The Exile Files

Raging Against the Outrageous. Laughter and Insanity Abound.

Move Along…

Posted by Exile on February 3, 2023

About six months ago we decided to take the chance and move away from Copenhagen. Since then we have found a house with enough ground around it to keep me happy and with no neighbours around me to make me unhappy. We bought the place and hoped that this house which we now occupy, will be sold sooner or later.
Time marches on. Having bought the new house just before Christmas we have been planning how to move and when. We have cleared out a heap of collected detritus, stuff we no longer need or use and things that we had forgotten we owned. Suddenly, moving day is looming large on the horizon and we have now contacted a removals company to get us going. We have a lot to pack and we need a little time to do it. Our movers reckon we will need 110 boxes to pack all our stuff in. I have no idea if that is right or not but they appear to have an understanding of volume, so we’ll go with that for now. Some of our belongings will be moved by us using a trailer behind the car and by taking full advantage of the back seats. Some things are too delicate or too valued to be left to rough workmen, no matter how professional they may purport to be.!

Last week the final part of the puzzle fell into place. This old pile of bricks has been sold at last. An investor with a plan to build up and out has bought the place and we should be free of it on the 1st. of April. Which suits me fine as we take our new place under our wings on the 1st. of March. Moving day is set to the 15th of March.
It has been a journey. We have been told that this place was sold three times already, but each time there was always a snag with finances or banks not truly living up to what was promised. It has been a roller coaster of emotion.
The most traumatic experience after losing a loved one is to move house. At least, that is what I am told by those that have tried it. I have moved before but always for myself and by myself. I looked upon it as breaking camp, moving to a new site and then rebuilding a camp. This time I have to drag my good lady along with me and, therefore, I have relinquished total control over events.
I’m sure we’ll get through it. I’ll let you know how we get on….


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It’s Been a While…

Posted by Exile on December 21, 2022

but things have been busy.

This hasn't been my best year. I put my back out in August and it has taken me a while to get back up on my feet again. The doctor says it will never get really better, my back is worn out and I'll simply have to learn to live with it. OK. I can do that. My gardening days are over, that's for sure, unless I can do something with raised beds and such. Otherwise, I'll be taking it easy, whatever I do. I didn't get out on the bike this year either. That really upset me. We have decided to move away from Copenhagen. Now that my good lady and I are both pensioners we have no need for the big city any longer. I was always determined to leave when the chance arose and indeed, it has. We have found a really nice spot on Falster. For the unknowing, Falster is a large island just South of Sealland. The house is secluded, surrounded by fields, one kilometre from a very pretty woodland and only one and a half kilometres from a beach, complete with a small harbour. The local village is at least six hundred yards further down the road away from the woods. We have a magnificent view of the local landscape. We have two thousand square metres to run around in and most of it is lawn and bushes. We have a barn, workshop and garage and an eighty square metre large workshop hall that I can use as both shed, workshop and garage. Room for the cars, trailer and Thumper, all under one roof. There is also room to have the family come and stay. We move in March 2023. I can't wait. Speaking of family, we have increased in number. Not that anybody had kids, you understand. My dear daughter found herself a beau. Not just any old beau, but an American chappie from Alabama. Welcome "Rocky", as he is affectionately known. I have to bend my ear a little as I am not yet quite used to that long Southern drawl but I'm sure it will all work itself out. He arrived here on the 14th of December, my daughter's birthday. He had been delayed leaving Chicago and missed his flight from London, Heathrow. A ten hour delay. He was worn out when he eventually arrived so I didn't get to speak with him much at that point and right now he is sick with the flu. He'll be here with us for Christmas though, so we'll get to know each other then. A big lad, served in the US Army in Iraq. We have much in common. The really good news is, that my grandson says he's a fun guy. Which is praise indeed from my little cynic.... Christmas is upon us. I do enjoy this time of year but we have turned down the volume this year. Fuel bills and inflation have taken their toll on us and now, with the big investment made, we need to mind the pennies for a while yet. We still have to sell this old house we are presently living in, but there is interest and we are hopeful, if not entirely optimistic, of a quick sell. This would be the time to wish everybody a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year. I do hope we get one! Take care, y'all. (See, that drawl is kicking in....)

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Worth Reading…

Posted by Exile on August 12, 2022

Oliver Cromwell dissolved the British Parliament in 1653. Tired of the misrepresentation, lies and corruption, he decided that enough was more than enough. We need men of this calibre now. His speech may be as damning today as it was then and, as far as I can see, valid for both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. These are his words:

“It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice.

Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government.

Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.
Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?
Ye have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.

Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do.

I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.

Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go! “

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Narex Butt Chisels

Posted by Exile on August 9, 2022

I needed them. So I got them. I have a good set of Irwin chisels. They have served me well and I keep them sharp and clean. I have no complaints regarding them. However, I find them a bit clumsy when it comes to the finer details. Clumsy is perhaps the wrong word. Unwieldy may be a better term.
Butt  chisels are a shorter tool. The handles are round and fit into the hand comfortably. Being a shorter, more compact affair than a bench chisel makes them ideal for detailed work and the rounded end of the handle makes it easy to push the chisel forward or give it a thump with the large pad under your thumb without risking  compression injury to the underlying tendons.
Made in the Czech Republic and purchased from Dieter Schmid, Fine Tools in Germany, not overly expensive but not cheap, they were as sharp as any other chisels are straight out of the box, but I knew they weren’t really sharp, or as sharp as I would like them.
I flattened the backs of them on a 1000 grit diamond plate, which took very little effort as they were quite well machined and really flat. The primary bevels were ground to the usual 25° and again, very well done. A minimum of work to polish them. I then ground a fine 30° secondary bevel and stropped the whole lot to within an inch of their lives. I ended up with very sharp chisels indeed.
I have no idea how well they will hold that edge but all the reviews I have seen state that they do hold an edge well. We shall see.
I can’t wait to use them in earnest.

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Whole Lot of Somethin’ Going On…

Posted by Exile on July 29, 2022

And most of it is pretty good…
My back is improving. It’s not as painful as it was, but still not entirely resolved. I’m off to the doctor again on Monday. I need to get this diabetes sorted out too. There has to be an alternative to Metformin. I won’t take the stuff. It does terrible things to my guts. A big day coming there then…

Meanwhile, I’ve been off camping with my daughter, her half sister and my grandson and my ex. Mother of my daughter. We’re still good friends. My dear wife doesn’t do camping. An interesting week in darkest Jutland. Jelling, to be exact. The first place where the name “Denmark” was ever coined in script, albeit runic, carved in stone and still visible today, and courtesy of King Harald Bluetooth. Resting place of King Gorm and his wife, Thyra. The weather was good to us, all that week.

While I was away, my good lady sold the house. We were trying to sell anyway, so I can’t complain, but that deed now sets us a few problems. OK, the paperwork needs to be fully sorted out and a few inspections have to be made, but ultimately it means that we are going to have to move away from Copenhagen, mainly because I’m done with living very close to a big city, and try to find a piece of rural heaven. We have a few places in mind.
A friend told me, not long ago, you need to be able to hear eternity. Wise words, I thought. I’m looking for a reasonably isolated, peaceful place with about a hectare of land where I can plant a few trees and hear no more than birdsong and wind. I want buildings outside the home so I can garage the cars (and my motorbike) and set up a small workshop. I want room enough to set up an archery range for myself and I want somewhere I can go out and photograph. Near to the coast would be nice.
I’m not picky…
The place needs to be ready to move into. Modernised. My good lady would not be happy with a home that we have to pour more money into just to make it liveable. We need living space and room to entertain and house family visitors. I want internet and good phone reception.
We have found a couple of candidates already. As soon as the money hits the bank, we’re off.

I can’t wait to get going….

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My Aching Back

Posted by Exile on June 29, 2022

It’s no joke.
About a month ago my back started aching. I thought nothing of it, I’m not getting any younger, but as time went by, it got steadily worse. It went from a nagging ache to pain and then moved on to absolute agony. Fed up with the pain and the constant intake of household pain killers, I finally caved in and humped off to the doctor. He thinks it’s a trapped nerve or something muscular so he prescribed some stronger than household pain medication and organised a scan, or X-ray, I’m not sure which, scheduled for a week away. I can get around with the use of a walking stick and some slight cursing of my situation.
Everything is on hold right now. I’m useless. The garden is overgrown, so is the grass and the hedge around it. I can’t get out as much as I would like to and I’m generally fed up to the back teeth with the inactivity.
I am taking so many pills on a daily basis that I rattle like a maracas when I move. The artificial opiates work though and I wouldn’t be without them right now. Add Panodil and Ibuprofen and a muscle relaxant and that is my medication. I feel like the local dope fiend…
As someone once said, this too will pass. I certainly hope so. I always say that if I get to the point where I can’t stand up and pee, I’ll lay down and die.
Let’s hope we don’t get to that state of affairs….

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A Dear Child…

Posted by Exile on May 21, 2022

..has many names.

That’s a rough translation of an old Danish proverb.

I just bought a dear child. It was quite expensive, but I’m going to love it.

I needed to cut rebates (rabbets, to my American chums) for a little woodworking project. How rebates got to be rabbets just by crossing the Atlantic, I don’t know.
The idea was to set the base board of a box into the carcass making the bottom invisible from the sides. A bit of research led me to a plethora of solutions all involving saws, chisels and other impliments, which I do have but I don’t necessarily have the skill to do the job with the accuracy it requires. My eyes aren’t that good either and that doesn’t help. I could attempt to do it with the router but that is a cumbersome piece of machinery for such a delicate job. Then I discovered the Fillister plane. Or rebate plane, or shoulder plane, or sash plane or any other number of titles for this little tool depending on where one lives and the vernacular one uses. To make it all a bit clearer, see the picture on the right. It is a Stanley no. 78.

A complicated piece of equipment. It has a moveable fence to limit the width of the cut and a depth stop to limit how deep one can go. Removing these two parts will allow one to use it as a normal, full width, plane although I wouldn’t be tempted to try using it as a smoother. The blade is a bit weird as well, being broader at the cutting edge than the part that fits into the body. It needed to be tuned up as a new plane always does. They may appear sharp, but they aren’t. They appear flat and smooth on the sole, but they aren’t. In fact the blade came with a little chip taken out of the cutting edge, so a little grinding and honing was required just to eradicate that. However, with a little fettling and honing, the thing is now ready for use. Cutting across the grain also requires that the “nicker” is brought into play. This is in fact a little knife like blade that sits in front of the cutting iron and it severs the wood fibers vertically before the iron gets to the wood. It is not required when planing along the grain. The cutting iron can also be moved to the very front of the tool where a second frog is positioned, turning this into a bull nose plane. Versatile. I like that..
Having tried it today I’m thoroughly pleased with it. The trick of it is, to keep pressure against the fence while planing down the length of your work piece. It will let you know when you’ve reached full depth. It simply stops cutting…

Now I can do this… and not cut my fingers!

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New Drain

Posted by Exile on May 16, 2022

The rat problem has finally been resolved. After determining the fact that the drain had collapsed we contacted our insurance company. It’s taken its time but, finally, we were contacted by the drain fixing company. They said they would come within a week or so. That week shrank to two days as we were informed that they were indeed on their way and was that OK? Yes it was, I said, come and get going.
They arrived. With a mini digging machine that wasn’t in any way going to get through the gate to the garden. You’ll have to get in through the hedge, I said. No problem was the reply. Where? I had an elder bush growing in the hedge. I never liked it. Rip that out, I said, and come in there. Goodbye elder bush, roots and all.
Once inside the garden and right beside the wall of my house the digging got going. Six and a half feet down we heard the thump of metal shovel on concrete drain pipe. The hole got a good deal wider now and my garden began to look like the Somme on a bad day as tons of earth and clay came up and out…
I decided to go and make coffee for the pair of workmen. I was otherwise only in their way. Returning with said coffee, I saw that they had now removed the broken pipe and were clearing out the debris and the old well that had otherwise given us a certain degree of access to the drain. It was basically a giant grease trap that will no longer be necessary. We now have a direct drain from the kitchen to the drainage system. Building codes change, apparently. I don’t mind. I used to have to get the well cleared by suction every now and then, which was expensive and wasn’t likely to be getting any cheaper with passing time.
The new outlet pipe was soon in place, sealed and deemed as being in order. I didn’t see that bit so I had to take their word for it. There again, they know what they are doing, even if I don’t.
I was expecting this process to take days. These guys were basically done with it in less than three hours. The hole was filled in, the old concrete junk removed and then we tidied up as best we could. The digger had to remain in my garden as the trailer it came on was now full of concrete pipe, the old grease trap and rocks. It disappeared early the following morning. I hope it was them that removed it because I didn’t hear a thing….
All I need to do now is put the garden back together. There’s no peace for the wicked. What am I going to fill the hole in the hedge with? No idea. Time will tell. Right now, I’m just glad to be free of the rats.

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All by Myself..

Posted by Exile on May 9, 2022

..for a few days.

My good lady flew off to Spain for a long weekend with a pair of her girlfriends. Lord only knows what they’ll be doing in Torremolinos but as long as she’s happy, then so am I.
So, it’s been me and the dog for the past few days. Which hasn’t been unpleasant in any way. Actually, I got a lot done and the dog has had a few adventures he wouldn’t normally have. He’s been to two different archery ranges and he’s met a shed load of people who all thought he was cute. Being a chihuahua, he’s kind of used to that reaction…
I’ve been a bit busy getting the garden up to scratch. The weekend started at the plant school and I got some tomato plants and seeds, onion sets and seed potatoes, and a few bits and pieces to ease the work. Making it easy is the main thing these days, I am not the young spring chicken I once was. To that end, I have an electric tiller to get the rough digging done and then finish the job with a human powered rake. The toms went in almost immediately. We should be frost free by now. Then I planted the spuds and decided to call it a day after a few hours thrashing around in the soil.
Sunday was archery club, so I didn’t get much done there. Today has been an onion day and I discovered I had bought far more than I intended to plant. However, they are all in the ground now, so I have a bit extra to do in the morning as it took me an age to get them all in. Add to that the collecting of my dear wife who will be home again in the evening and I reckon I’ll have a long and busy day of it tomorrow.
I enjoy these little interludes where she isn’t at home. I get to see the TV I want to see, eat what I want to and come and go as I please. Don’t get that wrong, I miss her and worry about her, but a little absence is a good thing and definitely makes the heart grow fonder.
Both the dog and I look forward to her return.

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You Dirty Rat

Posted by Exile on March 28, 2022

As James Cagney never actually said….

I’ve had rats in my garden. Two of them. One much larger than the other. City ordinances here dictate that I report them to the local council who then send a rat-catcher out to rid us of them. Usually by placing poison around the area and hoping that the rat eats that instead of the spilled bird seed that I feed a flock of about 60 birds with every day. That didn’t happen, but I thought I needed to respond to the infestation in some way, so I shot the big one with an air rifle. I know I hit him high in the back and from above, so I’m pretty sure I killed him, even if he did manage to make it back to the hole he came out of.
I’ve found the hole. It is situated next to the main drain from the house. The rat-catcher came back and I showed him the tunnel. We poked a smoke generator down it and, right enough, it seems the drain has collapsed. Time to involve the insurance company then and get it fixed.
I haven’t seen the smaller rat since I shot the big one, so perhaps I have managed to scare her away.
I did get some film on a trail camera but I haven’t seen her out and about in daylight hours.
The rats we have here are known as brown rats. Rattus Norvegicus, to be exact. The largest of the rat species, at least here in Europe. I’ve done a bit of research since having been visited by them.
“Dirty rat” is a resounding misnomer. They actually groom themselves more often than cats. They probably have a bad reputation because of the outbreak of plague way back in the late middle ages. It wasn’t the rats that caused it. It was actually the fleas they carried. The rats were immune but we humans weren’t. The flea bite was the infection point. Rats make good pets. They are intelligent, trainable and are employed in some unexpected areas. They can sniff out explosives, land mines and tuberculosis. They are also quite affectionate in captivity. I’m sure we’ve all heard of “lab rats”.
I’ve made a decision about my treatment of them. I’ve changed my mind about simply killing them off. I realise they can cause problems for farmers and grain stores, but I have neither a farm nor a store. Once we get the drains fixed, they won’t be back. Their exit, or entry way into my garden, will be gone. They will doubtless continue to forage, as do all wild creatures, but with the advancements in medicine since the great plagues, I realise we have little to fear from them. I’m going to let live. Stripping the world of these creatures will not enhance our existence. In fact, it may do us immeasurable damage.
The poison in the garden has been removed.

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