Archive for ‘Shiny Things!’

Our thoughts on the shiny things we have collected, and those we covet…


***If viewing on facebook, please open link for the full article, with pictures***

We were very excited, as we went on a cruise ship to Russia!! The ship was called Princess Anastasia. We had our own cabin with 4 beds. We had a buffet dinner with lots and lots of food and we played exploding kittens. Genevieve won the first game.


In the morning we were in St. Petersburg. We had to go through passport control and got a stamp in our passports.  Then we did a bus tour with a guide called Yuta. We had lots of stops to take photos. We saw a sphinx and Daddy bought a russian hat. It is very warm.

We saw the Flying Dutchman on the river Neva. And we saw the old port, and the cruiser Aurora. It was used in the Russian Revolution.

We saw the Church of the Spilled Blood, but only the outside.

We saw the Field of Mars and the eternal flame.

We saw St. Isaac’s Church. It had massive doors.

Then we went to the Winter Palace.  This is where the Tsars used to live, and is now a museum.  There was so much to see.  Famous artworks and even the rooms had beautiful painted walls, floors and ceilings.  It was amazing. My favourite was the peacock clock. Daddy liked the ceilings, Genevieve liked lunch. Mummy liked the lapis lazuli table, it was blue.

We bought a matryoshka doll with 7 dolls in it, and a smaller one with 3 dolls in it for Genevieve and I to paint ourselves! Then we went back to the boat and that night we went back to Helsinki.


Lego House

***Delayed publishing, 16/09/18***

Today we went to the home of the brick.

This is a town called Billund in Denmark where LEGO and DUPLO is made.  It was INCREDIBLE.

There were lots of different areas in the house.  In the entrance there was a big lego tree. It was funny, because at the top LEGO men were still building the tree. There were some big dinosaurs made from LEGO too.

The house was divided into 4 areas, Red, Yellow, Green and Blue and there were different things to do in each one.  My favourites were:

  • Building the LEGO city.  You built on top of a square brick and put it in the city area.  When you put your brick down, the city would change colour depending on your brick.  And LEGO men would come and visit it.


  • Making LEGO fish. You made a fish and then scanned it into a computer. I gave it  eyes and a mouth and then it swam off onto the computer screen! This was Genevieve’s favourite thing to do.4
  • There was a rainbow made of nearly 2 million LEGO bricks.  It was 5.6m high!IMG_2159
  • You could make a LEGO car and race it down a track. My first one didn’t work very well, but the next one was better. You could also see if your car would fly through a hoop.3
  • There were big LEGO scenes.  One had a mountain and a castle. One had a volcano, and one was a city.  There was a LEGO train.  It was very good.
  • Daddy really liked the history section about old LEGO, because he found some old LEGO sets that he owned. Like the hospital and Technic that Grandpa brought back from Germany when he was a little boy.

At the end we saw a LEGO machine making bricks and we got a pack of 6 red bricks each.  It was a perfect day.

Heavy breathing…

The TD5 engine is a famously heavy breather – and not in a good way unfortunately.  Given we now have a shiny clean intercooler, it makes sense to try and keep it that way going forwards, rather than let the well intentioned (if a little half-arsed) attempt by Land Rover to “Greenwash” their engineering solutions by diverting the oil vapour (that would otherwise waft free) from the crankcase back to the combustion chamber (via the turbo, associated pipework, and intercooler).  The intercooler fills up with oil and crap, and efficiency goes downhill thereby negating any “Greenness”.  It’s a rubbish solution, especially when combined with the (obviously removed already) EGR system.


A far more sensible solution is to install a proper oil separator such as those used on trucks (not a catch-can, they are rubbish).  Mann and Hummel make a particularly good one (Provent 200) that can be muscled into the TD5 Disco2 enginebay in a few places.  By far the easiest option (and the one everyone else seems to have chosen) is to mount it on the firewall, behind the ABS valve block.  Unfortunately this is also the only place that you can shoehorn a second battery, which I have done already — so it’s a non-starter.

Provent 2

My solution to the tetris challenge is to mount the Provent to the ACE/PAS reservoir (it’s very light – only a few grams) with a few chunky zipties.  Rotating it so it’s on a nice jaunty angle means that using a silicone reducing elbow I  can connect the outlet directly to the factory turbo intake pipe… nice and simple.  The inlet is connected (again via a reducer) to an insulated braided hose run from the outlet on the rocker cover (the top of the engine).

Provent 1

The nasty oily vapour exits the rocker cover and flows down the braided hose to the inlet on the Provent.  It enters the inlet chamber, where it condenses on a filter element, allowing nice clean air to exit the bottom hose and make its way to the engine air intake to burn up in the fiery hell of Solihull 5 cylinder combustion.  The condensed oil flows down to the base of the Provent, and then out down a collector tube (a foot of clear silicone hose – clear, so I can see if there is oil collected) and remains there until I get around to crawling under the car, opening the tap, draining it into a cup, and putting it back into the engine…  Now why didn’t they design it this way at the factory…?  Could it be that cleaning out an intercooler is a nice profitable dealership service item?  Surely not…



Roofrack/Bumper/Dive Cam

We have a new green toy.  One thing that we are very keen to do when travelling through interesting places is to get “over the bumper” footage (we intend to make a few videos to slap up on YouTube).  There are lots (LOTS) of options for actioncams that will do the job, ranging from around £20 for a crap one through to around £400 for the latest GoPro. Given the environments we will be travelling through, and the abuse the unit will suffer, we ended up selecting the unit that based on many independant reviews ranks highest on the Chuck Norris scale of invincibilty.  Footage quality was also a consideration, but survivability is paramount.

Enter the Olympus TG-Tracker.  This thing has even got “Tough” written on it. It is by no means the latest in video quality tech, but happily does 4K at 30fps (1080p at 60fps for slo-mo if we can be bothered with that). It’s Tough. It has lots of sensors.  Its Tough. It’s very water/dust/child proof.  Tough.  Much cheaper than a Go-Pro, and much tougher. I look forward to flexing my digital muscles. Tough.

Stupid Fridge

OK…  one fridge duly repaired.  Looks like the thermostat (a very simple device that gets stuffed into a little hole and plugged into the circuitboard) had fried itself.

The little silver metal thing on the end can rotate all the way round, like a child’s head in a horror movie.  The new one has more backbone, and cannot rotate at all – I assume this is a “good thing”.  All in all, a simple (if disappointing in the first place) fix.  The fridge is currently in testing with a load of beer, but things are looking good (its down to 5 degrees, from close to 30 when we began…).

It is still going home to NZ in the other car, where my brother has kindly volunteered to keep it gainfully employed and full of beverages.