Thursday, 30 October 2008

Torque to me.

A billion lbs. feet of torque here, generated by this is one, of four, steam engines that pumped Leicester’s sewage from the city up to Beaumont Leys from about 1860 until it was no longer big enough to serve the city in 1964. This week I was privileged to get the full lantern lit tour, even right down into the basement, surprisingly free of odour. There is something irresistible about the slow, rhythmic, almost sexual, movement and hissing of these great engines that has a lasting schoolboy appeal. It looks so powerful that if one were to shove a tree trunk in the gears and stop it, the World would probably spin off its axis.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Three sheets to the wind.

Popped over to my Dad’s this week. He had cooked an excellent curry and Annie, his wife and I saw off a bottle of Dolcetta picked up recently in Comboland. As it was a lovely evening I took the 1948 Land Rover minus roof. Always a thrill to drive. It’s so dangerous, lacking seat belts and with doors that fly open round bends. Leaving their house in Pitsford at around midnight I felt it might be prudent to take the back roads home, via the lovely villages of Tur Langton, Carlton Curlieu and Burton Overy. There is no thrill quite like driving a sixty year old Land Rover on a moonless night down narrow country lanes. Pathetic lights, appalling handling, freezing cold and wishing I had worn more layers. I took the picture on my phone, having left the Canon at home, but it represents about the right view. The gloom pierced by a mixture of original ‘Butler’ headlights, as fitted to tractors of the day and a Lucas spotlight from the fifties. Motoring does not get better than this.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Let’s Off Road!

An opportunity to write a report on Bures Pit Off Road site for 4x4 Magazine heralded a baptism of fire for the Jeep this month. As it’s still not registered so I trailered it down to near Colchester behind the Land Rover. I borrowed Matt’s ex Gas Board Box Trailer, into which the Jeep just about fits. Heaving the trailer around in his workshop nearly brought on the long overdue heart attack. The toll of a the previous week spent in Comboland nearly proved fatal as the pulse quickened and the beads of cold sweat gathered on my brow. A half hour sit down in a darkened room sorted me out and the following day at the site was a great pleasure. The brakes packed up after a few applications, but who needs them anyway. So. The Jeep now has 12 miles on the clock. 4 from its visit to the MOT station and 8 done in the Pit. Great fun.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Dad’s Army

Operation Market Garden. A warm sunny day and a lot of people dressed up in forties costume. All rather nice and jolly English. These WW2 re-enactments are growing in popularity. Presumably because it’s the last thing this country of ours did well, with the exception of the 1966 World Cup, of course. Diplo is correct in that there were many Jeeps to keep me amused and a few Tanks, two of which were offering rides for a very reasonable £7 and Jo was kind enough to treat both of us, giving us the opportunity to do something we had never done before. Ride in a Tank. Great fun and clearly designed before the days of Health and Safety. More like Danger & Excitement.

The actual battle was great fun and reinforced the fact that your average WW2 soldier was 19 ish, not mid fifties and carrying a healthy girth! Luckily there were no heart attacks on the Sunday. Sadly we could not drive there in the Jeep. Still not registered, but we did take the 1948 Land Rover. Open air motoring at its best.