Saturday, 4 September 2021

Pedal Box

 I'm the proud owner of a Fiat Panda and I don't like it. Among other things, the pedal box is awful. The throttle pedal is so high that: 1) If you clumsily mash your foot onto the pedals you hit the throttle at the same time as the brake - which can't be safe. 2) It strains my ankle. 3) It makes it quite impossible to practice my heel and toe. I think it was a pretty crappy conversion to right hand drive. They didn't move the brake master cylinder so there is a horrible linkage that goes all the was across the car. The throttle pedal goes down onto the inside of the wheel well, on the other side of the car there would be much more room for it.

I spent this weekend doing what I could to make the car more comfortable to drive.

I thought these pedal extensions were going to be curved. I guess I'll have to do that myself.

I don't have a slip rolls or a bender so I'll have to make something to form it around

I don't have a bandsaw, and I seemingly don't have any blades this long for the jigsaw. Don't mind me, I'll just spend forty minutes making a rip cut through about six square inches of tropical hardwood with a fucking coping saw.


(Behind) Original flavour throttle pedal. (Front) New and improved low profile throttle pedal.



It is now much more comfortable to drive and you can heel and toe.

Richard "I hate it slightly less now" B

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Is it a Car? Is it a Van? Is it a Pile of Shit?

 Too many people think that their cars are - and ever will be - just as they are sitting on the driveway. I prefer to see them as a collection of parts, some harder to remove than others, some more essential than others.

My sportscar for example has a luggage rack that can be fitted or removed as the need arises. It also has a windscreen and wipers, but if the weather is good and you want better straight line speed, they can be removed. I have recently put some effort into making it easier to deal with the electrical connections when you take the windscreen on and off.

I am now also the _proud_ owner of a Fiat Panda. While it is eminently suitable for driving my elderly mother around in it hasn't got enough interior space to either take a p.a. to a gig or take a broken up shed to the tip. In order to reconfigure it as a goods vehicle I have got pretty good at taking the seats out (except the driver's seat - that's on the minimum equipment list) and I am currently making a ply liner for the area where the rear seat usually goes.

Richard "Jury Rigged Van" B

Monday, 23 August 2021

White Knight

 This weekend I was an incompetent white knight to a couple of strangers.

I was walking in the rain on a mission to towers-of-hanoi my car back to my house when I came across a couple of young women with a broken down car/van/people-carrier thing. One of them was talking earnestly on the phone, the other told me that the battery was flat and that they needed to bump start it. It couldn't have been easier, the vehicle was pointing down hill and there was just about enough room to get it out of its space (if you were strong). As neither of them were confident to start it I jumped in and did it for them. I then did an inexpert three point turn to bring the vehicle back to them and STALLED IT while it was pointing up hill. I'm glad to say that it JUST started on the starter motor, but I lost my nerve. I left it running, not really parked, and not that close to where they were standing, wished them good luck and walked quickly away – to pick up a vehicle that I had left somewhere the previous day when I used it to get somewhere to go drinking.

Richard "Is a long way from home" B

Wildlife 2

 The local wildlife are still trying to confuse and humiliate me. On Sunday morning I was on my doorstep smoking a cigarette and a squirrel ran past me into my house. I quickly put the cigarette out to go and usher it away.

I'm usually delighted that house martins nest near my house, but when I went back outside to clear up the smoking detritus one of them shat in my hair.

Richard "It's good luck" B

Friday, 6 August 2021

Grab Defeat from the Jaws of Defeat

 I'm very pleased that house martins visit the area where I live each summer. There's very little that you can do to encourage these birds (other than not knocking their nests down) because the only thing that they'll eat is live flying insects that they catch. They spend absolutely all day flying around hunting insects.

Last week I rescued a daddy longlegs from my bedroom. I don't know how it had got in there, but it was too stupid to get out. It was flying clumsily about, bumping in to things and couldn't understand that I had opened the window for it to leave. After chasing it and wafting it around with a piece of paper I eventually managed to get it to fly out of the window. The rescue was less successful than I hoped, within a second of it getting outside a house martin flew vertically downward at enormous speed and ate it.

Richard "Bird Feeder" B

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Quiz 3

 Last week I hosted the final canteen quiz before the end of lockdown. These are the questions that I asked:

General Knowledge

1) Who is the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

2) What was the name of the popular 2020 video game in which players guide jellybean like characters through obstacle courses?

3) What sport is played at Lord's (London)?

4) What colour is a raw lobster?

5) Who became the world's richest man in January 2021

Famous Albums (name the band or artist)

1) Kind of Blue

2) London Calling

3) 21

4) Electric Ladyland

4a) Electric Landlady (1/2 point)

5) Bridge over Troubled Water

5a) Trouble over Bridgewater (1/2 point)

TXT ABBRV (what do these text abbreviations mean?)

1) LOL

2) BRB


4) SMH

5) WFH

Explain a Film Plot Badly (name the film)

1) Terrorists, robbers and a jealous husband ruin an office Christmas party.

2) Telephone repairman makes a sculpture out of mashed potato and leaves his wife and kids.

3) Andy is a disgraced banker and geology enthusiast who provides tax advice to prison guards before retiring to Mexico.

4) Thirteen year old boy involved in sexual relationship with mature woman after visit to the fun fair.

5) Rebellious princess provides the nephew of a murdered farmer with the weapons and intelligence to attack a military base.

All Must Have Prizes (In what field are these prizes awarded?)

1) Fields Medal

2) Booker Prize

3) Turner prize

4) Ansari X prize

5) The Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement

U.S. Cartoon Families (give the family name or the name of the show)

1) Peter and Lois, their children Chris, Meg and Stewie

2) Fred and Wilma and their daughter Pebbles

3) Hank and Peggy, their son Bobby, and Peggy's niece Luanne

4) Matriarch Malory, her son Stirling his wife Lana and their daughter Abbiejean

5) Homer and Marge and their children Bart, Lisa, and Maggie

Units of Measurement (what is measured in these units?)

1) scoville units

2) denier

3) hands

4) millibars

5) decibels

What the F do these people do?

1) farrier

2) furrier

3) flautist

4) florist

5) Philatelist

You know the rules

1) What does Godwin's Law tell us about discussions and comment sections on the internet?

2) What does Dilbert's law tell us about the career progression of the least effective workers?

3) What does Rule 34 of the internet tell us about what exists online.

4) What does Muphry's law (also called Bell's first law of usenet) tell us about criticising grammar, spelling or language online?

5) What does the Streisand Effect tell us about attempting to suppress or remove information from the internet?

Old Jokes Home (all the answers are a first name)

1) What do you call a woman who gets thrown into the sea by a fisherman?

2) What do you call a man walking though dry leaves?

3) What do you call a tall man standing at the edge of the sea?

4) What do you call a man that comes through the letterbox?

5) What does a woman with one leg longer than the other call herself?

Richard "first big weekend of the summer" B

General Knowledge
1) Rishi Sunak
2) Fall Guys
3) Cricket
4) Blue (or green or grey or brown)
5) Elon Musk

Famous Albums (name the band or artist)
1) Miles Davis
2) The Clash
3) Adele
4) The Jimi Hendrix Experience
4a) Kirsty McColl
5) Simon and Garfunkel
5a) Half Man Half Biscuit

TXT ABBRV (what do these text abbreviations mean?)
1) Laugh Out Loud
2) Be Right Back
3) As Far As I Know
4) Shaking My Head
5) Working From Home

Explain a Film Plot Badly (name the film)
1) Die Hard
2) Close Encounters of the Third Kind
3) The Shawshank Redemption
4) Big
5) Star Wars (A New Hope)

All Must Have Prizes (In what field are these prizes awarded?)
1) Maths
2) Literature
3) Art
4) Space Flight
5) Excellence

U.S. Cartoon Families (give the family name or the name of the show)
1) Griffin – Family Guy
2) Flintstone – The Flintstones
3) Hill – King of the Hill
4) Archer
5) Simpson – The Simpsons

Units of Measurement (what is measured in these units?)
1) chilli peppers (heat of)
2) tights (thickness of fibre)
3) horse (height of)
4) atmospheric pressure
5) sound level

What the F do these people do?
1) Makes Horseshoes
2) Makes furs (coats hats etc.)
3) Plays the flute
4) Sells flowers
5) Collects stamps

You know the rules
1) The longer they go on, the more likely they are to mention Hitler or the Nazis.
2) They end up where they can do the least damage, which is in management.
3) If you can think of it there is porn of it – no exceptions.
4) You’re almost certain to make a spelling/grammar error in your correction.
5) It draws attention to the information.

Old Jokes Home (all the answers are a first name)
1) Anette
2) Russel
3) Cliff (also accept Piers)
4) Bill
5) Eileen