Apologies to all, I'm having some difficulty in making my ramblings come out the same on Windows computers and on Macs. Some put the pictures higher than others, or it could be the choice of font, I'm not really sure. Either way, I'll revert to my old method of putting the words on one side and the pictures on the other. If this page seems strangely laid out it is because of the juggling that happened after I had set it up. I'll also increase the size of the script a bit.
Spring creeps nearer, the crocuses (should that be croci?) have sprouted, as have the snow-drops. I'm not sure whether they are early, but they usually poke out through the snow, which has been conspicuous in its absence. The main thing is that spring appears to be imminent. A sure sign that it will snow shortly. The weather does seem increasingly erratic and extreme.
I'm worrying less about global warming now though, it's still coming, and I hope those of you lucky enough to survive for a while will make a point of finding a few climate change deniers and drowning them in the rising waters. However, not having any children I'm hoping to fall off my perch
(naturally in case anybody is thinking of helping nature along)
before it gets unpleasant. It is unlikely that the world's governments will do anything other than blame each other and find nice cosy bunkers to retire to. However there are a few people trying to do something, which leads me to the next bit. First use of a segue here!
The wind farm nearest us is also growing, from 6 to 8 units, and since the bits are bigger than the previous batch, the transport needed some ramps put down to prevent them bottoming on the high bits of our rather switch-back roads. The blades are the longest bits and at 7 tons or so, rather heavy considering they are largely made from balsa-wood. They must be the biggest things ever brought into the area. Frankly, if they get any bigger I think the builders will need to put in a new road, or fly them in with very large helicopters. Fiona took these photos as they came in off the A71 or Lang Whang as it is known. I took the Red Midge out for a hurl (ride) and missed them completely.
One of my regular tasks is disassembling trees, and preparing them for the wood burning stove. The process involves cutting the tree down, which can be exciting if near the house, cutting it into 8' lengths and then chopping the lengths into 12" logs and splitting them into pieces suitable for the fire. The first part requires a chain-saw, now kindly replaced by the insurance company, (and usually behind a security door). If the tree drops right I can often log it there and then. However sometimes the lengths need cutting up in the yard, and that can be rather awkward, as most methods of reducing to bite sized chunks involve moving the log each time you cut a bit off and chaining it down again. At last I have found a device that will make life somewhat easier, it is called a Loggit and comes from Raasay Engineering. They are £245 at the moment, which, considering they are hand made and galvanised afterwards, strikes me as quite reasonable. If anybody else wants one they'd better get in touch, as shipping them down from near Skye takes a bit of an effort
When I bought and disassembled the poly-tunnel frame there were quite a few bits of tubing nearby that I couldn't identify. The previous owner didn't want them and couldn't identify them, so I spent a while putting them together in various formats, to see If they were part of the tunnel, eventually I concluded that they were a free-standing, separate structure and tried again. Making a circular and symmetrical pattern on the ground, I discovered their purpose from their shape and was able to dig out the missing components. What I thought was a large bag for the tunnel frame, turned a rather odd circular shaped thing into a trampoline, and explained the large number of springs. It would have been much easier to deduce, had I checked the 'bag' out first, but you know how difficult it is to reverse previous conclusions, and it was half buried in mud. It is standing in the garden now, and once a few missing bolts are put in, should be ready for a bounce. I'm still slightly puzzled as to how the owner had forgotten what it was.
The Fossil is having yet another Birthday, despite medical advice, and requires visiting. We'll be taking a bulky TV and a wee desk , so I'll pop a picture of them in here.
The 400 miles or so make for quite a long run, so a break is appreciated. The Midge Builders and Owners Club has provided me with a large number of contacts all over the country, obviously we have a common interest, and there's a tendency to 'make things' generally. So there's usually a place to get a cup of tea and a chat about carburettors. Fortunately Fiona seems to be able to put up with the occasional session, though I try to set a maximum duration, not that I stick to it when blethering.
Having managed to find a Tonneau-cover maker who is also a Midge owner, conveniently near our overnight stop at the Premier inn near J21 on the M6, I'm hoping to get another cover made for the Green Midge, and so will be dropping by the establishment with a handful of used notes and a hopeful expression.
In fact, since we'll be visiting another Midge owner on the way back, I think I'd better suggest visiting a garden centre in Winchester, we'll be shipping a desk and a TV down, so there should be room for a tree or two on the way back.
When visiting the fossil, I'll get a photo of the jug. Known in the family as 'that weird jug' it has a very strange history. Quite impossible to prove, and feel free to disbelieve, but this is what happened......One day it duplicated, there were two jugs in the cupboard. There were two for a few years and then one disappeared again. If Mum had mentioned it I could have overturned our current understanding of space and time. As it was she told, and showed, the rest of the family. By the time I heard the story there was just one again. It's not the prettiest of jugs, one part of the traditional 3 piece set in pre-war bedrooms with washing bowl and potty, so technically it was a (or an) 'ewer.' There would have been hundreds made, but who would go to the trouble of sneaking into the house in West Meon to deposit a copy, and then repeat the exercise, entering another house, now in Southborne, to retrieve it several years later? I suppose it was probably just as well I didn't hear about it, if proven real, the news would have really messed up most world views, and messed up people often get frightened, angry and violent. That wouldn't have made for a good time. There's an old expression, "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise." Another reads :- "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."
I can't see much of an advantage in being stupid, but I can see there's a risky bit in the transition, so it's just as well this can stay a bit of unsubstantiated internet fluff.
A fault that has been bothering me for a while was a small leak at the back of the 'boiler', although that term is well out of date. The Ground Source Heat Pump has been working well apart from that and the pressure vessel falling off the wall. Both faults were easy to fix but the matter had been confused by their proximity, they were actually quite unrelated. One was a crossed thread and the other a manufacturing defect. I would have fixed them myself, but the system, to the untrained eye, is so complicated that I thought it best to get the original local firm to sort it out. Which they did. (Grange Energy)
Well we are back in Scotland now, the weather in Winchester was clear, warm and calm. Spring and Autumn visits are always quite a change for us because there is such a difference in climate from Scotland to Hampshire at those times. Going down in the Spring means we jump a few months forward, the popular conception is a month for every hundred miles, which would take us from mid March to mid June. It is even more noticeable coming back in Autumn when the usual week's absence has seen an extra week of change. Quite often we go from a slowly cooling summer with red and gold leaves, to a sharp frost with snowy mountains. Here there was a mixed message, the Flowering Currant has sprouted buds and leaves, but there was snow on the peaks, and it was cold enough (5c) for a fire. It is warming up now, but it's still grey, damp and windy. We took a large TV down with us for Mum, as hers was a bit small and the switch was becoming unreliable, and we dropped off a small writing desk, below left, which Lillias had inherited. It seems quite suitable for the job, although being a composite of bits of wood from a variety of sources, the legs from a table, the drawers might be from under the same table and the desk from another, with some cut down cubbyholes, inside, from something else altogether. The chair comes from my paternal grandmother, and is going to have its dowels drilled out shortly. The chair not the grandmother.
I'm glad to say that the TV fitted with a couple of millimetres to spare, after a few wriggles and the re-distribution of some knick-nacks, gee-jaws and similar.
While 'down sowf' we took the opportunity to dip into the Arundel Wetland Centre and meandered about in an electric boat, wandered by foot, and hid in a hide while various webbed creatures waddled, dabbled and splashed about. Fiona heard one bird that we couldn't see, but it turned out to be a recording intended to attract sand martins. We even spotted a Water-Vole. Not the one below, (an image I pinched a while back, photographer sadly unknown) as it was in and out of view fairly quickly.
And quite a lot of water-fowl, as you might expect. Fiona knows their names (well species, genus, whatever, I suppose they may have personal names, but there is a limit to how much you can ask a duck.) If she reminds me I'll add them, I think the vole was called Squeak. Sorry that loses a lot in the translation.
As mentioned previously, trundling around the country we managed to drop in on a couple of Midge owners. John. B. who, amongst other activities, creates the MOBC (Midge Owners and Builders) magazine and Bryan. C. who made my Tonneau Cover. One of the benefits of such clubs is that you can find like-minded folk all over the country (there's a frightening thought for those who know me) I have been benefiting from John's experience for a few years now and found that Bryan and Carol were old friends after about 15 minutes. Like minded doesn't cover the half of it, mine was quite boggled. Like most of the Midge owners I have met, proof that there is hope for humanity yet.
The only problem is that both of their Midges are better than mine, but I do have two, so that's OK, and there'll be another garage soon, just in case of surprise opportunities, if the weather lightens up a bit for the concrete floor.
By the way, and quite off the track, I see a lot of fuss is being made about the Crimea, or the people who live there, wanting to be Russians, and seem to have voted to go with a 90% majority. Obviously they read my comments about Scottish Independence, but am I missing something important? Voluntarily joining the Putin Oligarchy seems like a daft idea to me, but if that's what they want, and they have had a fair and democratic vote, what's the problem? Mind you, that's if the Russians stop there.
Well, anyway, the weather looks as though it might be clearing a bit, so I'll stop there and wish you all a happy Tuesday.
Incidentally, if anybody finds that a picture overlaps a bit of script, can they give me a note of it by phone, text, carrier pigeon or email or whatever. There's a 'contact us' on the home page.