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Sunday 1st June 2014

I thought I had seen most things at weddings but on Thursday I was taken aback by the events which unfolded. At first, everything went to plan; I arrived at the house early, the weather was fine and the bride emerged bang on time. The car was parked only a few feet from her front door. She took three steps towards it before coming to a sudden and abrupt halt with one foot anchored firmly to the ground. What was going on? Why the hesitation? Was she having second thoughts? No, she had stepped on a drainage grating and the heel of her shoe had become inexorably jammed. The situation reminded me of a scene from carry on film; the…

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The long and winding road to Suffolk

Monday 26th May 2014

The vintage cars were not built for speed. They might make it up to 40 miles per hour on a flat road and with a following wind but I never attempt to travel at such a breakneck speed. I like to keep to 30 miles per hour because it is more comfortable for the passengers and easier on the cars. This isn't usually a problem because I simply allow plenty of time when planning my journeys. However the time factor did prove to be a stumbling block today when I was asked to quote for a wedding in Suffolk. A quick visit to the AA Routeplanner website revealed a three hour journey each way, as well as the trips to…

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Ice breaker

Sunday 18th May 2014

I was sitting on a bench opposite Northaw Church this afternoon, reading my book and waiting for the ceremony to finish, when a voice said "my dad had one of those". I've heard that comment so many times and this time it came from an elderly gentleman who sat beside me and proceeded to recall his motoring exploits over the last 60 years. It turned out he is 93 years old and has driven all over Europe. We had a wonderful chat as we basked in the sunshine and the time flew by. Some say owning a dog is an ice-breaker and encourages people to talk to you, but I think owning a vintage car is even better.

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Brocket Hall

Sunday 11th May 2014

Brocket Hall was the venue for yesterday's wedding. I have been there several times in the past but it still has the ability to impress as you pass through the gate and catch sight of the big house standing imperiously above the valley and the lake below. Sadly, the weather wasn't particularly kind, with a gale-force wind pushing heavy showers across the gloomy sky. But the bride and groom did brave the elements for a short while and we took the car down to the bridge for photographs where they were lucky enough to enjoy a brief period of sunshine. They wisely decided to have the rest of the photographs taken inside, so I was dismissed a little earlier than…

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Brake lights

Sunday 13th April 2014

I have no bookings this Easter, which is very unusual. Perhaps vintage cars are going out of fashion with brides these days! But there is a benefit to this, as I have the chance to do some work on the cars. One of the tasks I have had in mind for some time is to fit brake lights, which may sound a bit strange but these old cars were manufactured without indicators or brake lights. This was perfectly normal in the 1920s when the few cars which were on the roads travelled at a gentle and sedate pace but today everyone zooms around at a breakneck pace and nobody understands the old fashioned hand signals. I started with the New…

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Difficult customer

Sunday 6th April 2014

The two ivory cars were out together last weekend and they performed perfectly. The customer, on the other hand, was an awkward so-and-so who failed to tell me about an extra 15 mile journey for both cars which he had planned, until I contacted him a few days before the wedding to confirm the timings. I suspect he was hoping to spring this extra trip on me on the wedding day itself and hope to pressurise me into accepting it without extra charge. I am not a hard-nosed businessman by any stretch of the imagination, in fact I am probably too soft for my own good, but this chap's disrespect annoyed me and I made a point of charging for…

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Blue Car

Sunday 23rd March 2014

I have slightly neglected the cars this week, preferring to spend time with the grandchildren. I did spend a few hours tinkering with the carburettor settings on the New Zealand car but that was about it. In the coming weeks, the plan is to start work upgrading the blue car. In particular, the doors don't fit particularly well and, for some reason, a previous owner removed the rear window winder mechanisms. These faults are more annoying than critical but the work is fiddly and it could take a good while to sort out. Frustratingly, in the past week I have had two enquiries for the blue car following months and months of it being totally ignored by customers. I was…

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Is the body in good condition?

Sunday 16th March 2014

Are you enjoying the sunny weather? I have to keep reminding myself it is only March, as the temperatures edge towards 20 degrees. But the downside of all this is that the multitude of tasks screaming for attention in the garden are nudging the jobs required on the cars off the top of my 'to do' list. The consequence of this is that I spent two days last week hacking at an overgrown laurel hedge instead of working on the New Zealand car. My hands are now cut and scarred and my back may never recover from the trauma of wrestling with the unruly undergrowth. I did take a little time out from my extreme horticultural exploits to undertake some…

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Rush, rush, rush

Sunday 9th March 2014

The cars were both out at weddings yesterday; the first of 2014. Fortune smiled on us in more ways than one. Firstly, the sun shone and it felt more like May than March as we basked in the warmth. The cars always look good with the sunshine glinting on the chrome and highlighting the paintwork; it does make the photographs look so much better. I had a bit of fright on my way to Edgware. I motored happily over to Park Street and turned onto the A5 heading towards Radlett and Elstree and was confronted with a nasty red "Road Closed Ahead" sign. The vintage car doesn't have a satnav so I had to do some quick thinking. The official…

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St Albans Wedding Fair

Sunday 23rd February 2014

The blog this week is an unashamed plug for the wedding fair at the Alban Arena, St Albans next Sunday, 2nd March. We shall be there with the two ivory cars and you are cordially invited to come along to look at the cars and say "hello". Karl and I will be there to show you the cars and answer any questions you may have. Kathryn and little Patrick are also expected to make an appearance and take care of the stand for a while. The wedding fair starts at 11:00am and is open until 4:00pm. We would love to see you there.

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Disappointing news

Sunday 16th February 2014

I had a depressing phone call from a customer yesterday. Out of the blue, she received a letter from the hotel at which she had booked her wedding reception, saying they were closing down and she would have to find an alternative venue. Apparently she met the hotel's wedding co-ordinator just a few weeks ago and nothing at all was said about any problems. Now she has the stress of trying to find somewhere else. What a nightmare! I told her I would be happy to re-arrange her wedding car booking if necessary and even return her deposit if she is forced to cancel. I do hope it doesn't come to that! I imagine the hotel is legally entitled to cancel…

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Stormy weather

Sunday 9th February 2014

With only four weeks before my first wedding of the year, I am starting to get worried. Will these storms persist into March? Will I need to check my routes for floods as well as roadworks? Should I buy an amphibious car? I don't like taking the cars out in the rain; I don't want rust to set in. But it is particularly disappointing for a bride to set off to the Church in the driving rain. So let's hope the Jetstream changes track soon and warm, spring-like weather arrives soon. With any luck, I'll look back at this blog in a month's time and wonder what on earth I was worrying about.

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