Settle.

Life continues to be more or less the same as it ever was. I’ve been working, at least intermittently, and I’ve even been paid. That has been rather nice, although it’s led to a bit of a flurry of spending as I’ve taken a bunch of stuff off the ‘want list’ which included several things that I’d decided I wouldn’t buy until we got to the US.

I’d been holding that restraint for a couple of years. Adding in the last 3 months of me not buying pretty much anything (I bought a few books, and a few items for our business) and then say “look, you’ve been paid”. I snapped. Much of this is ‘fun’ stuff, but the other thing that’s sucked up funds is things like ‘UK to US’ plug adaptors (10 of ’em, on the way). I’d thought I’d replace the old UK plugs with US ones, but bare US plugs are actually ridiculously pricey, so instead I’ve just bought adaptors. From China. Also, bonus, I get to keep the fuses for added safety.

And BC – Edison Screw lamp adaptors. I was unaware that such things existed – so I’d bought one of the 85-250v LED BC lamps for one of the anglepoises (as a test), but having discovered these I can just go to the store and get what, in the US, are regular LED bulbs and throw those in. Hurrah! These adaptors were way cheaper than the special bulbs and had free postage. Since I’m not in a raring hurry to get the lamps working, that’s fine.

I also started setting up my ‘home lab’, as it were. Up until now I’ve scrounged stuff from the lovely John, but 4k miles is a little far to take things for testing, and it’s a little tricky to ask John if he’d like to pop over for an evening of tinkering with electronics. I’ve finally got it together and bought a (new) soldering iron / rework gun combo. I wasn’t going to get a rework gun, I mean, me and surface mount are not close friends. But with our business plans, I may want to put together some kind of board with surface mount components, in which case a rework gun will become handy – and it was a few dollars extra to get that functionality. Second hand kit that’s also winging its way to me is a ‘scope that weighs approximately the same as the house (50Mhz Tektronix 453*).

Die perfekte Welle

I doubt mine will look 1/10th as nice when it arrives. Indeed, I know some of the plastic knobules from the switches are missing (the selector knobs are all there). I’m hoping (really hoping) that one day my 3D printer will arrive and I can print myself some new ones. If not, I’ve got some sugru in the toolbox.

I thought about getting something a bit fancier that would be better for digital hardware (perhaps the 150Mhz 454), but if I decide I need that later I can either sell off the Tektronix 453 and get something ‘more modern’, or just suck up the expense if I’ve got attached to the 453. I’ve also got an HP 6200B bench power supply on its way too. John has infested my mind with his HP / Tektronix lovin’, which meant that other, cheaper options got ditched on the way to this selection, but I think they should be handy. And the 453 seems to be considered to be a pretty good scope – which it’s within the realms of my knowledge to repair and keep going.

Whilst the scope is slightly frivolous at the moment, and is partly a ‘I have little to do at home’ thing some of the kit will be handy straight away. The bench supply will be handy getting the car alarm configured… since it wants to charge a bit before it works, and you need to send it various text messages to get it configured. That bench supply will also be doing duty building up the circuit for the first kit we’re planning for our business.

Most of this kit is pretty tatty, but should be enough to get me ‘up and running’. At least, once I’ve given it a really, really good clean it should be.

This splurge of spending does mean that I’m now rather over excited when I see UPS and USPS vans, which tediously never seem to actually stop here…

Still. I don’t think I can buy much else for the rest of the month (except for needs – like maintaining my poor Minor, that’s had hundreds of miles added some weeks). At any rate, I shall try to exercise restraint. I’ve put a bit into my savings this month and then I’m hoping to put some of the funds we extracted back into the house-savings too.

At any rate, the rain paused yesterday for long enough for me to go and throw silicone sealant around the minor with reckless abandon.

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Water’s been dripping in through that wiper spindle’s hole for a while. In an attempt to prevent it totally destroying the glove box liner, and the radio underneath, and then the floor below that, I whipped off the nut cleaned up the seals and put them back with a thin layer of windscreen silicone on them. I note that this has been done before, with what appears to be gasket sealant. That might have been me… but it didn’t work that time. Here’s hoping this time it does work. Overnight it’s rained and there wasn’t any water that I could feel, so fingers crossed I might get some relief from that.

I also attacked the boot (trunk) – using sealant around the holes where the “MORRIS 1000” badge is mounted. This morning the boot (trunk) was actually bone dry, which I think is a first, and made me quite happy.

I also commenced trying to understand how to fit the alarm – and realised that actually, it’d probably make more sense for it to be on our family contract for it’s SMS messaging, rather than me stick it on the Net10 sim I’ve got kicking around. Well, maybe. We need to go and see if we can beg a cellspot for the house as it is slightly ridiculous that you have to go outside to make calls a lot of the time and while we’re there I’ll see if I can add it on at a low rate. Otherwise I’ll see which provider is cheapest for a pure voice/SMS option. It doesn’t need data of any sort, so it’s a big silly getting it a voice/data contract. I also realised that the alarm wants an SD card for some of its more handy features, and it makes sense to fit that before I put the alarm in the car.

Given that it’s a cheap Chinese system the manual is somewhat challenging to understand at times. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to require too many features the Minor doesn’t have (indeed, it looks like it should actually be able to track the fuel level of the Minor, which is pretty nifty, though why I’d want to is unclear).

I thought about fitting it this morning; indeed that was my ‘plan’ for the day. But I am distrustful of the weather, and although it said “0% chance of rain” the forecast started to get a bit sketchy around lunchtime, and it looks like rain every day after now for a while, so getting part-way through is undesirable. I succumbed to my rain-fear and went for a walk instead.

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Which was probably a good plan as it’s been hacking with rain for the last hour and half, and I’d’ve probably still been out there dangling upside-down. I think when I have all the relevant bits, I’ll be a bit more enthused about getting it done.

In other news, I headed out yesterday to see if I could find a stick blender. We’ve wanted one for a long time, and before I got paid I kept seeing them at goodwill and value village. Of course, now I’ve actually been paid, they’ve vaporised. Goodwill does make me miss the cleanliness of most British charity shops. I’m sure there’s awesome stuff in there, but the electronics sections always make me feel rather like I need to wash my hands thoroughly on leaving. Anyhow, what I did find was ‘Goodwill Outlet’, which is a fearsome place. Unsorted, sad old things piled into plastic waist high bins… It’s the kind of place I feel the need to have a companion, because rifling through the stuff in there by yourself, it feels kinda weird. I suspect that there probably are stick blenders lying prone at the bottom of those bins, but I didn’t quite have the guts to pull so much stuff out.

And then we come to the elephant in the absent room. The house.

We’re off looking at properties this weekend. Five of ’em. One with a building, one with a ‘building’ (it’s a house of “poor quality” built in 1901), and 3 bits of land that are just land. I continue to feel the disappointment from the permit-disaster-wetland-hideousness, but hopefully one of these will speak to our souls. One of them, funnily enough, enormously close to where Kathryn’s mom used to live, and would give us effectively the same view. Which is weird. Although the land-with-buildings-on may be better for us, in terms of both location and usefulness. Still, we’ll see what happens.

* Handily, this is old enough that the entire manual is available here

Brrm, brrm.

So, yesterday being Friday, and the scheduled car-purchase day, Kathryn dropped me at the (conveniently close) Amtrak station and I got my first experience of US trains. Yes, it started from the station 20 minutes late, but it was a pretty relaxing ride, and some of the scenery was just beautiful. Despite many promises along the way we arrived… 20 minutes late. Still.

It was also, unsurprisingly, raining*. Which whilst some of it was very pretty (the mist rising off foothills), much of it was somewhat obscured. Mind you, it was nothing as to the journey back. Anyhow, I made it down to Portland, OR. Now why travel out of state for a car? Well, after much debate we’d decided that we’d get a first generation Honda Insight. These are kinda cool insofar as they’re Honda going ‘oh look we’ve got this great research project on hybrids, let’s see how many people will buy one’. It’s about the nearest thing to a hand built car we’ll ever own. All aluminium and all the tech they could throw at it.

They’re not quite collectable. Some people think they might be one day, others argue they won’t. Ours definitely won’t because it was much lower in price than others as it’s been rebuilt from a write-off (or ‘Totaled – Rebuilt’ as it says on the title). The thing is, the value of these cars is low enough that even a fairly minor prang can kill them – looking it over, it all looks pretty straight underneath and on-top. You can see where it’s been repaired – the metalwork at the front has a slight twist where the paint’s just cracked ever so slightly.

Having seen a few of them accident damaged, the toughened ally wings (fenders?) tend to crack rather than bend. So I expect it looked pretty terrible after whatever happened to it. Anyhow, it looks fine now, and has a startling 38,000 miles on the clock (for a 10 year old car, that’s pretty impressive).

Anyhow, Nikki + Kids met me at the station and we headed in to a public charger for her Leaf. Off we went for coffee and came back to find the charger had got bored at 60% for no obvious reason. After brief debate we headed off anyway, and made it over to Willsonville, where the car was waiting for us. Nikki’d already given it a test drive, but I took it out for a second survey. Nothing hugely untoward came up – although the CVT was maybe a touch noisy. Although it’s hard to tell. These cars are built for efficiency, not quiet, so that might just be the way it’s meant to be. Also, it turned out there was not much oil in the CVT.

After a bit more gentle prodding, Nikki headed off with the Leaf to find a proper charge, and I made my way through a US car purchase for the first time in my life. Not complex, but weird not knowing which bits of paper to sign and where. The plan was for us to meet up at the charger, but first I had to sort insurance. After several failed phone-calls and failed payment attempts we got that done, and then I trundled off.

Unfortunately, the charger Nikki was meant to be going to, for some reason didn’t show up on my map. Well, not until I got much nearer having visited two others. By which time she’d finished and moved off to her next errand. Thankfully I found her looping the car park outside the electronics store she’d messaged me to say she’d be in. Given the low oil in the CVT I was reluctant to make the 130 mile journey without a top up – and headed over to the local Honda dealer who were *lovely*. I pulled in and went to buy the fluid, assuming there was a filler I could reach – then asked the nice chap a the counter who explained that no, there wasn’t.

So then I asked if they could squeeze in a top-up and they sorted it, topped up the transmission fluid (for free) and sent me on my way. Parker Honda, Wilsonville. That’s ace customer service :)

Now, I kicked back at my friends for a while, petting their dogs, where it slowly became apparent that I’d not taken my antihistamines in my rush for the train. It turns out I *am* allergic to dogs still – and as my eyes worked up to itching and I went forth sniffling I cursed my idiocy. Still, after rush-hour(s) was (were) done I girded my loins and stepped in the car. Many-a-time I’ve dragged cars back hundreds of miles, but this was the first time I’d be crossing state lines…

…and some how it felt a little more unnerving.

Actually though, the journey back was uneventful. Apart from the *fucking hideous rain*. This bit of the country, it knows how to rain, yes it does. But the little Honda did its thing admirably. We trundled home, 130 miles isn’t loads here, but it felt like a lot in a brand new decade old car and in the dark. Creeping in at around 2230, having set off from home 14 hours earlier I was very, very pleased to get in to bed.

It’s yet another trophy of moving country. We’re here, we own a car.

And today we spent time looking and land and houses**.

Hopefully soon our stuff will arrive and then we’ll feel more rooted. I hope.

* Did I mention that it rains twice as much here as in Bristol?
** And watching Philomena, because it was raining and hailing and… because we were tired. Basically.

Oh hey, it’s 2016

How did that happen then?

So, I think I missed my year in review thing for 2014, and I’ve felt a bit sad about that. But hey. Instead of worrying about it more, here is my 2015 in review, since 2016 has arrived.

A few days ago we were sat with our friends seeing in the New Year and talking about how hard 2015 was. Everyone I know seems to have had a tough 2015. It certainly felt that way from my personal perspective.

They were commenting that they sent their application in to move to the US in January. Having checked, we started dinking with the paperwork in January… And getting the house actually ready for sale. I spent most of the actual year just decorating. Decorating and finishing The List. It’s weird to think that the last year has largely been spent just in stasis. What is weird though is that actually? actually? Actually… we sent our application in in May. Those first 5 months of faffing and getting all of our ducks in some kind of row-based-organisation may have made the process feel painfully long, but they paid off. Because we’ve arrived and many things have aligned.

Although I’ll grant, I still have no job.

So whilst it feels like 2015 was really, really stressful stasis, most of that stress (as is so often the case with me) was self inflicted. Some of it was shite like the NCLEX exam which it turned out was not quite the disaster predicted. And whilst I’ve been looking at posts for something other than decorating, I’m finding that that part of my perception is right, I did mainly spend the year decorating. We did do some fun stuff though. Beyond the decorating, I did manage to cram in some more fun tasks – like building the greenshed. I also spent an inordinate amount of time on my 1920s/30’s bike that is currently traversing the ocean.

Some of the highlights of the year were in London. We spent a lot of time, relatively, visiting various museums in London. We hit up a fabulous Daphne Oram exhibit at the Science Museum, and also saw an utterly amazing Cosmonaut exhibition. And we saw a phenominal exhibition at the V&A called The Fabric of India (which I don’t seem to have written about weirdly).

We also had one of the most stunning holidays we’ve been on, dragging the Prius thousands of miles through Norway – a place which I’d wanted to visit for a very, very long time. Especially since I’ve a friend over there and had wanted to see her in her natural stomping grounds. And understand why she said it was so incredible. We didn’t quite make it all the way up to see her, but I do understand now. It’s just stunning.

What has been less fun and continues to be a bit of a pain is that my laptop broke… It still spontaneously reboots and now the battery (its second in its 8 year life) is dead. I’m trying to decide what the future holds for it. I’m loathe to replace something that, broadly speaking, does most of what I need. But a retina/infinity/ultrahighres display is really tempting. Of course, at the moment, not having a job means that ‘plugging it in all the time’ is pretty much the answer.

I did have some tech successes though. The media server was upgraded and although for a while it became a pain in the ass, it eventually got sorted and turned into a nice piece of kit. When it arrives in the US it’ll need a new power-supply though, as the current one is only 240 volt. Grr. The RiscPC has been repaired – with much help from John. Sadly the original mainboard is beyond salvage having been doused liberally in battery gunk.

Also with help from John, the Squeezebox2 was resurrected, adding more exciting kit to our Logitech Squeezebox collection. Much loved and completely unsupported now…

And of course… Rebecca returned to the road. Again. Briefly. She’s now in a shipping container crossing the ocean. Or something like that… hopefully she’ll be here soon, along with the rest of our stuff. At least, that which fitted in the container.

And all of that leads us into 2016, where we’re considering building a house, starting a business, and are currently planning to move somewhere neither of us have ever lived before. Which’ll be an exciting first for us.

And I’m starting this year in my trademark soothing fashion. With a driver’s exam. Woot.

Creeping ever onwards

I’ve not posted for a little while because progress has been painfully slow. Despite reassurances from our conveyancer, the contracts haven’t been exchanged, although she believes that they’ll be exchanged on Monday*.

Today we did the sad thing, we sold our iMiEV. Well, technically we sold it a few days ago, but the very lovely (and excited) chap came to pick it up today. He’s taking it on a massive trek (well, for a little EV it’s a massive trek – across to Wales, then back to his home…), which is funny, given that it was the first thing we did too.

We’ve also been packing, the front office is nearly completely packed, and after lunch I’m going to head down to the garage to do more packing down there…

…and we’re selling things off, and giving away, and recycling, and so on. And arranging meetings with friends who we’ll not get to see again for a long time.

Mostly it’s switched from excitement to a mixture of terror and the complex practicalities of scheduling, or disposing of things. Our lovely cabinet in the lounge, that needs to go. Our espresso machine? Not suitable for 110 volts… got to be sold. Piles of gunks in the garage – oils, greases, polishes? All got to go.

It’s like one big discount superstore here at the moment.

And it’s hard, because this is stuff we like, or care about, and have collected over our lives together. But it’s all got to go if we’re going to cram both the car, and our stuff, into a 20′ container.

Oh, in other news, Rebecca is done. MOT’d, graced with new brakes, gearbox, back axle and exhaust. She’s roadworthy and running. So I’ll be bringing her home on Monday… Which leaves the Prius to be sold once it’s been cleaned and polished and photographed… Oh, and ideally after the many trips that we’ve got to do to see people, because whilst I adore my Minor, she’s not the most efficient beastie in the world.

In other news, I’ve applied for 2 jobs, and screwed the application for a third (it submitted it when I logged out, despite it not being finished, although I’d still like to get an interview*). I’ve got a third that is in progress, and a fourth that I’m poking at.

But today? Today is going through stuff in the garage. Woo.

* I am not holding my breath.

And in other news

We have many boxes.

Our shipping company brought around the many boxes so that we could work out if we can cram both Rebecca and all our stuff into the shipping container. If we can fit everything we want to take, and the furniture, into the space currently occupied (essentially) by our dining area, then it’ll all go in one container.

If not, then we’ll be getting a container twice the size, which will have sufficient spare space in it that we could probably pack a second car in there. If we had a second car worth taking.

(We don’t, not for the amount of hassle it’d be).

However, what we still don’t have is a contract. We now have confirmation that the buyers solicitor has actually started the searches. It’s only taken them a month.

…and they’ve actually started returning phone calls, which is progress.

I, myself, am swinging wildly between fear about my upcoming exam (monday), and sadness at leaving Bristol (which I love), and excitement about a new adventure in the States.

Oh, and angsting about the money spent on Rebecca (lots), the money I’m not earning because I’m studying (-lots), and worrying about Rebecca being finished in time to take across. We’re looking at this coming Wednesday, hopefully, for ready-date. Which should be plenty of time. But I’d like her to have at least a bit of a ‘shake down’ before we pop her into that container.

Anyhow, it’s all waiting on that contract, we’re poised for full-steam ahead, but not quite able to hit the go button.

Monday’s not the day

But in my head it feels like the day.

There’s no particular reason that I shouldn’t get a visa for the US. I’m not a terribly naughty person, beyond my ownership of a rather high number of MZs and my two soviet era watches, I don’t think I harbour enormous communist sympathies, and I’ve (so far) not been kicked out of the US on my trips there.

I’m a reasonably well educated person with a fair potential for being a productive member of US society.

And my health is pretty good. Yes, I’ve got a bit of a crap liver, but apparently something like 20% of people have a fatty liver – probably more – because most people never find out. Just that routine blood tests before an operation in my past picked it up. I now eat more healthily, exercise more, and that seems to have at least fixed my blood results… So I don’t really think that there’s a good reason to deny me entry on health grounds.

But Monday is the medical.

Which means that I get to trek to London, have the deep joy of going through my medical history, then hopefully at any point in the 6 weeks after that I might have a visa in my grubby little hands.

Obviously, we still need to sell the house, two cars, a bunch of non-usefully-exportable tools (like, say, my drill-press, which I used once, or the shredder, which I did use, but got fed up with it being so noisy), clear a million books, make a container to transport my vinyl and gramophones in… pack everything, organise the shipping of the piano and some of our nicer bits of art…

…Rebecca needs to go to JLH for the expensive repairs and modifications to get her back roadworthy.

…it’s not like our move will be superquick once that visa’s here.

But it’s making it very real and quite scaryexciting.

And yes, yes, I know people do far more scaryexciting things. They go and live on deserted islands, or near volcanoes, or they move to some place where they don’t speak the language. But this is big for me. I, like most people, have never lived outside the island (country) I was born in. So it’s big.

On the plus side, my friends Nikki and Kate will already be in the country, in their nice new house. Hopefully just a month and a half ahead of us.

I have done stuff

So we’ve been away. I’ll tell you about that later (summary: Norway is awesomepretty).

Next week is my USA medical.
6 Weeks after that I might have my visa.
Which is terrifying and exciting and scary.
Work know, now. Because they asked me to apply for a more senior position, and I had to explain that I can’t because…I’m planning to leave.

Which means that the house needs to be ready like yesterday to go on the market. Which it’s not. It’s nearly, but it’s not. Today I ran around and touched up the paint in the kitchen using paint which, thankfully, has not merely survived in the garage but actually it’s pretty much invisible when used as touch-up paint. Some of it needs a second coat because I managed to yank it back to bare plaster with the masking tape, but it’s looking pretty much okay. The bit around the where the worksurfaces were installed that I filled…when they were installed… that’s looking much better now it’s been sanded and painted. It’s kind of odd to have put up with this stuff being not quite right for so long, and then to fix it in minutes. (I’ve updated The List, incidentally).

Next up is the mortar under the sink and the render at the back of the house. Which means going and getting some ready mix mortar (for speed, I think that’s wise). Which I’m trying to coax myself into doing now – but having just come back from Norway I’m feeling that things are financially a little tight.

A feeling compounded by talking to Jonathon at JLH who advised me to get the gearbox I’ve got rebuilt (or buy a rebuilt one – and then suggested getting a much higher spec one given the torque available from the electric motor…) and get the axle similarly treated – which did painful things to the price of the work on my minor. I fluctuate between option A of getting all the bits for the EV conversion installed now, so all we need to do is, essentially, battery pack and motor when we get there, or option B of putting in a recon minor gearbox – but the cost of a really good gearbox that’ll tolerate the fast-road cam’d engine is pretty close to the cost of a type 9 ford box, and then…well, it just seems foolish to not do the rest. Feh.

Random Awesome

So, there I was in the garage trying (unsuccessfully) to find the puncture repair kit.
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Or at least, I found the old kit – but it’s lacking any of the rubber softening gunk, and I couldn’t find the new kit that’s around ‘somewhere’.

So after the rain had let up I made my way back to the house, hopped in the car and headed across town – deciding to support a small shop and grab some coffee at the same time. I thought if I must endure hideous traffic, I might as well join errands together.

So I went to Fred Baker cycles, who I’ve not been to before… the one time I’d tried before, they were closed. This time they were open, and there they had the new-style puncture repair stuff. Which is unnerving and modern and doesn’t involve putting vulcanising stuff on, waiting for it to go goey, then sticking a patch on, then covering it in chalk. Oh no. Just rough the rubber and stick the pad on, then wait a bit.

Anyhow, on a spur of the moment thing (‘cos it’s always useful to know) I asked if they had rod-brake brakes. Which they did. In stock. Lots of ’em. Not as cheap as the ones I get online – and seemingly the same grotty quality, but there they were.

Then I asked “You don’t happen to have any experience of rebuilding BSA 3 speed hubs, do you?” which has become my standard bike shop question. I expected the usual “You mean Sturmey Archer? Of course we do”… which is wrong, because they’re different and completely incompatible.

But no; he just nodded in response to the question. I confirmed that I meant the BSA ones, not the Sturmeys, and he commented on how they differed, and explained that it was usually easier to replace them with the Sturmeys, but it was certainly something he could do. And that he could look at it and see if it was repairable (for a small examination fee).

And so… my lovely bicycle (Molly) shall have to make a pilgrimage across Bristol in the not too distant future and there’s a faint hope I might get a 3 speed bicycle. Which’d be awfully exciting. And a hell of a lot easier than shipping one wheel off to some random company.

So yay.

S’not completely stopped me.

One of the many things I despise about allergy season is the tiredness. This is at least partially down to the fact that normally I’d have a lie-in after night-shifts. Not a long one, but a bit of one. And I’d usually sleep until about 8. Unfortunately, in allergy season, not only do I not sleep well, but I wake up around 6:30 feeling sickly. And can’t get back to sleep because I need to take drugs and get upright.

Beyond the irritation of, well, irritation to eyes and nasal passages, it’s irritating because whilst it doesn’t stop me doing things completely, it seems to erode my competence, it also really attacks my patience… and it leads me to want to just sit on the sofa going blurgh.

However, irritating allergies notwithstanding, I’ve managed a fair bit today.

First up I managed to head out and collect a package that turned out to be the HD ‘sports camera’ for our trip to Norway. Which has arrived much more rapidly than expected and looks to work except…the microSD? I’d not actually ordered that yet. So I ordered that today. I also, whilst I was out, picked up a new tip for my soldering iron. Well, technically I picked up tips for both soldering irons, the ‘precision’ one of my dad’s and the ‘not precision’ one of mine. I also did errands, for double plus adulting.

A few days back I managed to put the new socket surrounds on the wall in the kitchen:

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I filled and masked it all, and today started hurling paint at the trim. Two more coats and that bit’ll be done… leaving only some little bits of trim in the main kitchen area. That wall looks like it should end up being much neater – the sockets have been hanging out of the wall quite long enough.

I need to move the fridge to get to some of left over bits of trim though, so that’ll be fun. But it may mean I finally get around to turning the door on the fridge ’round so it opens the right way. Heh.

Painting done I nipped out to collect my bike which had gone off to be repaired after the back brake broke. They’ve fixed the brake, but upsettingly, as I mentioned earlier the cable for the rear hub-gear is broken, meaning it’s currently sat out of gear, which makes it ‘tricky’ to use. I’ve ordered a Sturmey-Archer clone cable, which I then just have to work out how to make fit. I have an idea, but it’s not ideal…

I also spread slug pellets around the garden which is AWESOME. We currently have all the berries.

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Which I should go out and pick, although I’m feeling a bit ropey right now (see: allergies).

I also rang the company that’s meant to be assessing my transcripts – I checked and they were delivered on the 8th of June – but it still showed the status as ‘waiting for required documents’. Having rung them it can take up to a month for items to start being processed. ARGH.

I am really worried that the potential job will have gone before I even get near a registration.

Anyhow. Lunch was a Hart’s affair, obviously, then I moved on to assembling John’s 7 segment LED display:

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My soldering, even with the new iron which actually has a tip that’s tip-y and not chisel-y (I’ve been using the same tip that my dad had on there for…ever), is no-where near as neat as John’s. It’s not terrible, by any means. But it’s not beautiful, but I guess I don’t do it that much.

Anyhow:

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Ta Da!

If it works, I’ll show you. Of course, to find out if it works will require the Arduino Uno that Kathryn gave me for Xmas, so I’ve opened up the packaging and… downloaded the software.

I also assembled the synthesizer kit that Kathryn gave me for Xmas and had a wee play with it. I think, however, it wants a new battery. As opposed to the one that came out of the garage smoke alarm because it was dead (note to self: buy more 9v batteries).

Anyhow, so I was sat with the Arduino in my lap, and the software on the mac, and, for reasons which remain elusive, my allergies kicked into overdrive and I had to give up. After a festival of sneezing and me finally giving in and throwing the eye-drops in before I eroded the surface of my eye through rubbing, I have given in to sitting because, in all honesty, I feel cack from the allergies and I think I’ve done enough for the day.

In other news, yesterday my Mac died and refused to come on until it’d had the battery removed. Its worrying decent into notworkitude appears to be continuing. My deal with myself is that I might, when I’ve paid off the credit card, consider buying a new (recon/B-grade) laptop. It will not be another apple. Irritating though it is to be the proud owner of Office-for-mac and Photoshop-for-mac, I’m just a bit done with the walled garden. Also, it’s not just-working anymore. If it’s not just-working, what’s the point in paying extra?

Review: Covergalls

So last year, whilst I was in the US I picked up some Covergalls. Now I’ve worn (C)overalls for working on the car for years. Years and years. My current set, which consist mostly of a mixture of oil, grease and grit combined with some cheap poly-cotton fabric came second hand from a classic motor show and are emblazoned with ‘European Airspace’ or something like that.

I’ve also got an almost as ill-fitting and similarly grotty, but higher cotton percentage pair that I got in secondary (high) school for my work experience*.

Part of the reason I’ve been loath to pay actual money for work wear is because it fits like shit. I mean, if it fits in the *cough* chest region then it’s flapping around like a tent elsewhere. If it fits elsewhere, then it doesn’t do up. So besides the point that they get covered in shite in my workshop (I’m not the tidiest, nor the cleanest of workers, and classic cars are hardly a feast of non-oilyness), if I’m going to buy something that doesn’t fit…I’ll get something cheap.

Anyhow, fed up of this craptastic situation and with The Electric Minor Project slowly working its way towards actual progress I decided to fork out real money for a decent set of (c)overalls. After much searching I found Covergalls and after some more pondering ended up buying them.

And they’ve languished at the back of the cupboard since. Why? Well, I’ve not actually done anything sufficient on the car, and also I’ve been slightly wanting to christen them on the Minor. But in the end I decided that I’d use them whilst I was changing the battery on the Prius.

Changing the battery on the Prius is a surprisingly involved procedure, involving removing a brake controller, and whilst it wasn’t going to be filthy I’d be outside for a while poking and fishing. So I popped on my shiny new (c)overalls and set to.

I can sum up the experience in one word. Awesome. Maybe two words. Amazing.

They don’t ruck up, they actually fit, they’re comfortable. I can use the loo without shimmying out of them and shedding crap everywhere. At fucking last.

They’re sturdy, and feel like they’ll last, certainly for the level of hardship they’ll have with me.

I have never been quite so excited about (c)overalls, but for my female type friends, I highly recommend them. They are about 50 billion times better than any (c)overalls I’ve ever had before.

Mens, I cannot help you. You’ll just have to live with your sucky (c)overalls.

* Yes, I did my work experience at a Ford garage. It was literally my last choice.