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  #1901  
Old 22nd May 2015, 18:16
reneanglia reneanglia is offline
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Well.....................are you out of rehab yet?
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  #1902  
Old 23rd May 2015, 12:23
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Hi Rene,

Sorry I've been away for a few days to attend my cousin's funeral in New York.
( He died of a massive heart attack aged just 45. )

But I will definitely be returning to do some more car work in the not too distant future.

With a bit of luck I will have a better idea of what I am doing by the end of next week, so I'll post an update then.

Until then, take care, Paul.
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  #1903  
Old 23rd May 2015, 15:36
reneanglia reneanglia is offline
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Sorry about your cousin,45 is much too young.............
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  #1904  
Old 25th May 2015, 08:43
Viatron Viatron is offline
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Condolences Paul. Looking forward to some more progress

Mac
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  #1905  
Old 25th May 2015, 22:48
Nike55 Nike55 is offline
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Sorry for your loss, Paul
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  #1906  
Old 27th May 2015, 15:58
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Belated best wishes Paul, looking forward to your return.
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  #1907  
Old 27th May 2015, 17:20
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Rene, Mac, Nigel & Scottie - Thanks.

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Please Note:
There is very little to do with my Cordite project in this post, so feel free to ignore it and wait for the car building photos to return.

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Reflective Mood:
It is fair to say that the last couple of weeks have been a bit of a blur, so this is a chance for me to take stock.

The main reason I put the car project on hold was to give myself the time needed to find some work that actually pays.
As it has become clear to me that taking a career break to build a car has made it significantly harder to get another job.
Despite the fact I am self funded, and not on benefits, firms read the absence of a traditional employer as simply being unemployed.

However, quite by chance, I got an offer of 4 weeks work in Canary Wharf the day after I stopped working on the car.
I am over qualified for the role, it pays a lot less than my last job, but is still an ideal way for me to break back into work.
I spoke to the company on Friday 15th and they expected a start date of either Tuesday 26th May, or Monday 1st June.

Unfortunately, the very next day I found out my cousin had died and by Saturday night we knew the date of the funeral.
- Sunday was spend arranging the trip
- Monday I flew out with my mum (it was her only brother's son who died)
- Tuesday was the wake (more on that later)
- Wednesday was the funeral
- Thursday evening I left New York
- Friday morning I arrived back in the UK.

I have previously mentioned that my own younger brother died many years ago, but haven't really covered the details.
He died in 1980 on our very first family trip to New York when we went to visit my uncle & aunt who have just lost their son.
My brother was actually buried in my aunt & uncle's family plot in America to avoid the extra trauma of bringing his body home.

My cousin's "wake" was held at a funeral home where family and friends come to pay their respects, but there is no drink involved.
Another tradition over there is for an "open" gasket, although this is only the second time I have seen one & my brother was the first.
It was only when I walked in, saw my cousin and all the flowers, that I remembered this was the very same funeral home my brother was in.
So even though it has been almost 35 years since I set foot in that place, it was like I had been hit with a huge sledge hammer.

This really has been a tough few days (physically, mentally & emotionally) as something else dawned on me while I was over there.
My youngest daughter has just turned 13, which means she has now lived longer than my brother, who was 12 when he died.
My eldest daughter is 15 and therefore the same age I was when my brother died and this brings home how young I was at the time.

There was a back ground check survey waiting for me when I returned from NY, so this will delay when I start back to work.
But at least this delay it will give me a chance to catch up on all the other things I was supposed to be doing last week.
I might even be able to sneak a day on the car if all the timings work out in my favour, but don't hold your breath.

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Some Photos:
Obviously I was not on holiday, but I did take a few photos out of the plane window...

Landing in JFK, with the Manhattan skyline just about visible in the distance.



Some London landmarks on the way back to Heathrow.





My house is probably in this photo somewhere.



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Cosmotron:
I know many of you are fans of what Tribute do to BMW Z3s.

So I thought you might also like this "groovy" Z3 conversion.







http://www.motorpunk.co.uk/articles/cosmotron/

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Until next time, take care, Paul.
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  #1908  
Old 27th May 2015, 22:01
a big scary monster a big scary monster is offline
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Good evening Paul, yourself and your family have gone through considerable upset this past few weeks, which makes all the posts you have written throughout the build about family being more important than the build ring very true, it also highlights to me that things like building cars and sitting watching films with poorly daughters are far more important than being at work 50 hours a week. Hope everything goes better for you and yours from now on Ed.
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  #1909  
Old 30th May 2015, 07:32
Scottie22 Scottie22 is offline
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That's quite a post Paul, I'm not often lost for words, but am struggling a bit right now, I wish you the best of luck and good fortune with the future and the way forward for you and your family,
all the best,
Scottie
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  #1910  
Old 30th May 2015, 11:43
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Ed & Scottie - Thanks guys.

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Work Update:
After lots of form filling, I'm now just waiting for a criminal record check to be completed.
Unfortunately this could take another week, but I should be starting work some time in June.

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Summer House:
It will come as no surprise to regular readers that tidying up the Summer House is on my "To Do" list again.
However, this time I also want to ensure that all the parts needed for working on the Moon Rover are to hand.
As I can waste a lot of time and make an even bigger mess looking for one small part needed to finish any particular job.

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Moon Rover Plans:
If I do get a chance to work on the car, I have a few jobs in mind that I'd like to tackle first.
These include refitting the original Spitfire steering column and hand brake lever.
Which should be a straight forward job given I am re-using a Spitfire bulkhead & hand brake panel. < Touch Wood >
I'd also like to make a start on drilling the holes in the floor required to fit the seats.
Finally, if I can sort out the seized clutch pedal then I will look at re-fitting the dash too.

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Ebay:
I'd also like to spend some time listing another batch of "stuff" for sale.
This will include things like the leather seat covers I got with my donor car, which didn't sell the first time I listed them.
Plus some of the parts I have bought specifically for the build, before changing my mind and using something else.

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Excel Problem:
I built up a very detailed record of all the costs associated with this build on a spreadsheet.
It also included a record of previous Ebay sales to provide the final net cost of the donor car.
As I wanted to have a comprehensive breakdown of my "getting on the road" costs.
Unfortunately, a number of my Excel files will no longer open, including this one.
Based on internet research this is a known problem, although none of the suggested fixes have worked for me.
So it looks like I will need to bring the files to an IT expert for restoration, but at least they should be recoverable.

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Until next time, take care, Paul.
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  #1911  
Old 30th May 2015, 17:00
a big scary monster a big scary monster is offline
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Hope its recoverable Paul, I lost hours of work and photos not to mention tax and business records last year on a laptop that just died, now I use an android nexus tablet and phone for everything they are linked together thus backing everything up, to my horror around Christmas I left them both on the chair arm to answer the door and my spaniel launched them both smashing the screens of both too. Bought a new tablet logged in to my Google account and everything was there in seconds. Ed.
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  #1912  
Old 3rd June 2015, 17:33
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Ed - Cheers, although I seem to be having a run of bad luck with technology at the moment.
The other day Google+ decided my iMac was now too old, which means I can't get at all my "on line" build photos.
It now looks like I will have to drag the Mac into an Apple store for one of their technicians to sort it out.
( As it is too old for any of the on line updates to work. )

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Project Review - Part 1:
The other day Mister Towed posted that his Spyder had been on the road for almost 2 years now.

Which makes sense, as I distinctly remember his "Three Amigos" photo appearing in July 2013.
( As this was the same time that I was preparing to leave my last job after 18 years. )



Well my extended break from working for a living will finally come to an end shortly.
So this is a good excuse to look back at what I have achieved during my "sabbatical".
However, this is really one of those "Is the glass half full, or half empty?" kind of moments for me.

On the negative side, I really hoped that working on the car "full time" would mean it would be finished by now.
Unfortunately, the reality was that I also became a full time "house husband" with a pile of daily domestic chores to complete.
Plus there was the usual battle with the weather and the fact I was always happy to put family stuff ahead of the car anyway.

But my real frustration comes from spending such a HUGE number of hours on this project & still having such a long way to go.
As this amount of effort working with many different types of kit would have been rewarded with a car on the road by now.

On the positive side, if I hadn't taken this opportunity to work on the car, it would have been sold as an unfinished project.
As there were simply too many problems for me to over come "part time", so this was my one chance to break the back of the build.
Now I will be the first to admit that some, OK, most, of my problem solving approaches have lead to a lot of extra work.
But I was completely out of my depth, especially as I'd picked the Cordite because it was meant to be an easier build than the Spyder.

Therefore the context for this project review should be "ham fisted amateur takes on a bespoke build that most people would walk away from".
Certainly, as I've taken the time to look back at some of the things I have tackled since August 2013, I can barely believe it myself.

So the following photos cover some of the key trials & tribulations that I've faced and, by & large, over come...

August 2013:
This was my first real attempt at shaping & welding thin sheet metal, which was a lot harder than welding thicker box section.
( I needed to seal up the cuts I'd made in the rear arches so they would "slot" around the Cordite framework. )



At least this area looked a lot better after some filler and paint were added.



The end of August saw a two week break from car building for our family "trip of a lifetime" to Florida.



Without doubt, this was one of my better ideas and I'm really glad we did it.

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September 2013:
Lost a few weeks to constant rain before I finally managed to fit the rear suspension lowering block.



My first attempts at "plug welding" as I started to repair a section of the boot floor (excuse the poor photo).



Whilst it was hardly a seamless repair, it was still very solid.



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October 2013:
First proper test fit of my Spitfire rear arches & Cordite rear framework "combo" on the rolling chassis.



Which in turn allowed me to test fit the lowered floor pans and drill fixing holes in the framework.





This combo was one of several large "jigsaw" pieces that I hoped would eventually form my "Moon Rover".

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October 2013 to April 2014:
Another key element of my revised internal structure was this 2nd hand Spitfire bulkhead, which turned out to be a very rusty mess indeed.

Modifying, repairing and re-enforcing this bulkhead until it was finally fit for purpose turned into an epic 6 month project of its own.



Some work was more straight forward than others, such as sealing off the old heater area.





Or where the windscreen supports had been cut off (obviously done on both sides).





Similarly, closing the original de-mister vents & various other surplus holes were simply a case of welding patches into place.



End of Part 1...
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  #1913  
Old 3rd June 2015, 17:33
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Project Review - Part 2:
However, some of the numerous floor repairs were a bit harder to blend in than others.





It took me two attempts to work out how to make a "recess" for my dual circuit brake master cylinder.
( This still ranks as one of my favourite bits of metal fabrication work on the whole build. )





But the real madness came when I started to tackle the sides of the bulkhead!







In addition to fixing all the internal panels, I build external "supports" for both sides of the bulkhead too.





Although there was so much rot to deal with, the overall look ended up like a patchwork quilt in places.



With the "outside" of the bulkhead largely sorted out, I could start repairing sections of the dash support panel.



I also set the bulkhead up for my new micro heater arrangement, starting with making a new heater control panel.



I also made panels to support the heater vents.





Welded them into place and sorted out the fixings required for the heater itself.





The heater control value needed a new mounting bracket too.



End of Part 2...
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  #1914  
Old 3rd June 2015, 17:34
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Project Review - Part 3:
I made a battery box to replace the original one which I'd cut out as it was both badly repaired & rotten.







I beefed up the back of the dash to support a new battery cut off switch.





Every edge that the gearbox cover mounted to needed to be patched / repaired.







At this point I took a short break from working on the bulkhead to work on other parts of the build.

Before finally returning to make and fit new crush tubes for one of the bulkhead mounting sections.







Clearly if you just looked at the finished bulkhead you would have no idea just how much work was involved.



Which I guess sums up my frustration with the amount of effort I've put in compared to the visible progress I appear to have made.

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February 2014 to February 2015
One of the jobs I started tinkering with while working on the bulkhead was "recycling" my original donor's dash board.



Hard to believe that there is a year between the photo above and the one below when the fog light switch went back in.



Note: I'd already re-used the original fog light switch hole for the relocated choke lever & filled in the original choke hole.

All three sections of the dash had wood filler pressed into the grain/cracks & were then treated with wood strain / protection.

I also added some extra supporting brackets at the back of the dash to help fix it in place.

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March 2014 to February 2015
Wiring is another one of those jobs that I have kept dipping into as the build progresses.

From extending the loom to include an extra bulb for the new oil pressure gauge back in March 2014.



To testing the loom in February 2015.



At least I've now reached the point where the next job will be to re-fit the wiring loom to the Moon Rover for the final few adjustments.

End of Part 3...
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  #1915  
Old 3rd June 2015, 17:35
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Project Review - Part 4:

April 2014 to April 2015
Even though I was keeping the original Cordite rear frame work, it needed to be modified in order to work with the Spitfire bulkhead.

Running in parallel to this, I also had to sort out the rear wheel arches section in order to join these two big pieces together.

For the frame, I removed an old "wonky" cross rail on the passenger side & welded in a new one "square" to the rest of the frame.





Added two lengths of box section to "close" the original door openings.



Made a bracket to support the boot floor, where the exhaust tail pipes needed to be mounted.



Welded the lower floor pans to the frame.

Plus welded 4 home made brackets to the frame so it could be bolted to the bulkhead.



Given what was to come, it is hard to believe that May 2014 was my first attempt at working with fibreglass for some small repair work.



Thankfully, after more welding, fibreglass & filler work, the rear arches were done.



Then they could be temporarily matched up with the rear frame work & floors



I cut off and re-welded back on the feet at the rear of the framework, adding crush tubes underneath.
( The frame had to be adjusted to take into account fitting the Spitfire arches on top of the chassis. )



Then the two big pieces could be permanently welded together on both wheel arches.



And along both sides of the hand brake panel.



I started building an additional support bracket to make it easier getting in & out of the car in August 2014.





Although by getting side tracked with body work, I only fully finished off the welding of the edges in March 2015!



Which was part of my recent "finishing off" work that saw me spending ages sealing the gaps between the framework and the arches.

This included building my "egg" hollows for better access to the bottom nut on this bracket.



So you can see why I was so happy when all of these big jigsaw pieces were finally bolted onto the chassis.



End of Part 4...
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  #1916  
Old 3rd June 2015, 17:36
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Project Review - Part 5:

June 2014 to September 2014
A real turning point in this build came when I finally accepted that the original Cordite body shell was not worth saving.

By now I'd discovered that the outer door skin and inner door panel were barely held together with some old chewing gum*.
( * OK, it might technically have been something else, but whatever it was, it certainly wasn't doing its job. )



So the simple decision to seal the doors shut was made.



At this stage I was still impressed that my fibreglass work actually held the doors in place when all the brackets were removed.



BUt I certainly got a lot more practise working with fibreglass after "The Wembley Angle Grinder Massacre".



The whole scuttle section was the first to go.



Which left the body shell & bulkhead looking like this.



Then the whole rear of the shell was cut in two.



Whereas the driver's side just needed a "slice" cut off



By the time I was finally able to get primer over the body shell, I'd also added an extra aero hump on the passenger side.



I'd build a completely new scuttle from scratch and added a wind break "lip" for my aero screens.



And there was now little evidence that the car was supposed to have doors fitted.



Again, even just seeing the body shell in one colour at this stage was a HUGE boost to morale.

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April 2014 to May 2015
I first welded some crush tube into the chassis for the frame work to bolt through in April 2014.

But it was only last month that I finished the final adjustments on these and could call that job done.



Another big step forward for this build was agreeing with the DVLA that the bumper brackets could be removed from the chassis.





The only down side, was this revealed a rusty mess on the chassis that needed to be repaired.





Copying Mister Towed's design, allowed me to make bonnet hinges that actually worked!





This was another landmark stage of my build and, even now, I still get a kick out of opening the bonnet.

End of Part 5...
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  #1917  
Old 3rd June 2015, 17:37
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Project Review - Part 6:

September 2014 to April 2015
Yes, it really was 7 months from the time I roughly marked out my "simple" boot lid with tape...



Until the time I could finally claim the boot lid was actually both located and locking properly.



Note:
I did walk away from this "challenge" for a long time in the middle to avoid going mad, or trying to "fix" it with a lump hammer!
( And there is still some finishing off work left to do. )

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November 2014 to January 2015
The work required to the bonnet saw me through last winter, starting with yet more cutting.







But again, seeing all the work I had done finally come together in primer was a great feeling.





Note:
I still need to sort out the profile of the rear edge of the bonnet, plus the wheel arches & join sections of the bonnet to the body shell.

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October 2014 to January 2015
I only have myself to blame for making the changes to my V5C a lot harder than they needed to be.

In the end it was just under 4 months from the time I took some "mock up" photos for the DVLA...



Until the new V5C arrived, but I was so pleased to see to see the changes in black & white I just didn't care.



Plus I love the fact that I a unique car name to match my "one off" build.

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In addition to all the big projects listed above, I also finished lots of small, but still time consuming jobs as well.

Areas such as the twin tail pipe exits & straightening out the bottom edge of the rear valance.



My rough and ready petrol cap surround.



Number plate plinth & tail pipe shields.



Number plate light mounting plate.



Modifying this access panel so if could fit over the rear suspension lowering block.
( It looks much nicer after some more filler and paint were added. )





I'm still working on the modifications to the gear box cover.





Plus I changed the front grille too.





Plus numerous other bits and pieces long the way.

End of Part 6...
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  #1918  
Old 3rd June 2015, 17:38
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Project Review - Part 7:
So there you have it, a rather long round up of just under 22 months of work, within a project that is already at 3 years and counting.

But what does it all mean?

My Glass Is Half Empty:
It would be easy to look back at this sabbatical period and say I could have / should have done more work on the car.

My Glass Is Half Full:
I've taken full advantage of this sabbatical to make huge strides forward in this build and can take pride in what I have achieved.
To take what I started with, and end up with what I have now, would have simply been impossible if I was working on this part time.
Especially given my lack of experience, my struggle to find KISS solutions, the lack of a garage to work in & the occasional spot of rain.

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The Future:
I have every intention of finishing this project, getting the car on the road and then actually spending some time driving it.
But I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that if I can only work on the car part time going forward, this will take a while.
As I am also very conscious that my daughters are growing up fast and my eldest will be taking her CCSEs next year.
So there is no way that I am going to put this build before anything they need in terms of their education, or development.
Which means that if I have to keep putting this build on hold in order to put family first then that is the way it will be.

The good news is that there is nothing left to do on the car that I am not capable of doing, based on what I've learnt so far.
( With the exception of sorting out the engine, which I was always planning to get some help with if I needed it anyway. )
Another positive is that epic jobs like the bulkhead, body shell, bonnet, etc. were all completed by taking one small step at a time.
So my constant build philosophy of "keep chipping away" will definitely ensure progress and I will get all the jobs done one day.

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Until next time, take care, Paul.
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  #1919  
Old 3rd June 2015, 19:57
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Phew, that's quite an epic tale! Keep plugging away Paul and good luck with the life-plan.
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  #1920  
Old 3rd June 2015, 21:00
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I think you are being very hard on yourself thinking this is just a car build, even if your girls haven't been that hands on helping you, I bet you they are proud and tell their friends about it, look back at your first few pages an unsure accountant that road and raced motorbikes venturing tentatively to a car build and second guessing each new task, roll forward 50 pages to a chap that got a bit bored one day and cut his body shell into several pieces in the rain probably, your posts of experience and advice on other people's threads are also usually the most helpful plus your outlook on your family life will no doubt of helped and rubbed off on many people reading, as an outsider I'd wager your sabbatical had given your daughters a tremendous amount of life experience not to mention broadened their perceived skill set, plus if you had of been working you'd of missed out on a boat load of ironing and still spent all the money you earned, your next sabbatical sell up in London buy a 80k farmhouse in France and work one month a year.
If you want to organise a working party weekend on your build I'd try my hardest to be there, after exam month that is, she has 17 left to take. I just hope you like your car once its done :-) ed.
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