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(the months are 2015/2016)

The French Blatting Company

1949 MG TC

December 2015



0730 this morning saw me taking the shower to pieces again I re-solderd the joint and refitted the pipe. It's a lot easier now it has screwed joints, I don't have to take the whole pipe off. As I tightened the nut I felt/heard the newly soldered joint creak. It leaked. I removed it and re-soldered it but this time I coated the joint in epoxy resin and tighten the nut in the vice so I could tighten the other nut. This time I cut a new hole in the ceiling to move the light that was above the shower head to the side. Like everything I do it went wrong. I extended the wiring but it wouldn't go across as there was a joist in the way. Only thing to do was to drill a hole each side of the joist and feed the wire out to the surface and back in again. With the light in its new position I refitted the shower pipe and all was well. I also fitted a wire to support the pipe to the ceiling above the shower head.

I then got on with the radiator grille. I coated the grille in paint remover (you know the stuff, it burns holes in your bum). I jet washed it off and did it again. Then I rubbed each slat down with wet and dry.  I left it to dry under the arc lamps whilst I put the battery on charge on the Fiat so I could take all the rubbish to the tip at 1530 when it opens. I gave the grille a couple of coats of primer before lunch. After lunch it got another two coats. At 1500 I loaded the Land Rover with all the sacks that were outside the workshop and a couple from the Fiat and set off to the tip. When I got there it wasn't open so I opened the bonnet to pull the choke fully open. PROBLEM! The fuel pipe was leaking badly at both ends. I rang Lynne to bring me a Stanley knife and a screwdriver so I could trim the split ends off and refit the pipe. The chap opened the gate and I went in and backed up to the skip that general rubbish gets thrown. Took me a few minutes to chuck all the sacks into the skip and I opened the bonnet. The chap who looks after the tip came over and asked what was wrong. I showed him and he said he had a Stanley knife and screwdriver. I rang Lynne to stop her and got on with repairing the pipe. Took a few minutes and it was done and no leaks. It's amazing I didn't have a fire, the split at the carb end was running all over the exhaust. I returned home and the Fiat battery still wasn't fully charged so I transferred as much of the rubbish in the Fiat to the Land Rover and went back. When I returned I gave the grille another two coats of Reno Red and left it to dry under the arc lights. At 1730 I turned the lights off and came in (leaving the camera in the workshop). I had stopped off at the post office on the way back from the tip and the head lamps will cost 55€ to post to the USA. As the first set are at the office in Sheffield and they are in a bit of turmoil after the weekend move (to new offices) I decide I'd send the newer one to the USA and get the other sent over to me later in the month. After dinner I packed the box with bubble wrap and scrunched up paper and sealed the box with brown tape. I have filled in the customs form and the Post label. In the morning I will post it.

I'll put the pictures on tomorrow.


It's 0730, I've been to the workshop and retrieved the camera, taken a picture of the painted grill and pictures of the completed shower and will now show you. I'm off to the post office, physic and the super market at 0840. The new armchair and sofa bed are arriving at 1000. I'll finish the grille after all that and then strip the spare wheel for sandblasting as soon as it's a dry day.

The grill drying under the 2000 watt arc lamps.

And now painted with 4 coats of primer and about 5 or 6 coats of red. I haven't looked at it close up but it looks smooth but flat. I'll leave it at that and see if it will polish when its fully dry, like January.

The shower pipe with the new support hanger. I may get threaded rod to replace the welding rod. You can see the original hole for the 12v ceiling lamp which I filled in with the piece that came out the new hole wrapped in paper. I'll trim the paper later (oh yes!).

From the other side. The drips aren't water but paint, I just sprayed like a mad thing. The patch is where the previous leak was sending a very fine jet of water to the ceiling and it went soggy and fell apart. I bonded the patch on and fitted a plasterboard fixing to hold the "P" clip which supports the arm.

The whole shower so you can see why I had to extend the pipe. It's the largest shower tray I could get. I can almost put both arms up and touch both side with my arms straight. You can see the light which was moved from the centre line to the right so it wasn't above the shower head. I would much prefer a powerful shower than the large "rainfall" head. Problem is you cannot fit a pump in France without fitting a tank otherwise you'll be sucking water direct from the water tower as French plumbing does not have separate tanks.


There was a lot going on today. Physio, new furniture arriving, man with a JCB digging two trenches for electric cables and I wanted to get on with the car.

I got back from Physio and changed. Built the radiator by refitting the now painted grille to the case then the case to rad. I also put the tractor on charge as I would need to move it for the JCB man to dig his trench. I also had to change the ignition switch on the tractor as the old one has rusted solid. Lunch, during which the JCB arrives. I spend most of the afternoon helping pull the cable through the red conduit and disconnecting and reconnecting the cable to the junction box. I also asked him to dig a trench and lay a cable from outside the garage to the telescope. When he finished at 1615 I start on getting the tyre off. Some advice, don't try and get a 50 year old tyre off a rim with tyre levers. The rubber was so hard it would fit down into the well of the rim. Lynne had to help but we got it off eventually. She is such a darling. She suggests, as I struggle to lever this tyre off that the answer is to soak the tyre in hot water. "Right", says I, "and where do I find a tank of hot water to put the wheel in?". "There's a bath upstairs" Bless her. At 1645 the furniture arrive. One man. I show him the Z bed that is to go back for disposal and he says he'll get another man to help him. 20 minutes later he returns and they get the old out and the new in. They are assembling the new sofa bed as I type.

The old furniture.


The radiator, painted and rebuilt and protected.

Big JCB, what a tool. And he knows how to use it.

Straight as a die.

Getting right into the corner.

Scooping it up.

Tyre-nearly off.

And two new spokes fitted. The old ones were damaged because the spinner had been wired to the spokes.

Me, smiling (that doesn't happen often), in my new chair.

Lynne, sort of smiling on the new sofa bed. We got it as we have friends come over in the winter and the gites are shut down as there's no heating in them. (and this is Lynne, because the other stuff was looking worse for wear).


Started at 0820 and welded the side screen frame. Good news is I can see much better since yesterday and was able to do a better job than the first attempt. It's not perfect but OK. I then set up the sand blaster. I have two sacks of sand in the back of the Land Rover so backed the LR in front of the workshop. Cut a box to use for collecting the sand and got the airline, the blast gun, the vacuum cleaner and.. oh yes the wheel. Cut a slot in the top of one of the bags and pushed the pick up pipe in. Started blasting but it stopped. Went to the sack to wiggle the pick up and realised the sand was very damp. Oh well that will have to wait for next summer to dry out. The wheel blasted up well but not the areas with oil and grease. I then washed out the large cleaning tray, poured some petrol in and washed the wheel thoroughly. I then set up the jet wash, got another cardboard box (not short of them) and, in the middle of the field, jet washed the wheel. I took the wheel into the house, put the new gas fire on, and dried the wheel. Only took about 10 minutes whilst I had a coffee. I then gave the wheel another blast with the sand and it was as good as it was going to get. Placed the wheel on the bench and gave it the first coat of primer. Had lunch and half an hour later, went back and gave it a second coat. Then watched the rest of Bargain Hunt and, at 1400, gave it the third and final coat of primer. I now started to rub down and prepare to paint the side screen frames. I have an aerosol tin but I'm spraying it into the lid and brushing it on. Before starting to paint the frame I took the vacuum cleaner apart as it was making loud clanging noises and whistling. Got it apart and found the fan has disintegrated. Oh well a new vacuum cleaner tomorrow. I then applied the first top coat of silver to both sides of the wheel. I did not overspray so it wasn't fully covering the primer. I carried on brush painting the frames. I would paint one side with it laying on the bench then string it up and, holding the frame with mole grips on one of the brackets, paint the other side. After two frames I gave the wheel a second coat of silver. When the last frame was completed I gave the outside of the wheel a third coat. I'm now writing this up (I do state the obvious sometimes, don't I) and will go back in an hour to fit the new tyre and inner tube. Well, in an hour and a half, which will be 1800.

Welded frame.

The piece I welded on. The slot will be cut later. I also have the rivets to drill out of the rear frames. But it was painting day so I'll finish the metalwork later and touch up round it.

The two spokes I removed yesterday. I cut them , but you can see how twisted they were from having wire tightly wrapped around them.

Just starting the sand blasting....

...a close up.

One of the frames hanging a bit of string. I know it's sideways but it looks the same the correct way round, believe me.

The finished wheel....

... and from the other side. Looks OK, well I think so and that's what matters.

A member of the TABC group has a TC just 22 chassis number from mine. His car doesn't have a body serial number plate. As his engine is also 22 more than mine he's assuming, probably correctly, his body is 22 more than mine. So here it is.

This is better, it's now propped up facing 2000w arc lamps. I guess his is 40115. Not sure what the 9926 is though. I'm sure someone will send a postcard.


I meant to explain why we had the trench dug to put the electric cable to the gites into it. When I renovated the house 4 years ago I moved the feed from the house and took it from the workshop. I had a Spanish chap staying in one of the gites in exchange for a days work a week and he hand dug a shallow trench to put the cable in. For the past 3 years the main trip has tripped when it rains heavily.EDF tested the trip and found it OK and suggested the mice had gnawed through an underground cable. Last summer when a chap from the MGOC was here it rained hard and the trip went. Half hour after it stopped I got the trip back on but there was no power to the gites. I laid a new cable across the field as a temporary measure. Yesterday saw that cable, in its red trunking buried 1.2 meters deep. OK, mice, chew on that. I also got him to bury a feed from the workshop to the telescope.

UPDATE I never learn, do I. I keep making mistakes when I'm tired and my back is hurting late in the day. Well, I did it again. Fitting the new tyre with the wheel sliding around the garage floor and three tyre levers, try as hard as I did to avoid pinching the inner tube that is exactly what I did. I'm taking it to the bodyshop for them to repair the tube and I'm going to use their machine to remove/refit the other tyres. How do you spell pillock?


Left for the bodyshop ay 0730 with the wheel, the radiator, tools in a box and a nuts for the track rod ends and the lower link on the front shock absorbers. Got there at 0800. Jacked car up onto axle stands whilst one of the lads took the tyre off the wheel to repair the inner tube. By the time he's finished I had the other four wheels by his machine and he then took the tyres off those. Much easier than with tyre levers. I then took the incorrect nuts of the TRE's off and fitted the correct ones. Problem! the 5/16" Whitworth socket didn't fit, it was too large. I borrowed a 13 mm and 14 mm spanners but they weren't right either. I've made a note to take some AF spanners when I go back. I then went to fit the nuts on the lower shock absorber links but needed some spring washers. They only had Citroen concave washers but the largest they had was too small. Note to take two 7/16" spring washers next visit.

I called in to Brico on the way back and bought a new vacuum cleaner, a roll of masking tape and 2 tins of primer. The plans of mice and men.... the mice may get it right I never do. I'd planned on getting the 4 wheels blasted clean by tonight and apply the primer inside the rim tonight so it would be dry and I could paint the wheels tomorrow. Read on. Got home at 1030, set up the sandblaster and washed all 4 wheels in petrol to get the oil and grease off. Started sand blasting the first wheel. When the compressor needed time to catch up (the sand blaster used huge volumes of air) I washed the wheel I'd painted yesterday as I needed to paint the brim again. I'd got some of the primer I used for the inside well on the rim and it was "lumpy". I wet and dried it smooth and gave it a coat of silver. Back to blasting. I carried on for about 45 minutes and then broke for lunch. Fell asleep until 1400. Carried on with the sand blasting but ran out of sand. So, at 1530 went to Chateaubriant for 3 more bags of sand. Returned at 1630 and found my friend with the TC was here. We spent a few minutes talking and he then left. I carried on sand blasting with the new sand. I bought medium grade instead of the usual fine. It does get the paint off quicker but leaves the surface black and rough. It also stings a lot more than fine when it hits hands and cheeks.  Not worried about it being rough, the primer will fill that. I have enough fine left to go over it again to get it grey. I did about 20 minutes and then had to stop because the light was going.

So, I've got to finish the sand blasting tomorrow as it may rain on Sunday. If I can get the wheels blasted by tomorrow night and the inner wells primed I'll be happy as I can paint on Sunday morning. It won't take that long with all four wheels being painted at the same time. I've left the camera in the workshop so pictures tomorrow.

It's been a wonderful day today. Clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine. Only problem is, with the sun so low in the sky, it's shining in your eyes all the time when driving. If it's not through the front screen it's through the side windows and flickering through the trees.


Funny how it's soft when warm and is really stiff, hard almost, when it's cold. The airline and rubber tube for the sandblaster, what did you think I meant. Makes it difficult to use the gun as it wont twist and turn, the pipes are so stiff. Started at first light. The medium sand isn't very good. I may have to get more bags of fine. Put a tea towel around my face held together with a bulldog clip and have donned gloves. This medium sand really stings when it hits your face and hands. It's about 1 or 2 degrees outside and the goggles steam up as soon as I put them on. I've stopped to let the compressor catch up, it has almost run out of pressure. So,  a coffee and I'll start again. I've put another jumper on, makes three, I may put more socks on as my feet are freezing! More later, I'll do updates every time I stop..... why should I suffer alone? At 0930 I gave up and went back with the two unused bags of medium sand to replace them with 3 bags of fine. The medium just wasn't getting the wheel down to metal. Got there, explained what I wanted, she credited me two bags and raised an invoice for three and I paid. I then took the bill out to the warehouse and the chap with the fork lift bring the palette of fine to the back of the car. I lift the first bag of medium and it has a split in it from where I dropped it on the plastic can of oil I keep in the boot (Mini). So, I go back into the counter and pay for the split bag. Whilst there I buy two woolly beenie hats. The girl asks if I'm cold. Yes, says I explaining that I'm working outside blasting wheels from an old car. "OK, she says and walks into the shop and brings me a pair of thermal gloves. What a darling. I go back out and the car is loaded. I get back at 1030 and start blasting with the fine. It's much better but this wheel is taking ages  Unlike the others this one has good paint with little rust. I can blast for about 6-8 minutes then have to stop for ten whilst the compressor catches up. Whilst waiting I fit the fuel filter bought from Doug Pelton in the States. This entails removing the soldered extension pipe I fitted to bring the outlet above the bottom of the tank. No problems it came out easily and the filter went in. I topped the water up in the Mini, it's losing it somewhere and the heater doesn't get hot, luke warm but not hot. I'll have a look at it week after next. I have lunch in one of the 10 minute breaks and paint the inner rim of the second wheel which was finished about 1430. It's now 1540 and I'm onto the third wheel. I'll finish this one tonight leaving the fourth to do in the morning and then to paint all four. Back later with pictures and the last instalment. The final session, before it got too dark to see, got both wheel rims blasted clean. The centre is done as is the outer outside rim. All that needs doing is the inner outside rim. However, this enabled me to get the rust-proofing primer brushed on the wheel well. So, three are painted and will be dry in the morning. I have the third to finish and the fourth and final wheel to blast. If I can get finished blasting by 1100 I will be able to get all four painted by the evening. I will lay all four on the floor outside facing up. I can then spray all four wheels together. Three coats of primer and two coats of silver then turn them over and do same. If I do this every half hour I will be finished by 2100. I can then take them back to the bodyshop first thing Monday morning, get the tyres put back on and refit the wheels. Then I'm going to do a few days work on the house after which the Mini needs a blown fuse tracking down and the Land Rover needs the hubs freeing off.

The work area.


The fuel filter from Doug Pelton, From the Frame Up in the USA. It has a raised section so it will leave some fuel in the bottom of the tank along with all the crap.

A few weeks ago the TABC group discussed the shade of Silver of the wheels. I said I'd paint the inside of a rim to see how close the Moss wheel paint is. This and the next few show the original paint next to the Moss paint. It's not perfect but very close. The original, although never exposed to light may have mellowed slightly.

OK, enough of painted wheels, I prefer painted ladies.


Sometimes I do things which make no sense/reason at the time but it turns out to be the right thing to do. I was wide awake at 0540 so got up and came down. I looked at my emails and the France Meteo daily update showed it would rain at 1000. Now, let me explain. I wanted to get the wheels sand blasted by last night and paint the wheel wells as the paint I'm using takes ages to dry. I fell behind due to getting the sand changed so only got three done (and the last one wasn't fully finished) and three wells painted. Reason for the rush? If I can get the wheels finished by tonight I can get them back to the bodyshop tomorow and finish the litle jobs and get the tyres back on and the wheels back on the car. This will then give me 4 days to get all the rubbish to the tip, lay a new floor in my room, put a surround around the unfinished area of the shower and paint the utility ceiling as well as lay the tiles in the workshop. I won't get all that done by next weekend but will by the weekend after.

I had breakfast and went over to the workshop at 0600. I got the floodlights out and set everything up and started blasting at 0615.I had a few problems, the pickup pipe kept getting blocked and at first I thought the sand must be damp. Then it dawned on me. I'd been shovelling the sand back into the bag and the shovel was scraping bits of cardboard up. I sieved all the sand and it worked a treat after that. Still could only do ten minutes blasting and ten minutes for the pressure to build up again. I finished at 0930 and cleaned and tidied up. I had the four wheel on boxes under the arc lights and a paraffin heater going. I applied the first coat of primer to all four wheels on the outer side at 0945. Half hour later the second coat goes on and at 1045 I turned them over and applied the first coat to the inside of the wheels. During the breaks between coats I've started bringing all the rubbish out of the garage next to the gites.... and typing this up. It's now 1115 and the second coat is due. 

It's 1215 and I've just put the first coat of silver on the outside of the four wheels. I did half hour clearing before that and now I'm going to do a twenty minute massage on my back and listen to Desert Island Discs. After which, second coat and lunch.

After lunch I applied the second coat (of silver) and carried on clearing out the garage. I put a thin third coat on the outside and carried on with the grand clearance. I went to move an old plastic tool box and found it was wedging a pile of Tomatz, hand made clay tiles worth about a Euro each. They fell on my foot. So I cleared a bit more and put the first coat on the insides. Went inside and asked where the casualty department was and are you a nurse. My foot was thoroughly examined, I was pronounced alive and a wadding held on with plaster tape was applied. I went back and put the second coat on. I then repaired the very long extension lead that the JCB man tore apart and plugged the battery charger on the telescope back in. Finally put a thin third coat on the insides. All the paint is now gone. Gone with the wind, I must stop eating beans!. I'll see if it's OK tomorrow and if not order another two tins. I turned the lights out and the heater off at 1830. The wheel wells seem to be dry. I've powdered them with some flour to make sure they are dry. The fact that Lynne had some flour is a miracle. She once won a bag of flour at the village hall raffle. As she didn't;TA know what to do with it she auctioned it off for the new village hall fund.


Early morning labours.

A sieve in time.... Worked much better after the cardboard bits were taken out.

The wheels, on boxes (to get them closer to the heat), on about the second coat of primer.

Arc lamps and heater. It was getting warm in there.

This is the pile after a few minutes rubbish removal. It ended up much bigger than this. There's probably the same again to come out. I need to buy a new battery for the Fiat to get it loaded and to the tip, called the decheterie in France.

This is where it came from.

Back to wheels. The second coat of silver has just gone on. Note the brilliant sunshine. No rain at all.

Finished! I'll cut some cardboard up in the morning (not short of that) to lay between each wheel. I also have 4 tyres, the inner tubes and rim bands to go.

Apart from some minor bits and pieces I will be finished after tomorrow until the chassis and body come back.



In the workshop at 0715 and loaded the wheels, tyres, tubes and tools in the car. Left at 0730 and arrived at the bodyshop dead on 0800.  No one there, which is unusual. However the forecourt is full of new cars which reminded me that they had an open day over the weekend. They had an automated phone system inform every customer by phone. Jean-Luc turned up at 0830, opened the doors to the workshop and I drove in. The workshop was full of new and a few second hand cars and a large table with nibbles and wine. Never mind, I take the wheels, tyres and tubes to the tyre machine and the tools to the chassis. I tighten the track rod end nuts, they're 9/16" AF and split pin them.Fit the lower link nuts and spring washers and all done in 15 minutes. I say goodbye and agree to return Wednesday afternoon to refit the wheels to the chassis. I want to rub down the inner and outer surfaces of the hubs so there's no paint between the wheel and hub and the spinner and wheel.

I make my way to Brico Marche and buy 15 packs of floorboard. Amazing how I got it in the Mini. I also buy a pack of bungees to hold them in the car. Get back, bring 7 packs into my rooms, get the circular saw, Paslode nail gun, set square, hand saws etc. and get cracking. Only I don't! The Paslode battery, which has been on charge since yesterday is completely flat. I get the other battery from the second fix gun and that's also 0V. I've tracked down some Paslode dealers and I'm waiting for them to re-open at 1400 to find out if they have a new battery in stock. In the meantime I'm cutting boards to length.... no I'm not, I'm typing this up.

OK, it's overloaded, but I got it all back.

The floor that's being recovered. The light coloured area is the raised plinth. The main part of the floor was stained dark brown by some idiot and it's horrible. So I'm laying these cheap pine boards on top. Not the sunshine. December 7th, brilliant blue sky and warm enough to walk about in a tee shirt.

No one stocks Paslode batteries. I've got one coming express post and it'll be here Wednesday morning. So we'll go out tomorrow instead of Wednesday. I cut a few boards to length but stopped as I could see me getting them all mixed up. So I made the cover for the shower bracket for the rails.

How's that for December 7th?

 This is what it looks like before the covering.

Danger, man at work. Give Lynne a camera and we get 99 pictures! I only wanted a picture of the area before I covered it.

And I didn't get even a nick and all fingers and thumbs are still attached. Wonderful.

Finished. I've got a couple of plastic right angles pieces somewhere which I'll glue to the tops of the centre piece. Lynne will be painting it. One day......


We're having our day out today (instead of Wednesday) as the new battery for the nail gun will arrive tomorrow.

I didn't mention it but Monday saw me finish (apart from some very minor jobs) the car. I'll now have to wait until I get the chassis back and refit all the mechanicals and interior trim. In the meantime I'll catch up on jobs in the house, lay the new floor in the garage and fix the Mini, Land Rover and Caterham, all of which need work. I guess I should be delighted but I feel a bit "flat". I've really enjoyed working away in the garage with Radio 4 playing..... The results look good to me. I hope the finished car doesn't look over-restored. I've tried hard to keep as much of the original as possible. However, I suspect it look a bit blingy as you cannot tell the chromer not to do a good job and make all the re-chromed parts look a bit old. Likewise with the interior trim, the seats are good as I restored them but the trim was beyond repair. It had gone brittle and was tearing as I took it off. The new looks lovely, but far better than when the car was built. The paint is being done in the correct colour cellulose so will be very shiny, but original. The bodyshop owner wanted to do it in two pack but I insisted on using the type of paint it had when it left the factory.


 I started at 0700 by taking the battery and TC rad to the Fiat and the workshop. The rad needs to have the casing lowered on the rad as the cap won't fit. Looks like I'll have to elongate the holes. The battery is to get the Fiat going. All done in a few minutes. Then come back inside until it gets light and attempt to connect one of the external discs to the PC so I can do a backup. Neither seem to work. After a 30 minutes faffing about I get the 1 tb Samsung disc working. Set a copy of the data files going and go back outside to put the new battery on the Fiat. No problem and it starts straight away. I de-ice the screen, both outside and in and put it in first and ..... and.... nothing. The clutch will not engage. I suspect it's rusted with the plate disengaged. Pissed off, fed up, hacked off, muttering "why does it always happen to me" I come back in to find the PC has crashed. I restart it and have to get it to do a system repair. Up and running now and I'm typing this. I'll have another go at copying the files then go sort the Fiat out, which I've left running hoping the heat will free the clutch. It's only 0845 and I've lost the will. I was supposed to be laying the new floor but the new battery for my Paslode nail gun won't be here until later in the day. So I decided to swap Friday for Wednesday. I'll do the rubbish clearing today, instead of Friday and lay the floor tomorrow and Friday. (for our American friends who may be reading this I'm not going to copulate with the floor but put new boards down). What problems are the rest of the day going to bring. Did I tell you that when clearing the rubbish from the garage on Sunday whilst the paint on the wheel dried some floor tiles fell on my foot. Oh, yes, I remember now, I did. Well the side of my right foot is now black and blue with a bruise. It hurts to walk on and all I've been doing is walking.... Never mind, not being injured in some way is becoming a novelty for me. Update later with some pictures (if I remember). Lynne helped me at 1045 and the clutch arm is moving slightly. I suspect it's jammed with the pressure plate depressed. I started loading the Land Rover and set of at 1245 to fill it with petrol and get the the tip for 1330 when it opens. I was there just as he opened the gates. But I'd forgotten the entry card.. he let me in and I unloaded. Back for the second and on the way there went past 2 Gendarmes on the bridge over the dual carriageway. Thought I'd better to remember to put my seat belt on on the way back. I didn't but they were gone. On the third trip the flicks (French slang for Gendarmes) were back, I forgot to put my seat belt on again and this time it's cost me 90€. End of a perfect day !


Sorry this is late, you'll see why. But first a little tale. My lovely wife bought me a nice birthday present on Tuesday, a Samsung phone. When we paid for it the card machine went through as normal but then said "paiment declined". I said to the girl, "oh, theres a problem" I know that's sufficient money in the account (this is a bank card). She says it's OK, and I should go. On Wednesday the shop phone and say the card didn't go through and can we come back immediately to pay. We explain what happened and that we live 45 minutes away and can't come back today. She doesn't believe us until Lynne reads the checkout girls name from the invoice. The girl at the store says that we shouldn't have the invoice as they're only issued when the item is paid for. EXACTLY! So I agree to go in on Saturday, which is a bit of a pain as we're going to the Christmas market in Rennes on Saturday, the exact opposite way.

The plan is to lay the new floor in my room today and tomorrow. I had to "swap" days as the nail gun needed a new battery so did the rubbish on Wednesday instead of the planned Friday. The battery arrived as promised yesterday and I charged it. This morning I put it in the gun and ... nothing. It didn't work. This is one of two Paslode nail guns I have. They're old, probably over ten years now. Every time I used the small one it has a problem. So, I take it apart. It's a terrible design because as you take the case off several bits just fall out. I found the problem. One of the battery contacts had been folded up and wasn't making contact. I reshaped it and got it to where it should be. Then spent the next 2 hours assembling it, taking it apart, assembling it, taking it apart..... you get the picture. I didn't (get a picture, because by this time I had steam coming out my ears). Anyway eventually I get it back together at 1300. Had lunch then started putting the boards down. I have bought some very thin floor boarding, it's like matchwood. I lay it as I normally lay wood floors, one strip and nail it down in the edge of the tongue. Then I have a nightmare because the next strip won't go into the groove of the one I've just laid. After much shouting and swearing I get the first three strips down and change the way I'm doing it. I now lay a strip and nail it through the top near the edge nearest the previous strip. This allows the edge to take the next strip to move up slightly and the next groove will go into the tongue. So, a whole days work and only ten strips laid. I packed up at 1830 to drive Lynne to her Tia Chi as it was very foggy. I've written the above as if it was yesterday but, in fact, it's Friday at 0630. Breakfast now and then I'll be a chicken and start laying. Hoping to get it finished tonight. Forever an optimist. 


It's my daughters birthday today. She's not talking to me now. I only said she'd need a huge cake to fit all those candles on.

Started on the floor at 0700 and worked through until 1230. That effing gun! First the battery kept losing contact. I wedged more card in to hold it in. Then the end cap came off the (new) battery. I put it back on. Battery OK, now the gas cannister kept falling out. After several times refitting the cylinder and refitting the cap that is supposed to hold it in, I put a piece of card between the cannister and the body. I then gaffa taped the end cap to the body. Fixed. Well not really as the safety trigger now started playing up and I needed to push down hard to get it to fire. Not easy when your trying to hold a board in whilst firing a nail in. Lynne was helping me, mainly tapping the ends whilst I aligned teh T&G at the other end. After half hour lunch I carried on until 1730 when I was too tired to finish. We're out at Rennes Christmas market tomorrow (I do love mulled wine) so I'll finish on Sunday.

The new floor at 0700 this morning....

....At 1530....

.... at 1730.

The bit left to do.

The bloody gun. Gaffa tape holding the battery in and the cap that is supposed to hold the gas in.


 By the way, if you think my spelling is terrible it's not because I can't spell, it's because I can't see what I've typed. I can't type very well either! I've just run the page through the spell checker but it's probably worse now as I've no idea what I replace the highlighted words with. Not only are the too small for me to read but being blue makes it even worse. Right, breakfast and off to Rennes. We phoned the phone shop and told them we'll come in on Wednesday.

We left home at 0930 but forgot there is still a diversion so ended up going the long way. We got to the park and ride and parked up and walked to the Metro. They have a light railway system, the same as London's Dockland Light Railway. WE go up to the staion by the escalator, get two day tickets (2€ each) and a train came in. I get on, sit down and look raond..... no Lynne. She's been left on the station. No phone signal so I get off at the next station and walk up to street level as Lynne is phoning me. I tell her to stay there, I'm on my way back. Our roving reporter will now go over to Lynne to hear her story.

This is Lynne... (She'll finish this when she's over her cold)

We get off the Metro at St Annes, where the farmers market is. We have a coffee in one of the many cafes and then walk down the street that leads to the market. This street is full of bars, one after the other. At the end we come in there is the flower market. They are selling the most stunning coloured plants and Cacti. We move on to the food market. We've been here before but never taken the time to have a real good look around. Rennes is supposed to be the second largest farmers market in France. The biggest is Cadillac (pronounced Caddy Yak), near Bordeaux. We've been there and it's huge. Streets full mof produce. Anyway back to Rennes. We walked around the whole outside cmarket looking at the amazing array of fruit and veg on sale. I bought some olives, 49 cents worth of Greek mix. I just ate them as we walked along. There are two large building with stalls in. The firts is full of butchers selling all types of meat and chickens, some roasted on spits. The other has a wide variety of cheese, honey, breads, cakes, drinks, wine, cider..... I could eat it all, except the honey-not allowed honey. We then went outside the second building and it's the fish and seafood market. Live crab and lobsters, prawns, langoustine, oysters and many types of wet fish. I'm not sure how I resisted. We then had lunch in a very nice restaurant. After lunch we walked to the Christmas market. I had a cup of mulled wine. We bought some presents for our friend, whos birthday party we were going to later and his lovely 11 year old daughter.

We got home at midnight.

After Christmas we are going to visit the market every Saturday and take our wheely case with ice packs and get our fruit, veg and meat for the week plus a variety of sea food for me.


 Lynne has a cold so I came down and started work at about 0800. I tapped nails in both ends of each board so as not to wake her up using the Paslode nail gun (which fires like a gun). I was going great guns. Lynne came down at 0900 and I nailed teh boards I'd put down so far. Carried on and it was going great.... until 1230 when the gun starts firing blanks. The nail slide is catching the nails so no nials being fired. Messed about with it and changed the nails and it started again. Half hour later it runs out of gas! No more in stock so I have lunch the bring the compressor over and start using my cheap (£50) air driven nail gun. Finished at 1730. A few bits to fill in which can wait until tomorrow.

Nice? Hope you all like it.... no I don't, I like it so that's all that matters.


 Went for blood tests at 0800. As I was doing all the paperwork at the desk, the lady in front of me said to the old boy sitting down that he should go into the room where the vampire works. He rose very slowly and took a few steps forward when the lady says "No, she's having her coffee". He stops and slowly turns around and is just about to take a step when the vampire comes out and tells him to go in. He stops again, slowly turns and takes very slow steps into the room. I was chuckling away as was the lady who told him to go in. Anyway, I go in and tell the vampire that I'm in for my annual CT (MOT), there's 8 blood test to be done. All done and with an empty arm I go to Super U to get to gas bottles for the heater. Lynne said to get a spare as it was bound to run out on a Sunday and she was right. I also got a bread and a 20 litre bottle of paraffin for the old heater which is now in the workshop.

Got back, and changed. Finished of the little bits of the floor in the corners. Then lunch and I fitted boards on the false wall in the utility room. Looks OK. I then had a brainwave. If I have enough boards left I can put them on the ceiling of the utility room. I counted up and with the few off cuts left over I have exactly enough. So, that's what I'll do tomorrow.


The area with the gap around it is the hatch that opens downwards to gain access to the taps and valves.


 We were both up by 0800 and moved the furniture out of the centre. Lynne varnished the floor (clear) while I started fitting the wall boards to the ceiling in the utility room. Lynne wanted it painted but Richard, the previous owner, had stuck fibre glass sheets between the beams to hold the earth floor in. She had to help me as I found it very difficult fitting 2.06 metre boards to the ceiling when I can't get my left hand above my head.We finished the first stage, the full length boards, at 1230 and Lynne applied a second coat af varnish. We had lunch and Lynne had a nap and I watched TV until 1445. Lynne got up at 1500 and we moved the furniture against the outside wall into the middle and she applied the first coat between the door and the stairs. I fitted the short boards to the ceiling by 1730. I then primed the board in front of the sink. At 1830 Lynne applied the second coat between the door and stairs whilst I put the top coat of white on the board. I've only got to glue the two end boards to the ceiling which I'll do on Thursday.

The ceiling showing the fibreglass boards as fitted by Richard.

The centre of the floor having just been varnished.

The ceiling with the long boards fitted.....

..... and all of it (that will fit into the viewfinder)

The board in front of the sink.


 Last week my wonderful wife gave me a Samsung Galaxy Edge +, this week she gave me her cold. I'll do today's great story when I come out of my serious illness, double pneumonia, flu, and whatever else men get when they catch a cold.




Yesterday was our day out. I really don;t understand why my loving wife complains that we rush around doing all sorts of things on her day out. Yesterday was like this.

1) Bank to collect the nan SIM card for the new phone

2) Super U to get 4 bottles of wine and a box of chocolate for the folk at the bodyshop.

3) Bodyshop to give the christmas presents and pay this months instalment of 1000€

4) BMW dealer in Angers to collect the new thermostat housing, top hose and thermostat.

5) the electrical store to pay for the phone and buy a cover and touch charger, a toaster that doesn't take 10 minutes and provide cold toast a coffe grinder to gring the peanuts for my peanut butter machine and, finally a racletetd (cheese grille thingie).

6) Norauto to get antifreeze for the MIni

Oh, and the reason we go out in the first place, to have a nice quiet lunch somewhere.

Went to the bank... problem! It's market day and the road to the car park next to the bank is closed as the cat park is used for the market. I am still having trouble walking (dropped some floor tiles on my right foot) so I gou through the barriers, thw ones with the no entry sign on and turn right into the one way street beside the car park. Only problem is it's one way the other way. I try to mount the kerb to get out of the way of the oncoming traffic. As I'm right next to the kerb the wheel just scrapes noisily against the kerb. I wait for the traffic to clkear, pull out and mount the kerb at an angle. Success. I get out and hobble across the road to cross the car parl to the bank. A lady tells me not to park there as the Gendarmes are about. I say "duex minutes, Madam, Merci". I get to the bank, get the card and make my way back across the car park. The car isn't where I left it. I then see it further up the road with Lynne walking towards me complaining that the Gendarnes moved her on and said I had damaged the tyre when I scraped the kerb. I looked tat the tyre and there is a cut in the surface but the carcas isn't damaged. I am using Lynne's car as the MIni has a leaking thermostat housing.

Then on to the supermarket. 4 bottles of wine and a box of chocolate. We come out with 4 bottles of wine and a wicker basket with 3 bottles of jam. Oh, well, who am I to choose a Christmas present for a lady. We get back to the car and I vcan't wait, I must fit the SIM card into the phone. I break it off the card and drop it. No problem it's on the seat and I recover it. Lynne holds the crad, it's tine, maybe why they call it Nano. I get vthe littel slide out and btake the card from Lynne and place it into the slide. It falls right through and, I think, falls between the seat and the centre tunnel. WE look for it but cannot find it. Never mind, I'll find it when we get home. Off to the bodyshop and presents delivered. By this time it's 1200 and the BMW dealer will be closed so we go to Atoll, the shopping centre and go into the CHinese. 11.95€ each for a three course meal, can't be bad. After lunch we go into the electrical shop and get all the stuff. Then off to the BMW dealer. I ask Lynne to drive as I have a cold. Did I tell you I had a cold. It's really bad, not sure I'll survive. I have to direct her back to the dual carriageway. We get on the D/C and iI say to leave at the next wxit, just around the bend. We go sailing past. OK, we turn around at the next junction, which is after the roads split for the road we're on and the A11 motorway. We come back but can't turn off where we want so have to go on, past the shopping centre and around the roundabout and back again. We get there this time and collect the parts. BMW! A small ali housing, a thermostat and a hose .... 120€! I book the car in for next week to have the headlights adjusted. They did them last year and the parts chap, Yan, remembers. I tell him they are far too low. So, on next weeks day off we are goiug to the BMW dealer to get headlights adjusted. I still can't see what she complains about.

From there, I take over the driving a we get the antifreeze at Norauto (France's version of Halfords). We go home and drive the car inro the workshop and look nfor the SIM card. Can't see it. So start to take the seat out. It goes like this. to remove the four bolts is 1 minute. To get the plastic covers off to get to the four bolts is 20 minutes. OK, seat out, still no card. It's fallen into that workhole that follows me around. I'll have to order another one this morning.

Never mind, we now have hot toast that takes 3 minutes.

I was going to take all the tools back to the tools store and the garage, take the compressor back, load the Lnad Rover with the next laod for the tip and go shopping with Lynne. All postponed. I'm going to rest my poor cold (did I tell you I have a very serious cold) and do all that tomorrow and the MIni tomorrow afternoon.


I tidied up the dining room table in my room, which has been a mess for months as I used it to rebuild the dash. After lunch I watched, no slept through, "2001 A Space Odessey". Lynne went shopping and rang me to check on something. So, now awake, I wound the film back to where I fell asleep and watched it all. I think this film is one of the greatest Sci-Fi films ever made. By the way for those who have seen it are you aware why the computer is called HAL? No, well the main computer manufacturer when the film was made was IBM, now take one latter away from each of the three.

After the film I got all the stuff ready to go to the tip, the tool shed and my workshop. This will be done first thing in the morning and then I'll try and finish the floor with edging.


Before and.............................................................................After.

Amazing how many tools migrate to the job.


Up at 0700, breakfast and started work by bringing the Land Rover to the door from my room. Then loaded all the tools and paint into the back. Drove round to the tool store and put all that back, put the paint and rollers in the garage and took the 6 chairs outside the gites inside the garage. Then drove over to the workshop and unloaded the stuff for there. 0900 back in the kitchen, a cup of tea and off to the local builders merchant. Bought 2 strips of right angle bead, a mitre block and saw and a tube of "No Nails". Got back and glued the two boards on the end of the ceiling boards in the utility room. Only problem was they kept falling down. Lynne helped by holding the board up whilst I put screws in. Then cut and glued the trim around the step from the lounge. Applied a coat of varnish and had an early lunch. After lunch moved some lamps around and swapped the decoders from the lounge (a PVR) to the kitchen (a normal decoder). Lynne can now record her own stuff.

Started on the Mini. I'm fitting a new thermostat housing and 'stat. It's supposed to be porous and the loss of water is making the heater cold and needs topping up every few days now. What a job. There's a bunch of cables fixed to a bracket which is held on by two of the three housing bolts. If the loom had been routed away from the housing this would be an easy job. After a lot of shouting a swearing I get it finished at 1830. The heater is still cold after beeding the system a few times. I'll look again in the morning.


All I did today was attempt to bleed the cooling system on the Mini. No, heater is still cold so I put the car away, came in and waited for our friends to arrive. We then had a really good meal and several bottles of wine and all went to bed at about 0100. Not in the same bed......


It's my birthday. All presents can be sent to La Foie.

I'm having a very quiet day today, listening to Radio 4 and just chilling. Did I tell you it's my Birthday?


 Up at 0600 and ready to start work at first light. Felt a bit tired so sat in my chair and put the fott thingie up. Necxt thing I hear Lynne calling me so wake up and answer. Poor thing jumps out of her skin, she thinks i'm in the kitchen and hadn't notinced me in the cair 3 foot from where she's standing. My nurse informs me I have a temperature and will be staying in my chair all day and tomorrow. I agree.


 Still in my chair but beginning to feel better.


 Physio at 0915 then on to the Mini dealer at Angers to adjust the headlights. I may get them to bleed the heater and fix the spot lights and cigar lighter that don't work. Sorry there's nothing more exiting than that. I'll get back to a few small jobs on the TC after Christmas and bring the chassis back here in the new year.

UPDATE  The Mini dealer did the headlights but I haven't tried them yet. They told me the heater was cold because the thermostat housing needed replacing. When I told them I'd just replaced it they just shrugged and said I'd done it wrong. When I feel better I'll see if it's lost coolent.


 Did nothing at all today. Watched Gone With The Wind and then turned over to watch Clarence get his wings. Jacobs coming round with my TC model, he borrowed it a few months ago. I'll report back later.


 Merry Christmas everyone.

26-Dec-15 to 28-Dec-15

Been sat in my chair with a temprature and aches. It's 1700 on 28th and I'm now feeling even worse. All the plans to fit the armour to the loom went out the window as my temprature rose. Never mind, I have plenty of time.


Felt better in the morning but by lunchtime I was really aching, so much that I could hardly walk.


Still feel bad...... Never mind, I'll catch up on all those outstanding jobs, one day.


 As previous, this is getting boring. Lynne says "everyone" in the UK has it. I'm not in the UK and not "everyone" has it.


OK, move on to January... It's along there --->


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