Getting there – slowly

April 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Since my last post, the stitches have been removed from my shoulder – a far less painful operation than I had anticipated. There are still the dissolvable stitches poking out of the wounds and they catch on my shirt, but hey ho!

Repaired shoulderYesterday was my first day of physiotherapy. Now, I am no fan of physio as it has caused me no end of problems in the past, the worst giving me sciatica on two occasions within three weeks. I do not recommend sciatica.

But yesterday’s session was gentle. The exercises I have been instructed to do are gentle and quite easy to do, although after doing them, it feels like the muscles in my shoulder have been ripped apart.

Oh, they were.

I am still to keep my arm in a sling for the time being. Its own weight on the repaired muscle could cause damage. But at least I can use my hand now.

The only problem now is that I will have to go through all this again with my other shoulder.

Categories: health

Lack of Posting

March 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Repaired shoulderI apologise to those of you who regularly visit this blog, hoping to find a new post.

But, following a car accident last year, I am undergoing treatment for the injuries received, the latest being the repair of one of the major muscles in my shoulder. Prior to this latest surgical intervention, I had my wrist repaired, involving a bone graft and a pin.

I hope that I will be able to resume posts when I have the use of both arms again.

Categories: Engineering

The Pug is efficient!

February 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Relating to my previous post about my new acquisition, I have worked out the fuel consumption.
I have only put 30 litres in the car so far, and have done mainly short trips, but so far, it is returning about 49.6 mpg.
I am very pleased with this result, with petrol hitting £129.90 per litre.

Categories: Cars, fuel, petrol Tags: , ,

Decision Made – Definitely

February 9, 2011 Leave a comment

I have changed the coil pack on the Peugeot after shopping around for one. I wanted a new one – what’s the point of fitting a used one?

Prices ranged from around £120 from Peugeot to £42 from a car part supplier. I took the latter. Even if it fails after a year and I buy another one, it will still be cheaper than the Peugeot one.

While I was in spending mood (which isn’t often), I bought a 3/8 drive 10mm long reach socket, which made the job of changing the coil pack so much easier – I had been using an adjustable spanner to get the coil pack off when I changed the plugs, and it took over 30 minutes!

So, how did the car run once the new coil pack had been fitted? Beautifully!

So, I am now the proud owner of a 1998 Peugeot 306 for a total cost of £290, including MoT, with a mere 45k miles on the clock.

I’ve sold the Scoobie. I will miss that little car, but the £150 I got for it helps to ease  the pain 🙂

Categories: car, Cars Tags: , , , ,

Decision Made – Probably

February 6, 2011 Leave a comment

I have given the little Peugeot (see previous post) a good look over. I have driven it and I like it.

I will be sorry to let the Scoobie go, but it is, in all honesty a bit too small for my needs, and the non-standard exhaust would suit someone 40 years younger than me – it is loud.

The only problem with the Pug is that it misfires when cold, when accelerating or when the engine is under load such as going uphill.

So I changed the spark plugs – when I eventually found them, hidden as they are at the rear of the transverse engine and under the coil pack.

This is the first petrol engine I have worked on that does not have a coil, distributor and individual HT leads to each plug. The coil pack sits on top of the spark plugs and is connected to all of them rigidly.

Working with a wrist that was until recently, broken, and torn tendons in both shoulders does not make bending over the small and low engine compartment any easier, but as the last new plug went in, I got a sense of satisfaction. IT was short-lived as the engine still misfires. So it has to be the coil pack.

At least I now know what it is and how to get it off the car!

Categories: car, Cars, repair Tags: , , , ,

Decisions, Decisions!

January 26, 2011 3 comments

I have mentioned before my little Scoobi car, a Subaru Justy. It is a nice little car, economical to run and quite nice to drive. It is a bit tatty, but looks do not detract from the ability of a car to get me from where I am to where I want to be. And this car has four-wheel drive, which was very useful during the snows last year.

Peugeot 306 MeridianBut I have been offered a Peugeot 306, 1998 model. It is a year newer than the Scoobie, a bit bigger, more comfortable and a lot tidier. It has been standing for over a year, so there is no MoT, VEL and the battery was rather non-responsive.

I now have the car at home. The battery is charged but the car misfires occasionally. The electronic odometer doesn’t work and I need the code to get the in-built radio working.

Being a 1600cc petrol engine, the car attracts a higher rate of VEL than the Scoobie and I guess the fuel consumption will not be as good. Insurance may be higher as well.

But, it is a lot tidier, much more comfortable, and that little bit bigger, meaning that I do not have to struggle to get Mum’s wheelchair in the boot.

So, this is my dilemma. Do I keep the very cheap-to-run Scoobie, or go for the newer, more comfortable and more expensive-to-run Pug?

Oh yes, and the Scoobie has a non-standard exhaust system which I have to weld up from time to time, whereas the Pug is standard in every way.

I always dread the sound that precedes the Scoobie’s exhaust falling apart, but it is not worth getting a new standard system. It would cost more than I paid for the car!

So, I could sell the Pug for the owner and receive a 10% commission on the sale, or sell the Scoobie and pay for the Pug for myself.

Of course, the Pug might fail the MoT big time, in which case there will be no decision to make, but I cannot find much wrong with it, so I think it will get through.

Electronic Cigarette? What? Why?-

January 11, 2011 3 comments

Having been a smoker of cigarettes, pipes and occasionally, cigars for over 40 years, I was a little dismayed when the surgeon told me that I had to give up smoking if I wanted the broken bones in my wrist to knit.

Apparently, the effect of smoking on bone healing is that oxygen flow is limited as there is a lot of other muck in the blood, notably carbon monoxide and oxygen is needed for the bone to heal. This is a layman’s grasp of the situation.

Knowing that I would almost certainly suffer arthritis in my wrist if the bone did not heal properly, I agreed and the surgeon said he could fit me in within the week.

As soon as I got home, I searched the Internet for e-cigarettes and decided on a particular brand, only because their liquid nicotine extract is made in the UK and ordered all the gadgetry needed to smoke without smoking, so to speak.

The parcel duly arrived and I put away my tin of rolling tobacco, filters, papers etc and started up this new toy, expecting very little in the way of satisfaction.

I was ready for cold turkey – but it never happened.

I was admitted to hospital and the operation to repair my scaphoid was carried out, including a small bone graft and the insertion of a screw to hold all the bits together.

When I came round, I was gasping for a fag and remembered the e-fag in my bag.

I took myself for a little walk down the corridor of the hospital, gadget in mouth. The particular one that I chose glows blue when drawn upon, so it cannot be mistaken for a “proper” cigarette – and no one challenged me.

That was last November. I have been experimenting with the e-cigarette, using different strengths and flavours of nicotine extract.

As luck would have it, within a week of my being discharged from hospital, my mother was admitted with a blood clot on her lung.

Now, Mum has been smoking for about 70 years and was not about to give up for anything or anyone. Except of course, in hospital, she was not allowed to smoke.

When she was discharged, she was gasping for a smoke and I gave her an e-cig.

She did not believe that it could replace the pleasure she got from a real cigarette, but soon found that it was, in fact, better!

So, we have both been using these gizmos since before Christmas and Mum has not missed her cigarettes.

As an experiment, I have had the odd real cigarette but can honestly say that I did not enjoy them.

I have opted to refill my own e-cigs, and that is a bit fiddly, especially with a plaster cast on my hand. I could have bought ready-filled tips, but I was not only looking to give up smoking, but to save as much money as possible.

So, every other evening, I sit with a bottle of nicotine mixture, a syringe, a paperclip and some tissue, and fill the used tips. In fact, it takes only about five minutes. Everything is provided by the e-cig company, including surgical rubber gloves to protect the hands against the nicotine concentrate, which, I understand, can be dangerous if it comes into contact with the skin for a prolonged period.

So, what is an e-cigarette?

The one I use comes in three parts, the rechargeable battery, an atomiser and the tip, which contains the nicotine extract.

The battery can be charged in the USB port of a computer, in a car’s cigar lighter, or, at extra cost, from the mains. Mum and I both have three batteries, so when a battery is discharged, another two are always available, as long as I remember to put them on charge.

The Cost?

I have worked out that between the two of us, we spend about £22 a month by refilling our used cartridge filters. If I were to buy ready filled cartridges, the cost would rise to about £50 a month.

Either way, compare that to our monthly cost of traditional tobacco products, about £220.

So, in conclusion, the e-cigarette gives me as much of a kick as an ordinary cigarette. I am not inhaling carbon monoxide (as I am not burning anything) or the other added chemicals that I would get from a “real” cigarette. There is no smoke, so an e-cig can be smoked in places where smoking is prohibited. And I am saving a bucketful of money.