The Norwegian Job.
As there weren't any inexpensive flights available for me and my fellow Magneteer for our flying visit to Norway, we went from Heathrow with British Airways, to Gardermoen, the principal airport serving Oslo. I hesitate to use the word 'free' but, during the flight we were served with drinks and sandwiches for which we didn't have to pay. The seats on the very new Boeing 737 were of the thinner variety - I wouldn't want to sit for more than a couple of hours on one - but there was plenty of knee room. All in all, the atmosphere on board was very restful and, I kid you not, at Gardermoen, the transition from flying to landing was absolutely undetectable, almost a surreal experience. As we got off, I congratulated Hoskins on his 'greaser' - he was looking pretty chuffed with himself and I think I would have been too.
Arriving this time in kinder weather (except when we were setting up the kit on deck in the pouring rain at 4.00am on Monday morning) I was able to get a better idea of the landscape.
It was good to see that the subversive element was flying the flag though not a lot of what I saw was particularly imaginative. I dare say that there could be a case made for graffiti being as good a measure as any of the pulse of a city - whether it's alive and well, or buttoned up tight and suffocating but I'm probably getting out of my depth there....
... it comes of staring into the sea.
After packing up in the early hours of Tuesday morning, we slipped up to the bridge to sign off and were greeted by a spectacular sunrise. The rest of our time in Norway took its cue from this auspicious start and, until we landed back at Heathrow at 4.00pm courtesy of..
... our travels were smooth and seamless. Our hire-car for the final leg of the journey - a Volkswagen Polo - had an interesting starting regime. It took a few minutes to discover that, despite a jolly good talking to, the engine takes not the slightest bit of interest in anything until you've locked the doors. What's that about? Throw in the M25, heavy rain and the rush hour and you begin to wonder why you ever left Oslo.
Further investigation of the Morris Minor gearbox (3rd and 4th were impossible to select) revealed that the synchromesh unit wasn't at fault. Removed from the box, it all worked as advertised and didn't show any signs of unusual wear. In taking the box apart - everything had to come out - I heard a dull tap in the bottom of the casing; it was almost inaudible and I suspected that one of the balls from the selector shafts had popped out of its housing. I was half right...
This home-made pin had been squeezed into the housing in the 3rd and 4th gear selector arm, between the ball and spring. I realised that this was the culprit. With the pin compressing the spring more than was originally intended, the pressure on the ball was too great to allow the selector arm to move out of the neutral indent on the shaft. I'm not quite sure of the reason for this addition - perhaps the box had been jumping out of gear, although the selection seemed perfectly positive with the pin removed. We'll see.
So, job done. Yahoo!