30 Apr

Yet another wet week that has been bordering on cold; it is wet, is miserable, the ambient temperature is 6-7*C below the seasonal average, and I am totally fed up with this weather. I just cannot get on and do any of the physical side of this 9 sq/mtr project.
Oz has discovered that mud bathing in the garden is fun, and that he receives some extra attention when we towel him down. It has almost become a battle of wits between us and OZ to keep him clean enough to come into the house without the need to clean and towel him down…..  Funnily enough although he will play in the puddles of mud in the garden, he has a complete and utter disdain of rainwater puddles out in the streets and fields when I walk him, and will avoid them to the full extent of his lead; and God forbid that I should ever run a bath and then casually look in his direction.
Absolutely nothing has been done to the project, and I am losing time; serious amounts of required growing time. The seedlings in the conservatory and on the bedroom window sills are really coming along strongly. We have taken to opening the top windows in the conservatory in a vain attempt to harden off some of these plants and slow down their growth a little in anticipation of some decent warm weather in two weeks time…………….. the long range weather forecast is completely wet and miserable right up until the 10th of May, and with that in mind we have decided to postpone my 50th birthday party on the 12th of May, and push it back to sometime in July.
The April Norwich AlleyCat had to be postponed at the last minute: a handful of cyclists turned out, but what can only be described as a monsoon deluge complete with thunder and lightning began just 5 minutes before the advertised start time, and it continued like this for the full the duration of the estimated 90 minutes that I had predicted for an average Norwich cyclist to complete the course; I thought it unfair and unsporting of me to send them out exploring the city and completing the tasks I had set in this heavy rain, so we retired to a local bar for a bit of a social……. if only I had finished making the pedal powered scalextic set; we could have all enjoyed an exciting and fun filled evening of friendly competitive racing and laughs in the bar.
Cargo Cycles has had a record month of pallet bar sales, which is helping to off-set the balance of some outstanding contract work invoices that are well over due. It is about time that the Gov’t got around to passing a law where invoices have to be settled on the due date. It is only the larger companies that are taking the piss in this manner, and I believe that this situation is causing serious problems to the economy in general. It is holding other businesses and me back; I want to make another equipment investment in my business of only £1300 that will make certain operations more efficient, and allow a greater degree of flexibility within the business in general, but I am being held back. I would also like to drop another couple of hundred pounds into one of my medium term research and development projects, and this wet weather is the ideal time to be doing this kind of odds and sods work, along with a few minor redesigns to one particular project; but I need some hard cash to do this.
My cold cut circular chop saw has broken down this week, and this along with the Mig welder and air compressor is one of the essential workshop tools that are key to my production output at the moment. It is a 9” diameter slow rpm saw that cuts almost every piece of steel passing through my workshop; bar, box section, angle, channel, pipe and tube. These days I cut very little by hand with a hacksaw, a cut off disc, or my plasma cutter, and I am almost solely reliant upon my chop saw. It is a make and model at the lower end of the industrial scale and cost me £500 second hand 2 years ago, but up until this week it has
been wholly reliable. Two weeks ago it received its quarterly deep clean with me taking the saw completely off the coolant tray, cleaning it down completely and also accessing all those hard to reach nooks and crannies, which manage to accumulate all those loose and inconvenient saw chips. I also took the opportunity to make a couple of much-needed modifications to the saw’s body. A square/Zero degree physical stop was made and installed, along with a couple of modifications to the cut length stop.
The saw was reassembled and new coolant added, and for one week the saw worked perfectly. Then the pump stopped delivering coolant, which is very important when sawing solid bar sections of steel. A quick telephone call to the maker: Sealey indicated that a replacement diaphragm or service kit was not available, and that a new coolant pump would be around £230+VAT + P&P even though it was only the diaphragm that had failed, but I wasn’t having any of that because the pump looked to be no more than a standard mechanical fuel lift pump fitted to older agricultural tractors. I was in luck as a quick Internet search indicated that either a Sparex or Vapormatic lift pump would be a direct replacement and would cost me less than £40 +VAT.
Now, the common social disease of sloth seems to be endemic in East Anglia, and with only one or two exceptions I am always disappointed with the level of service that I receive whether it is purchasing a cup of tea in a cafe, right through to trying to purchase a car; and the local engineering suppliers are not much different. I was born and raised in the East Midlands in an Agricultural and engineering community where the customer was always King, with staff trying their utmost, and no effort was ever spared to get things right the first time. Here in East Anglia I feel that I am just an inconvenience that just might go away if I am ignored for long enough: and that included the spares depts. of two of the local high profile agricultural dealerships.
Fortunately I found an independent Agricultural spares outlet a few miles down the road that were more than willing to help me and get my saw back up and running in the minimum amount of time possible, and although my saw was down and nothing was produced for one whole day, it is now back in full working condition. Now that I have the vapormatic pump fitted and working, I can get replacement service kits for it for about £8+VAT, although I have ordered from ebay an in line ¼ BSP brass Y mesh filter, and a large in line 30 micron mesh (cleanable) fuel filter which will be fitted to the suction side the saw’s coolant system when they arrive; hopefully these will extend the service life of both the new pump and its diaphragm.
With the postponement of my birthday party it will take a little of the preparation pressure of both Lois & I, and will allow us a greater opportunity to whip the garden into shape and really get this project of ours going. I am really frustrated at the moment with this very wet weather; I have so much to do, and diminishing time to do it in.

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