Wednesday, 25 June 2008


Finally all ready for Glastonbury. Leave tomorrow morning, and should arrive around midday.

Finishing the welding took longer than expected (it always does). Two new shock absorbers and a couple of brake pipes and the camper passed the MOT on Friday.

Today, I replaced the oil strainer (old VW aircooled engines don't have a modern oil filter) and changed the oil. Decided to change from monograde 30 weight to a modern 15W-50 multigrade. Opinions differ as to which is best (VW recommended monograde back in the early 70s but multigrades have improved considerably since then). I've used monograde for 2 years and I'll see if it runs better.

Glastonbury should be fun, but I'm keen to get back to JamVM. I'm not taking a laptop!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Flowers in your hair (or at least on your camper)

It's now a month since I finished working. I still have no regrets leaving -- this is the first real time I've had off for 4 and a half years, and I've only made a small dent in the amount of work that's built up in the last few years. In total, I've been working away from home for the past 7 years, and I'm getting to the age where I can't do it any longer.

Having said that, I will soon have to think about finding another job. I don't want to live off my savings for more than a few months. Maybe to the end of the summer. But I need to start to consider my options (which at present is not very much).

So what have I been doing for the last month? I've been restoring my old 1972 VW camper (it's almost as old as I am). I did quite a lot of welding for the MOT last year but the final finishing up was rushed due to lack of time. I've got yet more to do for the MOT this year, which is up just before Glastonbury (a long running music festival, for the non-UK readers). Taking an old hippy-wagon to Glastonbury is a lot of fun (I'm thinking about putting on a load of stick-on flowers for this year).

Last week I finished respraying the front in its original colours (orient blue over pastel white) and replaced the spare tyre with a VW symbol. This required longer than expected because the front panel needed welding and a new panel had to be welded in the left corner (it was all filler).

Tomorrow, I've got to finish removing the near-side inner sil, weld in a new one, and replace the rear jacking point. Then I've got to start on the outer sil. It should then be ready for the MOT (only 8 days remaining). I replaced the front jacking points and outriggers last year.

So what about JamVM? I'm still working on it in the evenings, as if I was still working. I'm currently still bogged down in a load of inlining interpreter optimisations that I've been prototyping for the last few months. I've now got to put everything back together and tidy things up for a release. With testing, this is still at least a month or so away.

Contrary to my previous posts, I'm no longer thinking about giving JamVM up. I've decided I do get sufficient "return" for my time to make it worthwile. Giving your time away for free when there's no money coming in is difficult, but I don't want to end up just another odd-jobber doing up his camper.