Easter, and the first signs of good weather have a strange effect on people!
The Easter break signals a flurry of activity on our cramped little island. The Englishman and his wife, and this includes most Land Rover fans, usually do one of two things; join Europe’s longest queue on the M5 in a desperate bid to find a little campsite in Devon, or queue at a DIY Superstore for hours to buy the basics for some ambitious project in the house. Both queues happen on Good Friday. Tempers are lost on Saturday as the camp site is too busy and the DIY parts don’t fit. This prompts vast sums of money being spent in the pub on Saturday night and Easter Sunday being spent looking for an alternative campsite, or returning the goods to the DIY superstore, which will be shut!
My own Easter this year was spent enjoying my two Land Rovers to the full, but not without traces of both the above scenarios. My girlfriend Jo has had a new bathroom fitted and the plumber, a real pro with a pencil behind his ear and two sugars in his tea, had left all the old bathroom in a corner of the garden. To me this signalled an excellent opportunity for some open topped 80 inch fun. The tip is only 3 miles away and was open all over Easter to cater for the eager DIY brigade ripping their houses apart. Over three trips we managed to get all of the old bathroom to the tip using the ‘sky’s the limit in an open topped Landy’ method of loading. Hard to imagine, but with the help of Jo’s two sons, Rory and Michael a full sized bath will fit in an 80 inch Land Rover!
That evening, after all that exertion, a pint was sorely needed, so all four of us piled into the 80 inch and pottered through the lanes of South Leicestershire. It was delightful with the smell of hawthorn flowers in the hedge and the sound of the birds signing in the trees. Sensations completely missed in a car, but appreciated to the full at a steady 30 mph or so, in the open 80 inch. We had, naturally, not planned ahead and sat out in the pub garden until it was both dark and cold then had to face a half hour drive home wearing nothing more that shorts and tee shirts. My 80 inch does have a heater, but this can only ever warm the knees of the passenger and tease the driver with a vague smell of warm air!
Several clear outs over the winter had produced a combined pile of junk perfect for flogging at a car boot sale, so Sunday morning saw us swap to the bigger Carawagon filled it with boxes of toys, books, clothes, old bikes and a plethora of dodgy electric goods that, for the purposes of a car boot sale and a cost of 50p, ‘worked perfectly’. Quite by luck we ended up with a good pitch, south facing and bathed in sunshine all morning. I bumped into a couple of old Land Rover pals from my trialling days with the Viking 4x4 Club. ‘Mouse’ in his 17 year old 110 was two cars in front of us flogging everything he could spare to help fund a replacement chassis and Rich Bradley was strolling around with his partner looking for any bargains. The three of us had a chat and a laugh about how Richard managed to roll his 88 inch on a completely flat section of a trial and Mouse tipped his V8 special over backwards attempting a very steep hillclimb!
With £104 in our pockets we were thrilled with the mornings work and returned home to find a neighbour, Peter, had fallen foul of scenario number two and completely dismantled the plumbing in his kitchen, found he had the wrong bits, and the shop was shut. No running water and 15 coming for lunch! My six 20 litre water containers, redundant until my next desert trip, happened to be in Jo’s garage so we filled them all and loaded them into the 80 inch watching the narrow rear leaf springs flatten under the weight, finally coming to rest on the bump stops for the 200 yard run up to Peter’s house.
On the Monday I finally got around to giving my 80 inch a bit of attention. Most of this revolved around trying to find out from where so much oil is leaking. It is so bad now, that I have to carry a large piece of cardboard around to sling underneath to catch the drips when I park. It looks like a leaking gasket and one of the oil seals, so that is my next job on the old girl.
The first of three tip runs with a full sized bath in the back.
At the car boot sale enjoying th esunshine.
80 inch in need of attention to stop oil leaks.