I guess it must be 40 years ago now when my passion for ‘doing up old stuff’ began.
I’d pretty much grown out of my bright orange Chopper (my pride and joy and something that I always kept immaculate – oh yes, I’ve always been a little OCD when it comes to cleaning and polishing, ask anyone who knows me) and, noticing that his increasingly gangly son was dwarfing the (even then) iconic offering from Raleigh, my dad emerged from the garage one day with his beloved Claud Butler racer and said “Well, it’ll need a couple of new tyres and a bit of TLC, but if it fits you, it’s yours”.
Astride the bike, with my nether regions squashed against the top tube, my eyes watering and my toes just about touching the ground, I managed to convince the old man, in a voice several octaves higher than usual, that yes, the leather saddled speed machine (it had 10 gears!) was indeed a perfect fit and could we please go to the cycle shop immediately!
It wasn’t long before I was whizzing about The New Forest showing off my shiny, gloss black steed to my friends and dazzling passers-by as the sun glinted off the highly polished aluminium mud guards and wheel rims!
Fast forward a few years, after I had discovered the magical delights of motorized transport, and I delighted my parents when I proudly pushed a knackered old Suzuki GT250 up the drive, followed by my mate carrying a box of bits that allegedly belonged to the old motorbike, and managed to persuade them that, “Although it didn’t actually run, it was only 30 quid and my mate said it was a bargain and an easy fix – Well, yes, it was the mate who I bought it from who said that, but look at it….it’s really cool!”
So that Summer, armed with a Haynes manual, a basic tool kit and unlimited enthusiasm, I set about dismantling the bike. By Summers end I had a working bike (just), resplendent with metallic gold frame and skeleton motif on the petrol tank. As you can imagine readers, it was very, very cool indeed!
A few years later and it was a MkIII Cortina that was enhanced with a can of Halfords spray paint for the wheels and a roll of Draylon for the interior.
Several old Fords later and after I had left home, leaving my long-suffering parents with severe neck problems and semi-detached retinas due the amount of head shaking and eye rolling they did every time I would announce my latest ‘project’, I realised a dream – a ground up, nut and bolt restoration / modification of a MkIII 3.0 litre Capri.
I won’t bore you with the details here, suffice to say it took first place in it’s class at Ford Fair, Europe’s largest all-Ford event…..two years on the trot!
Without a doubt, my proudest moment.
So, what’s the point in all this nostalgia?
Well, apart from offering a glimpse at one of the many cogs that make up the machine that makes me tick, nothing really.
Except to say that, while I’ll have a go at tarting up almost anything (almost), and have no qualms about wielding screwdriver and spanner to find out how things work, this current chapter in my life scares the bejeezus out of me!
The realization of the fact that the effects of Covid19 will very likely render me redundant is truly frightening. Setting up a business to hopefully mitigate the fallout, often feels like a totally futile exercise. Starting the journey in the metaphorical vehicle that is a part-time hobby and hoping that the wheels don’t fall off before it even leaves the driveway, is terrifying. Investing time and money in something that comes with no guarantees of success and every chance of failure is a recipe for sleepless nights….
….and what on Earth is blogging all about?!
So I ask, if you’ve read this far without developing narcolepsy and need to waste even more time on something inane, your constructive criticism on Workshop74, the items for sale, prices, services on offer and indeed this, my very first blog, would be gratefully received.
All of us may fall, all of us may fly – unless we give it a go we’ll never know and at least we can say “Well I tried”.