A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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14 March 2016

For My Sin....

... well, it wasn't actually a sin, more accurately an act of awareness and self-preservation. In fact, like my fellow attendees, all of whom given the opportunity, might protest convincingly their innocence, the extenuating circumstances which led to my apprehension would, unfairly, never be taken into account - at least not unless I risked going up before the beak.

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In 40 years of driving, this was my first speeding ticket - I'm usually very good with speed limits but, being behind an erratic driver in the centre of Norwich one day, I decided that rather than be involved in the accident that was clearly about to happen, the sensible thing would be to get past. Click! 38mph. The Speed Awareness Course was a 4 hour appreciation of the possible consequences of such folly and was £12 cheaper than the otherwise damning fine and points. It was a long afternoon, though by way of entertainment, there was one clown who was obviously more innocent than the rest of us having driven perfectly safely in every corner of the globe for the last 50 years and this affront to his experience was not going to go unchallenged.

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The difficult bit of the 1906 Rover handbrake and gear lever assembly has been dealt with ably by Chumley and his grown-up mill and lathe. We had to turn up a special bit of tooling for the slot to be cut in the gear lever sleeve but it all went well. The threads in the block and spring adjuster had to be cut by hand with a tap and die because unless you're lucky, the quality of a lot of steel doesn't always make for a clean thread on a threading machine.

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The Great Collector's Vulcan proceeds apace - the new bonnet is largely complete and since I found the wiring diagram, armoured cable has started to emerge from the bulkhead like something out of Indiana Jones.

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One of my projects, 'Y', has come to fruition and the Nokasorus Senior is now in production. For a simple machine like a post-driver it was a time-consuming experience getting to grips with all the EU regulations that surround the manufacture of machinery in general; it paves the way for the more complex Project 'X'.

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A phone call from a chum took me to a little airfield in Norfolk to view a Piper Super Cub that he was thinking of buying. Some of my happiest and most valuable flying hours were gained on the Piper L4 - the 65hp military version - ducking in and out of fields in and around Norfolk and Suffolk in the days when you could and with just an oil pressure gauge and an Air Speed Indicator for company. I also did several hours on a 90hp Cub though it wasn't as nice. This 160hp version, complete with every bell and whistle you could think of and tundra tyres to boot, is a different kettle of fish. I haven't stirred the stick as yet but it's something I'm definitely looking forward to.

I shall count that as some recompense for my failings.




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