Sunday, 27 September 2009

No such thing as a quick fix 2

It turned out that the thermostat housing itself was cracked and though it was only losing a few drops at a time, that was enough to empty the cooling system in a very short time. I bought a brand new replacement part from eBay and spent Saturday morning installing it. I had to smash the old one with a hammer to get at the valve inside and in doing so discovered that underneath the oil and dirt it was made out of green Bakelite.

This morning we found a really nice boot sale in Chorley wood where I bought a pair of unused 35 year old BMC seat belts and a huge chrome spot light for her. Toby and I met a guy who has a music promotion company, is an avid vinyl collector , plays keyboards and lives round the corner from Toby too. i had another of those days where everyone wants to stop and have a chat about Althea and was quite happy to do so.

I slept in her last night and once again got a lovely night's sleep. It got really cold in the night but as long as I kept all the vents shut, blocked off the gap under the door, stayed under the duvet I was warm. I'm looking forward to the winter now and experimenting with how cold/warm she is.

Here's a picture of Boris the spider. He's been living in Althea's cab for about 5 weeks now.

And here's a picture of Plum at the boot sale.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

No such thing as a quick fix

At about 10am I started the little job of replacing the damaged top hose. It's now 3:30 pm and I've just finished. Finished that is as long as the job I've done holds and I wont be able to test that until tomorrow when the silicon seal has cured completely.

The replacement part is a Ford Transit top hose but of course the part it's replacing isn't. Or at least that's the way it seems. I managed to persuade the new one on after quite a bit of puffing and panting but it certainly isn't much like the one that came off.

Good old Gaffa Tape. I was as surprised as anyone that this repair got us home.

While I was there I thought I'd have a look at the leaking thermostat housing and worked out that it doesn't need replacing but that there is a gasket missing, or some kind of sealant. I put everything away and headed off to Catford on the bus. The Mazda is overdue for its MOT so I couldn't take it.

You can see the sealant in the photos it's the blue stuff.

Tomorrow I'll fill her up with water and run the engine for a while to see if there are any leaks.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Althea in the mix

Click here for DFTram's Big Chill Radio set.

Df Tram my set from big chill radio (live dj set at big chill festival 2009)

thanks to paul noble ! and thanks to morris too who u can hear speaking during my re-edit of his famous "autumn leaves" remix

Df Tram
hehe Thanks a lot Mike! we were trying to call you from the radio that morning and morris said "hey we will just announce it over the radio " so you can hear morris' say a message for you and althea during "autumn leaves" in the mix

that was funny!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Althea gets some new storage and a sauna

I too her out for a drive yesterday and the radiator top hose burst filling the cab with steam on the A30. I patched the hole with gaffa tape, filled up the radiator with water and we limped home. The steering is very loose and the clutch pedal is need of some attention again too. She has her MOT coming up next month so its definitely time to get the oily rag out again and get under.

As I was headed to Croydon to get a set of drawers and some magnetic storage jars for her, a man shouted from another van going the other way, "I learned to drive in one of them!"

She now has a lovely set of 16 drawers and 15 magnetic storage jars with see through lids. The drawers were a bit loose so I stuck strips of the soft half of velcro on the sides to stop them falling out on corners and it works a treat. I now have somewhere to keep all the plates, cups, pans and lots of other things that didn't have a proper home before. There's also a bit more horizontal surface now too.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

They came from the West

Some months ago I started chatting with the boyfriend of a friend of a friend who was in the same Gmail thread group as me. This is a group of people who are mostly from Second Life (which I hardly use nowadays) who keep in touch via a group email.

Craig, turned out to be a brilliant photographer with a wild imagination and superb sense of humour. His girlfriend at the time, now wife, Mysianne turned out to be another brilliant photographer with a wild imagination and great sense of humour but with a good singing voice and stunning good looks too.

We have fun planning a trip across the USA in Althea where we will pretend to be a band and play gigs in roadhouses and bars along the way. The idea is we play as badly as possible but with confidence and an air of intelligence that will have people doubting themselves rather than our abilities. It will also be part of the plan to change the name of the band at every venue a) to add to the mystery and b) to ensure that word of the crappiest band in the world doesn't get there ahead of us.

The whole mis-adventure is to be filmed, blogged, filmed, photographed and eventually written up into a book by all of us.

So anyway the two of them have been here for a while as part of their big British/French adventure honeymoon. While they were with me they stayed in Althea.

They have gone back to Wisconsin now but here are a couple of snaps and a video to get on with. I know they both follow this blog so a big Hello to you both from Althea and me, til next time.
Their version of the Deep Space Nine theme on Kazoos

Craig's expression as I ask a cyclist who has just darted across the front of me as we are moving why he "Wants to die?"

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Festinho Boo

"Festinho boo" by Booclick on


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On Thursday last week I got a call from Morris asking if I fancied "a little charity festival in Suffolk." On Saturday at around mid day we were on our way. Once through the East London traffic we had an uneventful journey and were soon in the grounds of Kentwell Hall where the festival was being held. We had the usual runaround for passes etc and Morris decided it would be a good idea to leave Althea where she was in the "Boneyard" rather than tru and find our way to the official campsite. This turned out to be a stroke of genius as we were parked a few yards from the main stage and had our very own security guard. The bass from John Hopkins set shook the van very nicely.

It was a small but high quality event, Morris knew everyone and I met the same people three times independently of each other. Echascech were superb and reminded me of Spooky a lot. John Hopkins was also superb and his music reminded me of what planets crashing into the sun must sound like. Morris played from 02:30 in a gingerbread house in the woods to a good and happy crowd and a few people came back to Althea for a few drinks afterwards. The next day we watched Music From The Penguin Cafe.

I missed my chance to go and have a drink with The Swingle Singers which would have been very strange considering that they are the same Swingle Singers from the old days.

We both had a lovely 36 hours and after dropping off a guy we gave a lift to in Bethnal Green, we stopped off at Brick Lane for bagels. Morris, Althea and me are all done with festivals for the year but next year we'll be at it again for certain.

Greeeeeen Maaaaaaan

Having been hurried up to buy a ticket for The Green Man festival by Craig, Mysi and their friend Will I jumped on the www and snapped one up for me and Althea. It wasn't long before it was clear that I was the only one who had and that I was faced with the choice of going alone or trying to sell my ticket with one week to go. I decided I would go alone.

It took forever to get there thanks to the windiest hilliest roadworkiest road in Wales. The clutch pedal spring broke on the way down so I had to come up with a quick fix.

Getting there late meant I was positioned by the parking staff, in a prime spot on a corner near all the facilities and where Althea could be seen quite clearly and enjoy the attention. I set up camp, grabbed a programme and planned my weekend. I got chatting to my neighbours who turned out to be Martin Carr, one of the acts, and an ex Boo Radley.

Althea got plenty of attention from fellow festival goers. Here's one taking some snaps

A couple of passers by stop for a piccy

I wrote Greeeen Maaaan on the side of Althea which got changed to Greeeeen Vaaaan after a day. I saw Noah and the Whale who sounded just like Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, I saw The Woodenships who sounded a lot like Hawkwind and were brilliant. I saw Hawkwind who were brilliant. I saw Jarvis Cocker in the crowd and I think I made him a bit nervous by bounding up to him saying "Jarvis," a bit loudly as I did. "I just wanted to shake the hand of the man who wrote Common People," I said, and did so.

On the Sunday I found a man selling some very bizarre objects from Indonesia and bought a bag full including a thing for keeping cock fighting spurs in, some drinking glasses that look like they are made from melted bottles on a bonfire and a sort of wooden monkey with a Mohawk hair do and a face where his genitals should be. I also scrounged his personal supply of Badger Balm.

I seem to have rediscovered my talent for finding money. Over the past few weeks I have found over £35 and most of that at festivals. Green man was the most lucrative with £16 being found in the grass around the site.

The Green Man was a superb festival with a lovely atmosphere and I will certainly be going again. Much like the Big Chill the rain stopped as it started and started again as it ended. The mountains either side seemed to hold back the weather and the site is just the right size without too many hills. Food was good, loos were clean and security were friendly. I really enjoyed being there alone for most of it but it would have been nice to have been able to share some of it with someone too.

Some rockabilly played on these unusual little toy home DJ thingies. Needless to say I want some.

Small boys entertain the crowd with a crazy dance to the above tunes.

Big Chill part 2

We spent a lovely Sunday afternoon with Selina and her pals drinking Pimms, eating plenty of barbecued stuff, then some melted marshmallows with melted chocolate made a whole new kind of mess.
Selina entertains us all with inflatable boobs on her head

Selina is a big fan of the Banana Bread Beer like me so we finished off my supply. Later I snapped a little girl playing with an umbrella which I think is one of my best ever photographs.

by the time we were ready to leave on Monday morning Morris and Dylan had been playing all night and well into the morning. We caught some of both their shows on the radio as we packed up, emptied the waste water and loo etc. Eventually after a few phone calls and some waiting around we were all aboard and off. In no time Morris was fast asleep.