Sunday 15 July 2012

Cruising, But Not As We Know It

Mr Mango had created a route north west towards Oxford and the forecast was for rain around Guildford, dry round Oxford, so why not!

At the appropriate time I sauntered out to the garage, Mrs Blatter had left her car to one side, so no problems there, I pushed the Fury out into the sunshine, strapped in and turned the key – nothing. I checked all the switches, then got out and checked the fuses, the usual suspect had blown.

I tried to text Mr Mango that I wouldn’t be attending, but the phone had no signal, I mean NO signal, I walked up the road, no signal anywhere. Then, with time ticking away I thought if I took the brake microswitch out of the circuit, all should be well and indeed it was, so fuel-up and head out to the carpark just off the M3 were we were meeting up. Nick, David T and new guys Aaron & father-of-Aaron were there, so we were only waiting for the very local MangoDave. At this point I was distressed to note that my ancient phone still had no signal, had it finally died? After a couple of minutes, Mr Mango appeared and under darkening skies we set off.

I was more than a little concerned by the oil pressure gauge, it was showing 4bar at decent revs, but dropping to 0 at idle. As will happen on these occasions, I thought the water temperature gauge was rising, I thought the pressure was dropping more when cornering and I fancied I could hear a tapping coming from the engine, after a few miles I found a petrol station and pulled over assuming the engine was short of oil. The dipstick said otherwise and turning the engine over on the starter made the oil light go out instantly, so assuming it was a gauging fault we set off again.

It seemed we were following the rain, there were puddles of increasing size as we went along, but apart from a section flooded to a depth of 4” and an emergency brake caused by a duck, we arrived at the pub (another “The Lamb”) without incident and after gawping at the rather spectacularly proportioned young lady behind the bar for a while, we went and sat outside before we got a slap.


After the usual banter, we noticed the approach of heavy clouds and quickly mounted up. Not quickly enough, the large splats of summer rain began as we were pulling out of the car park – I hadn’t put the hood up because we were in a hurry to leave and it would at worst be a short sharp shower, however I hadn’t bargained on a few things, first our leader turned the wrong way out of the pub, so after 50 yards we had to turn round, then the route doubled back on itself through the rain again, THEN the route ran along the weather front, keeping us in the shower for what seemed like ½ an hour, but was probably only 28 minutes.

If you can keep the speed up, most rain is lifted over the car by the screen, but when it’s raindrops the size of ping pong balls, it’s dark, the road meanders and the screen AND your glasses are steaming up, speed isn’t an option. Eventually the MangoFury pulled over and a large umbrella appeared, I drove on and after a few miles found a closed petrol station to shelter under and dry the screen / mirrors / seats and put the roof up, but of course by then the rain had stopped, and after waiting a while for the SKCC – who didn’t appear – I set the satnav for home and went but the most direct route.

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