Thursday, 20 December 2012

Christmas Greetings!



I would like to wish all my readers a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year

.....plus of course, lots of happy Morgan motoring!

PS. Normal service will resume in January, with the first drive of the New Year, weather permitting of course.



Oh! Roll on Spring!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

'Adventure before Dementia!'

This was seen on the side of an autohome as we climbed to Shap summit on the M6 in Cumbria today.

I think that I will get it printed on the side of the Morgan, because I think that it is very appropriate as a slogan for Morgan drivers of advancing years, especially those that venture to far-off shores!


Monday, 10 December 2012

Christmas Delivery!

Winter, apart from being generally ghastly, means that runs in the Morgan are probably infrequent and the car sits in the garage under wraps adding to my melancholy mood.

The greasing has been done and you can't keep polishing the thing, so the only thing you can do is pray that a wonderful winters day will come along and give some respite. Also there's that increasing sense of anxiety that if you don't get it on the road soon it will develop square tyres!

Delivering Christmas cards in style

One of those special days dawned today. Alright, the temperature was barely 3 degrees, but the sun was out in a sky uncluttered by clouds and there was no wind, normally a feature on the Lancashire coast.

Ho,Ho,Ho!
What is more, we had an excuse, not that one was needed, because, due to an exorbitant rise in the cost of postage, we had decided to deliver our local cards by hand. So why not use the Morgan and keep us and the car happy?


It is amazing the effectiveness of the Morgan's heater,  we were as warm as toast and it brought to mind a coversation I had with  Helen Thorne, http://rtcc.co.uk as she took me on a test drive before we bought one. She advised that I should use the efficiency of the heater as a major selling point, if it proved necessary to convince my wife on the desirability of the car. It was not necessary!!

The car has had a good run so my mind is settled in that respect, although now I have to endure all the mental contortions involved in pouring over maps, planning our next adventure in 2013, following my dear wife's suggestion that a month long trip, pootling around Spain and France might be appealing!!!!!

PS This is a nice little 2 minute video about the Plus 8.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/motoringvideo/9727841/Making-of-the-new-Morgan-Plus-8-in-two-minutes.html   

Monday, 3 December 2012

Dear Kenneth


Today I have received yet another letter from my Swedish friend and fellow Blogger, Kenneth, whose website you will find amongst my 'Followers', (he's the chap sitting in the red Triumph).
Ken's Roadster, nice and warm!


I receive regular letters from him, as he sits in his garage (more like an aircraft hangar compared to mine!) with his 'drajja', the Swedish equivalent of a G&T and next to his beautiful Roadster. In this morning's letter he attached photos of his car cocooned for the duration of the Swedish winter and the snowy scene that faced him in his garden.


He mentions that, in the middle of this week, temperatures are expected to fall to minus 15 degrees with more snow! 
Snow in a Swedish garden




We have not had snow in Lancashire yet although a severe winter has been forecast for the UK by those purveyors of doom at the Meteorological Office. There are other factors, particularly one, that have led to the Morgan staying in its garage.




My letter to Kenneth follows:-


Dear Kenneth,

Lovely to hear from you as ever and thanks for the photos, I might use them in a post for my blog, unless there is a copyright in place!

No snow here yet, but the weather is very mixed and not really suitable for the Mog. I greased the suspension the other day and gave the car a good clean and there it has stood ever since.

Various things have contrived to take up much of my time, not least the fact that the local pub has decided to introduce Pay and Display on their car park. Sadly they hold all the cards, because they do own the car park and the local Council has rented rented 30 spaces for shoppers from them for many years,  the 20 businesses in the village only having 3 OFFICIAL PARKING PLACES on the road!

Having been faced with a large increase in the rent charged, the Council have now pulled out of the negotiations so the businesses are on their own, including a Doctors Surgery and Chemist.

I was born in the village 69 years ago, am well known (a medium size fish in a very little pond!) and still have business interests in the village, as well as a great love of the place. So, as I have got the time, I have been contacting Chief Executives, Councillors, MP, Local Press and completed a local Radio interview, in an effort to increase general opposition.

This is being achieved and a Public Meeting has been organised for Saturday, when hopefully there will be a big turnout of residents.

Pay and Display will kill the village as well as the Pub, but the idiots in grey suits can't seem to appreciate this.

The village will become a 'drive through'. Nobody is going to park and pay in order to go across the road to buy a packet of 'fags' or an item from the Chemist, they will just continue to the next town or a Superstore!

So the fight continues and the Morgan sits disconsolately in the garage.

Will write soon,

Kindest regards,

Chris 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Forgot to mention......

.......that on the way back from the factory, where my new windscreen had been fitted, we were travelling for the second half of the journey in pouring rain with the hood up.

It was on one occasion when I turned on the washers to clear the screen, that I noticed that the left hand nozzle wasn't working. To our joint horror we realised that each time I had done this, water poured from the washer bottle on to the transmission tunnel and carpet!

Needless to say, we endured a dirty windscreen until we reached home.

The factory were phoned, firstly to thank them for the excellent service we had received, but also to mention the fact that the washer pipe had come adrift. Mark, the Service and Repair Manager was most apologetic and said that a new factory upgrade existed which he would forward to Life's, my dealer in Southport, and they would fit the item FREE of charge.

Yesterday we visited Life's, great fun as usual, and had the new pipe and clips fitted which should ensure that the problem will never arise again.

Super service from the Morgan.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Moving forward!!

How do these phrases originate? Who is the twit that thought of this one?

I am sure all my UK visitors will have heard this frequently......ie., 'moving forward we envisage a massive increase in sales', why not simply, 'we envisage a massive increase in sales!'

As you all consider and assimilate this, bear in mind that there is also an alternative now in common use and that is, 'going forward', not to be confused with the above mentioned form, but equally as pointless!

Both are used extensively now, in various contexts, and they are, for the most part, totally unnecessary.

The media have to be held solely responsible I suppose, as it needs just one berk to use it on the telly and the whole illiterarti are using the phrase to supposedly enrich their conversation and reporting.

When will it be included in the Oxford English Dictionary and indeed what will the definition of the phrase be when that great day arrives,....'Opposite of moving or going backwards' I suppose!?

These are the sort of issues that trouble Morganistas as they sit miserably indoors, racing raindrops down the windows, as the heavens open once again on this great country of ours!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

They just don't get it!

You know, I totally agree with the views expressed by my chum Dennis in my previous post.

The other day I watched a video of an 'Auto Express' motoring journalist doing a comparative road test of  the new Porsche 911 and the new Morgan Plus 8.

At the outset I felt that it was a pointless exercise because the two cars cater for two entirely different sorts of animal.

If you want brute power with a very high level of comfort then you would choose the Porsche. Conversely, if you want brute power but in a traditional 1930's ish form then the Morgan is for you. The two are quite incomparable it seems to me. I watched the video anyway, just to drool over the Morgan but got increasingly agitated as the criticisms of the Mog started to be made.

Pointing out that the traditional Morgan is cramped with limited storage capacity, its sidescreens rattle and it leaks is manna from heaven to a Morgan enthusiast, for that is what Morgan driving is all about, even at £85000. The beautiful style, the quintessentially English looks and the fact that you are driving a car that mirrors designs of years ago, but without the inherent unreliability of those early cars, attracts me and other owners, giving pleasure to the thousands of people who watch as we drive by.

People don't look twice at a Porsche, Ferrari or Aston Martin, but by golly they look twice at me and that is nothing to do with my George Clooney good looks!

These motoring pundits just don't seem to get it!

'Letter from Welshpool'

Try as I might, I can't get my head around the Librands replacement suspension for traditional Morgans and to the power-assisted steering system advertised by Classic Driving Development.  It begs the question, can a Morgan which has been so drastically altered from the original specification still be accepted as a 'proper' Morgan??!!

Let me make it perfectly clear that my comments are in no way intended as a criticism of those companies or their products.   The opinions expressed here are mine, and mine alone

Dennis driving his 4/4
For £6,000, Librands will remove the original front suspension and replace it with something completely different which gives a more comfortable ride.  For £3,000, Classic Driving Development will fit power-assisted steering.

Now it so happens I do have £9,000 available, though it is doubtful my wife would agree to spend that amount on modifying our 58-reg 4/4.  But even if she did, I would not want the work carried out.

Anyone who purchases a Morgan must know what they are letting themselves in for - the bone-shaking ride and (at least compared to a tin top) - the relatively heavy low-speed steering being just two items. They come with the territory, like it or not.  And if you don't like, or can't deal with it, then maybe you shouldn't buy one!

It is sometimes said that if God had intended us to fly he would have given us wings.  Likewise, perhaps if God had intended Morgans to float along effortlessly, and be steered by using one's little finger, he would have told Peter Morgan to make the relevant developments at the factory.

Part of the Morgan charm is that the cars are an anachronism, a throw-back to the thirties.  What other car looks old as soon as it begins life, and feels old in the suspension department and driving experience, yet is blessed with the latest technology under the bonnet?  I love the idea I am driving what is basically a no frills pre-war car, but one which is totally practical in today's traffic conditions.  Thus I am more than happy to put up with any perceived drawbacks.

Let me say once again that I am not being critical of Librands or CDD.  We know from items in Miscellany that the former product does exactly what it says on the tin, and I am sure the same applies to the CDD power steering system.  But is a Morgan fitted with one or both still a Morgan in the true sense of the word?  For me, the answer is no.

If you want a boulevard ride, and all mod cons, then why not purchase a Mazda MX-5, or perhaps a Jaguar/Audi/Renault/Vauxhall etc convertible?  You can't eat your cake and have it (but note you can have your cake and eat it - think about that!) 

I wonder how the modifications will affect resale values.  It is interesting to note that CDD mention the power steering system can be removed, leaving no evidence!

Dennis Duggan

Malvern Ho!

The sun shines on the righteous so they say and it certainly shone brightly for our journey to the factory last Monday, so we must have done something right!

After a brief and noisy drive on the M6 and M56 we joined the A49 south of Warrington and headed south on a route that would take us through Cheshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and the Welsh Marches to Malvern.

Picnic lunch on the A49
The A49 is a road that always brings back countless memories of the 12 hour drive completed by my father, taking his family on their annual holiday to Devon, in the days before the motorways.

Our journey on Monday coincided with a similar trip that my email chum Dennis Duggan was making, from his home in Welshpool, to collect his 4/4 that had been at the factory having work done. We calculated that we might see each other en route as he travelled north and we moved southwards, the approximate meeting point likely to be Church Stretton.

As we approached the place, I spotted a sign to a village 2.5 miles away, where my youngest sister has bought a cottage that is being renovated and I thought that a small detour to see it could be made without jeopardising our chance of spotting Dennis. Little did I realise that clearly the distance shown was in 'Shropshire miles' and it turned out that our detour had probably taken half an hour and by the time we rejoined the A49, we had sadly missed Dennis, much to the consternation of my wife who felt that I had let him down.

'Link Lodge' a short walk from the factory.

Finally arriving at the lovely 'Link Lodge', http://www.linklodge.co.uk , our overnight accommodation in Pickersleigh Road, at around 2.30, I decided to drop the car off at the factory early for its windscreen replacement, rather than the scheduled time of 8am on the Tuesday morning, thinking that instead of having to rise at 7am on Tuesday I could enjoy a more leisurely awakening.


Towards the Malverns
On our way there we saw a silver Morgan AeroMax coming in the other direction that flashed its headlights at us. As we drew closer it was no other than Charles Morgan and as I mentioned to the delightful young lady in Service Reception, it is not everyone who has had the pleasure of being 'flashed' by Mr Morgan!!!

In the evening we enjoyed a first class meal and excellent ale at the nearby 'Nags Head' http://www.nagsheadmalvern.co.uk 

Following a lovely nights sleep, and a good chat with our host Peter over a hearty breakfast we collected a newspaper, fully expecting to spend a couple of hours in the Visitor Centre, and made our way there, settling ourselves in for the wait. Always pleasant when surrounded by Morgan paraphernalia.

In the Visitor Centre at the factory
We had hardly had time to gather our breath when we were informed by the receptionist that the car was ready, they had obviously begun the three hour job after we had left it with them on Monday. This was great news because it meant that we could make a relatively early start home.

The first part of the journey was completed with the top down, but rain for the rest of the trip caused the hood to be raised., not only that but we had to make a large detour after we had joined the M6, along the M62 and on to the M61 up to Preston and then home.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

69 years to heaven!....

....as Dylan Thomas would say.

How the heck have I reached this age?

It only seems like yesterday that I was playing as a boy with my Dinky Toys and Hornby Dublo model railway, fishing and collecting frog spawn from the local ponds, building balsa wood aircraft, making bows and arrows, dashing around on the fabulous trolley that my father built for me, an item that perhaps led to my interest in classic cars.

Me, probably 1950 in Devon, sitting on Berry Head, Brixham gazing over Torbay.
Days that seemed to be endlessly filled with sunshine, playing in the fields that have now, along with the ponds, been consumed by building development, bike rides over quite long distances, now impossible due to the density of traffic and then later playing 'kiss chase', and that first kiss from a girl that I still meet in the village, who has been reminded frequently of that blissful moment that she had completely forgotten!

School-days, smoking fags behind the bike sheds, five for a shilling I seem to recall, and then the transition to pipe smoking at about the age of eighteen, the first job as a Junior at a local bank, to be followed by an interesting and varied career that has at least allowed me to support a lovely family, fairly comfortably.

Many, many blessings, but it doesn't seem to have taken long to reach today!

Anyway, Happy Birthday me!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Sizergh Castle, Cumbria

How can the British Meteorological Office get it so wrong?

For the first half hour of our drive, the forecast was absolutely as we expected, a classic frosty autumn day with full sun and blue sky that was due to last, but as we approached Lancaster the clouds started to gather and the temperature dropped even further.

Autumn colour in Sizergh parkland, with the castle in the background
With both of us dressed as if we were on our way to join Ranulph Fiennes' next expedition to the Antarctic, we were tempted, even though the heater was going full blast and we were quite warm, to cut short our journey and stop for refreshment at a location a little closer to home.

However, being the plucky souls that we are, we were determined to complete the trip regardless and arrived at Sizergh, only to notice that on a Friday the house is closed! On these visits we should always check on Natinal Trust opening times, but we never learn. http://nationaltrust.org.uk/sizergh/

Main entrance
The good news was that most of the gardens were open and what is more, the sun was making a valiant effort to fulfil the Met. Office's promise and enriching the splendid autumn colours in the gardens.

The Deincourt family had owned the land here since the 1170s and on the marriage of Elizabeth Deincourt to Sir William de Stirkeland in 1239, the estate passed into the hands of what became the Strickland family, who owned it until it was gifted to the National Trust in 1950. The Strickland family still live at the Castle.

Catherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII and a relative of the Stricklands, is thought to have lived here after her first husband died in 1533. Catherine's second husband, Lord Latymer, was kin to the dowager Lady Strickland.

One of the lakes
The estate covers 647 hectares (1,600 acres), in the midst of which is a garden including two lakes as well as an award-winning rock garden. The estate dates from 1336, when a grant from Edward III allowed Sir Walter Strickland to enclose the land around Sizergh as his exclusive park. The rock garden is the largest limestone rock garden belonging to the National Trust and includes part of the National Collection of hardy ferns.

Leaving for home
After taking a number of photographs in the gardens, we visited the restaurant (open to non-members), each consuming a couple of scones with lashings of butter and rasberry jam and washed down with a welcome cup of tea, to fortify us for, what proved to be, a very fast journey home.
Lovely Autumn colour
This photo was taken when we visited during the summer of  2006 (pre-Morgan)

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Windscreen number two!!

It was a couple of years ago that my original windscreen was smashed by a flying projectile of some sort, whether it was a stone or a bolt thrown by an envious pedestrian I don't know, but a replacement was ordered and fitted with the blessing of my insurance company. Total cost for my little heated windscreen, around £800!!

So it was with horror that some weeks ago, removing my sun-visors for attention, that one of the four lugs broke away from the inside of the top of the windscreen frame, leaving a very unsightly hole. Clearly, not a situation that I could live with and also not satisfactory from the Company's point of view, who would not appreciate owners flaunting their vehicles about with bits missing!

The hole on the inside of the frame
Anyway, I considered the situation and decided that I could not claim for this from my insurance company and so approached the company by letter.

They were appalled that this should have happened, asserting that "those lugs just should not break off and we'll be delighted to replace the screen for you".

This has been arranged for the 6th November which means that we will be driving down on the 5th and staying overnight, just down the road from the factory at the Link Lodge, http://www.linklodge.co.uk .

The offending lug.
In the evening I have booked a table at The Nags Head, http://www.nagsheadmalvern.co.uk and then, the following morning, out of bed, straight down to the factory for 8am and then saunter back for breakfast. That's the idea anyway.


Obviously while we are there a visit to the factory must take place, just how enthusiastic 'er indoors is about this is open to conjecture! But I'm sure that she won't mind trecking around for the third time!


In the meantime I've just been out to the garage to check tyre pressures prior to a planned trip tomorrow to Sizergh Castle, near Kendal in Cumbria. The weather forecast says that it is going to be a frosty winter's day, with wall to wall sunshine, so we are going to have to wrap up well!
 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Job done!

My wife and I have always kept a fire extinguisher in every car that we have owned and the Morgan is no exception.

However, ever since we bought the Morgan, the extinguisher has been loose on the back shelf and it occurred to me that this could present a major hazard should something 'orrible happen. The prospect of the pilot or indeed the navigator getting bashed on the back of the head with a fire extinguisher at the same time as impacting with a windscreen did not appeal, so something had to be done.

Straps shortened and slots cut
I devised a cunning plan that would utilise Velcro straps that I had purchased from Halfords, although a big range is available on the following website,  http://www.mpdhookandloop.com

Having cleared the back shelf of the first aid kit, warning triangle, high visibility vests, travel rug, side screen cover and, wait for it, toilet roll, I assessed where a good position for the said device might be and marked the plywood rear shelf before removing it.

Tape threaded through base

This was then carried to my work bench where two slits, 25mm wide to accommodate the width of the tape, were cut with a jigsaw. Always rather daunting when you're potentially harming one you love!

Back into the garage I went and temporarily refitted the shelf and then, carefully folding the carpet back and using a 'Stanley' knife, cut two slits in the carpet from behind, to line up with the slots in the plywood base.

It was clear that to make a neat job the Velcro straps would have to be shortened, so after much physical contortion, leaning into the restricted confines of the luggage area, I worked out where to make the cut in the tape. I was amazed to discover whilst doing this, that the old wracked body was not as lithe and bonny as it used to be, indeed I was completely knackered!!

Preparing to receive extinguisher

Having partially recovered, I cut the tape to size and glued the ends to the tape with 'Araldite Rapid' glue and put a staple in each for good measure.

With a pounding heart and fairly quivering with excitement I prepared to take the final steps that would lead to the successful resolution of the problem of my loose fire extinguisher!

Finished job! Enabling a very quick release should it be necessary

Unfortunately this demanded yet more bending and stretching in order to tease the straps through both plywood and carpet, but it was finally achieved and after fitting my extinguisher in place I stood back and, never one to deny himself a bit of self-congratulation, thought that it was not a bad job at all and a modification that could lead to national recognition nay international recognition!!!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Over the hills and far away...

It was a gorgeous early Autumn day as my wife, our little grandson Oscar and me, fed the ducks in Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa in Warwickshire. This has been a regular ritual since my youngest daughter's children were born and became old enough to cob half a loaf at a passing Mallard!

The bag of bread being exhausted we sauntered back to the car where coats were shed and thrown on to the back seat, Oscar strapped into his seat and off we drove to my daughter's home for a welcome cuppa.

A brief stop in Hornby
It was the next day when I found to my horror that my beloved flat cap, vital for modern classic Morgan motoring, was missing. Clearly, it had fallen out of the car as I was ensuring that my grandson was strapped in and safe.

 Now I'm not one to get over excited, as my wife will confirm, but this was an extremely serious occasion, expletives poured from my mouth, the old pacemaker was on the blink and I was smitten by bouts of dizziness. Your hero was not a happy man.

After gathering my thoughts and suffering outrageous criticism from madam for being a wimp, I sat down and considered for a moment. This would mean another trip in the Morgan to Hawes in Yorkshire to replace my trusty and valuable titfer.....yippee!

Coffee stop near Ingleton
On our return home I studied the weather forecast and decided on the day for our drive. What a day it turned out to be!

Clear blue sky, the sun rising through the early mist, the Morgan's engine sounding wonderful and the view along that long bonnet to the road ahead, what more could a man or woman desire?

Travelling north we left the A6 and turned in an easterly direction on the little road that crosses the moors to the east of Lancaster through Quernmore to Caton where we joined the A683/A687 to Ingleton where we stopped for a welcome coffee in the shadow of Ingleborough Hill.

The Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle Railway
It was then a fantastic drive across the moors on the B6255 to Hawes, stopping on the way to photograph the wonderful Ribblehead viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle railway line.

Market day is busy in any town, but the congestion in Hawes was exacerbated by a massive lorry carrying aggregates that had broken down in the High Street, with two completely wrecked wheels and tyres.



Market Day in Hawes,Yorkshire
The main purpose of our visit was not forgotten and we made our way to the Market Place and the shop of 'Whites of Wensleydale', my cap supplier!


It was with immense satisfaction that this friendly purveyor of country clothing of the highest quality was able to produce an excellent example of the very style of cap I desired and what is more in the large size that my cranium demanded. For let it be known that I have a very large head, that is however sadly lacking in the grey matter that it's size would normally indicate!
Homeward bound, the dark mass of Ingleborough in the distance

Delighted, and with a pair of fine corduroy trousers purchased as well as the cap, we stepped into the busy street where we waited for a couple of dear friends to join us from Finsthwaite in Cumbria. A couple of hours later after a simple pub lunch, (we couldn't afford anything more lavish after my exorbitant expenditure), we set off home by the same route into the late afternoon sunshine.

Sometimes it pays to lose your titfer!

An unusual customer!!



Saturday, 13 October 2012

Sunny Singleton

The weather was good and a drive in the Morgan was overdue due to the overwhelming domestic responsibilities placed upon me by 'her indoors', so while she wasn't looking I nipped out for a spin.

It was good to get out again and the short chosen route took me first to a neighbouring village that was noted in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Singltun', since 1286 it has been known as Singleton, and a very pleasant little place it is.

The lych-gate at St Anne's Church
A lych-gate is a roofed entrance to a churchyard where a coffin awaits the clergyman's arrival

It is said, by whom goodness only knows, to have been the residence of Mag Shelton, a famous witch.
"The cows of her neighbours were constantly milked by her, the pitcher in which she conveyed the milk, when stolen, walking before her in the shape of a goose". A suspicious neighbour, once struck the 'goose' and the pitcher was broken, the milk flowing out.

A notable feature as you drive through the village is the old fire-engine station which had a volunteer brigade to man it when it was operational. It is now an electricity substation, but an extremely pretty one.

The fire-engine station, now an electricity substation

After visiting Singleton I had a very exhilarating drive towards Wrea Green which was brought to an untimely end by the appearance of a flood on the road ahead of me. Yes, I could have driven through it, but you know how it is, why get the car dirty when there is no real need to do so? So, turning around I made my way home at a lively speed along the relatively quiet country roads.

It did me good and the car will have benefitted as well.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Leather conservation, car seats specifically.

I was reading that first class magazine, 'The Automobile', a couple of days ago which contained this extremely interesting article that is relevant to all Morgan owners whose cars have leather seating.

It followed a visit to the Leather Conservation Centre in Northampton, "http://www.leatherconservation.org" where the magazine's journalist met Yvette Fletcher, the Head Conservator. The main purpose was to find out the service that they offer to people with old cars.

At this point I will quote what was said in the article.

"The biggest revelation comes when Yvette debunks the old myth that old leather needs feeding. 'You can't feed leather,' she says,' it's dead'. Apparently, the biggest enemy to leather conservation is, ironically, the dressings many of us are guilty of applying in the mistaken belief we are helping. 'Leather is made of very short fibres, all intertwined in a 3D matrix. Unlike textile, which has long weft and warp threads, they're very short. And if leather is over-oiled, the fibres tend to slide apart.'

Dressings can discolour leather by darkening it, and can encourage pests, which seem to like them. 'And when you come to conserve leather, a dressing can impede your work because adhesives don't stick so well.'

Leather is a very particular material. It's properties are dictated by its moisture content and its fat content, both of which have an optimum level. Ideally, it likes a high humidity of roughly 50-55%. But while the moisture content will fluctuate, depending on the environment, and is flexible, the fat content is not. The fat content is not coming out, so it's a mistake to think that it needs supplementing. 'Take the example of saddles and boots,' says Yvette, 'If you've been out riding and got sweaty and dirty, you have to wash your tack and, every time you will wash away some of the fat. But with a car its different. The leather doesn't get wet very often, so it doesn't need new fat. It's a mistake to add fat, as it will then have too much.'

The problem of over-waxing leather tends to be the appearance of lots of little splits, as the fibres come apart. Yvette says that older leathers were made to be much firmer, while new leather is made to be soft. People think their old leather needs a dressing or feed to make it soft and flexible, whereas in fact it would never have been soft in the first place.'

FOOD FOR THOUGHT EH!.........no more 'feeding' of leather in either the Morgan or Volvo for me.

No, I haven't shed this mortal coil !......

I've just been extremely busy.

Since my last scribble we've been on holiday to Croatia and 'er indoors' has been driving me hard with a series of decorating adventures.

So, to begin with the holiday, we joined a group of 'Saga louts' on a 10 day sojourn in Croatia. This was something totally new to us, never having been on an escorted trip before. We have always been independent travellers, making our own arrangements and generally trying desperately to avoid any element of intense socialising during our holidays.

Dubrovnik
In fact, the whole idea of travelling with Saga was deliberated long and hard, for it seemed to me, that although Saga, purports to cater for the over 50's, one secretly suspects it is used mostly by the extremely old, who rely largely on Zimmer frames as a means of propulsion. For the young and beautiful, like my lovely wife and me, this decision could almost have an element of 'chucking the towel in', at the ridiculously young ages of 67 and 68 respectively!

It was certainly true that a number of our friends were waiting expectantly for our report at the end of the trip, without wishing to bravely go forth into the breach, as we were doing.

Great fun was had, sitting at Gatwick airport, trying to guess which of the passing travellers were on our package, in fact it was quite hysterical, caused mainly by nervous exhaustion brought on by our decision.

Korcula harbour at dawn
As it turned out, we were not the oldest on the trip and neither were we the youngest. They were a really pleasant mixed bunch of people who we enjoyed being with, well most of the time anyway.

We visited Dubrovnik and the islands of Korcula and Brac, also signing up for a day excursion to the old town of Split. What a beautiful area it is and we enjoyed fantastic weather throughout the whole holiday.

No worries with driving, no worries about luggage, just plonked on a coach and with the services of an excellent guide, it wasn't bad at all and we would certainly go on an escorted tour again, but perhaps not yet.
Bol on the island of Brac
In the meantime we'll continue to organise our own holidays and transport, either in our Volvo or the Morgan.

As far as the decorating goes, with three rooms completed I've still got a bedroom to do, which I hope will be the last, in this current programme to preserve our crumbling pile! However, it has to be said that once I get started I do find the process quite therapeutic, although it does preclude other pursuits, like going for a spin in the Mog.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Window of Opportunity!

You've got to act quickly when you spot sun and blue sky in this great country of ours! The weather in the past few days has been dreadful, at least in this part of the country, mirroring the stuff we've had to endure all summer and so with a dramatic improvement at lunchtime, I grabbed the chance.

Off came the cover, the battery charger, hood and sidescreens, on went my summer 'ratting' cap, complete with a Morgan lanyard and into the glorious sunshine I went.

Facing east, looking towards the distant fells
With the fan assembly fixed and bearing in mind the work I had done under the bonnet with cable ties, anchoring anything that could possibly make any sort of noise, I was expecting a quiet, sublime trip in the little beast and so it was. The run to Fleetwood, my destination, was completed quietly, apart from the satisfying burble from the exhaust and the cheers from adoring crowds lining the route....where I get these fantasies from I don't know!

Fleetwood, some believe, was the ancient Roman harbour of Portus Setantiorum at the mouth of the River Wyre. The land on which it stands was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as the 'wapentake or hundred of Amounderness'.

The RNLI Station and Knott End on Sea across the Wyre
Anyway, not only was it the birthplace of my lovely lady wife, but Peter Hesketh who also breathed his first breath there, was responsible for putting the town, named after his ancestor Edmund Fleetwood, on the map.

The railway line and station was opened on the 15th July 1840 and this opened the way for Fleetwood to, not only become a resort and tourist destination, offering steamer trips to the Isle of Man, Ireland and Ardrossan, but also a major fishing port, with access for its fish via the railway to markets throughout the country.

Many of the original Regency buildings from that period, of which the 'North Euston Hotel' is one, still remain in the town. Incidentally that Hotel was host to the wedding reception of himself and his lovely wife in 1966.

The North Euston Hotel and Lighthouse
My wife and I have great affection for the old place, which now plays second fiddle as a resort to Blackpool down the coast, has lost the revenue from shipping, including the Isle of Man steamers and of course its fishing industry has been decimated.

My first job was at the District Bank, Fleetwood (now part of National Westminster) at their branch on Wyre Dock, when the fishing industry was buoyant. Lunchtimes were spent by me looking at all the Icelandic fishing trawlers and occasionally gratefully receiving little parcels of fish from the fish merchants who were our customers and worked just 50 yards away from the bank....happy days!  

The Portakabin next to the large building, formerly the 'Iago Steam Trawler Co.,
was the site of the District Bank, Wyre Dock. The mast of a trawler can
be seen above it.
The tide was in today and the views were as wonderful as ever, across the Wyre to the distant fells and the Lake District,  views that Blackpool can only dream of.

I lingered awhile, nattering to a nice lady who wanted to know all about the car and then made my way to have a look at what was the location of the bank branch where I was first employed, then making my way home, in at times a blistering pace, with the warm wind blowing through the last remaining silver strands of my hair.
Ferry across the Wyre, with a recent memorial to the lost workers and crew of a crashed helicopter employed in Gas Rig duties.



Sunday, 12 August 2012

Morgan magic!

Oh sod the fan! The problem is going to be sorted, so just let's enjoy this great drive in glorious sunshine around the River Ribble estuary from home to Life's Motors in Southport.

The 'Shrine'


That was my attitude yesterday morning and the prospect of feasting my eyes on a wide selection of the little beasts was heightening my enthusiasm. What is the collective noun in relation to Morgans anyway?

Could it be a muster, a medley or perhaps, and possibly very appropriately, in view of the title of the  MSCC magazine,  a miscellany of Morgans!'






Lord Street, Southport, Lancashire
It's always a pleasure visiting Southport, a lovely town with an excellent shopping centre and more importantly, it is the home of the 'shrine', a veritable cornucopia for Morgan enthusiasts.



Wayfarers Shopping Arcade
Although our visits inevitably mean parting with well earned dosh, either on the Morgan or on my navigator who enjoys whiling away her time supporting the local departmental stores, they are a friendly bunch of people who work at the dealership and we always have a good laugh when we are there.

Where's the sea?


There was an interesting collection of cars in stock including a 2006 V6 Roadster that had a custom made luggage box fitted. It is removable and the original luggage rack can then be easily re-fitted, but an interesting feature that apparently cost about £2000 to produce!


After taking a few photos, we stepped out into the metropolis that is Southport and enjoyed a very pleasant couple of hours browsing the shops and strolling on the promenade, vainly searching for the sea which at low tide in Southport disappears to the far horizon.

Job done!
The mobile rang informing us that the car was ready and we made our way back.


As far as I can understand, the fan assembly is plastic and all the retaining lugs molded into the unit failed. The unit has now been upgraded with a predominantly metal frame to hold the unit securely in place and I do not expect any further problems. However, if you own a Mog of 2008ish vintage it might be worth checking that the fan unit is still connected to the back of the radiator!!!



New upgrade fitted


The upgrade prompted me to have a much speedier drive home, knowing that nothing was likely to drop off!

By the way, I am assured that the application of silicon in the appropriate places has ensured that when I emerge from the car, after a drive in the wet, I shall now have no need to make efforts to conceal one saturated trouser leg, fearing that I could mistakenly be accused of incontinence!!! 

At my age you've got to be very careful!







Friday, 10 August 2012

Morgan 'clatter-search' success!

Well it has been a success, in the sense that I have found the cause of the dreadful 'clattering' sounds heard both yesterday and on our Brittany trip.

After crawling around under the car for about 10 minutes, shaking everything in sight, the culprit was found.

Flopping around without any means of support was the fan unit, immediately behind the radiator. Frankly, I am staggered that after only 18,800 miles, over 4+ years, the fixing lugs, two at the top, that are screwed in and two at the bottom, have severed under normal driving conditions! No untoward damage has ever been sustained by the car, thank goodness, so nothing whatsoever has happened that might have caused these to sheer, except poor quality materials/manufacture. No excuse for this whatsoever and I just hope the damn thing is guaranteed!!!! Some hope!

Thank goodness I didn't find the cause while we were abroad, otherwise my navigator would have been worrying the whole time.

Anyway, we're driving into Life's in Southport tomorrow and they will hopefully fix it.

While I was on the phone fixing the appointment, I mentioned the leak, the one that drenches the shin on my accelerator leg. Fortunately, they know how to cure the problem which apparently arises from a 'stupid', their words not mine, horizontally fixed rubber gromit. The problem is solved by the application of copious amounts of silicon over the offending item!

The mention of silicon brings to mind another use for the spray version of the stuff which I have recently started using on the padded bits on the inside of the sidescreens. It seems to totally eradicate the annoying chafing noises that eminate from the screens and I hope will also lessen the wear on the paintwork where these places touch the body.

However, since I have found traces of paint on the inside of the screens after removal, and just as a precaution, I have contacted the factory about the desirability of using silicon on a water based paint system, which mine is ie 2008 4/4.
I'll keep you posted with their response.

Happy days!!!!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

4/4 to Gawthorpe Hall

The weather forecast was excellent so another drive was planned that would take us along fell roads bordering the valley of the River Ribble, eventually turning south to Padiham and our target for the day, Gawthorpe Hall.

The River Ribble with Pendle Hill in the background



We made a quick stop at a splendid little shop in the village of Great Eccleston to pick up a couple of their excellent pork pies to sustain us and then wound our way through the Fylde, across the A6 and into the fells.








Fly fishing on the Ribble
The Morgan was performing well apart from a clattering noise that only occurred as we passed over rough road surfaces. It was a noise that I had heard in Brittany two weeks before and appeared to eminate from the offside suspension area. No cause for alarm as nothing had dropped off, but obviously something that I would try and track down when the car was back in its garage!

What a lovely valley this is, rich verdant countryside and charming villages, wonderful Morgan country.


Stonyhurst College
 We made a detour to see and to take a photograph of Stonyhurst College one of whose pupils was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who created the character 'Sherlock Holmes' and used Stonyhurst as the setting for his book, 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'.


J.R.R.Tolkien was a frequent visitor there between 1942 and 1947 and wrote part of the 'Lord of the Rings' in a classroom on the upper gallery of the college. He would take regular walks around the area with his son Michael who taught classics there in the 60's and 70's. It is said that Tolkien gained a lot of inspiration from the surrounding countryside and nearby Pendle Hill, maybe for the Middle Earths Misty Mountains or the Lonely Mountain.


The main drive to Stonyhurst College

Whalley, on the River Ribble is a delightful place where I should have stopped to take some photographs, but the prospect of a morning coffee and a cake in the National Trust cafe at Gawthorpe Hall beckoned.


The Hall is a Grade1 listed building and is described as "an Elizabethan gem in the heart of industrial Lancashire", situated on the banks of the River Calder.



I must say that we were less than impressed, there were no car park signs (more later), the grounds were somewhat unkempt, the cafe was far from impeccable and expensive, £7+ for two coffees and two pieces of cake!

 


Gawthorpe Hall
The very nature of the decor in the house made it rather a gloomy experience and we decided not to linger too long but make our way into the fells to enjoy the 'gastronomic extravaganza' that we had purchased at the pie shop! 

On our way out we noticed two NT workmen erecting a car park sign. They said that the previous one had been vandalised recently, not surprising when we learned that the grounds of the House are open freely to the public 24/7!!

This is a result of the property being held in partnership between the National Trust and Lancashire County Council. Say no more, it certainly explains all the shortfalls in presentation and quality elsewhere. Very, very sad.

We left very carefully, as I had grounded the car on one of the LCC's speed humps on the way in, although I always travel at 1mph over the blasted things.

The pies were eaten by the wayside, beneath 'Parlick', a fell in the Bleasdales and then we made our way, clattering a good deal on the appalling roads.

The pies were consumed in the shadow of 'Parlick' one of the Bleasdale Fells

I know and am proud that we have done so well in the Olympics and I think that it might have been a useful PR exercise, albeit perhaps only for London and the South of the country, but I do wonder when funds are going to be made available for the repair of all Britain's roads!!!

When I had laid the machine to rest I made a quick telephone call to Life's in Southport, who suggested that I jack the car up and bash/shake a variety of things in order to isolate the clatter.

In fact, on returning to the garage after the call, I think that I have already identified two likely candidates and will tomorrow buy some cable ties and investigate a part of the cooling system that appears to be knocking on the radiator under some conditions. The car will also be jacked up and everything shaken!!!!

One of the enduring joys of Morgan ownership!

This was a good shot I think.