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At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Sunday, 6 February 2022

Ducati finished with aid of a paint stirrer.

Sunday 6th February 2022

The Ducati 916 motor cycle is finished. This has been the second most intricate model I have made, the other being the Severn Class lifeboat.

Below are photos from each side and looking down onto the top, and then the finished model. I elected not to attach the two main side panels. After all the labour and the pleasing results of the innards of the bike I couldn't bear to cover that all up.

Suggest click photos to enlarge

A couple of weeks ago during this build which has been ongoing since Christmas I purchased a paint stirrer. The little pots of paint I mainly use get the rims of the jars messed up with paint by shaking to mix and then from wiping off brushes on the edges. The battery powered stirrer proved to be the best thing I have bought that I didn't know I needed for quite some time. That sent me wondering about other items which have given me much satisfaction over the years, often of modest nature compared with the little burst of pleasure every time they are used. Here are a few, there are of course others. I acknowledge a debt to brother RR who comments here and whose first attempt at blogging carried the title of Works Well which summarised items in a similar way. 

The paint stirrer

Vegetable peeler

A dainty little spatula used in the kitchen almost daily for a wide range of tasks

Stainless steel cafetière. I got fed up with the glass ones breaking - this is super efficient combined with classic design

An Odlo base layer I have had for years. Odlo are a lesser known outdoor clothing manufacturer from Norway. This garment has an extremely light jersey knit which belies its ability to create immediate warmth in relation to its light weight. Mine after perhaps twenty years has become laddered in places and must be nearing the end of its usefulness. Unfortunately, like many manufacturers they discontinue lines that have been winners just for the sake of updating their catalogue. I have searched in vain for a replacement but never found anything nearly as good. I have met several fellow outdoories over the years who are familiar with this product and its disappointing discontinuation. See close-up below of the fine knit.

Swiss Army knife. Not used so often but when it is needed it is much appreciated. The quality is legendary

An inexpensive lamp that illuminates my travails on the computer. Especially at night-time it creates a cosy atmosphere when the main room light is tuned off to avoid me being seen as a goldfish in a bowl by passers by outside.
For me tea must be HOT. This stainless steel vacuum flask/jug does the job to perfection when my breakfast routine involves several cups of tea whilst I munch my toast and marmalade and look at the news on the computer over perhaps an hour. Any other kind of teapot would  useless for me. Here again there is pleasure in the design

Ikea long handled shoehorn. At my age bending down to don footwear is onerous. I have several of these placed at strategic places in the house and importantly in the car. There is a design fault in that the white plastic decoration you can see is inlaid into the main plastic cresting a weakness and then a tendency to breaking. This one has been repaired bodged by me

A new boiler installed a few years ago. I had put up with one much inferior for years which struggled to provide water hot enough for a satisfactory bath. Asking advice from my plumber regarding a replacement he told me to buy the biggest I could afford. This one is specified for a four bedroom house so it is overkill for my two bedroom dormer bungalow. For me a hot bath after a long walk or toiling in the garden is one of the greatest pleasures in life and this Worcester product is well on top of the job and has never broken down in the last four yers or so.

Fail-safe method of tying shoe/boot laces. When you take the turn round the first bow take two turns instead. Your laces will  rarely come undone. I have shown this to many people but it seems to be greeted with a negative reaction as though I am trying to foist something irritating onto them.That has always been a bit of a mystery to me. Although it is slightly more tricky to do the result is something I value perhaps  out of proportion.


  1. Happy New Year, Conrad! That Ducati looks very intricate. Liked your thread on things we wonder how we ever managed without (sorry about grammar!) and our list would include sauce flour (thank you Delia Smith), baby wipes for cleaning up the oil and dirt on bikes, baby nappies for mopping up spills (especially in bilges) and audiobooks to help with those sleepness nights that seem to happen more frequently each succeeding year. All our best!

  2. Hi KFs - For spills (in the kitchen or house generally) I buy a bundle of cheap tea towels from Aldi. I throw one on the spill and scrub it around with a mop then perhaps use another to finalise then they just go in with the wash and get reused. I have to avoid getting down on hands and knees if possible, although I have found after years of avoiding it I dare now kneel briefly on my two replaced knees with care.

  3. I have never changed direction so quickly and precisely than on a Ducati - their handling characteristics are legendary. Your build looks good, I yearn for another motorcycle but I worry that I'll wipe myself out - I don't think my reactions are quick enough these days.

    I like your metal cafetiere - I need one for my caravan!

  4. 'I must have my tea hot' - ha, that really does remind me that you do indeed - one morning camping in the ODG field when you scoffed the whole billy full except my first mug: It made me drink things, hot or cold, quickly ever since, so can never enjoy that long delicate cup of darjeeling, or linger over a gill, or baluster of claret: funny how unconsidered moments determine the whole course of one's life !
    But I disagree with you about the 'Y' shape potato peeler: removes much too much of the skin and hence most of the goodness therein - i had to tell 'Which' that their advice and technique on this essential task were quite wrong and for recommending these devices and their profligate wastefulness ! No humble pie from the arrogant b's as yet.

  5. John J. - I had a 1947 Triumph 500 Speed Twin back circa 1960 - I had bought it from my elder brother who comments here (RR.) The first time I got on was in our back street which lead out onto a residential road after twenty yards. I revved up and released the clutch immediately and fully without feeding it. The bike set off at speed across the residential road with me aboard and demolished a neighbour's wooden gates. Little damage was done to me or the bike but I learnt how to ride it pretty quickly after that.
    gimmer - I don't see how you could remove much less of the skin using a knife. The only time I peel potatoes is if I need to make mash.

  6. Can we look forward next to a list of gadgets bought and never used or proven useless?

  7. BC - Items acquired I thought I needed but didn't:

    i'll think about that. The list could be long. In terms of scale of cost the electric bike bought over a year ago and very quickly sold at a loss ranks high.

  8. going back to the Ducati: how appropriate that it should be leaning against a mug of (obviously) enjoyably slurped tea - but on a slightly more technical note - is the convergence of the exhaust pipes a modelling artefact or an actual engineering design feature ? if the latter, does this boost thrust on acceleration - or might it cause some back pressure in the system and thus reduce power.
    I have used a variety of peelers but nothing comes close to an axial rotation single piece slotted blade that i bought 'somewhere' which has no mark to betray its maker - fat enough handle to grip easily with either hand, cuts the slimmest slice possible - nearly as good as simple scrubbing (as you do).
    I was intrigued by your use of the mini-stirrer - basic kit for a lab these days - beats holding the test-tube against the ball of ones thumb and shaking vigorously à la Breeze Bentley - not quite so easy to clean but spares the skin !
    If one did a poll of peoples' favourite gadget and the most useless and unused purchase, i suspect that electronic versions of something would top both lists. I have recently bought light switches than one can place anywhere (sticky pads only) with no wiring at all which will switch on and off up to 10 lights (admittedly one has to fit a tiny 'receiver' in their existing live feed - but most decidedly the best 'thing' i've bought for years)

  9. gimmer - The exhausts are as-is on the real bike. Apparently in Moto GP (equivalent to F1) this was a beast to ride. Perhaps the greatest bike racer ever, Valentino Rossi was unable to master it. Then young Casey Stoner came along and won the championship on the Ducati in 2007, a formidable achievement considering the nature of the beast. That was Ducati's only Moto GP championship win. Having said that I don't think there would be much wrong with the exhaust design.

    The mini stirrer is easy to clean with the acrylic paints I mainly use. I give it a whiz in a jar of water and then a bit of a wipe with kitchen paper towel but it hardly needs it.

    Those light switches sound good, but I would have thought you had already installed most light switches you need, or are you replacing with these new gadgets?

  10. One of the problems with merino baselayers (similarly of a knit material) is that they hole, then ladder, without much provocation. I don't have the means to be constantly buying new ones, but discovered some years ago that if I apply a patch that covers the hole (and ladder, if it's already started to go that way), then it halts the ladder's progress. I have one favourite top, that I bought in 2010, I think, that I keep saying has reached the end of its life, only for me then to patch it again. The only problem is those occasions when I'm wearing a heavily patched top in a public situation where I unexpectedly need to take my jumper off. Perhaps people think it's a style statement...

    As for the vegetable peeler, that's the only style of peeler I get on with and, unlike Gimmer, I've never considered that it removes too much skin. Indeed, with swede and butternut squash, I often have to give two goings-over to get it to remove enough.

  11. Gayle - part of gimmer's response, IN MY OPINION, is related to both his and my upbringing during and after WW2 when rationing and spartan living prevailed for a long time. When you can remember your mother mixing some pseudo margarine with water to make it go further the sin of waste is deeply ingrained in one.