Saturday 30 September 2023

That Tree

The chopping down of that tree seems such an extreme action to me that pure vandalism can't possibly be the reason.

When the dust settles, it would not surprise me one bit that the 16 year-old was making a protest. Look at the coverage the act has generated and the number of people discussing it. He may well have sacrificed the tree, and risked a fine or community service (the sentence for a 16 year-old - he would risk jail if 17), to raise people's consciousness about global warming.

If that's the case, I applaud him. Much more effective at generating discussion and awareness than 1,000 slow marches or holding up motorway traffic.

I may be mistaken, but let's see.

It seems the kind of thing Restore Trust would do in order to make way for a fracking site.

Friday 29 September 2023

Nibbler II

Being in Lidl last Sunday I couldn't help but look at the centre isle tools. What did I see? A single, forlorn, cordless nibbler.

I hummed and aaahed about it and decided not to buy it, but returned the next day and snapped it up before anyone else got it. It looked as if it needed a good home.

And, I must say, I'm very impressed. It's far better than the Sealey air nibbler I bought, which has a habit of jamming in the cut, tends to go all over the show and doesn't leave a tidy edge.

The Parkside nibbler produces a very refined cut and is very controllable, as you can see from the test cuts I made on 1.2mm mild steel. It cut through it like butter. The only negative is that you're limited to the diameter of any circle you may want to cut - very tight bends are troublesome as it jams.

As with all Parkside tools these days, it doesn't come with a battery and you have to buy that separately. Luckily I already had one for my cordless angle grinder and cordless sander.

Some pics of the work on the rear end of the GT6 I mentioned yesterday:

I wasn't 100% happy with the fall angle to the rear edge, so sanded away some of the excess bodyfiller I'd applied previously.

Thursday 28 September 2023

Gutter Strip

Got the gutter strips mounted, using pop rivets and a smear of silicone on the hidden face to prevent water ingress.

Once fully dry, I used a very thin strip bit of silicone on the join between the strip and the inner face of the door jamb, again to prevent water ingress.

I've spent most of the last 2 weeks beating out small dents on the scuttle and then smoothing them over with filler. Found a huge defect on the rear corner, which required some hacking out of rot, blobbing weld into the holes and grinding down flat. Also rectified a few bits of welding done by the previous owner.

I started to have a go at renovating some ancillary parts, choosing the radiator first, but found that the surround was very badly corroded. Unfortunately it's brazed to the brass radiator top and bottom, which makes it extremely difficult to remove, so it looks like I'll have to add a new or 2nd hand rad to the list of requirements. A replacement is always recommended, as the old one is bound to be filled with gunge. An exchange one is £300, but you can get uprated aluminium ones for £750, and they're a damned sight lighter. 

A bit steep though.

Wednesday 27 September 2023

Trial by Media (or Branding Russell III)

To start off, a comment from yesterday on my Brand piece:

"Oh dear you lost my interest as soon as you mentioned Brexit, which by default whatever else you illuded to was to be rhetoric of a kind I do not submit to! You have already in your piece arrived at a conclusion, and ignored any evidence to the contrary, as it does not ally to your political convictions! A sad state to publicly convict someone on social media,prior to any trial as if you are Judge, Jury etc. I look forward to your apology when all accusations are proven inaccurate, as will I if proven wrong!!"

This is a classic piece of ignoring the evidence. Had the writer, who was anonymous, bothered to read the piece, he (or she) would have discovered that I reached no such conclusion on Brand's guilt. He (or she) arrived at a conclusion totally ignorant, by their own admission, of what I wrote. Also they have tried Band and found him innocent, without access to the detailed evidence, which none of us have, beyond what has been reported thus far.

I guess he (or she) can be excused from reading the full piece by the way I referred, quite justifiably, to Brexiteers (I was quite scathing), but not from inferring from a position of ignorance.

The comment does, however, bear out my suggested link between Brexiteer and Brand acolyte. I don't imagine for one minute that the Venn diagram is a perfect circle, but I would suggest that the vast majority of Brand supporters sit in the Brexit circle - not the other way round.

However, to the subject, trial by media. What is meant by that? I do not believe that factual reporting is trial by media. If you did believe that, and that a fair trial would be jeopardised, yesterday's news item about the Bulgarian spy ring could be considered trial by media, indeed any factual reporting that is likely to result in a trial would be 'trial by media'. It's strange that the phrase is used only when someone who has a large following is under scrutiny - for others, they couldn't care less.

Nothing the Times, the Sunday Times and Channel 4 have produced make a conclusion - they merely present the results of an investigation, and investigations by the press and TV have exposed many areas of wrongdoing in the past, from Watergate to Savile. Do they go wrong? Certainly, but very infrequently.

What is trial by media is the manner in which Harry and Meghan have been treated by certain tabloids - supposition, twisting of words (and, in some cases outright lies) portrayed as fact and turned into character assassination. This is the stock in trade of tabloid journalism.

You don't have to be a genius to gather that the loudest voices calling the reporting on Brand 'trial by media' are Brand's supporters on his various channels, which is only natural. However, Brand himself engages in trial by media on his channels - making many allegations lacking any evidence (aka conspiracy theories).

If there's a trial by anything, it's trial by social media, although I have not seen many posts that outright condemn him as guilty. Plenty maintain his innocence. The jury's not even in position, let alone out.

Brand was out of control in a number of areas, but he was TV gold, so any concerns were conveniently ignored on hiring him in the first place, and extending his contract in the second. People, meaning those who loved his shows, demonstrate that this is a societal problem. He summed it up himself when he said (and I paraphrase when he said on the Despatches programme; "It's OK to be a bit of a nutter, as long as you're making someone some money."

Tuesday 26 September 2023

Branding Russell II

I wrote on this subject less than a week ago, but reading comments on social media has crystalized my thoughts, especially arguing the toss with people who obviously believe Brand to be The Messiah (he's not the Messiah, he's just a very naughty boy) and are Brexiteers to boot, thus demonstrating the limits of their research skills; namely taking an emotional position and then furiously seeking out confirmatory information and ignoring anything contrary, especially if from experts. Some of the following is repetition, but most is new.

Let's look at this dispassionately, rather than emotionally, and I'm more than willing to be shot down in flames.

So, the police are now investigating claims.

As I have said before, the presumption of innocence is a legal device that puts the onus on the prosecution to prove a case. It does not apply outside of a court. Savile was never prosecuted - so was he innocent? 

What protects the accused is the libel laws. Brand has every right to sue those who say he is guilty before a trial for defamation, if he so chooses. 

As for publicity prejudicing a trial, yes, that is possible, if the publicity organ declares Brand guilty; however, it is individuals on social media who are possibly suggesting his guilt (or his innocence). Even then, any appeal following a jury trial is heard before a judge, not a jury, and a judge will disregard any publicity. Many are saying the case is subjudice, but subjudice literally means subject to a judicial decision - not before a case has come to trial.

Why have the accusers taken so long to go public? Firstly, very few possible victims of abuse have the wherewithal to take someone with a £16m bank account to court, or to face a defamation action if the accused is among the over 98% that are found not guilty through the difficulty in getting evidence; they would be bankrupted first by a long and costly action, so they keep quiet, sometimes for decades. Media organisations, however, do have deep enough pockets to take on the wealthy and collate disparate cases on the basis of widely circulating rumours. They can also compound the under 2% conviction rate by aggregating cases - 4 people, each with a 2% chance of winning, have a much greater chance than a single person acting on their own.

Secondly, rape is very difficult to prove - it can be one person's word against another. This is where investigative journalism comes in - showing a pattern of behaviour over time, which can be very persuasive in a court - rapists tend to repeat offend (between 2 and 6 times, according to the literature) and, due to the evidential problem, it's almost the perfect crime. Investigating journalism can also persuade others to come forward, as seems to be the case now.

Thirdly, many rape victims keep quiet for years out of pure, unadulterated embarrassment, fear or trauma. Also they know their lives will be ripped to pieces by the defence to find a single weakness in their character, even if totally unrelated

The media has reported that multiple accusations have been made (fact - at least one incident corroborated by medical records - but it's for a court to decide if the accusations are true, although a pattern of behaviour is alleged); that Brand has issued a rebuttal (fact) and have gone over his previous, colourful (factual) behaviour with clips. That's not trial by media - it's factual reporting, and they have teams of lawyers to ensure they don't stray into libel. If they do, Brand can sue for defamation. He's being treated no different to film producers, footballers, actors or other high-profile people accused of the same activity. The only difference is that Brand has a huge, devoted following who are extremely supportive and treat his as a Messiah. 

Remember, Daniel Khalife has pleaded not guilty of escaping from Wandsworth, despite this ignoring observed reality - the guilty also have a habit of shouting their innocence. Luis Rubiales insisted his kiss of Jenni Hermoso was consensual, despite never having asked her permission. Overbearing men see everything they do as consensual - it's the nature of the beast. Remember how Trump boasted of grabbing women's crotches (and his acolytes ignore that). A denial is not proof of innocence, except in the eyes of the devotee. Similarly, allegations are not proof of guilt until a trial. 

As for TV and radio channels continuing to employ him, despite the numerous rumours, you can't sack people on rumour without opening yourself up to libel. They're in a difficult position. 

Brand's disciples maintain he's so important that the media machine is ganging up on him because he's a threat. He's actually irrelevant and nothing more than a mouth on a stick, repeating what much more relevant people have been saying for years. The vast majority treat him as a clever crank who knows how to monetise the disaffected and conspiracy theorists. A good gig, if you can get it, and you can't blame him for that - there are many politicians and religious leaders who do precisely this.

Monday 25 September 2023

Slavery in Beer

Last weekend we spent a long weekend in Branscombe, Beer and Lyme Regis, visiting the Beer Quarry, which has been worked since Roman times.

There's hardly a cathedral in England which doesn't have Beer stone in it somewhere.

The quarry workers were treated like slave labour and even had to buy their candles from the quarry owner. If a block they were hewing out of the seam was flawed in any way, they didn't get paid for it and were out of pocket. 

The expression 'not worth a candle' comes from stone quarrying underground - if a block was condemned, it wasn't worth the candle that was bought to cut it out of the seam. Also the expression 'it rings true' from the knocking of freshly hewn blocks with a hammer to test it, a ringing sound indicating it wasn't flawed and a dull sound suggesting a flaw.

I guess the expression 'you can't hold a candle to it' comes from the explosives industry.....

Masons got paid more than quarrymen and didn't have to buy their own candles. You might think it strange that sculpting the stone took place underground, but it did, as the stone remained soft in the cool temperatures and didn't dry out, making it much easier to carve. Limestone cures in daylight.

A quarryman's working life was between 10 and 12 years, after which he was either knackered from the backbreaking labour and limestone dust in his lungs, or dead. Yes, they could move elsewhere, but only to be exploited by the next rapacious capitalist who attended church every Sunday, like the family that owned the Penrhyn slate quarry near Bangor in North Wales.

When you look at a beautiful cathedral, think of the exploitation that took place to obtain the stone, with the church being party to it. When you're told slavery was abolished in the 1830s, give a thought to the poor in England, who were treated abysmally by the free market with no protections whatsoever. Thank God the Labour Party was started up to stop this exploitation.

Sunday 24 September 2023

Signs of Ageing

All these adverts selling preparations and cosmetics that allegedly combat the key signs of ageing have yet to come up with something that prevents you forgetting where you put things, which it one of the most important key signs of ageing.

Saturday 23 September 2023

Table Mod

Now I have the ash slab table finsihed, I want to add a modification to the LED light setup.

It's fiddly trying to switch the lights on with the switch being in a recessed chamber under the table, so I thought about adding an Arduino controller and Bluetooth switch so I could control it form a phone App.

Not being an electronics kind of person, I fear that the controller would take too much of the 9V battery's current, 7 x 24. There are 9 LEDs already and they drain the 9V battery within 12 hours when on.

Any electronics experts out there who can shed some light (forgive the unintended pun) on it?

I also got rid of the hideous, cartwheel candelabra over the table that everyone kept knocking their heads on, replacing it with the art deco lights I bought 2nd hand about 6 months ago. A vast improvement.

More in keeping with the decor. The 4 x 6W energy saving bulbs may be a bit bright, but I can play around with different wattages. 

I bought two of these ceiling lights, so I put the other one over the coffee table at the other end of the room to provide balance. There's no wire in the ceiling there to have it lit and it's mainly for effect. However, the bulb holders are just the right size to take tea-lights that provide a cosy glow.

The coffee table is actually an extending dining table that I adapted by shortening its legs. We never pull out the other leaf of the coffee table, so its length is stable. Perhaps my next project could be an ash slab coffee table to match the dining table.

Friday 22 September 2023

Maps of Meaning

Jordan Peterson is a damned good psychologist with many papers behind him; however, his academic output has waned considerably. 

He stopped his clinical practice in 2016 and retired from teaching in 2017, preferring to immerse himself in the Culture War, which has somewhat tarnished his reputation, but is probably earning him a fortune off the back of his public intellectual platform.

That's not to say everything he says is rubbish, but there's a fair dusting of Culture War stuff, which labels him as far right in the eyes of his critics, which he says he's definitely not. He's certainly not daft.

He is, however, siding with the conspiracy theorists on the Climate Change issue. One of his posts last week highlighted a NASA report that says the earth is greening due to the increased CO2 in the atmosphere. However, it was a selective reading that missed out the bit about CO2 being a major contributor to GW and extreme weather events. 

Also, while CO2 is indeed a contributor to plant growth, it also results in a decrease in the nutritional value of plants and cereal crops due to the lower nitrogen intake.

In 1999, Peterson authored a book called Maps of Meaning, which concerns itself with how people construct meaning from beliefs. On the basis of that, I can't help but think that his Twitter account is actually a vast experiment where he's using comments on his Twitter feed as a laboratory and there will be a follow-up book to Maps of Meaning.

Thursday 21 September 2023

Cost of Net Zero

Climate science deniers, under the influence of the oil lobby, are bemoaning the £1.3tn cost of net zero, maintaining this will bankrupt the country.

This is a very selective reading of the OBR report. The figure is purely the investment cost and does not take into account the operational savings of £991bn. A more accurate depiction is shown in the chart below.

From 2040 onwards, net operating savings are projected to outweigh the investment costs.

In addition, this cost is spread over many years and will be a percentage of GDP. The percentage of GDP, taking into account the savings, is less than 1% per annum. Put that way, it's not such an enormous amount.

They also miss out one very important figure - the cost of doing nothing - which is over 200% of GDP.

If you're going to quote from a report, quote all the report, not just cherry-picked figures that misrepresent it.

The MP for the 19th Century was on our local SW TV last night going on about the ban on ICE vehicles in 2030 impacting poor families disproportionately. For a start, the idea that he has compassion for poor families is utterly bizarre. Secondly, there will still be 2nd hand ICE vehicles for them to buy, as well as cheap, 2nd hand EVs by then. He's talking his usual nonsense and it's surprising the interviewer didn't hold his feet to the coals over his ridiculous assertion. Sunak obviously sees an opportunity to turn an utter rout at the GE into a common or garden rout, possibly saving a handful seats by pulling the wool over they eyes of those who would never think to look at a report.

Any policy that gains the support of Rees-Mogg and Truss must be looked into carefully. Also one that garners the support of the Sun, Mail, Express and Telegraph.

Can you blame Sunak? Yes, if it involves deceit by a parliamentarian, which is unfortunately all too common these days.

Wednesday 20 September 2023

Branding Russell

I suppose the lesson for Russell Brand is to not be a twat in the first place and not to advertise the fact you're sexually incontinent.

The newspaper which launched this story is not a gossip rag; The Times is the paper of record and has an enviable record at that. There will be a team of lawyers on its payroll, and that of C4, telling them exactly what thet can and cannot say, based on the evidence that has been unearthed.

Many are castigating what they call a trial by media, but I wonder whether they were as vocal when the Weinstein story was reported in the US press and led to a court case. What the media has done is merely unearth evidence, which can be tested and contested in court.

Others are maintaining that Brand is innocent until proven guilty, unaware that the presumption of innocence is a legal device that applies only within a court of law and puts the onus on the prosecution to prove a case. It does not prevent Joe Public having an opinion, or voicing that opinion. What stops that is the law of libel, if the defendant is indeed found innocent by a court of law. The presumption of innocence did not apply to Jimmy Savile as he was never brought to court, but it can hardly be claimed he was innocent.

Brand too has recourse to the law to defend his reputation. However, when the Times and Channel 4 declare his guilt, that is 100%; when Brand declares his innocence, that is only 50%, because while the innocent will maintain they are innocent, the guilty also invariably maintain their innocence, thereby diluting the odds. The odds are therefore stacked against Brand in the court of public opinion.

As for the media launching an investigation, the publicity generated may persuade other victims to come forward on realising they're not on their own. It could, however, also bring forward cranks.

Unfortunately for Brand, his persona and previous actions make it easier for the public to believe he's guilty than innocent, and that's the fault of no-one but Brand.

His mum, Jo Brand, must be furious....

Tuesday 19 September 2023

The High Street

Why are people so keen to revitalise our high streets?

Shops are a recent innovation and, in these days of on-line buying, is a business model that's doomed to a long, slow decline. Before permanent shops, people bought and sold things at the weekly market, or from a stall outside their houses.

Revitalising the high street is like trying to revitalise horse riding in the face of the motorcar, or encyclopedias in the face of Wikipedia (or a Triumph GT6 in the face of a Tesla....).

Even shops with high footfall suffer from them becoming nothing more than a shop window for people who then go home and try to find the same product at a lower price direct from the manufacturer or a small-scale wholesaler who doesn't have the high overheads of a shop. We say one thing and do another - a bit like ideology in politics.

Yes, there will always be a market for bricks and mortar shops in respect of some products, but they are few and far between. Totnes High Street is more like shopping districts should be - a collection (and indeed a collective) of independent retailers who provide unique products that can't be provided anywhere else. So many high streets are facsimiles of others and it's hard to know where you are. They're not individual; they're bland in the extreme.

I appreciate that most shops are unsuitable for conversion into housing, but many are and, if we have a shortage of houses, then turning them into housing would solve a pressing problem. On August 1st, 2021, the new permitted planning development rights (PDR) came into force. These new rules allow the conversion of any Class E building (shops) into a residential space (C3 'dwelling house') without the need for full planning permission if certain conditions are met.

Monday 18 September 2023

Electric Car Chase

Could you imagine a car chase using electric cars?

How would The Italian Job or Bullit have fared at the box office if the cars had been silent?

You'd need the baddies to be in noisy ICE cars and the police in electric cars - the baddies wouldn't stand a chance against instant, full torque. That is unless they ran out of charge mid chase.

If both were in electric cars, then it would be up to the accompanying soundtrack to provide the excitement.

Sunday 17 September 2023

Flink Knapping at Rodmorton

Went to Rodmorton Manor yesterday for the Craft Alive event, where I was under the impression I would be partaking in a flint knapping course, but it turned out to be a talk by Phil Harding, who is an accomplished knapper, rather than a participatory event.

He makes an appearance in my video toward the end.

It's almost impossible to believe Rodmorton Manor was built in the early 1900s - it looks as it it has been there since the 1600s and has a distinct Elizabethan look to it. It was built by the Biddulph family on the proceeds of banking and they still live there, but only in one wing. The family bank was absorbed into what eventually became Barclay's Bank.

Photographing inside is not allowed, so there are no shots of the gorgeous interior, which is in the Arts and Crafts style. The gardens are stunning. The house was filled with craftspeople selling their wares.

I was particularly impressed by the glassware made by Beryl Morgans and intend to buy some of her vases.

Saturday 16 September 2023

Biodegradable Plastic Conundrum

Do people actually look at the plastics they received goods in, or do they just chuck anything that looks like plastic straight into the plastics recycling? I suspect they do the latter, if they recycle at all.

Some plastics are biodegradable, but aren't good for being recycled in your plastics recycling - precisely because they degrade and would render recycled plastics useless if used in large enough quantities. They should be composted or chucked in your normal waste bin. The biodegradable plastics are mainly junk mail wrappers - soft plastics.

I often wonder what will happen when oil runs out and we have the last supertanker filled with crude oil. Will it be used to make medicines, solvents, greases, or will the petrolheads just want to squander it by burning it in an internal combustion engine.

Friday 15 September 2023

Table Update

Last weekend we went to our favourite campsite outside Winchester (Folly Farm), using it as a base for attending the Goodwood Revival near Chichester on Saturday.

We'd ordered a base for my ash table top the last time we were there - there's a woodworking barn next to the campsite that specialises in wooden dining tables and we were rather taken with their work. It's called Steven Baker Furniture.

As it transpired, the chap who runs the woodwork workshop spotted us on the Friday and informed us that our table base would be ready on Sunday and we could collect it. Here's photos of it in the barn workshop.

We thought the base could be deconstructed so we could fit it in the motorhome, but it was a complete base and there was no way it would fit in, although I dare say we could have achieved it with a bit of effort.

At 6am on Sunday I raced home in Hay's Hyundai i10 (which we'd brought along to get around), swapped it for the Galaxy and raced back to the campsite, getting there at 8.45am..

The base still needs oiling to bring it to the same honey shade as the table top. I'm not going to screw the base into the slab, as it's heavy enough to remain in place by itself, plus it needs shims to balance out any wobbles. Leaving it placed under its own weight will make moving it a lot easier too.

At least it will be ready for Christmas - now to search for more suitable chairs than the ones we have.

Thursday 14 September 2023

New Rebuild Project

The rebuild of the GT6 will take some time, but it won't keep me occupied throughout retirement, so I have to give thought as to what the next project would likely be.

There is a school of thought that says you should start a project on the basis of parts you already have.

Given that chrome object above the AirB&B door is the rocker cover from a Spitfire Griffon engine and has been there for the last 5 years or more, I wonder whether the next project shouldn't be to rebuild a Supermarine Spitfire?

Or, on the basis of the ship's porthole in the door, perhaps I can rebuild a Titanic in the garage.

Answers on a postcard.

I forgot to order the gutter channels for the GT6. I was convinced I'd ordered them but, according to my bank account, I hadn't. Anyway, I ordered and received them.

Looking at their simplicity, I should have made them myself; however, £17 ain't a fortune. The left hand one needs a little bit of grinding and the other fits perfectly. Still not sure whether to pop-rivet if just use two-pack Araldite (professional stuff that comes with a gun that mixes it - sets rock hard in seconds). Given I'll ensure rust won't penetrate behind them, Aralditing them will probably be best from an aesthetic perspective.

Wednesday 13 September 2023

Musk's Democratic Mandate

Following on from yesterday's post on Elon Musk; he's coming under a lot of fire for not allowing Ukraine the use of the Starlink network to facilitate a Ukrainian attack on Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

Whatever you think of his myopic support for peace, which is not possible with an aggressor such as Putin (it would only ever be a hiatus), we need to look at whether he has a democratic mandate to facilitate an attack on Russia. 

The American government certainly does, as does any democratically elected government, but can an individual risk a potential escalation of hostilities on behalf of his or her country?

Let's pose a thought experiment. Say Boris Johnson, who is no longer a democratically elected politician, was fantastically rich and had managed to invent a very destructive thermonuclear device. 

Should he be allowed to hand that over to the Ukrainians, for whom the war is an existential crisis? The Ukrainians couldn't care less whether its use leads to a Russian attack on Britain - in fact they'd welcome it as a prelude to NATO piling in on their side. I'm not so sure, however, that either Britain or NATO would welcome it - but given Putin's desire for a confrontation with the West, he would most certainly welcome it.

Actually, I wouldn't put it past Boris to hand such a weapon over to the Ukrainians, regardless of the risk or the consequences for Britain - that's the way he is. 

The question is should private individuals, especially fantastically wealthy ones with the GDP of a small country, be allowed to take actions which could drag their country into a war when having no democratic mandate to do so.

I have no evidence to support this, but I believe that while a majority would support sending Ukraine weapons, only a minority would support getting into a full-scale war with Russia - and all that entails. So, while Musk may arguably have done the right thing, it's for the wrong reasons.

I suppose a government could sanction an action by an individual using plausible deniability, the defence being that the perpetrator is not under government instruction and the government can't be held responsible.

As an aside, it's worth noting that the West is currently providing Ukraine with just enough weaponry to be a nuisance to Putin and push him back in parts, but not enough to be decisive in allowing Ukraine to win the war - depending on what your definition of winning is. What are the morals of this?

This leads me on to a weakness within the West's Military-Industrial Complex - that of ownership of the means of destruction. The government owns the troops, seamen, ships, airmen, aircraft and stock of weapons, but to replenish the materiel and the means of delivery the government relies on the free market to supply it. Within a dictatorship the government will commandeer the means of destruction, whether at peace or at war. Perhaps there's an argument for the national defence industries of the West to be be nationalised? The downside of nationalisation, however, is that it would be subject to cuts in times of economic stress. There again, cuts to defence spending necessarily mean cuts in armaments.

Tuesday 12 September 2023

X Factor

Has Musk's rebranding of Twitter to X been a success? I'd say not - every reference to X is followed by 'formerly known as Twitter' so as to differentiate it from a porn film.

No-one sends an X - they send a Tweet. Abject bloody failure, if you ask me.

Even the website is still, although you can get to it with

Earlier in the week I wondered who owned Google, one of the largest companies on the planet, and I couldn't name either Larry Page or Sergey Brin. I had to look their names up. They're almost invisible, unlike the other tech entrepreneurs, such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, et al.

Monday 11 September 2023

Goodwood Revival

Went with Hay to the Goodwood Revival on Saturday. We didn't dress up, as it was blisteringly hot - 30 degrees.

Here's my video of the classic cars in the classic car park, which are free to view.

The visit was a present to Hay on what was our wedding anniversary. I could see she was so excited when I collected her from a hedge under which she was sheltering under from the sun. Her tears of joy and sobs of appreciation were a sight to behold. I didn't see her while I was wandering around - she must have become entranced by a couple of classic cars.

I suspect many of the attendees had decided on their wardrobe months ahead, not allowing for the fact it would be bloody hot. Men in plus fours, tweed suits and cloth caps were sweating cobs and looked ever so uncomfortable.

It was very international - I heard Dutch, Belgian, French, Norwegian, Italian, etc. Last year I went on a Friday and there were far fewer people; next year I'll probably go on the Friday again - and take the motorhome as a refuge, a toilet and a food/drink prep area.

Sunday 10 September 2023

Trade Blocs

 I was having a conversation the other day, well, an argunment, about the UK leaving the EU. This bloke said that the UK could trade with other trade blocs and that the EU wasn't even the largest trade bloc.

For a start, the EU is the largest economy in the world. Although growth is projected to be slow, the EU remains the largest economy with a GDP per head of €25,000 for its 440 million consumers. The EU is the world’s largest trader of manufactured goods and services. The EU ranks first in both inbound and outbound international investments. The EU is the top trading partner for 80 countries. By comparison, the US is the top trading partner for a little over 20 countries. The EU is the most open to developing countries. Fuels excluded, the EU imports more from developing countries than the USA, Canada, Japan and China put together.

Secondly, as the map above shows, trade blocs are created by countries that are in close proximity, and the reason for this is that countries trade most with their neighbours - and a doubling of distance halves the trade between countries.

To suggest the UK would be better off trading with a bloc the other side of the planet, in preference to a trade bloc on its doorstep, demonstrates a complete ignorance of the driving forces behind trade blocs and basic trade theory. There are no trade blocs in existence which are not comprised of near neighbours, but scattered economies separated by vast distances.

I suppose the closest any trade bloc came to being widely separate was the Commonwealth, but very little trade took place within it after the Empire was released. There was one, primary beneficiary - the UK through the auspices of Empire.

However, when left with no choice because of an action of self-harm.... 

Saturday 9 September 2023

Restorative Nostalgia

I'm currently reading a book called 'This is Not Propaganda' by Peter Pomeravntsev, and a paragraph jumped out at me with a truth that's just so well put.

"..Svetlana Boym saw nostalgia as a way of escaping the strictures of rationally ordered time. She contrasted two types. One, which is healthy, she called 'reflective' nostalgia: it looks at individual, often ironic stories from the past, tries to tease out the difference between the past and the present to formulate the future. 

The other, harmful type she called 'restorative' nostalgia. This strives to rebuild lost homelands with 'paranoiac determination', thinks of itself as 'truth and tradition', obsesses over grand symbols and relinquishes critical thinking for emotional bonding. Unreflective nostalgia breeds monsters. Restorative nostalgia has taken hold from Moscow to Budapest to Washington DC. The last thing desired by those who purvey these phantom, fabricated pasts are facts."

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Friday 8 September 2023

Think Floyd

Some people have a totally irrational objection to tribute bands.

When you think about it, any orchestra that plays Bach, Mozart, Handel, etc., is a tribute orchestra, yet no-one bats an eyelid. In the world of classical music it doesn't seem to be such an issue.

However, that could be because we don't have any Hi-Fi recordings of the original artists, whereas we do when it comes to modern bands.

There again, one can sit at home and listen to Pink Floyd in relative comfort, but one misses the atmosphere of a live performance, and a live performance from Pink Floyd ain't going to happen.

I have a couple of tickets to see Think Floyd at the Grain and Cheese in Frome in October. Hay's not keen, as she's been to numerous Pink Floyd gigs when they were touring in the 80s. Anyone care to join me?

Thursday 7 September 2023

And a Bit More

 Had a go at the back of the windscreen pillars yesterday.

The N/S pillar rust holes, which weren't too bad, were blobbed with weld to close them up, sprayed with Jenolite, ground back, skimmed with filler and primered. A decent job that will last. 

The O/S, however, definitely needed some cropping and replacing. I cut out the main rust, hammering in the sides of the gap to rebate it. I then made a repair panel, bending it in to a slight V and putting notches in the perimeter so the plug welds in the notches were flat. The V ensured it wouldn't stand proud. 

A skim of filler after another coat of Jenolite, inside and out, then completed the job, keeping it flush with the original metal.

I can now wait for the gutter replacement sections and determine how I'm going to handle them - at least there will be solid metal to pop rivet them into - and, if I use them at all, I will have to pop rivet them with there being filler in there.

No more updates for a few days, as I've repainted the garage floor and it takes several days to dry.

Wednesday 6 September 2023

GT6 Update

You know, I haven't posted on the GT6 for simply ages now, so I thought I'd provide an update. I know you're dying to know how it's getting on - so a long read.

Most of my time has been spent researching suppliers for parts I need and pricing them in Excel. Excluding painting and engine refurb, I reckon I'm looking at roughly £2k in panels and bits (chrome, etc.). Engine and spraying will be another £3k, roughly - maybe a tad more.

I've been practicing butt welding. Butt welding with a gasless MiG welder is the most difficult, but there are some areas of the GT6 where there's just no other option. The secret, according to several YouTube videos I watched, is not to use a gasless MiG in the first place, as you simply can't avoid spatter marring your work. Use gas shielding.

One of my neighbours, who rebuilt a TR6 a couple of decades ago (it only comes out once or twice a year), said he has an Argon/CO2 gas cylinder at his dad's and has let me borrow it. The problem now is that I haven't a clue as to the size of the gas inlet on the MiG. It's Chinese, portraying itself as German, so presumably made for the European market. One thing I know is that it isn't 3/8ths BSP. Got myself a thread gauge for both Imperial and Metric, so this shouldn't be a problem any longer.

Strange how the most of the Imperial system existed well before the Empire. The foot, inch, yard, fathom, furlong and mile have bugger all to do with the Empire.

If you perversely insist on using gasless (like me), then the advice for thin sheet metal is to turn up the amperage and tack very, very quickly at large intervals, air cooling each tack as you go along, and then following up by gradually filling in the spaces with tacks alternately between the initial tacks. 

The short burst (1/4 second, or less) prevents burnthrough; the air cooling and spreading of the tacks prevent overheating and warping. Unfortunately, you can't avoid having to grind the result back if you want a flush finish, as you can't do a continuous, full bead without burning through.

Above is my first butt weld after grind-back (click to enlarge). It's solid and the black bits are just burned low spots, not holes. No blow-through, although there was plenty of warping due to it being a small test-piece and my haste to complete it. I'm grinding with a normal, rotary grinder, whereas I should be using Roloc pads on a die grinder, which isn't as aggressive and more controlled.

Here's my 2nd attempt, ground with a Roloc disk. No warping, as I took my time; however, I also used the copper block backing to disperse the heat. 

I now have enough confidence in my MiG welding ability now to perform butt welds on areas that will be visible, rather than hidden areas where aesthetics aren't an issue. I can also now fill small holes with the same technique. Last week I repaired a small section around the lip of the rear hatch surround using the technique - it had been bugging me for a while. It's a pity I don't take any photos of the before and after; however, I did have a go at filling some of the rust holes in the old tailgate that I was going to sell.

A decent enough attempt - it's now all solid metal. A bit more of a grind and a skim of filler to even it out, resulting in a perfect surface. 

However, I'm going to be using the other tailgate that has no rust. That said, if I can fill all the holes and prime it, I could sell it for a decent profit - perhaps £80 - certainly more than as a basket case tailgate that no-one wants.

Oh, and in respect of the rear valance, a fibreglass section where the dimple is cannot be considered as a solution (Richard - you are correct); however, I have enough of the valance remaining to make a complete carbon fibre replacement. Given my expertise with epoxy, creating a carbon fibre full valance impression would be a cinch, and it's stronger, pound-for-pound, than steel, as well as being lighter. Certainly not original, but an improvement that won't be obvious to the naked eye, given it's position. Fixing it in place? 1/8th inch diameter pop rivets will be more than enough - it's not structural. There again, a complete panel in mild steel is only £197.

Talking of lightness, there are several non-structural panels that would have been better made of aluminium to lighten the car, despite its tendency to bend a bit. Certainly the transmission tunnel, which is actually made of some form of compressed cardboard, believe it or not (not that this would make that particular panel lighter - replacements are made of plastic).

I had another go at the front of the roof, where the rear valance of a Mini was stitched on. This was done by the previous owner as the roof repair panels are no longer available, but it left a couple of pinch points due to the profile not being an exact match for the lip strip.

I could have left it, but it would have been a glaring flaw when painted in metallic, so I decided to adjust the profile with a skim of bodyfiller to harmonise the roofline with the metal lip.

Using a contour duplicator, I made a perspex former based on the profile at the pinch points and scraped it over a layer of bodyfiller, thus harmonising the curve along the front of the roof line.

The lower two photos show where I've brought the roofline closer to the lip, to match the pinch points of the Mini valance, which butt right up to the lip. A vast improvement.

I also had another go at making a repair panel - not exactly a large item, being the bonnet closing slide for the nearside, but nevertheless a relatively complex shape, the curve of which needs to be precise.

Below is the nearside one I copied. It guides the bonnet down over the bulkhead to locate the seating cones in the right position.

It should be welded at the top and bottom of the left-hand lip (in the above photo of the nearside) and fixed with a few tack welds at the bottom, although I think I'll fibreglass around the front lip (or just use resin) due to the bulkhead metal being a bit uneven and the fact it's not possible to get to the back of it to clean up the metal after welding. I don't want to lock in the potential for rust.

Here it is welded in place. Better than the original.

There are stainless steel sliders on the market, but that's just bling - and they have to be pop riveted on.

Shhh, don't tell Hay, but the air fryer is very handy for drying small, primed panels quickly....

Wonder if I can get a bigger one for larger panels....

Found a major issue with the replacement, front section for the chassis - whoever refurbished it didn't pay attention to measurements.

The chassis rails on the refurb unit are half a centimetre out at the front and almost a centimetre at the back, resulting in a mismatch with the original chassis rails. This means that, rather than replacing the entire front section, I'll have to hack off the outriggers and the bumper fixture boxes from the replacement and weld them on the old front end.

I have doubts I'll be using the Mk2 chassis I bought - while it's nicely galvanised, it does look a bit battered and thin in places and I'm convinced my original chassis is in much better condition; however, I won't be able to confirm this until I get the tub off it.

Next was tackling what I thought was a small repair on the rain channel on one of the windscreen pillars.

The channel is an L shaped piece of steel that's spot welded to the underside of the pillar, with the bottom of the L forming a narrow rain channel. 

I had a number of options.

  1. Repair the section with a small plate.
  2. Replace the entire channel - repair panels are only £8.50, or I could easily make a couple myself for both sides (the other side likely had rust under it too).
  3. Completely remove the channels on both sides, as they're renowned as rust traps anyway.
In the instance of repairing or replacing, providing there was sound metal underneath, I decided I wouldn't weld either the repair section or the replacement into position, as that's just storing up a rust problem for the future - I'd pop rivet them with a thick layer of goo between the sections and the pillar to prevent water ingress. That would aid removal at any time in the future to see whether any rust had formed. 

I screwed up my courage last weekend and removed the entire channel from top to bottom by drilling the spot welds and using an air chisel to cut through. It revealed a latticework of rust and I'm glad I didn't just do a bodge repair.

The strength of the windscreen pillar is compromised - not dramatically, but enough to require a panel to be stitched in to add some integrity. On the basis of this I ordered a couple of replacement gutter panels but, on 2nd thoughts, I should just have made a couple without the drip channel, as that forces water between the pillar and drip channel, causing the rust in the first place.

On the basis of the O/S, I also removed the N/S drip channel. Luckily it wasn't anywhere near as bad, but bad enough. There are 2 large, circular holes in the pillar inside the car, which I used to spray generous quantities of Jenolite rust converter inside the pillar, halting the rust in its tracks.

I'll wait till the drip channel panels arrive and then decide what to do - whether to simply put a non-flanged piece of steel over the top (as in the photo below), or use the ordered panels and retain the drip channel. I can't do both, as the result would be too thick for the door gaps.

I thought I'd try to fit the new rear wing, but the outer mudguard that the previous owner had tacked on was far too low and also needed shifting slightly forward. I drilled the welds of the inner wing and air chiselled the outer mudguard off. Then I offered the wing with the mudguard attached up for positioning and scribed around where the mudguard should be. I then used a couple of pop rivets to hold the mudguard in position while I checked the wing for fit again, which was perfect. The mudguard was then plug welded into position before I offered up the wing for spot welding.

Above - the outer mudguard in the wrong position.

Above, correct position, held on with a couple of pop rivets.

Above, outer mudguard welded into the correct position.

Above, wing lines up perfectly with rear end.

Above, rear wing ready for welding into position.

I could only use the spot welder at the back half of the seam. The area forwards from the halfway point had to be plug welded and ground back, as the spot welder is simply too large and unwieldy to get into the space available.


The underside and wheel arches need to wait for the valance to be repaired and the forward end requires a door closing panel to be ordered. The wheel arch welds would be best done on a rotisserie for ease of access with the spot welder. At least it looks almost complete. 

The bonnet can be tackled next, as it requires all the paint coming off before I order some repair panels.

Also paid attention to several small details. For example, there's a grotty section of roof gutter on the N/S, which I blobbed with weld (using a copper backing plate), ground back and painted in primer. The photo before is as it was.

Bloody difficult with a gasless MiG, but I managed it well enough. Pretty inconsequential in the overall scheme of things, but important for aesthetics.


I wanted to tack the driver cross member to the new floor pan, but thought I couldn't do that till I had the bolts that attach it, as they go in diagonally, through the floor pan and into the chassis, not vertically, and I wanted to locate the bolts into position through the captive nuts before fixing it in place, just in case I misaligned it - and guess what? Yes, the original bolts are somewhere in a box among the many boxes of bits. However, duh, it suddenly dawned on me that I could use the bolts from the N/S cross member, which were still in situ.

I duly removed said bolts and tried to seat them on the other side, but to no avail. No matter what I did, one bolt refused to seat, despite me widening the hole through the floorpan with a burr drill bit. There was no option but to slice into the guide channel that the bolt ran through in the crossmember.

The photo below shows the guide.

The photo below shows the slide I made into it so as to provide more wiggle room.

It then fitted perfectly and I tack welded it into position.

I learned a neat trick of my own, more by logic than anything else. I had already welded the crossmember into place and sprayed it with weld-through primer, but wished to make a couple more tacks. Rather than scratching off the various layers of paint, I surmised that the weld-through primer, having lots of zinc in it, would be touching the bare welds I'd already done and so, wherever there was weld-through primer, I would be able to strike an arc without having to scratch through to bare metal - the zinc primer would compete the circuit long enough to burn through the paint to metal. The same as regards the earth clamp - the area would be earthed if I merely attached the earth clamp to something painted with the weld-through primer. It worked a treat. I intend to back-fill the spaces between welds at a later time.

Stop Press: just realised the complete, rear valance is £123 from an alternative supplier, not £197, so I think I'll go for it - I can save a few bob by making some other repair sections panels that don't require an English Wheel. In any case, looking at the existing valance in the light, you can see it sinks on the right, so there's no option but to remove it completely to do a proper job.

Lack of funds though unexpectedly having to bail out No.2 Son at university has caused a temporary halt to proceeding further with panel purchases this month. I could do with getting the Mercedes 500 SL back from the garage in Frampton Cotterell, where it has been languishing for almost a year while being fixed (the biodegradable loom issue), and selling it, thus releasing ample funds.

I did, however, get a load of air tools for £25 on Facebook Market. A long, flatbed sander (perfect for levelling body filler skims on flat panels), a couple of drills, a couple of die grinders and an air chisel All seen better days, but still serviceable. 

Deep joy! This is what retirement was designed for. Not a lot has been done in terms of what's obvious, but I have been doing a lot of minor stuff that's nevertheless important in the overall scheme of things, such as filling in small dents and re-working some decidedly iffy welding. All that's holding me back from getting the tub off and on a rotisserie are the rear valance, a door closing panel and the 5 remaining bolts holding the tub on the chassis (the others are already off). Oh, and space.

If the tub comes off to go on a rotisserie, the chassis is going to have to reside next to the tub, but I have so much crap lining the garage that it will be very tight and I'll be tripping over everything. I can't leave it cluttering the drive, as I share it with Hay's dad's car and he needs to be able to get it into and out of his garage. Perhaps I need a spares shed - or commandeer Hay's dad's garage. Now there's an idea!

Bodywork is my forte, engines less so (especially gearboxes) and electrics not at all, especially when I don't know the car that well and never took it apart in the first place. I'm a dab hand at spraying, but only in flat colour cellulose and primer, not water-based metallic. That said, when my mate does the spraying, I dare say he'll let me have a go.

Out of curiosity I looked up the MGB roadster I rebuilt some 40 years ago on the MoT database and it's still on the road - or was in 2019, when it last had an MoT (it doesn't actually need one). Granted it might have had another rebuild since I performed mine.