Friday, 23 November 2012

Whine On

I'm glad someone can smile...

There's mixed news from Camp SUL. The good news is that our friend has found a way of persuading me that, after 2,500 miles of successful motoring this year, now is the time for Winter hibernation. The bad news is that we may now have a major job to add to the list...

(Is it me or does the smile get bigger when trouble has been caused?)

Sunday's trip to help out with the second weekend of heritage train and bus services in Looe didn't go so well. A gentle whine, which has nagged my conscience since Warminster last month, developed into something less subtle on the jouney down to Cornwall, and culminated in some 'oribble grating sounds coming from the gearbox (nothing new there, I hear you quip, as I sob into my whi... I mean, wine).

We made it to the event but didn't take part, Penzance-style. 'The nasty noise' became more frequent, even on tickover, and was about as painful a noise as an owner could wish for his vehicle to make.

There's almost certainly a bearing breaking up in there. The knackered bearing would explain the whine, and 'the nasty noise' could be bits of the bearing being churned around the gearbox. Not nice.

So we limped home in fourth gear (which doesn't turn the lay-shaft in the gearbox, and therefore doesn't whine at all), and 'the nasty noise' soon disappeared - presumably the alien intruder had long since broken up.

On Sunday I'll drain the gearbox, and I'll show you what comes out. It's probably going to mean having the gearbox out over the Winter, and I already had plenty of jobs to do. But I can't really complain. We got home.

Sheppardian philosophy says: In every bag of sweets there are the horrible yellow ones that taste so disgusting you can barely swallow them. But if we do, they make the lovely red ones taste even more delicious when you get them. Yesterday, after months of charmed chewing, I picked a yellow one.

A revolting yellow whine gum.

Monday, 12 November 2012

A Day in Looe

Now the rally season is done, I've been busily preparing a blog post on Winter hibernation.

It tells you all about the work I plan to carry out while 270 KTA enjoys a well deserved rest from motoring over the Winter months. Hub studs, the gear linkage, that horrible crack in the windscreen...


I can't post that yet, because our friend refuses to hibernate.

This weekend saw a special visit of the Great Western (Railway) Society's newly restored steam rail motor to the Liskeard-Looe branch line in Cornwall, and on the request of First GreatWestern, TVaGWOT ran a free heritage bus service for the punters to enjoy once they'd ridden on the train. Pish to hibernation...

Main traction for the day was to be Colin Billington's Bristol H, which would have conceivably met Churchwood rail motors like this at stations in the 1930s/40s, and extra capacity was to be provided by our friend - the comparitive youngster of the day - as and when required.

As it turned out, interest in the buses was such that 270 KTA ran (and with good loadings) on all but one of the runs. A bonus for some, and "the highlight of the day" for others, including a woman from Lowestoft who practically welded her finger to the name of the town when she saw it on 270 KTA's builder's plate. "I was built here too...."

The route from Liskeard to Looe, via St Keyne and Duloe (Western National's Service 69), was quite a sod to drive. With hairpin bends preceeding unannounced hills and narrow bridges, not to mention stretches of road lined with photographers waiting to photograph the buses and steam motor side by side, it's a wonder we managed to beat the train each time. Western National allowed 45 minutes in the 1930s, we just about did it in 35.

Chasing a steam train through the Looe valley in a Bristol SU was a magical experience, and one I won't forget. It was like we were in The Titfield Thunderbolt.

 (Wonderful photos of the Steam Motor and tiny 270 KTA from across the water come courtesy of Peter Murnaghan, who underestimated how much I'd enjoy them!)

Shame you missed it, really. But don't worry...

We'll be doing it all again next Sunday!

So, if you regularly read this blog but haven't yet met 270 KTA, we insist that you join us for a ride. This really will be your last chance before hibernation in 2012...

(Right, Sheppard.)