2015 Started with two BANGS…

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here this morning to tell tales of great sorrow…

This year did not start good…

On the 3rd of January my eldest son decided to do some agricultural work with my beloved Roadster.

And then, three days later, on the way back from the farm where he is working, the Beetle died. Yes, that Beetle that we spent so much time on restoring last year.

Such a small thing can have such huge consequences…

The tappet covers are kept tight by a cork gasket on each side. And one of the cork gaskets just collapsed due to old age. All the oil blew out there, and then some bearings in the engine started breaking. The engine has this huge knocking noise.

After all the things we have done to restore the Beetle, this was just one step too far… Now you can imagine Adele singing the theme song of Skyfall… “This is the end…”

I posted all my misery on facebook, and a friend in a neighbouring town made me an offer I can’t refuse…

So- the Beetle is being sold, as is…

In the next day or two it will be collected, and so a memory will be gone… I have known this car all my life, and owned it since I was 18. It is now 47 years old. But the new owner does have the skill to restore it properly, and bring it back to life. I don’t.

So- yes- two dreams have died this year- the one of me going on tour with my son on the bikes before he goes to the USA to work there for a year. And the dream of the Beetle doing a road trip into the sunset.

But there are some nice bike trips for me and my wife in planning at the moment- so keep on watching this space. BAd times usually don’t last forever…

But this is the end…

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Riana Nel Rocks the Beetle

After a lot of suffering I finally fitted the bracket for the Sony Sound system into the Beetle today. The bracket really does not look good. I had to alter it to close the cubby hole door ( glove box for my English friends- we only use gloves on motorbikes in South Africa!)

The bracket may be fugly, but the Sony sits tight and hidden, a good thing because you just dont display good sound systems openly here. We do have a lot of criminals in our country.

After connecting all the wires, and then looking if the car blows up or not, it was time to test the sound. I am still waiting for the door inner panels, which also has a Pioneer speaker in each. But in the rear behind the back seat I have two Alpine 6×9″ speakers.

So today I deviated from my usual Dire Straits Brothers in Arms CD to test the sound. No, I inserted my newest CD.  Riana Nel is a Namibian musician, she is beautiful and has the voice of an angel. She is the sister of equally gifted Nianel.  Riana sometimes sings in my mother tongue- Afrikaans.  And this CD of hers is good. Beautiful words and beautiful music. One of the very best artists in Southern Africa in my view!

And what an experience we had tonight. The Beetle really has great accoustics, it felt as if we were sitting in the front seats of a Riana Nel concert… and Riana really gives excellent performances!

So what a way to initiate the sound system. Riana Nel rocks! And now I have seen on Twitter that she has a new CD out, will definitely buy one at the airport on Thursday!

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Man, I just wish I could build better brackets!

Listen to the song and then buy the CD…

Wired for Sound…

This week is extremely busy and hectic. The financial guys in church decided we must raise more funds with another mini fete next Saturday. So I am back to being a butcher- we have 3 large Bovines and 8 Porkers to get from the hoof into consumable sellable portions.. And it is my responsibility to get it done with a team. We are 2/3 rds through’ but it is really hard work.

Meanwhile, back at the Parsonage my eldest son passed his Driving License Test with flying colours on Monday. But the Beetle is not ready yet! I am still waiting for the upholsterer to finish the inner door panels.

Last night I began with the most important part of the project. According to 18 year olds. I would have said the engine, mothers would have guessed the brakes. But of course teenagers would start at the Sound system!

Yesterday evening I jumped into the Beetle with an angle grinder and a file. The hole for the stereo is much too small for the modern players. So I enlarged it. And the Beetle experts guessed it right. Smack Bang into the wiper motor.

So now the stereo has to go into the glove box.
I am using my minimal handyman skills to build a bracket to keep it in place. Here is another few hours’ worth of sweat and tears and arc eyes and burn wounds…

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Yes, the Sony does fit into my bracket…

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Will everything fit into the Beetle? That is a good question! For another day… off to bed…

My artwork- a Lazarus Beetle…

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/work-of-art/

I am not an artist. I do not have the ability to take up a brush, and paint a beautiful painting.  I do not have the ability to weave words into a beautiful poem.

But the past few months I tried to bring some beauty out of death… My old VW Beetle was dying a slow death- Rusting in Peace.  It did not move anymore.

This was it then:

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Before we started to raise it from the dead…

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But my son’s 18th birthday was nearing, so we tried to bring it back to life…

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And after a few weeks it is better. I know, not really art… but we used paint in the hope to make it better than it was…

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Yes, it is not art… yet… but it is slowly getting there- the 4th generation of our family behind this car’s steering wheel, that is art in my eyes!

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So maybe this could be art?

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It is nearing the finish line, but it is not there yet- watch this space soon…

 

 

Morphine inspired Funny days…

Last night I had another attack. The same kind that kept me from my favorite Argus Cycle Tour in February.

The attack of the little Gall bladder stones… they might be small, but they beat me 6-0 6-0 6-0.

On Wednesday my son turned 18.  I even asked permission to leave our Church Board Meeting (a very solemn occasion!) to take my son out for his first beer.  Then his mom and his brother also decided to come with. And son decided to only drink Cream Soda… did I really raise him right?

In any case, in South Africa the Spur is a countrywide steakhouse franchise, you would even find some examples in Europe, I saw one in the Liffey Mall in Dublin in 2006. Well, they have this special on Eisbein at the moment. You get a large Eisbein with Chips (sorry German friends, I know it should have been Sauerkraut and Mash- but not at the Spur).

It also comes with a 500 ml Castle Draught- any visitor to South Africa will get to know both the Spur and Castle Draught.  I was extremely thirsty after attending the first 1 3/4 hours of the Church Board Meeting. So the first Draught went down so smoothly. I just had to have another, and then hand over the keys of the car to Mrs Rider or son.  So- large amounts of Pork- sorry Spike!  And beer! Sorry all my abstaining friends.  I also enjoyed birthday cake with my son earlier that day.

On Thursday I went to visit some of our elderly church people, that can’t come to church anymore. I also shared bread and wine with them- a very informal Eucharist. I bought this fantastic loaf of bread at our supermarket for this purpose. Designer bread. Ciabata or something. And then, when I finished all the visits, I also finished the bread on the way home.  You see, for 3 months I did not have any gallstone attacks. I forgot… pork/ beer/ bread… Big problems… 

LAst night my wife made us a mutton stew. Just small pieces of mutton mind you, not our typical over the top South African indulgence into red meat.

At half pas ten the fun and games started. First it felt like slight indigestion. I took some anti-acid powder (Eno’s). Then it started hurting more- I took some pain pills. And then- just underneath the ribcage- that dreadful feeling like someone sticking a red hot knife into your gut… And all the time the pain escalates. The gallstones have a way of also hurting my back. I tried being strong and manly for an hour.

Then I pleaded with Mrs Rider to just shoot me. Or phone our doctor. Whichever could take me out of my misery first. For some reason my wife chose the doctor instead. It was our doctor’s night off, and he went to bed early. He is really a hardworking and compassionate man. He is also in our church. So he asked my wife to drag me to his house. And there he proceeded with another nightmare of mine. Not one, but three injections…  They say gallbladder stone attacks are at least as painful as childbirth… respect to all moms! Well, I would have accepted a 9 millimeter parabellum round last night to end the pain. So I did not mind the injections at all.

So today, I started eating the right stuff again, mostly green. I mostly avoided meat, and beer, and birthday cake.  I am terrified that that pain will return.

Today, two of my sons played excellent rugby. Both their teams won our hated neighbouring town’s teams.

This afternoon I had to marry a young couple. I only found out WHERE last night! I thought I knew the WHEN- 4 pm this afternoon. But then my phone rang at 3:15 pm and it is the bridegroom, politely asking where I was. Fortunately they married in a picture perfect small little church 400 meters from my house.  I got dressed and there in 5 minutes, and was still there before the bride!

So since half past 11 last night, with the soft kiss of morphine, the world feels like a little fluffy cloud.  I am tired, I sleep a lot.

And yes- today I also successfully put new windows channel rubber on a door of my son’s Beetle.

Morphine, used in the right way, for pain as given by a doctor, is such a wonderful thing! Maybe it is even better to say: It sure is fun when you have a day without pain!

What inspired all this nonsense? My new friend over at http://flippenblog.com/ is preparing Eisbein in her flat in Cape Town tonight… I LOVE Eisbein! But Eisbein apparently does not love me anymore…

 

 

Fiberglass floor for the Beetle

I am very scarce on my blog at the moment. Sorry about that!

I am working quite hard at the moment in our church, we had the funeral today of the well respected man who died last week.

Tomorrow was my mental D Day for the Beetle project, as tomorrow is my son’s 18th birthday. But as all these projects go, it takes double the time and tripple the money to complete… at least the young man still has to produce a valid driving license before the gift can be taken into possession…

I am now building a fiberglass floor for the Beetle. I know that some internet sites says that it is not a good thing, and that only original VW Floor Pans should be used. I am in no way able to afford that at the moment.

So- I got some expanded metal from an engineering firm in our town. I cleaned it with hydrochloric acid, then rinsed it and bolted it to the floor pan. Every now and then I snuck off for an hour to work on this. Last night I put on the first Fiberglass layer on the floor, and just now the second layer.  When it is completely dry, (cured?) I will put a layer of stone chip rubberizing on as a floor. I really hope it will not look too shabby!

Here is just an update on the state of the floor today before the second layer.

I hope the Beetle will soon be going like this one:

Beetle and Bike- another LONG day…

I must confess… last night I would have given the Beetle away for free.  But sorry- you are too late, I feel a little bit better today!

I stayed over at my mother’s house in Pretoria on Wednesday night. Yesterday morning I had to visit some of my critically ill church members in hospitals in Pretoria again.  I also used the opportunity to buy my BMW a Givi Topbox, as I like to look like the pizza delivery guy!

Last night when I came home, I felt the urge to work some more on the Beetle… I peeled away an old floor mat of the Beetle. And saw that the damage that the rust has left, is much worse than I thought.

This is the sight that greeted me… ok, after I poured some Hydrochloric Acid on the rust…

Man, I was depressed!

So I jumped in with the angle grinder and the inspiration caused by the pain, and here is today’s result…

No, not really- I saw this “Beetle” at the place I buy my VW Spares…

Today I started early, like half past six. I sanded some last places on the outside that really irritated me, and then I used the last of my spray paint on the outside…

Like I said on facebook-  The outside is done becaise the paint is finished!

I like the Arctic White and Matt Black theme on this car…

It now needs a very thorough cleaning, some sanding with 1500 grit paper and rubbing compound, and then a layer of good quality car polish.

A friend also came over to help me sort the electrics, and I am proud to say that the horn beeps again and the brights shine brightly again..,

I  have been busy today, I also fitted the new Givi Top Box on the BMW…

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There is still a HUGE challenge remaining  on the inside of the Beetle. Although I had the seats reupholstered, the rest is still naked rusty 47 year old German steel…

I still need to fix the floor pan with fibre glass, and I will also have to engineer a new bracket for the petrol pedal.

Not bad for a total beginner with NO technical skills whatsoever… The car looks good from a distance, just dont look too closely at it…

Now, in my typical Friday fashion, the barbeque fire is burning, and I am chillaxing…

So that is why I am so scarce on the blogs at the moment, and in town, and in my friends company…  This was a LONG Day!

Now, let’s BRAAI!

 

A Whiter shade of Pale- The Beetle Project

I don’t get much time for blogging at the moment. I don’t do much work- but then, I did take a few days leave…

This morning, with much fear and trepidation, I applied the first color coat of paint. It did not go as planned from the beginning. The first batch had too much thinners in it, and the paint did run exactly as I did not want it to.

There will be a bit of sanding in my near future…

But the first coat of paint is on…

And slowly, oh so slowly, it is starting to look vaguely like a Beetle again…

Yesterday I went to Pretoria to visit a church member in hospital. I also stopped at a shop specializing in Beetle and Buggy Parts. I bought some grommets to put the beading strips back on. And it felt quite good, drilling the holes at the correct places, pushing the grommet it, and hearing that satisfying click when a 46 year old beading strip jumps into place again…

The one truth I did learn- paint does not cover any screw-ups in the preparation phase. But then, as I am a total amateur, I am quite happy with the results so far…

I also applied my other 1% capability skill today. The floor pan is slightly rusted through at three places. I cleaned it with some swimming pool acid- I think it is hydrochloric acid. Then I covered the holes with fibre glass. (Why does the spell checker go red on that one- how do you spell fibreglass? Or is it glass fiber? )

In any case- there might be another exciting prospect on the horizon.  The Rider MIGHT just have a new stallion soon. Ok, not new, also a 2000 model. But I will post when it happens. Meanwhile I am desperately searching for buyers for my BMW R 850 R.  I do have an offer for my Aprilia, but I want to keep it for my sons…  Watch this space… or buy this bike and come and tour South Africa!

Beetle Project- The Primer coat is now applied…

This morning, after a hearty breakfast with some fellow Word Riders, my son and I had another go at the Beetle restoration project.

It is a public holiday in South Africa today. Yesterday was Freedom Day in South Africa, remembering the day in 1994 when all South Africans could vote for the first time.  When a public holiday falls on a Sunday, it is the habit in our country that the Monday is then also a Public Holiday.

We have finished the primer coat this morning. As I understand it, the primer must now cure for about 24 hours before applying the color coat.

We also, with great tears and suffering, put back the fender that we had to take off. It is starting to look like a car again. Although the many enemies of the Beetle/ Bug will doubt that it will ever look like a car!

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I am quite proud of this door! It was rusted through, as well as the panel where the fuel cap is situated. I fixed it will fibre glass 2 years ago (after another few sessions of Youtube!) That is also why the front fender had to come off- to sand the fibre glass layer decently and get it level and smooth.

I must confess that the car looks good from a distance, but with closer scrutiny it will still show a lot of pock marks that I am not able to fix with my subnovice skills level. But you know what, it is coming along nicely. I have tackled a huge project that I have no clue about. And we are slowly winning the battle!  It might be ugly, but I will be proud of it!  I will keep you posted as we move along!

 

Working, suffering,..

It is difficult when you know nothing, and try to do a professional job! I now have great respect for all the good panelbeaters and car restorers in the world! How on earth do you get all the surfaces as smooth as a baby’s bottom?

PS- I learned A HUGE lesson in life: You have to keep the spray gun’s nozzle clean, otherwise it will block…  I can’t wait to share it with my wife!