2019

June: Just after closing Vee's tailgate there was a bang, but I couldn't think what it might have been or see anything untoward anywhere, but the next time I opened it there was another bang and it wouldn't stay up!

May 31st: Since putting Vee back together following the repaint in 2017 I'd been conscious that the drivers drop-glass was a bit stiff ... and today the handle broke. A quick check showed that half way up the regulator went back and fore easily enough, whereas the glass itself was pretty tight pulling up and pushing down.

May 25th to 27th - Moor 2 Sea, Devon:
Journey down the M5 was a bit of a mare being Bank Holiday Saturday at half-term (but that's our fault) taking 5 1/2 hours instead of just over three, and hot. Stayed at our back-stop of Premier Inn with Beefeater when we were put off by the negative reviews on other places in the vicinity - Premier Inn was a little more stripped-back than we remember but perfectly adequate for a couple nights kip, but the Beefeater at Newton Abbot was dreadful. Dirty, poorly presented and unpleasant food, with some of the advertised components missing and we had to ask for them - like teriyaki salmon with no teriyaki! I was shocked to discover later that Tripadvisor has more 'terrible' ratings for this establishment than any other category.

Another first-timer, and one I'd been wanting to do for a long time. However a little disappointing in that the route did not actually get to the sea, and up on the moors low cloud meant for some of the time there wasn't much to 'sea' up there either. But still an interesting and varied route, with some pretty challenging hairpin bends up steep hills. Route book was just text - no tulip diagrams or inters which I had to do myself, something we haven't had for a long time. One of the benefits of the area is that virtually every junction on Dartmoor has a name, on the upright of the signpost, and included in the instructions so it was crystal-clear that you were at the right junction. We spent a fascinating hour in Dartmoor Prison Museum which has loads to see, and good value at 3 each. Mind you, if you don't get out of the car park by closing time you are locked in! Top-down about half-way until we ran into rain, and even though it brightened up later we were a bit cold so it stayed up. Lovely cream tea at the finish, and friendly people.

Much easier trip home - just over 3 hours in one go. 465 miles in all, with a bit of a squawk and vibration at the clutch pedal on two occasions (once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is ...) in the hundreds of clutch operations that is part of a run like this, so something to keep an eye on.

May 19th - Charnwood Caper, North Leicestershire:
"At least it was dry". Good starting point at Quorn Railway Station, with a steam train pulling in to add to the interest. Good organisation and friendly. Second time on this run but the first half was through too much built-up area and too many right-turns onto busy trunk roads. Also marred by catching up with about eight cars in convoy travelling at 35mph, we took an hour and a half to do the first 40 miles, with an MGB with excessively fat arches popping and banging in front of us all the way. The first stop showing refreshments and loos was half-way in, and by that time I seen at least one car parked by a field gate with a female in the passenger seat and no driver - reason obvious :o) The first stop was packed, the second and third only a few miles further on so we had our lunch-break at the far end of a nearly empty car park in peace. The second half was more scenic, on our own most of the time but still got stuck behind a 35mph Midget for too long, with other cars building up behind us. If that happens to us we pull over and let them through, but what do I know! Finish at Thoresby Hall Ollerton at about 1:30, with craft shops and a museum for the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry. Won on the raffle! Stroll around and headed home at about 2:30 as it was 80-plus miles home. Despite the forecast for heavy showers and thunder we saw barely a spot all day and some sunshine. Good route book with plenty of information, too much to read en-route. Also too many intermediates at every village and junction even when all we were doing was staying on the main road, which led to 60 of the 90 inters being a mile or less. Maybe we have been doing these way too long and are getting picky. 215 trouble-free miles in all.

May - the Big Clean prior to the first organised run. Doing the wheels I spotted a broken spoke - first since 2009, I think. Odd as I had the wheels off for the service and always check the spokes, but none noticed then. Used the weight of the ZS to push the bead off the rim at the required point. The V8 is easier as I can jack under the spring pan rather than having the suspension hanging down with the ZS so less jacking is needed to get the wire wheel tyre under the other one, but the V8 was behind the roadster on the ramps.

May 14th - Bee's MOT: I wonder how many actually are continuing with MOTs (as they claimed they would) now a lot more cars are potentially exempt. Government figures show only 6% of pre-1960 cars continued to be tested when they had become exempt, current figures for the latest exemptions are around 50%. Different tester this year who turned down the opportunity to have me help, probably because I was the only car there at 8:30. No problems, and he measured the emissions for me (for interest) which I'd not been able to get before - 8.82% CO and 947 HC. Back home put it on my Gunson's Gastester and it was pretty close. Oddly if I have the Gastester level I can't get it down to 2.0 for calibration, but if I tip it slightly sideways either way it drops right down! An advisory of 'near-side rear damper light misting or not damping', manual bouncing it just does one and a half when released which seems normal, and the fluid level was correct. A few weeks ago I did find a fluid of some kind on the floor under the damper, what it was I can't imagine, it's not dropped any since. On the question of advisories, the cars usually get one or two which having inspected I often do nothing about, and they don't get mentioned again!

Feb to April: Plenty of sunny weather in Feb and March so both Bee and Vee getting plenty of local use. Late March early April the three cars get serviced and a look over, round and under. The only things of note were the handbrake lever boots on Bee breaking up - very common these days, so I get two pairs expecting Vee's to be much the same but they were fine. What I did spot on Vee is the near-side track-rod end dust-cover not seated correctly at it's large end and its blue retainer spring a bit buckled. While trying to reseat that (gave up) I notice it had a hole in it, so after some faffing about ordered a pair of the covers. Some time ago someone gave a source for silicone rubber versions, but looking at those they were quite a bit bigger than the ones on Vee, particularly the distance between the small end and the large end. The closest I could get off the same supplier (in Bulgaria!) were still slightly big in that dimension but closer in the others, and in polyurethane. There are other suppliers but also quite a bit bigger and in rubber, so I'll see how I get on with the poly ones. Springs not supplied, the large retaining spring is actually flat rather than round wire, but I manage to tease that back into shape and refit the existing cover pending arrival of the replacements.

January 1st: Skies grey but roads dry and salt-free for our New Years Day walk, so get Vee out. Off the drive and ... mizzle spots on the windscreen! Oh well, never mind. It mizzled on and off all the time we were out and I needed the wipers on the way back, so she needed leathering down before going back in the garage. Only did as far down as the bright trim strips as I could see the wheels and the sills had picked up a film of dirt, that can stay for a wash in warmer weather. Frost forecast for the next five days, and there was some salt around next day, so they'll be parked up for a while now.