The Exile Files

Raging Against the Outrageous. Laughter and Insanity Abound.

Archive for January, 2014

The Winter of Discontent

Posted by Exile on January 28, 2014

It finally arrived. The cold weather has been threatening to overrun us for weeks and it just turned bitterly cold here in an otherwise wet and grey Denmark. So where it was all soaking wet, it is now frozen stiff. I don’t know which is worse. At least when it’s this cold, it is dry. Little compensation, I feel, as it is equally unpleasant to be out and about in. The worst of it is, I can achieve nothing in this weather. Outdoor activities are out of the question as everything is solid and I hate being cold wherever I may be. This is why I don’t ski. I tried it once but simply found it cold and debilitating and close to my undoing. Slithering downhill at untold speed while being nailed fast by the feet to pieces of aluminium, totally out of control and bereft of any idea of direction, I ended up buried in a huge snowdrift. Not really my idea of fun. I experienced the Arctic once, in my military days, and found that to be the absolute last place I would ever volunteer to be. I am a temperate being, I like warmth. The tropics would be nice.

So what does one do when one is confined to the boundaries that are drawn by the outside walls of one’s house?Not much, is the short reply. I’d watch the TV, but I’ve seen everything at least once. TV these days is one long procession of re-runs of old series and these ‘educational’ programmes that aren’t really that educative anyway.
Computer? Well, yes. I do have a couple of forums I visit and read and write on but one can’t do that all day. And don’t mention computer games. I can’t stand ‘em. The Devils invention.
Housework? It needs to be done, I agree, but how many times do you have to do battle with the Dyson before you get bored with that? I am not the most domesticated of people.
I could read, but I am not really in the mood.

I suppose I could polish all my pipes up and give them a good going over with the reamer and a ball of wax. I might even enjoy that and I can always puff away on one of my favourite smokers while I do it. Put that one on the list then.

I have been out with the dog. She didn’t like it out there. She hurried back home and went to lay down in front of the stove as soon as we returned. Clever dog. She can sleep the day away. I even fed the birds while I had my outdoor clothes on. They have it far worse than I. I can escape the cold, they are stuck outside and have to grin and bear it. How do they do that?

The one thing I find consolation in, is that I can at least plan the rest of my year. The garden. Holidays. Trips out on the motorbike. I have distant friends to visit. Places I intend to explore. Projects around this old house of ours, which I intend to modernise. 

I am going to be very busy come the Spring.

Until then, I’m just going to have to learn to cool my heels.

Lousy weather.

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Pimping my Ride

Posted by Exile on January 15, 2014

Or, how to upgrade the carburettor and fit a new air filter.

motorcyclemechanicOne thing you quickly learn about owning a motorcycle is, that you need to improve it on the performance side of life. Then you need to improve the aesthetic appeal of the thing. I got it the wrong way round. I merely wanted to get a sporty looking air filter fitted to Thumper, my Royal Enfield Bullet. I ended up doing a job I never thought I was going to be capable of.

The old air filter was a complicated affair that incorporated an otherwise useful toolbox fitted to the machine and a square box with another filter fitted which finally fed the carburettor with air. I wanted to fit a nice little sporty filter that would allow me to use the toolbox as it was intended (by my reckoning) and get rid of the intermediary box. I’d seen the part and a snazzy little chrome shroud to protect the sporty filter in a suppliers catalogue and immediately ordered both.

I am a member of a forum which busies itself with all things Royal Enfield and, as bragging rights are valid on this forum, I happily told everyone that I was about to take on this rebuild. That’s when my problems began to take form.
I was told, by many, that simply doing away with the existing filter was OK, but I would have to re-jet the carburettor to allow for the extra available air that would now flow freely into said carburettor. News to me, I thought, but they were insistent. I rang the suppliers the following day. By now, my initial order was on it’s way so a new order went in for the recommended parts that we (my supplier and I) finally agreed upon. I was pointed at some instructional notes to be found on the forum website. ‘There’s all the information you will need.’ said the more than helpful chap on the other end of the telephone line. The supplier actually hosts the forum, so he should know. I dug into the internet and found the relevant technical notes.

Three days later, all the parts arrived. I unpacked the little boxes with trembling hands. A collection of bits of machined brass and the filter and shroud plus some rubber like discs to blank off the holes in the toolbox that will be left after I remove the old filter tubing.

Off to the shed where Thumper lives then Exile… and start dismantling your beloved machine.

I removed the square box and all the bits that held it in place, remembering where they came from in case I need to reverse the process. I removed all the rubber tubes that carry the air through the existing filters. I removed the fuel line. I then removed the carburettor, which involved screwing the top off and partially dismantling the assembly. All very worrying stuff for the novice. But, eventually, there I was with a carburettor in my hands and the bike in bits around me.

The internal organs of the carburettor are fragile, many and tiny. I decided to take the thing into the living room where I could sit and swap the jets, according to and following the technical notes, without having to freeze my ass off in the shed. Cold fingers don’t handle tiny parts well and dropping one would probably mean it would be lost forever. I have a large white board in my cellar. Ideal for this sort of job, I thought. So I laid it on the dining table and set the carby down. Screwdriver at the ready, I set to work.

baby-mechanicI stripped the carby, found and changed all the jets and reassembled the thing in under a quarter of an hour. Sometimes, I even impress myself! I even found out that the choke lever wasn’t working properly due to a loose locking device. So I fixed that too while I was up to my elbows in tools.

Back to the shed once again…

Replacing the thing didn’t take long either. The new filter and shroud fit directly onto the carburettor which fits directly onto the machine. I replaced the fuel line, set the carburettor to it’s recommended start settings (it will need final adjustment for tuning purposes) and decided to fire the thing up.
Keys, ignition, fuel and choke. And kick. Three times kick and Thumper jumped to life with a throaty roar.

The roar was from the new air intake. One can hear the engine sucking pints of the stuff down its greedy neck.

Man, it sounds good! Can’t wait to get him out on the road again…

Woohoo..!!

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The Lady doth Snore Too Much, Methinks.

Posted by Exile on January 3, 2014

If the bard will forgive me for paraphrasing Queen Gertrude…

My dearly beloved certainly saws the wood at night. It’s like sleeping next to a chain saw. Or, at least, trying to sleep next to one. It’s not her fault, I know, but she has some natural obstruction to her airways and this causes her to wheeze and growl all through the night. Regularly. It is not the problem it once was as I no longer need to get up early of a morning and go to bloody work, thank heavens, but it does throw me out of whack with the normal waking hours. She is still working, so it’s better that I stop tossing and turning all night long while having to listen to her and simply get up again so that she may sleep undisturbed by said tossing and turning. I can grab a few hours later in the day.

It isn’t exactly every night. Sometimes I’m so worn out for lack of sleep that I do get a night in and occasionally she works a night shift. I miss her at night on such occasions but on the other hand, I do get a good nights sleep.

I have tried sleeping with earplugs. A more uncomfortable affair I cannot imagine. It was awful. I could hear myself breathing, the blood pounding in my ears and the earache it caused me was not worth the trouble. I quickly gave the idea up. I’ve tried putting my head under the pillow but I nearly suffocated myself and woke up gasping for air and the heat was unbearable, so that went out of the grander picture too. I have tried getting to bed before her and falling asleep before she turns in. Alas, the noise and vibration awakens me at some point and all is lost once more. I’m looking forward to going deaf in my old age. Natural remedies are generally the best and if I am to believe her, I’m halfway there already anyway.
If it gets to be too much, I can always remove myself to the living room sofa or the dogs basket, which is really quite comfortable. I know this. I have tried it. The dog is spoiled, having a bed beside us in the bedroom and another in the living room. With blankets. And a duvet. And pillows to match. Not to mention the mattress affair in front of the woodstove. Heaven forbid that the dog should lie on the bare boards of the floor. The dog has no problem sleeping, by the way. The fat little bugger does little else. Apart from eat and bark at me. I am jealous.

A simple solution would of course be, that we had separate rooms. The house is not built that way. We only have the one bedroom. Besides that, if we have separate rooms, we may as well have separate homes. This is dangerous territory to be exploring and I feel I should shun this particular course of action and put it well and truly out of my mind. I would miss her cooking.

I may not be sleeping well but I am well fed.

I may be tired, but I ain’t stupid.

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