The Land Rover Owners Ex Wife

……becoming me again

Behind you ……..

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Behind each Land Rover enthusiast, you will more than likely find a less than enthusiastic but supportive army of parents, spouses and/or partners, each trying, and failing, to fathom out the mystery that is the obsession with all things Land Rover (and in my case ….. Series).

I have to say that I was hoodwinked into my role by the plaintive expression on Muds’ face who, having been Land Roverless for the best part of 6 years, was Ciggy on arrivaldesperate to reverse this state of affairs and, to that end, was prepared to give up smoking and to cut down on his alcoholic intake, for the purposes of funding the restoration of the rather forlorn looking Series 2 he had spotted on ebay.

Beguiled by tales of tax free motoring, cheap insurance and minimum maintenance costs and by my own need to stop the Victor Meldrew like moaning about the extortionate cost of servicing and repairing our pick-up truck, I finally capitulated and the deed was done. Unfortunately for Mud, the final deal was done just as the snows hit: the Land Rover (now named Ciggy, as a reminder of the promises made) couldn’t be delivered and his initial euphoria soon made way for despair, reminiscent of a child a Christmas, who’s been told they can’t play with their new toys because they have to visit Grandma.

Mind you, the irony of the situation tickled me – the most famous 4×4 in the world, renowned for its abilities to conquer all terrains whatever the weather and it couldn’t be delivered due to the snow.

Now I’m not one for shoes and clothes, the idea of shopping turns me cold and by all rights I should be drummed out of the sisterhood: high maintenance I’m not but sadly the same can’t be said for dear old Ciggy.

First impressions when she finally arrived, were quite favourable. She started up quite quickly (always a good sign) and, despite the usual dents, bumps and scrapes, looked to be in pretty good condition. She even had the obligatory smoking exhaust, straw and not-quite-fitting doors. Taxed, insured and with a shiny, new MOT, Mud took her for a spin (well to be truthful more of an amble) around the village, with the girls and I able to monitor his progress from the noise which made most of the local tractors sound quiet. Had he know then what he knows now, he maybe wouldn’t have been so enthusiastic about taking his first drive in her.

Jump on a couple of months and Mud is back on the smokes and the alcohol budget hasn’t noticeably diminished at all and yet Ciggy still resides with us and several new bits and pieces have appeared, including a brand, spanking new workshop, complete with earthquake resistant roof (shame the same can’t be said about our cottage but hey ho).

The Mud announced that he had a rare old treat for us. So very, very early on a bleak Saturday morning in May, Mud the girls and I set of for the Driffield Land Rover Show, stopping for a top quality breakfast at MacDs. We were one of the first to arrive at the Driffield Showground but even so a quite impressive array of Land Rovers, including several Series vehicles, were already parked up by the time we drove onto the showground car park.

It was at this point that the horror of my situation dawned on me ……. I was beginning to understand the lingo. I could tell the difference between Series 1, 2 and 3 vehicles (gulp), I was able to spot (at 20 paces) and among the jumble, the very part Mud have been desperately searching for, to no avail, on ebay and I was getting all giddy at the sight of the little Series 1s (they are just so cute). I had even successfully argues, a few evenings earlier, that the Landy pictured in our 6 year olds school home reader was, was a Series 1 and not a Series 2 (it was the rounded wing you know).

What I needed now was some gardening therapy. Down amongst my pumpkins, squashes and beans I could forget about all things Landy: I could be a normal woman again. Yeah right! The fact is that when it comes to Landys and their owners, whatever job it is that they are currently doing, it is infinitely more important than the one you are doing.

Whether I have reached a critical stage in cooking tea, or I’m trying to stop the 3 year old from doing something dangerous, or I’m trying to pollinate my female pumpkin/squash flowers with the careful use of a fine paint brush and before my solitary male flower closes up shop for the day, it is never as important than the one Mud is doing. So it is with increasing regularity, that I find myself pulled away from the task in hand to lift the roof off, move the tub or relocate the bulk head …… again!

It’ll only take a minute, is a phrase I will forever associate with unbelievably heavy sections of car, most of which, as it turned out, would start to crumble at the very thought of my finding a suitable finger hold, and ALL of which were filthy with 50 years of accumulated dirt and oil.

So 20 minutes later we lifted the tub for the umpteenth time, after all the wires and cables had finally been untangled and/or disconnected, with Mud shouting directions at me. It was then that I suddenly realised there was a nail/bolt sticking out of the bottom, just where my only available stable finger hold is, and it is now digging itself into my wrist. My response to Muds’ solicitous, “You should have watched where you were putting your hand’ is not fit for publication but suffice to say he didn’t require my help for some time after that particular incident.

Of course stripping Ciggy has highlighted a quite serious problem – she’s rotten. Seriously, the chassis looks like it was put together by our 3 year old and her preschool friends, from loo rolls and yoghurt pots. Each passing day now brings with it a new round of cursing and the build list and costs keep escalating.

Cheap to maintain huh?

First published in Landwave August 2010
Photo reproduced with kind permission of mud4fun.com

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