Life

80,000 miles and a new computer

Christmas came early this year. Though not in the way you might expect. Since Ellie will be working all through the Christmas period we won't be able to go visiting people then, so we drove down to Torquay to see my parents this weekend, to catch up and see people before things get manic here. They're all hoping to come up and visit us at some point, but it was good to see them nonetheless.Peter, my brother, has a ukelale. Not just any ukelale, a "flying-V" electric ukelale. It's a strange mix of radical and cheesy, and suits him down to the ground. He's just recently invested in an amp too, tiny little orange thing that makes a really piercing noise, but he likes it. Actually, all my family is quite mad. Makes me feel right at home.(more…)

By Matthew, ago
Life

Charge!

For some time now Neddy has been having problems starting.  Despite a longish run the battery would be flat, and the engine would hardly turn over.  Most of the time there has still been just about enough charge to start the engine, if reluctantly, but there have also been a couple of times when it's failed, and this morning was one of those occasions.  Not great timing, considering I'm due to be driving across the country to get married this weekend.  There were several possible causes to the battery charge problem, one of which was the battery itself, and other main possibility being the alternator, and I could find no sure fire way of finding out which it was more likely to be or how to find out for sure, and neither looked particularly cheap to replace.(more…)

By Matthew, ago
Minis

Hunt the clunk

Yesterday evening I went round to my friend Aaron's house so we could fit new lower ball joints to Neddy, having replaced the upper ones previously. In case I hadn't already said elsewhere, Neddy has been making a rather disconcerting clunking noise when accelerating, and I had thought it was the upper ball joint, but replacing it made no difference. So Aaron and I did the lower ones too. And did it make any difference? Not a sausage.It's kind of a hard noise to describe really, especially since we're not entirely sure where the noise is coming from. You can hear it when inside the car, but not really from outside because of the noise from the engine. This leads us to suspect that it's not to do with the suspension or anything on the sides of the car, as you would expect to be able to hear something like that form outside. It's a sound akin to clicking your knuckles, and happens when pulling away from stationary, or accelerating hard in first or second gear. It sort of clicks three or four times before settling down.(more…)

By Matthew, ago
Minis

Problem solving ball joints

For some time now there has been an odd and disconcerting clunking noise coming from the front of my Mini when I pull away.  I had come to the conclusion that it might be the upper ball joint on the driver's side wheel (the passenger side upper ball joint had been replaced about six months ago), but without a ball joint splitter or torque wrench I wasn't exactly feeling confident attempting to sort it out myself!  Thankfully I didn't have to do it on my own, thanks to that wonderful community that is Colchester Mini Club - Aaron came and helped me this evening.(more…)

By Matthew, ago
Minis

A wet weekend

Yesterday it rained. Nothing unusual about that in itself, England generally has a lot of rain, but Colchester usually manages to avoid it. Yesterday, however, I saw plenty of the wet stuff. After an early start I met up with the Colchester Mini Club and drove up to Fakenham racecourse for the Norfolk Mini Day, which was not so much flooded with Minis as rainwater. It was fun driving along in convoy, and I bought a few odds and ends at the trade stands, but generally it was a bit of a wash-out. Still, the day was made up for by a cup of tea and a trip to the cinema - I'm easily pleased.(more…)

By Matthew, ago
Minis

We won’t, we won’t rock you

For some time now Neddy's engine has been moving about a bit, rocking on its mountings due to worn stabaliser bushes.  A while ago I fitted new bushes to the top stabaliser, which vastly improved matters, but since then it seems to have returned to its old unstable self, probably more the fault of the bottom bushes than the top ones.  I shall hopefully be buying new bushes at the Norfolk Mini Day this Sunday, but in the meantime I thought I would fit the extra bottom engine steady bar I bought at the Riviera Run.(more…)

By Matthew, ago
Minis

Riviera Run 2007

Riviera RunAs a stalwart Devonshire lad, I've never had any particular association with Cornwall. Indeed, if Devon and Cornwall were suddenly and irreversibly separated by earthquake or act of God, I doubt many people would complain (on either side of the border). That said, I thoroughly enjoyed my long weekend in Newquay, soaking in the sunshine, admiring the ruggedly beautiful landscape, and drooling at all the Minis in the vicinity. Yes, I'm talking about the MiniWorld Riviera Run, an annual meeting of Minis (and their owners) from around the country, officially starting by driving in convoy from Reading services all the way down to the Trevelgue holiday park in Newquay.(more…)

By Matthew, ago
Minis

Run to the sun!

Just a quick note to say that I shall be away this weekend, joining hundreds of other Mini owners for the MiniWorld Riviera Run!  I’ve been wanting to go to this for years, and this is my first opportunity, so I’m really looking forward to it.  I shall be travelling Read more…

By Matthew, ago
Minis

Picture this

On Sunday afternoon I was a mobile recording studio, recording the drum parts for the Rooted album I've been working on.  This evening I was a photographer, taking photos of a dance / movement performance for one of Ellie's friends.  It was a challenge, simply because there was so much movement - no one stayed still for very long, there was no script to work from, no guarantee of where anyone would be at any given time, and the lighting was very unusual.  But it was a fantastic experience, and once I got into it I just couldn't stop taking pictures!(more…)

By Matthew, ago
Minis

Back on the road

Braided rear brake hose fittedAfter a morning of being stuck in front of a computer screen (again), I spent this afternoon being very productive indeed.  I started on some cleaning around the house, and then my friend Andy came round to help me with the brakes on my Mini, which we'd not been able to finish the previous weekend.  The initial problem was a leaking brake cylinder, but in the process of fitting the new one we discovered that the thread had gone on part of the pipework, so I went off and order yet more bits and pieces.  This week it all arrived - braided brake hoses for the rear brakes, another brake cylinder and a set of brake shoes.(more…)

By Matthew, ago