The French Blatting Company


February 2018


Worked on the Caterham getting the AP race callipers back on the rears.


Finished the Caterham, filled it with oil and water..... it's still leaking oil from the joint! OK, I'll drain all the new oil, remove the pipes and fit new joints. Later.


Went to Football. Parked at a large Morrisons in Hillsborough, had lunch in their cafe, got the tram to Leppings Lane and watched one of the worst performances I've ever seen Wednesday produce. They were 3-0 and a man down by half time. The first two goals were gifted to Birmingham. Then, in the second half we got one goal back but lost another man. After football we went to our daughters and had a nice Indian with them.


Went to the MG Owners Club, South Yorkshire branch Christmas lunch. It was the Le Bistro, Wentworth. Very nice meal and a good laugh with nice people.


We really have to go shopping. I'm fed up with the crap fruit we get from the local Asda so Lynne decides we'll go to Morrisons. However she doesn't want to go to the one in Barnsley because of the traffic. I suggest we go to Wakefield but Tanya says go to the Huddersfield store. I know this is a lot further than Wakefield but, rather than get shouted down, I keep quiet. We set off and it takes 50 minutes to get to the store. We filled the trolley, put it in the car and then went back for lunch. On the way back I went via Wakefiled and Lynne says that the Wakefiled store is much nearer so next week we are going to Wakefield.


Physio day. Last time I was a few minutes late for my 0800 appointment so today I left at 0635 instead of 0645. Instead of getting there 10 minutes to 8 I get there at 0700. Oh well it was nice sitting ther for three quarters of an hour listening to Radio  4. In the afternoon we go to cinema to see Darkest Hour. Very good except the appointment was slightly changed, there was a scene where the King comes to Number 10 to tell Churchill to ask the British people (whether to seek a peace deal or fight). There then follows a ridiculous scene with Churchill travelling on the underground and asking the other passengers what they want. The film thnew comes back to reality with his "never" speech to the house. In my opinion Churchill was the last politician we had who could turn the house. On that occossian the majority of the house would have voted to seek a peace deal. After the speech the house was almost 100% behind Churchill. Halifax, who wanted to seek a peace deal and was plotting to bring Churchill down said after the speech that Churchill had mustred the English language to get his way.


I got the MG outside on my own then spent about an hour and a half sweeping up. The problem is there’s a huge tree in the school grounds behind us and all the leaves fall inside the garage in Autumn. I had to remove everything from against the walls to sweep it all up. I also have to do this with the front garage door closed as the wind just keeps blowing the leaves back in. Problem is the vent from the boiler is pumping into the car port. I know how dangerous it can be so I was as quick as I can be and took a few minutes break every 10 minutes. Once that was done Lynne came out and sat in the Caterham to bleed the brakes. Both rear nipples are really tight but I slackened the off and we bleed into a bottle until no more air was coming out. The pedal still went to the floor so, having had enough, I put the rear wheels back on, pumped the tyres up and we pushed it outside far enough to get the MG back in. We3 then pushed the Caterham in. By 1530 I had got the rad off, turned one fan blade round the right way. I think the part of my brain that deals with orientation is missing. I have  a picture of the blades before they were taken off but I just can’t tell if they’re on the right way or not. Lynne is going to look before we go out to the pub quiz. I also got the seats out, a real problem. Five screws came out OK but the sixth wouldn’t so I had to cut the head off with the Dremel, and when the cutter broke drill the last bit out. Then the whole screw came out. I then got all the wheels and drums off. There is axle oil on the drivers side rear so I’ll clean that off with petrol and then Acetone on the linings. I’ll bond the rad centre bit to the shell in the morning and get the rad back on then start on the speedo drive in the gearbox. I’ve emailed the upholsterer to ask when I can bring him the seats and the new covers. Pictures tomorrow.


Started on the car about 1100. Marked the front cover with a 10 degree BTDC in gold paint. Then bonded the radiator grill slat brackets, which have come away from the case, using epoxy resin. While that was drying I vacuumed the carpets under the seats. After lunch I rang distributor doctor,  and booked the distributor in for overhaul, slept for an hour and then removed the distributor, cleaned it and will pack and send tomorrow. The rad went back on and that was it for the day.

Trying to work out if the blades are on back to front. They are so I turned them round.

The N/S/R braked drum which will need cleaning.

The O/S/R which needs a bit more than just cleaning.

The O/S/F which is fine. I haven't taken the drum of the N/S yet but it'll be like this.

The carpets under the seats which are now cleaned.

The seats awaiting shipping to the upholsterer.

The serial numbers on the distributor. I'm sending this to The Distributor Doctor as he asked which type it was and I didn't know.


Up at 0630 and did some admin work on the coast to coast run. Simon and I are doing a trial run tomorrow and he needs to know the mileages for chraging the Tesla. Seeing as one reason for doing the reun is to establish the totalo mileage this may be difficult. I have a programme which tells yo the distance between two points so I spend about 45 minutes entering in points along the route and typing the answers on a word document..... then the power goes off and I lose the lot. However I do remember the total from the Charnock Richard services where we'll stop and use thew supercharger to Catterick where we'll stop for lunch. It's 130 miles and apart from the 40 from Charnock Richard to Morecambe the rest will done very slowly so waon't use much battery. From Catterick we will go the seven miles up the A1 to Scotch Corner for a top up and the go back to the pub and start measuring mileages again. It's 90 miles from there to Scarborough.

Had breakfast at 0900 then started work on the car. I've been dreading this job, the speedo. I know the speedo gear from the gearbox isn't turning and I'm hoping the problem isn't in the gearbox. After a bit of a struggle I get the pinion gear out. The teeth are stripped on one side and the reason seems to be that the pinion is siezed in the housing. I sigh a huge sigh of relief. I ream the housing so the new pinion, which I've had since we got back from France will turn freely, make a new gasket and spend about ten minutes scraping the old gasket off the gearbox flange. The pinion assembly is driven in and then turned to line up the holes and the two screws are refitted. It's now nearly 1200. I tidy away all the tools then get all I will need to get the O/S/F king pin off. Only takes about ten minutes to get it down to getting the cotter pin out. I get the small oxy-acetyline plant out and try and light it. Both valves are open and there's no acetyline. I normally close the valves to avoid any leakage but if they're open they've been open for about ten months. I have lunch and search for somewhere near buy new bottles. Find a place in Sheffield and ring them. I'm not sure they'll have bottles for this pack as I bought them in France. Shower and get changed and load the welding pack into the back of the Mini and set off. Get there and the chap comes out to look. No he won't have anything as small as that but shows me bottles about twice the size. Only problem is they are out of stock of the acetyline replacement gas now used. It will also need a different set of jets. In the meantime I'm looking at the bottles and start turning the regulators and... hey presto there is gas in both cylinders. What a plonker. I never touch the regulator valves, just close the main valve when not in use. I've no idea who closed the regulator valves, must have happened during the move.

I return home getting the Mini washed and filled with petrol.

The chewed up gear on the speedo drive pinion.


And further round.

With the new one.

The new pinion in its housing. The blue bit (out of focus) is the new gasket coated in Hylomar.

The stub axle showing the siezed cotter pin which the previous owner couldn't get out. Plan is to heat the stub axle and drive the cotter out.

The brake backplate complete with shoes just hanging around.


Did another trial run for the coast to coast yesterday. Simon and I set off from home at 0630. Could have picked a better day. Heavy rain in the morning then 3” of slushy snow and ice over the two high passes in the Dales, heavy fog on the high ground of the Moors (near Goathland aka Aidensfield), We only needed hailstones and sunshine for a full house, Simon drove his Tesla. Problem was there are no superchargers on the route. We topped it up to 97% at Charnock Richard services on the M6 before going to Morecambe but had to wait an hour to recharge enough to get to Scarborough at Scotch Corner at lunchtime. Then we had half hour at Scarborough which gave us enough to get to the Leeds supercharger and it only took 10 minutes to get it back to 40%. The supercharger can charge up to 110 mw per hour! The others are about 35 mwph.

Anyway got most of it sorted and got the morning tea and lunches sorted. I spoke to the chef at the Mount in Scarborough and pending a call to Claragh tomorrow, the evening meal for about 80 is sorted at Scarborough.


Didn't do much as I was still recovering from yesterday.


Set off at 0745 for Sheffield City Centre. I finally went to the bank with the last piece of paper that proves who I am, after banking with them for 25 years! Got there and went in to see Allison. She took the papers. I asked her if I could open an account to keep the money for the Coast-to-Coast money (and any future events). The answer was that I could do it online. She asked me what it was for and said I needed a community account. Get home on go onto HSBC web site. Find the route to apply for a new account and spend the next 45 minutes completeing the application. It yook so long because it was speaking in tongues and was difficult to understand some of the questions. It would appear you have to be a banking legal expert to answer some of the questions. In the end I got past the problem but I've no idea if I answered correctly. I finally get to a page that tells me a verifercation code has been sent to my inbox on my current account. I log on to my account but no new message. I use the chat line thingie to report the missing code. After a few minutes I'm informed that the system is broken and is not sending out codes, could I go to a branch to get ID vetted. My answer was "No I cannot, I'll open the account with another bank" At this point I'm asked to ring the account opening team. After a 5 minute wait listening to awful music I get to speak to someone who agrees their system is broken and could I go to a branch..... After I tel him I'm not going to a branch I compromise by saying I'm happy to wait a day or so until they fix the problem and then finalise the application when the code is sent. As I'm typing this up on Tuesday 13th I may as well get this up to date. So, on the morning of the 13th I ring the account opening team again. I speak to someone who has such a strong accent I have difficulty understanding him. No, it wasn't a call centre in Asia, it was a Scotsman! He tells me it's not fixed and to go to a branch. I tell him I'm not going to a branch and I'm happy to wait a few more days. He then informs me it could take weeks or even months to be fixed. At this point I say thanks and hang up and I've sent an email to my "Premier Centre Co-Ordinator". I await an answer. As I type an answer has arrived from Allison. She says she has had the code sent to my inbox.... I'm just going to look, pound to a penny it isn't there.

Correct, it isn't there. I'm about to give up and go to a bank in Bransley (not HSBC) to open an account. I've emailed Alison telling her that there is no code in my inbox, as I knew there wouldn't be, and that I don't understand what calling in to see her would do as she already knows me and has all my ID papers (which is what I gave her on Monday!)


I worked on the MG most of the day. I'm replacing the O/S King Pin. The cotter pin will not come out so I spend about 2 hours drilling it out. The trick is to start drilling slightly off centre and start with a small drill gradually increasing the size until one side of the bolt is drilled away. When this happens the rest of the bolt will come out. I'll post a picture when I can get a good one. My camera won't get it in focus indoors so I'll have to take it outside in light. I try and drift the king pin out but it will not move. I soak it in Plus Gas and leave it.

In the evening, on the way to football (Wednesday beat Derby 2-0, not bad seeing as Derby are 3rd in the league and we're 15th) my phone rings. Lynne answers it and it's a lady from HSBC. She apologises about the poor service I've had from them and tells us she has sent a memo to the manager of the account opening department that he should ensure all staff know there's a "glitch" in the system and to pass existing customers to security for vetting and clearance of the application. Would a £25 voucher for John Lewis be OK. Yes thanks!


Put more Plus Gas on the king pin.

We went to Simons house as a man was coming to fit a new boiler controller. He wants one he can control from his phone. The man was supposed to arrive during the afternoon. At 1630 I texted Simon to check up on him. Comes back and says they want to make a new appointment. We've sat there all afternoon for nothing. Never mind, it's not Simon's fault.


The plumbers came today to fit a new boiler. I need a new boiler because the one that's fitted at the moment is an old type with a balanced flue. The flue is inside the carport chucking out fumes and huge amounts of water. I want the enclosed car port to be dry. They found a major problem. The system has four pipes to the boiler and this will mean pulling all the floors up to re-pipe the system. The alternative is a modern condensing boiler but that means I wont be able to run the pumps on the showers. The mains pressure is very low so I insist we keep the pumps as I don't want a shower that's like a dripping tap. They've gone away to investigate a "whole house pump".  



Spent the morning working on Coast-to-Coast stuff. I've drafted the five emails I'll be sending to the participants during May. I have to get £10 deposit for the event, payment for thos having evening meals at the Midland in Morecambe and the Mount in Scarborough, the menus for both which thay must choose and who wants a car park ticket at 50% discount for Scarborough. I'm doing them one at a time and one a week to avoid confusion.... problem is I'm confused, heads spinning!

After lunch I go to Barnsley hospital for a blood test. I time it to be there between 1300 and 1400 and I'm right, there's no one else there and I get done as I walk in.

Get home but don't feel like working on the car so have a sleep until 1900. I'd been in the garage and left the lights on. Lynne is nagging me to go out and turn them off. I can't resist it so hit the king pin with my big hammer.... it moves! When I next get time I'll get the pin out without having to take the axle off.


We get up and Lynne makes a cooked breakfast. At 1045 we leave to go to football for a 1230 kick off. It's a cup game between us and Swansea and it's important as our recently departed manager now manages Swansea. We get there and get parked up and in the ground. We play really well but it ends 0-0. A result for Wednesday seeing as Swansea are a Premiership side. I doubt we'll beat them at home in the replay though.

We leave and go to the pub we go to for the Thursday quiz as they serve food all day. Problem is their car park is full and we can't get parked. We drive up the the next pub and have a very nice meal. Get home at 1700, do some work on the C2C spradsheets and the sleep until 2015, Updating the blog and will now watch the football.... if there is any.


Spent some time hitting the king pin. It's down past the top of the swivel joint but now feels like it isn't moving. I get showered and changed and go to Carphone Warhouse to sort my new phone out. It seems to have switched on voice control as a password but it won't work as I've not trained it my voice. Ever felt like an idiot.... the chap showed me to enter my pin in the phone number pad and it opens. Ooops. In the afternoon Tanya and Paul come round so I ask Paul to give me a hand to establish if the pin is moving when I hit it. We establish it is, but very slowly. I spend the rest of the afternoon with Tanya and Paul and watch TV in the evening.


Start on the car at about 1100. Start bashing ten ton of crap on the deep socket I'm using to drive the pin out. After a few minutes it starts to visably move. I have to swap the socket for a drift and after another few minutes af hitting it the pin comes out. Here's the pictures of the drilled out cotter pin, the new cotter, the new and old king pin.

The old cotter pin after being drilled out and the new.

Cotter & king pins, new and old as well as new and old thrust washers. The old top thrust washer has disintergrated and came out in bits. Now to put it all back together.


Up at 0600 and spent an hour and a half trying to copy my music file to the new phone. I've got some on Google Drive but I'll have to wait for my 11 year old grandson to return from skiing to get them on the phone, Had breakfast and started on the car about 0900. Got the old king pin bushes out by driving a small cold chisel down the inside so the tension was released and the bushes just pushed out. I then pressed new ones in and spent two hours reaming them. It's a long slow job as you do not want to cut too much so I do about 0.005 at a time, remove the reamer, measure the bush, it should be 0.75", well jast a tad over as the pin is 3/4". All done by 1200 so I had an early lunch. Seeing as I could celibrate I had a lobster, bought in Morrisons for £10 for two. An hours sleep and started again at 1400. Pumped some grease in and refitted the back plate and steering arm and refitted the hub. Spent about twenty minutes wiping all the tools and putting them away. I then washed the gooey stuff off the O/S/R brake and backplate. It's axle oil which goes like grease when it gets hot and the solvents in the oil dry out. Lots of petrol and Acetone to clean the linings. Clean the drum and refit it. It's now near to 1600 and I move to the N/S/R to blow out the dust and refit the drum. However I now see that this side is covered in axle oil, nowhere near as bad as the O/S but it also needs a good. Clean. I pack up and come in, I've done enough for one day and my back is hurting.

Reaming the king pin bush.

All back together, a really nice fit.

And complete except for the wheel.

Oh, and a lobster.


Started at 0900. Washed the axle oil off the rear brakes and cleaned the shoes with acetone. I know I overfilled the rear axle when I refitted it and am hoping this is why the oil has leaked onto the brakes. I'll know after a few runs. All drums back on but had to refit a rear hub stud and stripped the thin nut whilst doing the stud up. I had to cut the nut off with a chisel. Turned a standard nut down to correct thickness on the lathe. Adjusted brakes then changed the tank unit. The new one, which has thicker metal doesn't leak and the fuel warning light works now.

This is the N/S/R brake. the other side was much worse.


We have a team of men clearing the garden and laying plastic shheting and gravel on the area covered in weeds. In the spring we'll buy plants in post to put on the gravel. I'll take pictures tomorrow when they've finished. They arrived at 0800 so I was up to let them in. Started at 0845. The side screen box will not fit in either from the top or bottom. Plan B is to cut it in half and fit the two halfs. This worked. I was going to tape the joint but have noticed it has two drain holes so I've left it. It should have been fitted before the body was bolted to the chassis and was with all the parts to be fitted but I just kept forgetting until it was too late. I then drilled out the rivets left in the rear sidescreens and rivetted the screens to the frames. The correct rivets will not fit in the upper part of the frame because the holes are too big added to which I don't have enough of them. So, I prayed to the Lord Kimber for forgivness and used black pop rivets in the upper sections. I had an email from one of the TABC yahoo group who lives in Kent Ohio. He's thginking of getting an Elise and asked me what I thought. I've had no problems at all with the two I've had but warned him about the difficulty in getting in and out. He's the same age as me.... OLD (71). I've sent him pictures to show the problem.

The way for old, fat men to get in and out of an Elise. It's still difficult....

..... because of the height of the sill. I think of it like posting a letter.

The side screen panel cut in half.

With the rear screens now rivetted to the frames this is how they'll look. I've just to fit the brackets on the inside. Should take about an hour...... says I hopefully.

The other side.

The side screen box is down there. You can just see the upper lip with the cut in the middle.


OK, plonker strikes again.

I had to rivet the rear sidscreens to the frames. I had a packet of rivets to do this. I rivetted the lower part of the screen and then went to rivet the surround to the window. The rivets didn't work because the holes were too big. So I got out a box of black pop rivets and using my air rivet gun rivetted the material to the frame.

I then put the sidescreens on the car prior to fitting the plates they affix too. I had to move a bunch of chrome strips that were on the floor to make rooms...... oh dear, I then realised that the fabric around the window is fitted with screws and nuts and the chrome strips to finish.

I do have a set of the special screws (square nut to "lock" into the chrome strip chanel) but I can't find them so I've ordered another set and will spend time drilling out the pop rivets and fitting the screws and chrome strips.

What a plonker!

I greased my nipples and checked the rear axle level. It's OK so the leaks onto the brakes were probably from overfilling the axle. I adjusted the handbrake cable but need Lynne to do the final adjustment (she needs to tell me when the handbrake come on on each wheel, then I'll back the adjustment of a bit). I topped up the brake master cylinder and velcro'd the carpets down. However when greasing the track rod end on the N/S I noticed that the nut on the fixing swivel bolt was lose. It wont do up or undo. I cut a screwdriver slot in the bolt part but i can't hold it, it just turns when you turn the nut. I've ordered a new on and will cut this one off. Pictures tomorrow.


Sorry, no pictures yet. It's been too cold! We went to Football to see our team, Sheffield Wednesday lose to Aston Villa. Our players are just not fit! We were 2-1 ahead until the middle of the second half by which time our players where exhausted and they scored 3 goals to end 2-4. We then went home for an hour and then went back to Hillsborough and on to meet some friends. Had a really good evening. If we had any sense we would have gone to them from football but there you go.


Got up but then went back to bed form 0900 to 1420. Missed Tanya who came round and left whilst I was still asleep.


Busy day. Set off for physio at 0630. Held upon on M1 because of an accident and got to Mat's at 0730. I sat in car waiting for him to arrive and then went in at 0755 to find he had been in all the time. Must have got there just before me. From there I went to the office for a quick meeting with Simon and then into Barnsley to get something from Wickes.The post office next, to post a 3/8" BSF tap to a friend in France and finally the doctor to book a prescription. Get home at 1200, get Lynne ready and set of for Morrisons in Wakefield. Have lunch, do the shopping and get home for 1700. Exhausted so just sit down and watch TV.


The plumbers start to fit the new boiler. I print out 540 pages of the Coast-to-Coast manual, put them into the A5 pockets then into the ring binders. They are printed both sides so it's ten pages in all. This takes all day and into the evening. At night watch Wednesday lose the FA cup replay with Swansea, at Swansea. It's been snowing hard and is very cold. We give the plumber a key as we have to go to Simons to let the British Gas man in to fit a Hive unit. Simons house is like the space ship Enterprise. The lights go on and off as you enter and leave a room, the front door can be controlled from his phone and it has a camera in it so he can see who's there. He can now control the heating from his phone. All the light bulbs are LED and he can change the colour from his phone. He can turn the lights on and off from his phone.... I hope he never loses his phone. We were waiting for the plumber to ring to say the heating was back on but decided to leave at 1600 on the basis it would take an hour to get home through the snow. The roads were empty ad it took no longer than normal to get home. The plumbers were still working on the boiler instal. The problem was they had come in the companies 4x4 so he didn't have all his tools which were in his van. They finished at 2000 and left the heating on. The electricains hadn't turned up as they couldn't get the van out of their drive and he lived on one of Sheffields steep hills.


No electricain today. I spent the day changing a page in the C2C manual and putting a new double sided page in, the thanks to our sponsors.


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