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Redbourn Classic Car Show

Wednesday 20th September 2017

Last weekend I took the two ivory and black cars to the Redbourn classic car show. It is the first time this show has been held and we hope there will be many more. Sadly the weather was awful with heavy showers sweeping across the common. Nevertheless, a good number of exhibitors turned up and a pleasing number of spectators braved the elements. Many people stopped to admire the Austins and have a chat so, all in all, it was a success. I am sure the Redbourn show will never rival Classics on the Common at Harpenden for sheer numbers of visitors but it was a lovely village event and I am sure it will go from strength to strength.

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Harpenden - Classics on the Common

Friday 28th July 2017

The trusty Austins spend most of their time on wedding hires but I do enjoy taking them to a few classic car shows during the summer. There is a lovely little show in the walled garden at Luton Hoo every July but I think my favourite is Classics on the Common in Harpenden. This year's show took place this week and I must admit I was looking at the rain clouds and checking the weather forecast on Wednesday morning debating whether or not to go. Luckily, the rain abated and the sight of patches of clear blue sky persuaded me to get the New Zealand car out of its garage and head off to Harpenden. The crowds weren't exactly out in…

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Tanks a lot

Thursday 4th May 2017

The wedding season has started but the car maintenance carries on. The blue car has been suffering with an intermittent fuel supply problem for a while now and I have taken it out of service for the time being. In the past, I have taken bookings for both white cars and used the blue car as a reserve. But this year, I have decided to play safe and reduce the number of bookings and use a white car as reserve. In the meantime I have been investigating the blue car's annoying little fault. Occasionally, the car cuts out and an inspection of the carburettor revealed that, on these occasions, no fuel is getting through to the engine. I tracked backwards, checking…

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Thank you

Tuesday 7th March 2017

This morning, a thick envelope dropped through the letterbox. I thought it might be another belated birthday card; the card from my daughter and grandchildren took two weeks to travel 180 miles! But no, it was a lovely 'thank you' card from the last customers of last year. The card was printed with photos from their wedding, including one shot of the happy couple sitting in my car, and there was a flattering, handwritten message inside. Most people take the time to thank me and say goodbye when I have delivered them to their reception and I do appreciate it, but it is something special for them to go to the trouble of sending a handwritten card. To me, that…

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Adjusting the brakes

Tuesday 14th February 2017

The annual maintenance on the cars is progressing well but there still seems to be an awful lot to be done. One car is virtually ready action but I have left the worst job until last. I have overhauled the brakes, replacing the brake shoes and lubricating the joints. This leaves me with the task of balancing the brakes to ensure the front ones come on a fraction before the rear and the left and right sides come on at the same time. The way to do this is to raise the car onto axle stands, get an assistant to gently apply the brakes, and turn each wheel in turn, feeling the point at which the shoes make contact with…

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Monday 23rd January 2017

So much time has slipped by since my last blog; I must try harder to keep the website up to date! I think it is high time I went through the site to change some of the photographs and check everything is current and fresh as well as making a New Year's resolution to post new blogs every month. This is the right time to start this work because the traffic on the website always increases dramatically in the New Year, after a lull in November and December. I have to admit to more than a passing admiration of prolific authors; words flow from their pens with consummate ease whilst I agonise and struggle over a simple little blog. It…

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On a spending spree!

Sunday 4th December 2016

I shall soon be going on a spending spree. The wedding hire money that I put into the bank account throughout the summer will now be invested back into the cars. I have already refurbished the brakes on one car; new brake shoes all round plus new clevis pins and felts on all of the linkage joints. It has improved the stopping power no end! The carburettor from the same car is now with a specialist for a thorough overhaul and the carburettors from the other cars will also be sent off in due course. After that I shall send the autovacs off for an upgrade. These units suck the petrol from the tank and send it to the carburettor.…

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Ashridge House

Friday 14th October 2016

Last weekend marked the end of my bookings for 2016. The diary is empty until April of next year, so the annual maintenance on the cars can now start. But before I reach for the spanners and oil can, I'll take a moment to reflect on the summer now past. The 2016 season was fun and there are many highlights; the trip to the Greek Orthodox Church, the Italian wedding, the Thai wedding when the car was decorated to within an inch of its life all spring to mind. But the very last wedding was memorable too. I had to collect the bride from Ashridge House, take her to Harpenden and then return the happy couple to Ashridge. Quite a lot…

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Locked out!

Thursday 18th August 2016

Over the years, I have taken brides to almost all of the local wedding venues but, last week, I was pleased to be going to one which was new to me. The Gardens of the Rose are situated in Chiswell Green, next door to the now-defunct Butterfly World. This really is the most beautiful setting and perfect for a wedding on a summer day. The only slight problem last week was that we arrived at the main gates to find them shut and padlocked! The gardens were closed to the general public on the day of our visit and nobody had bothered to tell the bride that access was through a service entrance, along a narrow lane. Staff were thin…

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My big fat Greek wedding

Wednesday 13th July 2016

Last week the New Zealand car had a long run; we went to Southgate to collect a bride and take her to the Greek Orthodox Church at Brookmans Park before heading off to the reception at Sopwell House in St Albans. It was about 50 miles in total. Luckily I allowed plenty of time to get to Southgate as the traffic at Cockfosters was awful; no roadworks or accidents, just sheer volume of cars. It was a sunny day and the temperature gauge did start to rise whilst I was inching my way through the queue, but these old Austins do seem to handle the heat quite well and we were never in danger of boiling over. I had never driven…

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Thursday 9th June 2016

Wedding car bookings seem to be like London busses. You wait for ages and then a bunch of them turn up together! Spring has been quiet, with just a handful of weddings but I now look at the diary and find July and August will be incredibly busy months. I am trying to be sensible when taking bookings but I find it quite difficult to turn people away. Oh well, I do enjoy driving the cars, so a busy period isn't so bad and I shouldn't complain too much. I try to drive the cars myself as much as possible but I do have a number of reserve drivers standing in the wings in case of emergencies or to cover…

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Taking my temperature

Wednesday 23rd March 2016

Last year, a good-for-nothing low life broke into the blue car's garage. Luckily, he didn't steal the car. I imagine it would have been too difficult to start and, anyway, it couldn't be sold on the open market without it becoming obvious to me or other members of the Vintage Austin Register. There is a small community of Austin enthusiasts and word soon spreads when a car is advertised for sale. There were no tools left in the garage so the thief was out of luck. But, bizarrely, he did steal the radiator cap, complete with temperature gauge. I was able to buy a new radiator cap from a club member from Derbyshire who recently had a batch specially made but…

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