The Old Manse, 18/07/2012
(you'll have to imagine it, it takes too long to insert, and always plays at the wrong time.)
​  A special edition newsletter to celebrate..........
    The Hidden One has emerged under its own power for the first time, with about as many changes as a butterfly from a caterpillar. 
    This Midge is a Ford based one, currently silver, being skinned in aluminium, (and not aluminum as my spellcheck insists,) unpainted and with some of the protective film that comes on the new metal.
   The green Midge, as seen before, is sitting in the garage awaiting new wire wheels, a process which will require much adjustment of mudguards.

Here's a link to a u-tube clip of the new one

   Though it should just appear to the right   >>----->

   Now you probably can't really see the point 
of having two of these things, but if you are 
expecting logical reasoning here, you've got 
a long wait. Just accept it.
   The mysterious and secret knowledge called kit 
car building, (held safely beyond the ken of mortal 
man,) is deep and perplexing, trying to understand
 the wiring makes your brain dribble out of your ears. 
It's like trying to visualise a three dimensional maze 
and then walking through it backwards while a health 
and safety official explains why you can't get there
from here.

   To relax I find shed therapy, usually making a small piece of wood smaller, works best. Stresses caused by this kind of arcane knowledge seem to diminish when ankle deep in wood shavings, I think it has something to do with rhythmic relaxation combined with the danger of losing a finger if you think about anything else. A very small piece of the universe rotates at high speed before you. God probably had the same problem when creating pulsars. Beards, flowing robes, and wide sleeves would be inadvisable.
   However, getting back to the subject in hand, this part of the missive is intended to prepare the way for Great Things Ahead, for this is merely the end of the beginning, and there is much more to do. Seatbelts, upholstery, paint etc.

   Outside the garage the weather continues dull and wet, but then I don't have to go to work, so it could be worse. I can't say I'm any less busy. We've cleared another 50 square yards of snowberry and found the foundations of a greenhouse, an elderly tin bath and a 20 foot long wall. For those of you who don't have this particularly invasive weed, it grows in clumps from very well entrenched roots to a height of 15 feet or so, and rather like rhododendron, blocks out everything else. At this time of year it is full of midges (millions of particles of microscopic, insectile viciousness) and they don't like their habitat destroyed. Performing this task involves either:-
  a. slathering yourself in jungle strength midge repellent and or,
  b. wearing a somewhat awkward, vision restricting midge hood, and 
  c. dressing midge-proof from head to foot, vest, boots, gloves etc.
Now, wielding either poorly seen powertools or sharp edged manual blades, climb under the canopy of leaves and branches and overheat while the local wildlife tries to find any momentarily exposed skin and bite it. You are now ready to attack that which is usually referred to as the environment. If the rainforests were as well defended, we wouldn't have to worry about their welfare. 
   Midges are supposed to be crepuscular, coming out only in twilight, cannot stand direct sunlight or heavy rain, are only active from late April to early October. Even then only the pregnant females of certain sub-groups bite, and none can withstand more than a gentle breeze.
   Unfortunately nobody has found a way of communicating these rules to the midges, so they just do what they please, which usually involves biting, irrespective of the date, weather or religious belief. 
   The experience is, of course, life enhancing, and serves well to stiffen the sinew, upper lip and moral fibre. Loin girding appears to be optional, but it tends to let the midges in. Sadly as yet I have found the stiffening effect only in my lower back, as most of the task is performed at the crouch. I would advise against encouraging any Americans to try it, as they tend to be armed and would probably resort to 'nuculer' weaponry before the hour was up. 

    On another matter entirely, and without any warning, apparently I am to be 60 in a few days. I should apologise to you all for this and I promise not to make a habit of it. 

   Don't send presents, if I've managed without it so far I probably don't need it.

    It would probably be best if we all ignore it and see if it goes away by itself, I was 50 a while ago and that didn't seem to have much effect. I'm going to leave any marking of the occasion 'til Bill gets to Blighty, then we can see what can be done about it. I was born 18 months or so before he was, for which I have apologised on several occasions, but it will be interesting to see if his repeated circumnavigations of the planet has had any effect on the gap between our birthdays. I have checked with a chum, also called Jim, who is reputed to live on a different planet, and as yet found no evidence of relative time dilation. But then as we are not related, he might not count.

   One of my many future projects is to develop a template Christmas Card / newsletter. The price of postage in this country has become ridiculous and will soon stop people bothering long parted friends, ancient acquaintances and lost loves with the fear of getting a card from one to whom one has not sent one. (a difficult sentence to end, but I think I got away with it) 
   I was thinking of something that could be e-mailed, printed (if wanted by the recipient,) or that could simply be read and archived or deleted according to taste. Bah Humbug types could identify it by its heading and bin it without reading it if that's what they do with the old paper ones. Aficionados could print them, I'd suggest a simple picture without too much colour in view of the cost of ink. Fold them if you wish as would normally be done by the card printers. What's not to like? Those few remaining souls who have no computer could be sent a printed copy by post, the expenditure would be minimal and reduced as the years go by. Already we get several newsletters as substitute cards anyway, they are far more personal than the traditional pre-printed card, even if you send the same to all your friends. Remember however who you are sending to, Granny might not appreciate the same story as your Rugby team mates (not that I have either one or the other for different reasons) there again who knows? Anyway, I think they would be cheaper, faster, more reliable, less wasteful and more personal. If you get one from me remember you can erase the script, rewrite in the boxes and replace the photos, then just forward it to all your friends and the only person who will recognise the plagiarism will be me, and I don't mind.
  Lots of love
Jim, who is still only 59