Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A Winters Tale.

What a glorious winters day, 2 degrees and sunny, far removed from yesterday, a date that lived up to its reputation, according to a survey, as being the most depressing in the calendar!

Is it just me that wonders who on earth conducts all these sometimes trivial surveys, there seems to be one concocted every day, on the basis that they are enriching the population with profound new knowledge, often contradictory, about just about every aspect of life? Perhaps more importantly, who the heck is paying the individuals tasked with the job of producing them ? In some instances, maybe you and me methinks!

Looking north to the snow clad Lakeland hills (Wartime Mine in background)
Anyway, I won't get on to politics and the current state of the country, because apart from probably getting locked up, I will pursue my normal practice of relating my feelings ad nauseum to my long suffering wife, usually across the breakfast table, while listening to Radio 4 and reading the Saturday edition of the 'Telegraph'.

Fleetwoods smaller lighthouse on the right, the large one is more inland.
No, I will merely state that 'her indoors' and I have made the most of today, firstly with a brisk, long walk on the promenade at Cleveleys this morning,  followed by a rather splendid drive in the Morgan this afternoon, to Fleetwood and the Wyre Estuary Park.

Wyre Estuary Park looking north towards Lakeland
I rest a lot easier in the winter when I know that the car has been given a worthwhile run, there is nothing worse for a car than keeping it locked away in a garage.

Erratum:  I now understand that 'Blue Monday' is in fact the 21st January and not on the date suggested above!! At least according to the Daily Telegraph!

Monday, 14 January 2013


The 'Grim Reaper' has once more struck the aquatic world in Warwick, with the untimely death of 'Cranberry', a relatively new occupant in the aquarium at my daughter's home.

What is more, her chum 'Barnacle', purchased at the same time as 'Cranberry', is showing symptoms likely to result in a similar fate.

You can guess the name of the sole remaining healthy fish?.......'WILSON'!

Evidence that would lay the blame for these heinous crimes at his feet is sadly only circumstantial, but if he is truly the perpetrator, what method is he using to murder his 'bowlmates'. 

Is he excreting some form of poison from his deformed body, has he some form of hallucinatory power that encourages the victims to become suicidal or is he chasing them to death? Without placing the bowl under 24 hour surveillance or conducting scientific tests, perhaps we'll never know.

So 'Wilson' lives on, although I do have a feeling that he will shortly end up in confinement on the window ledge of my daughter's kitchen!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Remember 'Wilson'? (Post 19/5/12)

.......well he's still alive and not only that, crippled though he might be, he has seen off another batch of fishy friends at my daughter's home.

My son-in-law believes that he is inherently evil and should be done away with, having murdered countless bowl-mates far prettier than him.

Bearing in mind that he does resemble the aquatic version of 'Quasimodo', perhaps that is the root cause of his malaise, a sort of violent form of sour grapes, meted out on others far more beautiful. Thinking about it, we don't even know whether or not he's a male, he might be a deranged female! Regardless of the sex, the killing has continued, over a period that must be now approaching four years.


It is difficult to believe that the new residents, introduced over this lengthy period from different suppliers, were all infected by a fatal disease. If so, why didn't our friend catch it? No, I'm afraid the finger of blame points fairly and squarely on Wilson, the fish from hell!

Hats off though to my son-in-law, who, despite this murderous history, has overcome his natural urge to take the little bugger outside and drop a brick on him, and has purchased another two beautiful goldfish to enhance the fishbowl or perhaps coliseum might be a more appropriate name, given the slaughter that frequently ensues.

At present all is well, at least it was last week when we were at their home, but I must say that even as we sat there watching telly, it was obvious that the little sod was getting somewhat territorial, (difficult to do in a goldfish bowl) and clear that the two new residents had a look of trepidation in their eyes as Wilson chased them remorselessly.

I shall of course keep you posted!

Beat last year!.....

....by a day, as it was the 6th January 2012 when I had my first drive of the new year.

So, Happy New Year to all my readers and I hope that, if you are owners of one of these delightful little beasts that you enjoy every minute of it during the coming twelve months. If you are not in the happy position of owning  a Morgan yet, just look forward to the prospect, or, if funds permit, get down to the nearest dealer and buy one!

The Cartford Inn
Roads dry, sun trying hard to emerge from banks of cloud, the sound of a Morgan engine warming-up, the quickening heart rate of its owner as the throttle was opened and then the pounding excitement as 'Nellie' blasted into 2013! Oh, what joy!

All good stuff, but there's no question about it, I shall have to lose a few pounds after the excesses of the festive season, as my entry into the car was somewhat less than gracious....and the exit was, well!!!!

It was a fairly short, fast, exhilarating drive, long enough to get the engine thoroughly warm and ensuring that everything was working as it should.

Jouneys end on this occasion was the Cartford Inn, Great Eccleston,  http:///www.thecartfordinn.co.uk a splendid hostellry by the River Wyre and the toll bridge of the same name, chosen, not because I sought refreshment, but because I thought that it might be a photogenic backdrop for the car.

Rain is once more forecast for the next couple of days but with rising pressure, temperatures are due to fall in the middle of next week possibly heralding dry, frosty conditions, ideal for a longer winters drive.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Leather Conservation Part 2

Following, an article about leather care, that I had spotted in 'The Automobile' magazine and published in a post to my blog in July, I had a couple of readers querying the validity of certain aspects of it.

As a result, I contacted the Head of Conservation at the Leather Conservation Centre in Northampton for further clarification of the points she had raised in her article.

This is a copy of her reply:-

Thank you for your email and I am pleased that you found the article informative.

There is, as you say, a lot of confusion regarding “feeding” leather.  One of the big problems is that generally  manufacturers and suppliers of such dressings are always keen to tell customers to use it and use it regularly with no regard as to the leather.   

My standard “rant” is as follows -

“Generally we do not recommend using leather dressings because we find that, apart from being irreversible, they can cause damage to the leather.  This is particularly the case if too much is used or used too often. The long term effects of over-oiling leather are that oils and fats can encourage bio-deterioration, spue (white residue on the leather), oxidise and stiffen the leather, discolour (ie darken) and stain, leave a sticky surface and wick onto nearby material, soften the original finishes and decoration, attract dust and impede future conservation treatments. It can also lead to splits in the leather where the fibres slide apart. The solvents in dressings can also affect surface finishes.  So, dressings have lots of potentially disastrous side effects.

You have to be sure that the object needs it before applying a dressing and it must be applied very sparingly.”

To give you a little more information –

I do not know what sort of leather is used in modern Morgan cars but most leather (well over 90%) manufactured nowadays is chrome tanned leather which is very different to the historic, vegetable tanned leathers which is what we mostly deal with.   Our knowledge and expertise is on historic leathers so I really cannot comment on the leather in your Morgan, unless you know that traditional leather and finish have been used.

Most dressings are not designed for the leather but rather are really designed to soften the plasticizers in the finishes to prevent hardening and cracking.   They do not even penetrate into the leather at all.  However, when the finish is degrading, starting to rub off, or with historic leathers that had little or no finish then the dressings get into the leather fibres and start to damage the leather.

Every piece of leather is different and this is particularly the case with older leathers so there is no one answer fits all when it comes to conserving leather.   

Historic vegetable tanned leathers are much firmer than new leathers and because owners do not realise this they often start added dressings to try to soften the leather, which was never manufactured to be soft.  Because of this they repeatedly apply dressings to make the leather feel softer and to make it supple not realising that they are actually storing up trouble.

Another reason that people seem to add dressings is because they think they leather is dry – and this may be true but dry means lack of moisture not lack of fat.  Leather really likes a stable atmosphere with a humidity of around 50%RH and if consistently kept in dry atmospheres the leather can begin to feel stiffer and will shrink but it is  humidity not fat which is required to replace the lost moisture.  Leather can also dry out and crack after it becomes very wet (perhaps an open car which goes out in the rain) and is then dried (this is particularly noticeable if it happens repeatedly).  I have noticed that some modern cleaners recommend “rinsing thoroughly” which we would not recommend.

For any historic cars (certainly pre 1950s) I would recommend that qualified/experienced leather conservators are engaged to carry out conservation treatments because it is so easy to cause damage.

For newer cars then it may be wise to ensure that any products applied to the leather are suitable for the finish on the leather (different solvents can damage different finishes) but always be cautious and sparing in any applications. 

I think if you wish to pass on any nugget of information to your fellow owners then I would say “Leave it alone!”

Hope this helps



Yvette A Fletcher BA Hons, MA, ACR
Head of Conservation