This weekend I visited Northamptonshire. The main purpose of the visit was to pick up an engine crane I bought fairly cheaply from a chap on the MMOC forum, who is currently clearing out loads of stuff in the hope of emigrating to the US sometime this year with his American wife. The crane turned out to be even bigger and heavier than I expected - it only just fit in Fenchurch with the passenger seat removed. Even so, the gearstick hit the frame every time I changed gear!
After picking up the crane I paid a visit to DaveS from the Morris Owners forum and helped him to get the engine in his traveller running. He's spent the past few years restoring the bodywork and in that time the engine had developed a few small problems that needed sorting out before it would start again.
I stayed the night at Dave's, then the next morning I headed down to the Bletchley Park museum. This unfortunately meant finding my way through the insane network of about a million roundabouts that makes up Milton Keynes. It was well worth it though. There's a massive amount of stuff to see there (I was most impressed with the fully working Colossus replica) and the staff were extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic. I spent over five hours there and only reluctantly left when the curators started meaningfully jangling their keys at 4PM!
I finally received the insurance settlement cheque for Lintilla. I can't remember how much I've written about this on here before, but the short story is that a couple of months ago she was involved in a small front-end bump and the insurance company wrote her off on financial grounds. I insisted on retaining the salvage rights, which means I get to keep her as well as receiving a settlement of £425 (they only charged me £25 for the salvage, which was very good of them because the newly-rebuilt engine is worth several hundred by itself). I'll make a separate post later about what's going to be involved in repairing her. I reckon the worst part is going to be repairing whatever rot I find once I remove the bent front wing (not caused by the bump, but it will need to be fixed before I can bolt the replacement wing on).
wibble_puppy and I have been spending quite a bit of time recently working on the plans for the MITHOS rally. We have a tentative outline route along with a list of first-choice hostels for each night. Our current thinking is to try to reach Barra in the Outer Hebrides by the end of the first full day's travel (which also happens to be Wibble's birthday :)). It seems doable, though it will mean driving up to south Scotland on the Friday evening after work. We booked the first hostel (a small cabin on Skye) last night, and the trip is suddenly starting to look very real. We're going for smaller and more rural hostels and bunkhouses than we did in Ireland, including one on a small island that is only accessible by catching a passenger ferry and walking to it. :D
I got around to buying myself an iPod recently after several years of thinking, "it would be nice, but do I really *need* one?" It's a used 60GB iPod Video with a black and chrome case (a bit scratched and dented but I'm not worried about that). I got it on eBay for £70, which I thought was a pretty good price. I've loaded it up with my entire iTunes library and digital photo collection and there's still plenty of space left. The plan is to install a cradle for it in both cars so I can listen to audio books, music, and podcasts while travelling. I finally got around to listening to the end of American Gods on the trip this weekend! Probably around six hours of playing from the battery, and it is still claiming to be over half full.
Speaking of iPods, LX have asked me to run a workshop called "Steampunk your iPod." The idea will be to make MP3 player/mobile phone cases that give the gadget a Steampunk aesthetic. This seems like a pretty cool idea to me, but it's not something I've attempted before so I'm planning to experiment with some techniques on my own iPod first. :)