That's the rain on then, fairly blowy too. Still, mustn't grumble, it has warmed up by 10 degrees, and I imagine the farmers will be glad to get some crops growing, without having to use an electric drill to plant the seeds one by one. The last of the snow has finally melted, here anyway, and probably causing floods down-slope.
We used the last day of the frozen spring (Sat 13th) to nip over to Gartocharn (south of and near Loch Lomond) and see part of the Tom Weir Memorial Statue campaign, being held in the community centre there. I'll not try to summarise Tom here, it has been done well enough by others, but I'll direct you to
Outdoor types, Fiona being a prime example, who like tramping around the higher bits of Scotland's geography, will have seen Weir's Way on Scottish Television from the late '70's onward. It has been repeated several times since then as his natural charm and the scenery blend to a very pleasant experience, even for those of us who find pavement edges a bit vertiginous. I'm fairly sure I saw some of his work when I was living in England, but it is difficult to be sure, being the best part of 40 years ago. Anyway, if you'd like to help memorialise a genuine character who was campaigning for conservation before it became fashionable, various friends, relations and admirers are trying to get enough cash together to make a bronze statue of him. There's a site for pay-pal donations with instructions on other ways of donating at
While we were there we had the opportunity to chat with the sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn who did the statue of Arthur Lowe as Captain Mainwaring in Dad's Army, now sitting in Thetford. We went on to talk with Cameron McNeish who has also been known to stride about a bit.
I'm always amazed how these people can at least give the impression of being happy to chat to those of us who just roll up and start blethering. It's not because they are, as "him off the telly", god-like creatures with special powers, it's just that they can put up with the endless attention of the public with good grace. Granted, many are well paid for 'being famous' but it must still be a bit of a trial. I hope I can be as pleasant when my inherent awesomeness is recognised by the general public.
Tom's widow, Rhona was there, she's the same age as Lillias (Fiona's Mother) and looks as though she could still keep up with most hill walkers. Still a very live wire and as sharp as a tack.
By coincidence the memorial meeting was being held a few miles from the home of Gordon, an old family relation, who met us at the event. (The 'old' refers to the relationship rather than his age.) He and his wife were kind enough to invite us in afterward, and we were shown a trove of photographs from Fiona's family history. I think, if you go up her 'branch' to her maternal great great grand parents, then you can come down another branch to their great grand-son Gordon.
There were several photos that we had never seen before, and the one opposite is of Lillias' parents, William and Lillias Steel. I'll print it and take it to her next Saturday.
Lillias herself is rather frail at present, although she rallies occasionally, especially if she gets interested, then she can get quite lively. I think a lot of it varies with infections and inflamations, and like most of us, she doesn't drink enough when she doesn't feel well. A cup of tea really is good for you. Trust me, I used to be a radiographer, and still have a white coat somewhere.
So what else is going on? Well I think I've found enough building materials for another shed, you can't get too much shed therapy. That will mean moving the white box again, I knew I should have kept the skids under it. All the gardening tools will have to come out again and so on, but it's all in a good cause, and keeps me active.
Next is the disassembly, painting, and finalising the Ford based Kit-Car. I'd have to take the body panels off for painting, but the engine will have to come out as well, to free the clutch which seems to have stuck. I'm advised that it can be freed off with a good jolt, but I'd quite like to tidy up in the engine bay anyway, and make the thing look a bit more professional. So out it comes with a nice new engine hoist, only £140 from Amazon. They cost £15 to hire for a day, but I would have to charge myself £60 to go and get it from the plant hire shop, so you see it makes perfect sense.
That's the hoist just arrived, so I'll go and assemble it to check that none of the little fiddly bits have fallen out of the slightly suspect looking packaging. Go and have a cup of tea, I'll be back in a bit.
That's it assembled, not too difficult, mantling should be the word, but that actually means putting a cloak on. Working out how things go together and function, is one of my favorite activities, so I must be one of the few who actually like those tiny, blurred mistranslated instruction sheets. Sometimes you can work out which language it started in, Chinese becomes complete gibberish, and I suspect that's where it came from. Fortunately the hoist seems well made enough, unlike a lot of the stuff we buy from them. The engineering is fairly basic, but it was a good price and the welding is quite good.
So that's the engine out, and the clutch off. It was just stuck to the flywheel, normally I'd replace it, but it was quite easy to extract, and I've never had a clutch wear out on any of the cars of various ages and mileages. The only hitch was the fairly basic design of the hoist meant I had to jack the car up a bit to get the legs under the front suspension. Anyway that's the car stripped down with a view to painting it. If I can paint the panels when they are lying flat it should be more tolerant of my amateur painting skills. I'll have a go at the green (Triumph) Midge then, because the paint is a bit variable, well, actually I think it was put on with a sponge, or possibly a spoon). Persons seeing the end-product will be invited to be positive or silent. Especially if it comes out worse than the green one.
Below and to the right there's an image approximating the colour, but we'll see how it comes out. I'd have gone for black with yellow mudguards, camouflage green and brown, or pillar box red, but most people suck their teeth and say things like "I'm sure it will look lovely," which is never a good sign. Being a rare non colour-blind Hewlett is no help, sadly I have no taste, so I might just as well be.