Monday, 10 August 2020


Australia Post delivered our new 12V air compressor this morning.  Only five days for it to come from the other side of the city! (well this isn’t the UK)


This one has a single head so probably half the speed as the original.  According to the label it draws 45 amps so half the demand of the original.  Taking twice as long to pump up a tyre doesn’t particularly worry me (I’m retired and waiting for god!).

I found it on Ebay for $139.04 but decided to check the suppliers website.  It was $119 on their site which was a saving.  Then I gave Jan the link who went searching for a discount code.  Final price was $109 with free delivery.  That girl knows how to save money!  Oh, I checked all the bolts and screws for tightness before using it to add air to the tyres on the 4WD.

The postman also delivered some button batteries I’d ordered online.  They were $6 each in the major supermarkets, which seemed highway robbery.  Ten for $12 online. 

I need them for the 4WD Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) which I purchased from China last year.  The TPMS has a control unit and display on the dash which is wirelessly linked to a sensor on each tyre valve stem.  The display had stopped showing the data for the front left tyre and I initially thought the unit had failed.  Then I considered the possibility that despite the sensor batteries having a life of 3-5 years they may already have been old.  This morning all four sensor batteries were replaced.


and were then refitted to their respective valve stems.  The dash display came back to life!


Light blue numbers are the tyre pressures in psi and the yellow figures are the tyre air temperature in centigrade.  The control unit has two power sources.  A small solar panel on the top and a usb inlet port on the side.  At under $30 it’s a cheap safety device.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Poor Purchase

The 12V air compressor has failed.  It died whilst I was attempting to inflate one of the 4x4 tyres.  An Ebay purchase and; of course; the 12 month warranty expired a year ago.  What’s annoying is I must have only used the compressor 10-12 times. 

I stripped it down to see if I could make any repairs but it quickly became obvious there were a number of issues.  First the circuit board is fried.  Then I noticed the poorly soldered connection on the negative wire.


Less than half the copper strands are connected.

I also discovered the bolts holding the heads onto the cylinders were only finger tight.  The entire piston, cylinder and head assembly has been bouncing around on loose bolts.  This has mangled the seals on the cylinder heads.


Obviously I should have checked all the connections before using it.

Being a hoarder, I’ve salvaged what parts I think might come in useful at some later date.


  • Power lead
  • On/Off switch
  • Air pressure release valve
  • Two air filters
  • Air hose


    Friday, 7 August 2020

    Inserting Videos into Open Live Writer

    Well I’ve finally worked out a method of inserting video files into Open Live Writer (OLW) and publishing them to Blogger.

    The steps are

    1.  Upload the video to You Tube

    2.  View the video in You Tube and copy the link address in the Address Bar

    video 1

    3.  In OLW select ‘Insert’ from the menu bar and then ‘Video’.  Select the “From the Web” option.

    4.  In the pop-up window paste the You Tube link into the address bar like my example below. 

    video 2

    5.  THIS IS THE IMPORTANT STEP.   Edit the address by removing the ‘s’ in https so it now looks like the following.

    video 3

    You now have a grey box and there is no preview.  However if you click the Insert button the video will be inserted into OLW.  You won’t see it although you may see the text “Enter video caption here” which actually appears beneath the video (which you can’t see)

    video 4

    The video will appear when the draft is posted to Blogger from OLW.

    You should see the You Tube video from my last post below using the above instructions

    Thursday, 6 August 2020

    Did he walk the crossing first?

    Before driving through any water crossing it's important to walk it first to check the bottom for obstacles or holes, etc.  The question is...... Did this driver walk the cross first?  It's only a short You Tube video (9MB)

    I suspect not!

    Oh.... this is one reason why I don't camp in a tent.

    I'm also still trying to establish why I couldn't insert the video into Open Live Writer.

    Kevin TOO the state government regulations require pool fences on external boundaries to be a minimum of 1800mm high.  It's Jan's pool and she will be the one 'skinny dipping'.  If it was up to me the fences would be 300mm high which would guarrantee the neighbours would stay inside with the curtains drawn!

    Wednesday, 5 August 2020


    Well that’s the bookcase installed.  Some modifications were required as it wasn’t designed to be fixed to a wall.


    Regrettably our collection of books is a shadow of itself after the losses we experience when they were in storage.  Being philosophical about it….. books are only “stuff”. 

    I’ve realised there were sufficient remaining scraps of Jarrah hardwood to make a fourth chair-side table.  A number of old nail and screw holes needed to be filled which means the table is far from perfect.  Jan doesn’t want the table so I’ll need to find it a good home.


    Not quite completed

    The ‘sand flag’ for outback travel has been completed.  You can buy sand flags for $100+ however I am reluctant to spend that sort of money.  My sand flag has cost us $1.


    We bought a $1 hi-viz safety vest from Ebay which Jan then cut and sewed a flag.  The metal mounting bracket came from some recycled square tube salvaged from the old garden shed and the yellow mast is a 40 year old fibreglass fishing rod.

    The one job I have decided not to undertake is replacement of the back and side fences. 


    It’s a corrugated asbestos/cement fence and because of the additional safety requirement for the removal of asbestos I’ve decided to pay a fencing contractor to complete the work.  The fence has to be replaced as it doesn’t meet the height restrictions for swimming pools.  However I will install the other two sides of the pool fencing…… But not until after the pool has been installed.  Once the pool project is complete we will be able to do the backyard landscaping.

    Friday, 31 July 2020

    One Completed

    The last of the recycled Jarrah timber from the framing of the wardrobe has been converted into a small chair-side table.


    Jan informs me three tables is sufficient. The fourth table will have to go to a good home. Smile

    A bookcase is required for the study and after pricing the materials I identified it would be cheaper to purchase a kitset.  However I want to mount the bookcase on the wall and the kitset has to go on the floor as it has insufficient strength.  I’ve therefore decided to glue, dowel and screw the components.


    Parts of the internal partitions

    This is the first time I’ve used the orange triangular squares.   

    Brian the outback trailer has independent suspension with toe-in/out and camber adjustment bolts on the leading edge of the wishbone arm.



    Wednesday, 29 July 2020

    As Reported

    The Pastor entered his donkey in a race and it won !!
    The Pastor was so pleased with the donkey that he entered it in the next race, and it won that race too.
    The local paper read:
    The Bishop was so upset with this kind of publicity that he ordered the Pastor not to enter the donkey in another races.
    The next day the local paper headline read:
    This was too much for the Bishop, so he ordered the Pastor to get rid of the donkey.
    The Pastor decided to give it to a Nun in a nearby convent.
    The local paper, hearing of the news, posted the following headline the next day:
    The Bishop fainted ….
    He informed the Nun that she would have to get rid of the donkey as soon as possible, so she sold it to a local farmer for £10.
    The next day the paper read:
    “NUN SELLS ASS FOR £10”.
    This was too much for the Bishop so he ordered the Nun to buy back the donkey, and take it to the plains where it could run wild.
    The next day the headlines read:
    The Bishop was buried the next day.
    The moral of the story is .. . . being concerned about public opinion can bring you much grief and misery, even shorten your life.
    So be yourself and enjoy life. Stop worrying about everyone else's ass and you'll be a lot happier and live longer!

    The following is apparently a letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune

    Dear Mr. Page: I agree with our Native American population. I am highly jilted by the racially charged name of the Washington Redskins.

    One might argue that to name a professional football team after Native Americans would exalt them as fine warriors, but nay, nay. We must be careful not to offend, and in the spirit of political correctness and courtesy, we must move forward.

    Let's ditch the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians. If your shorts are in a wad because of the reference the name Redskins makes to skin color, then we need to get rid of the Cleveland Browns.

    The Carolina Panthers obviously were named to keep the memory of militant Blacks from the 60's alive. Gone. It's offensive to us white folk.

    The New York Yankees offend the Southern population. Do you see a team named for the Confederacy? No! There is no room for any reference to that tragic war that cost this country so many young men's lives. I am also offended by the blatant references to the Catholic religion among our sports team names. Totally inappropriate to have the New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Angels or the San Diego Padres.

    Then there are the team names that glorify criminals who raped and pillaged. We are talking about the horrible Oakland Raiders, the Minnesota Vikings, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Pirates!

    Now, let us address those teams that clearly send the wrong message to our children. The San Diego Chargers promote irresponsible fighting or even spending habits. Wrong message to our children.

    The New York Giants and the San Francisco Giants promote obesity, a growing childhood epidemic. Wrong message to our children. The Cincinnati Reds promote downers/barbiturates. Wrong message to our children.
    The Milwaukee Brewers. Well that goes without saying. Wrong message to our children.

    So, there you go. We need to support any legislation that comes out to rectify this travesty, because the government will likely become involved with this issue, as they should. Just the kind of thing the do-nothing Congress loves.

    As a die-hard Oregon State fan, my wife and I, with all of this in mind, suggest it might also make some sense to change the name of the Oregon State women's athletic teams to something other than "the Beavers (especially when they play Southern California. Do we really want the Trojans sticking it to the Beavers???

    I always love your articles and I generally agree with them. As for the Redskins name I would suggest they change the name to the "Foreskins" to better represent their community, paying tribute to the dick heads in Washington DC.


    On a more serious note

    Imagine being an idiot in the WW2 Blitz refusing the blackout your windows in order to stop the neighbourhood being bombed, because you didn’t want to be told what to do by the government.

    Saturday, 25 July 2020


    Looking for some work this morning I realised the 4x4 was due for an engine oil and filter change.  Well that’s not strictly true.  My habit is to do a filter and oil change in between scheduled services.  The logic behind this is the design engineers cleverly calculate vehicle life expectancy ensuring the vehicle fails just outside the warranty period.  The customer is then satisfied the vehicle was reliable and purchases a replacement.  The warranty on the Isuzu is five years but it is my intention to keep it for many years.  Replacing the oil and filter at twice the design rate is one of my strategies to achieve that.

    Up onto the ramps went the Isuzu and then I jacked up the rear to install the stands.


    Off came the bash protection plates to give access to the sump drain plug and the engine oil was drained.  Thus far the task wasn’t too difficult.

    The next step was to remove and replace the oil filter.  It’s in an awkward location.


    It was at this point I discovered the last filter had been fitted by Hercules Sad smile

    Much puffing, grunting and cursing followed as I attempted various methods to unscrew the filter.  Eventually I unscrewed it, looking slightly battered (that’s both me and the filter).   I was about to refit the protection plates when I realised that might not be a good idea.  Better to fill the engine with oil first and check for leaks.  I haven’t forgotten the time on Waiouru when I managed to fill the engine bilge with new engine oil because I’d failed to check the old oil seal on the filter had been removed after I’d replaced the old filter. 

    You may recall I refurbished the front door security grill which consists of a heavy metal grill with a finer metal mesh insect screen.  It’s almost impossible to see through the security door from the outside.  The interesting part to this story is Molly, Jan’s miniature dachshund.   A small dog with a loud and ferocious bark.  When someone unknown knocks at the front door Molly goes ballistic.  Jan will open the main door to the sound of a very angry dog.  Jan will then shout “Quiet Hercules!”  Of course Molly knows her name isn’t Hercules so she ignores Jan and keeps on barking loudly.  By this time the person at the door has taken three steps backwards and is starting to look concerned.  (hehehe…)

    Great security system.

    Thursday, 23 July 2020

    Aligned and ready to go

    Steve from ‘Free Wheeling’ came yesterday and completed the wheel alignment on the off-road trailer.  I had been concerned the wheels were out of alignment as I could see more of the right side of the trailer in the rear vision mirror when towing it.  That proved to be correct as Steve’s calibration showed the trailer was 13mm out of alignment.


    None of the tyre or wheel alignment workshops could do a trailer wheel alignment which led me to Steve who has a mobile wheel alignment business; mostly specializing on large trucks (lorries) and big trailers.

    with the wheel alignment done I focussed on fitting the new recovery track carrier to the lid of the freezer compartment and then fitted the 5th jerry can.  The trailer now has the capability to carry 100 litres of diesel.


    I’m now looking forward to a trial trip before attempting something more substantial.

    Sunday, 19 July 2020


    Obviously it can get very hot in Australia and when camping or caravanning searching for a shady campsite is a consideration.  However a shady campsite does have disadvantages.  For example; if you are freedom camping and don’t have a mains power connection then you are probably using solar panels. Often these are mounted on the roof of the camper/caravan or vehicle, which means they won’t be receiving much sunlight.  It’s for this reason our camper solar panels are free standing and on a long cable.  However there is a second disadvantage with a shady campsite.


    I never camp under large trees!

    Saturday, 18 July 2020

    Completed….. Well almost!

    Some of the scrap plywood and Jarrah hardwood has been put to good use as a case for my Leigh D4 dovetail jig.


    The back which opens

    Inside is the dovetail jig.  I need to make a small compartment inside for the instruction manual……. when I can find the elusive manual.


    I’ve stolen much of the case design from the ‘New Brit Workshop’ You Tube channel.  The case has been designed so that it has a dual role as a storage case and a jig bench.


    Prior to making the case the jig was on the bench top where it was too low and caused an aching back.  Now it’s the right height.

    I recycled some castors which have been fixed to one end of the case enabling me to wheel it around the workshop and store it vertically.


    Meanwhile, Jan is making ‘All In’ pizza for dinner.  This is where she goes through the cupboards and fridge finding all the old food scraps to place on top of her pizza dough.  Should be tasty!

    Friday, 17 July 2020

    A Solution

    I believe I’ve identified a solution that will secure the trailer second spare wheel wires.

    The idea is to fit a short length of angle steel across the drawbar and secure the wire to it with shackles.


    I will continue to use the ratchet strap to tension the wire (ie, raise the wheel) but once raised the shackles will hold the wire in place. 

    The jerry can rack has also be bolted to the new frame.


    The trailer can now carry five jerry cans or 100 litres of diesel.  This should provide sufficient fuel for approximately 1800km.  However that range will obviously reduce if I’m off road and using 4 wheel drive and low range.

    Made in Australia

    I like a glass of orange juice in the morning.  When we first arrived in Australia local orange juice was plentiful with vast orange orchards in the riverlands of South Australia.  As a consequence of declining water availability from the River Murray many of these orchards have been ripped out.  These days most of the orange juice is imported.  The majority from South America.  It arrives as a concentrate to which local water is added.  It’s obviously not fresh.  Packaging laws in Australia require food to be labelled stating where it originated.  Therefore when I’m reading the label on orange juice I look for either 100% Australian content or as little Australian content as possible.  My theory is the Australian content is the water.  If it’s not 100% Australian then I’m not prepared to pay the high price for water! 

    The Australian authorities recently decided to change the ‘Made in Australia’ logo.  The old Kangaroo is to be replaced

    oz made

    with what looks like COVID-19 Smile

    Reading one of Nev’s (NB Percy) post reminded me of a time when I was also considering the future finances of the UK canal network.  CRT was only expected to receive funding for a specific period and then be self sufficient.  BREXIT and COVID-19 are having a serious impact on the UK economy and I doubt the government will want to financially support CRT.  Moreover CRT access to sponsorship will also be affected as industry will also be struggling. 

    What will CRT do?  One indicator of financial pressure will be the sale of portions of it’s property portfolio.  This may result in a short term financial improvement but will result in a longer term reduction in income.  There will likely be regular increases in annual boat license fees.  However I understand license fees form less than 50% of CRT’s revenue.  Eventually CRT will rationalize maintenance declaring some canals as ‘remainder canals’ which are on minimal maintenance.  The towpaths will be maintained for activities such as walkers, cyclists, canoeists, fishing and wildlife to ensure some funding is received.  however major costs such as lock maintenance and dredging will not be undertake. 

    If I were making the cold and clinical decision on which canals were to be categorised as ‘remainder’ my list would be:

    Chesterfield Canal

    Ripon Canal

    Hudderfield Broad & Narrow (only one canal required to cross the Pennines)


    Sheffield and South Tinsley


    Stourbridge Town Arm

    Stourbridge Canal (other canals available to access the BCN)

    Coventry Canal from Hawkesbury Junction to Coventry (it’s treated poorly by the locals)

    River Soar/GU Leicester from Foxton Locks north (alternative routes available)


    Welford Arm

    Aylesbury Arm

    Wendover Arm

    Slough Arm

    Hertford Union (alternate route via Limehouse Cut)

    Dukes Cut

    South Stratford Upon Avon (access to Stratford would be via the Avon and Severn)

    Grand Union from Kingswood Junction north (alternate route via North Stratford upon Avon)

    Droitwich Junction Canal

    You will note I’ve scarcely touched the Shropshire Union Canal, the Kennet and Avon and the BCN.  They all have quite active canal societies.  Politics is always a consideration.   I’m not suggesting this would all happen at once and the list above isn’t in priority order. 

    Sunday, 12 July 2020

    Drilling around corners

    The first thing I need to do is reply to a couple of readers comments from the last blog post.

    Thank you Kevin TOO.  Actually I have considered changing my name by deed poll from Tom Jones to Nobody Jones.  As you will appreciate… Nobody is perfect!

    Yes David, the wheel carrier includes No8 wire and duct tape.  Still working out how to include the hay baling twine!

    Now I wouldn’t want readers to think the spare wheel is held in place by the wire and ratchet strap.  Today I lowered the wheel and took a photo.  The main purpose for this was to wire brush and prime the welds.


    Red arrows and letters for Pip on NB Oleanna

    I’ve used some box section steel [C] as the load bearing member.  I cut out a bottom section at each end [B] to give access to the welds.  Two parallel angle bracket [A] have been welded to eliminate the potential for the wheel to rock on the retaining shaft.

    The strength of the vertical securing bolt has been over engineered.


    A slightly burred photo, but you can see drilled a hole thought the box steel member before cutting the top out.  The allowed the head of the bolt to be welded to the inside top of the box section.  The cut out portion was then reinstalled and welded.  Finally the box steel has been welded to the trailer chassis cross member.

    Raising and lowering the wheel using the ratchet strap works!

    The next task is to fit the jerry can holders to the trailer.  I’ve had a change of mind and decided they won’t be welded.  Instead they will be bolted.  This will enable me to replace one should it get damaged.  However drilling the holes for the bolts meant I needed to drill around a corner.  That’s where Lidl assisted.


    A handy adaptor for drilling holes in confined spaces.

    Saturday, 11 July 2020

    This is discouraging

    You may recall I planted some beetroot and spring onion seeds.  Being precise, I only planted one seed into each pod of potting mix.  If they had been going into the garden I’d probably have used a spirit level and tape measure (it’s the engineer in me)!

    Well all but two of my beetroot seeds have germinated, along with all of the spring onion seeds.  However they are not growing very fast.  I thought it might be the wrong time of year.


    Meanwhile Jan washes some seeds out of a pumpkin she bought and a pip from one of my Pink Lady Apples.  She then planted them in some of the ‘seed pods’ I made.   The Pink Lady apple pip has germinated.


    And not only did the pumpkin pips germinate, Jan has already transferred them into the garden and thinned them.


    This is most unfair.  Why can’t I have ‘green fingers’?

    Friday, 10 July 2020

    Not another opinionated rant!

    Readers whilst it might seem like all I’ve been doing is ranting about current affairs, this is not the case.  The 240V power cable has been laid to the workshop.  Our fit 28 year old nephew was volunteered by myself to get into the roof cavity and run the plastic conduit and cable from the far corner of the house to the main switchboard side.  The roof has a 15° pitch, which is just too small for me to crawl around in these days.  I’d probably put my foot through the plaster ceiling lining at least twice.  My job was to feed the pipe from outside whilst he scurried around inside the ceiling cavity like a rat.  He then departed to make some money doing his real job whilst I carried on.

    The wire was dropped down the outside of the wall and into the trench


    Jan then helped me pull the power cable through the conduit to the workshop.  She did the feeding and I did the pulling.  No doubt she will find this acquired skill useful at some future date.

    The depth of the conduit is 700mm.  Legally it has to be a minimum of 600mm but I do like to over engineer things.


    Up into the workshop

    I now have to do the connection at the sub-board in the workshop


    Meanwhile the trench was backfilled. 


    It won’t take long for the grass to grow back.

    Work has also progressed on the outback trailer.  I’ve been fabricating the steel salvaged from the old bench in the garage and then had my neighbour weld it to the underside of the trailer as a second spare wheel carrier.


    The major challenge here was working out a method of raising the tyre.  I used wooden blocks and the trolley jack to position it.  Obviously I can’t do this whilst in the outback!  My solution has been to fabricate a cradle from 3mm galvanised wire.  Two lengths running longitudinally and two shorter cross lengths.  They are connected using double throated wire clamps.  The clamps were then covered in duct tape in an effort to ensure the clamps don’t wear the tyre.  By releasing the wire the wheel is lowered.  Obviously the reverse to raise it.  I haven’t finalised this last part.  At the moment I’ve fitted an angle plate to the front of the trailer coupler as an anchor point and have used ratchet straps to raise the wheel.


    It’s a bit Heath Robinson and I need to give more thought to a better aesthetic solution.

    Oh… Jan has chosen her swimming pool…… I need to do more digging! Smile

    Thursday, 9 July 2020

    Hong Kong

    Just my opinion…….

    Hong Kong is now just another province of Mainland China. The 'One country - Two Systems' has been rendered invalid by the action of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) invoking their new security law in Hong Kong. The reality is China never fully implemented the 'Basic Law' and subsequently made a number of attempts to undermine it. The attempt in 2019 to invoke laws allowing China to extradite Hong Kong citizens to China is contrary to the Basic Law and resulted in widespread protests, civil disorder and significant damage to public and private property. The CCP has used these protests as a reason for introducing the new security law when they created the initial problem.

    I suspect the CCP agreed to the 'One Country - Two Systems' for two strategic reasons.

    1. At the time they believed they needed an unchanged Hong Kong as an economic and financial gateway to the rest of the world.

    2. Agreeing to 'One Country - Two Systems' was also aimed at Taiwan. The CCP hoped their 'one country - two systems’ approach to Hong Kong would result in Taiwan re-joining China.

    The UK was looking for a way to extricate itself from Hong Kong when the 99 years lease on the mainland portion of Hong Kong (the New Territories) was due to expire. Hong Kong island and Kowloon were not viable without the mainland portion. Perhaps the British government though a 50 year transition period might result in China being a more democratic country at the end of the period? It's quite possible the British didn't realise communist China was going to rapidly transition in a major economic power by abandoning communism.

    Whilst China might be ruled by the Chinese Communist Party, the country is no longer communist. Communism is when the state owns everything and everyone contributes to the best of their ability, taking only what they need. This isn't the case in China. The reality is the country is ruled by a totalitarian government where all power is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state.

    The CCP can only keep the general population subservient if the people continue to enjoy the benefits of a rapidly expanding economy (ie, share in the wealth). China has been making and selling "stuff" to the world for several decades. Low wages means the CCP has been awash in cash. As the South American drug cartels discovered; having cash isn't particularly useful. It needs to be invested! China has been frenetically spending money in areas such as:

    1. Domestic infrastructure

    2. USA Government Bonds; and

    3. Acquiring overseas raw materials, land, property and means of production.

    They have now picked all the low hanging fruit! 

    More recently the CCP announced the 'Belts and Roads Initiative' (BRI). China would loan countries money to build a transport network with China at its hub. The BRI comes with strings attached such as; defaulting on the repayments results in China taking control of the asset; and the work on constructing the infrastructure must go to Chinese companies. The BRI is stalling leaving China with cash it can't spend.  Moreover many countries in the West have introduced restrictions on overseas investment.

    China is entering a period of economic trouble. Recently there have been 'runs' on two Chinese banks and the central government has introduced tough new restrictions preventing it’s citizens sending money overseas. Combine this with other factors such as the South China Sea expansion; tension on the Indian-China border. Economic action against Australia and recent massive cyber attacks, all indicate China has adopted a more aggressive stance.

    My concern is the CCP is attempting to deflect public dissatisfaction with bellicose patriotism and 'sabre rattling'. The potential for armed conflict is rising!