Posts by andyvw

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    I used to post here around about 2015 but drifted away. Recently noticed the site is back though! I'm currently a little bit bored out of my mind thanks to all the latest chaos and need to start frequenting forums again...

    I originally called myself Andy VW because I used to be the owner of a (pretty weird) VW T4 that I used to take on mini adventures in the Lake District, but unfortunately it had to go and I haven't been to the Lakes for over a year now :( The name can stay though - I still have an old wheel trim and the remains of the clutch somewhere.

    I remembered this forum a few weeks ago while I was working in my garden - which is a rare sight - but I've been doing better with the whole self-sufficiency thing just lately and I've turned my garden into a veg plot. So here I am again :S

    I'm posting this mostly as an encouragement to myself to actually get on and do it, being as I first planned to do this in 2010.

    The idea in a nutshell - I'm going to renovate a 36 year old motorbike from it's starting state (a heap of rust in my parents garden, definitely a non-runner) into something that I can ride up the west coast of Scotland on a camping/hosteling adventure. I first got the bike when I was 17, and it has sat unused since about 2008. It's a little Honda 125 which makes it even more fun on the country lanes. Very cheap to run, tax and insure and the parts are ridiculously cheap too!

    I've been meaning to return to the west coast of Scotland since I cycled a lot of it in 2010, it's ridiculous that I've left it this long actually. Just goes to show how life gets in the way.

    The project will be a mish-mash of engineering and adventure, if all goes well. I've actually already started on the renovation, but it has been stalled for months now. The overall 'to do' list goes something like this:-

    - Finish bike renovation (currently rebuilding engine, new gaskets etc)

    - Soft out electrics and a charging port

    - Find a rack, some way of attaching everything

    - Kit list and trials carrying everything (maybe a night away to test everything out)

    - Rough route plan, get all hostels and campsites into GPS (might be easier these days with smartphone)

    - Book time off work

    - Get breakdown cover

    - Start engine, and if it starts, go

    Pictures coming soon if I remember

    Yeah just about haha, first couple of years were fun but it's such a pain trying to exist in such a small place when you're going out walking and coming back muddy, etc. I've never been away in it for more than about 4 nights max, despite planning otherwise. I could plan hostel stops into my trips to wash clothes, etc but for some reason I never do and I just come home instead :(

    Having said all that, if I went away in it today I'd have a great time so I don't know why I don't do that...

    One of the reasons I converted my van back in 2015 was to do NC500, and I still haven't done it! I'm still thinking of doing it, but in a bigger van now haha

    I think a lab in a van is ideal, you can get away from everything and head off into a nice spot in the countryside to work. I think all you'd need is a decent bench you can sit at, and probably a 300W inverter (max) to run a soldering station (30W), desk lamp (~25W), and possibly scope/signal generators (50W), and radios (various). All that could run from a leisure battery bank for a few hours. This would be absolutely ideal in a van because you can move around for antenna testing at different locations! Other 'nice-to-haves' would be a laptop with 3/4G internet connection (probably another 60W).

    Something very important to consider though is heating! Sitting still in a lab in this weather would be a big no-no. Van wise, I could do this in my T4 and just about fit everything in, but there wouldn't be space for living full time as well. It would be a dedicated sleeper-lab.

    Some really interesting replies from several different angles! I've been meaning to reply for a while.

    It seems there's several types of users - people who are using it as a tool to quit smoking, recreational users, and teenagers who are drawn into it by the coolness factor. Plus people who don't smoke or vape, but are having it imposed on them because it isn't banned indoors.

    For anyone interested, there's a great history documentary called 'Merchants of Doubt' ( which exposes how the tobacco industry tried to hide all the health concerns of smoking for as long as they could in order to stay in profit for as long as possible (even though they knew the truth would be exposed eventually).

    Anyway regarding vaping... no-one can say for sure that there won't be some health concerns that eventually crop up. Maybe it will only be with certain ingredients or certain liquids (different flavours have different ingredients, but the base ingredients are always the same). However, what we do know with current knowledge is that vaping is a lot safer than smoking, and has been a very helpful tool for people who want to quit. The concern is still real though, I have gone as far as to research the ingredients in the liquids I'm using and I'm finding that they are using already approved food additives/flavourings that you would normally eat. Whether or not they are all safe to inhale though is another question.

    As for me, I've been smoking on and off since about 2001 and for some reason it has never become an addiction or habit. I have always loved the nicotine rush, and sometimes it's just what you need as a pickup during a coffee break in the sun in the middle of a bad day at work. Somehow, I must have managed to keep it in moderation so that it's always enjoyable like this, or maybe just part of my brain is missing... explanations on a postcard.

    I've come off my motorbike once. I was young and stupid and looking backwards over my shoulder to see how quickly I was leaving my mate behind. He was on a 50, I was on my 125. I went straight into a car that had stopped to turn right. All it did was leave a very dark tire mark on the car bumper and a broken clutch leaver for me so I was lucky!

    Seeing these bike pics made me want to get my restoration back on the cards, last weekend I was polishing aluminium parts and re-assembling fiddly light and indicator switches. What a way to spend summer so far!

    I think you'd struggle to extract enough heat because of the rate at which the chimney has to draw to function as a chimney (i.e. the heat/hot gasses go straight up and out along with the smoke). To extract enough heat you'd have to slow the smoke right down to the point where the fire wouldn't draw properly anymore and would go out.

    In theory I guess it could be done with a very large heat exchanger and some kind of extractor fan to keep the smoke moving through such a large resistance, not trying to put you off having a go!

    I'm vaping as an alternative to smoking. Its ok, but ridiculous as it sounds, not as nice as a fag. I just use tobacco flavour. I'm hoping at some point not to have to carry it around like a dummy.

    I've read that the original tobacco flavours are never quite the same as a real smoke, so maybe you could try a completely different flavour instead of trying to recreate tobacco? Then you can forget about the tobacco flavour first and then taper off the nictotine second, just an idea. Some of the flavours are genuinely nice and you can vary the nicotine content right down to zero.

    Personally I don't like them, I have never vaped btw, I find the strong smells sickly when I get a whiff of them.
    And as much as I know smoking tobacco is very bad for one's health I just don't know or trust what you might be inhaling from them, I have a gut feeling that in X number of years time there may be a big lung related health scare attributed to vaping .

    I can't argue with the possibility that something may come up in the future, but they have been around for quite a few years now, and so far so good. There are some sickly liquids - a lot appear to be marketed at the younger generation, almost like smoking Haribo. Before this I would occasionally smoke mini cigars, would never touch cigarettes though.

    I would have thought Foxglove as well, but I'm fairly clueless.

    When I was cycling around west Scotland, I took these two photos. I always thought these were orchids. I found these growing somewhere between Bute and Inveraray but that's all I can remember. It was a long time ago now.



    Is anyone here into vaping?

    I've always joked that smoking at work is good for you because it forces you to get out into the fresh air several times a day to unwind, but I've never been a regular smoker. I've got into vaping more recently though, and I'm now discovering some pretty amazing flavours and at the same time having nice regular coffee/vape breaks in the sunshine at work (after my boss banned vaping indoors).

    Favourite flavours? So far apple & cinnamon, black cherry and strawberry. I've yet to try black gold (double espresso and cream, smells like Baileys) and original tobacco. Double menthol is nice too, amazing if you have a blocked nose.

    That looks great Sooty - I've been trying to tidy up the paintwork on my van for nearly 2 years now and mine still looks like it has been driven out of a housefire with about 4 different shades of cream/beige/wtf. You've done the whole thing in a day.

    I watched 'The Worlds Fastest Indian' a few weeks ago and today as I returned from a quick ride around the lanes on my mountain bike earlier this evening, I noticed the patch of nettles in my back garden that has been growing for the last few weeks. I remembered the scene where he clears the grass with petrol after the neighbours complain.

    So I thought I'd give it a go. I went and got a bottle of bio-ethanol and sprayed it over the nettles. I got a box of matches and started throwing them in. Eventually it lit, and I sprayed more fuel on (ended up using the whole bottle). Well, it was awesome! I looked up and the flames were higher than the neighbours fence, with a loud roar and some crackling. I swear I heard some shouting from next door, something along the lines of 'what the hell is going on' as a huge jet of blue flames randomly appeared over the fence with no sane explanation. I quickly went indoors at that point.

    Oh and yes, it worked. The nettles have completely gone.

    I'm not being very organised this year... but in the past I've successfully grown chillies - Dorset Naga, Scotch Bonnet and Jalapeno. Want to try some kind of birds eye chilli next, but my greenhouse blew away a while ago and I had to dismantle what was left.

    My garden is seriously disorganised, I have a Rhubarb patch and a couple of weeks ago it grew a massive flower and then fell over. I might save some seed from it though. I'm looking forward to apples again, as they are always delicious but too many to know what to do with. The lawn needs mowing, I usually do that when it goes to seed. It's nice to have a wild patch, but not the whole lawn like it is now. Local cats seem to love my mad garden though!

    Not going to try and fully explain what made me laugh today, but I started sniggering in an uncontrolled manner at a very inappropriate time at work. A work colleague has been playing tricks on me for the last couple of days, and I had a great idea how to get him back. I had that idea just as my boss was lecturing us all - I just couldn't hold it together. I don't think it's even that funny, the timing is what set me off! It would probably just have been easier to explain what I'd thought of, but I've written enough now.

    Earlier today I was fixing a doorframe on my outhouse where the door had been ripped off and pulled the hinge screws out of the frame. I decided to use what I had on hand - a box of matches, and epoxy resin. I drilled out the holes slightly, and then filled them with resin and hammered in as many matches as I could into each hole. Whilst doing this, I got the song 'Fixing a Hole' by The Beatles in my head, and it has been playing in my head for the rest of the day. It's a combination of funny and annoying.

    Here it is, so whoever is reading this can get the song stuck ion their head too, whilst imagining themselves hammering matches into a doorframe.

    Woke up this morning in a nice remote location of the Lake District and went for an early morning walk down by the tarns before breakfast. It was really calm and peaceful, and the only noise was from the wildlife. I could hear the various squarks echoing off the nearby trees and around the valley, it was amazing with no other noise pollution whatsoever. I decided to start filming the wildlife and got quite a few clips :) Whilst expecting people to everntually start showing up (it's a popular tourist spot) I was surprised to find that it was still calm and peaceful by about 8.30-9am ish with only my van parked up in a nearby viewing spot. I thought nothing of it, and eventually got in and drove away in search of a cafe to get a good fry up. Well, I soon discovered why no-one had showed up. The road was closed both ends for tar spraying and I was stuck in the middle :thumbup: Whilst in bed earlier, I had thought I'd heard some heavy machinery drive past but thought nothing of that either.

    Oh well, I got out and found a good fry up in the end. I'll probably go back to that spot sometime now it has a new road surface.

    Been having adventures in the Lake District last couple of days :)

    Climbing mountains and today mountain biking. Loving my new layout in my van - much easier. I'm currently parked up remotely in the mountains and have NO bars reception on the phone I'm tethered to - but the connection is just about managing with the phone stuck to the wall. I've also just had a cow standing right in front of the van, and it's very foggy out. It's like being in the clouds.

    According to my phone, it has connected to a cell tower in a village about 10 miles away which is pretty incredible, hence you get to see this post!

    Well something just made me laugh for the whole of this month. On my new phone when I'm writing it tries to predict whole words and phrases, and what I haven't been realising is that I'm sometimes accepting the predictions without realising, but I don't know how. Anyway, I've just sent 2 jibberish messages on a dating site, the best one asking if she has a Scottish power adapter.

    This is what happens if I just keep accepting random suggestions, after typing the letter 'T' :

    The first one of the most popular properties for sale in the morning and evening meals are served in the morning and afternoon and will be able to get the cheapest car and Van and I will be able to make a note of the most important thing that you can also use the same way as the one I have a good idea

    Sorry this phone is crazy. I need to get some sleep!!!

    I heard an ice cream van outside my house today, it was playing a tune I hadn't heard before. It went on and on and on, and it wasn't moving.

    Eventually I realised it was actually my new phone ringing downstairs, I only got it yesterday!

    Edit: and I missed the call.

    Which emissions? Co or hydrocarbons?

    CO so there's a few things I can try, then it's having a new cat.

    Rick69 it's petrol. It failed 3 times on the emissions :( the garage I go to is quite helpful, so twice I took it out for a 10 mile drive up the dual carriageway at 80mph to get it as hot as possible, the second time with 'gas treatment' added to the tank. But it made no difference.

    Going to overhaul a few things, like vacuum hoses, air filter, timing etc etc. I even asked the guy "it's a VW, can't you just pass it?" but no :snub: