I was at the butcher’s in Norfolk the other day getting a supply of sausages in stock for various bribes and inducements and the charming lady butcher explained to me that she was having a bit of trouble with her male counterparts.
On the days that I visit there’s often a chalkboard in the shape of a jolly pig that stands outside the shop. Approaching the premises, both prospective visitors and passers-by alike are immediately alerted to offers or the ‘Special’ of the day. A simple and effective marketing device and this fact is not in dispute. The bone of contention is that the jolly pig and its stand has to be daily carried in and out of the shop at the start and subsequently, the close of business. This routine is proving too much for the men and they, I understand, are contriving to make it as awkward as possible for their fairer colleague by distributing the parts of the assembly about the darker recesses of the shop in an effort to break her resolve. More fool them. The delightful lady butcher has in her eyes the twinkle of the subversive and I’d wager that she’ll carry the day. However, as an experiment and before committing myself to the cause, I elected to carry the stand from the shop and assemble the sign on site. My conclusion was that, even after my morning’s welding and fabricating, this was not an onerous task and I happily cast appropriate aspersions on her otiose colleagues. I pledged my support and await developments.
The first half-dozen-finest went to Learned Counsel who was roped into collecting the Myford and, interestingly, I discover that one of his weaknesses is the roadside burger van – no journey is complete without the consumption of a bun made from damp chalk and containing thin, slithery slips of bacon through which you could read the complimentary tabloid. (Though this on the face of it may seem a bit arch, I’ve made a mental note of this Achilles’ heel for when I advise the Monaco Dash Steering Committee. Learned Counsel should at least thank me for improving his diet – roadside fare is so much more interesting abroad).
The second half-dozen-finest went to Cook who was still a bit sniffy a propos last week’s carburettor subterfuge. The gesture was probably a touch over-generous but it doesn’t do to upset Cook. The status quo has been restored.
On the car front, I’ve prepared the left and right outer rear axle casings for blasting – the machined surfaces have been masked with old radiator hose and wooden blanks. I’m dealing with the centre cases myself as there are taper-roller bearing inserts which I can’t afford to have marked. Regrettably, the main inner bearings – double row rollers of about 4″ diameter – are shot to pieces. That’ll be expensive. I remember being horrified by the price of front wheel bearings for the Austin 7 and a few months later went in to the bearing shop to get some more of a similar size. This time, I asked for the invoice to be made out to So-and-So Ltd and was surprised to see an 88% discount applied to the retail price. What a blinkin’ get-on. I know what to say this time round.
The 1905 Darracq belonging to The Great Collector and for which I was pleased to make the oil system fandango, is nearly ready to roll. We got a posse up the other night and slipped across to Norfolk to see it in the stages of final assembly. Lovely – as was supper and pint on the way home.
On reflection, there’s something oddly sinister, bizarre even, about a jolly pig advertising the fruits of his fate.