Category Archives: Building

Scenes on Sunday ~ Sara

I am not a number, I am a free man

~

~

~

~

~

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

basically, I can build anything

Tunes on Tuesday ~ Dance Moves

being a classic means a lot more than being just old

Some music makes me smile, and some music makes me feel like dancing.  This compilation does both.

I’ll bet that you can’t watch this video without wanting to dance.

Or buy an Oldsmobile and turn it into a hot rod.

Please listen watch and listen with nostalgia.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Ford Model A

flathead hot rod

 

Seascapes and Serenity Lost ~ available on Amazon

Make Things Happen

nothing happens unless first we dream

That Jigsaw Does Turn Into a Car

The first step in almost every journey is knowing where you want to go.  The first step in any project is knowing what it is that we want to achieve.  To achieve anything meaningful we must first have some sort of a plan.

We choose to go to the moon in this decade…..  ~ President John F. Kennedy

Less than seven years later Neil Armstrong was the first man to step onto the surface of the moon.  The whole Apollo program cost about $25.4 billion, and that dream only took about a thousand years after the rocket was invented in China.  The lesson is that to realise our dreams we must not only have a plan, we must also have the means and the perseverance to keep on going when it all seems hopeless.

There are a couple of pertinent lessons from history;

If at first you don’t succeed try, try, and try again.  ~  Robert the Bruce

and perhaps this more interesting and valuable piece of advice;

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.  ~  Albert Einstein

However, one must always remember that some dreams are totally misguided and the projects they turn into become utterly stupid delusional chimera.  One example of a dream turning into a South Sea Bubble is Tesla, the Californian manufacturer of expensive electric cars.  Despite that their least expensive Model 3 costs some £39,000 in England, and their most expensive roadster will set you back about £200,000, it will take about 1,600 years for the company to earn back the amount of money invested in it.  Frankly, I think you’d be better off investing in bitcoin, and that’s the investment equivalent of playing roulette.

A fool and his money are soon parted.  ~  King James Bible

The dreams of most men revolve around the equilateral triangle of money, sex, and power ~ and the greatest of these is money.  Given enough funds most men can get all the casual sex they want.  And, if you have enough money, some ‘friends’ and lots of perseverance, even a stupid man can become very powerful.  I cite Presidents Trump and Biden as my examples.

Some say that the mark of a man is not what he achieves, but what he longs to achieve.  And that all human activity is driven by desire.  All I know is that we should be very careful what we set our heart on ~ we may get it.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

that’s supposed to be an ark

oh Good Grief!

Knowing Me

a man’s main task in life is to know who he is
and then to know who he can become

For most of our lives we were who other people told us to be.  ‘Be a good boy…..’ my parents told me.  ‘You will have to work harder than this…..’  my teachers said.  ‘You need to put in more hours…..’ my bosses ordered.  ‘You should dress differently….. my ‘friends’ advised.   And unconsciously I made the choices to do what I was told.  Eventually, some of us were unlucky enough to make the unconscious choice to go along with whatever we thought our girl / significant other / partner wanted.  In becoming what other people wanted us to be we stopped making our own decisions, our whole reality became skewed, and we lost ourselves.

In my life I’ve made a lot of bad choices because I didn’t know who was, didn’t know what I wanted, and didn’t know who and what I wanted to become.  The good choices I made were all logical, dispassionate, intellectual ~ if I could weigh it, measure it, or count it, then it would work for me.  The bad choices were all emotional, based on desires, gratification, wants, and lusts.  All of those choices turned to dross.

A while ago I made the conscious decision to be myself, and that meant throwing away a lot of crap, in fact it meant throwing away almost everything of who and what I used to be.  That’s OK because it’s easier to build something from the beginning than it is to modify something to try and make it work.

Dare to be what your best self knows you ought to be; dare to be a bigger human being than you have ever been.  ~  Norman Vincent Peale

Some say that when people change promises are broken.  And, that if you insist on going your own way, then you will go alone.  All  I know is that I will be myself, no matter what.  I will decide for myself just who I am and who and what I want to become.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

this was part of who I truly was and am, and other people didn’t like it

Triumph TR7 V8

so, after a lot of committee work they came up with a curate’s egg

Here in England there is a long tradition of curious and interesting sports cars, with a few names being right at the top of the list when it comes to cars the classic enthusiast admires.  Sadly, the Triumph TR7 was never a car to put stars in the eyes.  Mostly that was because it was so different to it’s better-looking and more hairy-chested predecessors.

The original TR7 was a two-seat fixed-head coupe, powered by an overhead-cam four that churned out some 100 bhp.  Underneath was a fairly sophisticated suspension for the time, bolted to an incredibly strong monocoque, which made the little car heavy at just over a ton.  (Trust me, if you are ever going to roll a sports car, and expect to live through it, then make it a TR7.) But, deep down, the TR7 was a great car waiting to get out from under something far more ordinary.

The TR7 had two basic problems; #1 it wasn’t a convertible  #2 it was underpowered for its weight.  Despite that, and despite its terrible build quality it sold very well in the USA.

To give the TR7 more power the designers chose to drop in a 150 bhp version of the Rover / Buick 215 cu in aluminium V8, producing what was either a TR7 V8, or a Triumph TR8, (depending on who you talk to).  This thing went like shit off a shovel.  Then, to make it more appealing to Californians the steel roof was chopped off.  The thing was, the original TR7 was so strong that not at lot of additional strengthening was needed to compensate for the lack of a roof and those hefty C pillars.

What resulted was a pretty little proper sports car that was fabulous to drive,  so long as you remembered all that weight up front.

I’ve never driven a TR8, but I did like its less powerful TR7 FHC variant.  Imagine a stiffer and more powerful MGB and you will have an idea.  The ohc four up-front revs better than the venerable B series four-pot, and the shorter wheel-base makes the TR7 more nimble.

If you want one of these things, then first of all they are rare.  The TR8 drophead is a rare as hen’s teeth.  Finding one in as good condition as the gold number pictured here could take a very long time indeed.  Outside of California any un-restored example is likely to be infested with rust.  Any original car is likely to have problems with the electrics, cooling, gearbox, rear axle, suspension…..  But do not let that put you off.  Given a decent garage / workshop I could rebuild / build one of these things from the front spoiler backwards.  Just about everything is available, and there are thousands of bits languishing from other British Leyland cars of the era.  In fact you could take a rotten TR7 FHC shell and build a convertible with as much performance as you want / dare.

Some say the Triumph TR7 is like a curate’s egg, good in parts.  And that only a hairdresser would want to own one.  All I know is that the TR7 intrigues me ~ in any form it’s like a beautiful woman hiding her charms.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

you might want to do something about that ‘period’ interior upholstery

 

Stupid DIY Mistakes

you’re only human, it’s all right to make mistakes

If you do most things for yourself, eschewing messy decorators, useless contractors, and rip-off garages, then every now and again you are bound to commit one of the classic howlers.  Mistakes you could kick yourself for.  Really stupid mess-ups that leave you thinking; ‘how the hell do I get out of this one…..?’

I might admit to being guilty of some or all of these;

  1. Painting yourself into a corner.  You can either walk on it or wait until it dries.
  2. Touching a spark-plug lead while the engine is running.  If you’re healthy you’ll just get a terrific jolt, if you have a heart pacemaker you might get dead.
  3. Opening the radiator cap on a hot engine.  Getting scalded hurts.
  4. Over-tightening a nut so the bolt / stud snaps.  That is likely to be expensive to repair, unless you know how.
  5. Sawing off the branch you’re sitting on.  The fall hurts.
  6. Sawing off the branch your ladder is leaning against.  The fall hurts.
  7. Taking off the bathroom door handle and closing the door while you’re inside, with no way to open the door to get out.
  8. Putting up a picture / shelf by hammering a nail / drilling into the wall, and going right through a water pipe.  Flooding is expensive to repair, so is the big hole you’re going to have in the wall.
  9. Ditto an electrical cable or gas pipe.
  10. Not learning how to use a spirit level and putting up a shelf.

Today I was guilty of #7.  Just as well I took lessons from a master locksmith.

Some say that we learn by our mistakes.  And that necessity is the mother of invention.  All I know is that I can now build, decorate, install, make, repair….. just about anything ~ and I have the scars to prove it.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

I didn’t build that,

but I could

 

If You Have an Overheating Car

f you have to love your car for it to love you back

the radiator is the square black thing at the front

An American friend of mine is on a long toad trip, and she’s worrying a bit because her car is on the verge of overheating on long mountain climbs.  Well, as a guy well-used to running old cars I personally wouldn’t worry so much unless the thing actually boiled, and then I’d let it cool down completely, top up the radiator, and carry on.  (BTW, always carry a can of oil and some engine coolant in the back of your vehicle.  And learn some basic car mechanics.)

There are 4 main reasons that a car will overheat;

  1. It’s leaking coolant through a hose joint, (or the radiator itself, or the water pump).
  2. The thermostat is faulty.
  3. The electric fan isn’t working.
  4. The water pump is busted, (or the drive-belt to the water pump is broken, or slipping).

Three of those faults are easy to check for.  #1 there will be a pool of coolant under the car when it’s been parked for a while. #2 the radiator will be cool when the engine is hot.  #3 with the car parked and the engine running the fan should come on when the engine gets hot.  Trust me you will be able to hear it when it’s working.

#4 needs a mechanic, and as water pumps almost last forever it’s unlikely to be busted unless it’s an older car.  In which case check to see if it’s ever been replaced.  This fault is the least likely.  If the pulley is turning the pump is working.  If your AC and electrics are working it isn’t a drive-belt problem.

Actually there is a 5th reason, you are working the car very, very hard indeed, like climbing up a mountain.  There is a limit to how hard you can work anything or anyone, and if you pass that limit things will start to go wrong.

Faults 1, 2, 3, and 5 are very easily cured, (9 times out of 10).

The trouble is few people know much about car mechanics, and if you take it into a shop you are likely to be stuffed with the cost of the most expensive repair possible, so learn just a little practical car mechanics.  It’s a few hours and will save you a lot of time, money, and worries.  (Sometime your car isn’t overheating at all the gauge on the dashboard is giving a false reading.)

(On older cars there is always the possibility that the cooling system is furred-up, in which case it would benefit from flushing.  Here’s how https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s–5ft5YiHg ).

Treat your car well, and it will repay the favour.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

the radiator is the black thing at the front

Scenes on Sunday ~ Cars

most women would rather cry in a jaguar than on a bus 

V12 E-Type Jaguar

Jaguar XJ S V-12 Convertible

Series One Land Rover

Caterham 7 de Dion

Caterham 7 with a girl riding shotgun

Ford Mustang

my other Ford Mustang

Triumph TR5

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Triumph GT6

a miniature Aston Martin

 

I’ve owned, rented, or just driven examples of all of the above.

Hobbies for Health

for me, saving the world and everyone in it is only a hobby

Now that I’m recovering from a bloody awful mental affliction, a good friend has suggested that I take up a hobby.  You know what?  After a moments reflection I decided that was a brilliant idea.  So I will take up a hobby.

But what is a hobby anyway?  Where do other ordinary normal day-to-day pursuits become hobbies?  And does a proper hobby have to be mostly harmless, inefficient, laborious, and useless?  I confess I googled hobbies and found a few incredibly long lists of hobbies, some of which activities I would have just taken to be everyday pursuits; like watching television.  No!

But I have a first stab at a short list of potential hobbies which may occupy my time, give me pleasure, be relaxing, and stop me having suicidal thoughts;

  • Art, and I mean doing it, most probably painting.  Thus far in my life the only things I’ve painted were walls, doors, cars, and boats.
  • Angling / Fishing.  I used to fish and gave it up because I felt sorry for anything I caught.
  • Calligraphy.  As it goes I have very good classical penmanship ~ but calligraphy takes that to a whole new level where writing in pen and ink becomes art.
  • Model making, although this seems a bit of a kids pastime.
  • Photography, which I already do a lot of but I could do more and do it better.
  • Reading.  I do a hell of a lot of that, but I’m certain there’s a way to turn casual reading into a constructive hobby.
  • Survivalist.  Not that I live in an earthquake zone, but add some of the other hobbies I’ve already thought about and I’m already a fair way to being a survivalist
  • Travel.  I love to travel, but is it a hobby for me, and could I turn it into one?  Maybe by mixing it with photography and writing.
  • Walking.  On average I walk 5 miles a day, but that’s not serious hobbyist walking.  More serious walking includes hiking, backpacking, and trekking.  So I have joined our local Ramblers Club, (how very English), who meet a couple of times a month and do some serious miles in all weathers.
  • Writing, and I already do some of that too, including being in a local writers group.

I’ve already realised that if you want your normal everyday activity to become a hobby you have to add a lot of time, money, and obsessiveness into the mix.  I can’t even turn my 5 miles a day walk into a hobby without buying a lot more expensive kit.

But, if you have any other ideas for a healthy, relaxing, challenging, difficult, self-improving activity, then please just tell me.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

also, I do like making practical things; such as this planter

Living a Really Great Life

it’s cool to be confident and happy being just who you are

building a very cool car is part of living a great life

I tell people that I’m a very cool guy, living a really great life ~ and some of that is actually true.  I am old enough and wealthy enough that I have no need to work for a living, and having a reasonable amount of money I can pretty much do what I want, go where I want, buy whatever I like…..

But, there was a fly in my soup.  For as long as I remember I had a terrible feeling that I didn’t fit in, that I didn’t belong, that everyone was out to get me.  I was always afraid, angry, envious, jealous, paranoid, suicidal, and often the worse for drink.  Each and every day I struggled to keep it all together, and sometimes the chaotic shit that was going on inside my mind would spill over and I would become a really nasty, destructive, resentful jerk.  That was always followed by deep remorse, regret, apologies, and promises never to do that again ~ until the next time.

I didn’t learn that the only way to deal with negative and unhealthy beliefs and emotions is to allow yourself to feel them, let them pass through you, and then let them go and move on.  For no reason I can find, a few days ago I learned the lesson that I don’t need to react to negative, destructive, fearful, paranoid, resentful, jealous feelings and beliefs.  I made one small change ~ no matter how bad I feel, on the outside I will always seem to be a very cool guy, living a really great life.

As they say in 12-step meetings; I will fake it to make it, I will act as if I am totally cool, that I’ve got my shit together, that I am utterly self-aware, self-confident, self-controlled, and self-disciplined.  And you know what?  The more I act like that, the truer and more real it becomes.

It turns out that I am a very cool guy, living a really great life.

In a few days I’m taking a vacation in Turkey, before that I’m going to do a couple of pretty outrageous things that I wouldn’t even have dreamed of doing just a few short days ago.  Later this year I’ll be taking a trip over the Christmas Holidays, and I’ve already got some great things in mind for next year.  How cool is all that?

Some say that we can never escape our past.  And that we will never be good enough, that we could always have done better, that we will never be able to hold onto a relationship, that we will always be a drunken jerk.  All I know is that the only person I need to compare myself with is the guy I was yesterday.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Sedona, AZ, one of the really great places I’ve been to this year

%d bloggers like this: