By Mike Peake
The last time I wrote about my efforts to restore Poppy was about a month ago and I was in a bit of a funk with her. Well quite a bit has happened since then and surprisingly, none of them involved petrol cans, naked flames or tall buildings. It came close though, believe me.
So, I had an awful bonnet, a boot lid still in primer in the conservatory and I’d run out of paint – again. The clutch hydraulics were dry and the fuel pump wasn’t pumping. It was far too depressing to go anywhere near the front of the car but I needed to do something to enthuse me again. So, I flatted the rear deck, fins and wings and refitted the bumpers and lights.
To see things starting to come together gave me the boost I needed and I now had 2 weeks off work to crack on. I ordered another litre of paint and in the meantime, I started working my way towards the front of the car flatting, then compounding, then polishing then waxing one panel at a time.
It was going ok. Well I didn’t hate the results anyway. The panels were red and starting to take a bit of shine. That is until I got to the front off side wing where I flatted through the paint on the sharp edge above the wheel arch. I did say rude words however, as I still had painting to do and some new paint, the rude words weren’t as bad as they could have been. I could just add more coats to that wing at the same time I did the bonnet.
It was now time to address Poppy’s new-found immobility and give myself a break from bodywork. The refusal to start was due to lack of fuel getting to the carburettor. As many of you will know, after a long story, I’d rebuilt and fitted an original AC Delco pump back in 2017, so I was a little fed up that it had failed after only 2 years. However, I put this down to using an older stock rebuild kit and perhaps the rubber parts weren’t up to the 5% ethanol in our petrol now. I ordered another rebuild kit.
The refusal to change gear was due to the fact that all the dot 4 fluid had fallen out. Now, it was only 5 years ago that I rebuilt the clutch master cylinder and replaced the slave, so I topped it up with new fluid and bled it through, having completed the fiddly and time-consuming task of removing the gearbox tunnel and carpet. It didn’t work. The pedal was still very light and the clutch wasn’t disengaging. I decided that the minor scoring I’d seen in the master cylinder during that last rebuild had got worse so I ordered a new master cylinder along with the petrol pump kit. Now I know what you’re thinking. How would that cause all the dot 4 to fall out? Well I hadn’t thought that far ahead had I!
Whilst I was waiting for these new parts to arrive I had a go at removing the paint that I’d accidently sprayed the hood with. My Paint Guru with the patience of a saint had suggested it would come off with thinners. I have no doubt he is completely correct, but splashing thinners around from an open can near new paint just seemed like a recipe for disaster for a bumbling incompetent fool like me.
When casting my eye around the garage, I caught sight of the three extra cans of carb cleaner I had accidentally bought when rebuilding my carburettor. Well why not? An aerosol can is much easier to control than a 5 litre can of thinners. So, being ultra, extra careful not to get any on my new paint, I squirted a bit on an inconspicuous part of the hood and when the hood material didn’t immediately curl up and melt, I tried it on the errant paint. It worked a treat and my PVC hood is now black again
My shiny new parts arrived and I decided to start with the fuel pump. The pump was removed and all the parts quickly replaced and the pump returned to the car all in about 20 minutes. My patented hex headed bolt replacement working brilliantly on the RHS where you can’t get a spanner or socket on because of the manual pump handle.
It was all going brilliantly. So well in fact that - flushed with this success - I decided to fit the new fuel line I had, to replace the bodged rubber pipe linked one. (Yes it was me who bodged it when I kinked the pipe fitting the pump the last time.) The new copper pipe was bent into shape, quite imaginatively in some places, and it was time to fit the union and olive and screw into the pump outlet. Disaster struck - I dropped the olive which immediately vanished down a wormhole into an alternate universe never to be seen again. I gave up looking after an hour and went indoors to order another olive and have lunch.
The new olive arrived the next day and I was straight into my tent and slipping the olive onto the end of the pipe. Then taking it off again to slide the union on 1st before putting the olive back on. Disaster struck - I dropped the olive which immediately vanished down a wormhole into an alternate universe never to be seen again.
I didn’t swear too much this time as when I ordered the new olive, I enacted a canning plan. I bought 2 of them. I finally had it all secured and gave the manual handle a few pumps to fill the pipe back up with fuel and turned the ignition key. Poppy fired straight up and ran beautifully.
Now time for the clutch master cylinder swap. Another easy 10-minute job because the gearbox tunnel and carpet was already removed. Normally, 4 or 5 full pumps on the pedal is enough to fully bleed it through but not this time. At the end of every pump I still had air spitting. After 4 pots full of fluid, I gave up and concluded that my 5 year old slave cylinder was kaput and indeed, was the cause of my vanished fluid.
The pedal was quite a bit firmer so the master replacement wasn’t a complete waste of time and money, but the clutch still wasn’t fully disengaging. With much gear crunching, I did manage to get the car turned around though. The bonnet was now facing uphill and in the lighter end of the tent. I would now be able to see much better and hopefully have fewer runs now the bonnet is at a new angle.
I was ready to flat back the bonnet yet again so I immediately shut everything up and went to sit in the garden with a pint of G&T and ordered the new slave cylinder.
Next morning, I was stood at the front of the tent with 800 grit paper and a bucket of water. I couldn’t face it. So I tidied my little workshop, arranged my bottles and cans of cleaning product into alphabetical order and sorted my nut and bolt collection. Then my new slave cylinder arrived so I fitted that and bled it through, achieving a satisfyingly firm and fully-functioning clutch pedal.
I could not think of any other little jobs to do to put off rubbing down the bonnet any longer, so I settled in and set to. Many, many hours later, I decided enough was enough and went in search of a bottle of merlot.
The next morning dawned and it was time to get the spray gun back out. The rest of the car was covered in polythene sheet and the bonnet tack clothed and panel wiped. I had decided that whatever happened, this was going to be the last time I sprayed the bonnet. Life’s too short and I can’t afford any more paint. So, it was with some trepidation that I pointed the gun at the car and began. I soon found my rhythm and settled in to the job. I was going to put plenty of paint on so I knew I’d have leeway for flatting out any defects afterwards. I put 4 coats on, making sure to allow a full 30 minutes between coats to flash dry.
I then left it all well alone and went to flat back the primer on the boot lid in the back garden. Have I mentioned I hate flatting back? This hatred was further advanced when I flatted through the primer on a couple of edges which meant I needed to spray a couple more coats and flat back again. More bad words said. More merlot required.
The next day, Poppy was moved out of the tent to give me room to spray two more coats of primer onto the boot lid.
The bonnet didn’t look too bad though. Yes, it was orange peely and yes, there were a couple of small runs but I knew I had plenty of paint so yet another marathon flatting back session commenced while I waited for the primer on the boot lid to dry.
Twenty four hours later, the boot lid was flatted back and sprayed with 4 coats of red and I continued to flat back the bonnet while it dried.
I also machine compounded, polished and waxed the bonnet. It came up reasonably well and whilst saying I was pleased with it would be a massive exaggeration, I don’t completely hate it and it is definitely the best attempt yet.
So, just a matter of flatting, compounding, polishing and waxing the boot lid, removing the masking from the white stripe, cleaning up the white stripe and putting the car back together again and I’m done. Easy peasy lemon squeezey!
To be continued…
By Mike Peake
There is something about a fair that turns perfectly normal and sensible adults into 12 year old children again. So you can imagine what it did to our mob who aren’t any of those things. A great time was had by all with many a ride sampled. My favourite was when we all went on the bumper cars and took over the whole ride.
Rest assured, I did NOT return to the Waltzer. I think I’ve found the maximum level of excitement I can cope with now though.
Back at the campsite and Lyndsey, Gus’s new GIIIRRRRLLLLLLL FRIEEEEEND was still with us. It turns out that she was spending the night with Gus in Apollo. We were all very conscious that this was a new relationship and wanted the weekend to be a success for Gus and his new GIIIRRRRLLLLLLL FRIEEEEEND.
Therefore, we had all been very polite, respectful and doing our best to be welcoming and sensible. We even managed to refrain from ribaldry when the new couple announced that they were very tired and headed for an early night. We merely wished them a good night and bid them sleep well – honest! We did!
The rest of us continued socialising in the Coleman. About an hour later, a look of evil mischief descended onto Allison’s eyes. “wouldn’t it be hilarious” she said “if we all gathered around Apollo and rocked it vigorously side to side?”
Well of course we all thought this was a horrible and mean thing to do to such a nice new couple on their 1st night in Apollo and we tried to talk Allison out of it. However, once Allison has decided to do something, there is no stopping her. The rest of us looked on, shocked and appalled, as Allison soon had the van rocking so hard it almost tipped over. She’s surprisingly strong for such a petite lady. Allison continued the rocking until a loud thunk and a squeal was heard coming from the van. We all ran and hid in the Coleman.
We found out the next morning that the “thunk” was a full cup of tea flying off the counter and landing in Lyndsey’s boot. Well Allison, we hope you are ashamed of yourself! You’ve let the group down, you’ve let Tosh down, but most of all you’ve let yourself down.
Half an hour later, she did it again. We all looked on shocked and appalled, as Allison soon had the van rocking so hard it almost tipped over – again! Allison only stopped when a loud shout of “YER NOT FUNNY THA KNOWS!!” was heard from Apollo’s depths. We all rushed back into the Coleman where the tomfoolery continued. After some discussion amongst the group it was concluded that maybe Gus was wrong as it was, actually, quite funny.
Just in case Allison tries to wriggle out of her guilt and try to implicate others in her dastardly deeds, here is photographic evidence that she was indeed, solely responsible for this heinous act.
The night was still not over though. At about 12.30 AM, as we were chatting and drinking, a lovely Jack Russell dog came sniffing around under the tent wall before wandering off again. We thought no more of it and assumed she was just out for a walk with her owner we couldn’t see. 10 minutes later, an older chap popped up asking if we had seen a white dog around. We said we had seen her and pointed in the last direction we’d seen the dog heading and thought no more about it. 10 minutes later, an older lady popped up asking if anyone had seen her husband.
Some of us found this chain of events amusing but immediately felt bad about it as the lady went on to explain that they’d lost their dog who was a 19 year old stone deaf Jack Russell called Tilly. Of course, we couldn’t have that and all agreed to help look. Various light sources were produced, from regular torches to apps on phones to Windy Woodward’s multibillion watt battery powered floodlight. I pointed out that we were trying to find the dog - not burn it to a blackened crisp - but he wasn’t listening.
Imagine the scene if you will, as 12 drunken enthusiasts and 2 upset dog owners set off into the vast, pitch dark camping area, shouting for a deaf dog called Tilly at one o’clock in the morning.
Tilly was eventually found by Tosh, none the worse for wear and happily sniffing around the bottom field. Tilly was fine too. The trouble was, now we’d lost the owners. So, 12 drunken enthusiasts and a deaf dog called Tilly set off into the vast, pitch dark camping area, shouting for 2 upset dog owners at half past one o’clock in the morning.
The owners were eventually rediscovered back at their caravan where they were tearfully contemplating life without their beloved Tilly. So it was fantastic to be able to provide the happy reunion. All 3 were extremely pleased to see each other again and it was a rather emotional scene. Even Tosh was seen to be wiping his eyes.
Back at the Coleman we toasted our success and felt very proud of our good deed! Tilly was safely back in her caravan and we’d only woken up 80% of the vast camping area to do so. Job done, we went to bed.
For some strange reason, Lyndsey, Gus’s GIIIRRRRLLLLLLL FRIEEEEEND departed quite quickly on Sunday morning. I hope we didn’t do anything that upset her. I can’t imagine how we could have done that though. No. I’m sure everything was fine
Also, for some strange reason, everyone was just a little sluggish on Sunday morning and even bacon wasn’t showing its full restorative properties. This meant that it was almost 10am and the show about to open before we had finished setting up the stand. A bit of a squeeze today as we were joined by John Malley with his Piper and Two Pants Perman with his Blue VDP Allegro.
I’m sure you’ll agree, looking at the finished scooter below, that Pants Perman did a great job. The scooter was certainly a bit nippier round the field but only time will weather it’s range has been increased at all. It’s got to be better than Nelson’s though!
Another dry and warm day progressed with much chatting and laughter and walking miles and miles to try to squeeze in everything we hadn’t seen yet. I know I keep saying it but EVERYTHING is at this show including a great, friendly, family atmosphere.
Here is just a small selection of the things I enjoyed.
Sadly, the end of the show came round far too quickly and sad goodbyes were said to those traveling home on the Sunday, leaving an intrepid few for the final night. The Allins, Little Paul Cheetham, Gar, Jason and I settled for a very chilled and relaxed evening spent polishing off Phil and Lorraine’s leftover food which was jolly nice with interesting “smoky” notes of flavour showing through.
Yes, a very chilled and relaxed evening. Of course, Darren Williamson’s evening was anything but chilled and relaxed. Karen and Carl had abandoned him in the middle of the field and taken the working Ital home. Darren was trying to herd his recovery company into getting his CF back to the chap who rebuilt his engine. Apparently, they didn’t believe Darren when he told them it was beyond roadside repair and needed recovery. They had to send someone out to verify this – from Cardiff!!!
Two hours later, the chap arrived, started the engine, turned off the engine and pronounced it “broken”. “I’ll book a recovery truck" said the chap before abandoning Darren in the field again. 2 hours later and it hadn’t arrived yet so we all went to bed, abandoning Darren in the field.
We didn’t completely abandon him though. We made little Paul Cheetham stay up with strict instructions to take photos of the recovery for the blog. The gods know what we’ll end up with though. Probably frogs frolicking in a pond or something, certainly not pictures of the recovery if past history is anything to go by!
Sorry, I take some of that back! Little Paul has almost redeemed himself it would appear! Not completely though. WHERE’S THE PIC OF THE CF ON THE TRUCK?? Idiot!
Monday morning and no one was in any rush. We were all pleased to see that Darren and his CF were gone and that we had a message in the group chat to say he had arrived home safely at 1.30AM.
Lazy breakfasts were had before we started packing up. The Coleman was first to go and was all packed away properly and it, and everything else, was packed into the tiny Holivan with Tardis-like tendencies.
Next it was time to pack Gar’s car. We had the Wolseley trailer and Jaguchair to get into the Zafira and I have to say, we had our doubts. The first problem came when we tried getting the WD8 Generator in. The two bits of old skirting board that Gar insisted made perfect ramps weren’t - they snapped under the weight almost instantly.
Which as it turned out was probably just as well because we’d have only had to get the damn thing back out again. Phil cleverly confirmed what all eyes except Gar’s were telling us. The car, whilst being wide enough to accommodate the trailer, was far too short. There was nothing else for it but to admit defeat. So Gar towed the engine trailer for temporary storage in my lock up. I followed with my caravan in case the engine didn’t tow well. However, this was not necessary as it towed beautifully, but “Gar’s gonna need a bigger car!”
Well, that concludes our wonderful ……. No. Wait. News coming in as I write … ”Tuesday Morning rush hour and traffic chaos on the M1”, I’m hearing on the national news. Apparently, some idiot in a yellow MG Midget has broken down in the live lanes in a section with no hard shoulder. Motorway closed while the idiot in the yellow MG Midget is towed by the highways officer the wrong way down the carriageway to the nearby services as unsafe to leave the idiot where he was. Miles-long queues on the motorway causing gridlock in all the local towns.
And who was this idiot I hear you ask as if you didn’t already know? Yes, our very own little Paul Cheetham attempting to return the Yellow Peril back to Tosh. And what caused this breakdown? I hear you ask as if you didn’t already know.... yes, he’d run out of petrol!
And why didn’t he simply top up from the can in the back, I hear you ask as if you didn’t already know? Yes, he couldn’t get the filler cap off. Talk about history repeating. Does he never learn?
I guess we have to make allowances for not being strong enough to get the filler cap off. Little Paul is only 7 stone soaking wet.
Tosh took pity and recovered him with the trailer. Then told EVERYONE!
Now that really does conclude our weekend adventures. So, massive thanks for the fun, laughs, commitment and achieving downright stupid stupidity levels required to furnish so much material for the blogs.
Most of all though, huge thanks to the organisers of the whole event SVTEC and their army of volunteers for putting on yet another fantastic show.
They’ve already announced next year’s show date, 31st July to 2nd August 2020. Mark it in your diaries and keep an eye on our events section for details of our stand. (if they let us back in!)
Thanks for reading and see you again soon. I’ve still got to finish Poppy.
By Mike Peake
Windy Woodward is an IDIOT! An evil, conniving, nasty, Idiot! Not only that, but he isn’t even nice!
OK. So something blogworthy might indeed have happened at the fair. That nasty man Ian made me, MADE me I say, get on the Waltzer! Kicking and screaming, he dragged me into that car! Well – ok – maybe it was Merlot and bravado that made me do it, but I’m pretty sure Windy Woodward had something to do with it. He WAS sat next to me after all.
I was fine though. Thoroughly loved every minute.
OK. So maybe I became a little queasy and rather rudely, told the ride man to “go away” when he spun the car faster, but even if I did, no one would have heard over Windy’s evil super villain, uncontrollable laughter. I was absolutely fine as soon as it stopped though. I leapt off the ride as happy as Larry.
Ok. Maybe “leapt” and “happy as Larry” aren’t strictly accurate descriptions but I was absolutely fine just a couple of minutes later when everything stopped spinning. I certainly wasn’t going to be sick or anything like that.
Hmmm… Nice to know you can rely on your mates for sympathy and support when you’re poorly sick isn’t it?! Indeed, the “sympathy” is still on going with no evidence of it stopping anytime soon! At least the hysterical laughter from all of my friends drowned out the noises of my discomfort.
For some reason, the rest of the evening is a bit of a blur but we were back at the campsite at about 10pm whereupon I took myself off to bed as I was still feeling a little off colour. Ok. Grey. I was grey coloured!
Saturday Morning came round quickly and after copious bacon, I was fully revived and we were back over at the group stand setting up for another day. We had 4 extra cars today.
In addition to Chris Ball and Phil Allin, we were Joined by Phil Rendle and Scott Morris Simon Wright in their rather fine Morris Minor traveller, a Triumph 2500S Estate and a hooligan Morris Minor.
Several more waifs and strays joined us through the general public entrances today. My wife Anita, my daughters, Sophie and Emily-Fleur and Emily’s new boyfriend Ryan joined us on the stand. I have to say, I thought it was a brave decision of his to join us and was a little worried about him feeling isolated and left out. I was pleased to see though, that every one of my good mates there made Ryan incredibly welcome by taking him to one side and letting him know that they would be more than happy to give me an alibi or help me hide a body should the need arise. Thanks Chaps. Means a lot to me. I’m tearing up here – sniff - .
Anyway, Emily and Ryan weren’t the only new relationship in the group. Gus has got a ladyyyyy friend!!! “Gus and Lyndsay sitting in a tree, K.I.S.S.I.N.G!” Sorry. That was childish. It was great to meet you Lyndsey. I hope you felt very welcome.
Yet another new relationship, Chris Ball’s new lady, Amy. Things got off to a slightly rocky start when she appeared frightened of Bella and Jake, two of the soppiest, friendliest dogs in creation. Things settled back onto an even keel though when it became apparent that Amy was here to choose a classic for Chris to buy for her. I’m sure Tosh can sort out a good Triumph Stag for you Chris! Great to meet you Amy. I hope you enjoyed yourself.
Ian and Bernard’s wives, Sarah and Thelma, also joined us, but much later than everyone else. Ian said this was because the broomstick park was a long way away this year. Personally, I thought this was very, very rude of him to say such a thing and couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing. Especially as Sarah had just agreed to let Ian buy another car! Oh. Sorry Windy. Perhaps I shouldn’t have written that down? Sarah doesn’t read these does she? I hope I haven’t jeopardised the Rover SD1? (Ha! That’ll teach him for making me go on that Waltzer!)
Another day was spent chatting, laughing and ooohing and ahhing at all the exhibits at this fantastic, friendly show until it was time for the classic cars turn around the show ring. Always a great experience this and a chance to show your car off at its best and wave at all the muggles drooling. As always, Apollo was much loved and made a great impression on the commentators.
What didn’t make such a good impression was the eye-searingly yellow and extremely conspicuous MG Midget breaking down in the middle of the show ring. Amazingly, Super Enthusiast Man didn’t have it running again immediately, requiring the Zephyr to leap into action as a tow car again and bring Gus and the MG back to the campsite. Yet more evidence, if it was needed after the Codgers and Peaks tours, that SEM has lost his MOJO.
I have a theory about this lost mechanical mojo. I think it is because – Gus has got a GIIIRRRRLLLLLLL FRIEEEEEND! – and taken his eye off the ball. Back at the campsite, we soon had it narrowed down to dirty points and a swift rub with Allison’s nail file had it running again.
The same could not be said for the poor Bedford CF though. Thirty miles into its journey Thursday evening, the oil light came on. Darren pulled over immediately and found that all the oil had fallen out of his newly and expensively rebuilt engine. He topped it up but there wasn’t enough juice in the battery to turn it over again, so Darren had it recovered to the show. When fired up Saturday afternoon, it sounded awful and was belching huge clouds of smoke. It was quickly shut down and left for the recovery service to deal with on Sunday. The general theory was that by the time the oil light came on, the oil scraper rings had already burnt out. Fortunately, there is a 3 month warranty on the work so Dazzer was taking it straight back to “have words!”
Of course it wouldn’t be a Gloucester Steam Fair unless Tosh did a deal. This year it was more wood from the steam saw mill demonstration area. So yet again the Honda’s tow bar, 5 strapping lads and Paul Cheetham were pressed into service to go and collect. Tosh was busted. Unlike last year, the chap who’d done the deal came back just as we were finishing loading the trailer. Apparently, we had more wood than he anticipated we could take. Tosh had to hand over more money. We could all see his pain.
We were further busted by site Security on the way back to the campsite. After a long, high speed chase around the perimeter road, their flashing light-equipped golf buggy pulled us over. We thought they were going to accuse of stealing the wood but no. Apparently the 5 strapping lads and Paul Cheetham weren’t allowed to sit on top of the wood pile on the trailer while it was moving. They had to walk back. It’s a big site too.
Once back at the campsite, they made me reverse the trailer back into the tiny space between Kurt’s tent and the BBQ where it had come from. I’m sure they were hoping for a belly laugh as I crushed the tent under tons of wood and trailer. However, the one - and probably only - thing I’m not a bumbling incompetent at, is trailer and caravan manoeuvring. It was done on the 1st attempt with millimetric accuracy. They all looked very disappointed, except Kurt.
The BBQ was fired up. Mountains of meat were cooked and there was even salad as there were ladies present. The alcohol and chat flowed until it was time to decamp for the fair again.
As it’s a big site someone, not sure who, thought it would be a jolly wheeze if all of us went up in Apollo. It would be hilarious to watch everyone’s face outside the beer tent as 15 people came out of Apollo’s accommodation door.
I’d bagged shotgun and watched as Gus selected reverse. We went nowhere! Apparently, 15 people weigh about 1.2 tons altogether and this was just too much for poor Apollo. We were right about one thing though. It was hilarious watching 15 people come out of Apollo’s accommodation door.
We had to walk to the fair.
To Be continued…
By Mike Peake
For the 3rd year running, our group had a stand at this truly huge and fantastic vintage fair and oh my, did we have some fun this year. If I included all the material I have for this weekend, I would still be writing this when we turn up next year. Oh Yes, there will be a next year. (Well, if they let us back there will).
So, where to start? Well let’s start on Thursday evening and introduce you to the intrepid, first-to-arrive campers.
As always, the Brooks family were there to support the group. This time, with Apollo the P5B camper van that we all know and love. The Brooks Family this time consisted of Tosh and Allison, Bella and Jake, Gus, Gus’s daughter Julie, her husband Kurt and son Seth.
Gus had also completed work on our scumbag project Wolseley WD8 stationary engine/generator.
Young Paul Cheetham arrived in Tosh’s MG Midget.
Irritatingly, Tosh has re-sprayed both these vehicles and renovated a house in the time it has taken me to mess up Poppy, who won’t be joining us yet again because I can’t get painting right.
Also present were Windy and Breezy Woodward and Bernard Owen with the Zephyr and Maxi.
Jason Wright and Watson had joined us too, but had forgotten his Herald due to welding and painting issues.
So it was just Old Mother Cole and the Williamsons to arrive on the Thursday evening. No disrespect to the Williamsons, but Gar Coles arrival was most keenly anticipated as he had promised to open “Old Mother Cole’s kitchen” and feed us all chicken and bacon stew.
Imagine our horror then, when we received a text message saying that he wasn’t coming on Thursday because he had driven his modern through a river and burnt out his coil pack! Shouts of outrage abounded and many an abusive text was sent as we sat in our field, miserable and starving to death. We did manage to scrounge up a pack of digestives but competition for them was fierce.
Not long after, but just as the hunger pangs were truly starting to bite, the group chat received another message, this time from Team Williamson.
The Bedford CF had broken down too. Were they going to be pathetic wusses about it and go home? Were they heck! No. They called recovery and came on towards us anyway. See, Gar? Some people don’t let their mates down.
We cheered up somewhat on learning that Kaz, Daz and Carl were on their way. Maybe, just maybe, they’d have another packet of biscuits.
We whiled away the hours until they were due to arrive, chatting drinking and playing “I Spy”, although we abandoned the game after the 25th outing of “F” for food.
At midnight, the group chat “pinged” again. Hooray!! Dazzer was at the gates and asking for spanners. Now weak with hunger, we gathered tools, jumped in the Zephyr and hurried down to the gate to rescue Team Williamson and to see if they had any biscuits. They didn’t.
Daz changed the battery in an effort to get the Bedford camper running. As you can imagine, Tosh was incredibly helpful during the procedure but despite this, Darren got the task done quickly. It didn’t work and the engine still failed to turn over. The decision was made to tow the van back with the Zephyr.
We abandoned the CF near our pitch and all went to bed in the hope that sleep would overcome the starvation stomach cramps.
Friday morning dawned to the smell of bacon frying. Obviously we couldn’t have done this last night as we were too focused on the fact that Old Mother Cole” had let us down so badly and obviously bacon is for breakfast not dinner. Funnily enough, Gar arrived just as the bacon was ready. He’d stolen a coil pack from his neighbours Corsa. I’m not sure why he couldn’t have done that last night and rescued us all from starvation? No consideration I guess.
Our bodies revived by the miracle that is bacon, we set off over to our group stand and soon had it all set up and ready for the 1st day of the show.
Friday is always the chilled day of the 3 show days as a lot of exhibitors and visitors are still at work. So a pleasant day was passed listening to the soporific chuff puff of the Wolseley as this mid-20th century technology kept our 21st century phones and Gar’s Jaguchair alive, interspersed with the odd wander around the massive show ground.
Yes Lorraine. Bet you feel Silly now!
After a very pleasant day in the sun, it was back to the campsite. During the day we were joined by some more intrepid campers in the form of our group sponsor and top chap Phil Allin of Alvaston Press and his lovely family with Big Rov the stately P5B Coupe and Chris Ball in his Johnny Cash “one piece at a time” MK1/2/3/4/5/6 MGB Roadster.
It was time to settle around the Coleman and FINALLY enjoy Old Mother Cole’s chicken and bacon stew. It was delicious, filling and lovely. I’m sure it would have been even better last night but it was lovely all the same. Thank you Gar.
As we were settling down with our stew, Phil grumpily went back to his caravan to get a bowl and eating irons as Lorraine had only bought for herself. Whilst Phil was gone Lorraine admitted that this was a deliberate omission as Phil is quite fat enough already.
Two minutes later, we heard a call from Phil saying “Errr, my caravan is full of black acrid smoke” but as we were only on our 2nd or 3rd spoonful of stew, we merely gave each other raised eyebrow looks that said “mmmm, that’s odd? This stew is really delicious. We’ll investigate when we’ve finished.”
After another couple of minutes had passed, we heard Phil’s voice again, this time with a slight note of panic in it. “Actually chaps! My caravan is on fire! There’s proper flames and everything!”
This spurred us all into action. Well, after we’d calmly placed our almost full bowls of stew carefully and securely in various safe places, this spurred us into action. You’ve never seen five fatblokes move so fast as we heroically rushed back to our respective vans to collect various fire fighting equipment. I got a fire blanket and a camera.
Tosh was 1st to arrive, leaping dramatically through the door whilst ripping the pin from his fire extinguisher in a very manly manner. Letting rip in all and every direction, he quickly covered the entire caravan and Phil (who was in there frantically turning off gas and electric) in white powder.
Phil, looking very much like a snowman and wiping powder from his eyes, said “It’s the fridge Tosh. The fire is behind the fridge. You just need to squirt through the vent!”. “Oh” said Tosh, before sheepishly leaping back out the door and giving another good squirt of powder through the vents.*
My contribution was to make sure I had plenty of photos for the blog.
Once the fire was out, our band of heroes returned to their stew where we found Lorraine, still in her deckchair, calmly eating her stew with a knowing smile on her face. The lengths some people will go to, to get a new caravan!
Once the stew was consumed, Old Mother Cole served up a delicious pudding of meringues, chocolate rolls and evaporated milk. I love evaporated milk! It brings back loads of happy memories of childhood camping and parties. I had rather a lot and all washed down with Merlot.
Once tea was complete and washing up done, the contents of Phil and Lorraine’s fridge re-distributed and the fridge deposited unceremoniously in the skip, we decamped for the wonderful vintage steam fair where we all had lots of fun but absolutely nothing blogworthy happened. Nope. Nothing at all. Nothing to see here people. Please return to your normal humdrum lives. Nothing happened. Absolutely nothing at all. **
Oh OK. Maybe, just maybe, something blogworthy happened. Not saying it did, but if anything were to have happened, you’re going to have to wait for part 2 to read about it.
To be continued …
* Actual events may have been changed slightly for literary convenience.
** Actual events may have been changed slightly for literary convenience.
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