** Question - if you could move anywhere (let's say "UK only" to make it simple), where would you live and why
Exmoor, just because I like it there and I think it would be a great place to live. Been going on holiday there for years, near Dulverton. You probably need to like outdoor things to appreciate it though.
Advice for anyone thinking about getting a fitted kitchen installed - don't use B&Q. A releative asked them to replace her very dated kitchen with a modern open-plan type. One of the main tasks was to remove a couple of old fashioned full height 1960/70s units to give more bench space. The work was done when I was abroad, one of the old tall units has a gas meter at the bottom so the B&Q planners decided they couldn't fit the new units unless the gas board moved the meter (££££) - photos below show the new "improved" kitchen Note the bench (with kettle on) is a lot smaller than the bench they removed, and the oversize fridge freezer blocks a lot of light from the window img.retro-rides.org/i/v/nomad/cdedd3a1f89c.jpg The "problem" gas meter, I have no idea why they didn't just cut the back of a unit so it would fit around the meter img.retro-rides.org/i/v/nomad/d345e12cbccc.jpg
On a more cheerful note, I wombled several shower doors/screens a while ago when I bought a cheap bath from a plumber who was moving house. I fitted the panels a few months ago as a glass wall (lots of light, and stops the free-range parrots from going upstairs !). A good zero-cost solution It's not obvious from the photo but the blue floorboards above the doors are part of a new built-in cupboard in the bedroom. I removed part of the (wooden) bedroom wall and used the timber to built a platform over the stairs. It made a handy bedroom extension for free. Simple and effective
My latest score was for a full-length hardwood stair bannister that was removed 20+ years ago. That soon found a new home Add a handful of brass screws I salvaged last year to nicely finished off a job that that was first mentioned several years ago (I even polished the screw heads in the drill chuck for extra brownie points). It was very well received, and all done at zero cost
As a bonus I've been promised a bottle of vintage home-brew to take the RRG, I'm *very* happy with that ! (I've some from the same batch before - it's not to be confused with the modern stuff folk call homebrew)
I'm hoping to be exploring around the South West sometime in the future, if anyone has any suggestions about places to visit just let me know !
I'm sadly not able to attend rrg.. however I grew up in Devon, my mum lives in Somerset and has done in Cornwall, and I have lived in glos too and now Bristol, so I'm fairly well versed in the West country! Where abouts are you thinking of going? Most of Bristol/Somerset/Devon are superb, c9rnwall ain't bad either! :-) I hated Gloucestershire
A friend of mine is a talented musician so is obviously quite creative. What I didn't know is that she is also a very good artist, and has been doing some painting at home since the last time I visited (full disclosure : the artwork isn't mine but I do like it !)
Hallway painted blue, then silhouette of the nearby area shaded in, just add roads and towns when you feel like it
Similar but quicker inspirational work on a spare piece of wall at the top of the stairs
Ipads - a diy repair guide. Modern technology isn't making me happy these days (I broke screens on 2 satnavs last month, the *new* Android table I bought earlier in the year as a backup satnav device has died with a faulty charging port). On my travels, I've picked up a couple of older Ipads, both "working but screens are cracked". Downloable maps (I like "Navmii") convert them into handy UK maps that work even when you don't have internet access I eventually found time - and a place with a workbench - so I could replace the cracked screens. It's scary doing it the first time but very satisfying when the repaired unit comes back to life after the surgery. The good news is that replacement screens (technically it's a digitiser, the screen is something different) are cheap at £15 inc P&P. Tip : not all Ipads have built in GPS, the "bit" you need is on the same chip as the 4G phone circuit, ie you need a 4g (built in phone / sim card) type - gps then works even if you don't have a phone sim installed
You never know what you'll find if you go into a charity shop, and it's often a cheap way to get something to tinker with. If anyone is visiting Haverfordwest, I suggest you visit the place below and have a browse. welshspitfire.org/gallery/welsh-spitfire-charity-shop-haverfordwest/ They got a cash donation from me even though I didn't buy anything - that should tell you how impressed I was with their shop
And stacked in the back half of their little shop ...
Time for a few quick updates - first some Wombling.
I was given a pressure washer and got told it was dead. I set up and tested it in the back yard to see if I could find what the problem was. It worked fine, results were impressive No idea why it was declared to be junk
Next some improvisation in the form of shortening a set of nice new plugleads (originally wombled as part of a joblot of car spares). The leads are good quality Bosch but were too long
First pull the rubber boot back from the end, and use a screwdriver to open up the crimped ends. Cut the cable to length, bare the end, and recrimp. Slide the rubber boot back into place - job done
It's all simple stuff but it makes a big difference
Somewhat overdue, it's time for a nupdate (photos updated Jan 2020)
First more decking work. What started as a tired garden ( 50% old decking, 50% 3ft raised fishpond on right - with no fish) progressed : remove pond liner & water, use pond surround to fill the pond, to leave 50% decking, 50% raised (2ft) flowerbed. Allow to settle for 3 months while I was away. remove LOTS! of soil to lower the raised bed (see photo), fit new timber base over the whole area then cover it all with soft non-slip decking. Safe and very modern I also used some surplus flagstones to make a ledge / bench / BBQ area behind the new decking for extra brownie points The project manager & her neighbours are happy which is always good news. I also got volunteered to help tidy the conservatory - and for my trouble got given a crate of assorted booze that was surplus to requirements. I *love* this type of job !
For reference : the new decking has been raised 6" above the old deck, the old pond was level with the new shelf the plantpots are on
Never mind that, shame you forgot to take photos of assorted booze!
Good luck on the next phase.
I think the next phase is now arranged What started as a day trip to South Devon to meet a chap who needed an extra pair of hands (and to introduce myself) soon progressed. Don't you love it when a total stranger says "Here's the keys to the pub - help yourself to drinks - lock up when you're done" The daytrip was rapidly changed to a 3-day visit !
Day 2 was more of a "hands on" experience and started with some general questions including "Can you drive a tractor?". I soon found out this meant "Can you handle £130k of mega-tractor? We have a load of petrol pumps and a dozen commercial freezer cabinets - we need to get them onto flatbed trailers and move them from the pub to the farm". It was actually great fun working with someone who is on my wavelength and we got a huge amount of work completed.
I was also asked if I could use a tidy MGF they had just "inherited" when they bought another pub, but a mate has one and they have zero capacity for carrying tat so I declined. The pub also has a selection of used van / campers for sale (and a 90s Rover saloon with bonnet bulge and lift-out targa roof panels - does anything else come to mind apart from a 220 Tomcat? ), it's not difficult to see myself doing some doing some work in exchange for a new set of wheels. Descisions, descisions...
In other news, I've just been told I have less than 3 weeks to empty a lock-up I've been using for storage. If anyone Tyneside / Midlands / Wales (North or South) or Devon (North or South) has some unused storage space can you let me know I think I've just arranged alternative storage today but I won't be able to get the keys for at least a month. Temporary storage between leaving the old unit and moving into the new one would be appreciated ! Public thanks / RR brownie points etc are available for anyone who can help - just ask
More from the archives ... shortly after taking down the top half of a Retro 70s wall dividing the lounge from the kitchen
End result is more my taste, simple and clean. Fitting a modern slimline radiator is always worth doing Top tip : don't underestimate how much effort it takes to lift vinyl floor tiles held down with vintage tar adhesive, then sand the bare floorboards!
Picking up a complete set of good quality < spam filter alert > uni1ts is always a good idea for this type of project, loads of raw material - all very cheap
Fun times (especially using an SDS drill to take down the brick wall)
Question : Does anyone have space / know where I can store a couple of motorbikes for a while? I'm hopefully getting a permanant garage but things are moving slowly
Background : I may be taking a short-term job abroad for a while and will be loosing my temporary storage while I'm away. Ideal locations would be Midlands or Wales (North or South) but I'm open to suggestions Any help appreciated !
I guess most of us have an occasional need to move motorbikes around the country (ok, maybe just me ). I'd advise you beg / borrow / buy a collapsable bike trailer. I bought one many years ago (bought new and paid good money! ) and it's still a lifesaver. Many styles are available, mine came via Eb@y from a blacksmith who sells a kit of welded parts unpainted (already stamped with legal weights etc), just add trailer hubs, wheels, and mudguards They are built according to the weight of the bike you intend to transport, I got a 300kg version so the 200kg 750 in the photo is well within capability
Component parts are 1x beam axle, 2x hub / mudguard units, 2x "ladder bars" - which together make up a crucifix shape. Also 1x trailer hitch, and 1x loading ramp / rear upright trailerboard holder. Assembly takes less than 5 minutes once you know which bits go where The whole lot (with spare wheel) fits comfortably on the back seat of a Saxo, It's also very easy to store when not in use
Tips : if anyone needs to buy a towbar, I was impressed with Eb@y seller onlinetowbarsuk My just-MOT'd Saxo may be for sale very soon (if a potential job abroad happens) - cheap to RR's - PM if interested and I'll keep you updated
A life (not wombling) update : I spent most of 2019 working in Devon (refurbishing a hotel / hostel, then working as a part-time manager & handyman). They closed at the end of November for the winter so I started ringing around folk who had asked me during the year to let them know if / when I got any spare time. I visited a pub & couple of farms to see what they could offer, shame we couldn't find a way for me to work that would suit them & me. Another interesting offer was to have a trip to the Med where someone had a holiday cottage that had been locked up for too long and was starting to get unwanted attention from undesirables. A couple of options suggested were to have a free holiday while house-sitting, or do some work around the place if I feel like it* when I'm there so it is presentable to rent out in the summer.
*Footnote : I spent a relaxing xmas with friends near Birmingham, and stripped a rotten conservatory floor + fitted a couple of new windowsills when they left me alone for a day. I find it relaxing to potter around doing odd jobs and it keeps me out of mischief. I predict I won't spend all my time at the beach if I make the trip.
Other info - I'm now trying to arrange a trip down south to visit a live-aboard community of boat dwellers who are looking for an on-site handyman / responsible adult. I've let them know I can cope with the handyman stuff but they should keep looking for a responsible adult. Then return in time to sell my car and jump on a plane to sunny med for a few months? Return at Easter then decide if I want to spend the summer back in Devon or helping a boating community. Choices, choices ... ps - If anyone is looking for a cheap daily driver PM me forum.retro-rides.org/thread/212236/1999-daily-driver-saxo-clowncar
This week delivered 2 unusual challenges during a few days based near Londinium-on-Thames : Try not to sing “What shall we do with the drunken sailor” when walking on a boat parked at a very jaunty angle Fix the problem (flat tyre?) ASAP using minimal tools. I was travelling light so just had hand tools + anything we could find lying around, this is where previous wombling experience is helpful
The solution turned out to use a couple of acro-props to shift the barge (200 ton?) sideways slightly so it slipped off the top of the sunken post it had snagged on during a high tide / flash flood
Note. If you know the place or the boats, please don't share the location Educational info - barges are weighed using "short \ US tons" (2000 lbs per ton) , not "long \ UK tons" (2400 lbs per ... ). Every day is a school day !