A Tale Of Two MGB’s Part Two.

A Tale of two B’s part two…

 For part one please follow this link. A Tale of Two MG MGB GT’S Part One

Ebay…

I watched the last few seconds praying that someone would out bid me. They didn’t. Importance of Gut Instinct.
What had I done?  Ironically, I’d just bought the car I was looking for when I got Mog, my 1952 Morris Minor.  An  MGB GT… Buying a Morris Minor.
It was 250 miles away and now the question was, how would I get it back?  After quickly making contact with the seller and arranging to pick it up later in the week, I sat back and reflected. It would be an adventure at least.

Ticket To Somewhere.

I walked up to my local railway station, Penryn, loaded with a rucksack full of spare parts and tools. My socket set was gaffer taped up and reminding me just how heavy a good one is. With a few spare face masks, ahead was 250 miles and 5 hours of train travel in the modern pandemic world. At least I’d have two seats to myself.  The train would take me to Maidenhead.  The car was few miles away, but Richard , the seller had offered to pick me up. This would allow me to change the B to an historic vehicle. One that was both mot and tax exempt. A quick visit to the post office and it would be in my name and taxed. Yet I still hadn’t seen it. Tools… The Importance of a Good Socket Set

When I met the seller at the station it confirmed the impression he gave on the phone, he is a true gentleman.

 

MGB First Impressions.

 

I could tell he was nervous about how what I’d think of it. As we pulled into a very nice house the B sat there. I recorded my initial impressions.  The car was better than I hoped. The more I dug the better it got. Yes, it has a few issues, but it could be far worse. To be honest, often a glance is all I need, but closer inspection can either confirm or prove I was wrong.

 

MGB Quick Check Over

I then set to giving a car a good once over. Oil, water, brake and clutch fluid, fan belt and so forth.  the clutch was a little low,  and not much water in the cooling system.  But then the car had been barely used for 6 years, thankfully inside and not near the sea, unlike Jess’s B. A Tale of Two MG MGB GT’S Part One

When I popped the distributor  cap, to my surprise there was  electronic ignition. To those of us who know, worth mentioning and a good thing. Quickly changing the rotor arm and cap. Richard who had popped out to get some brake fluid returned. Assessing a Car

Spares and History.

It was mentioned, would I like some spare wheels? …  A total of 5 extra. Again, something which would have been great to mention. As one tyre was really not even good as a spare. Richard was amazed as I pulled out a scissor jack and collapsible axle stand and proceed to change the front right. Checking the front the front right wheel bearing as I did. It had a little play, but nothing to really worry about, but still to keep an eye on and replace sooner rather than later. Checking the passenger side, all was good.   As I was doing this, Richard brought out folder that contained the cars full history, including every mot from the start. Of everything, this was the most important and if he had mentioned it in the listing, I would be looking at an Austin Maxi instead. I placed the folder safely in the car and thanked him.

Time to Start the MGB

Pulling a spark plug, dirty but looked almost new.  Then filling up the carburettor pots with 3in1 oil it was time to fire the MGB up. With full choke, she fired, but ran really badly. Richard commented on the amount of black junk coming out of the exhaust. This, I wasn’t worried about, we have all seen those rescue car videos and know that it takes a while for a long dormant engine to settle down. https://youtu.be/bNN2ePkv5gY
 For example, Junkyard Digs. 

As the engine, popped back, misfired I checked the exhaust. It sounded like it was either sports exhaust or was leaking. Placing my hand over the end confirmed it must have a sports silencer fitted. Not an issue on car like an MGB, much more so with something less sporting.

Time to Head Home. 

After letting her settle and finishing a second stellar mug of tea I said goodbye to Richard and his family.  Then we headed into the fading light and home…

 

MX5 Goodbye.

 

Lock down… What a few months.  

The world seemed to  go into what I’d been dealing with from mid January. When I write this, I mean the social isolation and dealing with unknowns.  Thankfully, the nature of my work meant that I was allowed to travel for it. Working outdoors with my own tools for once had a few advantages.  

With the operation to my knee being far larger than expected the recovery was equally longer. 2 1/2 month after my knee brace coming off is my leg beginning to feel a lot better. 

So … Apart from going back to work what have I been up too…? 

After looking for a long time for a cheap longboard type paddleboard I found a bargain, less than 2 miles away. This being well within allowed travelling distance during the initial stage of lockdown. I will admit to low balling on an offer, what was already a bargain became a steal. The board, oh, it is an older Drops Spirit. Made and sold around 2009. The board is a classic longboard type shape, a little narrower than many later boards at 28 inches wide and fairly long at 10’11.  https://www.supgower.com/2009/11/drops-paddleboards/

I’ve been using my other boards to surf, like the lovely Fanatic Ray 11ft wd that I bought from Julie, my bothers wife. https://standuppaddlemag.co.uk/2015/06/05/recreationally-versatile-fanatic-ray-pure-11ft/Yet for a long time I’ve wanted a more authentic and manoeuvrable  sup surfing experience. After getting this board it fulfils 95% of my paddleboarding requirements with one board. Nice to paddle on the river, on a calm sea, yet in smaller surf, after getting used to it, simply amazing. I even did an accidental 180 when paddling out on my knees the other week.  The board started going backwards and then did a 180 degree turn, I stayed on. Opinion is divided if I can call this as my first. 
I’m sliming down my quiver to 4 boards, and one of those is only staying because one day I might be good enough to use it and I have the magazine which my brother wrote and article with  photos of him using it.

Early in the lockdown  lots people started posting lots of top ten lists, me being me, albums, films, etc… No, so I did my top ten cars. Yes, I’ve done that before on here I know… My favourite being Bel, with a very close second the Triumph Spitfire. Yet, Bel is an expensive car to keep. So sadly, is time to time to let her go. Soon she will have a fresh MOT and now is the right time to sell. Hopefully another person will enjoy her as much as I have.   http://www.classicaraddict.com/my-top-5-cars-ish/

 

 Bel costs me, even on a limited mileage policy £240 a year, and road tax is £275, mot £45. That is £560 pounds a year before she turns a wheel. A lot of money when you have none. If she was my daily driver and could carry a hard paddleboard there would be no question. She would stay, but time to let her go…  

Bel will be replaced, with a tax and MOT free car, or what DVLA call an historic vehicle.  Here in Cornwall, there a lot of these running about as daily drivers. Some young people appreciate the lower costs, yet, without an annual road safety check, I can but wonder how safe a lot are. Older cars require  a methodical approach to  maintenance  . Like for example a printing press it takes time to learn what but once you have it becomes more a question of noticing what is wrong, rather than right. 

I’m pretty fussy about the structural  and mechanical aspects of my vehicles, and far less so on appearance. Whatever she is replaced with, will still have a check over at least once a year by my trusted garage. That second set of experienced eyes worth so much.  

Having mentioned to the last owner of Bel that she would soon  be up for sale, I’ve been gently hassled since. With her booked in for an MOT next week she soon might be gone.  Bel has been my favourite car I’ve ever owned, like the close run second, the much missed Triumph Spitfire 1500, she wasn’t super fast, yet could cover ground like nothing else. 
Sadly, the combination of running costs and being unable to carry ridged paddleboard means she has to go.   

 

As I’m writing a friend has sold her little motorcycle, we are both grieving for lumps of steel, alloy rubber and plastic that have touched our souls.   

Dropping the Veil of Society

Dropping the Veil of Society  
For the first time the modern world has shut down.  Like the coyote from the Road Runner cartoon, we are still running, but now in thin air.  The veil of society has been removed and we find what behind is lacking.  


Globally, everyone has become interconnected. We all have, use and consume items from almost every corner of the planet. The economic model has been exposed.  Most of the wealth is owned by very few.  The harsh reality for many is that we are one or two pay cheques from poverty. 
Let alone what we as a species are doing to the planet. 

 

What is the aim of society?  

 Do most of us work to help the elite gain more power and money?  A couple of weeks ago I said goodbye to a client, we have been friends for 5 years. His widow says, “like two peas in a pod.” He died at home with his lifelong partner beside him. Almost 10 years ago I said goodbye to my father. To lead a good life and to die with those who care around us is all we can ask for.  

What is happening now? 

Typically, there has been mass stupidity at all levels. Governments not doing enough or acting fast enough. Selfish arseholes panic buying. Those same muppets not understanding that social distancing now has to be the norm. If we don’t, those overworked people of the medical and emergency services will become overwhelmed. The most vulnerable in society will be hit the hardest. 

 Other countries are facing total shutdown. At the moment, the UK has only partially done so, yet soon like Spain and other parts of the world we will only be allowed out for essential journeys.  I expect shortly after we will face rationing of everything including fuel. To get through this we need to start pulling together. Every time we go to the shop, we need to ask if really need to do so. 

What will happen? 

The disruption has only just started, things will get far worse before they get better.  Yet now is the time to start asking questions. Do we want to return to the old way? Thankfully we can communicate with almost anyone else around the world thanks to the internet and mobile phones. It will have to get really bad before those in power shut down our access.  I doubt any western government will risk doing so. 

 

What can we do?  

 First, heed medical advice.                                                                                                Second, look after those closest to us, our families and our communities. We need to skill share for the good of all. Working locally, but thinking globally.
Third, we really need to have a worldwide  discussion. All of us have the power to change to the future. Now is the time to set aside the differences and see the similarities.  Instead of distracting ourselves, or posting memes of cats, let’s have a proper farsighted discussion.
In the words of John Lennon, lets imagine.

The world after the coronavirus is up to us. 

 

 

My name is Alex Small, 48, I live in Cornwall by myself. Read for BA in English with Creative Writing and an MA in Professional writing later in life with Falmouth University. Better known online as The Naked Writer, or the Classicaraddict.  A dear friend who once was a New York journalist, christened me an Honorary New York wise arse, it should be ass, but I’m British.