Sorry for my prolonged absence. It has been so long that I couldn’t remember what my last post covered and had to go on site to see. Anyway, we have had an eventful few days in France and another of those “Bridget should never have made it” moments, followed by Moss Europe digging us out of the clag again! They must be fed-up with us by now, but they continue assisting.
After the wonderful run through the Selvio Pass and a couple of nights at Terisimo we continued in the general direction of France. My regulars will know the high esteem that I hold France in, and I suddenly had an unaccountable urge (possibly connected to a surfeit of wine) to visit my cousin in Blaymont, Lot and Garonne. Although they had other family already there, they were, of course, delighted to be honoured with a visit.
A number of times I was unable to ignore an aweful banging when I started Bridget up first thing in the morning and it was apparently getting worse. We stopped overnight at a hotel just south of Lyon. I choose it because when surfing hotels in the area I noticed a photograph of two MG’s parked outside, one a MGA and the other a MGB. They had French plates and, as I found out from the proprietor, they belonged to members of France’s MG Car Club.
Bridget and I spent a very pleasant evening chatting with a New Zealand/Frech couple and their gorgeous children. Lots of photos were taken, but I couldn’t help feeling they should have been of the New Zealand father who had been a professional rugby player.
Anyway, the following morning Bridget sounded really bad when I started her up and although she was running smoothly I decided that when I got to Blaymont I would ask if the local garage had a hoist we could lift Bridget on for an inspection. Initially it sounded to me like the exhaust knocking on something, so it wasn’t very serious, but gradually I changed my diagnosis. As we had now covered over 7,000 miles I thought it wouldn’t do any harm to change the oil, etc., at the same time.
After arriving at my cousin’s house and exchanging the usual pleasantries about Henry V and Agincourt, I asked if the local garage might oblige? My cousins sensible half, knew where we should go with Bridget and, as it turned out, he was spot on. Francios works part time for himself on almost anything mechanical, tractors, agricultural machines, occasional classic cars and even French cars. Basically, he’s a damned good mechanic, in the old style.
We agreed to take Bridget to his premises after breakfast Sunday morning, which we did. Bridget was driven on the hoist and the service began.
Francois changed the engine oil, which had been the light Norwegian oil that had been worrying me, the gearbox oil, greased the front suspension points and adjusted the handbrake. I noticed he was pondering something at the front of the engine and as he did so he was flipping the fan backwards and forwards. I realised that was not right and stepped forward just as he said he thought something wasn’t right. My eyes fell upon the place where the pulley restraining nut should have been, just to see the end of the cam shaft!
While Francois checked to see if he had anything that could replace the lost nut I reflected upon the likely outcome if I hadn’t decided to stop in Blaymont and check everything. Francois did not have anything we could use and so I said I would e-mail an order to Moss later that afternoon and felt sure they would be able to get it to us by ‘close of play’ Tuesday.
My faith was rewarded on Monday morning with a confirmation from Moss that a replacement nut (not for me) was on its way. Clearly the original nut that was lost had not been tightened correctly after someone fitted the new duplex timing chain and a Royal Commission will be set-up to investigate who was responsible. Francois was also impressed with the speed at which the replacement arrived and took Moss’s details so that he can order parts for a clients’ Healey that causes some problems from time to time.
So I have spent a pleasant four nights (that’s what I have been told to say) in Lot and Garonne and Bridget is re-invigorated with another service and an emergency repair that should never have occurred. En route today I couldn’t help noticing a slight knocking from the passenger front wheel when turning any right-hand bend. Maybe I should check the wheel bearing?
We have now moved on to San Sebastian in North West Spain. We visited this location in 2006 on our first ever run together. I note from my Tour Log that her mileage reading on arriving then was 62,222 and this time it is exactly 22,222. I am sure the wizards and witches amongst us can make something out of that. We are staying on the San Sebastian University campus just as we did then, not being any richer.
We will have a few days rest here, to regain our sanity, and then I think we may drive down to Portugal. That will be a new experience for both of us.
PS I really must add a personal note to this blog. My sincere thanks to Rosemary and Peter for putting me up and putting up with me. Also, best wishes to all those I met during my stay in Blaymont. I will forward the invoices for the Midget rides!