The Land Rover Owners Wife

Beware the gift horse ……….

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…. it may bite!

When Mud announced that he thought it was high time I had my own car again, I was elated. To be fair, the age of the Jap’ truck had a lot to do with this decision but I didn’t care. My own car!

Annie in need of some TLC

Annie in need of some TLC

No more struggling onto buses with masses of shopping bags. Gone would be the waiting in the rain, snow and icy winds for the bus which was 20 minutes late – again!

I’ve never been what you would call an expensive wife to keep and, as such, I wasn’t expecting anything as grand and comfortable as my old, much loved Pinin. However, I did have what I thought were reasonable expectations of power steering, electric windows, a lovely heater and brakes that worked first time. Oh and I kind of thought that being able to get into ones car without the need for steps, was, you know, normal.

Of course my visions of such grandeur soon evaporated into the ether when I discovered Mud trawling through pages of used Land Rovers on a certain well known auction site. Resigned to my fate, I patiently listened to the virtues of each potential candidate and waited for a decision to be made. I know nothing of cars and I knew that my opinion on how pretty a car looked would have little or no influence on the final choice.

Hope did rear it’s head again once or twice when Mud strayed away from his hunt for another Land Rover, into the realms of so called eco cars but these were short lived forays which only served to prove, apparently, just how good value a Series truck would be.

After a long and thorough search, Mud narrowed his choices to a group of Land Rovers for sale, at a dealer in the York area and one in particular had caught his eye. So one lovely day in early summer, off we set on a family outing to see 3 or 4 Land Rovers, with a promise of a trip to North Landing, on the way back, to sweeten the deal for the girls.

A couple of hours later I found myself face to face with the short listed candidates for what was to be my car.

Two of these looked to be quite smart on the outside, having obviously been restored or refurbished to a certain degree. A third had also been restored but too mush so to my untrained eye and had somehow lost some of its’ ‘Land Roverness’.

The fourth Landy was a sorry looking state in comparison to her companions. She badly needed a lick of paint and some TLC. She wasn’t tax exempt, was a 109″ instead of a dinky little 88″ and her brakes weren’t that brilliant. For all my adult life a car has been just that, a car. Even my late lamented Pinin! But Series Land Rovers are different. Even I can see that and there was something about this particular truck that I just liked, for all that she wasn’t as pretty to look at as the others.

Thankfully Mud was of my opinion, especially, he was keen to point out, as she had a relatively new galvanised chassis, a current MOT and was driveable immediately as our much needed second/standby vehicle. I’m guessing the price also helped – she was much cheaper than the others – and before long Annie was paid for and delivery was arranged. I had a car ……….

…… now let me rephrase that – I had a car once she was up to a standard Mud felt was acceptable.

Having spent ages extolling the virtues of Annie to me before we bought her, Mud then spent the rest of that day and the days leading up to her delivery, explaining just why I couldn’t drive her yet. At this point Mud began to resemble a mechanic explaining to a hapless female car owner, just exactly what was wrong with her vehicle:

“The brakes [loud sucking in of air sound], they work but not very well. Definitely need new ones of those”;

“The tyres [rubs chin while shaking head], nope whole new set of them needed”;

“As for those springs and shock absorbers [tut, tut] they’re shot to pieces”!

In much the same way that my visions of what my new car would be like had vanished, so to did my dreams of immediately jumping into Annie and driving of into the sunset (so long as there weren’t any hills, slopes, other cars on the road that is).

Of course these failings didn’t stop Mud from driving MY new car around and about. No. Inf act in the course of making Annie safe for me to drive, Mud selflessly risked his own personal safety on numerous occasions, testing her improvements at every possible opportunity:

  • New springs and shocks – test drive;
  • New brakes – test drive;
  • New free wheeling hubs – test drive;
  • New tyres – test drive;
  • New door locsk – test drive;
  • New tax disc – test drive.

Well ok maybe I exaggerated a little bit but only a little bit. My birthday was the date finally announced as handover but, as is, it would seem, always the case with Land Rovers, Mud over ran this date a little because of jobs taking longer than planned – and so more than 3 months after Annie had arrived I finally got to drive her.

A noticeable improvement

A noticeable improvement

Learning to drive a Series with the turning circle of a fully laden oil tanker in heavy seas, has certainly been an experience. It took me a month to develop the strength, not to mention the nerve, to try and reverse her into a supermarket parking space (most of which seem to have been designed with the dimensions of a smart car in mind). The gearbox has been an education in its’ own right (one day I’ll have 4th and 3rd, won’t I Mud?) but the overdrive is fabulous. I’ve kind of gotten used to leaping into the drivers seat which is just as well – ‘drivers side strep’ is not near the top of the ‘to do’ list.

So a cautionary word of warning to all partners or spouses of Series Land Rover Owners: Beware of your other halfs’ offer to buy you your very own Series. They are addictive and once you have your own, you immediately lose the right to complain about the amount of money he/she wants to spent on his/hers because, sure as eggs is eggs, yours will need something doing as well, sooner rather than later. ‘Tis the nature of the beast.

That said, all in all I have to say that power steering and electric windows may be nice to have but I wouldn’t be without my Series truck now and no Mud, you can’t have her – she’s mine!

First published in Landywave Magazine Spring 2012
Photo’s reproduced with the kind permission of mud4fun.com
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