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Way Past 40.

What's it about?

Just a load of old rambling about me and the different things I end up doing...normally projects and builds of some description!

I have also published a book called "The Project Has Landed..." about the Land Rover Series 3 rebuild I did and it can be bought from any amazon website so please feel free to go and get yourself a copy!

If you feel the need or just want to talk feel free to contact me via Nick@nickysmith.me and I will get back to you asap :)

Thanks for reading.

Grieving.

Musings Posted on Wed, March 15, 2017 21:26:12

I have a tale to tell but I don’t know the best way to put into words that would do it justice. To start with I want to say that this is not me looking for sympathy from the anonymity of the internet, it is far from that. I have probably taken as much sympathy as I can directly, not that it is not appreciated because it has been but there is a message in what happened to myself and my wife a few days ago that has also indirectly brought a great deal of comfort since.

There is an expected order within life, we do not always acknowledge it but its there nonetheless. Generations come and go, time after time. The oldest leave first to be followed by the new generation that arrives, this is the way of things.
We never expect to lose one of our own generation whilst the older is still present but that is what has happened to our family over these last few weeks.
My sister sadly passed away quite suddenly at 39 years old. The hole that she leaves behind in our family is beyond measure for each and every one of us and the only saving grace for us all is the love that is shared by each of us unconditionally that has provided support. When one of us could not walk the rest of us have carried…that’s as it should be.

I am the big brother of six and if I am honest here it’s all I know how to be. I don’t just love my brothers and sisters, I would do anything for them if they needed me to. Growing up with such an age gap from the first to the last even installed into me the beginning of who I was to be as a parent. Family is everything.
So to lose one of them, the one that was most special to all of us due to her nature and the uniqueness that Williams Syndrome gave her was something I was not prepared for.
God only knows what Mum & Dad are going through because at times it takes all that I am to just get up out of bed in the morning. Their strength and love continually amazes me.

Grieving is hard. It’s weird in a way that there is no right or wrong way of doing it. It’s like after having found your way into Hell on Earth, then there is the worst rollercoaster ever conceived and you have to ride it until some point way way off in the future whether you want to or not.
Sometimes you can function pretty normally throughout the day only to be sideswiped by a song on the radio or a random memory that literally brings you to your knees. You can laugh at the memories that have passed either with yourself or when sharing others. You can be crying every morning when you wake up because the dreams are just too much to cope with and yet another day has begun in which your sister will not be a physical part of.

Sometimes it seems that every single moment is heartbreaking.

I see my siblings suffering, I see my parents suffering more and all I want to do is take the burden of their pain from them but to do so, even if I could, would take away the love of who we have lost. The love we have is what causes us the pain.

So I have to admit I have been quite angry inside of late. This has been a large part of my continued grieving process. I have been angry with “Them” for taking my sister away. My sister who had nothing but innocence and love in her heart. My sister who literally lit up each room she entered with her laughter and smile.
I have no idea who the “Them” are that I am so angry with but I managed to talk to my wife about it a few days ago as we sat on the riverside in Bakewell.
The sun was shining and we had had a nice morning being out and about. Things almost felt normal for just a while in the spring air until I remembered this was one of the places I wanted to bring my sister to.
I had wanted to sit here next to the river with her this summer eating fish and chips whilst throwing the odd bit out to all of the geese and ducks that fight for every scrap.
A shadow passed over me as I realised that this would never now be.

I have always had Faith inside of me and even practised it with the Church of England as it suited the way I like to live my life but truth be told I think that there really is more when we are done here but as for anyone particular all almighty being… who knows. I could not give a monkeys which god anyone prays to as I think when all is said and done we will become something more than we are where none of the definitions matter, but that’s just me.

Wifey and I started to talk as she saw the shadow pass through me at the riverside. I explained that I had not lost my faith as such as it is but I was not convinced of anything now because who on Earth would take someone so damned special with so very little warning.
I was saying that nothing could convince me at the moment that there was some grand scheme that involved taking my little sister, a constant light and love in so many lives, away from us. I admitted I was more than a little angry about it all.

At this point a very golden bubble about the size of a baby’s hand floated down in front of us to which I said “I suppose that’s a sign that everything is alright really is it” (I was still pretty damned upset at this point) “There’s bound to be a kid blowing bubbles somewhere here”
So we both looked in both directions. Then we looked a bit harder. Nope nothing. Wifey stood up and looked further afield but no there was nobody blowing bubbles kid or otherwise.

Thing is it was quite busy with folk coming and going along the footpath but not crowded, the views in every direction were clear. The bubble just floated there in front of us moving gently from left to right before pausing from time to time. Then it headed for the ground where we expected it to pop as it touched the pavement.
It just gently landed in the middle of the pavement and sat there. It didn’t move again but it did not pop. It’s golden colour shone brightly even as other people walked headlong towards it but nobody stood on it. Not one footfall got anywhere near it and there were quite enough people to make this an odd occurrence.
The birds never bothered it either. These birds are normally greedily eating anything that touches the ground whether it’s edible or not but not this.
We sat mesmerised looking at it for a couple of minutes as it spread out a touch wider.
I looked at my Wife stating “That’s just impossible” and decided to see if I could get a picture of it.

This was not a problem because it was not going anywhere. I took the picture and it stayed with us for a few more minutes. Then it just started to go down. It did not pop as you would expect but just very slowly deflated as all of the passing people seemed to subconsciously avoid it.
It’s golden glow never faded, even when it finally went flat.

But does this mean something? Anything?
Honestly I don’t know. But what I do know is as I headed into what was one of the fastest plunges into the dark I have experienced so far, this tiny bubble of light seemed to appear as if on cue.
When I thought that all the wonder of the world was lost forever and whatever sort of faith I have was beyond being tested I felt something very comforting out of the blue.
I am not going to say that this was a profoundly religious moment but it was a very poignant one that seemed to bring me back into a place that was a peaceful harbour from the storm.
That storm still rages on and on some days it’s worse than others, as it is for all of us, but I know now deep down in the depths of my soul that part of my little sister is always with us.



Tough Day. Lots Done.

The 110 Posted on Wed, March 15, 2017 20:05:26

Once again I found myself sat in bed looking at the bottom of a brew thinking about The 110.
I had to go and buy some nuts and bolts for the brake back plates and seeing as it was such a nice clear blue sky sort of day I decided to take the motorbike out for a spin to Paddocks. So at 7:45am I found myself cruising into the Derbyshire countryside, there are far far worse places to be in the sunshine.
The rolling green hills past me by along with the all of the signs of spring arriving. The daffodils are everywhere and the trees waking up in bud once again, it will only be a matter of a few weeks before we find ourselves sat in warmer weather and the heating turned off.

Since the bike crash I have to admit I seem to have become a bit pants on two wheels. I still enjoy it but my gear changes seem to be all over the shop and don’t get me started on my road positioning. The little Bandit needs to come out a bit more often I think so I can get my eye back in once again.
Surprisingly there was not a queue at Paddocks and I was in and out in under five minutes…this has to be some sort of record surely! A quick hop back onto the trusty stead and I was headlong back into a different route home enjoying the sunshine and dry roads.

All too soon I was back home and ready to get cracking with sorting out the back brakes on the Land Rover. I didn’t want to do it I have to admit here and I very nearly walked away but something said to just get stuck in.

Wheel off then armed with a large hammer the drum soon submitted into rusty cooperation falling off onto the floor with an almighty clang!
That was the neighbours up then whether they wanted to be or not.
As I looked up into what was exposed the amount of dirt and muck in there was astounding! There was also some sort of unidentifiable slime that I did not want to be playing with for too long so an old rag was brought into to play then promptly dumped into the wheelie bin.


The hub was next which came off with no issues on this side unlike the other side which snapped a bolt in it. That took some serious heating up to remove I can tell you, I thought it was going to be a drill and retap affair but it seems the Landy Gods were looking upon me favourably today. They must have been pleased to see the sunshine as well.


Brake pads then the caliper were soon stripped out, even the brake pipe came off of both sides without snapping! That seems to be just about unheard of to me but why look a gift horse in the mouth eh. The back plate fell off in a rusty heap after a bit of a gentle tap with a 4lb lump hammer and I was left with nothing but the stub axle in situ.


Time to put all of the new shiny bits on then.
The back plate along with the pre-fitted new caliper, I mean why struggle once the plate is fitted? May as well sort it out before hand to get the dripping brake pipe back into place asap.


Now it was time to battle with the brake pads and new springs. The ends of teh springs needed a small grind down as they were far too long on the hook end but soon found themselves sitting where they should have been. You may notice in the pictures that there is a set of pads laid out under the The 110 exactly as they came off of the old back plate. I do this to make sure I don’t end up fitting the pads upside down or in the opposite way they should be. Helps to remember which holes the springs fit into as well.
Looks great with shiny new bits on though 🙂


Making sure the pads were sitting in the right place I fitted the nice new brake drums too, be rude to scrimp at the very end wouldn’t it. In all honestly I figured that if I had to do this job I may as well do it right. The I also fitted all new bearings and seals onto the hub before refitting, who knows how old the the ones that were in them were.


So there you have it the back brakes are done. I didn’t want to do them and they took all day but I am really glad I have got them out of the way.

The only stop I had really was for lunch. My neighbour popped around so I figured we may as well ave an egg and bacon cob with our brews. As we chatted away the conversation came around to the subject of scrapyards and how we miss them.
We are both old enough to remember hunting around acres of rusty steel looking for the model of car we wanted then rummaging through it hoping the one part that we wanted was still fitted to it.
And lugging your heavy toolbox around the place. Then carrying that along with all of the extra parts you had removed “Just in case” you needed them when you were fitting the part you actually had to do.
We came to the conclusion that we missed scrapyards. Many a happy hour were spent looking for that extra bit of gold in the motor you were happy to hunt through.
It’s a shame that most scrappies these days have already removed the parts and put them onto a shelf. Yes it is easier and quicker, less tiring, less work, cheaper, cleaner, warmer and generally less hassle but I did enjoy the hunt…

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