Mint cake

So you though I’d forgotten about this? Well, here we are again! Sorry it’s been so long since the last update, but having got out of the habit of regular updates I got kind of sidetracked. But here we are, and it’s been a pretty busy few months since the car came back. First up was the BOC AGM in Nottingham, a lively affair this year with some new rules proposed and then withdrawn at the last minute. The proposal was to introduce a time-limit on the length of time that club officials may serve on the committee of the club, and although withdrawn for now there are a lot of discussions still going on. There are good arguments both for and against this idea, and the proposals are being discussed now and some revised rule changes will be probably be put to the vote next year. Also at the AGM, it seems I became both a committee member myself, and editor of the club Newsletter. This is an exciting thing and quite an honour, but hopefully it will give me an excuse to drive the 410 more and go to more events!


The first of which after the AGM was a committee meeting in Sussex, giving a nice Sunday morning drive along the A272 on the FBHVC’s Drive It Day, so there plenty of other old ‘uns out for a run too. I was then away for the first three weeks of May, so the car got a little rest. I took the opportunity of removing the front seats and delivering them to Richard James, an upholstery specialist near Stroud. This was not for new leather, but so he could strip them down to attend to the collapsing foam in the squab and back. The driver’s side back has had, for as long as I’ve had the car, a bar across it that you do not notice for the first couple of hours driving, but after that it rapidly becomes all that you notice! Richard has done a pretty good job of fixing this – you still become aware it after a long drive, but it is not intrusive and painful like before. The passenger’s seat had a different problem – the squab was far too hard, and tended to tip the passenger off on fast corners. He discovered a couple of straps that were clearly not original and later additions so removed them and all is much better. Maybe a previous owner had found the seat too soft? All in all a good job done, and at very reasonable cost. His dad is Ashley James, who has a lovely Bristol 400 (now beautifully trimmed of course!) which you can read about over at JEL450.com.

Well after that, I had a very wet trip to Somerset for a wedding and then a couple of weeks ago another wedding in the Lake District. This was a very small, informal affair, with only about a dozen guests. However the 410 was seized upon and it was asked if I’d mind running the girls to the wedding and then taking the happy couple back afterwards, to which I could only say, but of course! And so it was that I found myself tying white ribbon to the car, not quite as clean as it might have been if it hadn’t faced the M6 the night before, and heading into Kendal Register Office with three beautiful ladies in the car, my red leather perfectly complementing the red leather soles of the bride’s very flash shoes, about which I will get into trouble if I do not mention! Dinner was at L’Enclume, near Grange over Sands. This Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms did indeed serve us a superb dinner, with lots of intricate little dishes, deconstructed tequila slammers, frogs’ legs, pigs’ cheeks and a wonderful piece of lamb, all cooked to perfection. I understand completely though that some people do think these fancy menus are designed to show more how clever the chef is than to provide a hearty meal, but if we were in any doubt that the chef could only cook show-off food, breakfast was one of the best fry-ups I’ve ever had. Dinner, although complicated, was a masterclass in making people think about flavours and textures and how they relate to each other – it is more than food, it’s art as well.

The next day, we took the opportunity to have a quick drive around Windermere, and up the Kirkstone Pass. Coming to it up a very steep minor side road, pacing a MGB GT out for a blast and who clearly knew the road better than I, the car was pretty hot by the top, and sat in the pub car park, engine running and gently steaming as it cooled. This was probably due to the fact that the coolant is currently weaker than spec, as at some point during the rebuild the rad cap was accidentally swapped for a 7psi cap in place of the 14psi cap required to keep the cooling system pressurised. Unfortunately this meant that the first time the car got properly hot after the rebuild it promptly boiled over at not much more than 100ºC – it should be fine to at least 140º (although I’d be getting concerned by that point!). I’d topped it up again with the little anti-freeze I had in the car and a lot more water, so the concentration would have been down a bit. In any case, the car is currently at SL-J‘s having a quick service and check-over before heading off to France next week for a few days, and fresh coolant is on the list…

So there you have it, a quick update on what the 410’s been up to since being fixed. I hope it’s not too long and boring. Not mentioned obviously are plenty of other local trips, runs up to London and so on. I was away for almost a month since getting it back in mid-March, and even so managed to add another 2500 miles. I have already forgotten about the long, dark winter sans Bristol, and really can’t imagine being without this car at all.

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