A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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18 July 2016


I noticed a couple of curiosities during my stay in Arco Felicé. The first was a plant that grew on the less visited parts of the beach.

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I'm sure its presence was unwelcome but it had something about it; it looked like an inverted bunch of spring onions, the onion bits of which had exploded.

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The second curiosity was this view through a hole in the floor of the pier. Although I didn't see anyone from one end of my night shift to the other, I occasionally heard the odd voice on the sand about 12' below me. This print struck me as rather dramatic - the tide was about to erase the only clue of some ghastly deed perpetrated in the small hours - and my first idea was that this was the impression of a big cat; until I counted the toes. At the end of a long and solitary night-shift, things don't always add up right.

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On our way out of the factory, my fellow Magneteer and I were treated to a last look at the local train as it ambled around the curve in front of the factory gates. Despite the scruffiness of it all, the scene didn't want for charm and with a few of hours to spare before we caught our evening flight, we elected to take a dip in the Med - something which would be a first for me. It was also a first for me to walk into a sea without stopping to gasp and jump about because of the cold!

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As the sun set and the moon appeared and we started our journey home, I reflected on my family's visits to Italy in the '60's. Six of us packed into an Austin A55, roof-rack piled high and traversing the Brenner Pass. On one memorable occasion I was put out of the car and left by the side of the road - I had apparently committed some crime or other for which as the youngest of four, I have little doubt that I was set-up.

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The bits and pieces I've been doing for a chum with a 1906 Rover are nearly finished. I've only to create the quadrant now the castings have been replicated. It's going to be a bit tricky machining the castings as there's no real symmetry to them so establishing a datum will take a bit of time. I think I'll set up each of the originals in turn in the mill, find the centre of the big hole and then swap them over - well, I say I'll do it but I think I'll be watching Chumley; I'll have my hands full holding a big bag of Norfolk sausages.

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Manifold to exhaust pipe gaskets don't seem to last very long on the Hillman so I've had a couple of patterns laser cut in order to sandwich a thin copper sheet between them and tap out some shapes. I know a chap with some Nomex fabric which I can put in the middle and see how I get on.

Let's hope the result isn't too amusing.



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