Old Friends.


We sat across from each other. Old friends, once been closer, but over the years a little distance, perhaps more than we would have liked. It had been over a year since we last had met.  http://www.classicaraddict.com/motorcycles-and-renewed-friendships/

Far warmer in the pub, beside warm log burner. Coffee, good and cheap. About 15 years ago when I had my Kawasaki Z1000 MK2 my friend had gone for 15 mins and came back 45 later. He later bought a Suzuki Bandit 1200 and now has a collection of bikes that many would envy. Our shared connection being first bikes and then all things with an engine.  

My relationship with bikes, well motorcycles has always been a lot more  ambivalent. When younger, they were my life, freedom at its best. Yet now, and despite having two in the lock up waiting for me to get around to fix them I don’t ride.  

With the brace still on, we chatted about dealing with injuries as we get older. My friend spoke about driving, and how thankfully when he had his wrist problem a while back, he still could. Likewise, now I can drive again, far easier in Tug (Vitara,) than my MX5, yet I can. http://www.classicaraddict.com/no-driving-for-6-weeks/ 

We spoke about what we missed when restricted. For me it is the water. My friends and I despite all of us growing up fairly close to the wild north coast of Cornwall never really got into water sports. My older brother was one of the local surf gods from an early age. I was never that good and to be honest bigger surf scared me. Yet the water and the beach has always there. I moved to the South Coast of Cornwall 25 years ago, here it was more swimming and sailing initially.  For a few years I had my own little boat, sailing all year and every condition.  It was only 3 years ago I fell in love with paddleboarding.  

I’m writing sitting in Beerwolf Books, Falmouth http://beerwolfbooks.com. Across from me there are a couple of students in deep discussion about post modernism and Marxist theory. They remind me of how I used to belong to that group when I reading for my undergrad. Even then, I approached it from my default perspective of pragmatic cynicism. I belonged, but didn’t when studying. Someone once commented that I was too practical to be truly academic. I think they meant that when using a hammer, I didn’t hit my hand.   

I  can drive, which is truly amazing with my leg in a brace. Most days and timing it for 2 hours before low tide I head to Swanpool beach. There, a little group of regulars surf the gentle swells we get. Long boarders and paddleboarders together. What has really amazed me is people know who I’m, they chat before heading to the water. The last few years have seen an explosion of those of in and on the water. I belong to that group, much more than I expected.  http://www.classicaraddict.com/one-more-wave/

As we sat drinking our coffee, catching up. My friend spoke of touring on his bike and how mutual friends also had done European tours on theirs. I laughed, bikes could never be practical, for how could I carry a board? My travels consisting of looking stretches of water and rideable surf, not too big or crowded.  

Two old friends catching up, seeing the difference yet understanding some things are the same. For him, the open road calls, for me, it is the water. 

 

SAAB TOO FAR…

This is the first in number of short stories best entitled, this really did happen… 

 

LOUD KNOCK…
A loud knock on my door woke me from thoughts… It was 10.30 pm and to my shock there were two policeman…

“Mr Small, do you own a blue SAAB 900 convertible?”

“Err, yes why?”

They then told me that it was now hanging over a wall in a local car park. No, not joy riders but simply the handbrake failing and this was it’s resting place.

Where I live, we play the parking lottery every day. There is a free car park behind the main street. It is steep and despite being mostly rectangular at one end cars can park at an angle. This was where I’d left the SAAB an hour or so before…



Assessing the situation. 

I followed the Bobby’s down and there was my car. Resting on the wall it was sitting partly on the petrol tank and across the back axle. We were all amazed that it didn’t touch another car during its 60ft passage. With one wheel was about 3 ft over the wall. The damage was minimal, yet unless I was careful much more might be done moving it. The police told me that couldn’t get an Hi AB in to pick the car up. Did I have any ideas…

The Saab rolled from where the blue car is parked past the garage on the left to about where silver car is. Quite a distance and how steep the car park is clear.

Solution. 

The SAAB being front wheel drive and those wheels thankfully were on the tarmac… So, in theory I could drive it off… Mentioning this to the police, they expressed concerns about the tank rupturing. As I’d helped my banger racing mates, I knew how tough the tanks are. As it was  a pre General Motors SAAB, which meant the tank was super strong. Also, being an older design, the back axle was about 3ft from the rear of the car, or a lot to catch on the way off.

The police agreed that this was the best option. Then told me to take it gently. I sat letting the car warm up for a couple of minutes. They gave me the OK.

This was the point I dumped the clutch at 4000 rpm. I didn’t see the faces of my audience, but as the rear wheel hit the far edge of the wall the suspension compressed and then rebounded. This bounced the rear of the car up as I planned. Clearing the wall, no further damage to the car was done and with only a few scratches in the render of the wall the police told me not to worry about it. Then came the question of where to park it until I could get it fixed. The only level parking space was taken by a scruffy Triumph Spitfire, my Spitfire…

 

Afterwards

After admitting to owning it the Spitfire, I swapped the cars over and in the morning drove it less than a ¼ of mile to my local tyre and exhaust centre to get the back box replaced. Then my local SAAB Specialist fixed the handbrake. Anyone who has owned a proper SAAB knows that they are very well engineered cars, but it takes a while to learn the idiosyncrasies. So easier to get someone who knows what they are doing than to struggle for hours.

It could have been so much worse. Sadly, the one thing that could kill the car did a few years later. With an odd engine and gearbox design, this was the weak spot, and when second gear went, I drove the car to the end of its mot and then sold it to my mate the specialist.

Oddly this car, despite being well made, comfortable, more economical than expected, very stylish, and with good handling I never truly bonded with it.

Having had another front wheel drive, four-seater convertible, a MK3 VW Golf, that one I still miss. The SAAB, glad I had it, but somehow it was less than the sum of its parts.

Oh, and every time I’m in the car park, I remember and grin.
And the Spitfire has its story… Well lots, but there was one story that relates to this one that will be told.

 

No Driving For 6 Weeks!

No Driving for 6 weeks…  

 

Fog of anaesthetic was wearing off fast. swimming for the surface, mentally fighting the effects of the drugs I sought awareness.  

 

Water was provided, a sip to ease my dry throat. I even managed to thank the surgeon as he left. Then then propped up, hands still attached to various tubes. My leg felt locked, secured, I assumed to ensure that I didn’t move it as I came around.   Fully awake, Tigger was itching to go, porters were called to take myself and the previous patient back to our rooms. Catching a glimpse of her as she was wheeled away, clearly the operation was far harder on her than mine. 30 minutes later the nurses decided to wheel me up, before I made a hobble for it…  

 

There, Rebecca was waiting for me, worry on her face soon replaced by exasperation… Having brought my own food in the form of oatcakes, I asked for them along with some water. A nurse popped in and out a few times, checking I was OK. Apparently, my heart beat dropped down to a level where they wondered if I’d become a tory.  

The physiotherapist knocked and entered, after detaching my arms from the monitoring equipment she pulled back my bed sheet. Rebecca said my face was a picture at this point.  My leg was encased in a brace. ¾ length and clearly meant to be worn for a while. 

I’d been taught to use my crutches before the op to save time. Knowing that I was expecting to have either a piece trimmed away or my meniscus repaired. The two options having different recovery periods. For one the brace would been worn for a few days and the other, weeks… .  The surgeon had repaired my knee, which meant no driving or paddle boarding for 6 weeks.  Needing to keep me in for 4 hours to check that I was OK. A cup of tea was brought and then an oversight on my part. No shorts, so it was time to cut a leg off my jeans, fashion… !  

Compared to when my back and knee had been bad in September this was far less of a nuisance, more a question of logistics…   

Another nurse came in to discharge me, we soon worked out we had a mutual friend in Jasmine, who co owns and runs Daaku. Soon I was up on my feet, rucksack on my bag heading towards the car. As I was leaving the nurse wished Rebecca good luck. 

This forced break means that I’m going to start looking at my using my education. Time to change careers for something a little more financially beneficial. Writing once again, and perhaps having the confidence to submit my work. 

A quick thank you to my Doctor, Mr Mathews the surgeon and all the staff at the Royal Duchy Hospital. We often moan about the NHS, but in this case I couldn’t have been treated better. Thank you.

Suzuki Vitara MOT, 4th Time.

Another year, another MOT…  

Wow, where has the time gone? Can this be Tug’s forth MOT with me?   

At the time I was doing my masters in Professional Writing and had decided to write about what I knewcars.  Well, among other things as well, but classic cars have always been there. It could be said people became hooked on hydrocarbons during the last century.  I was and still, I’m among the worst. Well in regards to cars and bikes anyway. My last post spoke about surfing and car culture. My passion is a mix of situation, work, marital, financial, environmental and my own often dubious mental state.   

The picture of Classicaraddict is just after I’d bought her. I’ve written about this in the past, but it sums that moment the brain catches up with consequences of the latest impulse buy. It didn’t start off well with the fuel filler pipe collapsing the day after I got her legal… 
My friend Nigel recommended that I should look at one. At the time, his project Vitara was a bare shell exposed to the elements.  Tug has changed how I work and after 4 years I’m still constantly amazed about how capable she is. I’m also constantly shocked at the fuel consumption, aside from that, they are just what Nigel said. MK1 Vitara’s are amazing little off-roaders.  
 

Oddly they seem to be creeping up in value once more.  A lot seem to rust like well, Suzuki Jimny’s and MK1 and 2 Mazda MK5’S, (Oh bugger.) Also, because they were cheap, plentiful and good off-road, many got used and abused.   

I do use Tug off-road a lot, but don’t really abuse her. She is my workmate, my colleague, my friend. In the last 3 ½ years I’ve only welded her twice. The first time was around the rear seat mounts a month after I bought her. The second was two years ago and a little around the driver’s side tow bar mount.  Last year when Dan at Dan CB Tyres fitted the exhaust, I checked under her…  We were both were amazed at how good the floors and chassis are.  I know how bad they can rust as Nigel’s didn’t have any floors at the time of me getting Tug.   

Over the years I’ve done the fuel filler pipe, cambelt, plugs, leads, air filter, radiator, exhaust silencer, petrol filter, battery,  two sets of front brake pads and rear shoes. Two clutch cables, one clutch, rear brake cylinders (both sides,) front to rear brake pipe, cylinder head gasket, one injection unit, two internal door handles, passenger external one, both door catches, two passenger mirrors and lots of oil changes.  Oh, and all the transmission fluids. 

It seems a lot, but over those 3 ½ years and 31000 miles, it isn’t.  Checking the old MOT’s, I’m averaging about 9000 miles a year… Wow! A lot of gear is carried which means at least the weight of another full-size adult, and then towing a trailer as well. No wonder the brakes take a bashing… 
In my keeping, she has failed two MOT’s first time and passed two… I always try to prep a car properly and joke it is the only time I get to see the back seats. They are still there but hardly used.  

 

Considering the time frame, she hasn’t been expensive to run. Well apart from fuel…  

Now worth more than the £350 I bought her for. About £800 to £1000 with the fresh mot, if not a little extra at the moment. Apart from fuel, insurance, and road tax I doubt that anything else could have been so useful and cost so little over the years. Now that I have Bel my little MX5, Tug does far fewer longer drives which is one reason I’m shocked at the annual mileage. She is used most days for work and pleasure, often with trailer in tow and paddleboard on the roof.  

There is no reason that she shouldn’t keep going for years to come with a little TLC and I’ll keep her until I change my work and then I’ll struggle to part with her… I’ve never been bored driving. Scared once or twice yes, but never bored. 
The smile is there every time I get in and then it dims a little as fuel is needed again

Thank you Tug, my Spanish lady with a Japanese heart.  
You are the perfect example of a practical classic…

One More Wave

One more wave… 

After the last post, what have I been up too?  

Recovery was slow and it wasn’t until about mid-October that my back was good enough to consider being almost back to normal. The other scars will take far longer and for the second time, my younger brother and I are no longer speaking.  

My knee… As I write it should have been operated on the 3rd of this month, (December 2019.) Sadly, the op was canceled and will hopefully get rescheduled for mid-January 2020. Some nights the pain is constant, on others I can cope. Work is a struggle, likewise doing anything to the fleet is difficult. I changed the front brake pads on Tug, my little Vitara just before my op was meant to happen. A job that normally takes 30 minutes max was over an hour with much swearing and cursing.  

In August whilst taking clean washing from my machine my right leg locked. Stuck, I had to pop my knee and after seeing the specialist it seems I’d torn and possibly detached my right meniscus…  

If my life was not so physical this would not be an issue. Yet walking on uneven ground, carrying off-balance weights, steps, kneeling are. All of which are a major part of my daily routine. At the moment, workwise I can do about 50% of what is normally possible, and then only for 3 to 4 hours before it becomes too painful.  

Thankfully there is one thing that I can do. 

After ringing my good clients in the morning, I’d told them I’d be there for 12…  I arrived at 12.30…  

“One more wave?” was their greeting, we have a mutual friend who got into paddleboarding very early. My clients understand, during the winter, on the south coast of Cornwall we often get rideable surf, not large, but to longboarders and paddleboarders, we can surf it.  

At Swanpool there are now a group of regulars. We have come to trust and respect each other. My weapon of choice, an old 14ft downwind board that turns as fast as supertanker, yet will catch ripples.  

Last year I wouldn’t surf in the pack, now I can. Maneuvering this 14ft board through the group is possible and a lot of fun.  

More than one regular has commented that Swanpool is among the most chilled outbreaks that they have encountered. Mostly free from ego, wave sharing is common, and mutual respect even more so. For a little while, on every wave I’m free, walking the board and reaching back to those early Hawaiian beach boys who reintroduced surfing to the world at the start of the 20th century.  

 

Growing up in Perranporth, on the north coast of Cornwall, surfing culture was a part of everyday life. Summer fashions being a mix of both Hawaiian and Californian.  Admittedly I tried surfing and really struggled. Then went back to bodyboarding. Yet, there in the racks of Perranporth Surf Club stood some of those original boards. Tall and elegant they were echoes of times past.  

Modern longboard type surf sups share similar lines, rightly so. Both those early Hawaiian beach boys like Duke Kahanamoku and the later watermen like Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama used essentially longboards with a paddle when they chose to SUP, (stand up paddle.)

Some aspects of car culture and surf go hand in hand. Hot Rodding originated in Southern California in the late 1930s and exploded into popularity after the Second World War. For instance, The Beach Boys were essentially a group of car guys and not surf ones.  

When I load the board up and head towards the beach the cultures combine. Instead of the woodies of old, now converted vans, for more affluent, VW ones, of course, gather.  

Out in the line-up, the mantra is one more wave and who I’m too argue. Even with my buggered knee…  

Thank you Toni for the pic of me paddling.

You Can Choose Your Friends, but…

Classicaraddict…

What a summer.

For the two summers previously, I got sucked into an unhealthy situation. In the process got manipulated and was accused of some things no decent person should.

Having finally cleared myself from that in April this year I had thought that lessons had been learned… Don’t be silly…

 

For many years I’d not had much contact with either my older or younger brothers.  I think that my older one and I never connected as children, and that continued into adulthood. Yet, over the last few years we have and with his recent change in career from big wave surfer, paddleboard instructor to now a very skilled potter we have become closer. Perhaps mutual respect has grown. I know I’m not surprised by his change in vocation, but very pleased by his passion combined with his talent.  The reason I’m still here is largely down to him. If it wasn’t for paddleboarding, I’d have become another statistic in the last couple of years.

 

My younger brother is a different matter. Whilst there is 2 ½ years difference between my older brother and I. There are only 14 months between myself and the other one.
A little too close for comfort and not helped my dyslexia which was not diagnosed until I left school. This meant that my very intelligent younger brother was often slightly ahead of me regarding school and such like. Making an already difficult situation far harder, yet things became more complex again.

It can be said that the lesson’s learned when young are carried forward to help create the adults we become. None of us were angels, far from it. Yet, my older brother and I did learn a lot of positive ones. Later in life, they have certainly helped him become someone that I’d be proud to know as a friend, let alone call my brother. Hopefully, he now says, “yes, he was right brat as a child but has turned out OK as an adult.”

 

My younger brother and I got into a lot of shared trouble, in an ideal world we would have each other’s backs, but the world is far from ideal.

What comes next is my personal narrative or my own version of events, so it will be full of bias. The imperfect nature of language, memory and my own choices of how to express those will ensure that it is pure fiction. Outside a few very specific areas truth is at best subjective…

My younger brother and I did get into a lot of shared trouble… The lesson I learned was that no matter what was done I’d get the blame regardless of if I was responsible or not.
There was one occasion that involved an upright piano key. He dropped into it and I did not. Yet when found out it was assumed that it was my fault, he never owned up.  Far easier to let another take the blame, to lie. I still did tell stories as a young adult, that was until my life became strange enough never to make another thing up.
I also made the choice to change,  we all have it, sometimes it is the only thing we do have.

After 6 years at the beginning of June, my younger brother and I got back in physical contact. It would have been nice to have had time to slowly build the bridges. Yet suddenly there was a plan for him and his daughter to move to the north. I did my best, yet a week before they were due to move my knee popped. Luckily, I have a good doctor who I’d seen the last time about depression two years ago. He paddleboards as well, and as I was waiting to go in, my elder brother’s wife messaged to say that they had found a 14ft board at the bottom of the garden and it was mine if I wanted it… Try talking to a doctor about depression when all you want to do is go and get another board. When I did go in this time, he said that having seen me paddling regularly he never worried about me returning the last time. The result of this was he quickly referred me for an emergency appointment about my knee with a specialist and then advised me not to drive 450 miles and unload a van load of my brother’s stuff.

If it had been anybody else, I’d taken his advice, but due to deadlines and family pressure, I did the journey.

That was almost a month ago and the repercussions are still occurring. My mother and brother expected me to have dropped everything and focus on ensuring the move, regardless of what else might have been planned workwise or socially. Why? Family of course.  Sadly this reminds me of the person I finally got out of my life in April and my ex-wife. The way strings are pulled and unless things go exactly how they want, the reasons why it doesn’t is always someone else’s fault.

With a little distance, each new accusation becomes like a beat from a bad piece of music. I hear a bad impression of Vin Diesel saying, “but we are family….” In my head.

 

I had a choice, it has cost me a lot physically, financially and emotionally.

After traveling up there on Bank Holiday Saturday and making good time there was no one to help unload. Normally this would not be an issue, but with a buggered knee it was. In the process and after finally getting help my back went into spasm. I faced a choice. We filled the van up with diesel and I headed home. 920 miles in a day. The next few days I’d never felt such pain, even the most basic tasks were beyond me. It was total, and it meant that I couldn’t work or help my brother clear the rest of his house.

I’m self-employed, if I don’t work, I don’t get paid.

Yet the drama continued.  It seems like the other’s I have known.  My brother seeks to blame everyone else rather than take any personal responsibility.

Today, on my mother’s birthday I got effectively disowned and after not speaking to my younger brother following a few choice words 3 weeks ago it seems that I might have been able to bring his stuff back from the north next week. After messaging him the response was F ck Off you Sociopathic    C nt.  I can but ponder the potential and unintentional irony of his statement, in this he reminds me once again of that person from my recent past.

 

Now like Max at the end of Mad Max 2, I might be battered, beaten up, yet I’m smiling. I have a choice, as the dust settles, I choose to ensure good people are in my life. I know others who have suffered far more yet somehow still smile. Those people have a light even after being swamped by darkness. We all have choices and those inspirational people remind us of that.

What choices will you make today?

 

Oh, and the reason I’m going north next week… A friend is moving to God’s own country, (Scotland) and has asked me to drive her in a VW Crafter camper van. It is a tough job, but someone has to do it…

Importance of Gut Instinct.

May… Wow…

Classicaraddict did meet Classic Britain, more than once… The last time resulting in a 350 mile drive in Tug towing a trailer. Classicaraddict Meets Classic Britain.

 

Crossing the Devon Border.

Bel went to Devon 3 times in 2 days at the end June.  The last time was accidental when it appeared that my wallet was dropped at Ashburton petrol.

Both last Sunday and Tuesday previously there was a sense something is not right…

After picking the Maxi from South Devon we made our way down the A38 and back into Cornwall and headed towards my dear friend’s house at Trevelmond near Dobwells.  Just as I pulled past him to so he could follow me the final couple of miles of course we stopped…

 

Something Wrong

There is a rule of thumb when it comes to helping people get cars is that. As soon as you can smell the kettle, or think that you might get to the chip shop before it closes the gremlins pick their moment to strike.

In this case, he turned the wipers on and one fell off… Having retrieved that it and almost reaching insight of the steam off the kettle, we pull over again. The front brake was sticking…Something that did not surprise me. We did make it and spent the next hour sorting the brake caliper. We then left to head home.

As my brother followed me down the 1-mile single lane road towards the main road my internal radar started to ping. Where was my wallet?  As my heart started to race, a frantic search of the car soon revealed that it wasn’t there.   I sent my brother west, telling him once again to drive very carefully. I then when to the two places we stopped on the bypass to check to if my wallet had fallen out. (It hadn’t)

Drive Back to Devon, Quickly

Then I played the memory game, ringing petrol stations that we had stopped at, until I rang the nice people at Ashburton petrol station, the time was 8.05 pm.

They asked for my name, yes we have it here, here being 45 miles away. They also said I’d never make it. All I can say is that clearly, they never have driven an MX5.  They are not fastest cars outright, but for covering ground quickly and safely, they are amazing.

I did make it with shall I say a little time to spare…

Finally Mug of Tea

After popping in to see my friend Jude who lives close by I then headed home down the A30 with the roof down. The stars only being interrupted by the occasional fog bank. The last of which the car following me at safe distance turned out to be a police one.

Gut Instinct

I’m not sure what gut instinct is, or that sense of something is not right. When it strikes, I’ve learned to pay attention. For instance, Sheldon from Classic Britain wanted to take his Rover P6 to get some parts the following Sunday. Despite the extra fuel expense, we used Tug my little Suzuki Vitara.  I knew that we would make it, with his car I could not be sure.

There will be another blog post on that after Sheldon edits the footage he took of the day. https://youtu.be/BdnQ7tLcOPk

 

Part of gut instinct is to think about what you want to achieve and then look to see what can go wrong and try to eliminate as many as possible. Like carrying a spare fan belt….Oh, bugger….

Classicaraddict Meets Classic Britain.

 

Classicaraddict met Classic Britain…

Before Christmas, I stumbled upon a Youtube Channel called Classic Britain. First what attracted me was the content, the presenter, Sheldon was clearly a grade A Petrolhead and his scruffy Rover P6 (Kismet) is a really interesting car. After a little while, I also worked out they are based in West Cornwall.

The Mentor… 

Oddly we never get to see Sheldon, but we do get to see Lucas,  his friend, and Mentor.  Their friendship is clear to see, and infectious.  Lucas, smart, funny and has lived a life. He gives no shit’s about what others think. Yet, and having met him and his charming wife, what is clear, they are both good people.  Caring about those who are privileged to enter their world.
He also knows his stuff when it comes to old cars.

 

Man Behind the Camera.

Now I will admit that on air, Sheldon comes across as far older than he is. From his voice, I’d of said he was late 20’s or early 30’s… Right up until the point he got in  Bel and I suddenly realised he was in his early 20’s.  Sheldon is one of those characters who have a power to them, a good-natured force of nature. Others become attracted, his passion infectious. They start chatting, remembering times past. More than once, someone came up and spoke to us as we worked on Kismet, the Rover. In this way, he reminds me of my friend Jess, who at 20 decided that a 1957 Morris Minor was his ideal first car. They share a strange magnetism that makes others want to help, and perhaps remind us of who were or could be once more.

Sheldon and those around him have an old-fashioned sense of decency that is sadly passing into another time. Perhaps being based in West Cornwall, helps, for time does more slowly down here. We have a different culture and the rules that go along with it.

Classicaraddict met Classic Britain, not for the last time…

Classicaraddict Does YouTube…

Classicaraddict Does YouTube…

Wow, what a week that was. On the 24th of April, I left my little home town in Cornwall to first visit the Rhondda Valley. Then off to see my mother at Redcar before the MX 5 Owners Club meeting the record attempt at Elvington.

 

 

Space to Breathe Academy

 

Well, this is really Esther Nagle. As the accompanying YouTube video shows, we recorded some footage on the Bwlch Pass and got Esther to drive Bel, my little MX 5.  Sadly the footage of her driving didn’t come out the way I hoped, but we did manage to record her response to that initial driving experience.

 

Editing Software… 

 

Esther Nagle downloaded Movavi editing software and told me to go and play.

Over the next few days, when I had a chance, I did try to learn how to use it.  Much like when I went to Falmouth University, it is a vertical learning curve for me to get my head around this new set of skills… This required that I popped back into Wales to see Esther once again on the way back…

 

Key Words… 

 

This when I really appreciate just the knowledge of friends. Esther kindly showed me how to enter titles, create fade-outs, and add clips of footage together. This has meant that now the first Youtube video is live.
She also taught me more in half an hour of tuition about the importance of keywords in blog posts than I ever learned at university. The rest of the Classicaraddict now will be gone through to allow me to make it more suitable for algorithms.

Please Subscribe…

Now we have the Youtube channel working there will be more much-combined content. Expect Suzuki Vitara posts, Mazda MX5 content, motorcycle uploads and much more.
At heart, I’m still a writer, and this will be the main focus. Yet this new medium is exciting for me to explore and share.

Thank you for reading.

Bye for now.

Alex.

Carry Essential Spares…

A couple of day’s earlier my friend rang me up with an issue with his 1957 Morris Minor. My gut instinct told me that it was either the points or the condenser.  I heard my voice saying the best thing to do was to carry spares…Now those words had come back to haunt me…

One of the reasons I’d come up to the North East was for the MX5 owners club record attempt Elvington on the 28th of April… In the past, I have been too car club meetings and I will admit that they are generally not my thing.  Yet… Once again MX5 owners are different. As I made my way down the A19 the number of MX5’s started to increase. Oddly a lot of owners seem happy to sit at exactly 70 mph. I remember a friend who had driven rally cars in the 60s and 70s saying that all cars have a natural cruising speed. Another dear friend who has had both 1.6 and 1.8 MX5’s saying that they like 80 mph… 85 and they get twitchy, 75 to 80 and they will run all day. I agree, when both you and your vehicle like a similar pace, driving becomes much more relaxing. 

So there I was, going along at 80, roof down, overtaking the odd other MX5 until I joined the back of a long line of them.  I only found when I and a few other fellow MX5 drivers followed them into a service station a few miles from the meet. They were from the Tyne Tees group… And a very nice gent in a red NB that had been following came up and said hello. I will admit leaving the service station and arriving a little earlier at Elvington. After following a car from Scotland in were lined up initially 3 across but due to the number of cars that turned up that became 4 across.

After registering, Bel receiving number 255… I met Sid GoPeform and his custodians.  I then had an hour and a half to wait before the record attempt. One way to do this was to queue for the toilets. More than one person was heard to comment that this was another record they had decided to attempt to break. It was then a question of going back to where Bel was… Not as easy it would be normally when far as the eye could see there where was MX5’s.

I did wander about looking at the whole range of cars on the track. From scruffy NA’s and NB’s to the restored, immaculate early ones, daily drivers and pristine later cars. Oh and a few customised cars.  Each car special to its owner. Oddly, Bel did stand out a little, her mismatched bonnet, gaffer tape on her rear quarter panels, rack and wearing her patches with pride.  I chatted with Brett from Total MX5 about the joy of owning a scruffy everyday car. One that is reliable…Oh how that came back to bite me… Yet one that we can jump in and drive a few hundred miles. 

It was then time for the record attempt. I’m not going to say much about with this post as I think it deserves a separate one with video.

I left after the record attempt and decided to drive across the North York Moors. Putting Saltburn into the satnav I set off. Soon the little number of MX5’s decreased until it was I was alone in following the instructions. I have a rough idea of the geography, but it is certainly not extensive.  I pulled over at a couple of spots to take photographs and enjoy the scenery. As I pulled away the second time, her alternator belt started to slip…

This was then my words a few days ago came back to haunt me. A few seconds later her belt snapped.  Now I was stuck, on the moors with no real idea of where I was.

If this was at home, I know enough people where I could leave Bel and get her fixed later. This is not the case. Sadly, if the alternator belt goes, the water pump stops working. You can limp a car home a few miles if you know how to drive gently. First thing I did was to switch off all unnecessary electrical equipment. I then switched the engine off going downhill and bumped started her at the bottom. With my heart racing and driving very carefully I made it back to Redcar.  I pulled into a well-known tyre supplier a mile from my mother’s house and she refused to start after. Two passing boys helped me push Bel across the road and I rang my mother who came out with some jump leads. Half an hour later Bel and I were back safe. I started to strip her down hoping that her power steering belt would be the same size at her alternator one…With a choice words… It turned out that it wasn’t. Close, but not close enough… About 3 cm too small.

If I had a spare belt it would have been easy, yes, my words had come back to haunt me.

I’ll cover the belt change in another post, but there was a chance I had cooked Bel’s engine.  I’m pleased to say that I didn’t.  As for MX5 meetings, this was my first, it won’t be my last. But there will be a spare belt in Bel’s boot just in case.