Breakdown in Hollowell
Well yes it does happen. Both me and the lorry had a bit of a breakdown in Hollowell. The lorry first.
I was almost there too. The final stretch of the A14 from Junction 19 on the M6. Major roadworks there just now to improve that horrible junction. My mind working ahead as always. Arriving a day early to set up in peace and calm. Meeting all the annual friends at that lovely ground. (www.hollowellsteam.com) Wondering where Allen would site me this year. Never-the-same-pitch-twice Allen Eaton. Epic show organiser and OBE. He re-arranges the showground every year so we all meet new neighbours every year. It’s a great show for lots of reasons, but mostly because he makes it a great show.
My reverie is shattered by the brake air pressure warning buzzer in the cab, and I look at the gauges to find a drastic loss of air pressure in the tanks. Luckily (and I do seem to be lucky in these things), a layby looms and a space is available. Various half-hearted attempts to solve the issue but soon realise it’s an Autohome job. While they come I read through all the manuals I have on the Cargo braking system. Makes fascinating reading!
Autohome are the only recovery company who specialise in classic vehicles of all sizes. If I sound like an advertisement then that’s OK because I am their No. 1 supporter and advocate. They are inexpensive, efficient and they take real care. But what was especially good is that they were prepared to relay me to the showground and then pick me up from there on Monday to take me back to my garage in Llay. I don’t know of any other relay company that would have done that. Certainly not the big ones. It’s one trip and one trip only with them. In talking with Bob and Jason, I find out that it’s still a family run business with many of the people who work there also as families. Jason’s partner works for them and the whole business seems to be one big extended family. Jason said the boss, with whom he was on first name terms, was a Vintage vehicle aficionado so that perhaps explains their service and attitude. If you are thinking of changing your breakdown service, check them out (www.autohome.co.uk). They also cover modern vehicles too. As I said they are much less expensive than the big guys and are much more personal and efficient into the bargain.
The lorry came back to Llay was mended in a couple of hours and we are now back on the road, a few quid poorer, but now knowing a lot more about the braking system on vintage Cargos. The air tanks need occasional draining as the air which is compressed through to them has water vapour in it of course, and that water can’t escape so condenses and stays in the tanks. Added to the minute drops of oil coming through from the engine-driven compressor and generally any other gunk, the tanks had become clogged as had the pipes so no air could get through to them and the rest is obvious. Another job to make sure is done from time to time. Drain the air tanks.
And my breakdown? Well Mr Alexander fell for someone. Hook line and sinker. It was fated from the first but while it lasted it was wonderful. It was over before it began and was probably as much a fantasy for him as for her. Nothing ‘happened’. It was entirely platonic, and they both gradually realised that it wasn’t going to work. But there we are. It was unexpected and surprising and it confirmed how impossible it would be for Mr A to have a partner in this travelling showman’s life. But for a few moments it was great to dream…
All the best from a road near you,
The lorry about to leave Hollowell with bored dogs