Where Am I?

Oh yes, Karlskrona.

My last stay here was a 21 day marathon; this time it’s just a 4 day stint to finish off the job we didn’t manage to complete a few weeks ago because of the difficulties with some of the cable. I’ve always been a bit unsure about the food at the hotel I’m staying in; there’s nothing wrong with it but, somehow it just doesn’t suit me. There’s a distinct lack of seasoning and, like in America, there’s always some ghastly dressing drizzled all over the salad. I know that working the night-shift may have a bearing on it – everything gets turned upside down – but a splash of oil, a squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper would lift everything. There are 3 Thai restaurants in the town, one is a buffet where you help yourself; that arrangement and the food, suits me perfectly.

I was home for only three days before setting off again, this time in the company of The Ambassador’s Daughter, to Lelystad for the Nationale Oldtimerdag – cars that is. After getting off the boat at the Hook of Holland, we ambled our way to Delft in time for coffee, Amsterdam for lunch and supper at the marina in Lelystad.

Lelystad is only 50 years old; reclaimed and developed by an engineer for whom the town is named. I’ve never stayed in Holland – I’ve passed through it on the way to somewhere else for nearly 60 years – and I have to say that I was delighted with everything. The people were friendly, generous and relaxed – nothing seemed to be too much trouble – and, being a flattish sort of place, it was ideal for a vintage car!

The reason for the trip was to meet up with Hans and Adrie who had bought ‘Sunita’. I was looking forward to seeing the changes they’d made to the car to make it their own – something I entirely approve of. Everything they’d done had given the little car a bit of extra character, colour and ‘authenticity’. An air pump and pressure gauge had been added, the stainless steel screws on the panel work had been changed for rivets, newly painted wheels, a matt black exhaust complete with fishtail and period headlamps were some of the more obvious changes but, the most noticeable was the addition of a ‘birdcage’ grille on the cowl. It all looked great and, testament to Hans’ and Adrie’s work, Sunita was surrounded by visitors throughout the day.

Amongst the 520 cars that attended the show – I’ve never seen so many fabulous 30’s drophead Mercedes’ – this little Skoda Cabriolet caught my eye; definitely one I’d have taken home with me.

And I’d never seen an Amphicar in action – there were 2 off them having fun, though if you look closely, the occupants are all studying the floor. I hope Blooojgs remembered to put the plug in…

And to round off the weekend, a visit to Lelystad’s Aviodrome where a Catalina was buzzing about and we were treated to an impromptu display by a Mustang.

Best show’s a free show!






A Few Days Clear…

…. is what I thought I had but no such luck.


On our way back from Sweden, we had a couple of hours to kill so we stopped off in Amsterdam for lunch. Unfortunately, following some sort of festival the night before, the place was knee-deep in broken glass, empty cans and left-over food trodden into the pavement – to say nothing of the smell from the over-flowing pissoirs. It was not a good introduction to an otherwise charming city.

Sunset Hoek of Holland

The sun was setting as we left the Hook of Holland..


…. and was coming up as we slipped into Harwich. Since I’ve been away, everything seems to have been taken to bits.

Racing Jowett chassis

The Jowett destined for Le Mans has had its body removed (and the repair to one of the front tubes completed).

Lotus Europa

And the Lotus Europa which turned up in Learned Counsel’s workshop; that’s had its body removed as well. I know ‘adding lightness’ was part of the Chapman creed but I wouldn’t like to roll a Europa; the windscreen pillars are like match sticks. I’d not seen a Europa chassis before and I learn that Learned Counsel and his dad used to build them for Lotus – this might be one of theirs!

Austin 10

The Austin 10 water elbow had only just arrived so we hoped to flush out the system and give the engine a whirl. Alas, less interesting jobs took precedence – a boom on a loader arm needed changing as someone had managed to bend it out of true – I can’t imagine what people do with these things. A trip out in the Hillman was more of a chore than a pleasure as this fading out and refusing to start malarkey is getting worse. I have the fuel pressure regulator ready to fit but I’m beginning to wonder if the electronic ignition is not quite as it should be. Awkward put a spark plug tester on a couple of the cylinders and we expected to see the little neon bulb light up like Blackpool Tower (a zillion volts is meant to be generated by the fancy system) but it all seemed rather dim. There’s a ballast resistor on the coil (I can’t quite remember why but the ignition fitting instructions called for one) so we by-passed that to get a few more volts through the coil which didn’t seem to make a big difference. Maybe the coil’s duff or there’s a possibility that if the ignition’s been left on without the engine running for any length of time, the box of tricks in the distributor might have been damaged but it’s more likely to be the coil.

Avon Special

Anyway, Awkward’s got his own work cut out as the Avon’s engine is out. A new camshaft is being experimented with in the pursuit of more hp. Leon’s Austin 7 Special broke a halfshaft while I was away so no-one’s going anywhere fast for the next couple of weeks.


As for me, I’ve been sent back to Sweden for another 10 days so I’m in the clear.