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to blog or not to blog ...

ok so its been a while ...  not much going on horologicaly (sp?) speaking ... same 7 fairly cheapies for a while now . might sell a couple in the new year with a view to one or perhaps 2 slightly 'better' watches. or i might not. winter is coming - no i still haven't watched any of it - i read the first three books that was enough for me. same house , same job. same 710. same two cats but both now with kidney issues, they have made it to 18 and had a good run so far, so we shall see. we made loads of plans - they changed. not in a bad way , more of a not quite yet way. that said i am aware life is short so we shall see what i can get up to in 18. big holiday next year - although so far only the deposit has been paid - mind you i wised up and have gone for the drinks package this time , i mean come on, who was i kidding? is it just me or is there even less worth watching on TV than usual these days ??? brexit wriggles on - le royaume unis nul points ! really , letting the great unwashed vote , i mean what do they know  710 beckons , tea up - ttfn     

Rotundus

Rotundus

 

star date - tuesday morning brunch time

ok, been a while but i am back.   7 watches in total.  possibly 2 too many.  a cull is on the way, just a matter for time really.  Summer being a rubbish time to try and sell i will hang on until later in the year. 
PB have sent me the email so ... i have downloaded the only album on there i really want to keep (some holiday snaps froma few years ago) and the rest can stay there until the account folds or i get around to killing it.  somewhat motivation free re next purchase - losing the love of auto - solar and kinetics being more in step with my frequent swapping etc. working from home a lot these days which is BORING !!!! possibly hence the time spent of the forum going up a bit. more later - well past the time for my second pot of tea of the day  

Rotundus

Rotundus

 

New cams, and old memories.

I put new cams in my bike to give better mid range power, and went for a run in the glorious sunshine to make sure everything was fine. Ended up going a route that took me past where "it all began". Andra (Andrew) Cochran's at Roundyhill. One shed, surprisingly still standing. There used to be another two to the left. Always something ratty and interesting to be had, Rudges, Norton's, etc. I once bought a Triumph Grand Prix for £30, and rode it home 17 miles when I was 14. There was a huge pot belly stove in the remaining shed, which was always on in the winter, and the place was lit with paraffin lamps. This was in the 1970's ! The last time I was there would have been over 35 years ago when I went to see " Andra's" brother after he died.

WRENCH

WRENCH

 

Travelling light 2

There are many television programs showing entertaining viewing about surviving alone in the wilderness, but you know that somewhere out of camera, is a truck load of supplies. The o!d, "now if this goes wrong I'm in serious trouble" is nonsense, are the camera team really going to run away and leave you ? Back when the world was a safer place, me and my pals would take off during school holidays and wild camp. Basic tents, fishing rods to catch fish to eat, and a diet of beans and soup. We were ten years old. At that time, the old style tramp was still a common sight, some of these guys would hide when they saw us, but others would come and talk, and teach us skills. What I realise now is that many of these men were suffering from post traumatic stress, as a result of what they'd been through in the second world war, and couldn't cope with "ordinary" life. What the television programs often omit to highlight, is that the people who lived in the way they are trying to show, were more often that not, p!$$ poor, so no high priced Scandinavian hand made axe's, or hand made bushcraft knives. The tools they used were, cheep, modified or home made. Here's a commercially available cooking tripod.   Here's a home made "snotrum" made from a length of rebar, that was given to me by an old traveller. Cutting tools are always a case for great debate. I found that a £10 "Bolo" from El Salvador is perfect for my needs. It'll take an edge like a knife, and cut like an axe. For cutting larger wood, a cheap "open" chainsaw chain with home made handles works perfect. £8 worth. and for a comfortable nights sleep, forget about high tech self inflating sleep mats. An old jute sack stuffed with heather works fine, and it rolls up nice and small. A word of warning though, avoid Bracken. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/spores-for-thought-1364558.html Also a must, a tick hook. Regardless of how hot the weather may be, I always wear full length trousers, and knee length socks to avoid picking up these evil b@$tards, but even after taking these precautions, I've still had to remove them from my stomach area and back. My Polish army tent was successful, but heavy and bulky. Next trip I'll go back to using my "parachute" tipi. It can sleep six and it is light and packs small.

WRENCH

WRENCH

 

The Gask Ridge.

After a pleasant night under canvas, the day is decidedly dreich. Overcast and rain. Today's journey is to the nearest town via the Gask Ridge and an old drovers track. From above Auchterarder to Perth. The Ridge is around ten miles long, and was fortified around ten years before Hadrian's Wall was built, and is believed to be Rome's earliest fortified frontier. There was a system of towers strategically placed along its length, the foundations are still clear to see. The road connecting them now forms part of the modern local road system. Onto the drovers track. Anyone who's into woodwork and burrs? Altogether a round trip of about 22 miles, and even in the pouring rain, enjoyable. I'm not using any high tech clothing. Oiled sailcloth cape and wool layers on top, wool still retains its thermal qualities when wet. For the better weather, a ventile shirt does fine. Next time I'm going to use my Kelly Kettle. The wood gas stove is too slow. More to follow. 

WRENCH

WRENCH

 

Travelling light.

I got this book years ago, its a 1975 edition of an original print from 1947 briefly mapping old Scottish drove roads. Over the years I've worked my way through some if them, and where overnight stays have been necessary I've always used the latest high tech camping gear, but this year it's retro only. Tent is ex Polish army canvas. I've had it up in all weathers and has been 100% waterproof, and goes up in less than 2 minutes. Walking pole in the center, and no guy ropes. Tried out a "wood gas stove" which is just a posh version of the old travellers "coffee can stove" it works, not as quick as my Kelly kettle, but takes up less room when packed. These tracks were regularly used in rural areas well into the twentieth century as part of the "Bona Fide traveller" loophole in the licensing laws. Quote. " Prior to 1962, hotels were permitted to open on Sundays to supply drinks to bona fide travellers. From 1962, they were allowed to open on Sundays for all customers. However public houses were not included, and remained closed; under the 1976 Licensing (Scotland) Act, public houses could apply for permission to open on Sundays A bona fide traveller was someone who had travelled three miles, signed the register, and indicated an intention to travel a further three miles. This led to deliberate excursions for a drink by those who would not have considered such a course of action in their home town on a Sunday, in the climate of the times. It led indeed to drinking and driving (then more common at all times) and to merry parties on the last buses home. The further three miles was rarely travelled. My pals dad used to walk through mountain tracks some fourteen miles round trip for a dram every Sunday. Back to "today". I can carry enough for two days in my pack and it'll be interesting to see if I can still manage twenty five miles comfortably.

WRENCH

WRENCH

 

Torches.

Here's my first torch, definitely older than me, and works perfectly well, on paraffin. My next one is this, now converted to run off a led gell battery and fitted with a three watt Cree bulb. It gets charged via a solar panel. Both simple. Now this. Modern technology, adjustable beam, an array of settings; high beam, low beam, strobe, and S.O.S flash mode. What a pain in the @r$e. 

WRENCH

WRENCH

 

Curing the New Year blues.

I detect a certain degree of crabbieness at this time of year, so looking for a cure, I discovered that the term should be "lobsterness" as they seem to require more cheering up due to the wide variety of lobster tickle sticks available. So any forum member suffering from lobsterness send me your coordinates and I shall endeavor to "post" a tickle stick. U.K. delivery guaranteed same hour, and proven to be a satisfactory homeopathic alternative to proprietary drugs and alcohol.

WRENCH

WRENCH

 

1/1/2017.

Annual morning trip to the lochside.   Met up with good friends, and sadly reminisced about those who are no longer here. This year, I have ordered some portable digital recording gear, and as part of the community collaborative I take part in, I am going to start a social history project, all recordings done with real people. We did a trial last year which was a great success. It's all about the history of reality of life, which all too easily gets lost and forgotten.

WRENCH

WRENCH

 

The times they are a changing.

My first experience of work was delivering this stuff, at the age of 11. Most of the households round about relied on it for heating, and some for cooking as well. Paraffin ovens like this one were quite common. The drums held 5 gallons / 25 litres, so a full one including the weight of the drum was around 26 kilos, and I used to carry two at a time. I remember there being a huge outcry when the price went from 1 shilling (5 pence) to 1 shilling and 3 pennies. A lot of the local households still relied on paraffin lamps as well. The old Tilley lamps were the best and brightest, but made a continuous annoying hiss. As did the Tilley heaters. I've still got all this stuff, and it still works. Yesterday I was reading about all the household appliances that are now controlled via phone apps, but I can't find one for my phone that operates an axe. The area I live in had no mains electricity before 1965. I still heat my workshop with a homemade indirect kerosene heater, so the fumes all go outside, and it doesn't suffer from condemnation like the old days. Simplicity does have it's benefits. Even if it means getting up at 5 am to get the stove going for hot water.

WRENCH

WRENCH

 

Secret society of the Scottish gardeners

The secret society of the Scottish estate gardener is a little know subject that I shall now offer, at risk to my personal safety, a little insight.   In days gone by, an apprentice gardener would be carefully vetted and chosen by the estate factor, more commonly known as the "wee laird" or " the lairds sooker". Once employed the new boy would be handed down a simple bonnet as uniform, from a previous worker. These bonnets always showed signs of wear and alterations as a result of being passed down over the years from employees with different head sizes. The bonnet would have to be worn at all times and failure to do so always resulted in summary dismissal. During the first two years the new boy would be given such tasks as emptying the estate septic tanks by hand to prepare compost for the greenhouse hot boxes. Once two years were in, the apprentice would then be handed down a uniform simple flat cap, again for another employee who had moved up the ladder so to speak. No longer the new boy, the apprentice gardener would now be allowed to handle dung unsupervised, be taught the art of trampling and turning over the compost heap, and the luxury of staying all night in the greenhouse during winter, having to stoke the boiler every hour to ensure the correct temperature was kept.   After completing his apprenticeship, the journeyman gardener would be presented, by the Lairds wife, a new, dark coloured eight piece cap. This entitled him to be shouted at by the head gardener without delegation, and the privilege of cleaning tools and equipment, and the head gardeners wellington boots, (inside and out) and properly lining the insoles with straw during the winter months.   Only after reaching the age of fifty five could the journeyman gardener reach the heady heights of Head Gardener. This involved a secret initiation, followed by a public celebration of the award of the "Scone Bonnet". This bonnet, always oversized and exclusively made from Harris Tweed, would be presented, almost like a Knighthood, by the Laird himself, with a speech in old Scots Gaelic. Here is a quote from the history of Harris Tweed: Waulking the Fabric
 
  Waulking has two important effects. Firstly it cleanses the cloth and eliminates excess lanolin, oils, dirt, and other impurities. And secondly, it makes the material softer and thicker. Originally this was done by literally ‘walking’ (i.e. treading) the fabric in water, perhaps treated with a proportion of URINE for its ammonia as a cleansing agent. But don’t worry, nowadays the process involves nothing more than pure water.   Because of the ancient preparation of the tweed, the head gardener would now always be affectionately referred to as " the big piss head "   Many of Scotland's estate gardens open to the public still adopt this little-known practice, and tradition, so any of you who are lucky enough to visit these beautiful locations in full bloom, always look out for the man with the big Harris Tweed bonnet, and ask him " are you a big piss head" spectators will always find the response amazing.

WRENCH

WRENCH

 

Baby, it's cold outside...part deux.

While I get to stay working on the estate, the other lads who work on our building sites were busy demolishing an old garage, ready for a rebuild. They bought back a truck load of the old roofing timbers....joists, roofing batten and old chipboard flooring. Rather than just chuck it in the skip, where it would take up valuable space (...and I mean valuable, the price of skips today!) and as it was freezing cold, we made it into a bit of a bonfire. Kept me warm for most of the morning....

Roger the Dodger

Roger the Dodger

 

Baby, it's cold outside!

This week, as the temperatures continue to drop, It's time to set up the 'hot house' within the main greenhouse to cater for those plants which need to be kept at minimum temps during the winter. I have some Hibiscus and Mirabilis that need to be kept at 10°C until next spring, so need to partition off part of the greenhouse to acheive this. Later, at the beginning of March next year, the temp will be raised to 20°C to germinate the seeds that will form the backbone of next years border displays. When I designed this greenhouse many years ago, I had a gap left in the benching to accomodate a partition wall made from 100mm thick 'Jablite' (polystyrene insulation material) that was cut to wedge tightly across the glasshouse and form a 'hot room'. The 'wall' is completed by a door and frame, the whole wedged firmly in place with no need for fixings.The suspended hot air blower raises the temp to whatever I set the thermostat to...at the moment 10°C. The sensor on the wall records the temp and humidity and sends it to a monitor on my desk in the office, so I can see what is going on without having to actually go to the greenhouse.
The greenhouse without the winter partition...note the gap in the bench for the 'wall' . The first section is put in place...
Follwed by the second...
100mm thick!
Finally, the door and its frame are wedged in, creating an airtight hotroom.
This hot air heater is very economical to run, and is controlled by a very sensitive and accurate thermostat. When the heat is turned off by the 'stat, the fan in the blower continues to run to keep the air circulating and prevent the air from stagnating. Blowers are better for heating a greenhouse as they don't produce water vapour like a paraffin heater which can lead to mould (botrytis) forming.
This sensor reads the temp and humidity, and relays it to a monitor on my office desk.

Roger the Dodger

Roger the Dodger

 

Small little balls

Well, one small ball and how I got it out. It's not as bad as it sounds.....honest. Once I got the bezel off, all that was left was the remains of a spring and no ball bearing for that wonderfull "click" when you rotate your bezel. Being pointed in the right direction from Jsud2002 and a link to one of Roys hacks as I like to call them, I proceeded to find a Bic pen and my clippers and followed Roys instructions which can be found here. Roys ball seems bigger than mine, so once I get a mitt full of spring bars tomorrow, I will be able to tell, but you get the idea of the job in hand. There seems to be a mixed view on using these balls as they are not stainless steel, but Tungsten and over time may wear away the bezel. I dont use my bezel as it should be used, so in my case I dont mind using the Tungsten. If you prefer your balls of steel, they are about £3 for ten of the  1mm little blighters. Enjoy the pics.

retro72

retro72

 

It runs and runs and runs

Just a quick update I have tested the run time on the Seiko. With a good shake, it lasted 48 hours before stopping. The time keeping was a bit hit and miss but with roughly an overall 30 minutes too fast by the end of the 48 hours. How can this be rectified? Anything to do with the plus and minus on the movement? You will have to forgive the terminolgy I use in this blog. It is lamonese with plenty of thingys and lots of majigies Feel free to point me in the right direction. Its the only way I will learn and also anyone who decides to read this!!

retro72

retro72

 

bloomin'eck friday again already , Jimmy and Leonard

casio for the run - and for the first time in ages i miss-pressed the buttons so instead of starting a stopwatch i did bugger all to a down timer. good run anyway - i have a start slow and slow down after a mile strategy which seems to be working. anyway down 11 pounds in weight since mid September; the huge drop in beer and cider consumption may have as much to do with it as the resumed training. finding it a bit too cold for the rowing machine in the mornings (garage).  some free weights indoors but god that is boring... on call from home today after another busy week - almost up to date with the paperwork. if i get a call out i hope it comes soon - Friday afternoon specials are a royal friggin' pain and i don't get overtime - i have a lot of time for the NHS. most of the folks there are diamond, but there are a few skiving brain deads who wait until the very last minute to call something in so they can sit and drink coffee as "the machine is broken".   quote of the week - "well its started making this really bad mechanical noise and was running really rough a few days ago, but it didnt break down completely until this morning" ... rant over.  luxor for the weekend unless back to the casio for work - it had been the seiko for the last few days. and it turns out its 8 in total not 7 - i put them all in the box at the same time and counted - yes for a while there there was no watch at all on my slightly slimmer, anger vented wrist. BFN      Jimmy and Leonard this week - am i getting old ? Hagwe   

Rotundus

Rotundus

 

Cheap Macro Pics

I like macro pictures, but could never really justify forking out a shed load of money on camera equipment. Then one day, I was in TK Maxx having a mooch and see this weird gizmo. A smart phone camera attachment from National Geographic. A 30x lens for £6.99. In for a penny in for a pound. I trust national geographic,  but even the demo images seemed to be digitally enhanced. I got home and attached the lens to the smart phone. All I could see was a blue tube with a close up of my watch lens. I thought "Oh well, at least I didnt spend much". Then I pinch zoomed on my phone screen. WOW now that was better. For £6.99 it became a bargain. Get one, its amazing. I suspect that if you can not find a National Geographic one, there will be others available on the bay of various China sites.

retro72

retro72

 

Bezel Off

OK, I couldn't wait and made a start tonight. The bezel was stuck and full of **** crud. I took it off with my trusty bezel removal tool** and proceeded to clean the crud off the bezel and case with my son's electric tooth brush. Better than it was and I am happy I made a start. It has lost it's click as I think the BB has gone. (can this be replaced?) ** You dont want to know my tool list, but the work. Just dont ask me to work on youe Rolex    

retro72

retro72

 

Why have I bought a crapped up watch??

Before I continue, I must make a confession. I am not a watch maker nor am I skilled in any form of watch making wizardry. I like to take things apart, clean them up and make them presentable. Some of you like the "Wabi"  look and some of you like the restore the hell out of it. I am somewhere inbetween. I am more of a "modder". I have, from an eBay buyer I have bought from before several times in the past, a Seiko 4205 mid size watch. The bezel wont rotate, but I think that is just crud under the ring and the crystal is a little worse for wear when under the microscope. No, really a microscope, but I will write about that in a bit. This will not be a quick restore, more of a as and when I can get time to do it. When updates are ready, they will appear here.   Thanks for the interest and hopefully it will not be too long until the next post.  

retro72

retro72

 

Up on the roof.....

When the alterations were done to the 'big' house a couple of years ago, one of the features added was a large roof light to allow natural daylight into the stairwell and hall below. Unfortunately, the local crow population thought that this would make a great place to perform their morning ablutions.....and when a crow lets go, it makes a hell of a mess! Brings a whole new meaning to the term 'logging on'.  The glass was soon covered in a layer of crow crap which didn't look very nice from below. So I've just been tasked with getting up on the roof to clean said glass and fit some anti bird spikes to prevent further 'downloads'. I'd love to be up there when one tries to land now, and gets a spike right up his 'rusty Sheriff's badge'......in the words of 'Jonesy' in Dad's Army.....'They don't like it up 'em, Sir!' While I was up there took a few snaps of the grounds.... Roof light with anti bird spikes now fitted........you can see the access hatch on the far flat roof...no monkeying around on ladders here!
The stableyard, greenhouse and hedge I cut the other day... Rear lawns, part of the walled garden and paddock...and my bonfire merrily smoking away in the top LH corner!

Front lawns and paddock....I love my job!  

Roger the Dodger

Roger the Dodger

 

The times, they are a changing....

As we progress further into Autumn, I always love to see the changing colours on the trees. The bright greens of Spring and Summer give way to beautiful reds, oranges and yellows. This year is going to be an exceptional one for the Holly berries....the trees are absolutely covered with them. Many quote the old wive's saying....'Oooh, that means we'll have a hard winter!' Absolute poppycock!...how does the tree know this? What it actually means is that we had a mild Spring earlier in the year, with plenty of insects about to pollinate the Holly flowers, and no sharp frosts to burn the developing berries off, which is what happens in years when there are no berries the following winter. Several other trees are showing a similar trait, with the Yews and Hawthorns groaning under the weight of a bumper berry harvest. Some of the beautiful trees on the estate in their Autumn colours.
Japanese 'cut leaf' maple (Acer palmatum 'Dissectum')
The Honey Locust tree (Gleditsia triacanthos 'Sunburst')  That's a Giant Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in the background.
Liquidambar (Liquidambar styraciflua)
The following are some of the exceptional berry crops this year....
Common Holly (Ilex aquifolium)..I've never seen so many berries, in such thick clusters as these..and all the holly trees on the estate are like this...
Yew (Taxus baccata) The Yew berry is known as an 'aril'...it's a fleshy, protective coat surrounding the single seed.
Hawthorn (Crataegus persimilis) This is a cultivated Hawthorn, and not the common one found in hedgerows (C. monogyna). The branches on this tree are actually drooping under the weight of all the berries.In about 3 weeks, I'm going to have to rake them all up, as they'll all drop to the ground!
   

Roger the Dodger

Roger the Dodger

 

Leaf it out and stripes

For that final cut, first the leaves decending from my ash trees require collecting, there are various forms of equipment for the job, here is my preference. It has served me well over the years. Next, the proper equipment for that low impact cut, and compaction to ensure perfect stripes.

WRENCH

WRENCH

 

Leaf it out, mate!

As today was a lovely sunny autumn day, it's time to start collecting up the leaves while they are still dry, ready for the leafmould heap. There were quite a few down already...two trailer loads, but that is just a drop in the ocean to what will come later! These go into my leafmould coralle, and in about a years time, they will have broken down into a lovely soil conditioner, ready to be dug in or used as a mulch. Leaf mould in itself has no nutritional value for plants, as the tree withdraws all the goodness from the leaves before they fall...especially the green pigment 'Chlorophyll'. This is such an important compound to the tree (it's what converts sunlight to sugars) that it withdraws it and stores it for next year. That's why the leaves appear to change colour in the autumn. Some of the pics below are old ones from the 'Mowing the Grass' thread a couple of years ago, but worth repeating I think. The first of many trailer loads!
These go into my leafmould coralle....new on the right, last years on the left. When all the leaves are gathered in, the heap on the right will be at the top of the Heras panels and reach halfway across. By next year it will have reduced to what you see on the left. The only leaves we don't put here are those from a London Plane tree that we have...they are like leather and take for ever to rot down, so they get burnt, and the resulting ash spread on the formal borders.
...and this is the result...lovely crumbly, sweet smelling soil conditioner.

Roger the Dodger

Roger the Dodger