10 Jun

It has been a week where if it could happen it has happened, although the 9 sq/mtr project is beginning to come into its own and is now supplying us with about 20-25% of all the vegetables we are eating: there is even enough for guests, and to trade with a near neighbour.
Purple curly Kale and Chard are currently the most prolific followed closely by Leeks and spring Onions, and an awful lot of Chinese spicy leaf and other leaf crops, and a few very early Carrots. The herb planter is also prolific and again with enough available for friends and neighbours to pick. We have planted 4 of the sweet potato slips in to one of the new planters (the south planter in the shade) and all 4 have taken and are thriving. Courgettes and squash seem to be doing well as do all of the root crops and potatoes.
We have eventually decided not to embark into the realms of Chicken keeping this year, and may choose not to keep any next year. Mainly because we are starting to spend time away from home, that will include several weekends away, and we think it is unfair to burden our neighbours with the necessary tasks that chicken keeping entails. To this end we are going to extend the ground level vegetable plot by approximately 1.2 metres, prepare a new vegetable plot for the autumn where the chicken pen would have stood. Another reason for not keeping chickens is the recent damage we have sustained during last Fridays storm. High winds have damaged a section of fencing which will need all of the panels replaced, and an inspection of the post indicates they are beginning to rot and we might as well be replace all of this section. The chicken pen would have backed onto this and it would have been a major obstacle when replacing the fencing.
The storm also took away approximately one third of the workshop roof during Friday night and the rain lashed in, ruining a Tig welder, Stick welder and the plasma cutter, falling debris took out my small radial arm drill and felled a set of shelves. About 15 litres of paint fell with these shelves and the lids popped from the tins covering a section of floor with a mixture of primer and gloss. Fortunately my Mig welder, pillar drill, chop-saw and compressor remained unscathed. To make matters a little more complicated I was also to be Godfather to Pilsbury’s son; Aaron, and as the damage was already done to the workshop and my equipment we decided to go ahead with the 100 mile drive down into deepest, darkest Essex and fulfil my duty as godfather, leaving the majority of the post storm clean up for this (Sunday) morning.
I have an appointment later this week with the insurance assessor regarding my claim for a new roof and the damaged equipment, but ironically I had scheduled two weeks in August to have the roof completely refurbished; hopefully the insurance company will payout for a new roof, or at least make a serious contribution towards it, which will lessen the impact upon my wallet. I have not taken any photos of the project this week, but Lois has. When she has sorted through them, I will post them up. But here is a couple of photos of Aaron’s Christening:
Tony, Aaron and me:

And Aaron with Lois and I:

1 Jun

It has been two weeks days since I last posted in my blog, and what a busy time it has been for Lois & I.
The weather broke on Wednesday the 23rd. It was 8⁰C and raining on the Tuesday, and then 23⁰C and dry on the Wednesday. Ironically enough on that evening we began watering the plants in the garden; 60 continuous days of rain and we have to irrigate the garden within 24 hours of it stopping! Fortunately we have almost 5cu/mtrs (5000 litres) of rainwater stored in three IBC water tanks and several plastic barrel water butts dotted around the garden.
Here are the photographs taken during the weekend of the 26th and 27th of May
With the dry conditions, it allowed me the opportunity to get the two new planters for the 9sq/ mtr project filled with riddle through topsoil from the heap at the bottom of the garden.

Both of these new vegetable planters required 13 trugs of soil; 26 trugs in total, each one of them filled with approx 50 kg of riddle through stone free soil:

The ratio was approximately 60% soil to 40% stones & gravel: it’s a good job that this will be required for another aspect of this project and various other jobs around the garden:

Our new garden truck proved to be ideal for this job. However, the low tipping height excluded using it for tipping directly into the planters:

But it managed the full capacity 200kg loads with ease:

Now I have the planters filled, it is down to Lois to populate them with the vegetable seedlings and young plants:

The Sweet Potatoes now have viable slips for planting up on them:

We also have several pots with Oca planted in them, and they are now beginning to show through:

Our herb planter is currently overflowing:

And there is an abundance of chard, and leaf vegetables in the 3 tiered vegetable Planter:

The ground level vegetable patch is also doing extremely well:

The wild Horseradish is doing very well, and will soon be ready for separating the roots into other pots for further propagation; it has to be kept in pots on top of the water tank to prevent Oz getting at it …he loves to chew fresh horseradish root:

In the conservatory the seedlings are coming along nicely and some of the plants are almost ready to transfer out in to their final positions:

The vegetables in the old galvansied steel water tank are beginning to show some promise. The leeks have taken almost 1 year to grow to that size due to being shaded out by last years crop of Wonderberries (Please don’t bother growing these, as they are virtually tasteless).

Now that I have the structual and hard landscaping work for our 9 sq/mtrs project more or less done, Lois will take over the majority of the planting, tending and harvesting allowing me to concentrate on the the other aspects of this and other projects for our garden …. look forward to lots more posts folks. _________________

50 not out!

17 May

A very mixed week for me: on Tuesday the 8th of May it was my 50th birthday…. that’s right folks, I’ve hit 50, and I’m not out!
Bar sales have petered out a little with most of the current sales being made into the USA and Canada, but this reduction has allowed me to build up buffer stocks, which I have decided to double in size. Mainly because I have work coming in from other directions, and an R&D project is beginning to show a lot of potential, and the particular area of the marketplace it is aimed at is showing some significant strengthening, with the possibility for growth; especially local growth.
I have also been commissioned to make the steel frames for eight individual kinetic sculptures that will eventually after the initial tour become one large kinetic sculpture which will then go on tour returning to the sites the individual parts have been exhibited at. This project has required me to sign a none-disclosure agreement, so I will be unable to go into any further detail until the project is completed and the individual sculptures are exhibited.
On my birthday it was a quiet and sombre day, which allowed me to plan for the future party which has now been postponed until mid July due to our waterlogged garden. So I spent the rest of another wet week catching up with orders, maintaining workshop equipment, and making a bit of an inroad into making the workshop a little tidier.
Friday arrived and I was excited all day; I had been looking forward to this Friday for over two weeks because seven of my favourite local performers were billed for that nights Friday acoustic session at the Norwich Music House … … … and what a surprise that was in store for me. Unbeknown to me, Lois had spoken to Andrew, the primary host of the Norwich Music House, along with Jo the bar manager and one or two others, and between them they had secretly organised a birthday bash for me. When Andrew had initially approached each of the individual performers and the bands, and they were informed that it was for “Gareth’s” 50th all of them had enthusiastically agreed to perform.
What a night it was; all of the regulars, and a lot of none regulars, musicians and others greeted me with an almost riotous and thunderous happy birthday surprise that I was totally unaware of happening until it was sprung upon me. Halfway through the night I was presented with an engraved glass tankard bought with the proceeds of a whip round from all the evenings’ performers a couple of weeks earlier.
As usual (well for the moment) it was raining moderately to heavily on Saturday Morning, so I retired to the workshop to get some steelwork done, whilst Lois went into the city with her friend Debbie who wanted to go shopping for a dress for a wedding she is attending in a few weeks time.
Sunday came and initially it was heavily overcast with light drizzle, and yet again we had standing water on our free draining garden. By midday it had brightened up, so Lois and I feeling absolutely washed out by both work and frustration due to weather decided to go into the city for a wander about and a social coffee & cake with friends.
It was then that we were informed that another friend of ours had died from meningitis on the Friday evening; she had been invited to my 50th party. Apparently she had fallen ill at midday on Friday, was admitted immediately to hospital, but deteriorated so rapidly that her sister took the decision to turn off her life support at about 9pm that evening. This was a vibrant, attractive, intelligent young lady, who was active in almost every art project and bicycle event in Norwich; often combining the two, and who had time for everyone; her and her friends were the ones who encouraged me to take over, organise and run Norwich AlleyCat, and to take over the organisation and running the proposed 2012 bicycle foraging outings. …… why does such a terrible thing have to happen to a young lady like this who had a whole lifetime in front of her, and who would have spent most of it doing nice things for the good and benefit of others and the community?
And to close this post on a slighlty more up beat note; a photograph taken and published in the Norwich Evening News and Eastern Daily Press, back in January (it has taken this long for a copy of the photograph to arrive in the post by first class Royal Mail) of me and a few of the Norwich AlleyCat riders.

6 May

Well, it’s official. “This has been the wettest April in the UK for over 100 years, with some areas seeing three times their usual average, figures from the Met Office show.”
Monday the 30 of April, and the sun came out for the first time in a whole month, and the temperature rose to the normal average for the end of April: 17⁰C and it gave me the opportunity to survey the garden and the work that needs to be done. By 4pm, what had been a waterlogged path with standing puddles was fit to walk upon and I even managed to dig out the old rotten fence post that had been broken off by the vandals, install the new steel post and concrete it in.
My paint store has not fared well in all this recent rain; several 5 litre cans of gloss cellulose tractor enamel and about 2 litres of buff primer have become contaminated with water and they are no longer suitable for spray application. I won’t throw away this contaminated paint just yet, but wait until the water has evaporated off and then see if this paint is salvageable; if only for jobs around the workshop, shed and garden. It may then be only suitable for brush application, but at least it will not be wasted and thrown away unless it is absolutely necessary.
The sale of 3 Pallet bars this week has given me the opportunity to have a little bit of a laugh at the circumstances surrounding these sales. The first one is regarding a bar sold into a small coastal town in the US state of Maine about a month ago. Basically someone  looked over a garden wall, and saw their neighbour taking apart a large stack of wooden pallets with one of my bars, and then asked to borrow it; and was unceremoniously told to go buy his own …. So he did.
The second and third bar sales that have made me smile concerned a remote small island community: I won’t mention where or which island, but this remote Island is about 3.5 miles long and approximately 2.5 miles wide.
This particular island has a population of about 30 people. One member of this population purchased a bar from me a little over a month ago, and suddenly that person had an advantage over the rest of the community. Very little is wasted in this community, and a waterlogged wooden pallet washing up from the shipping lanes previously required the co-operation of 2 or more people to raise the pallet up the cliff path so that it could be stripped and the material reclaimed and then shared. One member of this community has an advantage now; with the addition of a shoulder strap he can comfortably carry the bar down the cliff to the shoreline, strip down a washed up pallet and then carry the reclaimed timber back home easily without needing the help or co-operation of another islander. A second islander realised what was going on, and also purchased a bar for their personal use, so that they too had an advantage over the rest of the community. The first bar sale and its owner’s reluctance to lend it out has already had an effect on the islands population; can you imagine the consternation this second bar sale has caused within this community?   The solution to this situation was an extraordinary meeting of the community council. A resolution was passed and a vote was taken to purchase a third bar which is to be kept in the Island’s Post office-cum-general store-cum-library-cum-ferry booking office-cum-gossip exchange. This third bar will be made available to all members of the community providing that they sign it out and then back in again.
Mayday arrived, and it was good weather; sunshine all day, and the heady temperature of 18⁰C was recorded. The garden was dry enough for me to undertake some of the necessary work required for the 9 sq/mtr project, but alas the Cargo Cycles’ order book had to be given priority. However, when I knocked off for the day I did get the strimmer out and run it around the edges of the lawn and other areas of the garden where the grass has grown considerably. I also reinstalled the plastic mesh fence around the area of the lawn which I reseeded last autumn. This area has been pounded hard by Oz running up and down the garden, and hopefully it will recover now it has fenced off.
After another wet week the weekend eventually arrived, and although it was dry on Saturday, the day had to be given over to working on a steel fabrication order, and it was the boring bit that I had to do: weld prep for next week and clean up on finished fabrications with a  sanding disc in the grinder prior to painting. Alas Sunday had to be given up to spray painting so that I can ensure the gloss paint has hardened sufficiently for delivery and installation on Tuesday morning.
In a few hours time it will be May Bank Holiday Monday, and I am really hoping that it will be a fine day. However, the forecast is for very much of the same as the previous week: I only need a couple of days to get the planters assembled and filled with soil and manure!

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.

22 Apr

Since the enforcement of the hose pipe ban, on the 1st of April it has rained almost all day every day. The Anglian Water imposed hose pipe ban has been considerably more effective than any rain dance or new age ceremony could ever have been. By my reckoning, and the water level in one of the buckets I have scattered around the garden we have received close on to 9 inches of rain in 21 days.
The ground is waterlogged, and we have several standing puddles on the lawn and what was the path. To make matters worse all of the new grass that I carefully re-seeded last autumn, and protected from Oz with the temporary plastic mesh fence has been churned into muddy mire by him running up and down the garden.
The two areas that I dug over and levelled ready for installing the planters have been reduced over the course of two days into what can only be described mud baths by Oz; he has a fascination for freshly tilled earth, and these two areas have provided him with several hours of enjoyment. Suffice to say he has been banished to the spare dog bed in the conservatory. Not because he is being punished, but to prevent my ears from becoming permanently noise damaged by Lois verbally abusing me as Oz leaves muddy paw prints all over the rest of the house.
This rain is really holding back the 9 sq/mtr project; I just cannot get on and do anything outside in the garden because it is far too wet. It’s not much better in the workshop with the rain rattling down on the roof and drowning out the sound of the radio as I am busily working away. Since I bought my little DAB radio a couple of months ago I have rekindled my love affair with the radio, and it has been great listening to the superior sound of digital radio as whilst I’ve been sawing, jigging up, welding and grinding. Planet Rock is my current station of choice, and this very close to 50 year old can often be seen to put down the welding torch and head banging away (albeit without the hair) to one or more of the heavy metal classics, much to the dogs amazement and puzzlement.
We have endured a spate of vandalism in the area that we live. A fence panel between us and next door was torn down so that the barstewards could access Clive’s work-in-progress Ford 2.8 ltr V6 engine powered trike, and really go to town vandalising that. Fortunately, with the exception of 3 slashed tyres the rest of the damage was superficial. Apart from putting Clive’s plans back bit and the cost of the new tyres, vandalism is still a crime and the perpetrators need to be dealt with in the appropriate manner.
Clive was kind enough to give a me 4 mtr length of thick walled steel box section,  so that I could make a new post to replace the damaged (and part rotten) wooden fence post. So I spent a couple of hours in the workshop capping off the open ends, cutting, drilling and welding on some brackets to match it up to the fence panels. After a couple of licks of undercoat and 2 coats of Chocolate Brown gloss enamel, this new steel post is ready to go in; I just need another decent  break in the wet weather so I can dig the post hole and then concrete it in place.
Water proofs have been donned this week and major inroads into the general clear up have begun. All of the old wardrobe and bedroom panels that previously made up the flooring in the loft that I had ripped out ready for the new insulation have been taken to the local council dump. Now, I am unsure if Norwich City tip is typical of other council run tips around the country, but I can tell you that it is run by a petty,” jobs worth” bureaucrat with perceived powers way above his lowly station. I have found that the best way to deal with these people is not to argue with them, but to play by the letter of the rule. ….. they usually become tired of having to adhere to the rule book because it means that they actually have to do some work that is within the realm of the job roll.
Granted I had 2/3rds of the rear of my estate car filled with these old unit panels, and that the citizens of Norwich are only permitted to dump 80 litres volume or 50 kg by weight per week if arriving at the council dump by car. There is a charge of £20 and upwards for loads larger than this, and the council has number plate recognition cameras installed so that they may enforce these rules: However, there are no such limitations for pedestrians.
There was a long queue of cars waiting to enter the tipping area, and I had decided to park in the lay-by on the opposite side of the road, and walk the rubbish in, rather than wait for the estimated 30 minutes for turn to arrive. After 4 hand carried loads to the drop I was accosted by said petty official wanting to know where my car was so the load could be estimated for the possibility of additional charges. So I told him I had travelled on foot and had carried the rubbish to the tip. He then tried to enforce the 80 litres volume or 50 kg weight per car rule. So I reminded him that I had arrived on foot (albeit 30 odd metres).
“Pedestrians are not allowed on site sir.” “I have used the clearly marked pedestrian pathway.” “But that is for those arriving by car sir” “So why does it start from the footpath alongside, and allow access from the public highway?” “Well I’d better check the volume sir; it looks considerably more than 80 litres.” “The council have officially trained you how to measure and calculate volumes?” “No, but I have a rule I can use to carry out the measuring.” “OK.” Out came a standard stationary clear plastic 12 inch rule of the type found in offices and schools across the country. So I asked him if it was a rule manufactured and certified to the relevant British Standard: All of my Stainless steel rules I use in the workshop are, and carry the correct BS number, so as far as am concerned that it was a valid request on my part. The answer I received was “No” so I told him that I would not accept his calculation. He then informed me that he was going to weigh it, so I asked to see the current annual calibration or approved trading standards certificate. ….  which he could not produce.
By then the traffic queue was backing up on to the road, and frustrated drivers were beginning to sound their horns, so for once in his working life this petty enforcer of the red tape backed down and let me get on with it.
It has been another wet and miserable weekend. The garden is literally a waterlogged swamp with many standing puddles dotted about, which is saying something because it normally drains so freely. I can’t even get the lawnmower or strimmer out and give the grass its first trim of the year. The two new planters are still on the trestles under the gazebo, but we did get the decking area clear of all the various pieces of reclaimed pallet timber. What I have wanted to keep and use for projects has been stacked up on the racking, and the rest has been claimed by Mikki for both her open fire place and wood burner.

15 Apr

We had a very wet Easter weekend, and I am almost ashamed that due to the rain very little was done either on the project or in the garden in general. However, one or two of those other niggling small jobs put aside for another time were completed. 22 pins were cut from several odd bits of 12mm steel rebar, these pins are for holding the 11 of 4 inch diameter X 5 ft long posts that I reclaimed from a vandalised wooden climbing frame that I had acquired from the city council 14 months ago. These posts will be laid flat and provide a hard edging to a couple of the flower beds in the lawn. For the last 12 months these post have just laid there on the ground unsecured, and Oz has recently discovered that they are fun to roll around the garden.  Although it may be great fun and provide a great deal of entertainment for Oz as he shunts these poles about, it is proving to be very inconvenient for Lois and I, and several nice plants and flowers in one border have been damaged.
At around 3pm on Easter Sunday afternoon there was a short break in the weather, and so we ventured into the garden to at least try and complete one of the required jobs. We decided to drop the recently made low reclaimed pallet wood retainer into the ground which will provide the new (and final) position for the fibre glass Brox box. It was then that we found that the wheel barrow tyre and inner tube had perished over winter and would not retain any air. Our four wheel tipping cart was pressed into service and had its first real work out transporting riddled out gravel and stone from the heap at the far end of the garden. We were both very pleased with the performance of this garden cart as we hauled approximately 500 kg of gravel during three trips to fill the area for the Brox box to sit on.

Although the two new vegetable planters are made and currently in a flat pack condition ready for assembly, they both need one more coat of bitumen paint, and a couple of coats of wood preservative before they are put in place. The rain during the previous week has prevented me from doing this, and so it was decided to erect my cheap and nasty garden gazebo. This was originally purchased to provide me with cover from rain when painting, and now the planter panels are safely residing under it for a couple of days in Norfolk’s almost constant North easterly wind to ensure that the timbers are dry enough to take the coat of bitumen and preservative.
One of my downfalls so far in this project is the need to get all of the basic work done. Procrastination, depression, the requirement to work longer hours to cover an exceptional increase in the Cargo Cycles order book, the weather and yes, even a couple of bouts of “I can’t be bothered” have all taken their toll. My mistake has been to see the only the big picture, and forgetting that it is composed of individual brush strokes. To that end I have now taken a couple of steps back, and will approach and tackle each of the individual jobs, rather than trying to get all done in one push and then failing.
Easter Bank holiday Monday is upon us, and it is miserable: I really wanted to get on achieve something, but I think all that will get done is a bit of nail pulling from reclaimed timbers, and maybe move other stuff around the garden as a pre-emptive strike at a general tidy up. The rain has abated from a constant shower to a cold, light drizzle and I am now contemplating donning some water proofs and braving the elements to move some stuff about.
Alas, cowardice concerning the rain overcame me and I spent a couple of hours in the dry in the workshop prepping work ready for this week: at least I’ll hit the ground running this week, as it will be yet another busy one. I have also got a few pieces of steel work to do for the house as well. Our asbestos drain covers got stepped on and broken a few weeks ago, and I have a couple of nice and heavy pieces of 8 mm thick steel plate to replace them, but I am also going to weld some fence type kick guards to them to help prevent the plastic drain 2” pipes from the kitchen and bathroom becoming accidentally damaged in the future. I have got some David Brown (Tractors) Chocolate brown gloss enamel paint that I purchased from www.regalpaints.co.uk a few weeks ago.
Now the paints supplied by Regal Paints are decent quality cellulose based, hard wearing Agricultural enamel paints, that are really very reasonably priced, but the colours are limited and a bit hit and miss. Over the last two years I have purchase grey zinc primer, red-oxide, buff primer,  the new Caterpillar sand coloured Yellow gloss from them, along with JCB Yellow, David Brown chocolate Brown and Ford tractor Blue from them , but when I have ordered  additional  tins of gloss to replace paint I’ve consumed, the colours have been a shade or two off. In fact I originally ordered the Ford tractor Blue, when I was having difficulty sourcing cheap Leyland tractor dark Blue: one of my favourite colours, and what I wanted to paint my welding  bench, circular chop saw, and pillar drill stands with. I was pleasantly surprised to open my tin of Ford Blue to find that it was actually Leyland Dark Blue.  But now I am getting towards the bottom of the can, and would like some more to repaint the workshop shelves and various other bits and pieces I have, including the wheel discs for my Polo bicycle, and I am dreading the paint they currently have available possibly being the much lighter Ford Blue.
It has been another manic week in the workshop, and yet again my buffer stock has been reduced with over 85% of sales, and 100% of my output destined for export to the USA this week. Obviously it is good for my business, and it is helping to mend the British Economy in a tiny way, but filling out the customs paperwork is very time consuming. Especially as each item is being exported to a different state; which all have their own slightly different rules, regulations and required declarations. Not forgetting the purchase order from the US Navy which arrived with about 11 pages of small printed terms and conditions.
To make matters worse, Americans are hard work to deal with; an average of 11 email emails are being exchanged to get them to fill out the simplest of requirements on a custom’s form, such as: Full name, full postal address, full Zip Code, and contact telephone number. ……… and the US Navy procurement department were no better than the average US civilian at filling out these forms!
I’ve had another Oz sourced accident this week. I had just taken several tool hanger hooks I had made for a local food factory down from the paint drying rack, and was walking back towards the workshop ready to pack them for taking up there next week and installing them. The far end of our garden backs on to Lionwood on one half, and the other half backs on to Pilling Park. It has been Easter school holiday this week, meaning the kids were out between the rain showers and playing football. Oz is a very ball oriented dog, and hearing a football bouncing about just has to be investigated from his vantage point on top of the compost heap looking out across the playing field. He flew down the garden at maximum velocity, and just as I turned the corner from the paint area he ran into me at full pelt, knocking me over and spreading the tray full of recently painted bright yellow hooks. They hit the ground with a heavy rattle and the paint was chipped on most of them, which meant that I had to spend an additional 3 hours rubbing them down and then re-spraying them.     Between Showers, both Lois and I managed a couple of hours out in the garden today. Lois pottering about moving this, re-potting that, and extending one of the flower borders by adding few extra inches, bringing it out to the newly pinned in place logs. All I managed to do was to dig over and level the two plots ready for installing and filling the new vegetable planters when both the rain stops and I get a window of a few hours in my current work schedule.