The Reliant Robin eventually went to fibre glass heaven. It was forcibly retired. Every time we went over a bumpy road the horn went off in time to the bumps, and we lived on a cobbled street. When we disconnected the horn the bonnet started flying up in time to the bumps, the local policeman was unimpressed.
We then inherited an old Bedford Transit van that had been a fruit and veg van. The legend A..ns f..it...d...g still faintly visible, helpfully filled in with mud to Ann is a fat dag by a local child. This was a diesel van that had issues with the whole idea of starting. We could fit a lot of hairy bikers in the back though so it soon became the favoured form of transport to far away booze ups.
It was better than the Robin for this as it still had the convenient hole (yuck) but had bench seats in the back. Actually it had four piles of bricks and two planks and taking corners could be an adventure but hey ho.
One cold night we had gone some way to a party that had, as these things do, gone on for some time and in fact dawn was creeping over the chimneys when a bright spark suggested that it was time to go home. Out to the car park we went. We all piled into the van , evicting some poor party goer that had fallen asleep in the back. (we didn't know him.)
Clunk Clunk went the engine. No go. Far too cold. When I say cold I'm talking about so bone achingly cold that your breath doesn't even come out of your mouth, not in clouds, not no how. So cold that trees are cracking with it.
After a few more feeble attempts we decided to address the cause of the issue and all exited the van. The bonnet(hood) was opened and a cigarette lighter was applied to the engine as we tried to get the engine to turn over. Still no go. By now the milkman, the newspaperman, the postman and two early morning dog walkers were watching.
Hurried huddled discussions by group of men. The smallest of the group was dispatched to the newspaperman in search of some paper. Obviously a little intrigued about what was going on the paper was provided by the newspaperman.
A small pile of newspaper was settled under the engine and lit, much to the confusion of the crowd. It kept going out so a few sticks were added. By now a merry blaze was going on under the van. Much muttering from the crowd about vandals abandoning cars and burning them out.
The heat had the desired effect and the diesel warmed sufficiently to start the engine and off we went, dispatching some one back to stamp out the fire. Unfortunately he set his boots on fire so every one had to pile back out of the van and shout helpful comments like " Your boots are on fire," and " Put your boots out", and " Here, stand still so we can get warm off that fire."
Eventually the boots went out, after the application of a small puddle (well large actually). The crowd were more appreciative of this. Clearly the whole thing had been some sort of pagan ritual for transport involving the symbolic sacrifice of the transport and a traveller.
After that we took to keeping a fire lighter in the van as an emergency starting mechanism.
One step forward, ten back
7 years ago