… is the title of Malcolm Muggeridge’s autobiography. I wish I’d thought of that and kept it in reserve for this entry.
The week started well enough; bright and without a breath of wind. The surf is usually up on the farm pond so it was unusual to get such a clear reflection on the water – handy things, phone cameras.
On Monday morning I dropped off a 6ft length of mild steel pipe at the tube benders, the old Morris down-pipe and a request to copy it. ‘No snags’, said the Works Manager, ‘pick it up on Friday’. I went back on Friday and was presented with the pipe now sporting 6 ugly creases on the radius. What?! The chap from the factory floor explained that he didn’t have the right size mandrel but was told to do it anyway and that the Works Manager was off today (they always are). It was not impossible for him to register my disappointment (he was as embarrassed as I was incredulous) and he indicated to me to follow him around the corner where he pulled from the skip exactly what I wanted but in polished stainless steel. ‘There you go chap; we’ll put your bit in the skip in its place and call it a day’. That’s what I call service.
All I’ve got to do is take a swire out of the flanges and TIG them in place and I’ll have one of the few exhausts you can shave in!
Buoyed by this splendid result, I went home, serviced my everyday car and whilst I had Learned Counsel’s oil-sucker-outer-thingummy, I emptied the Morris engine. The oil has always had that golden, as-new look on the dip-stick – that’s because the sludge has sunk to the bottom of the sump. I wrestled the filter from its housing and I’m now considering running-up with flushing oil before the proper stuff goes in. I suppose there is a slight risk of dislodging hard-core deposits which might block oil ways but that’s always a risk with anything and it’s not as though I’m going from a straight oil to a multigrade.
The Great Collector is not so named for nothing. He’s produced this machine from the back of one of his stores and it looks like I may be able to use it to form the front mudguards for the Austin and, if successful, use it to form the wings for the Special. I haven’t a clue what it was originally intended for but it looks about right for a gentle radius on the warp (so to speak) whilst leaving enough on the weft to bend over for wiring the edges. If it works I may not need to collect the wheeling machine (this little chap was heavy enough).
The real frustration of the week was having to collect the seats from the upholsterer. It seems he’d decided (after having stripped the remaining complete seat) that everything about them was wrong and they were never going to work (they seemed to work perfectly adequately before they were stripped). After hearing about his many decades in the business, this news came as both a surprise and a disappointment and it soon became obvious that he either didn’t want the job or was plainly out of his depth. To confirm my suspicions that 3-piece suites were probably more his forté, back in my workshop I reassembled the seats and guess what, they work fine.
We live (and pay) and learn.