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The Neighbours from Hell

A very long time ago in a town far far away. (Well actually the same town but it didn’t sound as good) I was attending one of those how to get from a dunce to a fiction writer courses. The tutor was one of those types sent to inspire. He suggested that we write a story entitled “The Neighbours from Hell” where the neighbours really were from hell.

The pictures that this generates in my mind were so vivid that I was inspired to write various short stories all of them centred on the same subject.

See my earlier bog posts for more stories on the same theme. https://magic-phil.co.uk/2018/02/13/on-the-theme-of-hell/, https://magic-phil.co.uk/2018/02/18/the-neighbours-from-hell/.

I haven’t written one now for several years but do wonder if I ever grew a big enough pair to set about a book whether it might not be on a similar subject.

This is the next version of the hell stories:

Story

How did I get here? Where am I? I seem to be sat in an interview. A mere five seconds ago, I was walking up my neighbour’s path.

Ranged around me are six people in exquisite suits, finely tailored. This must be a prestigious position! What am I doing here?

The first man is leaning forwards his suit a delicate pinstripe in grey. Sombre, restrained, tasteful which belies the light from his eyes. The light is like insane excitement, almost techno-blue like the neon glow from a car stereo display. A light all gleam but no soul.

It must be the shock of the sudden change of scene, I feel disorientated; I look around bemused. I find that we are sat, cross-legged on a deep green carpet. It is a surreal and dream-like existence; not like any sense of reality, I am used to. Perhaps I am not awake at all?

The journey up that garden path, did I dream that too? It seems that as soon as I touched that door knocker…

Around us, other people lounge engaged with their own affairs. The area appears to be of all things a student bar. But if this is a student bar, these are the best-attired students I have ever seen. I feel strangely out of place in my carpet slippers and gardening trousers.

Now why was I visiting my neighbour? It seems now like another lifetime. Oh the noise, yes, that weird (and very loud) caterwauling emitting from the house. It had made my ears ache the second I had heard it.

So now, I am in a student bar? The furniture seems to be fixed around the wall vaguely like a sofa. But more utilitarian – perhaps an upholstered bench – in a very tasteful green.

The room punctuated by iron scrollwork screens. Each set at random angles to create interesting spaces for people to congregate. The screens have a Verdigris finish and stained wood surrounds. Each screen is a support for well-tended houseplants. A rubbery creeper here, a flowering orchid there. Each supports a shelf – waist-height of well-worn brown-stained wood. Like the surface of an old school desk; a meeting point at which others stand in active discussion.

Another thing strikes me; if this is a bar then why am I the only one holding a drink? I look down at what appears to be a large gin and tonic in a dainty wheel-cut glass – of a crystal so fine it is sure to ring with a tone fine enough for opera.

I look around and feeling my conspicuousness. I gulp the drink in the hope that I will gain some “fibre” from its contents. The bitterness of the draft grips my throat like drinking the entire bark rather than just quinine. I feel as if all fluid is drawn from my mouth.

Of a sudden, the noise hits me. I realise what has made the experience even more surreal – I have been completely deaf. Not a sound have I heard since this “dream” commenced.

The man before me is talking – he is staring at me with his gleaming eyes. I realise that he is talking to me

“Mr Blythe?”

“Oh, I mean, yes”

“I need to test your understanding: for the position you understand?”

“The position, oh, yes, the position”

“Now, as I was saying, you need to understand the database on which you will be working extremely well. If you satisfy the requirements then the rewards are high”

“Rewards, oh, ah, I mean yes, rewards”

“Now a design question; in which we will use the example of some gice”

Gice? I’m sure that he said gice, what are they? Does he mean mice?

“Mr Blythe?”

“Oh yes, sorry”

For some reason I feel that I have to pass this test, I have not felt the urge to ask where I am or what I am doing here. I am faced with a test and it has assumed all importance for me. Although I cannot say, what the test is for or what the penalty would be for failure.

“There are some gice in a carriage,” my interviewer continues. Immediately and without further description.

I know the carriage. It stands in my mind like a piece of art. A horse-drawn carriage angular and gleaming with a strength. As if it was hewn from solid ebony rather than constructed. The seats of deep-buttoned leather in a saddle-soaped burgundy. Each button lovingly buffed. The entire seat stuffed until bursting with horsehair. The wheels high and unadorned each spoke painted a gleaming black to match the body of the carriage. The horse-shafts slightly curving a deep black themselves. The whole, poised, stationary like some fantastic animal about to pounce. This carriage is no ordinary carriage.

The interviewer continues, “The carriage is in a corridor”

In my mind an endless corridor of gleaming white appears. The carriage is stood; the doors mere inches from the walls. The walls shining white like the interior of a brand-new hospital. Lit by some internal light banishing all shadow. The carriage is moving along the corridor at a fantastic speed. Door handles remaining a uniform distance from the wall. Passing intersecting corridors in a blur.

“Now Mr Blythe”

I come back from the vision so suddenly I can almost feel muscles in my head snap with the strain.

The interviewer continued, “How many objects are there?”

It feels like the weight of the rest of my life rests on this one question. I think so carefully that I can almost feel the fluff of lack of use drop from my brain cells as the mental cogs whirr.

I surmise that as he mentioned “gice” as a group that I can count them as one. The sense that a lot depends on my answer lingers. If gice are one then gice plus carriage plus corridor, must equal three mustn’t it? How do I know?

“Three” I respond.

Instantly all six people burst into laughter. My interviewer recovers first. The light in his eyes now somehow reflects deep concern. The light appears to be probing me, looking for the weakness that gave that answer.

“No that’s not right; it’s one.”

Suddenly I get understanding; it is like mentally finding the answer to an exam question. Lights metaphorically go on in my head. I sense an enormous rush of happiness. Akin to that of solving a difficult puzzle that has bothered me for weeks. I feel that I have long needed to know the answer to this question. It is strange, why do I feel such fulfilment? What does it mean?

“Ah, I see”

And I do see, although I can’t explain how, it is like the answer was just placed in my mind – the answer has to be one. And; from this understanding, I am now able to ask the interviewer questions of my own:

“So, how do you decide whether to put gice in a corridor or a carriage?”

The interviewer now looks at me approvingly “It’s not like that; it’s whichever choice fits the best”

“Ah, so it is an entirely pragmatic approach”

I realise that I am now able to watch myself from a distance. It is as if I am floating above myself, whilst also being inside myself at the same time. I am involved in the interview still. However, I am also watching myself in the interview as it continues. I can see that the interviewer approves of me – I get a growing impression that I have this position in the bag. But why? How do I understand the question? How do I understand that these objects together make just one? What is the database? Why must I work on it?

As I watch myself, I see that my delight at the understanding is growing. Finally, I see the six rise as if to leave. Rearranging themselves so that the magnificent suits settle into a smooth uncreased line.

I reach out and catch the arm of the interviewer; I stop him as the other’s leave.

“The one object, that’s the database isn’t it?”

He beams at me quite suddenly; it is like the sun suddenly shines in my world.

“You worked it out” and then he turns toward me.

We sprawl now upon the floor. The atmosphere of the interview has become very relaxed. We prop ourselves against one of the iron screens. I notice for the first time that a strip across the top of each screen is an inlay of stained glass. Approximately six inches in height composed of a flower motif in yellow, orange and green.

Sunlight now beams into the room. The stained glass gleams like an artistic snapshot of springtime. The sunlight lights the spot where we sit and chat in a relaxed style.

This is it – I have the job. I can feel delight and elation. The interviewer rises once more and leaves through a door. The door shuts behind him as if guided by a powerful spring. I approach the door but it has an air about it. Like a staffroom door to a child. I have a definite sense that I cannot go through this door.

I look back into the room, in the far corner nearly hidden by one of the iron screens stands a group of men in dark suits. The confidence of my new success buoying me I feel the need to approach, perhaps to swagger a bit. As I approach they look up, resentment obvious in their eyes. I get the feeling that passing this “test” is not all positive. Something tells me that having obtained the “position” I have somehow deprived these people. Not only that but I get the definite sense that I know these people from somewhere. But David Blythe would definitely have no memory of them. Why is this? Have I been living a double-life somehow, if so, why can’t I remember?

I turn to a man, youthful in appearance with shiny long dark hair. He has a familiarity as of a colleague that I have long worked with. He is glowering and his face darkened as if in shadow.

In excitement, I blurt out “who is that man? The man who interviewed me, what is his name?”

For some reason the unreality of my situation has ceased to affect me; perhaps, the drink? I am not sure. I am acting as if part of this scene, not observing it. It is as if I really belong in this totally alien place, performing unreal tasks.

The man looks up just once and catches my eye, I see the sulky expression; he refuses to speak. He turns away from me. One of his colleagues seems familiar. Unfriendly he indicates a large box of white-painted speakers.

I get the feeling that these are being removed. It is as if the equipment to which they were once attached is now redundant. They have the appearance of speakers that were once attached to a computer. Stained and well used. They could have been in a classroom used as part of a presentation; I get the feeling this is not insignificant.

Each of the speakers seems to develop a label as I view them. It is as if the labels are writing themselves as I watch. Each label has a neatly-lettered name on it.

The nearest set of speakers has a number of names, the first and subsequent lines untidily ruled out. The final lettering is “T. Bordure”. Unlike the answer “one” that brought great happiness, this label brings me uncertainty. I realise that I am guessing that this label is the correct one. I want to be certain. Nonetheless, the name associated with that brief script springs into my mind.

“Tim Bordure?” I enquire

Tim? How did I know Tim? How can I know the name?

It must be written down somewhere? Maybe it is part of my history at work? Work? Yes, that slipped into my head, work. I must have been doing something before to give me the experience for this new position.

I still feel uncertain about that name, have I identified the correct label? I determine to rush back. Back? Back to where? I must check that name; I must look it up on our intranet. Intranet? What Intranet? Where will I look up that name? Why must I look it up?

I must stop this; this can’t be real. I must think straight, I must find out what is real again.

I still feel like I just passed a significant test. I feel for some reason that I have been preparing for this test for a long time. Finally, I have understood, I have passed. But passed what? I can’t remember any preparation.

I am a Forty Five year old civil servant. I can’t remember preparing for anything in a very long time.

I feel certain that the six who just left are important, that having passed the “test” I will soon be joining them. However, I still don’t understand the glass – if it was gin why was I holding it in an interview? Why me alone?

I feel a sense of excitement and anticipation but mostly a sense of fulfilment. A sense of the mission ahead and that this “understanding” I have mysteriously achieved is a part of that.

*             *             *

I feel the itching in my eyes and blink. Oh, thank goodness it really was a dream. I felt sure it had to be it was so surreal. I am going to wake up back in my own life, beside Deirdre in our old rumpled bed. No test; no strange people; no “database”.

*             *             *

I open my eyes; there has been a change. I am not sat in the “student bar”. Neither am I waking from a dream to a small bedroom in Tunbridge Wells.

I am sat on a very hard orange plastic seat. There is a hexagon of seats. I form one side with another man sat a short distance to one side. I am facing other men.

The six of us I notice are myself and the five from the interview. But no sign of “Tim”. We are all silent and unmoving, facing forwards motionless.

My arms are resting quietly along the arms of a… what? I could swear the seat was orange and plastic. But now my arms are resting on a chair of tubular steel and black leather. It strikes me like a chair I have observed through the window of a local hairdressers. Even the chair seems to be unreal.

Into my mind hovers a vision of “Tim” as I last saw him beaming with happiness for me, I feel a great warmth towards him. The vision seems to blot out my mental objections to the situation in which I find myself.

My previous life with Deirdre is but a distant whisper in a melange of more strident voices. Central is this sense that I have a mission. That it is of overriding importance and that I have been preparing for it for a long time. But what is this mission? What am I doing?

In my mind, “Tim” continues to smile; but his face now begins to appear a representation. His smile more like a caricature. A clown rather than a warm human being.

“David Blythe, at last you join us”.

I look down at myself as he speaks into my mind and I see that I am now attired like the others. Gardening trousers, old faded slippers have metamorphosed into a sombre grey flawless suit. A suit that moves so smoothly I swear it was silk. The shoes gleaming enough to blind onlookers. But no onlookers – just the team of six.

In my mind “Tim” speaks again. Looking less and less appealing, the charming smile appears an animal snarl.

“So David, welcome to the purpose of your life. It’s been a long preparation but you have finally achieved the level which I knew you would achieve seven hundred years ago.”

Seven hundred years? What does he mean seven hundred years? No one lives for seven hundred years; surely, he knows that?

“Yes, now we have all six of the database administrators together. Finally the management of earth can come back on stream”

As he announces this confusing message the man to left and right of me grasps my arm in a tight grip. I felt a sense of panic rise. A dark foreknowledge of what is to occur. I see in my mind frightening images, which I do my best to dismiss.

I look to my left hand and I see that the flesh of my fingers is extending as I watch, one part of my mind hysterical. One part, an older part, calm, expectant. The growth is amazingly rapid.

Then pain begins. A sense of stretching, then a burning tearing sensation. As I watch, my finger ends rip and inwardly I scream with agony but outwardly, I am calm, silent. I see that my fingers have found my neighbours – also extended like my own. As they find them the finger, ends fuse and thicken to form a five-pointed cage of flesh and bone.

Strangely, I begin to embrace the pain to draw it into myself like a possession. It is like a smoke-ridden breath to an addict. Deeply pleasurable but also dreadful and frightening.

Now the skin, blood and bone of the two limbs rushes together. The five fingered birdcage completed, but growth still continues; nerves fuse. Sensory pathways between our two minds now become one.

I begin to receive pain, an almost intolerable level of pain. This is not my mind, I am receiving the pain response of my nearest neighbour now fused with me.

His mind is an inner scream of agony and suffering. For some reason I am able to deal with the sensations more rapidly than he. Over time I can see beyond the wall of pain. I begin to receive his thought, his memories, his desires.

Beyond the pain is regret. Time wasted, things not accomplished a knowledge that he has reached the end and never lived up to his obligations.

I realise that as I receive this “broadcast” of despair I am broadcasting back one of my own. Mental images of the time that girl rejected me at school. The sense of failure when I was redundant. No happy thoughts seem to escape me.

I have no time to think. I begin to receive more images. I realise that my other neighbour is now linked to me as well. This man is quite different. I find that the link between us is an unbreakable curse.

Toby has been a murderer all his life. He feels great pleasure at the inflicting of pain on others. I can see the many people he has tortured and abused. The sense of despair in their eyes as they realise that they are about to die. Then the cold blankness of their eyes in death.

I cannot escape him; he is now one with me and I with him. I can see the blows in detail that he meted on those he battered to death. I feel his exaltation at the powerful feelings this raised in him..

I realise that now Toby and Neil are a part of me, I am a part of them. I am now the murderer, his feelings of pleasure are also mine, we are one. One, the answer to that question that got me this “position” one, I reflect bitterly.

I now can feel the mind of each of the six in the ring, each in pain, each filled with regrets. We are now linked as one organism into a flesh and bone ring. Some minds are sadistic, some deluded but no happy mind do I receive.

I realise that as one we have the collective ability of six united. This collective must have great power of thought and of mind. Each memory is mine as much as my own. I can think with their thoughts. Recall their memories and they, can do likewise with mine.

I am filled with the guilt not only for my own misdeeds but also for those of the other five. Between us, we have “sins” of such great gravity and breadth that no single man would have had time or imagination to experience. Now I feel them and remember them as if they all belong to me.

I begin to mull over this past in deep shock. I cease to perceive with my eyes or ears. Living only inside in the darkness of this new world. I am saved from this by a sharp tug on my pain stretched arms.

The white room is moving at some incredible speed. The walls begin to slide down as if a partition rather than a part of the structure. Around the room, there is only darkness.

I have the sensation of sitting in a square of light consisting only of ceiling and floor surrounding by impenetrable black.

As I wait, I see approaching from out of the dark another square very like ours. In fact it appears to be ours, approaching so fast.

Initially a faint dot – almost unperceivable but upon us in moments. Docking with our room at lightning speed. The jolt sends fresh waves of pain through the ring of which I am a member.

The ring is a mirror of ours – I can see myself facing me, and close to me my neighbour Toby but this cannot be. We cannot be sat in two places at once.

As I try to understand, to get control of my mind I see a small child, walking across the darkness. Her feet resting on dark, walking through the dark towards us.

She is a barely four feet high and clad in an almost see through full-length shift. But as she approaches, I see that her pretty form is marred. She has no eyes. The sockets burned out and glaring red.

I want to scream but I seem unable to do so. My mouth will not open. I mentally recoil as she grasps the place where the hands of Toby and I join. At the same time with her, other arm she grasps the ring that has now docked with us.

It is then that I have the realisation that I had not seen the ring approaching with my eyes at all. In fact, the ring was behind me. I have seen the approach through the eyes of the man opposite. It was hard to think like this now; I was not thinking “us” so much as “me”. My ring of six was now me and I was it.

Then a new pain. I realise that fresh flesh and bone is forming between the ring in which I am sitting and the other ring. The child seems to take no part. As I struggle with the new pain, I realise that I cannot sense her. She appears to have no mind; in fact, she appears not to exist.

As I wait, the girl detaches herself and walks away across the darkness until it absorbs her slight form.

The two joined rings allow me to feel the other me. I can feel me as a happy and positive man. I can feel the sensation of the first time Deidre and I went out. I can feel the satisfaction at getting my first job.

The two halves of me are at war. It is not just my war. Each of the men in my ring aggressively responding to this new invasion. Electricity sparks across the interface between us. Twelve minds attempt to destroy one another.

But the war has just begun.

Even as I battle my other, self I see approaching a third ring of six. As this one also docks at lightning speed. I sense all six minds in my ring unite in despair at the new arrival. Mental images from the other ring are of welcoming expectation.

From the darkness, this time emerges a boy child, dressed again in a sheer outfit like a shift or nightgown. Again, he has a face ruined by burning.

He grasps the place where the hands of Neil and I join and with his other arm grasps the ring that has now docked with us.

As we fuse I feel the pain blank out my mind for a while. I feel a sense of our imbalance, the sense of war between the two halves and in the third ring judgement. Like the sensation, I had in the interview of watching myself. The third ring is watching the war between good and bad and judging us.

The bad hates the judgement. The good welcomes it. The sense of the warring parts of self escalates until the junctions between us hum with angry electricity.

As the boy disappears into the darkness, I see “Tim”. I see him flying, unsupported through the darkness towards us. He is gliding supported by nothingness. Arriving with a graceful determination.

As he nears the room enlarges to be become one whole. New walls start to “grow” organically around us. The walls reflect back that penetrating whiteness.

I barely perceive it; wracked as I am with pain and battling my inner self split into three parts.

“Tim” hovers above the ring for mere seconds before fresh flesh springs from the union of three rings. It rushes upwards like vine from a tree. I feel a sensation like blood draining from me and lose all consciousness.

*             *             *

I am awake; I can feel myself angry, despairing, frightened. I am real. I can feel myself in all six parts. I can now feel “Tim” floating above me. Strangled in a flesh and bone cage, which has surrounded him; feeds on him; is embedded with his mind, torso, abdomen.

I can feel his suffering as I can the six. I can feel that he is receiving the war amongst the eighteen and struggling with it. As he struggles the struggle becomes mine. I feel almost a compassion for him but also anger and loathing.

The electricity between us is now an angry growl. The heat from it oppressive. It crackles with the fury of our warring as pain follows hope, and judgement follows pain. Round and round like a desperate man drowning.

Then above us an entity begins to form, drawing on the pain and frustration. A blue light develops above the warring minds – drawing lightning rods of power in a blue arc directly from “Tim”.

The consciousness of the entity is malign drawing strength from the three rings of six. It begins to tower in an ice blue form above us. Sneering in its awareness of its own strength it looks down on those who formed it. It bathes in the suffering of the puny who united for this moment.

Now at last the database is online.

 

 

 

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Wreck of the Week

It turns out that the term “Wreck of the Week” is a rather popular one; in fact it is in use all around the world.

There are a few websites using the term and now there is even a  book

Wreck Book

I haven’t found a British site as yet so I don’t feel that I am competing with anyone. But perhaps there will be some recognition of these other sites from me as I go forwards.

My favourite this week is from Australia:

http://bitethedust.com.au/bitingthedust/category/odd-stuff/wreck-of-the-week/

There are some delicious images here of old cars dust laden and sun bleached. Sadly my attempts to raise the author such that I might use some of his images in headers for my blog seem to have failed. However this does not stop the content being first class. Well worth a look I’d say.

At last I’ve found a UK site on “rust in peace”. This has been the subject of a search for the last few articles – so far always yielding something from the US.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-457661/Rust-peace-Classic-cars-left-rot.html

This appears to be the book which they are featuring:

Rust in Peace

Bookfinder

This week’s video clips along at an impressive rate:

What’s the matter with these video people? Don’t they understand that nostalgia likes to develop slowly?

It’s a shame that none of these video posters give an address where they shoot the footage. How are nostalgia-types supposed to spend ridiculous amounts of money on these cars if they don’t tell us where they are?

This week our auction car seems to be on the cheap side

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/282832610698?ul_noapp=true

relisted a couple times and then ultimately sold for £401.00 (roughly $545 or €449)

This seems significantly cheaper than some of the very crumbly remains we have examined of late. So what gives with Standard cars? It appears that it was all up with them by 1963 .

Although British Leyland had swallowed them by 1960. It seems that they were not very successful latterly. Perhaps this is part of the reason why they are not commanding high prices now.

A comparison with new prices reveals some disconnect this https://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C362670 has an (admittedly Phase I car) for sale at £6500 (roughly $8840 or €7280). Which is a reasonable sum. How come our little car receives so little attention (bidding wise in any case).

Well to my mind the seller gains points for listing the full registration date (15/07/1953). As mentioned in a previous wreck of the week I am always alert for a car first registered on the day I was born. This search is rendered difficult by a posted registration date of “1953”. This could be any day on any month of that year. Come on auction posters more full registration dates if you please.

Of course he loses marks by using the all caps shouty case. So beloved (no doubt) of a famous Radio 2 DJ and former Top Gear presenter.

I’m not sure that shouty really sells your car. However us nostalgiaphiles are made of sterner stuff. We will not be dissuaded by those without a volume control.

More likely I fear the last detail is the most relevant. “Please remember this car is located in Cornwall TR15 area before you bid”. (I removed the shouty case). This speaks of a seller weary by former bidders saying “how far” when they win the vehicle.

To put in context this is 5 ½ hours from my house. For those United States readers who are looking at this incredulously. The final miles of this are over narrow roads the speed of which would tax even the Pope’s patience. (I am aware that on that vast continent 340 miles (or thereabouts) is around-the-corner-to-buy-a-coke distance).

In the UK, the classical lengthy trip is from Land’s End at the tippity toe of England diagonally across and up to John o’ Groats. (This is effectively the back of Scotland’s head). There are various estimates but I get this as 1042 miles. The UK would fit into the United States many times. The distance to Cornwall would dissuade many. (Who did not already live there in any case).

I therefore fear that the car might well be of appeal but its location is not.

A 1953 Standard Vanguard – of which the majority were for export. (To assist in recovery from the debts we had accrued during the war so I understand). To have one under one’s driving shoe must be a rare experience indeed. This is a Phase III (according to the advert). The seller states this is rare. He is almost certainly correct as I cannot find another for sale at this moment. One would imagine therefore that the preservation of it would be high in the nation’s consideration.

However since austerity the UK’s ability to look after its own heritage appears to be muted. In which case a rusty wreck in a Cornwallian yard will probably not awaken much interest.

For those not yet in the know the term “barn find” is indicative of nothing at all. Sometime in the recent past the term “barn find” became synonymous with a rediscovered treasure. Put “barn find” in an advert and the goose will start laying those shiny metal ingots. However now it has come to mean “old”, “shabby”, “needs work”.

So what is she like this Standard Vanguard Phase III?

Standard Vanguard 1

Firstly pictures lead me to suspect this is a Phase II. Phase III is quite different. The Bonnet badge (hood ornament to any American readers) on this does not look like a Phase I so I think Phase II. Standard Vanguard experts will no doubt be shaking their heads at my vast lack of expertise in this area.

Given she has been around since 1953 I am amazed at how good she looks. And frankly I like the look. The large chrome front, the split screen, the pronounced bonnet badge remind me of the brief flirtation with Americana that we had in the UK. They were times of great optimism, a feeling which has not persisted to the present day.

It is sad that to aid the sale the seller lists the number plate TPE844 as transferable. How many cars are now running round with the wrong number plate because of this fashion in number plate transfers. It is a great loss to the history of the car. I shall be quite encouraged if someone sees fit to eliminate the practice. The buying of defunct registrations from the DVLA being the exception here.

4 Standard Vanguard 2

Apparently it has had only 3 owners since registration. At over 20 years per owner – somebody really loved this car. A shame then that it is in this crusty state.

Some of the paperwork related shenanigans that we have seen with some previous wreck of the week vehicles are not likely with this one. The seller declares the V5 to be present. (For the uninitiated the term “log book” and V5 have become exchangeable terms).

It is so attractive that you would imagine it had been customised. Styling being more of an art than a wind-tunnel-mandated-science in those days I imagine.

It is sad that he emphasises the fact that the car no longer requires an MOT.

For those not inveigled by the vagaries of the UK roadworthiness system. The MOT is an annual test which whilst flawed in so many ways ensures that the car will go, stop, and steer and is unlikely to crack in half on the motorway (freeway to any American readers).

The removal of an MOT requirement for some older vehicles seems to me a dangerous step. The encouragement here is to run cars without testing them. Ultimately meaning that older cars become a hazard. The wise amongst car owners will continue to pay for an annual test and to rectify such elements as are found wanting. I await with trepidation the day when an MOT-exempt vehicle kills someone. The resulting call for these old rust-traps to be condemned forever seems a headline one can predict from any tabloid newspaper.

At which point nostalgia be damned and get these awful wrecks off the roads.

I can tell how much I love this car by how kind I have been thus far but enough – back to old school criticism. There is rust in both sills, nibbling at the boot lid, boot surround (trunk for American readers). That fuel tank also looks like a leak waiting to happen.

The Standard Vanguard Engine however was much respected. A tuned version was used in the TR3 sports car. The engine is present but I am not clear about the ancillaries.

Crikey, possibly the least well preserved bench seat I have seen. That dash also appears to have suffered to a considerable degree (given that it is inside the car). If appearances are anything to go by not much is saveable in here.

Any prospective restorer is going to be on great speaking terms with an upholsterer. The steering wheel appears to be cracked. However the often fragile horn rim appears intact which is something of a surprise.

The seller was not stretching the truth when he said it would need complete restoration.

This looks like where we came in – although the full extent of the sill and lower door rot can be better seen here.

Sadly the seller does not lift the bonnet for any of the shots (presumably because there is nothing there). The wing seams look well corroded as does the bonnet edge. The headlamp chrome is strangely still bright though. As if these are later replacements. Both wing mirrors are present and remarkably all 4 tyres seem to be holding air.

It was located here

But unlike the Morris of last week has already sold.

I hope that this means that someone who is greatly interested and motivated has decided to raise her from the dead.

This apparently confirms that the car had done 70,000 miles. It is odd that I can make out 9036 as some of the characters and I’m almost convinced that first number is a 3? That doesn’t seem to make sense, perhaps the first number is a 6?

She has sold – so there is a strong hope that she will be back on the road again at some point.

If the purchaser comes across this blog post please let us know how you got on with her.

 

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Credit to the property website from which the original idea (for Wreck of the Week) came:

http://www.wreckoftheweek.co.uk/

(Unlike that site, which is about houses, this series of blogs is and will be all about crumbly old cars).

Father Christmas

This was part of an exercise designed such that you would write about children.

Unfortunately I have very limited experience with children and apparently it showed. My lack of understanding was about the level that children think at.

From my perspective a child has reasonably little awareness of a world outside of their head. My limited understanding stemmed from the way parents treat children.

Parents insist upon holding a child’s hand (because children have no idea an oncoming car can kill them).

Parents tend to keep children close to them (because children can’t survive alone).

Parents escort children everywhere (because children are unable to do anything by themselves).

So I had the impression that prior to a certain age a child’s perspective was skewed by what was inside the child’s head.

The feedback I received was that the story was unrealistic as the child would not be this naïve.

That shows how little I know.

This underlines the idea that you should try to write about things that you know – or do your research well.

After this I’ve pretty well decided that using children as characters is not going to be something that I’m great at. So probably has no future in the things that I write.

The following therefore is probably only of interest in terms of an example of what not to do.

Story

“Can I have a puppy Mummy? Can I?  I want a puppy because I don’t have a puppy”.

“Timmy be quiet can’t you see I’m talking?”

Mummy was talking very loud.  Mummy is loud if I am naughty.  I think the man must have been naughty.  I hid behind Mummy’s legs.

Mummy was very upset –the back of her hand went white.  My hand hurts when she holds it so tightly.

“Mummy, Mummy let go, I want to play”.

I looked down at my new shoes.  The little lights in the sides came on as I was walking.  I was stamping my shoes and trying to see the lights come on.

I wondered if the strange man had sweeties.  “Hello” I said from behind Mummy’s legs.

The man bent down and looked at me.  He was very dirty, he had strange-looking hair with leaves in it.

“Mummy he smells funny”

Mummy pulled my hand suddenly – it really hurt – I was crying.  Mummy was talking very loud now.

The man had Mummy’s handbag.  Perhaps he wanted to buy me presents?  Sometimes Mummy buys me presents when she has that bag.

Mummy said that Father Christmas would come with presents. Perhaps this man was Father Christmas? He had a wrinkly hairy face.

“Mummy has Father Christmas got me a present?”

“Timmy if you don’t shut up I’ll give you a thick ear, understand?”

Mummy took me to see Father Christmas before; he wasn’t like this Father Christmas.  When I went to see Father Christmas before he was shiny, red and happy, he didn’t smell like this man.

I saw another Father Christmas in a shop today.  Maybe there are lots of Father Christmas’s?  Perhaps I get more presents if there are lots of Father Christmas’s?

“I want a present, I want a present”.

Mummy turned around and smacked me.  I started crying.  I felt hot and tired

Mummy was very angry now; she was really shouting – her arm had gone stiff and my hand was really hurting.

People were standing still watching me.  They must have known that I was with Father Christmas.

It was very quiet now.  Mummy was not shouting.  A shiny car was there; it was white and had funny lights.

The lights on my shoes are red, these lights were blue, they were very high, I watched them go round and round.

A really big man was talking to Mummy.  He had very dark clothes on; he was scary.  He had a shiny belt on; I was watching the long stick on that belt.  Billy has a stick like that; he got it for his birthday.  I don’t think I could have played with this stick.  Billy has a puppy, it was all floppy and sleepy – I don’t think Father Christmas had my puppy.

The big man put Father Christmas in his shiny car.

“Mummy can I go with Father Christmas?”

“NO Timmy you can’t”.

Mummy didn’t have hold of my hand now. I jumped in next to Father Christmas.

“Father Christmas, can I have a puppy?”

 

 

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Wreck of the Week

I followed up last week’s “rust in peace” search in the hope of finding something from the UK.

Instead I found another American site (It seems they are so much better at rust in peace than we are currently). Or more prolific with it in any case:

http://apexautomag.com/2015/06/rust-in-peace/

The above article explains some of the author’s nostalgia for cars. He misses something for me. There is something about a car designed to do a job sitting instead slowly mouldering which is very sad and at the same time interesting.

So I decided to follow-up with another YouTube video:

This one wasn’t quite as fetching as last week’s predominantly because of the pace with which it shifts through the cars. It is too Speedy Gonzalez  for me.

However the list of cars is interesting:

Grey Ferguson

Fordson Major with cat tracks.

Peugeot 405 MI16X4 with registration

Hillman Imp

Ford Capri MK3 (Once xpack kitted)

Ford Cortina with registration OOF 752X

VW Scirocco with registration H749 LJB

Morris 8 with registration BDE 133

Austin Metro with registrion BUY 1W

Honda motorbike with registration NNA 392W

VW Scirocco

Triumph Spitfire

Morris Minor with registration LCM 607G

Ford Escort MK5 with registration J422 FFM

Peugeot 309 GTI with registration F160 GSO

Ford Escort MK4 with registration E873 EMY

Ford Sierra with registration F731 SHW

BMW CSI 635 AUTO with registration D723 DAA

This is the list given in the video’s notes. However there must be some missing. I definitely spotted a Jag. I thought I also saw what looked like a Bedford HA van with a camper roof. There are probably more.

There is no clue as to where any of these cars are, (we have to content ourselves with a “Shropshire salvage yard”). Some of them look sufficiently interesting that they might be tempting to a restorer, for the right price anyway.

Delving once again into the overpriced world of historic rust auctions – this week is an odd one. The car does not appear to have sold, despite being relisted at least once.

Compared to some of the auctions we have seen this did not seem overpriced.

For some reason it appears that Morris Minor Saloons are not in demand for restoration now.

In their day the car was no more mundane than a Ford. But we have seen the high prices that classics with a Ford badge now command.

It is sad that apparently Morris does not seem to have the same cachet.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1966-Morris-Minor-Project-/183061294007.

£1000 (roughly $1380 or €1120) was the starting bid and apparently the reserve was not met.

I can find no trace of it being listed again. So it looks like the seller gave up due to lack of interest, or decided to sell it elsewhere.

This gives the sale value for a good one at £4600: https://www.hagertyinsurance.co.uk/price-guide/1966-Morris-Minor (roughly $6348 or €5152).

So they are not immensely valuable, and restoring a bad one can soon absorb all that money. (Think of the time to weld, fill, prime, and ultimately spray a car for example).

It appears that the desirable Morris Minor models are the convertible, van, and pickup. Sadly this is not one of those.

On the upside the seller seems to have a large list of parts (only some of which were listed in the advert).

He states that “everything needed to finish the project” is included. This encompasses “over £1300 worth of new parts” (approx. $1794 or €1456). This includes a complete clutch, brakes with all new pipes, and the original 1048 engine (in bits). There is also a choice of 2 other engines a 948 and a 1048.

I seem to remember that these cars are not about to tear the tarmac up at Santa Pod. So the bigger engine the better is probably the answer.

Given the similarity with a Mini engine I wonder whether a 1.3 from a Metro might not be a better choice in fact.

The seller also mentions that there is “2 maybe 3 radiators, a few front grills, spare fibre glass wings, original interior, steel exhaust”. There are some other parts which he hasn’t described here. (Further details are available on request).

So let’s look at her then

Morris 1

Sadly this is the maximum size image (of the complete car) available. I take it this is from sometime in the past in any case as later pictures seem to indicate that it is now in pieces.

Morris 2

The advert refers to a chassis rebuild being needed. I’m guessing by the brake junction in the foreground that we are looking at the engine bay. As these things go it isn’t as bad as it could be. But it does indicate why the car will need to be “trailered away”.

I’m no Morris genius but there appears to be fairly substantial holes where I’m sure metal should be. So I think a deal of time with a welding set would have been in someone’s future (had there been any interest).

Morris 3

This looks like another close up on a section of chassis with behind it, I’m guessing, a box with engine parts. It looks like an oil pickup pipe from the sump (presumably of this car).

I’m not convinced much of this steel is recoverable looking at it. One hopes that spare chassis sections can be obtained (unless any prospective buyer is also a genius at metal-fabrication work).

Morris 4

I suppose on the upside there is no evidence of previous bodges. (That is probably fairly remarkable in a 52 year old car). But there is a fair amount to make or find when you have holes that size to fix.

Morris 5

I assume this is also engine bay. In the foreground – washer bottle at the rear – gearbox bellhousing. Some of these sections look like they might not be perforated. They might stand cleaning up (unless that is my habitual over-optimism with rusty things).

Morris 6

Given the presence of a battery terminal connector this is also engine bay and by the looks of it a close up shot of the chassis leg. This doesn’t look too bad as these things go. It may even tolerate cleaning up.

Morris 7

It looks like we are now starting to look at spares. This looks like a grill surround with a wing visible behind it.

Morris 8

And here are those wings looking very intact in fact. Given he describes the wings as “fibreglass” this could well be why.

Morris 9

This looks like one of the engines he mentions.

Morris 10

This looks like the other engine. (Although I’m not sure how to tell which engine is the higher capacity of the two).

Morris 11

The only real shot of the actual car in its current state. There are some quite visible signs of rust through the window. Potentially much of the floor is also missing here.

There’s no doubting the work involved. However it does not look in the league of some of the cars we’ve seen. The difference here being the low values that these cars obviously attract in comparison to other cars of the same age.

I’m concerned that the seller states “I have tried to be as honest as I can”.

Surely as honest as feasible is absolutely honest? However he doesn’t pull any punches over his description: “it is a brave but very doable restoration”.

I guess anything is doable if you have the time, patience, skills and above all money to invest in it.

Sadly he is not well enough to complete the restoration himself having contracted throat cancer. I can imagine that an experience that difficult will be a life changing one. It is unlikely that when struck with cancer restoring a rusting car is at the forefront of your mind. We can hope that he has a full and successful recovery.

(We can also hope there is a brave Morris-orientated restorer out there. A restorer who has bought this car via a route that doesn’t involve the nation’s favourite auction site).

He states “I just don’t want to scrap it and resell all the parts”. This is laudable given that normally the parts are worth more than a car would sell for.

It doesn’t look like it has much history. He states that “I also have an original front section of a V5 when it was sold to another owner from 1995, but no other service history.”

That’s a shame I really love those stories of the years carefully cossetted (followed by the years of minimal cossetting).

Perhaps he got his way. He does state he would like to swap it for a motorhome. Still my experience of motorhomes is that they are quite good at holding their price.

This for example: https://www.marquisleisure.co.uk/motorhomes/stock-item/autocruise-starfire-el-37607 at £23,995 (approx $33113 or €26874).

That’s quite a lot of cash adjustment on a £1000 (roughly $1380 or €1120) car…

The car may have sold elsewhere. In which case if the buyer does read this blog in the future please let us know how you got on.

Let’s hope that the seller is doing well and that somewhere this car has a restorer humming away in his/her workshop of choice.

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Credit to the property website from which the original idea (for Wreck of the Week) came:

http://www.wreckoftheweek.co.uk/

(Unlike that site, which is about houses, this series of blogs is and will be all about corrosion).

Narrative Vs Dialogue

Two stories both on the same subject to show the effects of Narrative vs. Dialogue.

From a course I did so long ago now that I can’t remember the context.

They’re here purely for your enjoyment and with no other explanation.

I hope that you like them.

Narrative

Elizabeth was a fool Jane knew it. They hadn’t been friends for twenty years without the realisation that Elizabeth was a weak-headed, softhearted, naïve fool.

Didn’t she, the mother have the greater insight into the workings of her daughters?

There were the startling, the mediocre and the downright alarming. Rebecca, the eldest – she had always been the exceptional one. Always knowing what she wanted to do. She planned her wedding for the best weekend of the year, a marvellous dress, a fantastic husband.

Then there was Ruth. Jane could feel the anger like a tiny pricking sensation already starting, just thinking about her.

Ruth, yes – she’d warned her – with every one of the dropout wasters she’d hung around with (and taken to bed) she’d warned her.

Now she was pregnant,, of course she hadn’t taken the time to tell her own mother, oh no.

A hasty wedding in October – at a registry office, a rush job at minimal expense – well this guy Richard was hardly the high-flyer, not like Rebecca’s husband.

Ruth had made a bad choice and it was obvious why. It was just to spite her mother. They’d never seen eye to eye and now she had chosen the one thing that she knew would really hurt.

Jane took pride in her family – liked to think that she’d instilled in them some old-fashioned values.

Rebecca had never hung around town late at night picking up boys – and what boys. The latest one had a tongue piercing – and a dotted line tattooed across his neck with a small pair of scissors labelled “cut here”.

What kind of guy was he this Richard? She doubted very much that Ruth even knew him very well. She knew he had a motorbike and was the sort of guy that Jane would despise. Jane would never welcome him into the family.

How better to hurt her mother than to marry him? Well it worked; all the years of spite and angst could not equal what she was doing this time.

If only Ruth wasn’t such a stubborn, wilful girl, she wouldn’t be dragging the family down in this way. Jane wished, not for the first time that she could disown her.

It was bad enough that she’d found them “at it” in her own bathroom but then to go and marry him? It was too much.

So what was Elizabeth going on about? The loose-minded woman. No doubt, she saw Ruth as another hard-luck case like an abandoned puppy or something.

No, Ruth had a lot of learning left and she, Jane was not going to shield her from any of it.

Dialogue

“Isn’t it the most perfect day Jane” Elizabeth gushed, her brow furrowed in concern.

“It’s October Elizabeth, who ever heard of a wedding in October? I may as well look around for thermal underwear” Jane was at her most caustic today. “Now, Rebecca, Rebecca; there’s a girl with sense, a June wedding, very sensible”

“As I recall Jane, you moaned all day that it was too hot and you were suffering from sunburn,” said Elizabeth archly.

“Hmmph well at least I didn’t have to go there looking like an Eskimo – it’s so unattractive.”

Elizabeth sighed inwardly and tried again “The weather is unseasonably warm Jane. Anyway I’m told the registry office is centrally heated”

“Office, yes office, why not a church?”

Elizabeth decided on a change of tack “Did you see the dress though Jane? She will look beautiful”

“I didn’t want to see it, it’s not as though it’s a wedding dress or anything. There won’t be a train or walking up the aisle will there?”

“I guess as long as she’s happy though?” Elizabeth’s voice squeaked with the effort of maintaining diplomacy.

“Happy, happy, what kind of selfish attitude is that? I give it six months, that’s all, six months”

“Richard seems a very nice lad” Elizabeth was tiring of the fight.

“If you don’t count the tongue piercing and the tattoos of course.”

“They all have those now I think”

“Well he isn’t tolerant enough for Ruth that’s for sure. I don’t think he’s had half enough time to realize what a vicious little wildcat she can be”

“What makes you think that, Jane? What evidence do you have?” Elizabeth, by now beaten decided to go with the flow.

“I’ll tell you why – she’s been going round like some old slapper. Mike last year, Derek six months ago and now Richard. Is it any surprise that she’s pregnant?”

Elizabeth gasped, “That’s a vicious thing to say, you’ve no evidence at all for that statement”

“Oh, come on, don’t be so naïve, she’s been hanging around him like a bitch in heat” Jane snapped.

“How can you say that about your own daughter?”

“You just have to look at her for God’s sake, how many brides do you know actually put on weight for their wedding?”

“I think you’ll find the dress size is exactly the same now as when she ordered it Jane.” Elizabeth was sounding exasperated. “You can’t just treat your daughter in this way Jane, you can’t. It will come back to haunt you if you do.”

Jane glared at her stubbornly “I have five daughters, Elizabeth, five and have any been so awful to me as this one? I don’t think so.”

“Ruth is a lovely girl, Jane, surely you see that” said Elizabeth, tears by now gleaming in her soft brown eyes.

Jane’s gaze was grey and piercing “I tell you, for all the pain this one has brought me, I wish I only had four daughters.”
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Photo by Scott Webb from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/wood-sign-arrow-blur-137596/

Prezzo St Neots

When: 01-01-2017

Where: Prezzo St Neots

Price: Free – it was a gift

Review: I find Prezzo to be reliably good whenever I go there

Tip: Wise to book – it can get busy prior to film showing times as the cinema is next door.

This is an old blog post that never got put in the correct place. This dates from a time when I saw the future as reviewing those experiences I was able to take in.

Shortly afterwards I determined that the time for the experiences took away from the time for writing the blog.

This and a few like it will have to stand as memories of that aim.

The last such post is here: https://magic-phil.co.uk/2017/02/20/fifty-special-things-thanh-binh-restaurant-cambridge/.

I had concluded that I would write no further reviews. That was until fellow blog writer Anthony reminded me that the 50 Special Things did not officially have an end. Two years later it would now be 52 special things in any case so I have plenty to review.

You can catch Anthony here: http://unofficialcambridgefilmfestival.blogspot.co.uk/ or tweet him here https://twitter.com/theagentapsley

It had been a few months since my resolution to fill my 50th year with as many fun things as was feasible.

The visit to Prezzo St Neots was my suggestion. http://www.prezzorestaurants.co.uk/restaurant/st-neots/

The purpose: to celebrate my 50th birthday with my family. The event was coming somewhat after the actual birthday date.

If one believes in horoscopes I was born under the sign of Libra. (Which should give you a clue).

The original resolution for “50 special things” was before my birthday in a meeting with my counsellor . (However it was embellished on my birthday whilst eating in a resort restaurant with my two friends Jacqui and Jon. (We were in Gaya in Malaysia). I suspect in some not too distant blog entry details of that will emerge.

The idea of 50 special things was to dispel the belief that a birthday is limited to one day per year. Limiting celebrations in this way is likely to be disappointing. Allowing the celebrations to last all year circumvents that problem.

The idea came through talking to my counsellor. In my experience counsellors are often the source of great advice.

I’m certain that not all great recommendations come from counsellors but in my experience many of the good ones do.

This is quite an awesome responsibility when deciding to embark upon the journey towards being a counsellor. (How do you come up with these good ideas).

As a volunteer counsellor myself I am not certain that I can measure up to that expectation.

A 50th birthday celebration at Prezzo. This was in the hope that gluten-free means less stomach aches the following day.

Prezzo have a pretty extensive gluten-free menu (other restaurants take note). This menu means that I have eaten there many times.

St Neots is the usual Prezzo venue due to the familiarity I have with eateries there. (I live within easy driving distance of St Neots).

(I seem to be a creature of habit who would like to be a creature of adventure).

Prezzo is usually a place that is highly-populated due to its proximity to the St Neots cinema. It has a hubbub akin to a football stadium.

New Year’s Day and all I needed was to sleep (after a night in an Indian restaurant – the site of our New Year’s Eve celebrations).

Prezzo 1

An Indian restaurant some bottles of wine a need for sleep the day after. (To anyone of average intellect that would not have been surprising).

So I am sat half-asleep in a restaurant with a surprisingly muted hubbub. Perhaps I was not alone in my post Chilean wine indulgence.

New Year’s Day certainly seemed to bring a falloff in demand for Prezzo culinary expertise.

It was hard to get enthusiastic when consumption of unsuitable food the night before meant a tsunami stomach ache. Besides enough gas to replenish the North Sea pipeline.

Prezzo 2

Despite this malaise I noticed that the service (by three waitresses) was excellent. They seemed to cope with a deficit of staff (no doubt brought on by the holiday season) without noticeable decline in delivery or positivity.

For some reason the menu was not filling me with joy (as it has on previous occasions). I wondered if there had been a recent redesign or possibly it was feeling green that did it.

When you’re trying to avoid incompatible-with-IBS foods risotto is usually a good standby. That is apart from those establishments that insist all risotto must contain peas.

Prezzo 3

Peas are great if you fancy spending a day or so on your own fumigating a greenhouse. With a stomach that feels like a space hopper with an overweight and restless kid on it.

Sadly my choice was only slightly less tolerable as it contained leek. Leek is fantastic for post-food onion-orientated fragrances (as beloved by no one).

King prawn risotto following a starter of gluten-free bread with balsamic onion dressing. I love onion but onion wages outright war on me. It starts with the intestines and continues on down.

For an IBS-sufferer like me rice and gluten-free gets my recommendation.

Fortunately I have not developed a dairy-intolerance. If you are unable to take the cheese in the risotto there are a few gluten free pastas. I do not tolerate tomato well so eat these when I’m feeling quite well before hand.

Prezzo 4

Desserts of ice cream are well-tolerated by me (with peppermint tea). (This means I get to socialise otherwise going out would be taxing – finding foods that don’t make me ill.)

After all of these precautions I opted for the chocolate drink. In my defence I read recently that dark chocolate helps stay the commencement of Alzheimer’s. (Dementia has been a theme in my family).

Prezzo 5

I would recommend Prezzo as a place to go if like me you tend to tolerate some foods poorly. The menu gives some options that I don’t see at other nearby restaurants.

Although Prezzo is busy the service tends to be swift. The staff are pleasant despite having a huge number of tables to attend upon.

I tend to visit this restaurant every few months. So far the only down side is that the background volume in there can get elevated. In other respects I choose Prezzo over the alternatives.

 

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Wreck of the Week

This week I was musing on the title “Rust in Peace”. (I think some classic car magazines have used this as a title for photographs of nostalgic/rusty collections they feature).

This led me to find the following Facebook page (via a well-known search engine):

https://www.facebook.com/Kevins-Rust-in-Peace-1518931078411009/

This might be of interest if you love American automotive history.

If anyone finds anything similar for British cars (or even European cars) please share (and I will put it into a future post).

Recently my Uncle sent me the following YouTube video. It must belong here even if it doesn’t feature one wreck of the week but many:

This is 7 minutes of heart-break. For I have known so many of these cars and there seems no way to contact the current owners to ask if they will sell one of them to me.

The first scene opens at MacLeod Limited of Skye; this seems a great lead until I find that Skye is the home of the clan MacLeod, so there must be many – many MacLeod limited of Skye.

Here we find not just lost cars but lost makes of cars. Hillman for example – at one stage a well-loved brand but no more, similarly Austin, Humber, Singer, Sunbeam…

The cars highlighted are:

Nissan 300ZX 1983

1979 Nissan 280ZX

1961 Austin A40 Farina MKII (I have a friend with a 1966 version)

1970 Wolseley 1300 (for years I drove past a garden that had one of these permanently parked as it gradually corroded away)

1964 Humber Sceptre MKI

1966 Humber Sceptre MKII

1971 Humber Sceptre MKIII

1965 Singer Vogue Estate (which must be a very rare car indeed)

1964 Singer Gazelle V

1960 Sunbeam Rapier Series III

1961 Hillman Super Minx MK IV (my Dad had one)

1960 Hillman Husky Series II

1969 Hillman Imp

1966 Hillman Imp (my sister had one)

1972 Hillman Hunter GL

1973 Hillman Hunter GL Estate

1966 Ford Thames 307E (I haven’t seen one of these anywhere else)

1954 Ford Consul MKI

1962 Ford Anglia

1964 Ford Consul Capri (this is quite a valuable car now)

1964 Ford Cortina MKI

1963 Ford Cortina MKI

1966 Ford Cortina MKII

1970 Ford Cortina MKIII

1979 Ford Escort MKII

1955 Vauxhall Cresta EIP

1962 Vauxhall Victor FB Estate

1961 Vauxhall Victor FB Estate

1962 Vauxhall FX 4-90 FB

1957 Vauxhall Velox EOPV

1958 Vauxhall Velox PA S Saloon

1959 Vauxhall Velox

1962 Vauxhall Velox PA SX

1959 Vauxhall Cresta PA

1960 Vauxhall Cresta PA

1962 Vauxhall Cresta PA

1968 Volkswagen Beetle

1967 Volkswagen Beetle 1500

1970 Morris Minor 1000 Van (a van which judging by the nation’s favourite auction site is in high demand right now)

1967 Morris Minor 1000 pickup (I’d love one)

1961 Morris Minor 1000

1953 Morris Minor 1000

1953 Morris Minor 1000 series I tourer

1979 Morris Marina (as so loathed by Jeremy Clarkson)

1967 Morris Mini (a Morris Mini no less before Mini was a brand in itself)

1969 British Leyland Mini

1968 Morris 1100 MKII

I wanted to gather them all up (like some abandoned puppies) and take them all home with me.

But mostly I was tearful for times lost that can never be again.

However, as my uncle pointed out, people really want a car that you can start and run with lowest cost and maintenance. A 1969 car is not going to offer you that. Even in a 1976 car – starting was something of an art. Roadside repairs were also not unknown.

These mostly look very restorable. But given the video was posted in September 2017 there is every chance they have gone the way of many other unearthed collections. (In that they are now the raw materials for a Chinese fridge).

If anyone reading this knows of their fate I would be interested to know.

However this is Wreck of the Week. Whilst nostalgia is great for the soul we are here to examine corrosion. And outlandish prices paid for the steel carriages of yesteryear.

Some American muscle this week, or some parts of it in any case. (What is a part of a muscle? – meat perhaps.)

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/FORD-MUSTANG-67-V8/192428828718

£2550 seems a very sensible bid and well below the kinds of prices I’ve seen cars of this type fetching.

This one for example is asking $45,000: https://classiccars.com/listings/view/1067958/1967-ford-mustang-for-sale-in-mesa-arizona-85204 (roughly £33582 or €36585).

The devil as always with these things is in the detail; what did our lucky purchaser get for his 2 ½ thousand pounds (roughly $3417 or €2882).

The upsides are it’s a coupé (which is desirable as a body style). The seller vouches for the solidity of the “body tub” (whatever that is worth). And some of the seats remain.

The downsides are it’s an automatic (manual is preferred – at least in the UK). It has no dashboard. Some of the seats are missing. There is no V5; no NOVA; no title; no import paperwork. (It sounds like a nightmare to register with the DVLA).

Of course you also need to deal with a car that recently emerged from the swamp. Carrying swamp detritus like some creature in a Scooby Doo cartoon.

I’m not the seller but unless the moss is performing some structural function I think I might have power washed that off before listing it:

Mustang 1

I suppose this is now what is described as an “honest” listing. i.e. nothing has been made of the car and there are no attempts to spruce it up, including clean it evidently.

All the tyres are flat, but those alloys are not the most in keeping with the character (unless you want to race it). Look again at the expensive one for an example of what I mean https://classiccars.com/listings/view/1067958/1967-ford-mustang-for-sale-in-mesa-arizona-85204

Mustang 2

In its favour all of the rust looks to be surface-rust. So it may not require the intercession of a man with knowledge of the arcane art of sticking two bits of metal together.

If the original colour was that blue then it seems a charming choice, but given the range of shades visible who knows.

The front wing arch lip has a split in it. Miraculously the rear arch seems to have escaped so rescue might come just in time.

Mustang 3

Well I’ve got to say if I were being followed by something looking like that along the M5 I would be tempted to make like Shaggy and Scooby. (And not after the Scooby snacks).

It is in fact barely more than a shell. It looks like it has been raced – holes for bonnet pins are in evidence. (Unless these were drilled there by someone for the effect only).

The screen surround looks remarkably intact given its overall appearance. I think I might have been tempted (but then my thinking is on the romantic side of sensible).

Mustang 4

The rear wheel arch has corroded through here. It’s hard to tell at this magnification but the front wheel arch possibly as well.

Given the state of the rest of the car it is surprising that the rear lamp clusters seem all present and correct. Whether the internals have survived corrosion is anybody’s guess.

The rear screen is present and as we saw passenger door glass is present. It is odd that the driver’s door glass and the windscreen did not survive then.

Mustang 5

The drilling on the driver’s side wing – not replicated on the passenger side wing – seems to mark a long-lost aerial. I thought perhaps a wing mirror but the door mirrors survive. Usually holes of this type are where the crusting starts so this one is pleasingly intact.

The roof thus far seems to be subject just to surface rust. Parts of the rain gutter though could be getting a bit close. There also seems to be sill damage just ahead of the driver’s side door.

On the face of it I would have limited confidence that much could be rescued except for the metalwork.

Mustang 6

In fact the front wing on this side is in better condition than on the other side. This wing (barring possibly welding up the old aerial hole) might be saveable. (They might both have to be saveable – dependent upon availability of parts for these cars. Fifty years is a long time in parts sales).

Mustang 7

A V8 engine employing that well known corrosion inhibitor – a damp old pink towel. Thank goodness someone thought of that. Either that or it is the latest in free flowing air filter design and I’m revealing my (no doubt massive) ignorance on the subject.

This engine seems to have received much more recent attention than the rest of the vehicle. Aside from the distributor – it appears in great condition. This reinforces the idea that the engine was the most important part of the car.

This is what you would see in a race car. A body made of Papier-mâché, an engine made of volcano.

The oil filter canister corrosion says it’s been stood for a while. But perhaps not so long that a refresh of the internals (a rebore/regrind so-on) might not see it run again.

Mustang 8

Wow that looks like it’s made a permanent home in the forest floor. But I believe what we are seeing is a sorry-looking gearbox in the interior of the car. This was home to Squirrel Nutkin more recently than to the bum of a keen driver I’m thinking.

One hopes that the oil is still in the interior of the gearbox and that water isn’t. Outside appearances seem to indicate an expensive rebuild could be on the cards.

No sign I notice of the seats or the state of any other part of the interior.

Probably safe to assume they are all completely wrecked then.

Mustang 9

Well wow, I would not have expected that. This looks like an intact underside. Some consistent elbow grease, a DA and a quantity of sanding disks might just be able to resurrect it. It’s quite awe inspiring when you have seen the rest of it.

(Conceivably I’ve been overcome by appearances. If you are more Eagle-eyed do point out the crumbling bits which I have missed.)

Mustang 10

This is presumably the chassis number which confirms that this is a genuine V8 (at least to those in the know).

What I can’t get over is how primitive it looks, to be honest. If you had knowledge of chassis number sequences and a set of number punches. It looks like you could rig up a facsimile of this in an afternoon on a spare sheet of steel and stitch it in.

No doubt no one is doing that, but it does make you think.

Well given how little is there I hope that parts availability is top-notch for a 1967 Mustang. In the interests of the brave soul who purchased it I also hope that parts prices are on the inexpensive side (you’re going to need a lot of them).

Well my hat off to the man, woman or child who has taken this on. Should you have meandered across this blog do leave a comment about what you intend to/have done to the car.

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Credit to the property website from which the original idea (for Wreck of the Week) came:

http://www.wreckoftheweek.co.uk/

(Unlike that house-orientated site, this series of blogs is about elderly vehicles).

Photo by jamie r. mink on Unsplash