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. 
Fiona's family.
  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.
Having taken the engine out and cleaned it up a bit, I think I might see if I can paint it, not that it makes it work any better, but it makes it easier to clean and then it becomes easier to see any leaks. Incontinence is a regular problem with the older models, I'm talking cars here, and it was the fact that the green one tends to dribble a bit that encouraged me to buy a hoist rather than rent one. I can't really park it on the smart new monoblocks if it's going to leave little reminders behind.  Fortunately the bit in front of the garage is concrete, and it doesn't show too much.
    Next up is a trip to Shetland, flying I'm glad to say, as the North Sea can get a bit choppy if it gets windy, and there's a fair chance of that.  I imagine a Westerly would be the worst, but it's when the wind and tide are at right angles that you get that corkscrew effect loved by inexperienced sailors the world over.  Its nice to have your own car, but we'll hire one for the week. Apart from anything else there's a smell you can get in a car from the inside of a ferry, which takes ages to fade. I thought it was two sea-sick dogs, but I've noticed it when there weren't any. It pays to shut your windows and that's not really fair on the dogs, so it's difficult to isolate the cause.
​   Hopefully, by the time we get back, the garden will have shown some growth, and the rabbits will stay away. I'm beginning to consider some rabbit proof fencing, but there's quite a length to stop up, and they are devious little beggars, most of my alternatives would endanger the cats. Pity really, the Modified Trebuchet device (using cart springs) looked effective, and it's quite easy to build. I think  they would avoid a second flight, if they survived the first. Meanwhile the cage-trap is harmless and works, even if it is a bit dull, and you can eat the rabbit afterwards which would be difficult with the trebuchet. 
    The cats are old enough to consider the high winds render them undignified, so they are staying in, fair enough when you think what an all-over bad hair day would be like.  The wind turbines will be doing well though, it's not too gusty. I would dearly love to put up a couple of small ones, but the planning permissions and other bureaucracy prevent that for now. Pity really,  a 500 watt unit on every house with a 10kWh battery and a couple of solar panels would make most of the power stations redundant, give employment to thousands, and make electric cars viable. I think £1000 per house should cover it, given the economics of mass production. Instead we are renewing the Trident system, which will probably cost more, just to keep the Americans happy, and we could have threatened just as much devastation with the models from the 1980's. All they needed was a lick of paint and a new name. (Perhaps that's what happened and the cash is being given to the bankers instead.)
    I think I might stand for Patrician, (I wouldn't want to be included in the line-up of prime ministers)  what do you think? One man (me) one vote (mine). The post stands for a maximum of two consecutive 10 year periods, Foreign holidays maximum of one week per year. If after 20 years the incumbent is still in power, assassination becomes legal, at 25, compulsory. All gifts revert to the state after 5 years. Post-term Lecture tours will be unpaid, although a donation can be made anonymously to a charity.
Provisional policy:-
All churches lose their charity status and pay business tax.

Leave the EEC and restart the Commonwealth. Or offer to run the EEC. 

Flat rate of 60% income tax. No other taxes. Hard labour for avoiders and evaders.

Decommission all nuclear weapons and don't trade with anybody that doesn't do the same.

Institute an additional pension for each half of any couple which doesn't have more than one child. Starts 2043 until the population is down by one third. Fines, but no criminalisation for more than three children.

All 'recreational' drugs legalised, but with punishments for anti-social behaviour.

A major investment programme involving free public transport and the phasing out of human driven internal combustion vehicles, development of  a fleet of British built un-manned electric taxis, you can buy one of your own, but only one.

Houses to be valued against each other, not in monetary terms. Everybody is entitled to a standard one, but can build their own. Carbon neutrality compulsory, and upgrading or rebuilding subsidised.

A tax on imports where home production is possible. Funds gained to pay for production development. Ditto exports.

The introduction of an eight day week, (Octday added,) four on four off, and the right to choose which half to work on. (Just think who you could avoid!) The Patrician has to work five and a half on and three and a half off. Thereby rotating.

The massive confusion and disruption will need at least a decade to settle down, especially as I intend to de-centralise London and other cities, and promote towns of a maximum one mile radius.

 What's not to like?