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Malcom McLaren, the blessed Spike and the day after next Tuesday

These days I refer to myself as an “aging hippie” in homage to my laid back attitude to life and living and as a reflection of my belief in personal liberty and my desire to make the idea of “working it out for yourself” more universal but way back in the early eighties I was a rather different Iain Hall. I had done my matriculation as an adult student and been accepted in to the University of Queensland to study the Arts and I was enjoying the life of a student, enjoying riding my bikes living in share houses. Like a lot of students I spent my time going to see various bands and had a collection of Albums in a milk crate. Getting a stereo that would not jump when people danced in the lounge room and gave decent sound was but a dream. Punk music was  loud , irreverent, cheeky and brash but more importantly it was fun. Right up there in the centre of that maelstrom was Malcolm Mclaren.

click for source

click for source

All of my preamble was to introduce the notion that the gravestone we leave can sometimes be a really beautiful summation of a life. For instance I just love the inscription on the Grave of the blessed Spike Milligan which  reads “I told you I was ill” it beautifully sums up the man and is also cheekily funny as are so many of his nonsense poems. I suspect its my old codger-hood but I find myself thinking more and more about such things, about the monuments we commission or inspire and how they can sum up a life (hopefully ) well lived, of sins addressed, atonements made and the things left undone by untimely ends, so maybe I need to address my worst sin which is procrastination…
Hmm I think that will have to wait until the day after next Tuesday…
Cheers Comrades


wet Wet WET!


Wet and squishy at my place

It is very wet and squishy around here at present.


Frankly I am totally sick of  the wet weather here and every new wet day makes our grass look more like  jungle, mould is sprouting in the most unexpected places  and I am just so over the mud…

Soggy Cheers Comrades

raining animated


"You will read The Sandpit everyday and you will enjoy it no matter what tosh I publish....."

“You will read The Sandpit everyday and you will enjoy it no matter what sort of  tosh I publish…..”

This is my 3000th post here at the Sandpit, isn’t it amazing just how quickly this milestone has come around?

I like to think that this  blog functions at many different levels and its contents is as varied as life itself .

Its primary purpose has always been to keep me entertained and to give purpose to my morning cruise through the daily news reports and blog updates , to that end I like to write about the issue de jour that has taken my fancy as I sip on my first brew for the day.  Of course I have also shared some of the events that happen in my own life when I have thought them notable enough  and I have tried to do that with a little bit of wit and my rather wry sense of humour.

So for the next three thousand  posts I hope to continue to provoke and stimulate thought and words from you,  my dear readers, even if those thoughts and words are entirely focused on telling me that I have got it wrong in the most fundamental ways! Sometimes I even get feedback affirming that what I have said is correct, frankly either response pleases me though naturally the later has a somewhat sweeter effect on the palette.

Cheers   Comrades




Just for a change of pace here I’m going to share with my dear readers what I’m waiting for the postman to deliver…

When you have to spend time lying down there is not much better than pretending that you are a badass street racer especially if its in cars that you would love to own or drive in the real world …

Cheers Comrades

Its all go here at Chez Hall, summer holiday edition

So much for Global warming! Yesterday and today have been bloody cold for Queensland in December yeah I know the difference between “weather ” and “climate” but just a few weeks out from Christmas and I am wearing a jumper! Anyway as the rain falls here I ma looking forward to going to my children’s school for their bush dancing event this morning and tomorrow evening its  the awards ceremony where I know (because she was given the modest bursary at the graduation dinner)  that my daughter will be acclaimed as Dux of the school for  2011, considering the fact that the academic year is over its been very busy here at Chez hall for the last week  or so, Monday was taken up with a grade eight orientation day, yesterday was spent getting new tyres on the back of my car and fixing may angle grinder which decided to stop working just as I was about to do something  unspeakable to the Morris , No that’s no quite right I planned to cut down the battery box to facilitate the fitting of the engine and when I went to use the tool nothing! some testing revealed that the switch had shat itself. So I spent the next two hours seeking a suitable  replacement switch. Eventually I found one and then I needed another connection block which took another hour to find. Fixed and working now I cut down that battery box and now the engine bay looks ready to host  the engine, if only I can get it here!

To be honest I am already in a sort of school holiday mode and I am just waiting for the end of the school year as keenly as my children are, I literally dream of not having to do battle every morning to get them up and dressed, breakfasted and brushed for the new day before the bus induced deadline so its once more into the breach this morning and tomorrow is their last day for the year…

Cheers Comrades

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

GD sent me this and it ticled my fancy...


Good steam punk design

I just love good steam punk stuff like this effort from Russia




You don’t need Russian to appreciate this stuff or the craftsmanship of these creations. Big hat tip to Bike EXIF for their newsletter as well.

Another day in the shed for me today as I plan fit the Corolla diff under the Morris and weld up the new Master cylinder mount in the engine bay then the car will be back on its wheels for the next stage of the build process. an update coming soon to the Morris blog once I get a new card reader for the camera.

Cheers Comrades

The Joys of simple motoring,or a father and daughter project

Its looking good out of my window as I write this morning just watched another perfect Queensland sunrise and I have the joy of taking my son to his swimming lesson and then we are both off to replenish the very empty pantry here at Chez Hall. Despite the fact that I have yet to have my breakfast of champions I actaully feel pretty good this morning, heck I even managed to mow here yesterday and on Thursday I went to my first yoga class in ages because my teacher has been in India for  the last seven weeks. But I also feel good because I know that tomorrow the starting point  of my new project arrives in the form of a rather old and somewhat decayed Morris Minor that I am going to be doing up for my daughter’s first car. Regular readers will appreciate that my daughter is only twelve at present  but they should  also realise that fixing old cars takes time so hopefully the five  years between now and when my first-born will be able to get a licence will be more than enough time to do a really good job on the car. This is going to be a father daughter project that we will work on together with the aim of me teaching her how cars work and how they are properly maintained.

Why a Morris Minor?

Well my first ever car was a Morris Minor 1000  van  and I do know my way around them pretty well so that is a good place to start, secondly they are just a good design (thank you Sir Alex Issigonis) that with a little subtle  modernisation can be made to work really well as an everyday car. Further like the best designs they are elegantly simple and simple to fix so my daughter will be able to be self sufficient when it comes to servicing and  maintaining the car.

The aim is certainly not to make the car into a concourse restoration, we will be aiming for a thoroughly modern car in terms of performance and handling and safety  to that end the car will have refurbished suspension and disc brakes front and back, modern radial tyres (wider than the skinny  Cross ply originals), It will have retractable seatbelts front and back (even though these are not required in such an old car) in terms of its engine I want something that is fuel injected and lightweight and at present I’m thinking the engine out of a Suzuki Swift will be ideal especially as it very easily bolts up to the RWD gearbox out of a Suzuki Sierra. Its not going to be a fire breathing hot rod but it should be sprightly and very able  transport with the one thing that  many modern cars lack, style. I will however be doing my best to banish the prince of darkness  from the electrical system. Originally burdened with typical Lucas electrics the car will get a thoroughly modern wiring system that runs  a dedicated earth to each light and appliance, rather than using the body of the car as the earth circuit, decent lights are essential in this day and age so the car will have the very best available now (xenon headlights) with all of the tail lights and other secondaries illuminated with super bright LEDs

Anyway if you want to follow the progress of the build I have created a blog to document it and I will be more than happy to welcome Sandpit readers there as long as they realise that it is not a place for politics or snark its a blog about fixing an old car for a new century.

Cheers Comrades

Morris Minor Two Door blog

Morgan 3 wheeler

I just love this car and think that it is just sweet as 🙂

Cheers Comrades

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