Just a load of old rambling about me and the different things I end up doing...normally projects and builds of some description!
I have also published a book called "The Project Has Landed..." about the Land Rover Series 3 rebuild I did and it can be bought from any amazon website so please feel free to go and get yourself a copy!
If you feel the need or just want to talk feel free to contact me via Nick@nickysmith.me and I will get back to you asap :)
Campervan ProjectPosted by Nicky Smith Sun, October 22, 2017 21:17:53 Well they say you cannot keep a good man down. In my case that is not quite true, the good man bit I mean, but Wifey has had enough of me wandering around "her" house aimlessly getting involved in all manner of things that I should not be touching because I "make a mess" or "leave stuff lying around". It quickly got to the stage where she was sick of seeing me indoors so I was given the go ahead to go and buy something interesting that would be at least of some use to the both of us when it was finished.
With that sort of broad spectrum handed over, along with a very small budget of course, I set to working the internet hard (not that way you dirty sods) trying to figure out exactly what I could next get my teeth stuck into.
After a few days of thought the answer really was quite obvious... I would build a campervan! What else would be of use to the both of us and an ideal get away for the weekend kind of toy!
All in all that was around a month ago and I have been hunting for a base van in earnest ever since. I have hit all of the usual sites and looked at over a dozen vans in total, that's another story in itself, until I found the little beaut that is now currently sitting on my driveway blocking all of the light from getting into the living room. It is a Vauxhall Movano 2.5 Diesel Long Wheel Base Extra high Top Van. This I am told is a small price to pay to get me out of the house on a regular basis.
With the motor found it is now onto the planning stage of exactly what we want to fit into this build to make it completely bespoke to us. Even Wifey is showing an interest in this stage but I expect will be hiding away in her Christmas cupboard once the heavy lifting comes around. So here we go again folks, it's time to get stuck into the next big project because the nights are drawing in and it is far too dark to do much else other than sit indoors looking at the TV. Those of you that know me know that this was just not going to happen!
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
Turbo & manifold
Extensive work to the
Hinge upright bits
(forget the name)
Modified for the turbo
Full brake rebuild on
the front including new discs pads and calipers.
Wheel bearings front
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
Tinted rear windows
Carpet fitted to rear
All lights replaced
front and rear
Discovery transfer box
Clutch slave cylinder
Painted front to back
Power steering fitted
It sits on a set of
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
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
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
MusingsPosted 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.
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.
The 110Posted 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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
The 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.
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 ;)
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...
The 110Posted 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
MusingsPosted 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
The 110Posted 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!
MusingsPosted 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!
MusingsPosted 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!
MusingsPosted 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.
The 110Posted 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :)
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.
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...
The 110Posted 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!
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.
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.
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....
The 110Posted 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.
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.
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?
MusingsPosted 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
The 110Posted 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.
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!!
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!
The 110Posted 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.
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!
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.
The 110Posted 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.
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.
Out came the etch primer because these bad boys were going to be black in the end.
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!
The 110Posted 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.
I have to say it is nice to see it nearly all the same colour for a change...
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
MusingsPosted 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...
The 110Posted 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.
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.
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...
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"
MusingsPosted by Nicky Smith Fri, January 20, 2017 19:33:06 We last left the opposing teams all set at their respective bases counting down the time until the shout of "GO" was shouted out. The with hearts pounding we all started running at each other through the trees diving for the cover of any obstacles we could find to get away from the hail of paint balls that seemed to be coming from all directions both high and low.
For some stupid reason I first tried to hide behind a tree that saw me taking a paint ball to the stomach. Obviously the tree was not quite as wide as I expected it to be nor my stomach which must have been protruding from the very thin trunk (yes I am going with it being the trees fault) making a rather easy to hit target. Thankfully I had lots of padding (a few extra layers not just my stomach)so it didn't really hurt. Having been hit I had to put my hand into the air and walk the fifteen feet back to base to "Respawn". That walk though had me taking a couple of shots to the back as I wandered away from some overly keen enemy... If I am honest the first game was a disaster for me getting hit from all sides and spending most of the time walking back to base getting shot on route. This was confirmed at the end of it by the large amount of paint balls I still had left in the gun. Still not to worry the stag had been hit a fair few times and so had just about everyone else. As gung ho as we all were deciding we were the best thing since sliced bread with guns we were outshone by a trio of lads that had come by themselves all kitted in in their own paintball gear. Now these folks obviously liked to do this sort of thing regularly but when surrounded by twenty "normal" people over two stag parties and a couples day out I am not quite sure why they seemed surprised when they got some responses from things they tried to command others to do. To one guy they told him to "Give us covering fire!!" to which he replied "Waste your own paintballs" Another one was "YOU run left and draw their fire!" to which the response was "YOU bloody run left and get shot" By far my favourite one though was an action. Two of these guys commanded "We all run left...GO!"
Off they ran all by themselves into a hail storm of gunfire and to quick deaths. There was a quick look of smugness between the rest of us through our steamed up visors (I had abandoned the use of my specs inside them after the first game as it was like trying to see through blown double glazing) as these "Professionals" sulkily walked back to the base to respawn to the sounds of sniggers and "well done fellas" from the group. Seriously, why would you try to tell a group of complete strangers who are on stag do's how to play this sort of game. There is strategy for the stag do boys and that is the desire to shoot the hell out of anything that moves from the opposite direction whilst manically laughing your head off.
There were several different settings mostly the longer firing range but one setting involved storming a castle. This was close quarters fighting and quite painful if you were unlucky enough to take a hit. Thinking "Buggered if I want to get shot that much" I decided to chase the flank around to the opposite teams side to catch them off guard. I need to take a moment here to tell you about a young couple that were also playing the games. He got shot as much as the rest of us but she was brilliant! Any gun she used she seemed to be able to snipe you from a long distance with very little effort using only one or two paintballs.
Well, my sneaking was going well. I had used the trees as cover and worked my way around to the opposite teams base without getting wiped out. That done, my bravery started growing so I headed towards one of the entrance tunnels to the castle. I stood listening but could hear no sounds coming from the entrance. Full of bravado I walked around the side in a slight crouch and much to my surprise I found the young couple standing there. He was facing me with a hell of a surprised look in his eyes and she was bent over at the waist looking around a right hand corner completely oblivious to my presence. I didn't think I just reacted. My gun was already up in the horizontal position and firstly it flicked to him as a few shots were fired. A yellow explosion of paint took him in the chest. The gun then flicked to my right where his girlfriend was still bent over looking around the corner leaving a more than ample rounded target swaying slightly from side to side. Before I knew what I was doing I had fired off two more rounds which headed off on a direct trajectory to the twin moons that faced me. The shots were true and could not resist what must have been a slight gravitational pull hitting their target as if they were guided. As they exploded with a "whump, whump" she jumped up high enough to nearly bang her head off of the ceiling whilst emitting a high pitched squeal. The evil side of me was delighted that I had managed to take two of the enemy out and another big part of me thought that the last shots I had taken and the outcome were hilarious! This was very quickly followed by me feeling a bit guilty that I had shot her right up the arse. But if I am honest that last feeling did not last long. She had after all been sniping my team out all day long!
It also turned out I was not the only person trying to shoot the stag at every opportunity that arose but he seemed to have a hell of a knock of not getting wasted!
The day was a good one and the meal later on was superb! But I realise now that I am no longer 25 years old. I am not even 35 years old anymore. I ached from head to toe the following day...well days. My friend is getting married in a couple of months or so...his wife to be set his stag do way way ahead of the big day. I don't think she trusts us enough to take him out the night before I mean he could end up on a train anywhere...or a plane.
The 110Posted by Nicky Smith Thu, January 19, 2017 10:19:29 Yes, yes I know my last post had me throwing a tantrum. You saw me throwing all of my toys out of the pram. I spat my dummy out as far as it could go and I was stamping my feet shouting "It's my toy and I don't wanna play anymore" But the sulk is now over. I have stood still wondering where in the hell I went wrong in the Land Rover life when a friend gave me a bit of a talking to.
After reading my last post he simply messaged "Ring me". I didn't want to because I kinda knew he was going to have some cunning solution to what was going on engine smoke wise and it turned out that he did. That and I am an "Arfur Job" fool.
The first question was "Have you plumbed it all in correctly?" which with a roll of my eyes I answered "Of course I have, I am not that stupid." "But have you plumbed it ALL in?" he asked. "Bugger" I thought to myself "Here we go I am going to feel stupid in a minute" was the closely following thought. "Well not all of it. I mean I have not piped up the turbo to the intercooler yet" I replied. "That will probably make it smoke a bit" he told me in a calm manner "Not a great deal but enough from unburnt fuel etc. It isnt the be all and end all but it would probably help. It's been stood for years and then your knackered turbo will have dumped oil around in places so give that a go because the engine will really need a good run out as well. Oh and while you are at it stick some fuel cleaner through it and an engine flush probably wouldn't do any harm either. Nick stop panicking and start plodding through the bits I've said."
So I did. I ordered the bits I needed to make up the bottom intercooler feed and popped the fuel cleaner in. The postman brought me the parts yesterday morning so I set to seeing if my friend was right....again.
After making it all up and fitting the turbo out I fired up the engine and there still some smoke but nothing like what had been before...it was at this point I started to feel a bit stupid along with daring to feel a little bit hopeful. I let the engine run through for about for about half an hour systematically revving up and holding them to get the heat all of the way through the solid metal lump. I wanted to get the coolant nice and hot as well.
As it ran and revved getting up to and holding its temperature the smoke more or less disappeared. I could not believe it! After all of that feeling a bit sick with disappointment thinking the whole thing would be better burning here I was looking at a much improved picture. Yes the power steering box was still shot but that is a doddle of a job compared to pulling the engine apart. An expensive job but an easier one non the less. So thank you my friend, you know who you are, you have yet again advised me well and there a couple of beers with your name on when we next meet up again!
Happy as I am that it is all heading back in the right direction I am changing tack and walking away from the mechanical side for a little while. What I am going to do is put the bugger back together wiring up the lights then prepping the bodywork for painting. I want to get the old boy looking like I want him to. It's looked like scrap since it turned up all of that time ago so I am heading down the "Make it look nice" route. This will show me what I am working towards and I do have this nice car port that I can put it under and seal off to do the job.
My biggest problem now is I had decided months ago what colours I wanted to paint it but know I am not quite so sure! Best to start with the primer then. The rest can sort itself out from there...
The 110Posted by Nicky Smith Mon, January 16, 2017 15:25:02 You can actually get past saturation point you know. I did not think that that would be possible but it turns out that it is!
But before anymore of that let us head back to the beginning. Our last instalment showed that the turbo was knackered so I had to try and figure out how on earth I was going to afford a new one. Well a kind friend gifted me a 300tdi turbo so all I had to do was do a few modifications and Bob's your Uncle. Sod's law being what it is a few days later another friend called telling me he had a 200tdi turbo that could be mine for a very reasonable price. Skint as I am this month I could not refuse this as it would safe a great deal of messing around so I bought it.
Yesterday was the day to get the old replaced with the new and all went really well for a while. The old unit came off nice and easily leaving just the old gasket to remove and the face there to clean up. A nice new exhaust manifold gasket was then popped into place.
My luck held as I installed the replacement turbo then less the ninety minutes after starting the hole shebang was all back together.
Happy Days!! I thought to myself as I was putting the tools away. All I had to do now was start it up, admire the not blue exhaust smoke and enjoy the whistling sound of the new turbo as it spun in. I connected the battery and turned the key. The engine coughed quickly into life and I reversed it up to the top of the driveway to stop the exhaust fumes building up under the car port gassing anyone unfortunate enough to enter. It was still a bit smokey but not too bad at the moment. I figured it would be burning off the oil that had got into the exhaust system so not to worry. As it got warmer the smoke did not subside. If I gave the engine some rev's it got a great deal worse...and blue.
My heart sank. Everything I seem to do on this motor leads to more issues. It does not seem to make any of it any better. Still not to panic, I let it run up to temperature before driving it back to it's semi permanent spot under the car port. After a bit of online chatting with friends and folks on forums I decided to remove the exhaust to make sure that it was not full of oil....it was not. I then ran the engine again to make sure the turbo I fitted was in good working order with no major oil leaks...it was fine, there was still blue smoke. The bloody power steering box wasn't happy though. It took this opportunity to dump every last drop of fluid it had in the power steering system all over my driveway as I backed the 110 up it...I could have cried.
A bottle of Fairy liquid later saw the driveway usable once more while I popped a drip tray under the steering box to catch the remnants of what was held in the system.
I left the engine a few hours to cool then checked the valve clearances. These are all good and still the engine smokes badly in blue. There is no evidence of the head gasket being the culprit but that of course doesn't mean that it is not. A friend is popping over later in the week for a quick nose at it and another has hinted it could be the valve oil seals.
A diagnosis will be gladly welcomed but if I am honest here I am now sick to death of it. Today has cost another wad of cash I do not have and before anything else there is the added cost of a power steering box along with an alternator. I don't think I mentioned the alternator is shot as well. No output at all there...
Unless it is going to be a cheap fix on the smokey side of things The 110 is getting parked up. Mothballed. I may even be tempted to sell the damned thing but I will give myself a few weeks before making any sort of rash decision there. All I wanted was a Land Rover to do some Overlanding in, a bit of camping in nice places. I should have gone with my first idea of doing this with a more modern Discovery and I have to admit that this idea is once again becoming more and more tempting. Lets see what Thursday brings but I expect to park it up for a while in anycase because once you get to this verge of hatred point it is best to just walk away. My other hobbies are calling and I have a week off so from tomorrow morning I will be focusing on those a little more so as to get out and about. Not a great ending to this post folks and I am sorry for that but I could not be any more fed up with this without taking a large hammer to it....
MusingsPosted by Nicky Smith Sun, January 15, 2017 20:05:11 My legs ache. I don't think deciding that it was time to start swimming a few times a week to get back into shape just before heading out on a friends "Paintball" stag do was the best decision I have ever made. But it was a decision that, quite stupidly, was made so here I sit because it is all I can really do today and tell you all the tale.
I shall start the tale with our dashing groom who decided that the best way to spend the daylight hours on a Saturday was to run around the woods shooting the hell out of anything that has a heartbeat to celebrate the upcoming nuptials with his beautiful Bride to be. I should also point out here he is full of life, fit as a fiddle and doesn't seem to ache after strenuous activity. The way none of us did in our mid twenties. I was cordially invited along with half a dozen or so other mugs I mean friends to join in the fun and I genuinely thought "Yep, I have done that before and it's great fun so Hell yea I am in!" What I failed to remind myself of is that the last time I partook in this sort of adventure would have been over eighteen years ago. When I was in my mid twenties. A minor point if I had had the sense to give it a fleeting thought but it may have planted a slow down seed for the day somewhere in my mind.
So the day arrived brisk but dry with wall to wall blue sky! We all arrived on time, apart from our groom who somehow managed to get lost on route to the venue even though he was the one who had booked it! We were soon donned with a set of comfy overalls that fit easily over all of our clothing. It was now I noticed that everyone else had also donned up in lots of extra layers. "Have you all done this before?" I asked "Yep, not getting caught out again" was the basis of all replies. You see if you have ever been paintballing you know that it can smart more than a touch when you get shot and the best bet is to layer up increasing your padding whilst dropping down on the sting effect of taking a hit. This is a lesson that only needs to learnt once. The large round bruising itself from where each paintball has exploded on your skin is like a lesson to your youth that you are not as big and strong as you think you are when you are young.
Luckily for us today though it was pretty much on the cooler side of things then add to that the shade of the woods and us older folk had to give no reasons as to why we were wrapped up ready for a polar expedition. So we were all stood in our camouflage overalls lined up ready to get issued masks and weapons when the organiser, who was stood at the front of all of the groups who decided that today was a good day to pay to suffer, asked "Who's the groom?" With big grins we all with raised pointed fingers picked out Richard who was given a rather limited choice of onsie's that he would have to wear. He chose a Superman one. Hmm still seemed a bit manly that so thanks to some foresight by one of our group we soon had him donned in a more appropriate attire of Fairy's wand, wings, pink hat and a rather fetching sash that on the front said "Stud Muffin" and on more importantly on the rear said "Shoot Me" How lovely he looked! A princess get up that any five year old girl would have been happy with.
So with our stag suitably attired along with a stag from another group dressed up as Duff man we all funneled through a small walkway with full face masks on to be issued with our weapons. A quick tutorial on how not to shoot each other within the compound, I mean where's the sport in that? It's much fairer to pop us all into a slightly larger compound before we got around to that sort of behaviour. We stood all macho laughing at how easy it was going to be to see the stag in the woods and how we were going to obliterate our opposing teams! It was then we recalled we had been split up onto opposing teams but that would just add to the fun wouldn't it.
A short march onto our first site that would have us fighting for control of a bridge. We were instructed that we could not shoot each other at point blank range, "Thank God" I thought at that point as well as not to pummel each other with the butt ends of our rifles. Then off we were sent to our "bases" at each end of the fenced off area to wait for the shout to begin. The wait was not a long one before the marshall hollered out "GAME ON" and we all started to run towards what was now the enemy....
I am now a forty something who has come through most of my mid-life crisis trying to cheat death by now eating healthy foods exercising more and stopping smoking....I doubt this will work seeing as I have abused (no not in that way) my body with booze smokes and doing sod all for couple of decades or so but hey I feel a bit less mental for trying it!
So instead I rebuilt a Series 3 Land Rover, then a Discover, after that A Defender 110 and now I have decided to head more towards enjoying my outdoor pursuits. In comfort. Yep there will now be a campervan build in progress (as soon as I can find a decent base) for myself and the ever suffering Wifey to head out i ...see there is still some joy to be found in life!
I hope you enjoy my rambling drivel and if you do please feel free to share it around using the cunningly disguised "Share" menu at the bottom of each post I believe it does Facewipe, Twitter and those other places all the cool kids hang out in indoors now a days.