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What you been doing? Where have you been? How did it go?

I took my Q7 for aircon regard at Tyres in Shepshed. It checked out okay but was empty, £60 Got a health check and regard and it is cold in there now! She is at work, so after housework,  into the garage, my 1948 Hot Rod still needs work! My son is here to litter up my garage with his Subaru bits too!

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Caz wasn't working yesterday so we drove back to her spot. Picked up her kids and the dog and went to Mablethorpe. Her parents drove themselves. A walk along the beach (dog never been to the coast and wasn't phased by it) then chips in the old clock complex. A stroll along the front with a coffee then back to hers. I came back to mine in readiness for work. Odd life we lead - separate but together!

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Nice to see another local (to me) on here Pete 🙂

my days consist of working and carering for my gran and her disabled daughter (my aunt) so I'm.kept busy and out of trouble! 

hot rods are awesome! What model is it? 

cheers

Steve

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Drove from Shepshed to Alcester in Warwickshire, collected a tri axle car type trailer then headed north. Got to Perth for around 17:00. Knackered now too. 

The hot rod is a 1948 Austin 16. Rodded in the 70's and again in the 80's when it won a prize at Doncaster Custom Show. Its going down hill thanks to a variety of owners but is a good bit of Brit Tin, with all the classic mods like Jag back end, Rover V8, narrowed Transit I beam etc. 

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Hello Peter,

If this is genuine 1948 registered Austin 16, what you have there - or what you did have there!! - was one of a batch of an extra 200 manufactured for the taxi trade. This batch was made after the model was discontinued and had been replaced by the then new Austin Hampshire. The reason for manufacturing them? The taxi trade didn't really welcome the new model and preferred the old Austin 16! 

The 48s are rare, but I drove one over a 180 mile round trip last Saturday. Goes really well. This particular one was originally destined to be used as a taxi (you could only buy new cars then for 'commercial' use in the UK) but was hived off from the 4 ordered and used privately. 

Kind regards,

Gareth.

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Wow, it certainly sounds a bicer motor! Does amaze me how Austin still has a connection to people long after the brand is gone. The first ever car my family owned was a second hand 1930s Austin 10 chrome grill (1932-1934 model) in black, purchased in approx 1954. My grandad bought it from a scrapyard and did it up to some degree. Used it a number of years then scrapped it himself. 

 

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Austins in the family? You are from good stock then Steve! No doubt about that.

The first car I renovated was a 1934 (last of the model) chrome-rad Austin 10. It is now in the Country Life museum (or whatever they call it now) in Exmouth, where it has been since 1985. I feel sorry for it since it hasn't turned a wheel since! 

Spent yesterday morning  fine tuning a 1936 Austin 10. That paricular model is called a Sherborne - the shortest lived production run  by Austin, and was only made from Jan to Sept. of 1936. Took it for a little 8 mile jaunt and stopped to readjust the timing just off the main road and found ourselves turning around in a local Viola transport yard. Guy on mobile came over - as they normally do - to have a chat - but no, you cannot stop here! Just two minutes? Sorry no!  You've got to feel sorry for for them! But there again, he probably did not want two young delinquents about!! 

Still, the dear little thing is now running enthusiastically. 

Kind regards, 

Gareth.

 

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This one was, apparently, doing sterling service with the American forces prior to bring released after 10 years. The second owner kept it until 1972 when Keith and Barb Marshall from Skelmersdale brought and rodded it. It does appear in a Google images search in a picture from an advert with a Piston heads banner.

Started my day in Perth, drove up to Inverness, spent an hour there and picked up a 2.2 tonne woodchipper on a large Tri axle trailer and headed to see a potential buyer in the Kinross area. After a demo, set the Satnag for Newcastle upon Tyne airport to stay in hotel nearby. For some mad reason, I listened to the Satnag and went via Glasgow and Carlisle! Last time I ignored the gadget, I got stuck in traffic for an hour and I know how bad the Edinburgh bypass is so gave the Jedburgh road and The Carter Bar a swerve!

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Went to meet someone who has two of our machines although she is a loan worker type. Totally mechanically inept! Brought one which was built in Y2k and one step away from the scrap yard. It puffed out a load of smoke and didn't run so she parked it having diagnosed bent con rods. This was done with phone help from 'mates' etc. Too dear to get a new engine so she bartered a weeks graft for another - built in 1998 again again, one step from scrap. This one again had issues. I got the main bit to work although it has no safety devices, or controls, a wedge of wood to keep a solenoid open etc. At least it will chip! Her truck a really bald tyre and faulty lights and brakes! I have some stupid clients! Then a meeting in Throckley followed by the trawl to Shepshed. Traffic awful, M1 north shut, M42 shut at this end, chaos reigns!

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She was up for work at 3, I never got back to sleep, so functioning just. Housework, cooking , cleaning etc. Polished the Q7 and found and after market auxiliary USB socket that allows a modern phone to be wired in for music etc! Sweet! Also noted that door seals on the body are not fixed in place so need new grommets, also, compressor is missing from boot!is it possible to use the onboard compressor? You could on an old Bedford 4x4 truck I had as a crane truck for tree work!

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Sunday was washed out, even the dog didn't want to go far! After all that wax and polishing malarkey, the Q7 us dirty again! Monday was another round of domestic chores followed by trying to make sense of the hoarding in the garage. My son Tom and I seem to gather stuff and rubbish with good intentions but little hope of completion. I thing I have four, maybe five, V8 blocks in the garage! If anyone needs a boat anchor, I'm cornering the market....

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We got a big trade show in a couple of weeks so, as a veteran, I get called upon for information on 'where is this kept,' and 'how do we do that'. So for that reason and I still had the Tri axle trailer and tracked wood chipper to unload and sort out meant that I had the morning at the factory in Alcester, Warwickshire. Plus I had an issue with Outlook on my laptop.

I missed the computer lessons and school, opting for metal work instead so I got a skills shortage there! After using Outlook via a remote portal for over ten years, I'm informed that I been using the wrong version and that I need to use another version which I don't find as easy on the eye!

After sorting that, I go to unload the trailer and note a tyre looks different, it is deflated and has an M8 bolt through the tread! Changed it for the spare and put a good dose of sealant into it. Job done! A pet hate is finding that a trailer/bearver tail truck/demo machine, has been used and put away dirty or bust and the other people shrug and say 'it was okay when I last used it!'

My diary for the rest of the week is cold calling potential customers or dealers in different parts of the Midlands or northern England.

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Thursday and Friday is what life as a machinery rep is - talking and driving! I did get to sell a used wood chipper to some friendly folk in Hungary with an email! Bonus!

Today? She is at work at EMA until late afternoon, so Tom, my son, and I are off to Donington Park. A work colleague is racing his Clio in the 750 Motor Club events and today is practice day. Not been to Donington in years - in fact, the last time I went across the boundary wall was back in 1992 when I supplied the management team with 50 tonne plus of wood chips for footpaths for the main event of that period - The European GrandPrix. A wet weekend was forecast so they cleared my yard and had one of my chippers and two of my staff for two weeks just chipping timber that they had brought in! Tight buggers never gave me or the lads a free ticket and they worked their nuts off!

If she wasn't at work, we would have loved to have got tickets for the Chiefs v Tigers match at Sandy Park, my Father and Mother live down that way and he had a trial for Tigers in the 1950's and still is a big rugby fan! But trying to organise a deal like that with several busy diaries ongoing is a nightmare!

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Had a lay start to the day, first in ages! Breakfast at 10:15! Couple of errands in town done then a few hours at Sutton Bonington show with the missus! A great village show with a good selection of things to see and do. I had wondered what the spots of stuff were that appeared under the Q7, air-conditioning had leaked! Yet another job! The missus has a few hours of airport security tonight then to bed....

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A client in Hay on Wye has a machine that came back for warranty and it needed returning today. So, Shepshed down to Alcester, get it on a trailer and drive to Hay. It was truly awful down there - rain and grey and cold! Sunshine and warmth at the factory! Loaded another on the trailer and drive home in readiness for an early start and a drive to Glasgow in the morning. 300 miles and about 5 hours! This is a tractor mounted machine so there will some grunting and shoving and the odd grazed knuckle getting it done and it should work okay. Once the demo is done, I'll overnight in Stepps before dropping it off in Selkirk in the morning where it will be shoved on another tractor with another client - who, I am told, will be so delighted that he buy it! Another one sold!

The Ranger is now telling me that the oil needs changing soon (booked in for Monday) and it will need AdBlue in 1500 miles. I've no experience on AdBlue usage but it has had about 120 litres in 20,000 mile or some 4 months. Is that usual?

 

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Tuesday was a trip to Scotland towing a trailer with a tractor mounted woodchipper on it - had to be in Glasgow for lunch time so an earlyish start and 60mph all the way! Demonstrating tractor mounts is a hassle as things rarely go smoothly. In this case, the tractor had an odd linkage set up so the pto shaft was very short! Too short of I'm honest and something odd was happening with the chipper electronics too. But we persevered and got the demo done - its now up to the local rep to sell it too them! I overnight-ed in Stepps then dropped the machine off in our dealer in Selkirk - he will sell that one to a local landowner who was a 'something' in Maggie Thatcher's government.

I then had to drive across to Dumfries to see our dealer there. Anyone up that way and fancies a spectacular drive should take the Moffat to Selkirk road (A708)! Truly marvellous! Have a look on Street View on Google maps....

From Dumfries thence home - again at 60mph.....Ranger now tells me that I need to change the oil and we got 1000 to go with AdBlue.

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Yesterday and today were a tad slow! The Ranger has the 'Change Oil Now' sign up so the planned repping in Wales and Yorkshire didn't happen - the AdBlue sign keeps advising me that I have anywhere from 1500 miles to less than 1000 to go before that too, becomes an issue! It is booked in for Monday and I'll only do about 150 over the weekend so, hopefully, nothing untoward will happen.

If I appear at the factory - I always seem to get various people who want to chat, ask questions, complain etc - today, Mac Taylor, our ex-Service Manager, and mentor of mine appeared in his new ride. Mac loves cars, especially old ones. He lives on his own so is free to do so too! He turned up in a 1923 Humber. A delightful little thing that has 3 doors - driver has to shimmy across! Loads of period touches and a fun thing to toodle about in! But only good for 40mph! Nice to see Mac again - he taught me a lot in the Service Department engineering wise as well as attitude!

She is working over the weekend and I did think of sneaking off to get a day of noise, smells and power at Santa Pod but ought to mend stuff and after seeing Mac's ride, the hankering to get the Hot Rod working is strong!

Oh, and the Q7 has got an oil leak from somewhere up front!.....

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Took Caz's kids and the dog for a walk at Clumber Park. Ez is 17 and Joe is 21. We used their Grandparents NT tickets and the woman at the gate gave us a right look! A mid fifties chap and teenage girl with Mr and Mrs's tickets!

While she was at work today, I had good intentions of getting in the garage and trying to get this old hotrod running. I ought to get it running and flog it tbh as I don't use it and the 'need' has gone. A sporty modern, easy to live with toy would be good! But Tom has been in there and let the place a right pigsty and tools all over and muck and dust to contend with! His stuff caused the reaction ' nowt gets done in here until you've cleared up!' I got  three V8 blocks to get rid of, a 3.9 runner to go, a BW65 and worn BW35 to go along with numerous heads, carbs etc as well as his kelter! Grrr....I feel an Ebay sale coming on!

Once the garage has been done, the Austin 16 will go and after I fixed and mended the other projects, I'll start looking for something else! Like fixing the oil leaks on the Q7, fathoming out the erratic parking sensors etc!

 

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The Ranger was 4 months old today and went to Shepshed Ford for the 20k service. They are good and well priced! We acquired two of these off the forecourt of Bristol Street in Worcester despite getting a truly bum steer from another Bristol Street set up - enough to make us say 'never again from them!' Anyways, I collected it to be told that these should have had a recall done back in September 2017 and Bristol Street had a letter (according to the Ford hub computer). Yet they still sold them to us without this modification to prevent water ingress to the Power Distribution Box!! Beggars belief!

At home all day with emails, calls and notes for the up coming sales meeting which is always a trawl! Starting to get gritty and determined about an up coming trade show that we are at - The APF Show at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire - if forestry machinery and stuff is your thing, this is the one! I got the job of organising the daily supplies for our stand. I have introduced pork scratchings to the budget - we get through a kilo a day! No alcohol on the stand and I feel that this will be the year that I buy in fizzy drinks by the slab and everyone will want tea or coffee! We (or at least our German outfit) are exhibiting at The Galabau show in Germany so it is an expensive period in the calender!

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This week is flying by and really busy but with the occasional dull interval dealing with some detritus or other. I can get frustrated by people not doing what the are supposed to do when they have promised to get it done or chose another, less successful way forward.

Planning for next weeks show is well on the way and I think that it will happen smoothly, it really needs a 'doer' to say what is to happen rather than have a few chiefs and only one who can get it done. I had a situation where the holder of the cash and carry card insists that he comes with me when I go but then objected when I said that I was going after hours to the Nottingham shop and not the Warwick outlet during office hours. I just replied, 'No worries, I'll go to Tesco instead!' 

I don't have a desk in the office so do a lot of stuff at home which helps me out of the way with office politics too!

Sales meeting tomorrow which will be a repeat of the last series of meeetings - I nearly printed off my report from the last one to see if anyone would notice! We are a small sales outlet so we talk all the time so a half day full of re-runs is tedious when i got so much else to do. 

3 Kilos of pork scratchings turned up today for show fodder!

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Following the usual sales meeting, I could have got away with last months notes!, I went up the show field with a ride on mower, cut and collect a tidy area with a mower that is the wrong size and type because we are a tight company who thinks that it is the right way to do it that way. I got enough clients who do grass work as well as tree work who we could have paid to do that - reciprocal trade!

Got home at 19:45 and quickly did some tea so she could get to bed for getting up at 3 to start another shift at the airport.  Saturday was basically supporting my dealer from Bishop Auckland with a his stand at Eggleston Show by Barnards Castle. I always say that my figures are based on their figures and if they have to go through this hardship then their manufacturers and suppliers should be able to do the same. Home again late to do tea before she gets to bed again and sunday is housework in the morning which frees up a bit of time to watch the rugby on the box and get bored by a bit of the F1 too.

Not doing a roast today, fancy making a lamb bhuna instead.

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Setting up a trade exhibition can be a stressful time! Especially if you put together a plan which everyone agrees with and rubber stamps. Then one person seems to want their own way and everyone else had to toe their line! I have got to that stage where I just say, 'what do you want me to do?' because I know that win or fail, his plan has to be obeyed! He has a pile of unanswered emails, calls and unforfilled tasks but it is God given right to have his way on site.

She is starting her shift at 02:30 tonight! A couple of more shifts and she is away for a holiday, perhaps I'll get some therapy and make that hot rod run!

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Woke up bright and early on my day off, made me & the mrs a good old fry up before she went to work then had a nice relaxing morning. Later on I hit the gym after which I went on some epic drives around my local country roads, and got back just in time to pick the nephew up from a uni visit he was doing with college. Fair to say his mates were impressed with the R8... can't blame them really 🤣 

Oh, and the day's not even over! Even better. How was everyone else's day?

 

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Away early to carry on with setting up the APF show. Well worth a visit if machinery etc is your thing - probably the biggest Arb and Forestry event in Europe and only held every other year. Mind boggling array of stuff! This industry is a !Removed! one in that tree work and forestry and Arboriculture is so poorly paid but has some hugely expensive and technologially advanced kit! If the wind hasn't called a halt to the proceedings, it starts tomorrow and ends on Saturday evening. Held at Ragly Hall Estate, Alcester, Warwickshire - south of Redditch.

Finished my bit and left early to get home - some more show prep (Youtube video rehearsal) and then take her and her daughter to Manchester Airport to catch a flight to Crete for Mum and Daughter holiday.

I doubt I''ll get time to post until sunday but I will try.

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I'm back! What a whirlwind couple of days! Got to go down in history of trade shows as one to remember, the weather, the intrigue within the industry, sackings and appointments caught up with, trade gossip, unexpected sales done, internal 'doings', stress and much laughter! Got home late last  and was in bed fairly quickly after a chip supper.

I've done this job for a tad over 20 years and worked with some fairly memorable people who we reminisce about, remembered their miss-givings and triumphs, met ex-industry people who always bob by and have a lid of tea too, and people I sold machines to 15 years ago who still come to chat....The office and other staff always say that I'm always talking to people on the stand and around the field but put very little new business to follow up in the show enquiry book. Having said that, they will have a surprise when they do read the book on Monday to see that I sold the first of a new model (without any demo etc) at £30k and three other orders for the flagship model @ £40k without any histrionics! (okay, one is subject to the lad getting finance which is a tad doubtful and another subject to a ropey trade in!).

The one big bombshell that did occur, which is mind bogglingly awful is that the other sales guy on the UK team (and I cannot get on with him) admitted that he is seeking help for mental health issues and his (mid -20's) son is in a secure spot in rehab and mental health assessment after he has twice tried to kill himself with a knife. He is a drug addict and alcohol dependant again and his father (my colleague, also suffered similarly as a youth/20's/30's but got over the addiction but appears to be bi-polar). Truly awful place to be in your life and I did shake his hand and offer best wishes but I do not have the skills to help in anyway apart from support at work and may end up doing his area for a while while things are ongoing....

Weather was awful at times which meant numbers were down on the first and last day but sky high on the middle day this lead to much angst in trying to get on the field with a four hour queue at times and rebellion trying to get off at night too! The exhibitors fled across a field, Stewardship Scheme belt and out to dodge the security people as we/they were fed up! I walked two miles to get a lift away! An Audi RS6 going across a field that has been turned over was a memorable sight! Them big phat tyres and wet ground made the diffs and electronics do their bit!!

Today is a day for chores etc and watching the rugby. My son is 22 today and I got him a set of Wolf air tools and have ordered him a spanner bracelet but that hasn't come yet! Enjoy your own sundays folks!

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