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vulgalour

1987 Citroen BX

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I'm very envious tbh! I spent an afternoon with the autoshite beige bx cleaning the interior (where is that now?) and it was a lovely place to sit,

 

Sadly all beyond my competence and time limits,

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Oooh this thread is going to be good/fun :)

 

I look forward to said fettling :)

 

im pretty sure a family friend used to own a Citroen BX, after 2 Citroen DSs. those 3 cars (plus a 1982 Volvo mum had until 2001ish) where the only classic/old cars I ever rode in for any length of time until my first visit to  Zels place :) (I remember the Yellow headlights and adjustable suspension fascinating me at the time, I also used to think his Citroen DSs could float on water...)

 

Nice to see some SOX street lights still hanging in on there, those look like Geared Philips MA60 180W SOX street lights, one of the biggest daddies of SOX street lights, a Geared MA60 is on my collection bucket list :)

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The first day you actually get stuck into a car is one full of excitement and trepidation.  What am I going to find?  Let's have a dig and see.  First job was to work out just how I was going to get the car on the lift since most of the points I want to put the jack are also points the lift wants to go and I need to jack the car up a bit to get it high enough to get on the lift pads.  I did figure it out eventually and gingerly raised the car into the air knowing just how flimsy the underside of a BX can be.  The sill rails seemed the safest bet so that's what I went with since I couldn't get the pads under anything else.

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There was still plenty of mud and grass underneath from the landscaping the car had done for Dean's access road.  A quick scrub with a soft wire brush got rid of it all and while there's a few spots that underseal needs redoing I couldn't really find what had stopped us getting off the truck.  The exhaust was slightly misaligned so I'm going to go with Dollywobbler's suggestion when we were loading that it was the centre exhaust pipe clamp which looked pretty new with long-ish bolt legs.  One thing I did notice straight away was a plug hanging down near the pipes at the back of the front subframe.  It was easy to see where it came from so I wondered if this might just be the easiest fix in the world for the STOP light Dean had mentioned had stopped working.

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Clean it up plug it in and...

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Who said fixing hydropneumatic cars was difficult?  I'm sure doing the front-to-back pipes will be a breeze now, right?  RIGHT?  Er... yeah.  I spent some time trying to figure out where the leak actually was and where the pipes went.  I could identify the two pipes that had already been replaced and the two pipes that hadn't, one of which looks more scabrous than the other.  The leak itself is hidden from view somewhere above the rear passenger sphere, which lends credence to Dean's assertion that it's the front-to-back pipe over the subframe that's popped, as if there was ever any doubt of course.

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Then I got a bit stuck.  I couldn't trace the route of the pipes because I couldn't see exactly where they went around that bit without removing the subframe.  To help, I removed the back half of the exhaust, which was simply a case of undoing one clamp and unhooking a few rubber hangers.  This allowed me to see better where the new pipes had been put so I could do a better job of tracing.  It looks like one pipe I need to remove goes into the height corrector unit (the round thing to the right), and the other looks to go into the multi-pipe block to the right on the subframe crossmember.  I got the union in the height corrector unscrewed but the pipe itself won't come out of the corrector unit. The pipe feels fragile too, in that way rusty steel pipes do, so I'm concerned that if I put too much force in I'll snap the pipe off and give myself too much work.  Help would be appreciate on how to proceed here, I don't want to fluff it up.

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I traced the lines to the front of the car, and it looks like the both end at the vertical valve/union block to the right in the second image below.  I couldn't see where else they might go and the manual didn't provide much help on removal and routing of pipes.

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I decided to put this part of the job aside and seek advice.  I don't want to remove or damage things I don't need to.  It does look like a fairly straightforward job once you've identified which pipes require replacing.  I'm splitting this update into a couple of posts, since there's a fair bit to get through, this marks the end of the first stage of the update.

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Since I couldn't go further on the suspension side of things, I looked at what I could do.  Since this is a BX, rust is a concern and thanks to the estate I used to have, I knew where to look.  This car doesn't really have much rust to speak of and being white, any rust it does have is going to be very visible.  I knew about some spidering on a rear wing which, unfortunately, is going to involve repainting rather a large section of the wing to correct.  It doesn't seem to need any welding at least, and it is very difficult to see, so this is low priority.

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The other big weakness is the boot.  I put my big boy pants on and started stripping out the boot trims, knowing just how frightening this part can end up being.  Amazingly, it's incredibly good underneath everything.

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There's just two small areas that require some attention.  A small section of sealant has failed on the passenger side, and some rot has begun on the driver's side.  This is all flat panels with excellent access so shouldn't be bad to fix at all. Looking underneath the car the inner arches are remarkably clean, and the rear apron is in excellent shape.  I'll remove the bumper to do the repairs properly and get everything cleaned, painted, and protected to keep it this good once the welding is done.  This was a very pleasant surprise, I was expecting this area of the car to be much worse even though it looks so nice on the outside.

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Up front I wanted to check out the only other bit of rust of note which was the inner wings.  This is another common BX weak point and worth exploring.  There was some foam-backed stuff applied to the inner wings and when I noticed it was holding on to water I decided the best thing to do was to whip it all off and deal with whatever was lurking underneath.  Absolutely no point pretending it would be okay and letting it fester since I have the luxury of time and space to sort this out.  Amazingly, it really wasn't that bad at all, just a bit ugly.  The damage that is there appears to be localised to the bit where the vertical inner arch meets the horizontal, with a little bit in the nose on the passenger side.  The driver's side nose piece seems very solid.  I also had a look at the front crossmember that was advised at MoT and that too looks like it only needs a fresh bit of underseal to replace the bit we accidentally removed and is otherwise very solid.  I will remove the front wings, lights, and bumper to rectify all of this since it's all very easy to dismantle and then make sure there's plenty of paint and protection applied to keep it good afterwards.

 

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This was a very pleasant surprise.  The floors and sills are amazingly sound throughout, with the exception of the few spots that need a fresh bit of protection from the scraping it got loading and unloading.  There's no crusty tender bits underneath.  I knew it was a good solid car, I didn't expect it to be quite this solid.

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Probably the thing that this car has suffered the most with is sun damage and it's made some of the interior parts brittle.  I'll be keeping an eye out for spares and refurbishing what I can.  In the meantime, I'm going to be very careful with what's in the car.  Unfortunately, even with the best will in the world sometimes brittle plastics will just break.  When I removed the parcel shelf to inspect the boot, a couple of rivets holding the hinge bar broke and, as I was removing the parcel shelf itself, one of the plastic hinges that holds onto it on the back seat shattered.  I also found a random bit of broken plastic that looks like it might be from one of the front seat back trims, I just haven't found the bit it matches yet.

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The rest of the trims came out without incident.  While all of the various switches in the BX work perfectly fine, the passenger window over ride on the driver's side could do with either a repaint or a replacement, as could the switches and part of the dash pod.

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I've also got to add a bit of sealant to the rubber seal corners to get them to hold down.  In the photo it looks rusty, which is odd because it doesn't in person.  I'll use a bit of the usual polyurethane sealant and some tape to hold this down for a few hours to a day and that should sort it, the seal is very flexible still, it's just lifted in the very corners.  Dean did make me aware of this at purchase, I'm not worried about it since it's not hiding other problems.

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Up front there's just generic floor mats, in the back we've got some nice Citroen branded rubber ones.  I'd like a matching front pair eventually I think.  I'd like to replace the mudflaps all round with fresh ones if I can, the front ones are missing and the driver's rear one is damaged.  I'm holding out for the right ones, and they're low priority since there's other things I'd like to spend on first.

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The engine bay is probably one of the cleanest diesel engine bays I've ever seen.  There's lots of space to work around everything and see everything.  I suspect the rocker cover seal is leaking, as usual, so I'll be replacing that.  Otherwise, nothing really appears to be amiss and it's going to be fairly easy to make and keep this area spotless.

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There's a few original details on the car that I really like that have survived really well.  I want as much as possible to return this car to the original specification and keep it that way, which is giving me a bit of a quandary over the badges and stickers on the boot since while not original, they are a part of the car's history and character.  They'll stay put until I make up my mind.  I really need to get a front number plate to match the rear, the font is just superb.

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Other than poking and prodding I wanted to achieve something today and I'm a bit too brain-fried to deal with welding.  I needed something easy, something that would make a nice big change for minimal effort and which I could do with existing products so I didn't have to go out and buy something, or wait for an order to arrive.  I know, let's sort out that rear spoiler and wiper arm!

 

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After cleaning, priming, and masking I got it all painted with lovely fresh satin black paint.

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I might do it again, I can do better than this.  It's a marked improvement at least.  I do need to reseat the wiper arm a bit higher too, I put it back on in the wrong place.  A little victory, at any rate.

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Normally I'd be pulling everything apart for a deep clean and documenting that but I don't need to and that's weird.  The wheel is clean, the stalks are clean, there's no grubby bits anywhere.  Even the wiper blades are fine.  It's like somebody before me really liked this car and looked after it.  I'm hoping to get in and get on with the welding over the next couple of days, I'll have to figure out what colour it is (I think it's Polar White from memory, but that might also be the Xantia, which is a different white) so I can use a white that matches on the repairs.  I'm sure I'll find more jobs to do once I get stuck in a bit more, and I do plan to do things like the cambelt and check the brakes, etc. as a matter of routine.

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The foam back stuff in the engine bay I stuck down to hide the rust spots for the last MOT. Didn't know about the home in the boot floor by the arch though, luckily an easy repair. The brake pipe will be stuck in the compensator valve due to the little rubber seal that they use. You just have to get in there and give it a good wiggle to release. If you take the rear arm out on the passenger side it makes life a little easier with regards spotting the pipe routes. Personally as your going to replace both of the still original pipes I'd cut one and then push it up behind the subframe so you can then spot which valve it goes to. Replace, then do the other.

I'm glad the stop light was an easy fix! I did say it might be that switch on the subframe, although I do wonder if that plug got removed when it was grading the entry!

I tried for ages to get some original rubber mats for the front, then when I sold the xsara van I forgot to remove the original Citroen mats out of that.

Yep someone did love the car before you lol, glad your happy with it.

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It might be best to drop the subframe down on the left side.It needs to be supported on that side with a trolley jack and the mounting bolts removed from inside the boot.The ones on the other side can be loosened but not removed.Then gently lower away taking care not to strain any pipes etc.Its amazing how much easier it is to see what's going on with the gap between body and subframe opened up 6-9".

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The only thing to be aware with dropping the subframe is if the front mounting bolt sheers a replacement mount is 90 quid. The front mount is under the plastic trim under the d post trim.

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Dean:  That hole in the boot I only noticed because I went looking for it, you couldn't really see it from outside because there wasn't really anything to see.  I'm astonished at just how clean it all is underneath really, even the subframes are in good shape with none of the usual rusty bits around the seams.  It's quite remarkable.  I reckon the plug got snagged when it was moved, everything was pretty clean apart from the shroud on the plug, I'm glad it was such an easy fix!  I'll cut the originals so I can unfeed them from the front and then I can trace them to the back easier, I hadn't thought to do that, it's not like access is difficult so I'm putting it down to brain fog.  It seems to have popped the pipe in the one place you can't see anything, right up between the floor and the arm.  Those front arches really aren't that bad either.  I could just cover them in something like you had and get through the next MoT no bother since you can't see any rust that way, but I'm as well fixing it properly while I can I reckon.  I was looking at the shapes needed for that wing section you mentioned too and I think I can just fab it up from what I've got, all of the rusty bits look like flat pieces so replacement should be easy and cheap.

 

art:  I'll drop the subframe if I need to.  I'm hoping I can get away without doing it so I can avoid straining any pipes or fittings.  Everything looks nice and easy to get to so hopefully it'll be fairly straightforward, however I go about it.

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I did the pipes fairly recently, and a few photos are on my BX thread linked below. I'll check for the parcel shelf hinge too in the stash I picked up last summer...

 

I would be inclined to just cut off the failed pipe close to the union, and use a well fitting 6-point socket on the union rather than a spanner. I've had to weld a nut on once, and found that LHM heated by a welder spurts out under a surprising pressure, and ignites to form a miniature blowtorch.

 

EDIT - just re-read that the union is undone but the pipe still stuck - yes, they can do as they are a reasonably close fit. Presumably the pipe is to be replaced, so no big issue if it fractures, surely?

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I was just worried about breaking the pipe off and somehow damaging the bit it goes into.  It seems my fears were unfounded and I'll just get some tools on it to pop it out.  Feeling more confident about pipe fettling tomorrow from the info provided here. I'm quite pleased at how good the interior plastics are on this one, fading notwithstanding.  I'll be checking out your BX thread in a bit, I know there's useful info in there, especially since you've recently done the pipes.

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Great to see this! Another happy shiter.

 

I loved my silver 1600 Meteor, great looking car and like a gateway drug for old Citroens. I WILL have a CX one day.

 

Looking forward to see this one getting some loving.

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Is it just an artifact of the photo, or in that night time interior shot is the Citroen logo on the steering wheel actually glowing?

 

Seems like something which wouldn't surprise me now, but back then would definitely have caused surprise.

 

Well, from anyone other than Citroen anyway. They're just oddball enough to have done something like that "because they could."

 

Always reckoned the one on this era BX was the best looking implementation of a single spoke steering wheel, it's just so perfectly proportioned and angled.

 

Let me have a dig in the garage, I reckon I might have a set of electric window switches buried in there somewhere still. If they're still in there they're yours.

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.... I WILL have a CX one day.....

Hopefully won't be taking you the 2.5 years it took me to find mine.

 

Somewhere out there is a barn full of CXs all owned by a fella named Dan Pearcey. S1s, S2s, Berlines and Breaks, he seems to have them all. Word is that he might even sell one or two of them in future. Here are just a few of 'em gathering dust.....

 

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Take your pick?

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Got cracking on the welding today.  I've started in the boot.  Unfortunately, I couldn't remove the rear bumper because the fixings were being the usual pain and since I was concerned about breaking things, I left the bumper on and just worked from inside the car instead.  This way I got the repair work done in the time I had spare instead of spending all day fighting with the bumper.  It's not a factory style repair, I just let in a suitable patch with a 90 degree bend rather than mimicking Citroen's construction.  Sploshed some zinc rich primer on once welded (no close up, it looks like I used a pigeon) and then had just enough time to seam seal it on both sides after this photo was taken. Happily, the passenger side spot didn't need any welding as once it was cleaned back the metal was good and it just needed a bit of fresh sealant to replace the bit that had lifted.

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I would have liked to got the boot repairs painted and all the trim back in but it was too dark and too cold in the unit to really see what I was doing so I'll leave things as they are for now and come back to it tomorrow, most likely.  I did discover the colour of the BX is Alpine White rather than Polar White and Halfords stock a reasonable match for the areas I'm working on, so I grabbed a can of that today.  I didn't have time to do more welding work, and couldn't do more painting work, so I started dismantling the worst part of the car I knew about by first pulling out the headlight and indicator pod and then unbolting the front wing.  I was please to see the wing is actually in very good shape, with just some very minor rust staining to treat and repaint to keep it this way.

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With the wing off, I got to see a bit of rust that I wasn't aware of, but wasn't surprising, which is where a couple of skins join.  It should be a straightforward repair since access is very good, the cleaning up is likely what will take the most time on this.  The reason it's a funny shape like that is that's the line of a seam where two panels overlap.  This is a fairly common spot, as far as I'm aware.  The other side of this is a panel seam with a smear of white sealant over the top of it.

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In the engine bay side, I got my first proper look at the extent of the damage by peeling off the white sealant and some of the wing in one go.  These inner wings have been painted at some point, which has since shrunk and cracked.  The rust doesn't appear to have gone beyond where the sealant was applied so I shouldn't have to dismantle very much to clean this up.  It looks much worse a job than it really is since most of the pieces required are very simple shapes and access is surprisingly good for the most part.

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I expect the other side will be a similar, but less bad, story. Better to deal with this stuff now and have it done.  I'm hoping to get in tomorrow and get some progress on the front end and get the boot repair painted and all the interior back in, I don't want to have too much of the car apart at a time.

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      The back wheels moved eventually. Judicious use the big hammer, two wheel bolts reinserted and a breaker bar as a lever got the back wheels turning. While the wheels were off I thought I'd see if they held air.
        
      All 4 tyres held 35psi. None of them appear to be cracked and the rubber is still "soft" to the scrape of a finger nail. Lack of sunlight attacking them I suppose but it'll get 4 new ones if it becomes roadworthy.
      After doing the back wheels, the front wheels quickly proved they could be a major problem. I took the calipers, pads and discs completely off the car and even with 2 wheel studs inserted and using the 3/4 drive breaker bar with an extra foot of length over the 1/2 bar, neither wheel / shaft would turn. So either the bearings had seized, the CV joints in the driveshafts had seized or something very sinister was happening inside the gearbox. By this time it was getting dark and cold so time to put it all away for another day.
      Another day - 24th January:
      Various discussions were had on the Scotoshite WhatsApp chat and the end result being Mr 320Touring of this parish agreed to come round for a shufty. He was wanting to check up on another car in a lockup only a mile or so away so it was a no brainer.
      As before, front wheels off, bar on the wheel bolts... nothing. What to do next? We need to use the car's own power to try to free off whatever is seized on the front wheels but the car is nose in to the lockup so we can't get jump leads to it. We need to drag it out but we don't have a tow rope however we manage to find what appears to be a self tightening dog collar / leash in the car and decide to cue MAXIMUM SKETCHINESS!!!

      A gentle tug from the ML of doom proved the NSF wheel is tight but not seized however the OSF is not moving. Fuck it... drag it while pushing from the front. If we need to shove it back in there's an old tyre in a pile of rubbish waiting to get uplifted by the council that can act as a cushion and the ML will do the job no bother. We also took the front brake discs off to minimise any drag from those.

      We decided to drag it out just enough to get my jump leads on to the battery. We had already taken the battery out to try it on the leads outside the car. Surprise surprise* it was so dead it had gone open circuit so there was absolutely no magic pixies flowing in to it. Luckily I had an old battery from the 740 that was the same size so that was obtained, inserted and then put to work. Time to leave it to charge for a wee bit.

      Now that we've got some electricity going from the ML in to the 205 it's time to see what will happen. Thanks to Mr Touring for providing the videos...
       
       
       
       
      At one point we were vexed by the daft French screw on battery terminals
      We were getting a bit desperate by this point. We used quite a lot of "easy start" and the amount of electricity was causing problems.
      We took a break at this point for 10 mins or so. Mainly to make sure we didn't get too frustrated but also to make sure the maximum possible amount of electricity was in the actual battery so that the leads were just there as a boost. This was clearly a good idea...
      Learning from all the antics of the last 15 mins or so we left it for another 5 mins. Using a clamp meter we let it get to the point that almost no electricity was flowing in the leads and therefore an almost complete charge and spraying the "easy start" ahead of time, results were finally had...
      YAY! MUCH ELATION! Oh and that old diesel stinks. Time to get the leads off, move the ML and let the 205 tick over for a few minutes to let the engine settle. Next we found out why the front wheels were not for turning...
      So yeah. All the CV Joints were completely solid. But anyways it was mission accomplished for the day. We got it moving and a general once over suggests that it should be easily salvageable therefore if auntie wants the space in the lockup, it's going to have to go somewhere. Time to put it back in and wrap up for the day.

      Thanks to 320 Touring in assistance. The list of work is substantial but not insurmountable. It needs - a battery, front discs, front pads, front calipers, front lower arms, front driveshafts, possibly bearings, rear drums, rear shoes, rear fitting kit, probably handbrake cables, flexi hoses all round, 4 new tyres, 3 of the 4 doors don't work properly, a water leak at the water pump but that can get done with a new cam belt, probably a thermostat, engine oil, filters all round, fresh fuel, a good clean, handbrake light, oil pressure light and a rear screenwash leak inside the tailgate.
      Oh and a sidelight bulb...

      Interim time:
      Lockup secured in Cumbernauld.
      Car transporter trailer booked for Wed 12th Feb to move it. The V70 will do the honours.
      Another bit of tinkering - 4th February
      So it has been agreed the V5 will be transferred in to my name. With an impending trailer move, I thought I'd go back and have another look at things and reassemble the front brakes. I've already installed a new battery so it can be started without the need for leads and it does so quite happily even though the fuel coming from the tank smells like paint. I drove it about in circles for 5 - 10 mins to free up the CV joints and scrape the rust off the brake discs. I also did some straight line tests pulling away in 2nd which seemed to free up the turbo actuator.
      I also found the radio code so I got that working but you'll have to take my word on it 'cos YouTube will just give me a copyright flag.
      I shall leave this one here just now. Not much will happen for a while. There will of course be the drama of the trailer move but once it's in the lockup a plan of action will need to be drawn up. A sensible first course will be, I think, to find someone who will give it a once over for MoT viability before any new parts are obtained. All the obvious stuff should be easily DIYable but I don't know what lurks underneath. Some things like the timing belt and water pump will be paid for but the rest will just get picked away at in due course.
      I also found some period souvenir parking tickets...

      ---ENDS---

    • By dome
      This evening I venture forth into hitherto unknown lands (Kirkintilloch) to collect my latest acquisition.

      Which, naturally, has issues.

      I have purchased my first line of defence.



      Which appears to have antigravity properties

      More will follow this evening...
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