Friday 23 December 2016


Realised I'd not put the latest news on here. While staying at my brother's (long story), he got the belly panel punched for venting 😊. They're not fitted on the car yet, but they look like this:-

Now it has been suggested that the large hole in the middle looks a bit rude, but surely only if you're a lego man.

Sunday 4 December 2016

More Aluminium.

After yesterday's efforts panelling the underside of the car, I did less today (it was -5C outside when I got up), but I did cut out a blank for the front wall of the boot, & rough-shaped a panel for under the front of the chassis / splitter.

I might be having a change of plan there. I had intended to take the floor surface forward under the front of the body, to split the airflow into engine bay air & under-the-car-air, but looking at it as I made it, I think it might make more sense to bend it 45deg up at the front chassis member, doing that will direct between 1/3 & 1/2 the radiator air under the car rather than into the engine bay. this is going to need some thinking.

On a less positive note the boot lid is looking rather curly, I've left it on the rear deck in the hope it would retain it's shape, but it seems to be gaining shape at an alarming rate. I've bought it indoors & laid it on a flat surface in the hope it'll flatten - or at least mot bend any further.

Saturday 3 December 2016

Belly Pan

Not a new kind of pizza with a domed underside, today I ar bin mostly aluminiuming.
It didn’t begin well, I couldn’t find the template I made of the front chassis, I couldn’t find the Stanley knife, “they’re only a few quid, I’ll buy a new one & I’ll take the in-law’s car & refuel it, then park it so I can charge the battery" – good plan – except the in-law’s car battery is already flat.

Push the in-law’s car to a place where I can re-charge the battery, hook up the charger, take my car to B&Q, which is FULL of families with v-small children gawping at Christmas trees & lights & generally getting in my way.
The idea of the belly pan is to make the underside of the car smoooth, the air passing under the car is less disturbed & the car is faster. On most cars it can't really be done because a production car has a lot of shape in the chassis to give it strength. On the Fury it can be done, the underside of the cockpit is flat anyway & I made up panels for the underside of the transmission tunnel & the diff cage when I built the car. The idea of panelling under the engine bay on my car is really to keep stone chips away from the chassis coating & keep the engine bay clean. There is of course a down side & often, the close panelling stops air getting out of the engine bay - if warm air can't get out, cool air can't get in & the engine cooling effectively stops. On my car the belly pan with be louvred, with the open side of the louvres downward & to the back so the forward motion of the car should pull the warm air out - fingers crossed
Anyway – I found the template, I now had a knife. I cut the outside profile of the near side panel plus a little wriggle room, then offered it up & marked out where the engine was, I cut out a space for the sump & offered it up again marking where the outside was too big. After some fiddling about it fitted nicely & I drilled it to match the brackets I’d fitted some weeks ago.
I say I cut the panel with a Stanley knife, for those not familiar, I use a straight edge & a craft knife to score the aluminium, then repeat a few times, then gently fold the sheet - it'll crease along the score, then bend it back & forth - only about 10 - 15 degrees at a time, until it splits in a perfectly straight line. The edge will be rough & sharp, but is easily dressed smooth with a small file.
The off side was much the same except for fitting the new piece round the louvred panel already fitted under the pedal box. But as the photos show, it all looks rather good – of course the only things to ever see it will be the MoT man & any squirrels unfortunate enough to find themselves under there.

Next jobs are some more brackets to support the outer edges, getting the panels louvred to get the engine bay air out, start on the forward panel / splitter & get some Dzuses (other 1/4 turn fasteners are available) & get it all finished. Then I can get back to doing the boot - I've had  few ideas on that score & I'm getting keen to test them out.

Friday 25 November 2016

Clearing Up The Jobs Backlog

A number of worrying jobs had accumulated. Worrying in that they could be catastrophic if left forgotten, so this week I've put new nyloc nuts on the suspension bolts & torqued them, I've put oil in the engine (still needs coolant though) & that sort of thing.
Today as it was dry for the first time in a couple of weeks I rolled the car out of the garage & assembled the clutch cable – always a faff, as you need two arms in the space of one, but I got there in the end & joy of joys, the pedal now needs about ½ the pressure it needed before with the Zetec clutch (for those that haven't kept up, the FWD Escort flywheel was re-drilled to take a Pinto clutch). This was one of the main aims of the stip-down so I’m very pleased.

I moved on to the throttle pedal & cables, first of all I drilled the pedals - well it's the sort of thing I just do, after a bit of Dremelling the throttle cable’s now working nicely, so it just needs the exhaust & some coolant & I could start it 😊.

As a finale, I did a few jobs that’d been left, like tidying up the wiring under the airbox, putting the air feed pipe back on & tightening the alternator mounting bolt.
Major jobs still waiting:-

Engine bay belly pan,     Bleed the brakes,        Boot lid

Friday 18 November 2016

Starter's In

IMGP0342.JPGThe starter is in. In the end it was nothing to do with the dirt plate. A fresh look showed that a lump on the sump was JUST stopping the starter fitting. Two minutes with the Dremel & it slid past the hump, straight into place.  So that's "a bit of a worry" dealt with. Pretty soon I'll wire in the battery & check it all works properly.

Staying in the same area, I took off the enormous oil separator tank & in 15 mins made a 4mm thick aluminium cover plate, at some point (soon) I'll put a take-off in it & lead a hose up to the tank.

Then I did some plumbing & found out the hard way that the cheap Polo radiators don't have the small metal tube in the vent pipe to stop it breaking off - Ah - I'd go so far as to say ....... bugger.

So I looked round the garage & found some very thin wall titanium tube (as you do) & having scraped up the outer surface to provide a "key", araldited it in place - hopefully it'll be OK.

Sunday 13 November 2016

On The road To The Road

The Fury's on its' way back! yesterday I re-fitted the engine after fixing the wiring to the pedal box, drilling the pedal box beams & bolting them on properly, painting the engine mounts & drilling the chassis for the second Fisher mount & cutting some weight off it. So the car was dropped back on its’ wheels ready to be turned round in the garage & have the bonnet re-fitted. As I’ve fitted new engine mount rubbers, I’m hoping the bonnet will still fit over the engine – it’s pretty marginal.

After yesterday’s heavy labour, this morning I just turned the car round in the garage & did some pottering, tidying the engine bay mostly. I re-routed the radiator air bleed a little, re-routed the fuel lines so the follow a prettier & shorter route & I also removed the now redundant alternator drive belt pulley as the shorter belt is on order. Adding up the weight savings, I think the bellhousing saves 5kg, the starter another 2, the pulley shaves 250g, & the oil separator will save another kg. with the various pipe shortenings & wire re-routes saving on conduit & fittings, I think I’m pushing a 10kg loss which should pay for the belly pan & boot lid.

Friday 11 November 2016

Belly Pan - First Piece in Place

Today being a Friday I got into the garage early & made a start. Mrs Blatter wants the Fury bonnet out f the conservatory, so I need to put the engine back in the car, but first, I needed to put the belly pan brackets onto the chassis - at least those closest to the engine.

Some time ago - at my last employer I was handed a test piece - a sheet of aluminium with some 6inch louvres punched into it. This has now taken it's place under the pedal box & I've made a template for the other belly panels.

I found in my local nut & bolt emporium these link sealed pop rivets. Like normal pop rivets, but they form a seal when set, so no moisture gets into the chassis rails, I also wet-assembled them with polyurethane sealant to keep the moisture on the outside. So armed with them & the louvred panel I climbed under the car & this was the result.

Once the engine is in I'll be making the rest of the belly pan which will also be louvred to draw warm air from the engine bay.

It'll also look fantastic - a pity then that the only person who'll ever see it is the MoT man.

Monday 7 November 2016


At the moment I'm trying to keep the momentum going by doing something to the car every day.

Some days it's a good thing, other days not a very interesting thing at all. Today was one of those days. I torqued the fly wheel on to the engine & loosely assembled the clutch, then set about making some brackets for the flat floor panel under the engine. It would be a quick simple job if I didn't insist on rounding all the corners & scalloping the straight edges in an aircraft stylee.

The other flanges will get shaped when they get drilled for the quick release fasteners (yawn). Only another ten or eleven to go.


Sunday 6 November 2016

Rebuilding Begins In Earnest

Today I got the suspension back on the car, the bolts that needed wire locking were wire locked, the others are still loose - I can't tighten them  until the engine's back in & the weight's on the wheels, but the are brakes re-connected though not bled (must remember that bit).

Then I should've made up & fitted 15 or so angle brackets for the belly pan, what I actually did was look at the wiring. Some of it was a later addition for things like the spot & day running lights & was in separate conduits / tubes, so I spent a while (three hours!) re-running it all into the original tubing, & replacing sticky & peeling insulating tape with self amalgamating tape which while neither of those things make a huge difference to the car, it does tidy up the engine bay a bit.

That's two things off the to do list though.

Next weekend if time allows I'll:-
Torque up the flywheel bolts
Fit the clutch
Fit the wheels
Drop the car back onto its suspension
Fit the engine

Sunday 30 October 2016

What's Black Then Red?

No, not an Undertaker's price list & not a Panther in a blender either.

This weekend the chassis cleaning ended, the paint came out, the chassis changed colour, first to black when the anti-rust POR-15 went on in two coats, then red when the hammerite went on in another two coats.

Here it is mostly black, as are my hands still. POR-15 is funny stuff, as it's moisture activated so I came in from the garage with very sticky black hands, & the paint actually dried on my hands while I was washing them - odd.

So, here's an entirely accidental "before & after" pair of photos, first black .........

Then red. It's not as smooth as it looks, but I'm not a "polisher" I want it rust-free & all the same colour. Some of it is still black because I ran out of paint, so I'll be under it again tomorrow.

Saturday 29 October 2016

Out, Black Spot

Welllll, the chassis' all cleaned & the first coat of POR15 is on the front, so my hands look like I have a rare skin disease - black spots of various sizes.

Another coat of POR15 tomorrow, then the red hammerite, then CBS Wunderseal on the vulnerable bits & then some waxoyl & I can make the engine undertray, then the engine can go back in - if I can get the flywheel back from SRS Engineering (Sutton Rebore as was) - apparently the man that does re-drilling is off sick / suffered a bereavement & it'll be re-drilled for the Pinto clutch when he returns this week - we'll see.

But on the upside, the chassis will soon be rust free & red again.

This is a good thing.

Thursday 27 October 2016

Happy Landing

Today’s jobette was to do a little more booting. I shaped some alloy extrusion to fit round the body contours to act as a door landing & stiffen the area behind the seats. See how the previously straight angle sweeps to follow the curves of the car - no it is not the lens distorting it, I curved it, because I'm clever.

It was a bit of a git to get it right & I’m not convinced the fwd corners of the boot lid will sit down properly, but time will tell.

 At the front an aluminium bulkhead will run betwixt the vertical flange of the angle & the boot floor & at the back a carpet panel will hide the wiring to the rear fog, reversing & No. plate lights.

When the bootlid is sorted, I need to cut out another panel in the boot floor for access to the top of the fuel tank, as dropping it out of the car is a pain.


Sunday 23 October 2016

Putting The Boot In

Well, this is either going to prove to be a stroke of genius, or a moment of pure stupidity, but the Fury has a boot lid. At the moment there's no way of attaching it to the car, but I'm working on that.

I cut it out mostly with a jigsaw (very fine metal blade) but had to finish it off with a dremel as the sunken area for the No. plate stopped the jigsaw blade.

I've had a few "WHAT HAVE I DONE" moments over this, but I think it'll all work out fine in the end.

Fine-ish maybe.

Moderately OK perhaps.


Friday 21 October 2016

Clutch Easing

This PM I did more damn chassis cleaning, but as I’d been virtuous I  allowed myself some metallic therapy & modified the clutch pedal to reduce effort.

The pivot consisted of a thick tube passing through a tube welded to the pedal, The thick inner tube was clamped by a bolt & the pedal tube rotated around it.

It kind of worked, but it's crude, it's heavy & when I took it apart the pivot wouldn't come out. After tapping it through, the mating surfaces were pretty scored, so that's some of the heavy clutch accounted for.

 Some research found the RC car wheel bearings were almost the right size being 8 x 16 x 5 wide, the pedal tube was 15 id, so a dab with a 16mm drill had the bearing sliding in nicely – job done.


Wednesday 19 October 2016


The Fury has no boot lid - this is well known. It has a space under the rear deck, it's about 6" deep, so a useable space, but access to it is between the seats, meaning the practical maximum size of anything you can get in the boot is about 5" sq. When I was building the car, I built a lidded box under the boot floor which serves as a small lockable storage area, but with Mrs Blatter spending more time in the car, better storage is required. I've been pondering this for some time, but I think I've now solved all the problems as well as giving myself some more problems & then solving them.

The first problem was the fuel filler cap which comes up through the rear deck, for that I'm hoping to mount the filler to the boot side wall, then cut a hole in the boot lid to fit over the filler cap.

Next, how to make it stiff enough when it's GRP, I have plans to make an aluminium frame to bond to the inside without using up all the volume.

Also, how to open the boot when the rack is on the car (which it will be if Mrs Blatter is coming along). Here I'll mount it with pins at one edge & latches opposite so it comes right off the car rather than hingeing open.

Lastly, how to stiffen the body when a large square is cut out. Cutting it as close to existing structure as I can will work for three of the sides, but the forth side is the important one as the soft top attaches to it, so I'm thinking of adding a wall at the front edge to tie down the soft top mountings.

Why do I do this to myself?

Saturday 15 October 2016

I HATE Powder coating

Today’s task was to look in the sump for any reason the car might be losing oil pressure under acceleration, with the sump & baffle plate off there was nothing obvious, except for some lumps of silicone sealant around the pick-up pipe. Would they account for it? They’re gone now so we’ll see.
From there I moved on to the accessory drive belt, I realised a while ago I don’t need one of the pulleys – it so happens the pulley I don’t need has loose bearings & whines, so I cut an old belt to the length I need & I’ll order a new shorter one.

Stupid site still shows portrait pictures in landscape,
 so you'll have to turn the screen round .........
.......... and yet this one gets turned when I didn't ask for it. Sheesh!
Then I started on the chassis – as expected, the powder coat comes off in sheets, except where it’s stuck like sh to a blanket (sigh). It does seem to be in worse condition on the passenger side, which is good because all the systems run down the driver’s side & would be a real pain to dismantle. If I had my time again, I wouldn't have the chassis powder coated. It's great if the surface preparation is done properly, but it's rubbish if it isn't. The presence of the "black oxide" on the steel under the powder coat says it wasn't sand blasted, so it was never going to stick well - or at all.


Friday 14 October 2016

A Little Progress

This afternoon I hoisted the engine out of its cradle & fitted the bell housing again. That allowed me to fit the new geared starter & "re-profile" the sump so the starter now fits properly, thankfully I didn't grind through to the oily side. I did wonder if the old ones were mis-aligned due to hitting the sump & was that the cause of all the "CLUNK" trouble, but no, they bolt up square.

Then I made a proper lifting sling for the engine - I say "proper" - it's an old lap-strap from an unloved seat belt I found in a drawer. I also drained the sump - which with a little luck will get removed tomorrow to see if I can improve the baffling. At North Weald the oil light was coming on under hard acceleration, the oil pick up is right at the front, so under acceleration the oil runs to the back. Its not as serious as might be though, the oil light is triggered by a 25lb/in switch, not the usual 5lb/in one.

No photos as it was all pretty dull.

Thursday 13 October 2016

Alloy Bellhousing, Geared Starter

With the engine out of the car I got a few minutes to trial fit the new aluminium bellhousing - it fits beautifully - which is a relief. The starter fits better than it did, but it still needs some sump-grinding to make it fit properly.

In further good news, my new place of employment has some alloy sheet which will be scrap in a few weeks, so that will be the engine bay floor & I think I've worked out how to do the boot lid I've been thinking of for some time.

Happy days!


Saturday 8 October 2016

Winter Upgrades

The car's now on a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notice) for some maintenance & upgrade action. There's a list of things to be done, the main task is de-rusting the chassis areas where the powder coat has peeled off, so the bonnet & side pods have to come off & the engine out.

While the engine's out I'll replace the iron Sierra bellhousing with an aluminium one:- It looks good, appears to be flat & the two mounting faces parallel. It has a pivot pin for the clutch fork, but no protection for the bearing face, so I replaced the pin with a 5mm bolt & added a washer for the fork arm to bear against. I have weighed it & from memory it's 5 1/2 kg. Also from memory the iron one is currently on the car is 11 1/2kg.

After all the starter problems, I also bought a geared starter from here:- as usual with me there's a saga. I contacted them asking which model I needed to replace an LRS707 (Sierra 1800 CVH), they said "have you got a Raceline or Westfield sump". "Westfield" said I "right you need our new model 501" & they posted me one. It was perfect except the spigot dia was 89mm (pinto / Crossflow) not 76mm dia (CVH). I e-mailed them & they sent a new one & took the 501 back - which is great service - but now he'd concentrated on the spigot dia & forgotten about the Westfield sump compatibility, so I have a little sump grinding to do before it fits properly, but even now it starts the engine, so I'm not concerned. Also the drain holes are at the bottom which they weren't on the 501.
Also on the "possible" list are improving the heat insulation round the exhaust, the Fury's had a lot more passengers lately so I aught to sort out their comfort. I'd like to "flat floor" the engine bay too, it'll keep dirt out & protect the engine bay, as well as improving the aerodynamics. Down sides are that it may make the engine bay hotter, but I have a plan for that.

More news as it breaks ..........

Monday 3 October 2016

North Weald - Again

My second time at the SKCC "Car Limits" day at North Weald & this time I took Daughter-the-younger (who'd passed her driving test two weeks before) & her boyfriend (who had just taken his theory test).

"But how?" I hear you cry "there are only two seats".

Well Daughter-the-younger drove them both to Crunchie's house in Bracknell (no mean feat in itself) & Crunchie & I each took one of them to North Weald.

 The day then followed the established routine with a driver's briefing, followed by the "High Speed Corner" exercise - as the name suggests go barrelling along a straight & hoik the car into a left hand bend at 60 - 80MPH depending on how brave you're feeling (not very - I was at the 60 end of the range).

Daughter-the-younger thoroughly enjoyed this, as did the boyfriend & the SKCC once again proved it's mettle by generously offering passenger rides aplenty to the daughter & boyfriend, most of which were taken up (sorry about the screaming guys).

Next up, the group was split in twain & one half did a course on the large tarmac area, the other did a very different course on the smaller one.

This took us up to lunch time & as the Fury was running low on fuel, I followed the SatNav to the nearest petrol station where a little old lady re-fuelled my car for me & only charged 10p / litre over the normal asking price! "shall I fill it up?" she asked, "NO" I replied rather too quickly & probably an octave or two higher than was strictly necessary "ahem - just 15 litres please" I added in a rather more butch tone.

On arrival back at the airfield, I put the passenger seat cushion over the driver's seat & let the youngsters have a go. In spite of not really being able to push the clutch pedal down, daughter-the-younger made a decent job of trundling round the car park. Boyfriend was less successful, but he's a lot less experienced at driving, so being faced with non powered steering, brakes & a clutch you need the leg of a ox to push right down, he struggled a bit. But he managed.

Next year he'll do much better.

Next, the two groups swapped tracks, before the whole circuit was re-configured into a "sprint course" which was more fun, but less frequent as there were twenty cars queuing up to use it. It was enjoyable, but as with all racing, kind of pointless. It was good to take the car almost flat-out, but for actual enjoyment, give me an N.S.L. B-road any day - preferably the Ullapool to Durness road.

For me the value was in proving that the adjustments I made to the rear camber after last year (when it was prone to over-steer) have worked & the wayward tail has been eradicated. I can take it on blatts with more confidence - which is, after all, the point of a "car limits" day

When it was time to leave, I set the SatNav for home via Crunchie's & was somewhat surprised to see it expected the journey to take 2 1/2 hours.

We set off down the M11 & turned onto the M25 - straight into 20MPH traffic. Fortunately (for us) the hold up was a crash on the other carriageway so we weren't held up for long, but there was a good 5 mile tailback on the other side. Just as we got back to Bracknell the rain came & got pretty heavy. I'd put the roof up, but I was glad to have daughter-the-younger's tail lights to follow, as by then I'd driven five hours getting to the airfield & back, plus the high intensity driving while I was there.

But - all in all a very good day. The Fury worked faultlessly, having the kids there made it even better.

Here's a short vid of my favourite - not my best - run. see if you can spot the mistake I made.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Tangmere Troubles

It was quite a late start on Sunday. Not so much a blatt as a saunter down to Sussex for the "SKCC summer gathering" (yes, we know it's mid September). I rolled into Newlands Corner at about 07:50 & found a couple of members each with their new cars waiting. Shortly afterwards another arrived & when he'd finished re-surfacing the car park with a new high grip rubber coating we set off.

At this stage it was heavily overcast & the roads were still wet from overnight rain, but by the time we got to Bramley, they were dry - but then we turned off the main road & found the country lanes thereabouts were 4" deep in mud & shingle from the epic thunderstorm mid week & the place was alive with pheasants & grouse(s) none of which were in any hurry to get out of the way.

I was watching the ETA on the satvav, as we were meant to arrive at the café at 09:00, as we left it was saying 09:10, but it was counting down & as we pulled into the carpark it was spot on 9. As I turned I realised the rest of the SKCC has merged with us from the east. When we say meet at 09:00, we MEAN 09:00.

Breakfast eaten & new cars pored over & discussed (including one still carrying a pheasant wrapped round a front wishbone), we made a move, well most did, my starter was having none of it. Not a click, not a whirr, nothing. Hitting the starter button got nothing more than a slightly sore finger.

I was push started (thanks Steve) & headed out to catch up with the others & we all arrived at the museum together. We were marshalled into position in front of the outside aircraft by museum folk & the Fury ended up under the noses of their two Harriers - only right & proper really.

After walking around, I thought I'd better be getting back, so after a push start (thanks once again) I headed home.

Yesterday I sauntered out to the garage to give the car a hard stare.
Starter button showed 12v when it should've, wiring checked good, Starter had a good earth. Took the starter off the car, put it in the vice & wired it to a spare battery - no problems. This evening I've put
it back on the car & it's all fine. WTF??  :?

Sunday 4 September 2016

A Lot's Happened

It's been a while since I posted on here, nothing much has happened to the car, but a fair bit has happened elsewhere. Mostly I've been made redundant (again - three times in five years). Well I was put "at risk" of redundancy, so rather than wait to see if it was good or bad news, I looked around & found a local aerospace company wanting a senior mechanical engineer & when I say local, I mean 1.2 miles across the common - so a marked difference to the 65miles I was travelling at the time. I sent a CV in on the Wednesday & was offered an interview the following Friday. I turned up in my suit, with the silk tie with aeroplanes on it that my wife bought me & the solid silver tie-bar wit a carnelian stone that I made myself - & was interviewed by a man in a baggy polo shirt, shorts & crocs! The second interview didn't seem to go as well, but I was offered the job & it was with great pleasure I handed in my notice, so from October I will be able to cycle to work.

We've also been on holiday to Northumberland - not perhaps the most obvious choice, but the county was beautiful & we stayed in a tower in Alnwick.

But back to the Fury -  for the past two weeks it's been my commuting car as daughter-the-younger has been insured on the tintop while she practices for her driving test, but these days I'm working at Farnborough, so there's not too many miles going on it.

Shortly the car will be coming off the road for a winter refresh, so expect more regular updates.

Monday 18 July 2016

Cotswold Capers

The W.A.G.s Weekend was written around giving the “kit car widows” an insight into why we like these small, impractical, draughty cars, it was softened a bit with a nicer hotel & later starts than are traditional, but that was the plan. On the Friday I got the car out & loaded it, while Mrs Blatter did some last-minute packing, re-packing, deliberating about shoes, un-packing & packing again. Then at about 11:00, most of the group arrived & were treated to coffee, but where was our leader? After ½ an hour or so, a rumbling outside announced their arrival & after a quick loo stop we headed out.
There was only one stop, at a pub near the hotel, so now we were up against the clock. Usually the ETA on the SatNav counts down on A-roads, so we should be there in time for lunch – except that on this journey it didn’t. Towards the end we got separated from the others & arrived at the pub where two of our number – a couple from near Manchester had been waiting for two hours, but they had news! Our leader had broken down causing more delay, but was mended & heading for the hotel direct.
So with only 15 miles to go, two cars headed out of the pub car park watching the skies as it looked a little like rain. As we arrived in Cheltenham the promised rain arrived – in proper biblical fashion. The other car had the roof up as the occupants were sensible, I dived into a space off the road & put the roof up while schoolboys laughed (yes I’m getting wet, but I a minute I’ll be under this roof – you on the other hand, won’t).

So we set off again splashing through the early afternoon traffic & found the hotel in spite of the SatNav’s best efforts. The hotel (The Cotswold Grange) was really good, a detached Georgian place on four floors – we were in the servant’s quarters right up at the top which gave Mrs Blatter a good view over other people’s gardens. As we were unloading the car, the others arrived & after a hot shower & a change of clothes we met up in the bar's garden & exchanged stories of the journey. By this time the sun was shining & we set off on foot for a pre-booked restaurant, as we walked along, the buildings got shabbier & the amount of graffiti increased & with it the feeling of unease, but when we arrived,  the restaurant was really good, the serving & cooking being done by the proprietor, who was clearly enjoying having such a large party in. The food, the service & the company were all excellent & by now Mrs Blatter was settling into the swing of things (phew).
The following day saw the remains of the rain blow through while we were having breakfast & we set off in sunshine heading west making for the Wye Valley. First stop was a pub next to the river, it looked like they were preparing for a wedding reception, but provided us with 12 coffees & we sat outside in the sunshine. Some blokes appeared from the woods opposite & came into the pub, then some more in threes & fours, some on their own, all looking as if they’d tramped a long way. In the end there must’ve been 30 – 40 of them - strangeness.

After more chatting & me going off to take pictures of “The Bridge Over The River Wye” we headed off south, Mrs Blatter & I at the back for photographic reasons, after a few miles the cars came to a halt at the side of the road & the hazard lights came on. I strolled to the front & found that No. 2 car had suffered a suspension collapse. I got the tow rope & jack from the Fury & was able to lash the suspension back together enough to move it off the road, but frustratingly none of the tools we could muster could tighten the nut sufficiently, there was the right spanner in our group – with the one car that was now 20mins down the road. So having made arrangements, there was nothing else we could do & we set off into darkening skies. There was another heavy shower as we saw the screen & roofless car of the spanner-holder going back the other way. Apparently Mrs spanner-holder was wet through to the underwear & had to be provided with dry clothing.

Next stop was Tintern Abbey, a very picturesque ruin on the banks of the Wye, £3 to park, but with £3 off anything you bought in the shop / pub / café, so lunch was puchased & we ate outside. It was while sitting there that we heard that our downed compatriots were mended & back on the road, shortly afterwards we could see the rain coming down the valley like a net curtain, we adjourned indoors & when the sun came out again, set off for the next stop. Chepstow is a nice town, with small streets & a castle, we wandered about in the hope that the others might catch up , but they had made straight for the hotel, then the next heavy shower rolled in & we did the same.

Dinner that evening was provided by the hotel & very good it was too, the wine & conversation flowed & I think we may even have repaired to the bar after pudding - very civilised.

The next day was all about heading home by the prettiest route, so we made our way east zig-zagging between honey-coloured stone-built villages & for once all six cars stayed together more-or-less, though one of our number did stop for an impromptu loo stop 50 yards before a planned loo stop in the picturesque hamlet of Great Tew (much nicer than the neighbouring Mediocre Tew) & it was here that the group started to break up with our northern contingent heading north while we continued east with a plan.

The plan was to meet & have some lunch at Blenheim Palace, it was a good plan, except that someone famous (Elton John possibly??) was performing there that evening, so the place was gridlocked. We managed to assemble to discuss what to do & agreed to try to park up in the town & find food, but even that proved impossible as there was nowhere to park. So we headed home without a proper end to the weekend.

In spite of getting wet a number of times, all the participants said they’d enjoyed the trip, so there’s a good chance of a W.A.G.s Weekend II

Friday 1 July 2016

Rogue runners - Aftermath

With less than a week to go before the WAGs Weekend I had a car to fix - & quickly.

I started looking into all the electrical connections, working my way from the alternator back. I found a few thing amiss, but only when I got to the starter did I find the real culprit. The starter body was loose on the mounting (again - this happened to the last one). I also wasn't getting a battery light with ignition & research suggested the alternator was stuffed. So I ordered another from Ebay - this tie a 45A, a new adjuster to make it easier to adjust & a new belt as the old one was split.

By Thursday this was all on & working, so we were good to go - hopefully. A breakdown with Mrs Blatter in the car would not be a good thing.

Rogue Runners - The last Day.

With Henry gone home, waking up was a problem – as I’d been sharing rooms with him it was his phone we were using as an alarm. My phone was still missing. The front desk didn't do wake up calls, but fortunately Linda was in the next room, so although I woke at 05:00, at 07:00 Linda tapped a wake-up on my door & the day began properly. A little troubleshooting found a blown fuse in the exciter wire to the alternator, so it looked like there’s a short somewhere. I retired to the breakfast room.

The car started easily enough after a short push from the team & apart from a couple of folk who had their own plan, we agreed we’d stick together. This lasted about thirty seconds when I followed the wrong seven out of the hotel car park. Then got further confused, so Graham took control & led all the way through the midlands until we miraculously all met up again at about the right time & had a coffee together before going our separate ways.
Then Graham & I wound down through the Cotwolds on a very picturesque route until we separated on the A331.

That's a Car That's Been On A Proper Road Trip

The week had gone incredibly quickly, seven days of driving to the very north of the mainland, experiencing some truly spectacular roads, some wonderful views, some very good meals, but most of all, a week spent with some thoroughly nice people who will put themselves out to help their fellow Rogue Runners to get the most out of the trip - & no small amount of banter.
It really was a most excellent adventure.


Rogue Runners Day six (Seven)

A trying yet ultimately successful day.

As predicted it began with a jump start, Henry’s golf once again doing the honours. It was raining. We packed out still wet stuff into the still wet cars & headed out of town.
Town? Erm ……. Dundee I think.                                   

I was still puzzled by the car. It seemed the alternator was working, but not charging the battery, sometimes the volt meter said 13v J, sometimes 11.5 L. A good rev of the engine would jump it up to 13 for a while, so I drove along using the wipers sparingly, expecting the fuel pump to stop any minute. Henry followed my every move (even the wrong ones) in case I had to stop the car & couldn’t re-start it.
So at last mid-day came, we stopped for fuel & checked the pump as I always do, yes I recognised the logo. I didn’t need much, so just put 9 litres in. Then another few of our happy band pulled in & suggested the café next door for a drink. The Fury was bump started & I trundled towards the café car park – followed by a pall of smoke. What the hell had happened while it was stationary in the fuel station to make it burn so much oil? Ah – I checked the receipt. I’d put diesel in it.

After coffee I was pushed back to the fuel station where I brimmed it with PETROL, & filled the 5 litre can. This time it started on its own so I set off laying a trail behind me. Again the gallant Henry followed me, to ensure I did no more stupid things, until he departed for home along the A1. About ½ hour later I pulled into the hotel. The battery still seemed to be flat, but hopefully some help from the SKCC would get me on my way & I'd get home to do some fault finding.

Rogue Runners Day Five (Six)

 Today – Hmm – I think the phrase “not as good as yesterday” sums it up.

It started off wet – lashing down in fact, so we dawdled over breakfast , but it didn’t improve. We set off, there was a great deal of splashing & a number of aquaplaning events, but it was a challenge & these trips are supposed to be an adventure. By lunch time we had arrived at a café we visited last year, had some refreshment & set off into the skiing areas, they are a regular haunt for us being twisty, mountainous & near deserted, then we moved on to a valley in the Cairngorms, but getting there meant crossing a “pop-up” ford about 8” deep, I went first & shortly afterwards realised how wet the ends of my trousers had become, but worse was to come.
The route we were following went up one side of a Loch, called in at Breamar Castle (the only photos I took all day), then back the other side of the loch. As is often the case, two sat navs directed the drivers round one way, two the other so we met face to face on a VERY narrow road. Oh how we laughed.

After this we visited a fuel station manned (womanned) by a pixie, ok a very pretty petite girl with pinky-purple hair. We refuelled, we paid, I was a little late into my car & the others left. I turned on the ignition, pushed the starter & the car went “wer ……… wer …………………wer”. I moved it away from the pumps, sent a text to the group & went next door to the Quick Fit, where they were kind enough to lend me a battery. Assuming the flatness was caused by having the wipers, heated screen & lights on, I drove off (the others had returned by now), the weather had improved a bit & the roads were no longer under standing water. To help the battery recharge I turned everything off – even the SatNav was on night colours, but at the next fuel stop, the same happened. I limped back to the hotel & after a while a small crowd had gathered & solutions were suggested, joy of joys, one of which was water related & seemed to work – I’d find out for sure tomorrow, when the weather guess said it’d rain all day again.

Rogue Runners Day Four (Five)

What can I say about today? It was almost perfect – almost.

Another beautiful day dawned in Ullapool & having demolished breakfast we set off, seven for the north coast, two heading direct for Inverness to repair the wipers on one car. The northbound seven headed out on what must surely be one of the best roads in the world, busier than last year, but last year the NC500 route hadn’t been invented, fortunately the great majority of the campers were heading the opposite way. The sun shone, it was warm, the scenery was epic, inevitably we got separated, some of us pulled over for a photo stop at Kylesku Bridge, a couple didn’t notice & went past. Those that were left pulled into a café with a nice view & relaxed.
 Next stop was Smoo Cave (the largest sea cave in Britain – apparently) I didn’t have time to do more than take a photo at the top last year, so this time I ran down the steps, went in & ran back up (yes, RAN – mostly).
Smoo Cave - I got arty

After that we pulled over in Tongue as we’d spotted the missing two, I refuelled from a small establishment where you rang a bell & the owner came out & filled the car. There were no prices up, but I’m guessing “costly” as the man was both Scottish & smiling.
We were now heading due East with spectacular deserted beaches on our left – looking like Cornwall must’ve been once, the road was single track which slowed us up, but most people pulled over to let us pass, then the road went all epic again, next-to-no traffic, two proper lanes & constantly changing direction.

At the eastern end two of us went up to Dunnet Head to see the most northerly point on the mainland. As it was a clear day we could easily see the Orkney Islands.
We drove back to join the others at John O’Groats, where many many pictures were taken to go with the ones taken at Lands End. After that it sort of went down hill, the land got more ordinary, the road got more controlled, the weather got worse. We arrived in Inverness to a grey rainy day, rush hour traffic & suddenly the shining north coast seemed a world away.