A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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21 October 2019

Clearing The Decks.

It was becoming increasingly clear that, in addition to buying the Alvis chassis in haste and finding it not entirely suitable for the Teardrop Coupé project, I had also accumulated too much stuff which, when vacating one of my units, quickly piled up in the workshop thus preventing its use. The Hillman had already taken up temporary residence and was minus its starter motor (I'm hoping that dismantling, cleaning and reassembly with new bushes will make it a bit more enthusiastic - it's been a bit sluggish of late and it's not the battery or earth straps). The starter motor is peculiar to the Morris 6 and Wolseley 6/80 engines, so it has to be looked after.

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Obviously I couldn't fit my old Mercedes in the workshop; that's another thing that has to go. When I was having all the trouble with the ECU, I bought a Peugeot 407 to keep me mobile and the Merc was taken off the road. Then its MOT ran out; there was a crack in the windscreen - an MOT failure - and although it now runs well, what with being away a lot of the time, I just haven't got around to reinstating it.

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To kick off the grand clear-out, the Alvis project has gone to a good home. It looked rather racy as it stood there - a single-seat body would make a very stylish hill-climb machine.

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The Great Collector's been at it again and now has this charming little Talbot to add to his 'garage'. After a few days at home, I was sent back to Vlissingen to join the Giant 7. The two export cables that we'd laid on the Ndurance had now to be joined up to more cable that would take the electricity back to a power station onshore. Marker buoys were dropped and coordinates were recorded where the Ndurance left the sealed ends of the cable on the sea bed. It'll be an interesting few weeks as the Giant is actually a barge with no means of self-propulsion. Tug-boats take a series of anchors out from the ship and then it winches itself along before repeating the operation. It's probably a great deal more complicated than that, but that's the gist of it. It's also a rather slow process because besides the weather at this time of the year, factors such as tides and shifting sandbanks have to be taken into account when laying in very shallow waters.

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The 'tool' - the white tubular structure - is essentially a dredger that's lowered over the back of the ship and skids along the sea bed.

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The cable runs over the top of the assembly and is lowered into a trench cut by the dredging apparatus mounted in the middle of the structure. I'm not sure if the trench is mechanically back-filled or it's left for the shifting sands to do their work. The ship itself is huge - nearly 150m long and almost 40m wide with barely an inch to spare on deck - a predicament I'm entirely familiar with.



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