By Mike Peake
When everyone finally bothered to turn up at the car park in Bourton on the Water, we set off again. Well we tried, but we had our 1st casualty of the tour. Nick’s Borgward was dead. He had all his dash lights but nothing happened when he turned the key, even when a box of new electricity was fitted.
Of course Super Enthusiast Man was straight in there and decided that the quick fix to get it going was best and stuck a great big screwdriver into the engine bay. There was a huge spark, a bang and SEM was looking a bit singed around the edges, but the car was running. Nick was advised not to turn it off again until we got back to the camp site.
Anita and I had switched over to Windy Woodward’s Gorgeous Zephyr and were followed by Nick in his Borgward. Two cars that you’d have thought to be gloriously conspicuous among the modern traffic wouldn’t you? Well apparently not.
At the give way sign at the end of Bourton on the Water, we continued straight on as instructed in the notes and Nick continued to follow. The convoy had got a bit broken up with the busy traffic so the Zephyr and the Borgward pulled to the side to wait for everyone to catch up. We waited and we waited. It turned out that everyone else followed Gar when he turned left having not spotted the two most conspicuous cars ever had gone straight on.
The problem was further compounded when Gar stopped for fuel that I thought he had got already. Some of the convoy stopped with him but Bernard, 2 Pants Perman and the Allins blatted past and ended up on the A429 headed back to Cirencester.
It was about this time that I was getting numerous phone calls from Gar and the Allins all telling me something had gone wrong. However as we couldn’t work out where everyone was, I calmly decided that it would be best if we all went our separate ways and regroup at Burford.
So Ian, with Anita and I on board and followed by Nick, continued along the prescribed route enjoying the lovely country lanes and the picturesque Rissingtons, Barringtons and Taynton before driving through Burford.
The Allins, when they realised the error, actually READ the tour notes and managed to find their way back to prescribed route enjoying the lovely country lanes and the picturesque Rissingtons, Barringtons and Taynton before driving through Burford.
The rest went down the main A361 straight to Burford the boring way. Well, all except Bernard who was still on the A429 being chased by Two Pants Perman who was trying to attract Bernard’s attention to tell him of the errors.
Eventually, we all met up again in a lay-by at the top of the town and continued with the tour taking us to Lechlade. Ian offered to let me drive the Zephyr for the next leg and on hearing this, Anita decided to return to Bernard’s Maxi.
Imagine my horror when I discovered that Ian still hasn’t fixed his car and put the gearstick in its proper place! Ian had the patience of a saint though and tried to guide me through the complexities of a column change. Despite this, almost every gear change was proceeded by fumbling around in the air looking for the gearstick in the correct place and swearing when it still wasn’t there.
Frustration not helped by a micky taking Yorkshire man beeping his horn and shouting obscenities behind me!
Unfortunately, the scheduled stop at Riverside Park in Lechlade had to be abandoned because someone had inconsiderately organised a music festival on the site so an impromptu detour through Highworth and Hannington was required. We did see a Routemaster in Lechlade though which everyone asked if I’d seen. They all seemed to know that my Grandad drove them too. I wonder how they all found out?
Anyway, after Hannington, another grass verge provided the location for our afternoon photo shoot. It was also the location where Nick forgot he wasn’t supposed to turn his engine off and required the use of SEM’s special starter key again.
Extremely rare footage of Nick driving PAST a pub ... twice!
The next leg of the run was back to the big Tescos to stock up on bbq items, alcohol and fuel for team. No sooner had we set off than the call came down the line that we had a breakdown and as the number 1 rule of our tours is “no one is left behind”, we all went back to laugh at the latest victim. In fact, Gar was in such a hurry to turn around, he broke Nelson’s steering wheel!
Imagine our delight to find that Tosh had broken Henry! Yes SEM’s very own car had actually failed to proceed. We were astonished and of course, very sympathetic. Apparently, the fuse supplying the fuel pump had blown. Needless to say, SEM had it sorted in no time although he denies using rolled up tinfoil to fix it.
The rest of the run back to Tesco was uneventful and all the cars were soon packed to the gunwales with supplies and fuel and it was time to head back to the campsite. I’d managed to blag a drive in Henry for this bit but he broke down again almost as soon as we left the store. The tinfoil… er… I mean the replacement fuse had blown again. SEM was my passenger and he leapt into action and had it going again apparently without resorting to a nail.
The rest of the drive back to the campsite was fantastic! Henry is a ridiculous amount of fun to drive and it took ages for my silly grin to subside.
Finally, we all arrived back to the campsite tired but happy. The day’s fun wasn’t over yet though. Not by a long way.
To Be Continued…
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