Thursday, 3 January 2013


One of those things that blogs which tell you how to blog will tell you, is 'never apologise for not posting, just pick up and carry on'.

So, I'm apologising for my lack of blogposting over the last whenever. I'm a contrary cuss, and, given that blogging is a self-defined anarchic activity, I reject outright any numpty who presumes to tell me how to do something I'm trying to figure out for myself.
What are the rules in blogging? Whatever rules each blogger chooses to invent and adopt, but none of us has the right to prescribe or proscribe another's posts.

I've been here, I've even commented here and there, but whatever spark I might have had for a post fizzled or sputzed out.
I've variously worked, loafed, and vegetated. I attended no parties and drank very little beer.

The engine works are ongoing. It's all back together, but a rummage in my pal's garage rooted out several boxes of vital stuff. So, a distributor swap, the Ducellier replaced by an old Lucas 25D, but with hall-effect contactless points, the overdrive's fitted back on the rear end of the gearbox, um, what else. Alternator diode pack replaced, so the charge-warning light's no longer glowing at speed.
But the 'new' as in, dodgy indian-made replica Zenith 36IV carburettor has to go. With all the other variables set to default, the carb is throwing fuel in in an erratic and uncontrolled manner.
I have an SU carb, but I'd have to invent a whole new throttle linkage, as it's all the opposite way round.  Will go search ebay for a genuine 36IV.....

 Head off, pushrod holes stuffed with tissue to keep scraped gasket debris out.

 shiny new, performance-tweaked cylinder-head.

 Zzzzip! Back together, and running!

 Pause to do a spot of welding on a new engine-cross-member on Ken's series one, 1956 project...

Back to work yesterday, and deep in the sh*t. Literally. Macerator toilet.
I could post a picture, but I'll spare you that. A tenant called the office to say the toilet was blocked. A macerator toilet is one that pumps its flush away, uphill, often through smallbore pipes, not the usual 110mm/4". In this case, it was an inch and a quarter pipe, and it runs 72 feet, in a ceiling void, until it can drop into a normal soil pipe, and thence to the sewer. Well, what exactly IS a macerator unit? It's usually a small white box that sits behind the toilet. You can, using one of these, site a bathroom or kitchen, or both in a basement, or other place below, or too far from a main drain for the usual gravity system to work.
How does it do it ?

Well, water's no problem, there's a pump in there, water from sink/basin/ washing machine/ shower etc, enters via a normal inch and a quarter or inch and a half pipe, via non-return valves, and a float-switch, sensing the rising level, switches on a pump. Out it all goes, via another non-return valve, pumped up, then along, until it reaches the main drain.
What about, um, 'not' water?
'Not' water? you mean... um....'solids'?
Well. Yes.

Those of a delicate disposition might leave the room now.
As the flushed contents of the toilet bowl enter the little white box, they go into a 'basket', with mesh sides, of quarter-inch holes. Toilet paper and. um, brown stuff won't pass through those holes. In their unmodified state, they'd block the pump. But in the bottom of the basket, there's a spinning, bladed contraption, just like in your kitchen blender. And it blends and chops very well, provided that it's only fed what it's designed for. Chops and dices and slices and blends. and once that's done, the flush can pass through the mesh, and is of sufficiently fluid nature that the pump can pump it up, up, and away.
But the unit I was called to look at, had obviously had some sort of unhappy day. Chocolate mousse? overflowing from under the seat.... across the floor...
And a very nasty smell.


But hey. Into each new year's first day back at work, a little rain must fall. I'd been planning an altogether gentler re-entry to the life of work.
But, out with the wet-vac, empty it as far as possible. rinse with disinfectant, repeat. repeat. Dismantle connections, run a rotating drain-snake through the clogged 72 ft of inch and a half discharge pipe, and use vac to check it's clear.
Dismantle macerator, wash all parts in disinfectant, clear cause of failure.
No1 cause of macerator failures? People who flush things that should not be flushed. Especially cotton fibre items.
There's a notice on the inside of the door, and by the flush handle.
Ladies, please.
I'll say no more.


Reassemble, test.
Clean, bleach, de-spatter, and disinfect entire room. Clean out basin trap too.
Lift cast iron sewer manhole in car-park and tip contents of stinky vac into it. Wash out and disinfect wet vac.

Wash self.
Go home early for long shower. Wash wash wash and extra rinse rinse rinse all clothes.


Welcome to 2013.

Today was fractionally better.
Soon, with my savings, I shall buy my freedom, the village blacksmith will strike off my chains.
And I will set sail, to a different life, in a new-found land.

Here. Lighten the mood..... From my favourite Dylan Album, Live at Budokan:


  1. Blog rules are simple. Be yourself. Write what you wish. Be you!
    This way you will attract or repel followers.
    The ones who stay will probably be those who write what you find interesting, or at least say something worthwhile on the comments.
    Those who don't stay you don't miss.

    Some attract hundreds of followers, most a handfull of worthwhile folks.

    ps, don't desecribe plumbing problems, this may be a turnoff....

    1. I'm unapologetic about the plumbing problems. Spread the joy, that's my motto.

  2. Well, this music was certainly better than Snookeroo. Fer sure.

    I'm not sure I'd follow Adullamite's blogging instructions. "Be yourself. Write what what you wish." And,, yet again: Be you. This is what Adullamite does and what I do and you see the results. I would hope you could rise to a higher standard. Most of the ladies seem to be able to just be themselves and crank out mighty fine blogs. Just follow THEIR examples. Failing that, post pictures of old steam locomotives by the dozen. That would work for me.

    Not a fan of below-grade sewers. (Not speaking of Dylan or Adullamite anymore) Gravity and my trusty Drain King with garden hose keeps me as happy as a person might be in those situations. I'd tell the basement renter to go upstairs to do his business. Tell the boss not to be so rent-greedy. Cellars are for wood shops and hiding in during cyclones, not for living in. At least in Texas all you'll have to do is dig another hole from time to time, eh? :)

    1. I'm all in favour of gravity. Where would we be without it?
      The basement folks used to traipse out into the rain, and up some steps, but they rebelled, and wrote themselves a bill of rights, which declared that they should have toilets in their dark, troglodytic haunts.
      Our company chairman, a fine businessman, but with not a clue as to the site drainage maps, said to me "Make it so!", and I pointed out that there were two possible sewer lines, both about twelve feet higher than the required facilities. "Don't confuse me with facts, just make it happen. Like magic".
      So, two toilets were installed, and poo was pumped.
      To be fair, in seven or eight years, this one has only failed twice, both times through enemy action.

      Steam locomotives?
      Funny you should mention that.....

  3. Maybe this is none of my business, but shouldn't you be cleaning out that garage, like pronto?

    And I'm sad not to see how you'd put a sidedraft Skinner's Union carburetor on that downdraft manifold. I know it'd be possible, but what a mess! I had two SUs on my Datsun 510 autocross car back in the day, but they were the Japanese ones, 46mm's off a 260Z. They had rubber seals unlike the leather seals on the originals, which I'm told were used because it can get very chilly on the Island and the Brits from time to time like to warm their hands over a nice engine fire. That car started first crank on the coldest mornings Cheyenne, Wyoming had to offer, which were pretty fucking cold.

    My one-time boss at an import parts house, Dave Hauff, used to borrow my manifold and carbs to put on his mini-stock 510. He'd use them Friday nights at the speedway and I'd use them Saturday morning at an autocross. They were that easy to swap out! Dave, and this is lateral information having nothing to do with mascerating toilets, was half German, 5/32 Sioux Indian, and the rest Mexican. He married a beautiful blonde Norwegian woman and they had two sons together, who ate lutefisk tacos and scalped Jews.

    Happy New Year, Soub!

    1. That's not MY garage....
      Unfortunately mine is worse.
      I have a custom-made gooseneck adaptor for the SU.
      But I'd have to mess about with the linkage.

      I'm told an early '50s Rochester b-series carb off a six cylinder chevy is a good replacement, must be bucketloads of them in Texas.
      Have to re-jet it, jet no.s 51/52 are said to be right for my engine, low altitudes.

    2. My first car was a '54 Chev. I have experience with that Rochester carb. I was 16 and did what a 16-year-old with no money has to do to try to keep his car running. The carb was the least of my optimistic ignorance. At one time the head lay on my makeshift bench much like your pictures, though with 4 more valves and springs. It did run again, but it never really liked me after that.

  4. I've found the surest way to get back to blogging is to announce your departure from blogging!
    What a way to start the year! Happy New Year!
    I hear a lot of people that they don't like Live at Budokan, but its one of my favorites.


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