Tag Archives: MGB GT

Cars

I like cars. I like driving them even more. The workings of the internal combustion engine are a complete mystery to me though. As with DIY, engines are beyond me. I know where to put the fuel, the oil, coolant and screen wash. I can change a wheel but that’s the limit of my expertise.

I think I may have mentioned before that my first ever car was a 1973 MGB GT.

This is identical to the MGB that I had. Same colour, same interior, same wheels.

It had a 1.8 litre engine with overhead valves. Nope. No idea what that means but it was a nice car and I travelled many miles and it was a blast driving it. Girls liked it too which was the best reason ever to own it.

The next car I owned was a Rover P5.

It was like driving around in a gentleman’s club with all the old leather in it. It had a bloody great 3.5 litre V8 engine. Ever since then I have loved the burble of a V8 car engine. A lovely sound. With the price of petrol at 55p per gallon it wasn’t particularly expensive to drive either despite a lousy M.P.G.. When fuel prices started to shoot up, I got rid of it. Shame really because they’re worth a fortune now.

There then followed quite a few years of dull and bland company cars. Some were ok but nothing more and some were just crap. There were exceptions. For a few months my company car was a Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth 4×4. Brilliant car that looked like a normal saloon car but went like stink.

Goes like stink

Unfortunately, I wrote it off when a tyre blew out at speed and it rolled over. I hasten to add that the speed I was travelling at was the national speed limit. Maybe just a little bit above it but not much. Really. Then it was back to boring and unexciting cars. It was the same for PIL. Our cars did the job they were supposed to do but nothing more. Then in 1994, we bought ourselves a car which started a love affair with the marque that has continued to this day. So much so that we have two now. We bought a Land Rover Discovery.

On the school run

What a brilliant car! Over the years we have had a couple of Range Rovers and a Land Rover Defender

but we keep coming back to Discoverys. We’ve probably had 8 or 9 in total and currently own a couple of Discovery 4s.

For us they are the perfect car. We live in the country and during winter the roads are rarely gritted, snow drifts form quickly that block the roads to all but 4x4s or  the roads flood and our village and others nearby get cut off unless you have a 4×4 that can wade through fairly deep water. One of the other advantages is that Discoverys come with 7 seats. Our kids are very sporty and are always playing matches in one sport or another and of course, PIL and I go to see as many matches as we can and this means that we often return to their school with half a football/hockey/rugby/netball or swimming team in the car plus all the kit that goes with the sport. So for us, it was ideal. Land Rovers are also tough as old boots. Google “land rover defender falls off cliff” and read the stories that appear. You can read about the blokes who survived when their Land Rover Defender rolled 600 feet down a slope or the Scottish bloke who survived after driving his Discovery off a 150 foot cliff. Or the woman who survived after driving her blue Discovery off another cliff. I’m not sure if the fact it was blue made any difference and I can’t really say why so many Land Rover owners seem to enjoy driving off cliffs but they survived the experience. I can confirm the toughness of these vehicles from personal experience. On one occasion, I was returning home after dropping the children at school. I was driving our Defender. I stopped as the car in front of me was turning right. Just as it turned, a van being taken for a test drive by a mechanic drove into the back of me. The Defender which is not the lightest of vehicles, was thrown 30 or 40 feet forward by the impact. I got out of the car completely uninjured. The van was a write off with the whole front end completely demolished. My Defender had a couple of broken rear lights, a bent tow bar, the rear windows were smashed and that was it. I drove it to the nearby Land Rover garage and arranged for the van to be picked up by the breakdown people.

On another occasion, PIL was going to a work function in central London. She took my Range Rover. She phoned me just after midnight to say she was stuck in a traffic jam on the M20 caused by road works. Ten minutes later she rang again to say she had been involved in an accident. She was fine but the car wasn’t. An articulated lorry had driven into the back of it. The lorrys brakes had failed. If PIL had been in a normal car, the lorry would have gone straight over the top of it and killed her! That was the opinion of the Traffic cop who attended the accident.

A few years ago, PIL and CJ were on their way to LegoLand and were travelling along the M25 in PILs Discovery 3 when a German articulated lorry decided to move out of the inside lane of the motorway without indicating and obviously without looking in his mirrors because he moved out onto a car travelling in the next lane and shoved it straight into the path of PIL in the outside lane and overtaking both these vehicles. PIL hit the central reservation at about 70 mph. The impact spun the car and it finally came to a halt on the hard shoulder, jammed up tight against the armco crash barrier facing the wrong way. All the air bags had deployed filling the car with smoke to the extent PIL was convinced the car was on fire. Thankfully, it wasn’t and she and CJ were completely unharmed. Shaken yes but unhurt.

On the way to Sainsburys to do the weekly shop

They really are brilliant cars and if money were no object I know exactly what car I would buy. This car really is the dogs bollocks.

 

I’d buy a 1969 Boss 429 Mustang.

The Dogs Bollocks

But I’d also have a Land Rover Discovery as my daily drive. Probably the only car you will ever need or want.

Have a great day.

More Dick soon.

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The Day I Lost My Hat.

I have this slightly bonkers theory that Western Civilisation starting going down the toilet when men stopped wearing hats. Not baseball caps and such like but proper “Foyle’s War” type trilbys and fedoras.

foyles war2

A long time ago, I had the most fantastic fedora. It was such a dark grey that it looked almost black. It was beautiful. I loved that hat. It was a Christmas present from my girlfriend at the time. Lynn. Smashing girl. I remember one evening we were in her flat in Vauxhall when I suggested that we should go and watch the sun come up. She sighed one of those sighs that women sigh when you suggest something they consider so romantic you just know you’re going to get laid! Anyway, we jumped into my MGB GT sports car

1973-mgb-gt_0

and drove to Ramsgate on the Kent coast which was the most easterly point I could think of, bearing in mind that my thought processes were under the complete control of my penis at the time! We arrived in Ramsgate in the early hours, just before dawn. We parked up on the sea front and saw absolutely nothing. It was foggy and we couldn’t see a bloody thing! Still, it was the thought that counts and we had a lovely time although I do still have a bad back. A MGB GT is not a large car. Unfortunately we broke up soon after but I kept the hat.

Back to the hat.

I wore that hat a lot. I wore it to work. I wore it nearly every day and every night. I cared for it.  I may have slept with it on from time to time. I certainly bonked a girl or two while I was wearing it. It was the smartest piece of clothing I owned. My default dress code is called “scruffy”. Still is to this day. If I was to wear an expensive Hugo Boss suit I wouldn’t look like Gerard Butler.

gerard-butler-hugo-boss-main

More like his Irish mate, Sac O’Shit. Within half an hour of donning any smart clothing I would look like I’d been in several brawls. My hat though just looked the dogs danglies all the time. At weekends I would don my 501s, my Rolling Stones tee shirt (or the Led Zep one or the Frank Zappa one cos he had a moustache just like mine), put the coolest ever black leather jacket on, put my hat on my head and I thought I looked the bollocks. Probably most people on the planet thought I looked like a right whelk but I didn’t care. I was wearing my hat! Girls loved it. I would approach a young lady at whatever club I was in, doff my hat to them and say,

“May I have this dance?”

lm-couple-dancing

or

“Can I buy you a drink?”

Couple of friends having a round of drinks

or

“Fancy a shag?”12222107-censored-stamp

Worked every time.You know what they say; ‘You need a head to wear a hat’ or something like that.

One day I went to visit my brother. I put my hat upon my head and left my place to go to his. (I was wearing other clothes!) My brother lived in Brixton which is in South West London. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Brixton was a very expensive area in the suburbs. The houses were huge. The first road in London to get electricity was in Brixton and it was renamed Electric Avenue and that’s where my brother lived. Eddy Whatshisface wrote a song about it. As time went on though, Brixton started to fall on hard times, the houses were split up into flats and the whole area became a bit shabby. A lot of Irish families moved there and during the 1960s and 70s, a large proportion of the population were from the West Indies. My brother loved living there and I admit I loved to visit. It was always alive, the market was great, the pubs were brilliant and we had a good time whenever I visited.  The hostility between the police and the local population didn’t really register with us although the presence of large numbers of police officers was always a topic of conversation. On this particular visit, unknown to both of us, the SPG (Special Patrol Group) were present and Operation Swamp was in full swing with the police stopping a multitude of young people, mainly black, under the “Sus” laws. The atmosphere was tense and you could feel it so we decided to go back to my brothers flat which he shared with 2 Irish lads. Shortly after we returned, we noticed black smoke rising from nearby Railton Road known as “The Front Line” to the locals. Rioting had broken out and the rioters had set fire to a pub.

brixton-136397487061502601

Police arrived in my brothers road and all the shops shut, the street market closed and the whole road very quickly became deserted. All four of us were hanging out the windows of the top floor flat trying to see what was going on when, quite suddenly, a mass of people appeared around the corner like a huge tidal wave. They filled the road completely. There were thousands of them. The jewellers across the road had pulled their shutters down over the windows but within 15 seconds the rioters were in and looting the place. Every shop was broken into and looted. We looked on in total amazement.riot

Just down the road was a Curry’s electrical store. The rioters went through the plate-glass windows and stripped the place bare. Some of them hid their loot under the market rubbish but someone set fire to it. Others took their stuff to what appeared to be a wedding reception a bit further down the road. The newly weds had more fridges, freezers, washing machines and microwaves than they could shake a stick at. We heard people coming up the stairs so we went out into the hall to see what was going.

“We’re taking stuff up to the roof.” they said. This “stuff” was a bloody great washing machine and a fridge.

“No you’re not.” said my brother.

“Oh yes we are.” they replied.

“Not happening mate.” I said

Then they looked again and saw four burly blokes blocking their way. My brother and his flat mates played rugby and were built like outhouses. I’d been a canoeist for donkeys years and had very broad shoulders and a narrow waist. (Sadly, these have now swapped places). So they struggled back down stairs again and shortly afterwards one of them came back with an Easter egg for each of us. How nice!on-this-day-brixton-riots-136397487029803901-150410143414

We went back to watching the scenes below us. Gradually, the crowd moved away and the road was deserted again. Devastated but deserted. We saw an old guy on a moped riding past and picking up pieces of jewellery discarded by the mob. Then, in a scene that could have been from Shaun of the Dead we saw a guy walking down the road. He was looking around in total amazement. I think he lived nearby and after a heavy session the previous night had just woken up and gone out to the shops to be met with the most incredible scenes of destruction. His mouth was wide open and he was looking around trying to compute what on earth had happened and what had he missed. He stepped into the now empty Curry’s store and with unbelievable speed a police meat wagon screeched up, four huge coppers jumped out, grabbed the guy, threw (and I mean THREW) him in the back of the meat wagon and screeched off again. Been and Gone in 60 Seconds!Brixton-Riots-In-London-I-015

It started getting dark. From the roof we could see little groups of people sitting on all the roof tops with their loot, waiting for the whole thing to ease off so they could take it home or sell it. There were more people in the road again and as we hung out the windows, my hat fell from my head and floated ever so gently to the ground below. Some random bloke picked it up. I shouted out to him;

“Thanks mate. That’s my hat. I’ll be straight down to get it.”

Whereupon he stuck MY hat on HIS head and called out;

“Cheers mate.”

and he walked off!

 

With my hat!

 

On his head.

 

What an absolute bastard!

 

I have been traumatised ever since. I never got a replacement. It just wouldn’t be the same. I miss my hat and I often wonder what happened to it. I guess I’ll never know. I do hope though that the bastard who took it suffered a terrible fate. How could anyone take another mans hat?

Have an amazing week.

More Dick soon.

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