Sunday 25 October 2009

Tin Snail

I found this today, whilst searching for a replacement for my Land-Rover Discovery, which has reached the point of uneconomic repair.

(No, I'm not in the market for a tiny tin box, but the same place had a Discovery listed as "stunning" "meticulously maintained, truly the flagship of the Discovery range, first to see will buy, any inspection invited". First to see did not buy. I crawled under it in the rain and sank my thumb through the crunchy structural body side sill. Then through the rear floor. From underneath, I could see some not very good welding had been done elsewhere. The "immaculate" interior was worn and scruffy. Now, my car has been abused more than most, and had this one been worn by use, I wouldn't have run away. But it was being advertised as something it very definitely wasn't. It was a mess, and showed signs of bodged maintenance. When I can stick my thumb through structural metal, on a vehicle which has allegedly just passed its annual inspection, I walk away.)

This is a Nissan S-Cargo. A pun, for those without any french, on the french word "escargot", "snail". Also on "S" for "small", and Cargo, as it's a van.
They were built in Japan, for the domestic Japanese market, between 1989 and 1994. Only about 12,000 were produced.

I went into my archives, to my London Design Museum pictures, because seeing this funny little van both brought a smile to me, and a vague memory....

I can't remember who designed this, but it was 1930-ish, or before in time. French, I'm pretty sure, no indication of how the mechanical parts were to be laid out, rear engined, it would have to be. But it was never made, just this wooden mock-up.

Or this, the French Citroen 2CV van.

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Drains Revisited, an Ongoing Saga

Digging for Victory-or for the fun of it?

What's down here, then?

Ooh! an old stone-built box-culvert! Underground history!, this'll be early1800s, let's take the top slab off-

The bright green is drain-tracing dye, we'll be looking for it in the drain to which we THINK this might connect...

Oh dear... It's going nowhere, just filling up the trench. More excavations then... better go get a mini-digger.

Ongoing... More digging next week. Lots of meetings, city surveyors, water authority surveyors, legal people, because it's not clear whose responsibility it is to maintain and repair this. The water authority says the culvert is a watercourse, which brings it into "riparian law", and the landowner is responsible for it. That's the city, then. But the city, fearing getting stuck with a rapidly mounting bill for repairs, says it's a private sewer, draining only the mill. That'll be us then... But hold on.. if it joins a drain serving anybody else, they share the costs, that's the city then, but if it's a joint sewer built before 1934, it's the water authority's.....
Let's play "Pass the Buck".
We can, legally, says the water-board man, just leave a hole and let the water spill out over the city's unmaintained land.
And if it floods a house, rented from the city, then there's no claim against us, because it's just surface water, and it was running through this land long before the city built houses on the farmland, and they failed to identify and locate all pre-existing drainage. And they allowed trees to grow over the drains/sewers/culverted water-courses.

Still, every cloud has a silver lining. From old experience I know this makes good earthenware potting clay, maybe I'll get a trailer-load.
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I Thought I Needed a Bigger Camel,-

Until I saw this!

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