The last time but one that I drove down to see Althea, I hit a two hour traffic jam just as I came out of the toll booths on the M4. As I reached the same place on Saturday I was pleased to see the traffic flowing freely so I relaxed, comforted by the fact that I was going to be there in plenty of time. Just then my car died. My little Mazda MX5 had just enough momentum to get me across the carriageway onto the hard shoulder. Luckily it was a lovely day so I took the advice of the policeman who arrived in less than a minute and stood on the other side of the barrier while I waited for the AA and enjoyed the sunshine. The man arrived, turned the key and announced that my cam belt had broken. I had been led to believe , as I'm sure most people do, that a cam belt has about 30,000 miles in it. This one however lasted about 3,000. The man who towed me off the motorway said most of his work comes from broken cam belts and that they can go at any time at all. Luckily my car isn't one of those that suffers all kinds of piston damage when this happens. It is however one of those that has to be taken almost completely apart to replace it. So she's now sitting on the raod waiting for me to arrange having her picked up and repaired. There is a garage accross the road so with a little bit of luck they will be able to do it.
Now to Althea.
When I arrived Mucker and Chris were both up to their elbows in her and Chris shouted from inside the cab, "What time do you call this? We start work at nine o' clock round here!"
This I thought rich coming from someone who never gets up before midday.
I told them about the break down and then Mucker offerred me the good news or bad news choice.
The bad news was that the engine had siezed (this was number three while I've owned her) and had been replaced. The good news was that the new one had slotted straight in and was running like a dream. They had even moved her under her own steam and when they turned it over it did indeed sound like a healthy engine.
We had to move her back away from the gate, so sitting on an old TV set with my knees either side of the steering wheel I turned the key and fired her up. Very slowed and nervously I eased off the clutch and she started to move. A few jerks and a wheel spin later I had reversed her up the field and driven her back to her resting place. It felt fantastic! I'm looking forward now to having a seat and a floor next time I get to drive her. The steering is more like a tug of war and the clutch is more like a trigger but these are things that I'll get used to.
We got most of the wiring done and worked out what was wrong with the rest of it. We changed the oil and the oil filter. The floor is nearly done and she's going in for her MOT this week all being well.