January 2014


Unpacked two more boxes, and painted the breeze blocks in this photo, and they really do soak up the paint. My entry for the Rockingham Sprint has been accepted, and the finals will be in the post after the closing date.

At work I've been diagnosing issues this week with the Java Virtual Machine component in Windows, v1.6.027. JVM, no matter what I tried, just refused to connect to external sites to download .jar content. After some experimenting, I found that it was the JVM that was not reading the Browsers' proxy settings. If you run javacpl.exe, and click Network Settings, it should be set to Use Browser Settings, which are in turn applied via Group Policy. But the JVM wasnt able to read them from the Browser, only because we'd set the Browser to read the .PAC file from a network share using file://

Anyway, to help diagnose the issue, I found two Windows environment variables, which when set, force Java to display a JAVA command window, with some really useful debug information.

Setting these variables, highlighted the proxy server issue, and saved quite a number of hours in fixing the fault. We then changed the Group Policy settings to tell the Browser to obtain the PAC file from an intranet server, and the JVM was then able to read the settings from the Browser, and connect to the Internet via the proxy server. Dont forget to clear them down when you finish, or you'll forever see the diagnostics window whenever Java starts.

Garage mods


The shelves are now up, and I can commence decluttering the floor and applying more paint to the walls.

Garage mods


I've posted my entry off for the Rockingham Sprint on March 16th. At the weekend I painted the next half of the garage wall, and tonight I'll fit the next two shelves to that wall and remove more clutter from the garage floor. It was the Service Hydraulics Speed Championship awards on Saturday night, and the organisation and food was to the usual high standard. We enjoyed catching up with friends, and I look forward to seeing a few more while I'm out and about this year with the Fiesta.

Garage mods


The first side of the garage is now complete, so I can turn my attention to the opposite side for some white paint. I now have a 10L tub of B&Q Storm Grey smooth masonry paint, and some more shelves. Lots to do this weekend :D

Garage mods


A bit more painting last night, almost finished the first wall. Remember I'm painting the top half white, the bottom half will be grey.

Garage mods Garage mods Garage mods


I'm just researching the options to paint the garage floor. Its only had a a roof over it for five weeks, so may still be too damp to paint. The advice from the paint suppliers is as follows:

"The floor must be completely dry (i.e. moisture content below 4%) before you apply any paint. Test for moisture by placing an 18" square of plastic on the surface and taping round the edges to seal it. A carrier bag will do the job. Leave overnight. If the concrete looks damp (i.e.a darker colour) when you lift the plastic, the moisture content is too high for paint to adhere properly. Next you need to prepare the surface to remove any laitance. This is normally done by vacuum blasting, which gives an excellent profile for paint. It's also possible to prepare the surface by mechanical grinding or by using an acid etch, but these are less satisfactory methods. You should then use floor sealer as a first coat to bind any dust and seal the surface. Finally apply 2 coats floor topcoat. "

I'll try the plastic bag test tonight.
Here's a couple of pictures of the first wall to receive paint.
Garage mods Garage mods


The first garage wall received a coat of white paint on Sunday. And I fitted two shelves to the same wall, so thats a few more cardboard boxes that have been emptied. I also put the whiteboard up, and fitted a few hooks to hang things up from.


I've bought a big tub of B&Q Brilliant White smooth masonry paint so I can get the garage walls whitewashed, and some shelves and brackets, to get more of the clutter from the floor, up out of the way. Most of the DIY on the new house is complete, with curtains and blinds on all the windows. Its now trivial stuff like towel rails, hooks on doors, that type of thing, thats keeping me busy. Need to get the Fiesta back so I can better spend my time inbetween the DIY jobs.


This Mk1 Fiesta from the US looks rather interesting. I like the engineering thats gone in to it so far. Very radical indeed.
Front view
Rear view
Gearbox & Engine view

With the calendar now published on the Service Hydraulics Speed Championship website, it looks like my first event this year shall be the BARC Rockingham Sprint on 16th March. I just hope it doesnt snow.


My competition license has been renewed, for £88.00, so the next step is to register in the Service Hydraulics Speed Championship for 2014. The regs still aren't out so I'll have to keep checking the website for any updates. The Diesel Subaru estate is still going strong, though there is a distinct misfire when she's cold and the cost of replacing the glow plugs is putting me off ordering them. I've seen prices quoted as high as £425 just to change the four plugs, and there is a high probability that they will be siezed in the heads and snap off during removal, which would then require them to be drilled out and the heads re-tapped. I really dont fancy that. Though I may have to take the plunge as the cold weather is imminent and I cant afford to miss work due to car problems. Maybe I should just change her, as 80,000 miles is just a tank full of fuel away.


The garage is now wired for flourescent lighting. I installed 4 x 5ft strips, and removed the single bulb that was located in the centre of the roof space. So now I can finally see, the next task is to clean the floor as its covered in a thick layer of dust, and the concrete needs sealing before the cold wet weather sets in. I'm also looking at fitting an electric roller shutter door in place of the up and over door, to provide further security.


Goodbye 2013, and Hello and Welcome to 2014. Lets hope its a trouble free, prosperous and exciting year. I'm currently preparing the garage for the return of the fiesta. I'll be wiring up internal and external garage lights and painting the garage walls white to help brighten the place up, as well as moving boxes up in to the roof etc. The drive is relatively flat and level, and theres no longer a step up on to the garage floor, which will make putting the car away on the trailer, even easier.

I'm hoping to enter the first sprint of the year, which will be the Rockingham Sprint in march, in place of the usual trip to Mallory Park as the first round. There's no work required on the car, just a quick service, oil change, and possibly some new tyres as the ones on the car are now 2 years old, and have quite a few track miles under their belts.

The write up on my Dad's Mk2 Escort is now out in Retro Ford Magazine, so buy a copy now as they certainly seem to go from the shelves very quickly around where I live.