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The French Blatting Company
DAILY BLOG AT LA FOIE
It is cold and raining so I'm banned from the workshop. Didn't take much persuasion so listened to music most of the day.
We went out today, a nice Chinese meal at Attol near Angers. Can't go tomorrow because Lynne is having her cataract operation
When we got home yesterday there was a message from the hospital. Lynne thought it was a reminder. We got to the hospital at 1030 for the 1100 appointment. She was taken in and told to get changed into a gown. Then, when she had changed they told her it had been postponed until 1300, only they said that in French (trieze). So she got dressed again and came out. This was what the message wa about! We got in the car meaning to find a cafe for a coffee and return at 1230. Only problem was she said she had to go back at trieze, 3 pm. 3pm is not trieze but quanze. So we turned around and went back and I got it confirmed ar 1300, 1 o'clock. Set off for town and a coffee. PROBLEM. market day and couldn't find a parking place. So went back to the hospital for a coffe. Met some English friends and we all sat chatting (about other English "friends") for an hour. Lynne checks in at 1300 and I get some lunch. I then sit around reading magazines until 1730. She is supposed to be out by 1730 so at 1745 I ask if I can go in. Yes was the answer and I find her in the recovery room with a gown on and having blood pressure taken. They let her out at 1800 and we set of to Buffalo Grille for an evening meal. She has a plastic guard over her eye but she feels fine.
Up and in the workshop for 0700. Get most of the work on the Caterham finished and pack up at 1600. Just thinking.... I used to be able to get the engine out in an hour and back in in under two hours. Takes all day to get out and more than a day to get it back in now. Old age.....
Physio at 1000. I then go to the tax office to give them my bank details. I've given them our new UK address and agreed to pay French tax until end of year. Get back, have a cup of tea and get changed and finish the Caterham. All done by 1500 and then I have to get changed to take Lynne to the doctor for a new prescription. When we get back I get the car on the ground and push it back so it's in the doorway. Lynne comes over and we bleed the clutch. I then have to sort out the wires on the front corner which have been pulled out. I haven't got my corset on and my back is killing me so I give up and we come in.
UPDATE. Forgot to mention the shed saga. I need two 8 x 3 (feet not metres) tool sheds for the new house. The manufacturer I chose wants 25 working days for delivery. So I have to order them now. I want them delivered and constructed on rhe same day, 16th June. That seems to be a big problem for them. They will not gaurantee the delivery date. I spend ages on the phone and start looking for altenrnatives but it seems that no one else offers fitted shelves as an option. In the end I compromise by getting delivery for an earlier date and they will give my daughter at least an hours notice to get there top open the garage for them to put them in and the install team will turn up on the 16th.... they hope! Had I been there I could have assmbled myself and made my own shelves. I need them installed with shelves before we arrive as I'm planning on putting two 60cm x 60cm benches in one for the sand blast cabinet and the piller drill and all my collection of parts on the shelves. I will also need storage for the strimmer, hedge trimmer and mower as well as my collection of circular saws, jigsaws and big drills, which I'll probably never use again.
Leave at 0800 for Angers to finish Alexandre's TC. We fit the new exhaust and then I fit the new nut to number one tappet. We try and start it but it won't fire. Check the points and that we have a spark from the plug lead. Clean and heat the plugs but it still wont start. Take the carb float lids off and pour new 98 octane fuel in, in case the fuel in the tank has gone off. Check the timing, seems OK. At 1100 we go to the cafe for a coffee. We then go to Aleaxandre's factory for his van so we can jump the battery off a bigger battery. It still won't start. OK, lunch time. We go back to his house and Muriel has made a wonderful lunch washed down with a lovely Bordeaux. After lunch we go back and I loosen the distributor and turn it clockwise and hey-presto the engine starts. The distributor was one cylinder out in its timiming! I can't work out how that has happened as it was running when in my workshop (with fuel, coil and battery connected with engine on the floor). Never mind it runs. I got it hot, checked the tappets. and packed up for the night. We then went to a bar with the biggest range of beers I've ever seen in one place. Had a beer and then came home. I'm going back in the morning to set the timing with a timing lamp and to fit two longer bell housing bolts as two have striipped threads in the housing and longer bolts will pick up the therads further in. Alexandre has asked if I can adjust the carbs on his XK 120. Pleasure.
I had to take Lynne shopping so didn't leave for Angers until 1000. Got to Alexandre's garage at 1100. Checked the ignition timing and adjusted in 15 minutes. Put two longer bolts in the bell housing. Whilst I looked at the Jaguar carbs I asked Alexandre to start the MG so we could look at the oil leaks. To cut a long story short (makes a change!) the longer bolts had locked the flywheel so the engine wouldn't turn over. Removed them, cut a bit off and refitted. Started but was making a high pitched squealing. When I had fitted the two new bolts I had nipped up the other two I fitted yesterday. Just enough for one of them to be touching the flywheel. An extra washer sorted that.
The oil leak was from the filter and on closer inspection was coming from the filter canister cover. Nightmare job getting it off as the pipes had to be taken off. Stupid design as the filter bracket is above and below the joint in the outer covering. Anyway, got it off and found the filter cartridge hadn't been tightened. I suppose it was my fault for not checking it was tight but if a filter is fitted one expects it to be tight. We then started to put the filter back and Alexandre was helping. In the "confusion" the copper washers on the pipe to the block got transposed so the large one was where the small one should be and vice-versa. Took the whole thing off again and fitted new copper washers. Started it up and all leak free. I packed my tools and went home arriving at 1500 instead of 1300. I'll ring Mike at NTG in the morning and complain. If a filter is put on, inside a cover, it should be tight. If not don't fit it but pack separately.
Started at 0800. I'm sorting out the wires on the Caterham that have been pulled out when the engine was out. Ran a live wire to the front of the car and tested each wire to see which lamp it was connected to. Took nearly all day for what should have been a two hour job. In the end I got everything working except the main beams and the brake lights. The problem with them seems to be under the dash. The dash had been removed by the bodyshop last year when they lacqured the car. I then got the car outside and washed it and cleaned the interior. I looked in the boot and found 2 cans of engine oil. I have orderd 4 cans (135€, ouch!) as I'd forgotten I had some in the boot. Topped up the oil and put the car back inside.
I had a few interuptions because we hit a problem with the house in Royston. When we did the deal with the present owner he told us he could move out at any time as he was going to stay with his daughter whilst looking for a new house. I had to phone him to get the house phone number and he mentions as a passing comment that he's now found a house will complete at the end of June so we can complete on this house then. NO! We've agreed with the solicitors a completion date of 19th May as I have to get the builders in and I'm going to order all the new stuff we'll need for delivery on 16th June and move over on 28th. His solicitors hadn't told him! So my son had a busy day getting agreement for an earlier date and ended up with 26th May, a week later than we had planned. I feel sorry for Les (the vendor) as he will have to move twice in a month but he can't agree something then change his mind without telling anyone.
Went to hospital for an x-ray on my lung. We saw the doctor who pannicked when she was the first x-ray a few months ago and told us to see the doctor urgently as I still had a patch on the lung. When we got to the doctor he looked at teh x-ray, smiled and said that's exactly what he'd expect. It will take a long time to fully heal.
Keep saying I'm getting old... I had a physio appointment in my diary for 0900 this morning and then Lynne announces her hospital appointment is 1000, not 1100 as she thought. OK, I'll ask Alex (physio) to just do 1/4 hour so we can get to hospital. I get in at 0905 and take my coat and shirt off and Alex comes in and imforms me I haven't an appointment this week, it's Friday only as they had Monday off (bank holdiday here). I get dressed and go and find Lynne who has gone to the doctor to make an appointment for him to see the latest x-ray. She also had some letters to post. I found her in the post office so after she had laughed about me going to a non-appointment I went to the doctor and made the appointment for Friday. We then went back to the car and set off for the hospital. I sat in the cafe whilst Lynne saw the anethstatist. We were on our way by 1040. WCollected 8 litres of Motul 300v Race Oil for the Caterham, then went for a chinese at Attol.
We then went to the BMW dealer to see when the Mini would be ready. My suspicion was raised when they all said they didn’t know what was happening and I should call the manager tomorrow (his day off today). They’ve had the car 3 weeks and were supposed to start work on it on third May. I walked into the workshop, it wasn’t there. I then walked around the back of the workshop and it was in a corner outside – Just as it was when it was taken there. They haven’t touched it. On the way into the complex I noticed a new sign for a BMW/Mini specialist. We went there to ask if they would do it. All they could say was the Mini Cooper S with supercharger was a very difficult car to work on and they couldn’t do it. I’ll ring Cyril, the manager at the dealership but suspect he’ll say they can’t do it. If that’s the case I’ll see if I can arrange it’s transport back to the UK and ask someone I know who has a BMW specialist garage in Surrey if he’ll do it. Then I’ll ask my friend if he can take it there after Le Mans and then come back for the MG. The moving of the cars and workshop equipment is already costing more than the house removal, this will put the cost up even more. I have put the Honda on two French web sites now but may have to keep it to get back to the UK. I doubt Lynne will travel with me in the Caterham. She may be able to get in the 7.5 tonner with Ian, Jo-Anne and their lad, Sam. But it’ll be a squeeze. Or get Ian to take the Caterham back on his trailer and drive the MG back. I can do without all this hassle. After that we went to the garage who are rectifying the paint on the MG. Maurice has painted the panels with 7, yes, seven, coats of paint. He needs to polish them and refit them. It’s the two front wings and the bonnet, the two side panels of the fuel tank. Says it’ll be ready next Thursday. I haven’t fitted the side screens yet so it may difficult to drive if it rains (assuming we have no other cars!)
When we get home I provide even more proof I'm past it. Last week I arranged insurance in the UK for the MG and Caterham. I now have the renewal date for the Caterham and want to let them know when to start cover on it. I ring Direct Line and ask them. They have no record of it.... I then realise it wasn't them so apologise. I then ring Hiscox but it wasn't them and they suggest it may be Haggerty! It was and I ring them. Third time lucky! The chap I speak to says to ring back after 22nd May as they cannot arrange cover more than a month ahead. The current cover goes to 22nd June. OK, no problem. Then, an email arrives and it's the policy docs for both cars with cover starting 22nd May. No problem, at least it's another job out of the way.
Didn't do much all day. Just too tired.
Went to physio at 0900 then home. At 1515 we went into Pouance. I went to the dentist to see what she could do about dentures whilst Lynne went shopping. I have teeth missing on the top on one side and the bottom on the other. When I had dentures made in the UK they just rocked side-to-side as they were only anchored on one side. The dentist assured me she could get dentures made that didn't rock but at a price. That price was 1750€. After the dentist I went to the doctor to get a new prescription. Lynne met me there and she got a prescription for anti-biotics as the has a sore throat. We got back about 1800.
I was up early and went to Alexandre's. He had sent a message that he had no spark at the plugs. I got there and found the battery almost flat. I put the battery on charge with my big charger whilst we went for a coffee. When we got back it started and I tried to put the air filter on. It's the original and the flange is broken and the breather pipe is bent. It wouldn't go on. I left it off and suggested we take it for a drive to free the engine up a bit. I followed in the Honda and we first went to the super market to fill up. Alexandre said the clutch wasn't right so we swopped over and I drove the TC, he drove the Honda. The clutch needed adjusting, no wonder it was so hard to get the engine mated to the gearbox. We went along the dual carriageway and then turned of near the Lac de Main (a very nice lake with lots of picnic areas). The car stopped and wouldn't start. I opened the bonnet and found the fan belt shredded and wrapped around the water pump pulley. Now I realised why the tacho had stopped. Alexandre wanted to phone his wife to bring the tow bar but I said to wait. I had brought some jump leads so I pulled the Honda alongside and jumped it and it started. We decided I would drive the TC to nurse it back. We got back but only just - it wouldn't rev and the clutch was slipping. I jacked the car up and released the clutch rod, it went about half inch before I got free play.Alex tried it and said it was OK. He then found a few fan belts and we found one that fitted so I put it on. It was now gone 1200 and I wanted to go home. Alexandre is away on business next week so I've got the keys to the garage and will go there on Sunday, clean the plugs and re-check the ignition timing.
Just had a rest after yesterday's exertions.
I cleaned the Land Rover and took some pictures. My jet wash has no power and as I need one to do the tiles on the patio I ordered a new one for delivery tomorrow. I then tried to put an advert on the main French web site for selling anything - Leboncoin (the good corner). After about half and hour I thought it was finished but as I haven't had any confirmation I must have done it wrong.
After lunch I started cutting grass. As some of it is waist high it will need more tomorrow, but I did get the area in front of the gite done.
Nice? If anyone wants to buy it it's going for £2,500.
Started with the strimmer at 0900. Did all along the gites and the back of our house as well as around the front. Then got the tractor started and spent almost the rest of the day cuting the long grass. Took several passes with the mower raised and dropping an inch or two each pass. After lunch I got the new jet wash fixed up and jet washed some of the patio. Then I had to have a rest. At 1700 I took the strimmer to the workshop and started strimming each side of the door. My back was really hurting so when the strimmer wire run out I packed up. I should have an hour tomorrow night to finish it. I had left the tractor in front of the house and when I tried to start it I found the battery flat. I connected the charge and will leave it charging until we go to bed and then move it back to it's parking space tomorrow.
Tomorrow we're going to the hospital for Lynne to have the second eye operation. She can't wait, the first op has been so successfull.
Get to hospital on time and we both go in. Lynne gets changed and we're both shown to the waiting room. At 1330 Lynne says I should go and get a sandwich so of I trot. She reckons she won't be called untill 1415. I get back to waiting room in fifteen minutes and she's gone. So I sit outside for thirty minutes and then come back to see if she's in the recovery room (I can only see through a small window, I'm not allowed in). I sit outside the nurses office and then notice the lights are now on in the recovery room. I peer through but the only person I can see is a lady who was in the waiting room with us. She points to an area I can't see and tells Lynne I'm outside. At 1730 she is brought out and walks right past me without seeing me. She gets dreessed and comes back. This time she sees me. After some formalities we are allowed out. I have to lead her as she can't see very well. I sit her down in the cafe and get the car then come in and lead her to the car. We get in at 1830. She gets changed and we go out to Joel and Claude for dinner.
We are waiting for Trev and Joyce to arrive. They are staying until Sunday morning and are looking at the place with a view to buy. They arrive at 1230 and we get them settled in the gite and provide lunch. After lunch we show them around. They go back for a lay down and we have a little nap. At 1900 we go to Joel and Claude for dinner. Had a good time, they're good company.
Trev and Joyce go off on their own. I start work on the Land Rover. I remove the dash and speedo cable. I find another fuse broken but this one has the end cap come away from the fuse. I go to order the parts but have a feeling I need something else so leave it for tomorrow.
Land Rover dash down and speedo out.
The bigger picture.
Spent all day strimming and cutting grass. by 1900 I was knackered.
Didn't do much today, watched the football scores come in. My daughter is a Liverpool fan, son is a Gooner. One of them will be dissapointed.
Spent all morning ordering new stuff for the new house. All went well until I rang Tesco Direct. I rang the suppliers because I want delivery on 16th June and the websites don't give a you the option to specify a delivery date. I spent best part of an hour answering every question 3 times. We got to the end of the six items but then I'm told that I'll have to ring back tomorrow because the system only goes up to fifteenth June today. I had the afternoon off.
Got onto Tesco Direct. Went through the order again. After an hour I'm informed there is something wrong with their system and can I ring back in half hour. I do a bit of grass cutting and ring back an hour after the last call. This time the chap realises it's one of the items that's causing the problem and removes the last one. It goes through. I give my card details.... wait.... wait.... wait, card rejected on security grounds (this is by Visa, not the card issuer). I ring the issuer and they take the block off and advise to try again in an hour. Another hour grass cutting then call Tesco again. This time the girl advises me that she cannot gaurantee delivery for sixteenth as it will come from four different suppliers. I'm tempted to give up but think it through and decide it should be OK. She now has the problem with the system not moving forward so I tell her that one of the items is cauing the problem. She says she'll remove one but it's still the same. I give up and start looking eleswhere for the stuff. First site I try has delivery dates to thirteenth June so I ring them. It takes four attempts to get through without being cut off. When I do get through to the department I want the chap has such a strong accent it's difficult to understand him. However he eventually understands my request but says I've got to accept what the system says. I say thanks and hang up. I'm half way through the next site when Tesco ring and it's the chap before the last person I spoke to. He has all the items on screen, except the problem item and this time the card goes through. I tell him that the girl says she can't gaurantee deliver for all suppliers, only themselves. He says the other will ring me in 48 hours to arrange a date. I go back to cutting grass.
I got to physio and then I collect Lynne to go to the bodyshop to see how the MG is doing then onto the BMW dealer to see how the Mini's doing and then lunch at the Chinese. However I check my emails and find the washing machine is being delivered tomorrow. Ring the supplier and explain it was ordered for sixteenth June. The chap says all he can do is cancel the order and I should order nearer the time. I explain I can't do that and this was explained to Tesco. I inform him that I will call Tesco now and cancel the whole order. At this point he decides he can cancel the delivery and reschedule for the desired date. I then ring Tesco and update them. It's such hard work!
We get to the bodyshop and the car is ready and is under a plastic sheet. The boss is trying to get me to pay towards the painting. I flatly refuse but agree to pay two hours for adjusting the door. I know I shouldn't but they didn't make the tub and they had to cut the wood to get the door to close correctly. I say we'll be back later and set off for the BMW dealer. We are kept waiting for twenty minutes to see the manager, the receptionist doesn't want to know. The car is still not finished. Tomorrow and Friday they're closed as it's a holiday tomorrow and they're taking Friday as well to make a four day break.
We go to Atoll and have lunch. After lunch we go back to the bodyshop, pay the bill and drive off. Quarter mile down the road the car is running like a ruptured Rook. I nurse it along but have to stop at a layby. I open the bonnet and find one carb jet stuck open. Wiggle it back up and set off but it's still the same. Get home, mainly at a walking pace. I look at the carbs and find the cross bar for the choke is loose and out of adjustment causing the rear carb jet to be pulled down all the time. I adjust the bar and tighten the lock nuts. It's too hot to do anymore so I leave it for the morning.
I've been telling Lynne that we have an Alligator living outside. It a very large, green lizard. She comes running in to my room and takes the camera to take a picture of the Alligator.
The tiles are 9" square, so a small alligator.
We have a viewing today and they turn up at 1030 for the 0930 appointment. They spend two hours looking around and eventually leave. I get the carbs stripped down, can't see anything wrong so put them back together and start the engine. I adjust the mixtures, refit the air cleaner and try it. It's still the same but by now the outside temperature is over 30c. I put the car into the garage by the gites and leave it for tomorrow morning.
Spent some time on the MG. Someone has messed about with the choke connecting rod so that one of the jets was pulled down. I removed the end, unscrewed it and put it back together this time tightening the lock nuts. Took it for a drive and it's still the same. As it's now getting very hot I put it away and came inside.
Messed about with the car again then went to lubch at Joel and Claudes. After lunch came home and settled down to watch the FA cup final.
Lynne's birthday. Down by 0600 and made her a birthday card. We went shopping at 0930 and after we got back and it was all put away I went to sleep for two hours. Tanya and Paul arrived at 1830. WE had supper, a few beers that Paul had brought and just sat around talking.
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