Climb classifications in the Le Tour de France

Apparently the climb classifications (4,3,2,1,HC) in the Le Tour de France are based on the gear you’d need to use in a 2CV to get up that hill. This is quite clearly horse poop and – as the owner of a 2CV – I have a 100% subjective personal anecdote to prove it:

The Le Tour has been past the village were I grew up twice (’94 & ’07) and both times there was a 4th cat near by. There’s no way you’d get a 2CV up those hills in 4th – they’re solid 3rd and maybe a quick dip to 2nd near the top if you didn’t get a good run at them on the way in.

As for HC (which is supposedly impassable to a 2CV) I similarly call horse. 1st gear in a 2CV is so low it won’t even get you half way across a set of traffic lights without needing to change up – you’ll run out of grip on the tyres long before you torque stall the engine. (Admittedly the grupetto would be faster up the hill but that’s not the point.)

Generally your biggest problem on hills in a 2CV is some idiot in a modern car in front of you that slows down for the corners – it’s all about conservation of momentum, as this person ably demonstrates.

FACT.

Aberdalgie War Memorial

This is situated in front of the church.

Aberdalgie War Memorial

Aberdalgie War Memorial

In honour of those belonging to this parish who fell in The Great War

Aberdalgie War Memorial

Aberdalgie War Memorial

Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends

Aberdalgie War Memorial

Their name liveth for evermore

Aberdalgie War Memorial

Cat Tactics

Good work by my cat this morning – only his third day of being allowed outside and he is already showing an admirable grasp of tactics in an encounter with the neighbours’ cat.

Cat tactics diagram

  1. My cat doing reconnaissance in his garden spots…

  2. The neighbours’ cat, sat in its garden.

  3. My cat advances and occupies the high ground on the border of his territory.

  4. After a prolonged staring match, the neighbours’ cat retreats to a hidden position.

  5. My cat uses the dead ground in the next door flats’ car park to flank the neighbours’ garden.

  6. My cat occupies the high ground in a position to observe the retreat route of the neighbours’ cat.

At that point I can only assume that the neighbours’ cat was nowhere to be seen as my cat went off to explore the interesting smells on the lids of the flats’ bins.

Gornsdorf War Memorial

These are located in the church yard.

Gornsdorf WWI war memorial

Gornsdorf WWI war memorial

Gornsdorf WWI war memorial

Wir wollen sein ein einzig Volk von Brüdern
Wir wollen frei sein wie die Väter waren
Wir wollen trauen auf den höchsten Gott

Featured on this memorial is Stürmer, Albert who was killed at Bixchoote during the battle of Pilkem ridge on the same day that Reginald Clements was fatally wounded around 10km to the South East on the Ypres Salient.

Sturmer, Albert - Gornsdorf WWI war memorial

WWII

Gornsdorf WWII war memorial

Zum Gedenken an unsere 256 gefallen und vermissten 1939-1945

Trumpeter 1/72 T-62 hatches

As I want my T-62 to have the hatches open as if the crew had bailed out the Trumpeter model needed some modification since the commander and drivers hatches are moulded shut as part of the turrent and hull.

As the hatches on the T-55 are the same I used the Revell kit’s hull turrent and hatches as a guide and opened up the T-62.

1/72 T-62 and T-55 hatches

Engine start

With everything assembled, and with TomB engineering’s assistance, it was finally time to see if the engine would start.

The engine was checked over and all the torque settings were confirmed.  For the heads this meant an initial tightening followed by a final tightening when the manifold had been bolted on.

The engine was mounted up to a refurbished gear box I’d acquired earlier, along with a starter motor that was sold-as-seen.  With no clutch between the gearbox input splines and the engine flywheel this mean that the starter motor would be able to turn the engine over without driving the gearbox.  With the wiring loom attached to provide power to the ignition and fuel pump, the coil and HT leads in place to provide juice to the spark plugs and a battery wired up to the starter and earthed to the gearbox it was ready to go.

The initial push of the ignition button was rewarded by a click and whirr from the starter motor, so at least that was good.  The ignition is the same 123 unit fitted to Judith  so the indicator light showed that it was powered and the timing could be set.  However, the fuel pump wasn’t priming.  Once we’d worked it out it was obvious: the loom had no earth – when it’s in the car it has all sorts of earths that make their way back to the gearbox but that was missing here.  One fly lead later and the fuel pump primed and filled the carburettor.

Now we were ready to go again but the battery was now flat from turning over the engine whilst we were trying to diagnose the fuel pump’s missing earth – the starter would click but not whirr.  Running jump cables from Lotte gave us the power we needed and, after a few seconds it caught!  It ran for about 20s before starting to die and I cut the ignition.  Still, that’s pretty impressive given the choke and throttle were set at about half as a guess – some dynamic adjustment of them could probably have kept it alive.

2CV engine, gearbox and wiring loom

All in all I’m very happy with this: I’ve rebuilt an engine and it ran.

Trumpeter T-62 and Revel T-55 in 1/72 scale

To provide a period correct opposing force for my ealrly 70s Chieftain I settled on a T-62.  (Early T-72s would have been entering service but they wouldn’t have been present in numbers but, more to the point, the only T-72 model I could find was an M1 variant that entered service in 1979.)

For this I picked up the Trumpeter T-62.  This is fundamentally a reasonable kit but the image on the box features a lot more detail than is present on the sprues in the box.  As any modeler will know this is a good reason to buy a new kit – in this case the Revell T-55 A/AM which is significantly better detailed than the Trumpeter T-62.  As the T-62 is very similar to the T-55 there a a lot of parts that will translate directly across – from headlights to hatches.  I think that between the two I can make a detailed  T-62 appropriate for the early 70s.

Trumpeter T-62 and Revell T-55A/AM 1/72 scale

Quick pickle cucumber salad

Cucumber salad

Although not really a pickle, by cutting the cucumber slices very thin they quickly absorb the vinegar so this doesn’t need to be made much in advance.

  • 10 cm of cucumber sliced as thin as you can
  • pinch of celery salt
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of coriander powder
  • glug of white wine vinegar

Combine the ingredients in the serving bowl, mix thoroughly and leave to stand.