You Never Forget A Lesson Learnt At Your Father’s Knee…

Hi All

Well, what did I tell you? Poor old Betsy bummed her MOT. In all honesty it was expected. At least – I expected it. The old dear hasn’t turned a worn tyre in fifteen years. But here’s the funny thing – I actually know more about these old cars than Richard does.

Didn’t I tell you that Betsy has a severe steering problem? Richard blamed me at the time and said I’d over-steered her getting her off the motorway and that was why she’d gone into a deathly tailspin that I’d had  to fight to control. I knew differently. And I now have the proof because one of the points of failure was – the steering box! Ha! So now he has to adjust it – apparently.

Some of the other failure points weren’t too serious. I had to keep my mouth tightly closed though when Richard announced that there hadn’t been enough water in the wiper-washers and that the wipers weren’t working. He can weld the thing together, put in a new floor, replace all the brakes etc. but he can’t fill up the washer fluid? He swore that the wipers HAD been working and that he must have knocked something just before he took it to the garage. A likely story.

The reason I say I know more about old cars than Richard is because I was brought up with them. Every weekend my father could be found with his head under the bonnet of some old wreck. Back then things were different. You didn’t get pulled up for a rust spot on your bumper. You didn’t necessarily have to have a bumper! And if it was a little insecure a bit of strategically placed baler twine would do the job nicely. By the time I’d finished with my first car it only had two working gears, no foot-brake and a hole in the radiator – making it necessary for  me to carry a container of water with me,  everywhere I went. I took that car all the way down the motorway from Leicestershire to Somerset. When, a fortnight later dad took it to the scrapyard, he said it had frightened the life out of him and it was death-trap. We got our kicks differently back then.

There was nothing that dad couldn’t fix with a baked bean tin and a splodge of fibreglass. And pretty much everything under the bonnet succumbed to a swift belt with a hammer. Dad taught me to drive in his Vanguard. Not 100% sure you spell it like that but it was a long time ago! An ugly, rounded monstrosity that looked more like an RAF bomber than a car. I could barely see over the dashboard and had to sit on three cushions, discreetly stolen from the lounge when mum wasn’t looking.

I think this annoys Richard a little. Well it would I guess. We’ll be driving along and I’ll casually remark, ‘hear that? That’s a wheel bearing.’ Or, ‘the tracking is out.’ Or, ‘the exhaust is blowing.’ All learnt at my father’s spindly knee…

So, the work on Betsy goes on. Seriously, I don’t think it will take long to correct the failings. And it will give me a little more guilt-free time in the garden. Richard isn’t very good at occupying himself, unless he has something obvious to occupy himself with, so unless he is enthralled in some activity I feel guilty leaving him stranded and rudderless whilst I play with muck heaps and rearranging shed contents.

Chea is causing bird havoc at the moment. There are parent great tits flitting around shouting and bellowing at her. I think their young have left their nest and the parents are watching her like hawks. I had to quietly encourage her down from the neighbours conservatory roof this morning at 6 am. She was seconds away from entering their open bedroom window. Her favourite trick right now is rolling on the radishes. She has put on a little pudding just lately so hopefully, with Beautiful now chasing her up and down the lawn and around the shrubbery on a regular basis, she’ll get a bit more exercise and lose said excess weight. I could do with a big chicken chasing me …

Off to do something important … not sure what yet…but I’ll think of something.

Take care my lovelies x

****Another really sweet author (besides me, that is!) is Deb McEwan. Her book – An Aliens Guide to the Human Species is available via Amazon****


6 thoughts on “You Never Forget A Lesson Learnt At Your Father’s Knee…

  1. Hello Gail, how interesting, didn’t know you were an aspiring mechanic. Can the steering box be adjusted? Hope you don;t need a new one – presumably it’s power steering with a highly tensioned fan-belt that drives the ram? Or maybe it’s the type that;s not powered, and I;ve heard you can adjust those. Never mind you are a step closer to driving Betsy. Once she is fixed, is Richard planning another car project? Love to Chea, hope she is enjoying the weather and has calmed down.


    • Hi Geoff Richard said he has to dismantle it which might be tricky as all the screws/nuts/bolts etc. that are holding it together are ancient and probably will be devils to shift. He’s looked on Mud’s site though for some info’ No more projects after this – although I would never put money on it. He keeps cruising eBay looking at those old Jeeps. Are they called something like Willy/Willie Jeeps?? He fancies one of those!! Bless him, hey? A horrible cat has just upset Chea by coming into the garden and pulling faces at her so she’s come in!! She does need to learn not everything out there is friendly so probably no bad thing. She’s now helping me make a summer fruits crumble! Ha ha xx xx


  2. Oh poor Betsy. I seem to recall that Mud had to adjust Annies’ steering box to get her through the MOT this year, as it had been an advisory on the previous one and I’m sure he did a post about it 🙂

    Little Mudlet, for all her girly girl love of all things fairy and doll like, loves helping Mud work on the Land Rovers and I can just imagine her in later life telling a poor, unsuspecting, prospective boyfriend exactly what’s wrong with his car when he comes to pick her up on a first date 😀 x


  3. I’m sure Richard already knows this but just for anybody else that happens to be curious my post about adjusting the steering box is here:

    Annie had approximately 4″ of play at the steering wheel when she got her advisory. All of the slack was removed by a simple 3/4 turn of the adjuster (a 1/2 turn of actual adjustment if you don’t count the 1/4 turn to loosen the locknut and then retighten) and now she has virtually no free play at the steering wheel before the wheels move. Definately try this before attempting to strip and rebuild the box. If the box is really knackered then adjusting won’t make any difference other than making the steering very heavy while still having free play and at that point you then need to rebuild the box. You can get replacement parts set for £150’ish but sadly they come in a blue box……. 😉


  4. Thanks Ian for all this info. Richard has already had a gander at your site re the steering box and I’ve just read out your comment so he is well equipped and raring to go come the weekend. xx


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