But, so what! The sun promised to show its face over the weekend so The Ambassador's Daughter and I took ourselves off to see Big Sister in Kent. On the way, we took in Whitstable where, contrary to the forecast, it was raining and gloomy.
Even Her Majesty looked a bit grumpy. There was a chap round the corner fighting off flower people..
... and further along, someone not dressed for the weather..
..though looking a bit smug about something. Whitstable was a charming town, full of shops with Victorian and Edwardian shop fronts and very reminiscent of Louth in Lincolnshire, though a bit scruffier.
The following day, Sissinghurst, where years ago I'd managed to get Nigel Nicholson to very reluctantly sign his book, 'Portrait of a Marriage', was on our way back from the Weald Fair (acres of eye-wateringly expensive stuff you can live without). After getting away from the National Trust membership sales drive (ever since they grubbed up Ickworth Vineyard, they've not benefitted from my support),
... a brisk walk around the estate ended in the discovery of the perfectly shaped tree.
Back at home, an order for 40 funnels in mild steel sent me off to find my 'Engineering Formulas and Tables' published by Lefax of Philadelphia in 1946. It's an incredibly useful volume and helped me set about the cone development with pencil and paper but,
.. it's a lot quicker (and more accurate) if the laser-cutting people do it for you. For the bottom collar of the funnel, nobody I knew had slip rollers small enough in diameter so I took the plunge and bought a relatively cheap set from the internet. I had convinced myself that I could roll the cone quite easily in 1.5mm mild steel but was advised to 'bump' form it, which would take half the time.
And yes, once I took delivery of the slip rollers I had to take them apart because they're so blinkin' rubbish they'll need a complete rebuild before they can be used.
I have similar plans for this bead roller - there's a lot of slack in the bushing and end-float in the axles - though I'll be adding a motor and foot pedal to allow for single-pilot operations. It was a while before I could get on with tweaking the profile of the Alvis Coupé
I was also distracted by a trip to Kettering to collect the wheel and anvils for the completion of the wheeling machine.
It's always a delight to receive something of such superb quality that you know from the outset that if anything goes wrong, it ain't the tools! Justin Baker's 'self-build' wheeling machine set is of this ilk. Just as I'd completed the funnel drawings, I had an enquiry for 52, 2 metre long, double-sided, stainless steel pig's troughs to work up as well; I don't know how I've managed to get into the pig unit business but, as the magnetising is sort of seasonal, it should help tide me over the winter.
A few weeks at home will sort out the logjam.