I was literally brought up on the superstition that “things go in threes” and if any two things have gone pear-shaped a third will shortly follow. I know it's daft. I know it's just a saying and I know you can't exactly rely on it.. but…
Number 1 : WHIZZ
Driving back home in “Guppy” , my Peugeot 407 Station Wagon in early October the engine hesitated a little in the last half mile and as I pulled up opposite the gate the revs just died away. The engine quietly stopped. I tried to restart it but the starter motor simply produced a WHIZZ kind of noise and made no effort to fire up. The cam belt had broken and on investigation that had done a fair bit of damage to the top end of the engine. And naturally just weeks after passing it's MOT. That stopped me doing two events with the bookstall as I don't have an alternative tow car with anything like enough load capacity in the back.
Guppy - Daphne - Monkey
Number 2 : THUNK
A week or so later I was taking part in Ross Motor Club's annual KYRLE TRIAL, the one event on the calendar that runs within a few miles of my own front door in the Forest of Dean. Due to a combination of covid lock-downs, cancellations and car trouble this was only the second attempt at the event since first entering this form of motor sport in 2019. Back in the passenger's seat was my old friend and rally navigator Ian Beale and we were on something of a roll having won the class last time out.
Monkey at the start of the KYRLE TRIAL
It was a beautiful autumn day, the sky was blue there wasn't much mud and the conditions were just about perfect for “Monkey”, the Suzuki X-90, which really works at his best on dry loose surfaces . For the first part we were going along very nicely and enjoying the picturesque route and the long and pretty dramatic hills we had to climb. Then with 5 of those completed and 10 left to do, there was a sudden THUNK - THUNK - THUNK noise as if we were running over loose house bricks. But the road was smooth. A tooth had broken off the crown wheel in the back axle! The car rolled back and blocked the road (below) so needed some muscle and a tow from a Land Rover to clear the route for the rest of the entry!
The day thus ended on the back of a recovery truck. I have a spare axle, so I can swap over the complete differential unit… but…
Number 3 : SQUISH (Warning - stop reading now if you are squeamish!)
Another week later I was checking over my daughter's beloved 1970 VW Beetle, “Daphne”, and just giving the front wheel a spin to make sure there was no rumble on the wheel bearing, when my finger somehow managed to get caught and dragged round until it , and the wheel , stopped dead against the brake calliper with a sickening SQUISH ! I won't go into details but, after the blood and gore was cleaned up, the finger was really rather a mess. Luckily my partner Philippa has had some first aid training. The grime and grease was cleaned out of the wound and a applied a suitable dressing (below) while I was trying to kid myself I didn't feel sick…
Several trips to the local Minor Injuries Unit followed and an X Ray showed a probable fracture in one bone and a chip off another, along with quite a lot of missing skin… OUCH!
All of which means the job of repairing the Suzuki's axle is on hold as I now have two fingers ‘buddy-strapped’ together with surgical tape and orders to rest the injury for several weeks. That means no more car trials until after the new year, no parcel packing or shelving of books for a while (in case I drop them) and even this blog is being typed up for me . It's pretty frustrating, but I guess it could have been worse. For a moment I thought I had taken the top of the finger clean off! Did it hurt? Oh yes!
And it still does . I certainly don't intend to do that again.