Monday 25 March 2019


My father often used to say "There's nothing like the right tool for the job, and this is nothing like the right tool for the job."

One of my projects over the weekend was to make a bit of hardware for a drum kit. The top upright on the cymbal stands is a 12mm round bar. The rack-mount tambourine is designed to fit on a hexagonal bar. I had to manufacture the adapter.

What I wanted was a hex collet block, and a small milling machine with a vice dead square on the table. What I actually had has a vice, some files, and a ruler.

If you take a vernier gauge to what I produced it's embarrassingly inaccurate, but it looks good enough, and it works.

Richard "tool" B


I've just come back from a week visiting family in Texas. I was struck by (amongst many other things) how fragile human memory is.

My brother picked me up from the airport in a car identical in every way to the one he had last time, except for the colour of the paint. It was of course the same car and it's never been resprayed except in my flawed recollection.

After drinks, for our entertainment, my brother and his wife would sometimes two-step lovingly around the kitchen or demonstrate self-defence scenarios. My sister-in-law has recently taken a self defence class, and while I believe the class was taught sober, the techniques were demonstrated drunk. One morning she complained that she had bent her finger in her sleep. "Do you think" I asked "maybe it was when you hit him in the face?" Both of their faces lit up with the recollection of an event that had slipped their minds. During a self defence demo a downwards angled blow landed not on his chest and shoulder, but across his ear, cheek and jaw.

I played the part of the mugger while my sister-in-law was using the oven as an imaginary ATM. I thought that I had control of my victim for several seconds, I had hold of both of her wrists and had an arm tightly about her waist. She escaped my grip so effectively and lunged for me so fiercely that I couldn't help but swear and flinch away.

Richard "assailant" B

Tuesday 5 March 2019

Played:2 Won:1 Lost:1

An update in the story of me disagreeing with the man form Caterham about my cooling system fault: He was right. I was wrong. My home made pressure tester wasn't man enough to show the fault and the critical tool turned out to be a mirror on a stick. I'm now having a replacement radiator built at considerable expense.

I have a history of disagreeing with or disregarding conventional wisdom. On one occasion I was at a barbeque ("grill" for my American readers (for my English readers "barbeque" means the anaerobic smoking/baking over geological timescales of cuts of meat that are too heavy to lift)) and somehow found myself doing all the cooking. There were various chunks of meat and vegetables that were supposed to be laced onto skewers and cooked. It struck me as self-evident that the different things needed different cooking times so I put all the mushrooms (for example) onto mushroom-only skewers and all the chicken onto chicken-only skewers, etc. I de-skewered the various (correctly cooked) chunks before they were served.

There was a lot of chat about whether what I had done was stupid or genius, weird or very very weird indeed. My oldest friend was also there and I remember him saying something along the lines of "This is no surprise. Literally everyone in the world knows how to make kebabs on a barbeque. Of course Richard would turn up and think 'I know a better way'."

Richard "new radiator" B