Long Time, No Blog

There is a reason, or several why I haven’t made a blog in over a month.  The first excuse reason I haven’t blogged is that I haven’t done much that is noteworthy.  Mainly due to the wet season hanging on with drizzly days making progress on the sauna rebuild and other projects impossible.  I have other feeble excuses for my sloth, such as being fully booked for accommodation and looking after my grandkids aged 3 and 5 for 2 days a week.  I can get some things done while the kids are here, such as servicing a cottage, or a bit of building, but they require regular feeding, beg for book reading, demand that I watch them drill holes in wood, cut grass with scissors, or splatter paint on paper and proudly proclaim it a landscape.

Sauna progress

So I regretfully report I have missed the winter deadline for the sauna rebuild.  Both my guests and I could really use a sauna at the moment with a drizzly day that reached a max of 13C.  God what!  You’d expect better in Glasgow.  I’ve just looked up Glasgow.  Gales and rain but 17C.  I’m wearing socks would you believe!  After a brief glimpse of the ‘dry season’ with brilliant sunny days, I am disappointed by the return of cloud and drizzle.

My other grandkids aged 6 and 4 came over from Darwin last week to stay for a few days.  Yes, they did bring parents to take care of logistics.  It was great to see the cousins reestablish relationships.  I have just put the floor in and waiting to nail off and coat it on a dry sunny day so the coating will dry rather than go to a tacky emulsion.  It was drizzling and 15C when I took this (30 mins ago).  Give me a break Huey!!  I had my grandkids when laying the floor, and they played happily while I laboured on, but they were playing with my tools, and elder Henry 5 has understood how important tools are from me and his dad, so wanted my tape measure when I wasn’t using it.  Partly my own fault for stressing how important measuring and numbers are to ‘do stuff’ so that when he gets to that stage in school, he knows what it is for.  Which left me negotiating with a 5 year old to get my tools back.

Recently, the hydro generator had a burnout of a brush and slip ring.  Nothing unusual as it happens every 6 months or so, but while trying to turn down and refurbish the slip ring it came loose.  It was a paper thin strip of brass worn down by constant friction.  Re-engineering required.  I managed to bodge it up to last for a very limited period, so I could press-gang Blue, my daughter’s partner, to help me carry down an old generator to replace it.  I know it is old because the manufacturers ceased production pre 1982. We arranged a date for the ‘big grunt’.  The track down to the hydro site follows the waterfall and is very steep, slippy and littered with loose rocks.  The generators weigh about 65 kg.  Rather like mountaineering in the high Alps but carrying a body on a stretcher.  One wrong step launches everyone off down the hill.  The most difficult sections negotiated by lowering the carrying cradle by rope.  I wanted to install and fire up the ‘old’ generator before trying to lift the failing one up the hill in case the replacement didn’t work.  A few adjustments were required as the support feet had different dimensions, but when I started it off I could tell from the sound it was taking up the load.  You beaut!!!!.  Rather like me, you thought you were past retirement, but still good to go.

The next task was to hump the failing generator up the hill to my workshop for re-engineering to be a back-up.  There was some negotiation as to who would take front and uphill position on the carrying stretcher and who would carry the rear.  On steep hills the weight falls on the rear.  My negotiations skills must be failing as I got the arse end.  I called 4 halts in the ascent as I couldn’t gulp enough oxygen.  The legs were willing, but the lungs were weak.  I have installed new (homemade) slip-rings and brush calipers from an old generator to increase the brush contact area and decrease the contact pressure which I hope will give much increased life to the components.  If you didn’t understand a word of that, don’t worry.  Your incomprehension is very unlikely to impact your life.  You only have to be good at one very small thing to earn a living.

Hang in there and try and survive the trifecta of buffoons now running the English speaking world.  With the honourable exception of Jacinta of course.

 

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