An Impressive Amount Of Snow.

I was weighing up which might be the best way to create the false drums that’ll cover the discs and calipers on the Hillman when my fellow Magneteer and I were called back to Norway.

We got the front seats, the sun was out and it wasn’t a silly-o’clock departure – perfect. The outlook was less encouraging as we crept into Oslo through the clag, breaking through the cloud base at what must have been close to decision altitude.

A squadron of 17 snow ploughs was busy keeping things clear…

…. and it wasn’t long before we were back in Drammen….

….though a very heavy snow fall over the weekend promised to hold up the proceedings for 24 hours. Happily, that gave us time to get in supplies for the days and nights ahead. But, back to the aluminium brake drums; I had several options. Aluminium tube, 340mm id, 20mm wall, would give me enough material to machine the finning and weld in a 4mm face plate. Sandcasting was the second option.

Building up the drum and fins from different sized aluminium rings was the third, and lastly, rolling a 20mm x 100mm wide plate to form the drum and again, welding in the face plate. The first three options are all quite expensive so I’m going to go with the fourth. There’s a big engineering works down the road from me and I know they’ve got a set of power rollers – I’ll visit when I’m back from Norway.

I’ve also got to pop up to a company in Redditch to have the discs and bells made. I’ve made up the pattern from rings and everything fits in very nicely. The false drum face plates will have to have a slight dish in them as the caliper is just proud of the disc bell by 8mm. I’ll make up a couple of press tools and do that myself. I don’t yet know if, in order to create some visual balance, I’ll put false drums over the existing rear brake drums, it might look a bit over done.

Learned Counsel found time to get the hood started on the Jowett Jingle Bell – luckily, the original hood was in one piece so a careful unstitching of everything gave him a set of patterns to work with.

Mikhail Guermacheff was a painter born in the Ukraine in the late 19thC and, being back in Norway and not having seen so much snow for a long time, it brought to mind this painting belonging to the other Wright brother. Guermacheff’s treatment of the combination of snow, water and light – especially evening light – has always made his paintings instantly recognisable, so when a friend of mine walked into my local pub and asked if I knew anything about some paintings that belonged to his family, pictures of which he had on his phone, I was able to say in a very knowledgeable way, ‘Ah yes, Guermacheff,’ and blather on for a few minutes about the artist’s history.

Even I was impressed.






There’s Always Someone….

… to spoil your day. Well, not mine fortunately, but the owner of this boat whom I presume, as it was 8.00 o’clock on a Sunday morning, was catching a bit of extra shut-eye before church parade. The yellow tag was a parking ticket issued by a rather casually dressed lady who wasn’t even wearing so much as an official hat.

We were rostered to mess on the ship for our stay in Halden, Norway, which meant that we would be in for some excellent food and the chef on the Nexans Skaggerak didn’t disappoint. I think I had the best piece of beef fillet that I’ve had in my life; so good that I had to ask how it was done. Obviously you’ve got to start with a decent piece of meat in the first place and let it come to room temperature over a 12 hour period. Add the marinade of choice – leave for another 24 hours  – and stick a temperature gauge into the centre of the fillet. Set and heat the oven to 58°C, put the meat in and wait for the gauge to come to 58°. Remove the fillet and allow it to cool to 50°; slice it up and then put it back in the oven until it again reaches 58°C. Then its ready to serve. Cracking!

It was quite a busy little fjord and one evening another cable laying ship came and parked next to us to load up. There were numerous small craft going up and down during the day; cabin-cruisers, sailing boats and I think I spotted a Riva type speed boat. It was a bit too far away to be certain but it looked and sounded right.

We worked a midday to midnight shift which fell in with the meal times on board but it was a strange sensation to wake up and have not a clue what the weather (or sense of the time of day, there being no porthole in the cabin) was until you climbed the stairs and got out on deck. Sleep is always fitful on board a working ship as the cable loading is a 24-hour operation. You tend to wake up if everything stops and there’s suddenly silence!

At the end of our stint, as no hire-cars were available, we took the train. Very clean and comfortable, reclining seats, quiet and equipped with charging sockets for all your electrical paraphernalia, the three-hour journey back to Oslo Gardermoen airport, including a change at Oslo, was a good way to see some of the countryside. Naturally, their harvest was quite a few weeks behind ours being that much further north but patches of barley and oats looked fit. The potatoes were still in bloom so they had a bit to go as well. An evening flight back to Stansted gave us time for a glass of beer and a sandwich each – £46.00! Norway is not cheap.

My first job when I got home was to find a car to replace the Mercedes (fault-finding will continue) and I found a very nice Peugeot 407; red. That should brighten things up a bit!