By Mike Peake
I’m still on a high from our Peaks tour, maybe because it took me so long to write the blogs, but now it’s time to get my head around our next event which was the group tour around Lincolnshire on Saturday followed by our meet in the show field at the Boston Bubble Car Museum on Sunday.
There was a lot of "Will she, won’t she?" from Mrs FB, not helped by my bumbling incompetence and double-booking myself. A friend of a friend’s daughter was in need of prom transport and I didn’t connect the dates before I said yes. Therefore Friday afternoon had me making Poppy and myself presentable instead of packing for the weekend.
Kayley and Oliver are a lovely young couple who seemed almost as smitten with Poppy as my family are. I had strict instructions on when and where to be. I arrived slightly early and was ready for the family photoshoot where Oliver’s extended family all oohed and ahhed over Poppy until Kayley arrived looking lovely and they all oohed and ahhed over her.
Despite spending two hours on her hair and makeup and my warnings that it can be “quite blowy” in the back of a Herald with the roof down, Kayley insisted on leaving the roof down, and the 12 miles to the venue was covered sedately in an effort not to completely destroy the “do”.
We made it with all our hair intact and then sat in the queue for the red carpet entrance. There were loads of interesting Promenader delivery vehicles but nearly all too new for our groups. Being a rural area, lots of the kids turned up in tractors which whilst agricultural, actually cost a lot more than the Ferraris, Bentleys and Mustangs that were also delivering young people. One tractor was pulling a trailer with a half dozen girls in their Prom finery, sat on hay bales. My personal favourite though was this old fire engine. Emily (my youngest) had a ride on this at her prom too.
For every time Oliver would point out some flash, expensive modern Ferrari or Mustang etc, Kayley would always say, “ I prefer our ride” or” this one is much nicer”, which was lovely for me to hear. One girl in a modern Bentley Continental even shouted out that Kayley “looked so cute in that car”. Apparently this girl was one of the “It” girls and had never spoken to Kayley before.
45 minutes after joining the queue, I was starting to get a little concerned as Poppy was running really hot, but we were close to the drop-off point, so I just sat there and prayed to the gods of Proms and old cars that we would get the kids to the red carpet without embarrassment . We did. I jumped out and held the door open and the seat up in such a good chauffer manner that even Paul Mattinson would have been jealous. The kids got out and had a professional pic taken with the car. At last I could set off at a decent speed and Poppy quickly returned to normal operating temperature.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was a privilege to be part of such a lovely couple of kids special evening and I really hope they enjoyed themselves and felt special in my car. Oliver’s Mum sent me the following message along with some of the photos above which made it even more worthwhile for me.
“Thank you so much for yesterday, you really did make Oliver and Kayley’s day. It was very kind of you to take them and we greatly appreciate it. Kathryn.”
Prom duties complete and feeling that I might actually be a nice bloke, I went home via the chippy for some fish and chips and it was time for the giant game of Tetris. Mrs FB had decided that she would grace us with her presence on this event. So, all the camping equipment, plus all the luxuries that Anita would require like clothes, had to be packed into Poppy. I did have the added space of my boot rack that I’d fitted to hide my painting disaster. However, we were still rather full and couldn’t have the roof down or everything would have blown off the back seat.
Now, I was planning on either driving all the way up and pitching the tent at midnight in the forecast rain or setting off ridiculously early on Saturday morning, but no. I had Anita with me and she had done the sensible thing and booked a Travelodge at Thrapstone about two thirds of the way. A very heavily loaded Poppy arrived at about 11.30 PM in time for a nice cuppa and a good sleep... after we had to unpack everything to find the overnight bag.
Saturday morning, and after unpacking everything to get the overnight bag back in the car we set off. We hadn’t got far though before I realised that my ignition light was still on and we pulled over in a layby to see if I could figure out why.
Well, the new brushes were still in place and seemed ok so I suspected the voltage regulator. Because of the limited space available and the fact that Mrs FB was attending, I only had room to pack the absolute essentials and I’d decided that my multi-meter wasn’t essential, so I couldn’t confirm my suspicions. I decided that I would press on and get as close to the Bubble Car Museum as I could, safe in the knowledge that if I broke down and was close enough, Super Enthusiast Man would sense my distress and come to my rescue. It wasn’t necessary though because plucky little Poppy made it all the way there.
We pulled up on the site and took Poppy's roof down, whereupon all the stuff packed in there immediately exploded all over the ground. Offers of tea and coffee abounded from our fellow Enthusiasts. Anita accepted Lady Simpson’s offer of tea and I accepted the very “below stairs” offer of coffee from Tosh Brooks. This meant I had to cope with 2 drinks, but I managed somehow.
As I had (rather rudely) refused all help from the Snowdonia veterans, my tent went up perfectly. And yes, unbelievably, it was the same tent I had at Snowdon.
Anita was left to pack everything that had exploded out of Poppy into our perfectly erected tent while I opened the bonnet on Poppy and pretended to look for my charging fault. My ruse worked and like bees to honey, Lord Simpson and Super Enthusiast Man were instantly at my side along with most of the men on the campsite. I told them of my ignition light and that I’d only just fitted new brushes and stood back.
It would appear that no one else thought a multi-meter was essential either, as the only one we had was Howard’s which looked like it came with a Happy Meal. Well the two experts prodded and probed and hummed and hawed before pronouncing that my voltage regulator had had it. Disappointingly, they didn’t have a spare about their personages and Howard had surrounded Bridget’s 1200 Herald with sand bags, barbed wire and machine guns to prevent me pilfering hers. SEM and LSB did tell me how to manually close the relay and get a charge though.
Well, with nothing to be done with Poppy without a new regulator, it was time to set off on our gentle pootle around Lincolnshire.
To be Continued…
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