Exhaust
something resembling a blog, by Lewis Collard

I never really trusted folks who have to talk so loud

🎵
Well I don't need more guilt here in my life
How the hell is that supposed to help me find the light?
And I don't need you preaching at me day and night
About the way I look, the way I walk
The way I dress and the way I talk
There's something that you think you see like you've ever looked at me

You say you've got it figured out
And you seem so damn proud about it
I never really trusted folks who have to talk so loud

That ain't to say you never looked me in the eye
But lookin' isn't seein' when you just can't spare the time
Besides you're selling things I just don't feel like buying
Like guilt and pain
Fear and shame
Who to thank, and who to blame
A set of rules that's bound to keep the living out of life
Who to love and who to hate
What's too soon and what's too late
There's some test you have to pass before you feel the love of God

Well I don't need some fear of afterlife
How the hell is that supposed to help me find the light?
And I don't need you preaching at me day and night
About the things I do and the things I don't
What I will and what I won't
There's fire in your eyes sir, and it chills me to the bone

You say you've got it figured out
And you seem so damn proud about it
I never really trusted folks who have to talk so loud

So thanks a lot man, but I'll be moving on
Yours is a hateful sermon, and it takes too goddamned long
See, life is short and I'm gonna find mine searching for the light

🎵

A visit to the body filler mines of Norfolk

Video contains strong language.

And that, kids, is where your P38 comes from!

This was not an act of wanton destruction and savagery. I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it, but it was necessary, because my brother's 1963 Land Rover had, as my brother sagely observed, a lot of filler.

A near-centimeter-thick block of filler
Pictured: A lot of filler.

Some time before my brother bought this Land Rover in 2008, someone had tried to make its bodywork a bit smarter, with a lot of filler. I cannot say that this was a terrible idea, because it held up as well as a monstrous amount of filler could reasonably hold up.

It took my brother rolling the car onto its side some years ago to crack it severely, with some help from daily driving for years, three road trips to Africa, and one gentle road trip to China via Kazakhstan and Mongolia. Even then, as ugly as it was, it was not an MOT failure, until someone picked off some bits of it, and then it was an MOT failure because of an exposed sharp edge.

A somewhat less-straight panel, but not made of filler

So, with a lot of filler removed, and some help from a blowtorch, soap[1], and a selection of percussive persuasion tools, we had a straight panel again. I say "straight", though I actually mean "straight enough to be presentable on a battered Land Rover". I made sure that Alex was out of arms reach and did not have any power tools to hand when I said "that's straight enough, but do you know how we could make that panel absolutely perfect? If we got a lot of filler..."

Many other things were completed over the weekend, thanks to Alex's superhuman motivation. And also his ability to talk people out of whatever else they wanted to do and into helping him.

Me, watching a British Drift Championship livestream while working on the Land Rover.
But not even Alex can make me miss a British Drift Championship livestream...

I had other things to do with my current project-within-a-project on the P5 (more on this soon-ish), but after the filler-mining was complete of course I stayed up much longer than I was expecting to stay up, helping him wire in a pair of new horrifically-bright LED light bars, because Alex can talk toothpaste back into the tube...

LED light bars, with a useful comparison to the standard headlights

...which took us into the early hours of the morning, and all of that was definitely a good way to spend 14 hours!

Me, early hours of the morning

Thanks to Alex for the video and a couple of the pictures in this post.


[1] With very thin aluminium such as that of a Land Rover body panel, you mark the area you want to with ordinary soap. Heat that area with a blowtorch. When the soap turns black, it is at a temperature that is more-or-less optimal for percussive reshaping. :)

The little things

Page from the manual of a Rover P5, showing exactly what tools are needed for the job.

I love good documentation.

The Rover P5's workshop manual - the original one written by the engineers at Rover - is the best manual I have ever used. I especially enjoy that the manual sets out exactly what tools you will need including the sizes of spanners in the preface. This is the only workshop manual I have seen that does this, and it makes every job a tiny bit faster and a tiny bit more fun.

How many times did I work on the Mazda and read through a 20-step walkthrough and then in step 19 it says "use special tool, part number F-U, which is obviously completely unavailable for any amount of money to remove this delicate thing that will definitely break if you try to use cruder methods to remove it"?

Good documentation is important, and I believe in thanking people for good work even if I am late to their particular party. So, thank you, Rover engineers from 60 years ago. You did a fantastic job.

Cat, "I brought you a present" configuration

Guard Cat, with a very dead mouse in her mouth

Can't hate her for it. Mice love eating upholstery and wiring looms; maybe she's as critical to a car build as cats were in our ancient history when they enabled us to develop agriculture. So thanks Cat, but maybe don't bring that inside...

Visiting some remnants of the Lynn & Wisbech railway at Magdalen, part 2

Previously, I had visited the remnants of bridge MMR/2333 in Magdalen to document them, as their demolition seemed to be imminent. On my day off today, I revisited them.

Site of MMR/2333, East side. Nothing remains.

Site of MMR/2333, West side. Only the increased elevation at the top of the soil that has replaced it hints at the presence of a railway

They are gone. It's good to document these things while you can.

The other bridge abutment mentioned in that post has gained some railings. Perhaps the intent was to make a nice viewing platform. Or perhaps they were put in place by one of those government departments whose purpose is to prevent people falling off things. It is still a lovely place to observe the Ouse.

Viewing platform, made of a former bridge abutment, on the River Great Ouse.

About 300 metres to the East of where we started as the crow flies (and about a mile and a half as the person walks) is my favourite bridge.

The Magdalen railway bridge, intact and spanning the Great Ouse relief channel.

I have been here more times than I could reasonably count. Every time I revisit it, I still love admiring all of its little details. Such as the remnants of track ballast:

Bridge deck of the Magdalen railway bridge, showing some fine remnants of track ballast.

Or, at the eastern end of the bridge, the small patch where this has been eroded and has exposed some brickwork:

Bridge deck of the Magdalen railway bridge, showing brickwork where the ballast has been eroded.

Or the expansion gaps like this one and the countless hot rivets:

And the railings on the bridge (the silver square fencing is a latter addition, which is again probably the work of some government department that dislikes things falling off other things):

Expansion gap on the bridge deck of the Magdalen railway bridge

And, at the foot of an embankment nearby, what seem to be original railway fence posts:

A line of old railway fence posts, sitting at the bottom of a former, somewhat-eroded embankment

An old railway fence post, with the Magdalen railway bridge just about visible in the background.

This never gets old!

I am unsure about the history of this bridge. Its deck seems quite Victorian in style. Yet, the Great Ouse Relief Channel it spans was only completed in 1964. I speculate, but do not at all know (and would like to know), that the deck may have been transplanted from some other railway that was closed. This bridge only had a very few years in railway service before the line to Wisbech was closed.

Just a few yards to the East of this bridge, is what I call the Secret Bridge. I disknow that it is actually much of a secret, and it certainly is not now. But, the much larger bridge is well-photographed and this much smaller one, which is well-hidden by undergrowth and has a span a little wider than a modern car, is not.

The "Secret" bridge, with much undergrowth surrounding it, somewhat obscuring it to the casual passer-by

That's not a great angle. but while the other end of this little bridge is accessible by foot, it's difficult to get a good photograph in full sunlight, while the sun is shining into your camera:

The "Secret" bridge; alas, I was shooting into the sun, so it was hard to get a good exposure.

Underneath:

Underneath the bridge, it is apparent that this was not designed for any modern vehicle.

And that, on a warm and sunny April day, was a nice walk. I was pleased I had the foresight in the past to photograph something that is now gone, and I am always pleased to visit my favourite bridge.

Another railway fence post, among some golden grassy undergrowth, with the Secret Bridge defocused in the background.