Morris Minor Road Trip Part Two.


Part Two.


Mog and I where heading north to see my mother. For part one, please click on this link.Morris Minor Road Trip, Part One.

Fixing the Minor Issues.

After saying goodbye to my friend, Mog and I headed off towards the motorway about 15 miles away. On the way stopping to fill up with fuel and hopefully find a good motor factor. 
Being directed to a real gem of one. Karparts of Cainscross (01453 758282.) I wondered why the proprietor smiled so much as I pulled up. After walking into what must be one of the last proper old-fashioned car parts suppliers. The owner knowing every single part and exactly where it is.  After explaining my problem, he suggested I tried this type of leak sealant and perhaps a new radiator cap. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I’d find one unless I called into a specialist  and the nearest one of those wasn’t accepting over the counter customers.  

After quickly getting both the cap and sealant the owner came out, asking me about Mog. It turned out he has a slightly earlier 1952 Morris Minor. Talk about landing on our feet.  I changed the cap, checked Mog’s levels and headed off after thanking the gent.

Problem Solved. 

Stopping twenty miles later, the cap had fixed it. The leak sealer can stay in Mog’s boot until either I or one of my friends need it.  We headed off to drop in at the Morris Minor Owners Club at Derby to say hello.  The further from Cornwall more Mog and I caused a stir.  To see an early car on the road is unusual.  To add a paddleboard on the roof and people when driving slow down, take pics, wave and generally make us feel very welcome. The majority of other drivers showing consideration and allowing us out to overtake. Sadly, a few having no idea of braking distances would pull into the larger than normal cap.

Meeting the Morris Minor Owners Club. 

We made it to Derby and a very warm welcome from Ray, Liz  and Kate. They were more than slightly bemused to see a moggie with such a large board on the roof. With sensible covid restrictions taken into account I had a guided tour that included seeing the progress of the restoration of the last ever car.  If you have a Morris Minor, please join the club. https://www.mmoc.org.uk/

Arriving at Redcar. 


After another cup of coffee, we left, heading through the centre of Derby towards Redcar and seeing my mother for the first time in 18 months.  
 

Now with confidence in Mog, it was simply a question of taking our time.
We arrived at 5 pm, tired but pleased. My mother’s neighbour even let me borrow his garage to put Mog into. A kind act which was much appreciated. 

I’ll write about our time up there on another blog post.  

Return Trip.  

Yet it possible to include the return trip.  The following Sunday we set off, Redcar to Penryn in a  single day, 440 miles.   It would have been nice to see friends in South Wales, but with restrictions becoming stronger that sadly not possible.  We made good time, reaching Bristol for 1 pm after leaving at 9. I was sure we would be back for an early-ish dinner.  

 

In the past I’ve written about the state of driving on British Roads. How it is possible to drive across France and arrive within expected times. Yet in this country, any long distant journey is like playing Russian Roulette.  This time I lost, the signs warned of delays, up to an hour, but they lied.  

 Motorway Shut at Bristol. 

A big accident at junction 19 meant that all southbound traffic was being directed up and over the junction. We reached the tail of the jam at quarter past one.  After 3 hours of virtually sitting still Mog and I headed off at junction 18 and towards the southern edge of Bristol. Any movement being better than none. The traffic crawled and Mog behaved well. Clearly her cooling system was fine. Finally, by 5 we picked up the southern M5 again near Weston Super Mare. We had lost over 3 1/2 hours.  

Moving again. 

After a quick comfort stop and filling up at Exeter, we headed home down the A30. Finally arriving at 8.30 pm.  A twelve hour trip. Those last few miles being hard on both of us. Mog’s only major breakdown being my fault for running to many amps through a switch never designed for it.  Coming to a halt outside my place. Thankfully my neighbour moved his car to allow me to freewheel back into a parking spot.

 

Arrival and conclusion.

After all the problems I’d never thought it would be possible to drive a 68-year-old car so far. Yet the only major problem was due to me.  We proved that a small economy car designed over 70 years ago is still capable of long-distance travel.   
It makes me question what we have lost and gained in those intervening years. For some reason I struggle to imagine in 70 years time a Toyota Yaris inspiring the same passion, let alone the more disposable modern cars. 

Yet, it would be possible for  a Morris Minor to still be going and that makes me smile.

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…