviced by Bob himself too. It was a lovely looking little thing and a deal was soon struck with a warning from Bobs lips...

'It's been parked up for years Nick you need to run it around for a bit to see if anything else needs sorting on it. I have literally driven from here to the MOT station and back so run it around a bit before heading off for Spain. Polish the new paintwork again too as it's still quite fresh and with a long drive you want to give it a good start.'

'Yep I will do that Bob without fail chap so we can sort any issues before the long drive' I replied.

With that I hopped into the driving seat and drove the little mini the 20 miles home with a big grin on my face and without a care in the world.

With the mini sourced I had to make lots of other arrangements to get it over to Spain. Time off of work had to be sorted along with European breakdown cover and the ferry bookings of course. The price of transport was soon creeping up so I looked to see if it would be cheaper and easier to send it over by transporter but nope that was twice the price of driving there so I figured 'ROAD TRIP!!”

Before I knew it two weeks had passed and the birthday deadline was looming fast so I pulled the mini out of the garage I had stored it in and had not really had much of a chance to play with it since I brought it back. It fired first turn of the key and was soon parked up outside of my house with spare parts loaded into every available space so my friend had them Spain side and I had them for the journey.

I kissed my wife and kids goodbye, threw my holdall full of clothes onto the passenger seat and with a sense of adventure fired it up and set off. The journey had begun.



Dear Janice.Musings

Posted by Nicky Smith Thu, February 15, 2018 08:32:44

Dear Janice,

It would appear you would like to play online games especially Bingo. Now I understand we all need a hobby in life to while away the lonely hours of these dark evenings and a little gambling across many sites is yours.
Indeed if this is your vice I agree you should take advantage of all of the joining up offers that these types of sites give you. There's nothing wrong with 50 free spins, or £30 added to your account with "No restrictions on the amount you can win!!!"
Chase your dreams Janice, you just never know when lady luck will cast her loving favor towards you. You may be able to buy a new car, finally take that holiday to white sandy sunny shores afar or even pay off your mortgage.

My dreams though Janice are far simpler. I am not a complicated man. I like to come home from work and relax. When I go to sleep at night I like to get the three or four hours of unbroken rest my body allows me with no disturbances from modern technology.
So with that in mind Janice will you please please bloody stop putting my mobile phone number into the online registration forms. It seems you prefer a full nights sleep too without the hassle of text messages from FreeBingo and it's rather shady associates that have now started offering me services in the early hours that I have never needed before and don't need now. I have not led a sheltered life but some of the options that are listed amaze me that there is demand enough to advertise about it!
Janice you play your bingo and your slot machines. I hope they make you happy but for the love of God go and buy a disposable phone (seriously you get them for a tenner from anywhere now) and put that number in your freebie forms.
How do I know it's you Janice? Well that's easy. They are texting you by name to my phone.

Best regards

Ineedtosleeptonight



A Mini To SPain Part 2Musings

Posted by Nicky Smith Thu, February 15, 2018 07:42:12

For a short while I worked in Southern Spain on the Ports as a Shipping agent. I loved the job but like all good things it came to an end entering the memory banks as one of those good chapters. I remember my first day on the job standing there with my manager, who was English but had lived in Spain for over fifteen years and had a Spanish Wife, and the foreman of the Stevedore's who loaded and unloaded the ships.

The foreman was talking to me through my manager who was translating and the conversation went along these lines.

“Do you speak Spanish?” said the foreman.

“Not yet” I replied “But I have lessons booked everyday for a month so give me that long”

“You NEED to speak Spanish or the men will not respect you”

“Yep, I agree. That's why I am going back to school. Give me a month”

He sort of then made a hmmpth noise, said something very fast and loud in Spanish to my manager who then laughed and walked away shaking his head.

I worked my ass off over that month studying Spanish. I was immersed in the language and culture and this helped no end. By the end of that month I could get by just fine when I was sober and thought I was fluent when I had had a drink.

A rather large coal ship was in port and nearly unloaded about a month later when the foreman shouted from across the deck on Spanish “How long until this is supposed to sail?”

“You have three hours” I shouted back “If you need more tell me now so we can rearrange the pilot” (A pilot is a local sailor that knows the port inside out and backwards that navigate the ships in and out of harbour).

“Three hours should do fine” he said followed by “Wait there a minute”

At that he and the crew of stevedore's headed for me from all over the ships deck. Now I have to admit I wondered what was about to happen at this point but I stood there hoping I wasn't about to be tied up and dropped into a hold in some sort of backwater initiation ceremony.

They all came up close to me and stopped dead in a semi circle around me looking dead serious when the foreman said in Spanish “Have you been taking Spanish lessons everyday?”

I replied in Spanish “I must have because I couldn't say a word a few weeks ago could I”

“We agree” he boomed smiling “We were all just saying how well you were doing with the language. We have all asked questions lately and you have been talking very well in Spanish even if you do need that silly little book every now and then that is in your pocket for a word you don't know.”

“Thanks” I replied.

Then he said to me in English with a twinkle in his eye and a grin on his face “Yes yes you have. You have have earned our respect with your efforts”

My chin hit the floor. They all started laughing as if on cue. “You speak English!? All of you?”

With laughter booming the foreman replied “ Yes we do Nico and now you can help us practice it as we have helped you practice Spanish!”

“You bastards! Do you know what a struggle this last month has been?”

“Yes we do Nico. You have pulled that little book out of your pocket so many times looking for the right words that you have still managed to get wrong sometimes” There were nodding heads and chuckling all round now. “But would you have tried so hard if you knew we spoke some of your language?”

He was right of course. He was also a big fat git for doing it but I understood why. The laughter between him and my manager on my first day was after he said that they would not speak English for a few weeks then to me. After that I was accepted with the guys I worked with. I ate with them, drank with them and met all of their families as they met mine. It was a fantastic time and I look back at it all very fondly.

So what does this have to do with driving a mini across Spain? Well that would be my managers fault. We became very good friends over my time in Spain and after we had been back in the UK for a few months or so I got a phone call from him early one morning telling me that it was his wife's fortieth birthday in a few weeks and he had transferred £2000 into my bank account.

I said that I was happy for his wife but why was he giving me a two grand present instead of her?

“I want you to find her a mini!” he proclaimed. “You know what you are looking at and I wanted you to bring it over and have a long weekend too. Take what ever it costs you for your time out of the money and I will top it up if I need to”

I should point out here that this was back at the turn of the century so everything was a bit cheaper then....Jeez I sound old.

“Err OK then. Three weeks to find one, fix it and get it to southern Spain. Should be a piece of cake chap”

He laughed, I wondered how the hell I was going to manage this but I didn't need much of an excuse for a boozy weekend away so the hunt for a decent mini was about to begin.



A Mini To Spain Part 1.Musings

Posted by Nicky Smith Tue, February 13, 2018 08:19:37

A Mini To Spain.

For those of you that may not have noticed I like to rebuild things. I am not saying I do it particularly well but I do enjoy the pleasure of taking something that most other people would think is beyond repair and bringing it back to life while it kicks and screams in protest as it is brought back to live just a little bit longer. Anyone that has worked on old motors knows that they do like to fight back most of the way, its almost like they begrudge being made to do more work to cover more miles when everyone else including themselves thought that it was all over.

My passions for what I rebuild come and go. It can get boring doing the same type of vehicle over and over again. I mean where is the challenge in that? As the years have flown by I have rebuilt everything from motorbikes to Land Rovers and everything size wise in-between.

What I started with though was the classic mini. Like thousands of other young men my age at the time these little treasures where cheap, cheerful and plentiful. You could pick them up for as little as £20 but they had one inherent problem that was common to all cars from this era....rust.

Once they came into contact with a bit of rain and salty winter roads the steel would just chuck in the towel to the tin worm and rot as quickly as you could patch them up. I don't think that any classic mini actually ended its days wearing the same metal it was built with.

You had to learn to weld quickly to even attempt to keep them in one piece and the engines though reliable had to be maintained on a regular basis, every tow or three days, just to keep them running.

This was something I got quite good at over time even if I do say so myself. I ran a mini, my Wife ran a mini and my friends had minis so there was plenty of practice to be had keeping my skills honed.

They were a passion. The parts were cheap and you could do any number of things to make these little treasures your own. Surprisingly they were not classed as “a girls car” due to their size. Nope everyone owned one of these things and they were as close to driving a road legal go cart you could get at the time. You rallied them, raced them, customised them, fixed them and loved them. They had a character all of their own and were plucky little buggers to boot.

It's important to set the scene on the popularity of these cars because otherwise you would be wondering “Why the hell would anyone drive one of these to Spain?” Don't get me wrong looking back I still wonder why I did drive one of these to Spain but it was an adventure and when you are young adventures are the best thing in the world to do!

So, how did it all start....



Puppy PerspectiveMusings

Posted by Nicky Smith Tue, February 06, 2018 07:42:58

I think we should live life like a puppy. Seriously everything from a puppies perspective is fantastic. Have you ever seen anything else that is just so happy with everything that it comes across?

When you walk in a room it looks at you and thinks whilst instantly bounding around:

“OH MY GOD IT'S YOU! I LOVE YOU, YOU ARE GREAT. I HAVEN'T SEEN YOU IN LIKE TEN SECONDS! WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING? WHERE YA BEEN? OH MY GOD THIS IS GREAT!!!!! I LOVE YOU, I TOLD YOU THAT RIGHT? I CANT REMEMBER TELLING YOU THAT BUT INCASE I DIDN'T I WILL TELL YOU AGAIN ANYWAY...I LOVE YOU! I LOVE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. I LOVE YOU MORE THAN MY CHEWS, MY TOYS AND MY BED. MAYBE NOT AS MUCH AS WHEN YOU PICK ME AND SCRATCH MY EARS BUT THATS YOU ISNT IT? SO I SUPPOSE I DO LOVE YOU MORE THAN EVEN THAT!!!

THIS IS GREAT YOU ARE BACK AND LOOKING DOWN AT ME!! I AM JUST SOOO HAPPY I HAVE TO BOUNCE AROUND IN CIRCLES AND JUMP ABOUT BECAUSE I JUST CANT CONTAIN THE EXCITEMENT! OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU!!!

DID YOU SEE MY TOYS OVER HERE ARE THEY NOT THE BEST THINGS YOU HAVE EVER SEEN? LOOK LOOK HEY LOOK. WHY ARE YOU NOT LOOKING FOR THE HUNDRETH TIME AT THESE? OK OK YOU DONT WANT TO COME A=OVER AND LOOK AT THEM IN MY BED BUT THAT'S OK BECAUSE I WILL HAIR ARSE BETWEEN YOU AND MY BED OVER TEH NEXT FIVE SECONDS AND BRING EACH AND EVERYONE TO YOU WHILST SIMULTAENEOUSLY SCATTERING THEM AROUND THE HOUSE FLOOR FOR YOU TO STAND ON LATER THEN YOU WILL SEE HOW HOW GREAT THEY ARE! YOU KNOW I AM THE BEST BABY YOU HAVE EVER HAD. DID I TELL YOU I LOVE YOU?”

Can you imagine have that simplicity in life? Everything you see and come across is a new wonderful discovery. The only things you want to achieve happiness is a bed, a full belly and someone to pay you some attention every now and then. You don't even care where you go to the toilet. Garden, driveway, living room doorway...there's no preference!

My puppy broke her leg last week jumping off of the sofa and landing badly. She has been through two vets, two lots of sedation and a major operation. You would think in the grand scheme of things this would slow her down and make her a little miffed with life but no. It has not tarnished her puppy delight of existence in fact she is a bit miffed with me trying to keep her calm and not bouncing off of the walls so her leg heals and doesn't break again. She seems quite content in trying to give me a nervous breakdown.

When I collected her from the ridiculously expensive vet specialist hospital part of the debrief from her operation by a young intern vet was as follows:

“The operation went very well. Lots of technical terms over five minutes to justify the three thousand pound bill to the insurance company. So the post op care is as follows Mr Smith. Use this medication every morning with food for five days. Three weeks strict cage rest with six or so trips outside on the lead to toilet Clara.”

“Sorry? I will stop you there. Did you say to cage Clara for three weeks?”

“Yes Mr Smith. Three weeks strict cage rest before she comes back for further x-rays”

“I presume you have met a puppy that's not sedated before.” I said.

“Sorry Mr Smith?” he replied.

“I presume, being a vet, you have met a puppy that is not under sedation before?”

“Of course I have Mr Smith”

“Have you ever managed to cage rest one for three weeks?”
“Not personally, no”

“Didn't think so.”

He looked a bit miffed and confused at this point but then again he only looked like he was about twelve years old.

So maybe we should live life like a puppy. It doesn't matter what happens, if you get pushed from pillar to post from one disaster to another. It is what it is is, you are still here and life is still full of simple wonders. Sorry I going to have to run. Apparently the floor in front of the cooker looks like a great place to take a dump...and why not eh, have you ever done it there?





Puppy Performance.Musings

Posted by Nicky Smith Fri, January 19, 2018 08:37:43

A couple of weeks into the whole "Stupidly broken my foot" thing now and I can honestly say I am going a little stir crazy. I don't do sitting around staring at a variety of different electronic screens all day very well. I am definitely a potterer by nature so this imposed rest for most of the day is sheer torture.
Shouldn't complain really because it could always be worse. They could of put my foot in a pot cast and that would have been an absolute nightmare! No baths or showers without lots of fannying about with plastic bags and tape. That I have been spared so no it could always be worse and to all those people out there in pot casts I salute you!

But I have had a large amount of, a little bit painful, time on my hands. What could I have done with that? Turns out that puppy training seemed like a good idea...

Before we get to that let me give you a bit of the backstory. We are a dog family and it has always been that way. For me a dog is an integral part of that family make up and for ten years or so we had possibly the best dog that has ever walked this earth spend her days with us. Molly was a cracking pup. She wasn't little by any means being a Boxer Rottweiler crossbreed but she was as clever as any dog I have met in all of my days and I am pretty sure she knew it.
Molly was the family dog for my children as they grew up and left one by one. She was that canine constant also my faithful companion. For most of her ten years she did not leave my side. When I was outside she was outside. If I was sat on the floor she was laying next to me. If I was sad she would turn herself inside out with worry and try to cheer me up. She doted on all of us but seemed to literally be in love with me.
In short she was fantastic.
When we moved house I literally walked her to the top of the driveway and told her that the kerb was her line and she was not allowed to cross it. She never did without an invite.
She got poorly last year though with Cancer and Arthritis and as soon as she was in serious pain, howling one night did it for me, I took her to the vets and said goodbye. There was no way I was going to have her treated extending the suffering, she was far too good for that.

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I thought it would be a fair while before another pup would come along. We were going to get Molly to train one for us but we left it a bit too late really. She would of been a bit jealous we think in her later years so we left her her pack in the shape it had always been.

Then I broke my foot.

I sat playing on the tinterweb and just glanced through the puppy section on a website. Then I started thinking about what I would want the next dog to do with us because we are entering a new chapter in our lives the Wife and I. The kids are all but gone and we have started planning on what we want to do next and this involves a lot more being out and about.
I have built a campervan and intend to use it so I didn't want a dog that would be too big. I needed whatever comes along to be able to go where we go. It needs to be able to sit under a dinner table in a pub as well as keep up with us walking over them there hills.

"Having this broken foot will give me the time to train it" I thought to myself quietly talking myself into it. I asked the Wife if she was ok with this and she just grinned from ear to ear and said "Of course". After a couple of months without a dog teh house seemed just too empty.
I felt a bit guilty like I was cheating on Molly but life goes on. I knew that a pup would also fill my days and help to keep me sane so the hunt was on.

After much looking with dogs that had all sorts of strange names that made no sense to me, Google was my friend at this point because I literally had no idea what was going on, a pup popped up I liked the look of.
So we made a phone call and set off to see if we liked her.
Just a quick note on these "Designer" dog breeds. Who are folks kidding here? They are mongrels! Don't get me wrong there are some lovely looking pups out there but by giving them a daft breed made up name surely cannot justify the crazy expensive price tags they command?? Is it me or has the world gone mad?

Anyway we went to see these puppies and I am not going to sit here and write that I liked the look of them and after careful consideration chose the best of the bunch. Nope what happened was we turned up and a puppy chose me. I picked her up and she just snuggled straight up and in under my neck. I was hooked. Then another family walked in behind us and my first thought was "You cant have her. She's mine"

So a crazy amount of money changed hands and I ended up with a "designer" dog that cost far too much money...a Cockerpoo. Seriously that's not even a good breed name it sounds like someone is taking the mick. WHo the hell would fall for that??
Anyway we brought her home with the faint nervous aroma of rotten eggs permienting the car, I blamed the dog, and brought "Clara" into her new home.

She seemed to like her new home and she soon settled in. The chaos of a puppy in the house started a couple of days later. Ten years is a long time to forget how much goes into that initial training and with that I have that broken foot.

"Get a puppy" I thought. "It'll be fun" I thought.

There are more toys on the floor than an army of toddlers could leave when passing through. There's squeaking from toys and baby talking voices coming from the females of the house that made me think I had missed the birth of my first grandchild. The pup wakes up when it's time to sleep and sleeps when it's time to get up. It pee's where it feels like it and the smell of it's poo is like nothing I have ever experienced. I should give the military a call so they can weaponize it!
She has started to bark at the ghosts in the house because there's nothing there that I can see and she is stuck by my side for the best part of the day demanding play and dropping her guts at regular intervals making me gag.

I think I may be just a little bit in love.

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A Hell of a Way to Start!Musings

Posted by Nicky Smith Sun, January 07, 2018 09:33:47

Well folks, we are at the end of the first week into 2018 and to say the last twelve months have been a challenge would be an understatement. Myself and my family have been through hell, literally. I am not going to go into details as I am not looking for sympathy here but I would like to say that when times are tough, when you are on your knees thinking that you cannot go on one more step and another disaster arrives to test your metal, to push down on your shoulders just a little harder adding to the weight you are already carrying. You may well be surprised at how you manage to accept that challenge. To take yet another deep breath. To come up off of one knee, then the other and continue to take yet another step forwards.

I have seen each and every person I truly love do this over this last year. They all have coped differently, taken those burdens and dealt with them in each their own ways. The strength, love and support that has bounded among them all has known no bounds. When one needed propping up the others lent a shoulder to do so.
I am humbled by what truly is the definition of family.

We are all very different people now than we were last January. The shape of our family pack is different and it will still take time to accept that but as long as we all keep taking that step forwards, one at a time, we will be ok.

Personally I couldn't write at all. There was nothing inside me wanting to come out and that was a bit odd as I use writing to escape the world, kick back and relax but there was no point in trying to force it. That though, unfortunately for you poor buggers, seems to have passed. I have a list of ideas things to chuck down onto paper and I will be making this part of my everyday life once again.

My plan for this year is a positive and busy one, in fact I was going to hit the ground running this week with a change in job roles and finishing up lots of odd jobs that needed sorting throughout the house using up some annual leave.

Instead I hit the ground literally, from a few steps up the staircase whilst carrying a basket of washing and broke my foot...

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Yea it's a little bit funny. Ah well it's just a bone that'll heal soon enough but I expect I will have gone stir crazy by the time it does from being housebound!

Breathe deep folks, square those shoulders and lets see what the year brings...

In Remembrance Musings

Posted by Nicky Smith Sat, November 11, 2017 07:31:30

The soldier stood and faced his God, which must always come to pass. He hoped his shoes were shining, just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward now you soldier, how shall I deal with you? Have you always turned the other cheek? To my church have you been true?"

The soldier squared his shoulders, said "No Lord, guess I ain't. Cos those of us who carry guns, can't always be a saint. I've had to work most Sundays, at times my talk was tough. And sometimes I've been violent, the world is really quite rough. But I never took a penny, that wasn't mine to keep. Though I worked a lot of overtime, when the bills got just too steep. I never passed a cry for help, though at times I shook with fear. And sometimes God forgive me, I have wept many a tear. If you have a place for me Lord, it needn't be so grand. I don't expect or want too much, but if you don't I'll understand.

There was silence all around the throne, where the saints had often trod. As the soldier waited quietly, for the judgement of his God. "Step forward now you soldier, you've borne your burdens well. Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets, you've done your time in Hell

It's up for sale :(The 110

Posted by Nicky Smith Sun, July 30, 2017 13:21:21

Well due to personal circumstances I am having to sell “The 110”.

This has not been a decision that has been taken lightly, in fact it's a decision that I have been dancing around over the last couple of weeks but sadly it has to be done.

I hate selling anything, especially motors, as it always seems to draw out the time wasters who want to come along and kick the tyres whilst simultaneously sucking air through their teeth and shaking their heads in a way that they think this will convince you to sell the motor for a tenner and feel that they are doing you a favour. So what you will get here is a warts and all expose on this old D reg 110.

I bought this a couple of years ago and it was a wreck. It seemed where ever you poked a hole would form so instead of being the quick patch and play I was hoping for it turned into rather an extensive rebuild. If you go to www.nickysmith.me and click on the category “The 110” you will be able to see exactly what has been done to it. You will also see in lots of places me saying that I will never ever sell it. Turns out those words were a poisoned chalice because here we are with the old boy up for sale.

A quick list of things that have been replaced are as follows starting from the front:

200tdi engine fitted (Discovery 200tdi)

Starter motor

Alternator

Lift pump

Water pump

Cam-belt

Radiator

Turbo & manifold (second hand)

Extensive work to the Bulkhead inc:

Floor pans

Hinge upright bits (forget the name)

Modified for the turbo to fit

Full brake rebuild on the front including new discs pads and calipers.

Exhaust manifold conversion pipes

New exhaust

Wheel bearings front and rear

Axle fluids changed front and rear

Full brake rebuild on the rear inc brake plate, pads, springs, calipers

New shocks and springs front and rear

¼ rear chassis

Soundproofed where it can be

Tinted rear windows

Carpet fitted to rear tub

All lights replaced front and rear

Discovery transfer box fitted

New clutch

Clutch slave cylinder

Seat Covers

Cubby box

Painted front to back

Power steering fitted

It sits on a set of used G90's

Heated front screen

And I am sure there's more I have forgotten!

I have done less than a hundred miles in it since it was MOT'd (I think the MOT is until June 18 I will have to check) so it's still being run in after the extensive work done on it over the last couple of years. The light bar is fitted but not wired up yet.

The furthest I have travelled in it is around 40 miles at once. The temp gauge reads a little high but I think that may more due to the sender as it just sits there not moving once its got up to temp. On starting it smokes a little but this disappears once it has got warmed up! Best to be honest :)

I was going to under seal it from front to back but now I am going to sell it I wont bother so anyone who is interested in buying it can see it for what it is underneath. Nothing to worry about there just surface rust.

It's old, it's noisy and the cab rattles inside when you are on tickover. It will break down on you because it's a Land Rover and they all do. It is an ex-military model but is 12v with a civvy spec inside. Still manages to leak oil. At least when it's leaking a bit of oil you know there's still oil in it!

It is sold with no warranty implied or given. If it breaks down on the way home it does. It is what it is, an old Land Rover that has had the base work on a rebuild done. This doesn't mean it's a new car it just means it will last a little while longer than it was going to!...hopefully. It is a sound base for an overlander conversion which was my initial plan.

If you have any questions please get in touch via message or on 07398103184.

I have the full V5 in my name and a full receipt will also be given at the time of purchase.

£4995 ono

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WEEK 15 & I am stupid.Musings

Posted by Nicky Smith Mon, July 10, 2017 20:12:47

Honestly why do I do these things to myself? I think that deep down somewhere in there I am some sort of sycophant.
Oh I am not talking about the hair, well that is looking stupid but not what my thoughts are here, nope I am talking about the brave way I have volunteered myself to walk up yet another mountain on the 9th October 2017. It is a different mountain this time, I shall try to top out Scafell Pike.
The mountain will be hard enough but the more immediate problem is my current fitness levels. Especially my rather portly stomach. I look like a Vicar who is at the age of retirement and lost the battle with the belly many years before giving in to the resignation that it is now rather a large part of life.

So the training started today in earnest for this mere little bimble up the mountain side. I arrived home from work and quickly donned my 1987 pair of dayglo shorts along with t-shirt that has somehow been shrunk in the wash (must be the tumble dryer again. Wifey seems to have been shrinking a lot of my clothes that way recently) and a rather fetching pair of running trainers given to me by my Dad and guaranteed by all sorts of clever scientisty type people to make me run like the wind from my first day.

Knowing it has been some time (years) since my last attempt at running, managed to get up to ten minutes constant running or maybe fast walking depending on how you look at it covering at least a mile, I decided that a quick run around the block would be a good first day back on it.
I warmed up on the driveway feeling good about myself and what would undoubtedly get rid of my extra stomach on the first outing. The jogging commenced on a slight uphill gradient along our little cul-de-sac that is about 200 metres long and by the time I got to the top of it I had decided that "Interval"running would be best for me so I could actually just walk for a thirty seconds.

Soon I was off once more full of grit and determination for at least 45 seconds before the walking interval had to kick in. This seemed quite a pertinent idea seeing as I was more or less unable to breathe. I felt as out of breath as an overweight ex smoker in his early forties that had done bugger all strenuous physical activity for most of this year. Oh hang on a minute....yea, that would be me.

Not to worry just a bit longer would see the ticker kicking in properly and the muscles catching up with the brain I was sure. Nope. It did get a little easier but my legs were screaming, I could not expand my chest enough to get the required amount of oxygen in and there was enough sweat pouring off of me to fill a childs paddling pool.
But the gods seemed to be on my side because the sky grew very dark and the heavens opened! I have never enjoyed being in the rain that much!
As I turned into our little cul-de-sac I decided that it would not be very good to let the neighbours see me walking back home and seeing as it was down hill I just kind of lolloped back towards my driveway letting the curtain twitchers think I had been all so very good and healthy. When I pulled under my car port and out of the sight of prying eyes I bent over double to try and ease my screaming lungs which only took about five minutes....not too bad at all for a first time out I would say.

I am sure it will get easier when I try to do it again next month.

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WEEK 13Musings

Posted by Nicky Smith Thu, June 29, 2017 20:34:46

We are already well into week 13 of the hair growing now and I am beginning to look like a yeti!

As always please drop the odd pound or two onto the following link please if you can!
It's all in a good cause!

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Kazziesdaysout


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Rain...Pic of the Day.

Posted by Nicky Smith Thu, June 29, 2017 20:27:32

It's raining it's pouring the old man is snoring...well I'm not really but I was feeling a little stir crazy stuck indoors so I grabbed my camera and new to me 10mm lense and took shots of whatever I could see in my slippers from under the car port.

Didn't turn out too bad really...



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First Drive.The 110

Posted by Nicky Smith Sat, June 10, 2017 16:23:30

I woke up to the sound of rain hitting the roof hard above my head. I didn't care at first as I turned back over onto my side whilst pulling the duvet of my comfy bed that I had just spent the first night in a week in.
It was cosy, warm and I desperately wanted to drop back off to sleep but the morning held a job that was a week overdue in the doing already, so with a gentle sigh I flipped the covers back letting in the cool air and dragged myself upright to start the day.

The week's holiday we have just taken was lovely. Lots of Spanish sun and far too much good food and drink had been had by all but reality had kicked back in as I sat nursing my morning brew looking out of the front window into the typically British rain.
I wondered whether The 110 would start after sitting so long, the battery had been a bit on the low side when I moved it last week but I guess there was only one way to find out.
I chucked on my rain hat along with my coat and headed out into the downpour with the landy keys in my hand. After removing all of the various anti theft measures that are put into place because there are so many thieving buggers about hungry for any Defender they can get and also because you could nick one using a wet sponge, I hopped into the drivers seat dripping water all around the cab.
The key was pushed home into the ignition and with a quick flick of the wrist the engine roared instantly into life.

"Bugger me, it started" I thought to myself hoping that this was going to be a good omen for the day. What was I forgetting though? Oh yea, the big box of tools that I had set up ready in the garage before going off on our jaunt to Spain. I wandered back down the driveway grabbed the box out of the garage and promptly popped it into the back of the motor.

I needed diesel so the first bit of a drive was to the local petrol station about a mile away. Much to my surprise we made it there without any breakdowns...
"Going a bit too well this" I thought moodily to myself because this now meant in my head that the engine would probably explode on route to the MOT centre.
Fuelled up and paid for I was once more travelling along the road building up a steady speed keeping an ear on the new noises that The 110 was making. Seeing as this was our first trip out together I was unsure of it should sound like but seeing as everything was still moving as it was supposed to with nothing falling off I figured all must be well.

Our speed built up steadily to 55mph and this seemed fast enough while all of the new components from the rebuild settled down into their own rhythm. The noise though! Wow! It was like sitting inside the exhaust of a B52 Bomber plane that nose diving towards the ground at a ludicrous speed.
"Need to sort out some insulation then" I figured mentally adding that to the list of future work to do.
The distance passed quickly enough and before I knew it I found myself parking up outside of the test centre. I handed over the keys and wandered out of the way enough to keep an eye on what was happening with the old boy.
I have to admit I found myself smiling thinking that even if it failed it still looked bloody good!

The MOT guy meandered back over a fair while later to give me the news...

It had passed!

Grinning from ear to ear I couldn't believe that I was going to be able to start having a play finally in The 110. The next list of jobs to do came alive with the next stage of it's transformation into an Overlander. This next section though can be and will be done over a much longer period of time with no rush involved.

I bimbled home without a care in the world wondering how long I would get before it broke down but no! today he wanted to stretch his legs as much as I did. I will admit to missing the odd gear here and there but apart from that there were no issues at all.

He needed a name now he was alive once more. I thought of "Pukka" at the start of the build using the letters from his number plate but no that just did not suit. Over time on the build I had caught myself calling him "Mator" the same name I gave the Series 3 I rebuilt. So after some careful nosing around online trying to remember where I had seen the recent pictures of the old series 3 I found that the name sticker had been removed and a few other mods made to it.

So bugger it, I introduce to you one road legal, taxed, mot'd and insured Mator Mk2 and quite frankly, I have never been so pleased to see the back of a rebuild in all of my days!

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I would like to take a moment to say a huge heartfelt Thank you to all of those people that put themselves out for me and this build especially over the last year which has undoubtedly been the toughest of my life.
Thank you somehow doesn't seem enough to say or do but I will pass on the help you have all shown to me as and when the opportunity arises in the future.
Life without friends that support, encourage, love but most importantly still take the piss out of you when you are down would be no life at all.

So this motor, The 110, Mator Mk2 has been a labour of love. It has driven me mad had me seething in rage wanting to sell it or burn it but it has also kept me busy when I needed it most. It gave me time to think and reflect on my own and time to spend with my friends as they pitched in helping hold me up when I needed it most.
You see these Land Rovers are special. They are fun. They are frustrating. They are money pits. They are also beacons to pull folks together from all walks of life with a common interest that always seems to end up somehow in laughter quite often with a couple of beers in tow.

Oh and I am never ever ever rebuilding another one!






No it has not....The 110

Posted by Nicky Smith Thu, June 01, 2017 20:48:50


Bit of an issue really and not with The 110...There was a problem with the trailer so The 110 has been rebooked in for a week on Saturday and insured for the driver there instead. A little frustrating but after all of this time another week or so is nothing in the grand scheme of things!

The Time Has Come.The 110

Posted by Nicky Smith Wed, May 31, 2017 20:14:26

The 110 is going for it's MOT tomorrow.
Time to see what I missed....

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Time Flies.The 110

Posted by Nicky Smith Mon, May 08, 2017 08:29:04

Doesn't time fly by!

It only seems like last week I was writing away about The 110 but after having a quick nose through the website it turns out is has been a bit longer than that. So I have a few things to tell you now then...

The 110 is sat on my driveway. Not underneath the carport in the "Try and fix area". Oh no, it is sitting proudly upon the gravel of the grown up driveway in front of the house.

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This is because many little bits have been completed of late.
A shiny new alternator has been fitted after some modification by a friend because I bought the wrong bloody one again. There is now pipework running from the turbo in all directions. I still need to buy a cone filter to get it through it's MOT then I will look at mounting something a little more permanent.
The oil flush is waiting to be used on an oil change to clean the engine out a little more as it has been standing for a few years now. It will probably be next week for that now if I am honest.
The floors have been secured and painted green again so and the front number plate has been bought and fitted and the spare wheel is once again in it's rightful place upon the bonnet.

Blog imageThe lightbar is also in place as well. I do like a good light bar! May have to head down getting it some LED's fitted though as they look a little nicer.

All in all we are very very close to getting the first MOT now. I will be taking the old boy to the test station on a trailer then hopefully getting him insured so the actual pleasure of driving him can begin.

I feel like I owe the readers of this blog a bit of an apology. I am well aware that the ending of this particular series of blogs on The 110 have been more than a little flat. Those of you that know me and follow regularly know this is because I lost my little sister a couple of months ago and to be honest the pull of writing has been missing for the most part since then. It is coming back in dribs and drabs so my drivel will continue on!

Having said that I have also been busy in the background starting the process of setting up a charity in my sisters honor to give other people with special needs a rare old social trip out at least once a year to the seaside or a show etc. This is because Kazzie my sister loved to be out and about meeting new people and spending time with the friends she had already made.

With that in mind the first fundraiser is going to be from me while we finish the charity bits off. I am not having the hair on my head cut at all for a whole year! I am six weeks in now and have gone from a shaved bald head to some grey haired bugger staring back out of the mirror at me!?!
I'm not too sure who he is because I am only twenty six, full of youth and dashingly handsome to boot. My Handsomeness is only outshone by my modesty.

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So if you good folks have enjoyed reading the writing I do please feel free to chuck a pound or two into the pot. If you have not enjoyed reading the writing I do then why are you here? Just a chuck a couple of quid in the pot anyway ;)

The link to the donation page is below...

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Kazziesdaysout

We really are nearly there in getting The 110 on the road! It will seem strange actually driving it for real, like a grown up. This build feels like it has taken forever to do with moving house, getting knocked off of the motorbike and actually renovating the odd room that Wifey insisted I do to make our home "livable"
Still, nearly there now and the pictures from all of the pretty places that I breakdown will soon be coming your way...

www.nickysmith.me


Power Steering & PartsThe 110

Posted by Nicky Smith Thu, April 20, 2017 08:39:58

It's ok I am still around. I am not in the middle of what's become commonly known in our household as "The 110 despair cycle", nope I just have been really very busy with work and fitting life in in general.
This is literally the first time I have managed to find twenty minutes to sit down quietly by myself to write a few more ramblings.

It is getting really quite close to MOT time now after putting in a fair few hours on The 110 last week. First point of contact was taking out the faulty steering box again. With all of the practice doing this particular part of the rebuild, I am becoming quite a dab hand at it now.
So I popped the bonnet open to be faced with the popped seals unit.

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This literally fell out because it has only been in there for what feels like five minutes. All the nuts and bolts came off cleanly, even the ones under the inner wing.

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I was going to try and tackle the inner wing bolts with the wheels still on but it soon became clear that this was not going to happen. So the wheel was whipped off to make it a tad easier. Honestly I think I am going to wear out the wheel nuts before this build is finished with the amount of times they come on and off the motor.

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With the old steering box quickly removed I went and grabbed the replacement. This is my second and final stab at using a second unit. Honestly if this one is faulty as well I will just bide my time and save up for a new bugger.
I could not remove the old steering arm that was on the box for love nor money so in the end I very very carefully cut through it as it sat on the spindles using a 1mm cutting disc. When it got near to the spindle I stopped and using a slightly thicker chisel whacked the cut open with a couple of deft blows. This released the old arm and left me with an intact usable unit.

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With that done the box was quickly fitted, it needed some adjustment on the steering column arms to make it all bolt up nicely, and everything centred up steering wise once more.

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I have no idea if it works or leaks yet as I have not had the chance to pop out and buy some power steering fluid. No really I haven't, the only parts I have manged to get hold of have been online. These amount to the new turbo oil feed pipe (cost a small fortune), a set of number plates and the bonnet catches.
It wont be long before these are fitted and we are then closer than ever towards getting the MOT sorted. Funds and any disasters pending I am hoping this should be within the next month or so. We can then get to the next round of breakdowns and repairs as we tackle the teething problems of the rebuild!


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#yetismith Week 2 & Week 3Musings

Posted by Nicky Smith Thu, April 13, 2017 11:48:17

Well good morning to you all!
We fast heading towards the end of the first month of me not cutting the hair on my head for a year.
Progress is being made (albeit slowly) on setting up a charity but the good news is that my hair is now long enough to have that much sought after "Just got out of bed look".

For many many years I have literally just got up, had a wash then headed out of the door without a thought of what my hair was doing. Those days it seems are now a thing of the past for the foreseeable future as I learnt to my detriment on Monday morning.
I just did the usual wash and off to work routine only to be asked as soon as I stepped through the office door "Sleep in?"

Seemed a bit of an odd comment to me that, that still had me slightly confused when I replied "No, am I late?"
The person who asked, who shall remain nameless for now as they have pledged a large sum of money to "make sure you look stupid for a year", then said "Forgot to brush your hair then?"

"Brush it? I mean brush it? Why would I need to Brush, oh of course." I replied and went to find a mirror that soon showed me that one side was stuck excitedly upright whilst the other side was flattened and pushed backwards.
Not to worry it was only an eleven hour day to look stupid in so I dunked my head in a sink full of water and sort of pushed it all around to look like a more general scruffy mess.
I doubt this will be the last time it happens but I just have to say again the way it's starting to move depending on the heat is freaking me out a little... #yetismith

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Bits & Bobs.The 110

Posted by Nicky Smith Mon, April 03, 2017 19:03:29

Now you may think that I have not been doing a deal on The 110 but you would be mistaken. The evenings have become warmer and the daylight is lasting longer so I have been merrily pottering around the old wreck getting it closer and closer to it's finished point over the last few weeks.

I have fitted a full set of new lights! I was just going to replace the lenses but when I saw that the whole unit costs only a few quid I decided why mess around? Now the old bay has a full set of shiny new lights fitted.
These even work as well thanks to the knowledge and help of a friend who came over and played in the cold dark night time under the car port until we had them all shining up in the darkness. Thanks fella, you know who you are ;)

The floors along with the tunnel needed refitting so I had a happy couple of hours yesterday afternoon playing with those getting it all fitting just right. Beer stopped play though when a neighbour turned up and we sat admiring The view from the car port with a couple of cold ones in hand.

The power steering header tank needed fitting so this has been done on the passenger wing just tucked up to the front maximising the space on the nearside. There were a couple of brackets to make up here and there as well as securing the rear brake pipes now the brakes themselves have been rebuilt.

I am still looking for a turbo oil feed pipe and a couple of bits and bobs but finances are tight so until a couple more bits are sold off they will have to wait.

Realistically I can see it being ready for MOT at the end of the month which would be fantastic! Providing of course that nothing else gets buggered up between now and then...

Sorry for the short update folks but with everything that has happened of late I seem to have lost my writing spirit! Work is stupid busy as well. Got to keep you all in the loop though now the end is in sight!

Week 1Musings

Posted by Nicky Smith Mon, April 03, 2017 18:51:08

Well I have made it to the end of week one of "growing my hair for a year".
It's already itching and a mate has pledged to give me a tenner per inch it grows. I thought he was being a tight git until he asked "How long do you think your hairs going to get Nick?"
"I don't know" I replied "A couple of inches?"
"Best google that mate" he said as he walked away.

So I did Google it...hmm just a tad more than I thought it would be! Around five to six inches apparently!

Oh well in for a penny in for a pound eh.

Here's this weeks mug shot.

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Hair Growing...Musings

Posted by Nicky Smith Wed, March 29, 2017 09:57:25

I have sat here for the last ten minutes trying to figure out how to write this and I am still none the wiser so I shall just get on with it.

You may have noticed that I have been a little quiet of late and that is because my little sister passed away quite unexpectedly and suddenly a few weeks ago.
We as a family are still grieving, and will be for who knows how long there is no set time limit for these things, but the time has come to do something to help channel that pain. We wanted to do something positive.

Let me give you a little about my sister because she was an exceptional young lady. She was 39 years old and had a condition called Williams Syndrome. This is a missing chromosome disorder that affects each person with it in similar but also drastically differently severity ways.
This made Karan more than special to everyone she met. There was only love to give from her perspective and once you met her you were a friend for life. She never moaned about the hand she had been dealt in life and took pleasure from the simplest of things like just sitting and watching the world go by.
Karan was one in a million and as our Dad has said "If everyone looked at the world and loved the way Karan did, it would be a much better place"

Nothing will replace her loss nor take away the pain of losing her but that does not mean we cannot do something positive from this.

We are going to set up a charity in her honor. This will focus on taking her friends from the day work place she attended, all of which have their own special needs or learning difficulties, out regularly for different events. It could be a trip to the seaside or an outing to the panto at Christmas.
The reason for doing this is quite simple. Karan had a better social life than most of us and loved nothing more than to be out and about in this big wide world with either family or friends....sometimes both. It brought a huge smile to her face and those that were with her so we want to carry on handing those smiles and that happiness out.

There are lots of different fundraising activities in the pipeline but the first and foremost is the fact that I will be growing my hair.

"Why is that a special event?" you may be thinking. Well I hate to have long hair. By long I mean anything more than a few millimeters because it literally drives me mad.
So what better way to begin and set things off than pledge that I will grow my hair for exactly one year starting from Sunday 26th March 2017.

There were suggestions of growing out the beard at the same time but I think I can only push my luck so far at work! Instead I will become a long haired silver fox with a weekly Sunday photo taken for you all to poke fun at!

Now feel free to make some pledges of money to this, in fact I actively want you to do this publicly until the charity is up and running properly with the correct donation pages set in place.

Seeing me turn into a long grey haired uglier bugger than I am now must be worth the price of a chocolate bar or two from you good people!

I thank you in advance for all of the help that I will be continually bullying you into on a regular basis!

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Grieving.Musings

Posted by Nicky Smith Wed, March 15, 2017 21:26:12

I have a tale to tell but I don't know the best way to put into words that would do it justice. To start with I want to say that this is not me looking for sympathy from the anonymity of the internet, it is far from that. I have probably taken as much sympathy as I can directly, not that it is not appreciated because it has been but there is a message in what happened to myself and my wife a few days ago that has also indirectly brought a great deal of comfort since.

There is an expected order within life, we do not always acknowledge it but its there nonetheless. Generations come and go, time after time. The oldest leave first to be followed by the new generation that arrives, this is the way of things.
We never expect to lose one of our own generation whilst the older is still present but that is what has happened to our family over these last few weeks.
My sister sadly passed away quite suddenly at 39 years old. The hole that she leaves behind in our family is beyond measure for each and every one of us and the only saving grace for us all is the love that is shared by each of us unconditionally that has provided support. When one of us could not walk the rest of us have carried...that's as it should be.

I am the big brother of six and if I am honest here it's all I know how to be. I don't just love my brothers and sisters, I would do anything for them if they needed me to. Growing up with such an age gap from the first to the last even installed into me the beginning of who I was to be as a parent. Family is everything.
So to lose one of them, the one that was most special to all of us due to her nature and the uniqueness that Williams Syndrome gave her was something I was not prepared for.
God only knows what Mum & Dad are going through because at times it takes all that I am to just get up out of bed in the morning. Their strength and love continually amazes me.

Grieving is hard. It's weird in a way that there is no right or wrong way of doing it. It's like after having found your way into Hell on Earth, then there is the worst rollercoaster ever conceived and you have to ride it until some point way way off in the future whether you want to or not.
Sometimes you can function pretty normally throughout the day only to be sideswiped by a song on the radio or a random memory that literally brings you to your knees. You can laugh at the memories that have passed either with yourself or when sharing others. You can be crying every morning when you wake up because the dreams are just too much to cope with and yet another day has begun in which your sister will not be a physical part of.

Sometimes it seems that every single moment is heartbreaking.

I see my siblings suffering, I see my parents suffering more and all I want to do is take the burden of their pain from them but to do so, even if I could, would take away the love of who we have lost. The love we have is what causes us the pain.

So I have to admit I have been quite angry inside of late. This has been a large part of my continued grieving process. I have been angry with "Them" for taking my sister away. My sister who had nothing but innocence and love in her heart. My sister who literally lit up each room she entered with her laughter and smile.
I have no idea who the "Them" are that I am so angry with but I managed to talk to my wife about it a few days ago as we sat on the riverside in Bakewell.
The sun was shining and we had had a nice morning being out and about. Things almost felt normal for just a while in the spring air until I remembered this was one of the places I wanted to bring my sister to.
I had wanted to sit here next to the river with her this summer eating fish and chips whilst throwing the odd bit out to all of the geese and ducks that fight for every scrap.
A shadow passed over me as I realised that this would never now be.

I have always had Faith inside of me and even practised it with the Church of England as it suited the way I like to live my life but truth be told I think that there really is more when we are done here but as for anyone particular all almighty being... who knows. I could not give a monkeys which god anyone prays to as I think when all is said and done we will become something more than we are where none of the definitions matter, but that's just me.

Wifey and I started to talk as she saw the shadow pass through me at the riverside. I explained that I had not lost my faith as such as it is but I was not convinced of anything now because who on Earth would take someone so damned special with so very little warning.
I was saying that nothing could convince me at the moment that there was some grand scheme that involved taking my little sister, a constant light and love in so many lives, away from us. I admitted I was more than a little angry about it all.

At this point a very golden bubble about the size of a baby's hand floated down in front of us to which I said "I suppose that's a sign that everything is alright really is it" (I was still pretty damned upset at this point) "There's bound to be a kid blowing bubbles somewhere here"
So we both looked in both directions. Then we looked a bit harder. Nope nothing. Wifey stood up and looked further afield but no there was nobody blowing bubbles kid or otherwise.

Thing is it was quite busy with folk coming and going along the footpath but not crowded, the views in every direction were clear. The bubble just floated there in front of us moving gently from left to right before pausing from time to time. Then it headed for the ground where we expected it to pop as it touched the pavement.
It just gently landed in the middle of the pavement and sat there. It didn't move again but it did not pop. It's golden colour shone brightly even as other people walked headlong towards it but nobody stood on it. Not one footfall got anywhere near it and there were quite enough people to make this an odd occurrence.
The birds never bothered it either. These birds are normally greedily eating anything that touches the ground whether it's edible or not but not this.
We sat mesmerised looking at it for a couple of minutes as it spread out a touch wider.
I looked at my Wife stating "That's just impossible" and decided to see if I could get a picture of it.

This was not a problem because it was not going anywhere. I took the picture and it stayed with us for a few more minutes. Then it just started to go down. It did not pop as you would expect but just very slowly deflated as all of the passing people seemed to subconsciously avoid it.
It's golden glow never faded, even when it finally went flat.

But does this mean something? Anything?
Honestly I don't know. But what I do know is as I headed into what was one of the fastest plunges into the dark I have experienced so far, this tiny bubble of light seemed to appear as if on cue.
When I thought that all the wonder of the world was lost forever and whatever sort of faith I have was beyond being tested I felt something very comforting out of the blue.
I am not going to say that this was a profoundly religious moment but it was a very poignant one that seemed to bring me back into a place that was a peaceful harbour from the storm.
That storm still rages on and on some days it's worse than others, as it is for all of us, but I know now deep down in the depths of my soul that part of my little sister is always with us.

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Tough Day. Lots Done.The 110

Posted by Nicky Smith Wed, March 15, 2017 20:05:26

Once again I found myself sat in bed looking at the bottom of a brew thinking about The 110.
I had to go and buy some nuts and bolts for the brake back plates and seeing as it was such a nice clear blue sky sort of day I decided to take the motorbike out for a spin to Paddocks. So at 7:45am I found myself cruising into the Derbyshire countryside, there are far far worse places to be in the sunshine.
The rolling green hills past me by along with the all of the signs of spring arriving. The daffodils are everywhere and the trees waking up in bud once again, it will only be a matter of a few weeks before we find ourselves sat in warmer weather and the heating turned off.

Since the bike crash I have to admit I seem to have become a bit pants on two wheels. I still enjoy it but my gear changes seem to be all over the shop and don't get me started on my road positioning. The little Bandit needs to come out a bit more often I think so I can get my eye back in once again.
Surprisingly there was not a queue at Paddocks and I was in and out in under five minutes...this has to be some sort of record surely! A quick hop back onto the trusty stead and I was headlong back into a different route home enjoying the sunshine and dry roads.

All too soon I was back home and ready to get cracking with sorting out the back brakes on the Land Rover. I didn't want to do it I have to admit here and I very nearly walked away but something said to just get stuck in.

Wheel off then armed with a large hammer the drum soon submitted into rusty cooperation falling off onto the floor with an almighty clang!
That was the neighbours up then whether they wanted to be or not.
As I looked up into what was exposed the amount of dirt and muck in there was astounding! There was also some sort of unidentifiable slime that I did not want to be playing with for too long so an old rag was brought into to play then promptly dumped into the wheelie bin.

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The hub was next which came off with no issues on this side unlike the other side which snapped a bolt in it. That took some serious heating up to remove I can tell you, I thought it was going to be a drill and retap affair but it seems the Landy Gods were looking upon me favourably today. They must have been pleased to see the sunshine as well.

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Brake pads then the caliper were soon stripped out, even the brake pipe came off of both sides without snapping! That seems to be just about unheard of to me but why look a gift horse in the mouth eh. The back plate fell off in a rusty heap after a bit of a gentle tap with a 4lb lump hammer and I was left with nothing but the stub axle in situ.

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Time to put all of the new shiny bits on then.
The back plate along with the pre-fitted new caliper, I mean why struggle once the plate is fitted? May as well sort it out before hand to get the dripping brake pipe back into place asap.

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Now it was time to battle with the brake pads and new springs. The ends of teh springs needed a small grind down as they were far too long on the hook end but soon found themselves sitting where they should have been. You may notice in the pictures that there is a set of pads laid out under the The 110 exactly as they came off of the old back plate. I do this to make sure I don't end up fitting the pads upside down or in the opposite way they should be. Helps to remember which holes the springs fit into as well.
Looks great with shiny new bits on though :)

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Making sure the pads were sitting in the right place I fitted the nice new brake drums too, be rude to scrimp at the very end wouldn't it. In all honestly I figured that if I had to do this job I may as well do it right. The I also fitted all new bearings and seals onto the hub before refitting, who knows how old the the ones that were in them were.

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So there you have it the back brakes are done. I didn't want to do them and they took all day but I am really glad I have got them out of the way.

The only stop I had really was for lunch. My neighbour popped around so I figured we may as well ave an egg and bacon cob with our brews. As we chatted away the conversation came around to the subject of scrapyards and how we miss them.
We are both old enough to remember hunting around acres of rusty steel looking for the model of car we wanted then rummaging through it hoping the one part that we wanted was still fitted to it.
And lugging your heavy toolbox around the place. Then carrying that along with all of the extra parts you had removed "Just in case" you needed them when you were fitting the part you actually had to do.
We came to the conclusion that we missed scrapyards. Many a happy hour were spent looking for that extra bit of gold in the motor you were happy to hunt through.
It's a shame that most scrappies these days have already removed the parts and put them onto a shelf. Yes it is easier and quicker, less tiring, less work, cheaper, cleaner, warmer and generally less hassle but I did enjoy the hunt...


nickysmith.me




Humpty Dumpty Day.The 110

Posted by Nicky Smith Tue, March 14, 2017 21:16:18

I get up really early in the morning for work which in itself is ok. I like to see the start of each new fresh day before most folks have even stirred in their beds dreading the alarm clock and after sneaking a quick peak at the clock dropping back off for a few more snug minutes of sleep.
The problem is when I take a holiday. My body does not seem to want to just relax into the warm sheets of my bed in the morning. Nope, it prefers to just keep the normal routine going regardless and as such I found myself reaching the bottom of a cup of in bed well before 7am this morning.

Wifey had already left for work so unable to steep in my own bed warmth anymore I decided to have a poke around The 110 to see what I could up to with it today.
There has been a job I seemed to be pushing back (insert running away from there) for some reason each time I thought about it. This was making up some exhaust mount brackets.
I don't know why I was so averse to getting this particular chore done but seeing as I had put it off at least half a dozen times I figured that today was the day.

There were only three mounts in all to fabricate up so off into the garage to the old chocolate tin pile I went. There are probably for or five large chocolate tins in there, the type you get at Christmas that the contents seem to disappear from incredibly quickly. This odd effect is usually accompanied by a sick in your stomach feeling due to a large sugar rush. By the time they hit my garage they are bone dry and what tends to happen is any part, nut, bolt, metal, brace, bracket and something small and potentially useful end up being chucked in them.
This is a god send in such situations as having to make up three exhaust brackets from scratch!
A good rummage later had me with enough bots on the workbench to make a start. With some whacking, bending and cutting I soon, about three hours later, had the brackets made up and fitted. Not too bad really as they were all made from stuff other folks would just chuck away!

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It's so nice to have the exhaust actually sitting where it is supposed to be! SImple things eh.
With that done followed swiftly by a cheese on toast sort of lunch I decided that I may as well start putting the odds and sods back into place on the old boy.

I fettled the rear number plate back into position.

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Then seeing as funds are very tight at the moment I cleaned up the headlight surrounds and an old grill that was in the shed using some WD40.

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I will be replacing these with new items in the future but at the moment they will have to do.
Upon closer inspection it turns out that most of the light lenses are cracked or damaged so I need to source a second hand set of these along with another Discovery 1 power steering box. Going to have to be later in the month though as funds are ridiculously tight at the moment.

A quick lick of paint on the bonnet wheel brace along with a cheeky coat on the light bar and it was time to call it a day. Then I had a quick scramble in the parts shed to see if I had a horn because I had forgotten all about that! Turns out I had on old Disco one in there which when tested on a car battery let off a convincing noise load enough to pass an MOT. That'll do nicely then and should get fitted tomorrow....

www.nickysmith.me


Very Fresh air.The 110

Posted by Nicky Smith Mon, March 13, 2017 16:09:40

Now there have been a number of reasons why I have not been posting lately but I am back in the saddle a touch more now.

The 110 has had the odd bit of titivating here and there but nothing worthy of note at the time. I drilled then riveted the wing chequer plate into place so now it does not try to rattle itself off when the engine is running.

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I have abit of time off this week so I will be trying to get around to having another poke at the old boy when I get the chance.
Wifey had a few issues with her little Fiat 500 so my attention on Saturday was on that tiny little car. New drop links along with front discs and pads cured most of it's ails though.
Turns out, so I am reliable informed by said Wifey, that I now have to fill my car up with fuel at Tescos so the Clubcard points can be collected. The fact that I never pass a Tescos petrol station is apparently not an issue because my darling other half is taking my car once a week to fill the bugger up. I still have to pay for my fuel it seems but she gets to keep all of the points...

I learnt long ago to just roll with these sort of things so after watching my motor drive off into the sunrise this morning I stood at my bedroom window looking at this little Fiat knowing I had some mileage to do in it because myself and the youngest daughter were off up into the Peak District to get a bit of a walk in.

I shrugged my shoulders to myself figuring "At least I wont be using my own fuel today"

Well I am man enough to stand here and admit I loved driving this plucky little motor! What a machine! It was like driving a geared up go kart that refused to let go of any grip on any corner regardless of the speed you were doing!
It never let up. You had to work the gears to get the small 1200cc engine going but my word I was grinning ear to ear by the time we arrived at Mam Tor.

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I can see why Wifey likes it so much now, I can best describe as like driving an original proper mini. The fun was done though and it was tome to walk the great ridgeway with my daughter who was doing this for the first time.

It was a little breezy at the base but not too bad but once we reached the first summit of Mam Tor it soon became apparent that the day was not going to be what we expected it to be...


We could barely keep standing upright. After a mere mile we through in the towel and headed back down to the car moving onto Chatsworth house for a cheeky picnic instead.

The 110 is not that far off of completion and I am tempted to throw a "Lets get it finished party" where I will supply good food and drink to those who want to come over and an odd job on it...
Anybody tempted?





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KazzieMusings

Posted by Nicky Smith Fri, March 03, 2017 09:01:00

I took a walk today, wondering how to say goodbye.
Through the fields in the rain and across muddy styles as I walked I thought about your special smile.
The way the room lit up with your very presence in it, about the way your innocence constantly stayed throughout your life.
Your laughter, your love. None of these ever faded. The spark within your eyes of pleasure just to sit and look around at other people passing by.
Your playful banter along with the things you would say, I don't know how to live without these things for another long day.
I trudged heavy footed through soaking wet fields with my head hung low, not caring in which direction I go, with images and memories of you so real in front of me I feel like I could reach out and touch you, but no this can never be.
So how can I ever say goodbye Kazzie? It took some time to realise the truth.
I never will say goodbye my little sister, you will always be in me x





Bad Head & Birthday Parties.The 110

Posted by Nicky Smith Sun, February 19, 2017 08:47:34

I don't booze. No, honestly I don't! The days of that nonsense are far behind me and as I sit here at my kitchen table this morning listening to Radio 2 whilst tenderly nursing a cup of tea I remember why.
I cant take it. Really, I am a big Jess who can no longer take his beer and I am ok with that. Two days of evening drinking and my voice has dropped two octaves. My stomach feels about three times it's normal size and sweet Jesus the smell that is escaping from my backside could solve all of the issues in the middle east in a matter of minutes. Even the dog has abandoned me high tailing it for lower ground.
But it was worth it. It was a good friends surprise 50th Birthday party last night and it's his fault that I feel so bloated...

The 110 was first coat deep when I went outside early yesterday morning to put the second coat on. The second coat is always easier than the first and the finish was looking really good.

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So there I was covered in as much paint as the car drinking a brew whilst the headache of the night before was fading when Wifey came and got me to tell me that I had to somehow get my friend Gromit out of the house for a couple of hours because they had to head over to the hall where is party was and set up.
Talk about drop it on me! I was filthy (luckily quite a normal state of affairs) covered in paint and skint to boot. How was I to get my mate out of the house for that long at five minutes notice?

As I wandered along the three doors away to his house with my tea still in my hand I came up with a cunning plan. Well it was cunning in the fact it would get him out but not so cunning that it was going to cost me £50 I didn't have but if I had to spend it I may as well get something I needed.
With a grin when I saw him I asked him "Can I borrow you and your Discovery to collect some chunky window sills for the conservatory please chap?"
With a returning grin he piped back with "Yea why not"

Then after asking his advice on where to go I lead him towards the furthest away from where we were point and off we set.
Well as soon as we were gone so were the women of the two households to get things sorted for the evening.
My first problem was that there was no traffic at all. Because of this we were at the wood yard in fifteen minutes. Of course we found what I needed in another 3 minutes and had the car loaded within ten minutes of getting there. Right then I need a back up plan here...
"Gromit do you mind if we pop into Alfreton? I need to speak to the folks in the leisure centre about my membership"
He looked at me a bit oddly but said "Alright then Nick."

Bear in mind Alfreton was about fifteen miles from where we currently were so a bit of an ask really but in good spirits off we set.
Again no traffic so we were soon at the leisure centre and thankfully Gromit decided to wait in his Disco while I popped in for two minutes.
Indeed it really only took two minutes to do what I needed to do so what the hell could I do know? I decided that having a coffee while I thought about it was a good idea!

I dragged that out for ten minutes then as I was leaving I sent a text to Wifey giving them all a fifteen minute warning. The reply was almost instant saying
"No! drag it out"
Seriously!! I thought to myself. my friend is already looking at me like I am taking the michael here. ONly one more option on the way home...

"Fancy a KFC mate?" I asked
"Not really Nick but we can stop for one if you want"

I didn't want...no I really didn't. About five minutes before this facade had started I had eaten the biggest sausage cob you have ever seen so the thought of a greasy KFC was more than a little unappealing.

"Yes please chap, I am starving" I replied.

Then there I was looking at the menu wondering what I could have that meant I did not have to eat a great deal but it had to be big enough to look like lunch.

I managed to drag that force fed meal out for another twenty five minutes whilst making small talk. By now I was convinced he was suspecting something but a quick trip to the toilet so I could send the text message that we were coming home now and we were on our way home.

We beat the families back. Not to worry they had sent me a message stating they had gone shopping for shoes so my friend and I had a brew whilst comparing notes on how to cut and fix the newly acquired window sills into the conservatory.
Ten minutes passed and the rest of the tribe returned with grins all around and slight nods confirming all was ready for the off in the evening.
While I had Gromit there we popped the bonnet back onto The 110 and that in place, the front bumper painted black and the chequer plate resting on the wings the old boy looks pretty damned good to me!!

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By now the time had really cracked on so operation "Get ready, get out and get to the party before your mate sees you" began in earnest.
We got washed and changed. I had to use a pressure washer to remove the paint off of me. Then we crept out into the darkness of our driveway hopped in the car and sped off to the party hall.
My youngest was snaptwatting (I think thats what she called it) Gromits eldest and it turned out he was still sat on his sofa in his pants and t-shirt not relishing the idea he had to go out to a party that evening.
A little persuasion (read that as bullying) from his three daughters and wife soon saw our friend washed and dressed and on his way.

He had no idea the party was for him and the grin on his face as he entered the hall said it all! A conversation a little later on with him had him confirming he wondered why I was being a bit of a dick asking to be run around to all these odd places that morning. He said he had just put it down to being out and about...

What a day it had been! The 110 was looking the mutts nutts now and really inspired me to plough on and get it finished. I can see once again what I am working towards and this was sorely needed.
But most important of all a genuinely great friend had the surprise of his life with family and friends from all over the country coming to see him...something he has never had before and if anyone I know deserved a surprise like that, well it is him!

Happy 50th Birthday Gromit smiley











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Great Body in a First Coat.The 110

Posted by Nicky Smith Sat, February 18, 2017 10:31:07

Bear with me today I have a bit of a thick head. That "One for the road" last night may well have tipped me over the edge. Still, while I sit here at the kitchen table with my hangover cure sausages are grilling nicely I thought it best to tell you all of yesterdays progress.

The roof is now black along with the bonnet and the chequer plate. But what colour to do the main body of The 110 I hear you ask? Well I think you are asking, if not those voices in my head are back.
After hours of internet searching looking at pictures, I decided I best start looking at Land Rovers before the Wife caught me at it. These showed me motors in all colours so deciding what I wanted was a tough choice.
I ended with Black (obviously you already know that) and.........
Green.

Not overly imaginative but I decided upon the semi gloss finish and I think it has come up quite nicely for a first coat.

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The front bumper was looking more than a little drab so I etch primed it so that too can be painted black. I do seem to have more than enough paint!

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The second coat should bring it all together nicely! I have also added a couple of extra coats to the bonnet and the roof may well want a couple more too yet. The jury is still out on that one as I need to reverse The 110 out from under the car port into the proper light to have a good look.

nickysmith.me

Snoring & Slap On.The 110

Posted by Nicky Smith Fri, February 17, 2017 06:14:44

My Wife has a problem with snoring. Sounds of deep rumbling along with what I can only describe as several near death experiences due to what seems like strangled suffocation lead to a Doctors appointment being made before Divorce proceedings could begin in earnest.
Not to worry the Doctor says it is probably something simple and that I should begin with losing a few pounds in weight and trying one of those snoring aid things.
After standing at one of the pharmacy aisles at Tescos bewildered for about ten minutes looking a shelves full of all manner of things that promised to give me good nights sleep I just picked up one that was in the middle of the price range and headed home.

So a couple of nights back just before bed I found myself stood in front of Wifeys dressing mirror in the bedroom with a packet nose strips in my hand wondering just how stupid I was going to look in a couple of minutes time. After a sigh to myself I spent a few moments (read that as about six minutes) trying to figure out how to take the sticky backing off of the damned thing before squinting into the mirror without my specs on affixing it across my nose attempting my best Adam Ant impression.

I am one hell of a skeptic when it comes to these sort of aid things but to my complete amazement this little plastic strip opened up my nostrils making breathing easier than it has been in years! To cut a long story short I have had the best two nights sleep in what seems like years and so it would seem has Wifey. She has even gone to the extent of putting away the hammer and knives that seemed to have ominously made their way to her bedside table. This bloody chest infection that pitches up each time I have a week off is still going strong though. I will have to pop back to Tescos and see what magic isle they have for that...

To The 110 then. To be honest it has just been a pottering around it sort of week in between coughing a lung up and feeling rather sorry for myself. The second primer coat went on easily giving a nice sound bed for the top coats.

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WHilst that coat was drying I skipped off to the parts shed to dig out the wing chequer plate. I have decided not to use the bonnet chequer plate as the wheel will be mounted on there anyway so it seems like alot of work for something you won't really see. If anyone is interested in it before it gets put up tonight for sale give me a shout.
The wing plates were offered up just to make me smile while pretending the truck was finished.

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Out came the etch primer because these bad boys were going to be black in the end.

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Then I walked away letting it all dry properly. After a sleep or two I came back suitably dosed up on cold relief pills to break out the black paint. Firstly a nice coat went onto the chequer plate.
This was quickly followed by a good coat on both the roof and bonnet. I will aim to get the second coat on today along with the first coat on the main body. If I can stop coughing long enough that is!

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Rub Back & First Coat.The 110

Posted by Nicky Smith Tue, February 14, 2017 16:10:13

I shall open with an apology. I have been rather quiet of late but with good reason. That being family. Mine have kept me busy of late so with work added into the mix I have been rather short on hours.
Seeing as I had a week owed holiday wise I have taken the last couple of days to begin the rub down of the bodywork along with adding the first thin coat of primer.

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I have to say it is nice to see it nearly all the same colour for a change...

End of the World.Pic of the Day.

Posted by Nicky Smith Sun, February 05, 2017 16:37:47

Taken this morning whilst walking the dog. Looked like the world was ending!

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MY CV Book 1.The Books...

Posted by Nicky Smith Wed, February 01, 2017 19:39:35

Well it has finally been finished! The first book in the "MY CV" Series that looks back on how easily you could flip through jobs in the past from a very young age!

The following link is for the paperback version but the kindle version will be out in the next few days smiley

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1542869455/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1485975056&sr=8-2&keywords=MY+CV+Book+1

Just Bugger.Musings

Posted by Nicky Smith Tue, January 31, 2017 12:56:20

That horrifying moment that you realise the file containing the book you have been writing for 18 months has disappeared from every electronic gizmo you have...

View of Bakewell.Pic of the Day.

Posted by Nicky Smith Mon, January 30, 2017 19:12:12

A church yard view of Bakewell.

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Not Spending Money.The 110

Posted by Nicky Smith Sun, January 29, 2017 15:02:22

You have probably noticed that there has been very little on the Land Rover front lately.
This is for two reasons.
The first is quite frankly I needed a bit of a break away from the damned thing. It was starting to grate, as most of you know, on my nerves and the constant working every spare minute was leaving me feeling exhausted as well as fed up with the whole process.
The second reason is that I also have a house that I am doing up and after all of the dedication to The 110 the house was feeling a little neglected.

This years plan for the house after last years running start on it was to get the conservatory finished. That is as much as I wanted to put upon myself house work wise and this seems like a good plan.
Firstly I had to build up the inner wall. It has been well over ten years since I last built any sort of wall and this took me two days along with a raging back ache!
Ten years ago it would have been a day job but even at the spring chicken age of forty three I have noticed I am slowing down in certain areas. Heavy block lifting and wall building being one of them.
Patience it seems is a virtue though and the wall is straight and true meaning that I have not lost my knack, only my speed.

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That was a couple of weeks ago so this weekend involved deciding on how we wanted the conservatory to look, then going to buy some masonry paint, then some poor smuck had to paint the first coat onto the exposed brick wall...yep that would be me.

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The before and after effects are pretty good even if I do say so myself! We will be going with an "Industrial" type look on the painted brick wall with old lights and conduit piping for the electrics.

With this lot going on I had declared to my ever suffering Wife that I would "Not be spending any money on The 110 this month" because we have just been paid.

That lasted about an hour. I ordered the primer and paints needed to make the Landy look good but "That's it. Nothing else for it this month" were the next words out of my mouth.
In all fairness to me I lasted about seven hours before a set of chequer plate wing tops and bonnet top came up on the internet at a price I could not refuse...

That's it though I am skint. I am not buying anything else for it this month. I have given my debit card to Wifey and put parental access controls onto the sale pages and websites that suck away my cash.
Just nobody tell me they have a cheap 200tdi alternator for sale and I should be alright...





Gravestone.Pic of the Day.

Posted by Nicky Smith Sun, January 29, 2017 08:06:55

I love this gravestone found in Bakewell that states, Near this place lies the body.
"Well, you know, we definitely buried him somewhere near here Vicar"

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