Wednesday, 7 October 2009

The kindness of friends and bl**dy annoyingness of strangers

So, since leaving our house two weeks ago, we have been on a short tour of houses and driveways belonging to friends and family and Cambridge and Kent.

Due to the hurried nature of our departure from Balsham and our inability to get on with things whilst there with access to the garage, we left with a list of 30-odd things to do on the van and half the contents of the garage in the back, including the lathe, grinder and welder - all standard camping kit... ;)

Fortunately we are lucky enough to have very accommodating friends with good driveways and a willingness to "donate" food and electricity to the cause so Will set to using all his power tools in somewhat unconventional places....

... and produced a very fine bike rack! which is possibly somewhat over spec'd as it can carry his weight, let alone the bikes!  At least it is so awkward to get off no one will steal it :)

In between fixing sports cars and various other jobs for other people, he has also:
  • fixed the handbrake so it actually stops the van from rolling down hills when parked, 
  • fixed the clutch so it is now possible to change gear, even when the van is warm
  • wired and plumbed the fridge, 
  • changed the light switch so we have three choices of ambient LED lighting, 
  • fitted more shelves and other storage solutions in various cupboards - and has told me now that there is actually space for more shoes!

In the face of this industriousness, I have fixed press studs on curtains, passed spanners and made tea...

Whilst our friends and family have been good to us however, other people have been less good and we have now been let down by no fewer than two potential MGF buyers through ebay and the poor car is now languishing (temporarily) on my brother's driveway, unloved and out of tax and MOT.  The citroen is also, as yet, unsold.  Poor cars and even poorer us :(

Come on, surely someone wants a mechanically sound, regularly serviced, HGF-proof, shiney, if somewhat scraped and dented, sports car to thrash round a track somewhere???

Unfortunately, it has also proved to be fortunate that the citroen is still with us as Jules is poorly sick again :(  I have come to the conclusion that it doesn't like going anywhere without Will as, once again, it got sick whilst I was driving it alone, approaching the Cambridge/Essex border (from the other direction this time!) and with lorries bearing down on me (battery charge light came on whilst northbound from stansted on the M11).

After some telephone directed unplugging of electrical items by me - head first in both the cupboard under the sink and the engine bay - I got it home (well to someone's home) but not all good :(

The problem has so far been traced to a faulty alternator (specifically at this stage worn brushes) and fortunately, we have once again been accommodated by family and friends with drive space, battery chargers and diagnostic internets.  Will currently has the alternator in pieces on someone else's workbench and is using their lathe (bought by them after seeing Will's recently and not, so far actually used by them in anger - well at least he now knows he set it up correctly *grin*) to fix it. 

I am watching daytime telly and stealing internet - well I started on van paintwork but it is raining and Will has more qualified help whilst on this particular driveway - thank you Austin!

And at least we are having these problems now, not in the middle of nowhere in spain, and we have managed our first cup of tea, overlooking a sunny seaside so the dream is still alive....  tune in next time to see if we actually get back on the road!

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