For anyone who is friends with me (or Martha) on Facebook, or Twitter, you will already be aware that Martha is currently sat in the garage down the road.
On Wendesday, as I was driving from work to home at lunchtime, Martha’s gearbox kind of went…THUNK, then she made an awful clunking noise, but only in 2nd gear.
Stupidly, I drove her back to work, then I managed to get stuck on a corner coming back. It seems as though she is trying to select 2 gears at the same time (reverse being one of them). I had to be picked up in a tow truck and taken home!!
So yesterday, Bob (my boss) and I went to Flitwick to pick up a new gearbox. Well, new to me, anyway. And tomorrow, the lovely men at ATS are going to take out the old gearbox, and put the new one in.
The funny thing is, we have no idea if the ‘new’ gearbox will work or not, so this could just be a whole waste of time (and money).
The thing is, tomorrow I am starting a 2 week trial as a graphic designer, which requires me to travel to Wilnecote, near Tamworth – a 30 minute car journey, or a 1 and a half hour public transport journey! So really, I need to try what I can!!
I am crossing my fingers that she is ok tomorrow, and will be able to take me to work. And hopefully to Leeds next weekend too!! EEK!
On a lighter note, Thursday saw me get a tattoo in honour of Martha!
(a not too great picture, I apologise!)
GET WELL SOON MARTHA!!!!
After an experience this morning, I have been compelled to write this little post.
Many modern car drivers seem to think that Morris Minors (or indeed, any ‘old’ car) can only do 30mph, the breaks are rubbish, and bits fall of as we drive along. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As mentioned in my previous post, Martha was up to 85mph on Sunday, and there were no problems with her at all (Martha is also pretty quick off from a standing start, so I am happy to race any boy racers at traffic lights, and have done 😉 ).
However, old cars do have their drawbacks, one being trouble with speedbumps. The old suspension on a Moggy is not as good as that of a brand new car, hence my having to actually slow down when going over a speed bump. For anyone who has been in a Moggy that has gone over a speed bump at speed, you will know how much it can hurt as your head hits the roof, not to mention the damage it can do to your car.
People still get exceptionally annoyed when having to slow down behind me though. For instance, this morning, I had a fella right up my arse along a road, with a college AND a school on it, so really, I wasn’t going to be speeding along anyway. The said road had those awful speed bumps that are just squares on each side of the road, so naturally I went quite slowly.
Despite me almost slowing to a stop, he kept so close to me I couldn’t see the front of his car, yet he didn’t overtake either (which is most annoying). Past the speed bumps I put m foot on the floor (as it were) and went up to 30mph, and he stayed quite a way back, most odd, thought I.
This went on, until I turned off to go to the petrol station, when HE CLAPPED!!!
Seriously, he clapped at me turning off.
Martha could take you on any day you silly little man!
But my advice to modern car drivers is this – if you ‘get stuck’ behind an old car, deal with it, you can always overtake, and I know a lot of moggy drivers are like me, we see you getting annoyed & trying to intimidate, and lightly tap the breaks, you know, a Moggy can do 5mph comfortably…
This past weekend, Ashley & I made the trip from Birmingham to Knebworth for the annual MMOC National Rally.
A weekend of camping (after my last camping trip at Glastonbury in 1998) and Morris Minors, what more could you ask for?!
We arrived late on Friday afternoon and found the rest of the Young Members, and set up camp. It wasn’t long before we decided on a YM run to Tesco;
I had been looking forward to the National Rally, and I am glad I went, however, I have so say, I found some of it very disappointing. A number of people were exceptionally rude, and the lack of organisation was rather astounding, for such a big even that is now in it’s bazillionth year.
I am not going to focus on the negatives though! It was wonderful to meet some of the people I have been talking to online.
Peter certainly brightened up my weekend, and certainly made me giggle with his wig on Saturday night!!
Craig & Bobbie also deserve a mention for helping Ashley & The Other Ashley see how many people we could fit in a Morris Minor (there were only 5 of us, and we all fit in), and The Other Ashley (Wakeling) was an absolute joy to be around!
Steph ‘Minor Mafia’ Holloway was obsessed with the communal showers, and took every opportunity to make sure everyone knew this fact & how appalled she was by the thought of showering in a big room with other people 😉
There were ups & downs to the weekend, but on the whole, it was a lot of fun, and my first motorway drive too!
Ashley led the way there and back, and we even had walkie talkies to keep in touch on the journey. I particularly like the call names Ashley came up with – Black Devil & Blue Angel 😀
I picked up some great little bits for Martha – new light rims, as the current ones are exceptionally badly rusted on the inside & very bent out of shape, I also got some fuzzy seat covers, as vinyl seats aren’t great for travelling long distances in any kind of heat, unless you particularly like having a sweaty bum. Steph got me a ‘Happy Passed Your Driving Test’ present too – and it really is an amazing piece of kit for the car – a picnic table! Oh yes! All I need now is a drive in movie theatre and I’m sorted!
In other news, plans are underway for the first cake run. The first run is via Stoke & Blackpool, across to Leeds, then back home via Nottingham & Derby. This is going to be taking place very soon – leaving basecamp on Friday 22nd July, and returning on Sunday 24th.
If you donated to Katies Car Fund, please please please make sure you send me your address so I can add you to the trip!! Email firstname.lastname@example.org
On 25th June I had another visit from Steph & Cat, who this time were joined by Emily, Cat’s sister.
It was fun times as we also made Matt Coles (founder of the MMOC Young Members Register) pop over from Wales for the day on Saturday.
We had a convoy going from Halesowen to Birmingham, which was the first Minor Convoy I have had the pleasure of being involved with, which included Derek (Matt’s Car) and Martha (Steph’s Car) as well as my Martha.
On the Sunday, we drove the Martha’s and Cat’s Car, Morrisey, to Cadbury World for a fun day out.
Seriously, how much do you need to know about chocolate? I’ll bet it isn’t actually as much as Cadbury (Kraft) World tell you. A bit of a disappointment that the packaging plant wasn’t open, yet we still had to pay full price (I found out later that it’s not open on Sundays, and can’t help but think this is a bit o a swiz!!!!). However, I did get a couple of bars of chocolate (which melted in the crazy hot weather), and I got to spend the day with some other awesome Morris Minors. I mean people.
Ashley came to meet us in the afternoon & we had an impromptu photoshoot in a pub car park.
On Wednesday, 29th June, I went over to Shirley in Solihull to sit my driving test, and guess what! I only bloody passed!!! I couldn’t actually believe it when the examiner told me I’d passed, and actually asked him if he was kidding!!
I have to say, this was the 2nd time I had sat a driving test, and has to have been one of the most traumatic 45 minutes of my life.
I think what helped me on this occasion was the fact that it took me 3 goes to get the car in the right gear to reverse out of the parking bay in front of the test centre! After this, I think I must have just decided I had failed & relaxed, which seemed to do the trick! I was driving thinking ‘oh well, better luck next time, eh?!’ maybe not the right attitude, but it also worked for my mum who passed her test after a similar kind of thing!
So now I am on the road fully, without the need for a co-pilot, though I do miss driving everywhere with someone to talk to. But, driving alone has some good points – I can listen to the music at full blast like a proper boy racer 😉
So finally I got round to taking a picture of what I did at the weekend;
Hells yeah! I fit a CD player in Martha! Complete with speakers so I can actually use the thing 😉
Once I had figured out exactly what I needed, and had got round to buying them, it was relatively simple to install. The major problem was finding somewhere to put it. My first thought was under the passenger glove box, next to the cigarette lighter, but there is a lip on the underside, so although the bracket for the stereo would go on with no problem, the actual unit wouldn’t have fit in! My second thought was the shelf underneath the dashboard, but this has a round ‘lip’ so the bracket wouldn’t fit on there. I ended up getting another bracket (the kind you use for putting up shelves) and attaching that to the underside of the shelf so i could attach the stereo bracket!
The speakers fit into holes cut in the kickboard at either side of the dashboard as there is a convenient little hole in the bodywork there, however there is no picture as the cutting out was pretty messy! It all works though, which is the great thing!
After sorting this out, I was very excited as Steph & Cat, who I had ‘met’ online through the MMOCYM, were coming to visit!
My Pop Up Mechanic, Ashley, was going to have a look at Cat’s car, as he needed some work doing on him (the car, not Ashley), so after a bumpy start, involving spilled pancake syrup, stolen hash brown and breakdown recovery, the girls made it to Halesowen!
We had a trip to a curry house & then a night of dancing at Zombie Club (goth, anyone?!). It was a really great weekend, and as Steph put it ‘who knew my car would choose my friends?!’. It’s true! Having Martha had meant I have met some lovely people, and I am very much looking to National to meeting some more of my internet buddies!
On Sunday, Steph decided that the Bullring carpark was the perect place for an impromptu photoshoot;
You may notice the still missing bonnet flash in this picture, you may also be please do know that today I got the flash back, with the old bolt drilled out & re-threaded *joy*
Whilst in the Bullring, eating ice cream, we noticed the Shell Roadshow, being hosted by *drumroll* Quentin Wilson, or Top Gear & Fifth Gear fame!
We couldn’t resist, and the Minor Mafia cheekily asked for a quick pic!
It was an absolutely great weekend, and it was fantastic to meet people from the interwebs! I know for sure that Martha really has helped me gain some very special friends 🙂
I was exceptionally happy to learn, when I joined the MMOC forum that there was a fellow young member in the same town as me (technically this is not true, actually, it is the outskirts of Halesowen & Quinton, but I digress).
I caught Ashley having a sneeky look at Martha one Sunday after I was having an afternoon nap, and was awoken by what I thought was someone stealing my car (those Morris Minors make a very distinctive noise).
On that day I learned an awful lot about Martha, mainly by asking stupid questions, like ‘what’s that then?’ and ‘what does this do?’ and Ashley was everso patient with me, gowd bless ‘im!
Ashley has since become my ‘pop up mechanic’ (will you even fit in my boot, Ashley?), and has visited a couple of times to help out with various things; he made a little box to hide my cigarette lighter in, and yesterday he came down to help me check the gearbox oil (see previous post!). Turns out the gear shift problem was down to my funny changing of gears due to wearing bracelets – it hasn’t happened since.
Not only is Ashley a great help with Martha, but he is a top lad too, they don’t make boys like him often! I promise I will be making your cake very soon (i.e. when I get some eggs!)
Anyway, Ashley, here’s to you & your massive tool box!
Sunday mornings are generally the time when I like to go & have a tinker with Martha, I get little chance the rest of the time.
This morning, as is usual or a Sunday, I was awake before 8am (seriously, it’s a Sunday, why can I not have a lie in? Why does my body hate me so???!!!), so I decided I’d go down & take the bonnet flash & bonnet lift handle off so I caould give them a good clean, pain the bits that needed painting, and wack them back on again. No problem, easy little job!
So off they came, in pretty good nick really, not rusty, but very dull, and the handle is quite badly pitted, but a polish would make them nice enough until I get new ones!
So off I went to put them back on, this is where the trouble started! Putting the bonnet lift handle back on, the screw shirred off, and so won’t stay put! The screws on the flash wouldn’t tighten properly either, so that was flopping about a bit, but at least it was on.
After a particularly terrifying drive yesterday, where the gear shift kept sticking in between 2nd & 3rd, I decided I would definately have to check the gear box oil. I have been meaning to do it since I got her, but never got around to it!
Unfortnately the tool I had wouldn’t fit in the little hole properly to get the screw out, so a trip to Maplin was on order to buy a socket set!
Happy days, £4.99 spent, and the largest socket was not big enough to fit in.
So I still haven’t been able to top up the oil in the gearbox.
When I was out, I also noticed that a bit of metal was coming off the side of the bonnet, and when I was driving along, the glove box surround at the drivers side came off. Crazy day!
However, I did have a bit of a clean up in the engine bay, and the sump now looks very clean, and I even found a bit of metal underneath a lot of grime.
I polished the bumper too, but then found the boot won’t lock.
Ce’st la vie, and all part & parcel of owning a classic car. So if anyone has a spare boot catch, lock handle & bonnet lift handle lying around, you know what to do…I have cake…
So, maybe some of you are thinking ‘why the hell is she still asking for money, she has the car!’.
Well, for starters, I thought you might like some cake, and I am still saving to get some bits & bobs for Martha, so I figured, why not keep it open, until I am doing the actual road trip, then I can visit even more of you! Of course, you are under no obligation to donate, but then you won’t get any cake, so it’s a fair deal, right?!
So, do you want to know what I have planned?
No? Oh, well, you’re here, so I’m going to tell you anyway.
First of all, I’d like to get a new gearstick gaiter, as the one currently in my car is looking a little worse for wear, shall we say! I also need to get the heater fixed (last night was the first time I have really wished it was working! It was so cold in there!!), I also need new buckets & rims for the headlamps as they are quite misshapen & rusty, I also want to clean up the chrome on the bumpers & the bonnet, as well as get new rubber for the windows, fit static seatbelts in the back (she currently has none), and get some clip on quarterlight mirrors, I have to get speakers so I can hear the CDs I will be able to play, and the cover on the indicator stalk has broken off, so that is at least a new cover! So not much to start with, huh?!
I would also like at some point in the future to re-spray Martha, a lovely red. I know, I know, some of you will be mortified, but I like red. I’d like to have her body red & the interior black, which involves new carpets, new seat covers & new door panels, parcel shelf & so on! The carpets I intend to make myself, but I need black carpet for that, I am also wondering if I could make some of the other bits myself, such as seat covers, but I’m not sure about that.
So, if you are able to donate anything at all, it will all be going to good use, and you will be put on the road trip map for a nice cake delivery! If you happen to have any bits lying around that you think may be of use, get in touch, all donations are very gratefully received, be it £1 or (I can still hold out hope!) £100, a bit of rubber for the quarterlight, or a brand new bumper! All in return for masses of cake, of course!! Don’t forget the cake!
I am still amazed at how many people donated to the car fund, and helped me to buy Martha, and your generosity continues to overwhelm me.
The other day I got a message via Twitter from @HeydayVS, asking if I was still after a CD player for the car. I replied I was, and we arranged a swap of knitting for the CD player! Fantastico! In case you didn’t know, Heyday is a wonderful online shop selling reproduction vintage clothing, and should definately be checked out if you are after vintage style clothing, plus the lady who runs it, Shona, is an absolutely wonderful person, and provides the best customer service! I have quite a few items from the shop now, and can highly recommed them, top quality stuffs!! Thank you Shona!
I have also been offered some weatherstrips by a fellow MMOC member, Matt, and as previously mentioned, Ashley is the fixing-things-that-go-wrong man (I am baking this weekend by the way, Ashley!!).
If you would still like to make a donation to the car fund, and be included in the Cakey Road Trip (hopefully taking placed July/August time) you can do! You can donate money via Paypal by using the link on the right, or if you are welcome to donate something specific if you prefer! If you have any spare bits lying about, drop me a line!!
It has been a great experience, getting Martha. I joined the Morris Minor Owners Club, and got myself on the Young Members Register. Through doing this I have met some lovely people, some of them I have even met in real life!
Saturday was my first ever ‘show’, and I met some lovely characters there. In true, forgetful-Katie fashion, I didn’t bother asking anyone’s name! Well done me!
Through the MMOC Forum & Facebook, I have met some great young members too. Ashley, who lives just up the road from me, is an absolutley lovely young man, not to mention a mechanic who seems to enjoy making broken things work (and who may well be my saviour when it comes to such matters 😉 )
The first weekend in July is the weekend of the MMOC National Rally at Knebworth, which Martha & I will be attending, and I am looking forward to meeting some of the internet people I have met too! It should be lots of fun!!