Monthly Archives: February 2013

Bohemian Rhapsody

The most surprising thing about Prague is why I hadn’t been before.

As a city with so much cultural and historic significance it has to be on everyone’s list.

We stayed in a delightful little medieval hotel right on the end of the Charles Bridge,

with painted ceilings in the rooms:

We had coffee in the famous cubist Grand Cafe Orient and hot chocolate in the Cafe Louvre – so beloved of Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein.. We listened to great jazz in the Ungelt and went to a classical recital in the Lobkowicz Palace. We looked at Alfons Mucha’s paintings and drank lots of Czech beer – one does not, however, visit Prague for its Haut Cuisine…

Down one back street in the Lesser Town has to be one of the most unusual and eclectic museums ever.

…… Stephanie certainly looks the part!

One of the items I found most interesting was a pair of night vision headlamps – which I thought might be something I could fit on ROJ…

Just as charming as his collection was the museum’s owner and curator, a child of KGB parents, he had started his collection at the age of 11 – he was certainly passionate and knowledgeable about the history of of the cold war and Russia.

While the history, art, culture and architecture were wonderful, I also had eyes for other things…

A different definition of a roller-shoe!

And of course there were all the lovely old trams:

I used to hang model aeroplanes from my bedroom ceiling too..

Look BAA – in Prague planes take off and land even when it’s snowing!

Dr Who really, really needs to go to Prague!

….and so does Luke Skywalker!

ROJ is reunited with rear end with use of rivets

This year is already flying by, I’ve only just got my socks on, and one of those is inside out!

I’m in a state of mental block at the moment – I’ve got so much to write, but just cannot get organised – even sitting down to write this blog took  some doing.

2013 is a year of change – I always knew things on the farm could not continue forever. It was no surprise then when Malcolm said he was buying a house and moving out – it was more of a surprise when Clive decided to follow suit. I am really most grateful for everything they’ve done for me over the last few years. I will miss Clive’s bonfire parties though.

Thankfully Phil and Gary are staying on and have agreed to continue renting me the workshop and letting me stay.

Eight years though is rather a long time to rebuild a car, and I now have an imperative to get the damn thing finished.

I popped up twice in January to get the wiring sorted out (still not quite done) and earlier this month I spent six days getting some of the bodywork on – the new roof to replace the hacksawed one, and I’ve decided to use a different rear end, with the reversing lights in the main cluster. Purists may shudder, but ROJ has parts of over 10 different cars, all those parts (apart from the ones I fabricated) are genuine Aston Martin parts, the chassis number and registration are original, and I have the original engine if I can ever afford to have it refurbished.

To get the body work on meant drilling out all the rivet holes in the steel chassis – I seem to have spent my life drilling holes!

I have been using 3mm countersunk rivets, but in one or two places have had to use 4mm ones as the old rivets were not all evenly drilled out.

I have been really looking forward to doing the body as  ROJ now looks like a car rather than a Mecchano set. I’ve still got to get the front clip on which will be my job for March. I am considering trying to use Lumiweld on the non-vital parts, opinion seems quite divided on the various fora, but it’s certainly easier than trying to TIG weld the fiddly bits.

While I was in drilling mode I got under the car and attached the two protective panels that have been hanging around annoying me for quite a while. (I’ve just had to change from Google Chrome to IE as GC wouldn’t let me load the photos).

Before getting the back end on – which needed the help of Clive to manouvre it into place, I needed to secure the breather pipes from the fuel tank and make sure all the holes for cables etc had the right size grommets.

The breather pipes had to be moulded into shape using a heat gun.

I actually started the riveting with the A pillar pieces – then the roof, and lastly the rear clip.

Moulding the ali round the b pillars was fun.

And it was at that point that my battery died, so you’ll have to wait until next month for more photos of the work – and of Phil’s exciting new Nissan ‘drifting’  project.

I’ve got some travelling to do before my next visit.

In January I went up to Dumfires to visit the Halo Trust who are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year – I’m looking foward to doing some work with them on Sri Lanka.. Last week I met with Geneva Call, who do a fantastic job of trying to get non- state armed groups to be considerate of civilians in their conflicts, and later this month I’m in Cheshire helping Find a Better Way with their forward strategy.

But before that, next week is half term so I’m taking Stephanie out to dinner for her birthday. In Prague.