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Old car a dogs dinner?

June 17, 2013

That picture in this column yesterday of my multi-coloured Wolseley 1500 car, which I bought out of my first pay packet as a dustman, evoked the stirring of a number of early motoring reminiscences from some of my contemporaries. I was specifically reminded about a car I once owned where the brakes deteriorated gradually over a few weeks, to the point where they did not work at all. It is ridiculous but I was confident I could handle the danger.

My defence is that brake fluid was expensive, I had identified where was the leak and, whenever I stopped, I put a mug underneath the car, caught the leaking fluid, put it back in the system before driving off again. Regular readers will know that I have, at the very least, a checkered history when it comes to do-it-yourself, or dog it youself.

Even he is better than DIY than I

Even he is better than DIY than I

Nothing ever goes right and so now I so not have tools, they are all owned and, crucially, controlled, by That Nice Lady Decorator so that I will never be tempted to see if some DIY ability has somehow matured at this late stage in my life. This lack of aptitude extends to all things practical and includes anything to do with engineering. It was some years later that I grasped the fact that if the brake fluid was leaking out of a sealed system then it was a fair bet that some air was leaking in to replace it. For some reasons of higher science this meant that each time I replaced the liquid without bleeding the system (sounds chronically medieval to me) its ability to do the job, that is to stop the car, was reduced.

You can imagine then, that after several weeks of this, the brakes required a furious amount of pumping on the foot brake in order to gain traction. It had started with just a few pumps, but eventually it took 20, gradually rising to 50 and then they stopped working. altogether. I had a problem; I needed to get to work, had no money to put the car in the garage, so needs must when the devil drives. And boy did that devil drive carefully.

I was also reminded of my first Jag, way back in the late 70’s. So many cars, so many breakdowns. And that leads me to how I was feeling yesterday. My waistline required attention in the form of another dreaded diet day, and although I felt ready to break down and cry, there was indeed no break down in my iron will to see it through. Instead, I did my best to forget the privations and shrug off the effects by concentrating of this wonderful Currencies Direct chappies and their lovely cuddly foreign exchange benefits.

There is talk that today and perhaps tomorrow, there might be some warm sunshine. On the other hand they are also warning of thundery downpours, but surely these should only be allowed to arrive after at least a few days of warmth? Who is in charge? Shall we blame the Reverend Jeff? Should it be warm tomorrow evening, we have half a plan to go to a daring outdoor theatre production at nearby Bignor, at the site of the ruins of an old Roman villa.

It is a very daring enterprise given the vagaries of the weather in the UK. Even to contemplate staging something like this out-of-doors, seems fraught with risk. There is also one thing that I do not understand having read the promotional leaflet; we are exhorted to bring blankets and rugs, but a wig will not keep the rain off in the event the almost inevitable thundery shower coincides with the single performance. I think we shall keep a watching brief (a nosy lawyer?) on the clouds during the afternoon and make a late decision. If the worst comes to the worst, There is a pub nearby that I have been meaning to try if it all goes pear-shaped

Chris France

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Rev. Jeff permalink
    June 18, 2013 11:47 am

    As a caption to your lovely photo I would suggest Dog It Yourself. However as I have no wish to raise the spectre of sad lonely men sitting in isolated car parks I won’t ……


  2. Rev. Jeff permalink
    June 18, 2013 2:12 pm

    Good point….


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