Time To Breakfast.....
.... and return from Southwold (91 miles round trip) in the Hillman: 3 hours. Time sitting in front of the computer to get a video to turn through 90°: 3 hours.
I was leaving Zeebrugge after dropping off Janecki z Krakowa on the Willem de Vlamingh when I was held up at this bridge. I'd forgotten that when you take a video on an iPhone to later publish on this platform, it has to be filmed in landscape, otherwise it comes out 90° off. A simple solution must surely exist? No.
And so to Naples, where (after a robust exchange with a taxi driver over the price of the journey to Arco Felice) my fellow magneteer and I settled in at La Tripergola on Via Miliscola, Arco Felice, for an anticipated 10 days magnetising. I was fortunate to know from previous experience what the taxi fare should have been and that was what I paid, much to the annoyance of our driver who was adamant it should have been over twice the amount. An unsuspecting tourist might have their holiday blighted from the outset by being roundly swindled the moment they got off the plane and ask themselves, why would they ever come back to Italy again?
I'd started a blog of Sunita's build (that's the model I made as a guide) more or less when I began this one in February 2012 and despite promises that I would finish it, I never did - events in the shape of the Hillman overtook me. Sunita was 5 years old by then so I thought that this year I'd use some of the time whilst away from home to roll the two into one with an occasional retrospective note. The inspiration for building my first Special was an Austin 'Ruby' chassis in the back of Counsel's garage. He'd carted this from house to house over several decades whilst moving around the country but, a new young family..... you know the story.
I was fortunate in that it was all there and although looking a bit forlorn, Counsel had always had it in dry storage. There were few, if any, completely rusted together assemblies or nuts and bolts.
It was a late Ruby and had the advantage of Girling rod brakes at the rear and cast iron drums all round. I sometimes wonder why I didn't take a picture of the chassis as a whole - that's a Jodel tailwheel in the background; I'd just spliced in a new tailpost as that's where condensation tends to gather over the years, eventually softening the wood.
The Austin's engine was complete but required some attention......
... though the first white-metalling of the bearings was not as successful as I would have hoped - 2000 miles later I ground to a halt somewhere in Suffolk.
By March 2007, I'd had the chassis and various bits and pieces powder-coated and set up the basic assembly on a couple of trestles. I knew that wouldn't be a satisfactory arrangement for building the body, so I obtained a chassis from an earlier car and welded some legs to it.
It looked a bit of a dog's breakfast, but it worked brilliantly.