So, after nights of poor sleep, I awake early yesterday (5:22am to be exact) and anxiety’s at it’s highest as I prepare the day out to Bedford to collect my latest bargain. A few phonecalls on Monday and Tuesday led to me to ordering some registration plates for my existing (and legal) white 440. The plan of attack was to get the car from the salvage yard, drive it half a mile down the road, find a quiet corner, and replace the plates with the legal ones. Yes I know this means I’m illegal. No, I didn’t really care. The fact was I was unlikely to get stopped, and even if I did, it was even more doubtful they’d check the chassis number. All I had to do was not have an accident.
Meanwhile, the whole of the south of the UK is having what can only be described as “weather.” Heavy showers, hailstones, and even a tornado in north west London meant that the day wasn’t going to be much fun. As we arrived at the salvage yard at lunchtime, the skies darkened, and whilst waiting for my car to be carried to the front gate, it started to rain. Heavily. I see the legal representation of the great Irishman Murphy was coming into play, and after an hour of waiting, I finally get my car out the front gate. We drive to a nearby petrol station and set about with cordless drill and Stanley blade to make the car look perfectly legal. It was 30 seconds after fitting the second plate I noticed the police van pulling in. I thought “oh crap, they attendant must have reported me,” but he was just doing what you do in a petrol station, and fuelling up. We started back, but the journey was progressing slowly, very very slowly, and after 2 hours we’d gotten to Oxford, some 70 miles. I noticed with all the clutch work, the clutch was getting stiffer and stiffer, and by the time we’d got to Gloucester (about 6:30 now), I was cursing the day I was born as I would realise I needed to change gear again. Each and every roundabout was sworn at, and other drivers slowing me down faced the wrath of Rik as I struggled with the gears. I got out of town, and as soon as I could I pulled into a layby. Examination had shown the floor mat had ridden up into the clutch pedal, and as I’d forced it (something I learnt from my Dad) I’d made the situation worse, chewing the mat more and more into the pivot. I ripped the mat from the pedal, and continued home. I finally got home almost to the minute 12 hours after I left.
The car meanwhile, is now parked on my drive, behind my other Volvo. It looks like I’m starting a Taxi company.
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