Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Well, that blew the dandruff away!!!!

Following our recent travels, the time had come to give the Morgan some attention. That would include getting the wheels off to clean them, which I always do after around 1000miles, at the same time as launching myself under the car to grease the sliding axles.

When I say launch, that does sound a touch dramatic and is frankly, a blatant lie!

The reality is more of an overweight geriatric trying desperately, in the first instance, to get down on his knees in order to place the jack under the car and from a virtually prone position pump up the jack to get the stands underneath the front axle.

Whereupon, he rolls on to his side, trying to ignore the painful reminder of his recently diagnosed hernia, and then shuffles on his back to a position where he can contort his wretched body sufficiently to see the appropriate nipple, at which point he decides that he shouldn't have worn his glasses and will be able to see better without them, so then has to effect this removal operation with greasy fingers and try to place them well away from the area where the action is taking place.

Finally the grease gun is attached to the nipple and with withering strength the thing is squeezed and the injection of the grease finally takes place.

Now, for the next wheel!!!!!

I did promise myself that I would in future just take the car to my local garage, 'cross their palms with silver' and get one of the chaps to do the greasing for me. On the face of it, this would have been a good idea, but it wreaked a bit of 'chucking the towel in' and, also of course, the wheels would not be cleaned either. So I decided that while I am physically able to do the job I will continue.

Actually it is quite therapeutic and I can take pride in the fact that although we are covering a lot more mileage than many owners, our car is just as well cared for, and looks just as pristine, as those mollycoddled cars with ridiculously small mileages!

Anyway, the reason I mentioned dandruff is that it is vital after such a gruelling maintenance session, to take the car out for a quick run, primarily to make sure that the wheels don't drop off, but also because it's such bloody good fun and immensely exhilarating, driving a Morgan without a cap and with sidescreens off, in a very fresh Blackpool breeze.

Friday, 25 July 2014

'Wilson' est mort !!!!

My many readers will be shocked to learn of the demise of the fish 'Wilson' who featured in my post of the 19th May 2012, entitled 'A fish called Wilson'
'Wilson' in happier times, although he doesn't look very happy!!.
While my wife and I were swanning around Herefordshire in the Morgan, the 'Grim Reaper' paid a visit to my youngest daughter's home and reeked his vengeance on our poor defenceless friend.

He had endured solitary confinement, for a couple of years at least, spending his time in a glass globe on the kitchen windowsill, separate accommodation provided by us from a florists shop, to avoid him being summarily executed on possibly unfounded charges that he was 'doing in' any new fishy arrivals in my daughter's family fish tank!

Nothing was proved, although thinking about it, he did have a somewhat sheepish look in his eyes. However,  he must be regarded as an innocent until proven guilty and treated with all the formality, dignity and sincerity that such a quality demands.
Olivia, my beautiful grandaughter was very upset by his passing, as she had shared five years of her young life with the little fellow. She decided with her mother that a two minute silence was therefore justified and this took place with due diligence to the strains of classical music.
Rest in Peace
Following this sad performance, Wilson was finally committed to the compost heap, dust to dust, ashes to compost, at which time he will serve to enrich the garden and his memory will linger on in perpetuity.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Another 1000 miles!....

.....bringing the total mileage we have completed in 6 glorious years to 24,100.

The call for our babysitting services came from two fronts with the proposed dates close enough to justify making a holiday out of it. What is more, the Morgan factory Centenary Celebrations on Sunday 13th July was an added bonus that could be incorporated into the sandwich!
A light lunch near Much Wenlock
The drive to our first port of call took around five hours instead of the usual two and a half hours, as we decided to avoid the Motorways and went via Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth, Kidderminster, Redditch and then to Warwick and Leamington Spa.  Longer, but at least our brains weren't assaulted by the motorway traffic noise and on that point it is interesting to note that the new surfaces being put down on the motorways seem much quieter.

'Hooks Barn' near Roson-Wye, our hideaway.

The garden area and beautiful valley beyond.

Forest of Dean boundary marker by our front door.
After a couple of nights we moved on to a cottage on the fringes of the Forest of Dean, via Alcester, Worcester and the Malverns. Lovely, peaceful accommodation, just right for a romantic getaway!!! Who am I trying to kid!
Sadly, under a leaden sky

The day after our arrival was the Factory event which was heavily supported with a fine display of Morgans, factory visits, a fairground, food and drink stalls and entertainment. Whilst there I purchased two rear indicator assemblies as we had been experiencing problems with both units.
What a beast!!!
As Lucas no longer exists, these are 'imitation' items made in Taiwan or somewhere and so instead of being able to buy the offending  innards you have to buy the lot. The problem is not unknown to Morgan and is caused by a 'fabric' washer eroding allowing a short circuit to occur at the bottom of the bulb. It used to be made of 'Bakelite'......such is progress!

Anyway, having enjoyed the visit we returned to our hideaway, having stopped for a look around Ledbury and my wife said, why on earth hadn't I arranged to have the job done by the factory on the next day? Good idea, so I phoned them at 9am on the Monday, got an immediate appointment, so made another trip to the factory. After a couple of hours we were on our way with reliable indicators we hope! The factory are sending my old units away for inspection by the manufacturer.
Hereford Cathedral
Hereford Cathedral and the 'Mappa Mundi' was next on the agenda, followed by a drive to Hay-on-Wye in Wales, the home of the annual Book Festival and countless bookshops.


The river at Hay
After a swift pint we then made our way through the 'Golden Valley' which, on the day of our drive was a most appropriate name, as the sun shone on fields of golden wheat, that in the Morgan were annoyingly hidden, along with much of the rest of the scenery, by the sort of banked hedgrows very much in evidence in Devon.
In the 'Golden Valley'

Cheating, surely!!
En route we stopped at the ruined Border Castles of Grosmont and Skenfrith.
Grosmont village

Grosmont Castle

Skenfrith Castle
Next day we drove through parts of the Forest, on roads that probably hadn't been surfaced for decades and which would have given my best friend ample fodder, as he regards us as masochists for wanting to drive around in a Morgan! When we finally got to Westbury-on-Severn to look around the National Trust garden and have a welcome 'cuppa', I was beginning to agree with him!
The garden at Westbury-on-Severn
Goodrich Castle is a beautiful ruined medieval pile that has sufficient of it's walls still standing and elements within those walls still recognisable, enabling a good impression to be gained of the lives of the residents there. We enjoyed our visit there very much on our final day.
Goodrich Castle

Bridge close to Ruardean, taken from Goodrich Castle

An early start the next morning found us battling with the rush hour in Gloucester, as we aimed for Swindon to pick up the M4 to Bracknell and thence to Camberley in Surrey for a few days with our daughter. Great fun especially as it was the Farnborough Airshow and from her property a good view of some of the aerial activity is possible.

The homeward trip was broken at Warwick for one night and then it was a very quick blast up the M40, M42, M6 Toll, M6 and M55 to our home.

The Morgan behaved impeccably and we are already thinking of a possible next trip, will it be the road from Belfast to Londonderry via Stranraer or maybe even the Route Napoleon from Grenoble to Cannes across the Alps.....we shall see.

At last!!....

....a respected motoring journalist whose ideas about modern car design concur with my own.

John Simister reviewed the new BMW M235i in 'Octane' magazine, entitling the piece 'Better than it looks', the first paragraph was as follows:-

"Something has gone wrong with modern car design. There are three areas of concern. One, sheet metal is forced into shapes unbecoming of the medium. Two, there is too much fussy detailing and weird, over-ornate angling of visual components. Three, the resulting mish-mash  of slashes, bulges and distortions is neither memorable nor beautiful. That's the tragedy. Beauty has been banished, replaced by a sort of disposable brutality."

Perhaps a good example of this would be the Nissan 'Puke'....sorry 'Juke', and there are so many others, SUV's and 'Chelsea Taxis' possibly being the most notable.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Two days in the Dales.

With a goodish forecast for a couple of days this week we decided to extend our proposed picnic and spend some time in Yorkshire, God's own county as far as my Yorkshire Accountant friend tells me, although being a Lancastrian I would severely question that!
Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle-Carlisle railway line.
Little did we realise when we set off, that a great chunk of our journey to Middleham, where we were staying, was over the Tour de France route, from Hawes to Ripon.

Some of the hundreds of decorations for the Tour de France
As you will notice from the photographs, the locals are taking it very seriously indeed, with all the roads closed on the days of the Tour, businesses stocking up to meet the demands of the expected visitors,  houses decked with bunting,  yellow bikes and various other creations in the fields, particularly advertisements for Wensleydale cheese utilising cylindrical bales of hay....'Wallace and Gromit' will be delighted!
These 'Cheeses' were in many farmers' fields.
In one instance near Hawes, a gigantic white bike has been painted/cut on the fellside along the lines of the ancient white horses carved into the chalk in other places in England.
The 'White Bike' on the fellside near Hawes.
 Highlights of our visit were Aysgarth Falls and return visits to Fountains Abbey and Newby Hall.
Aysgarth Falls

The weather was delightful for most of the time although there was a change  during our final afternoon and on the journey home, but it was mainly Morgan motoring at its very best with the top down and the wind blowing free through my remaining strands of hair!
En route to West Burton.

West Burton, for a welcome pitstop at the hostelry across the Green.
The trip back was a cracker, across the high fells to Ingleton, passed Ingleborough fell and the Ribblehead viaduct, with little traffic on the road, making adventurous driving possible! Naughty boy!
Middleham, horse racing centre of the north.

Heading to the 'gallops', a small group of the 500 horses stabled in Middleham.

Morgan at rest.

Some of the horses residing in Mark Johnson's stables.
Only one hiccup with the car and that concerned the nearside rear indicator which started to behave in exactly the same way as the offside one had done until 'repaired', flashing at a high rate of knots instead of in a nice steady way.
Middleham Castle, home of King Richard the Third, awaiting restoration!
The problem arises within the fitting, when the fibre washer that holds the connector on which the bulb sits, moves and presumably causes a short circuit. Anyway, I did manage to effect a temporary repair but have arranged for a long standing Auto Electrician to have a look at both of them with a view to a permanent solution.
Fountains Abbey

Newby Hall
Replacement via Morgan is £25 + labour of course, so I hope my man can sort them prior to our drive south in a few days, to spend a few days in a cottage at Ross on Wye, which will include a visit to the centenary of the Morgan factory on Sunday 13th July and thence to Surrey and Warwick where our daughters reside
More decorations.....

.....and a lovely pint of 'Timothy Taylors!'
Incidentally one of the major benefits of the Tour for Morgan drivers is that the County Council in Yorkshire has had to fix the roads, potholes and all.....however once we veered off the main route it was back to normal
Perhaps going to be a wet return journey....
....but somehow it stayed dry, even over the high moors. Ribblehead Viaduct in the distance.