A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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24 August 2017


.. no sooner was I home from Finland than I was on the way back. I just managed to fit in a breakfast run to Southwold with Awkward in his Avon Special before catching the 10:30 to Helsinki on Monday morning.

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I got the night shift this trip and the mozzies were out in force. On the first night I rather stupidly left my insect repellent in the hotel and managed to collect a bite that looked like it was going to swell up to the size of an avocado - I can still feel a small lump in my forearm a week later. For the rest of the week I sprayed 'Incognito' (a Deet free treatment) on myself and wasn't bothered again.

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Dawn is always the best time on the night shift and Pikkala didn't disappoint. The BoDo Constructor settled itself on the end of the pier and we got on with the business of loading the cable with little drama; we would be here for about a week.

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However much you try, sleep in any regular pattern or amount of time, is almost impossible on the night shift. Cleaners come in to the room (I couldn't find the 'Do Not Disturb' door hanger until the last day when it fell out of the hotel's 'welcome' brochure) and my stay happened to coincide with repairs to the Spa Hotel's swimming pool roof. A large skip was placed under my window and for a couple of hours a day, a mechanical digger filled it up with roofing materials before it was hauled away some hours later with all the necessary clanging, revving and shouting. I tended to get up, go to a supermarket to buy some food for the midnight break or just go for a drive before going back to bed again. I came across this little airstrip with a Cessna tied down. It looks a bit too big for a Texas Taildragger (a tailwheel 152) so I would guess that it's a 180. I used to fly a Texas Taildragger from Ipswich - it was owned by the Horizon Flying Club, based in the terminal building on the old airport. Alas, that fantastic grass airfield has long gone - sold to developers by the Council.

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The Great Collector's been at it again, this time a very pretty little Peugeot 172M with a pick-up back. The body looks original - it might be described as semi-commercial - and the 'M' was a smaller version of the 'R' but nevertheless produced greater horsepower so you could throw a couple of pigs in the back and whizz off to your local market with confidence.

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And I managed to get a snap of a friend's recently rebuilt Hispano Suiza engine. Funny to think that under that cam cover is a mechanism identical to that of the Morris Six engine in my Hillman. (Wolseley pinched the idea when they built Hispano's for the SE5 during the 1st World War).

And, it's time I got off to Norway!

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