To belong to the brotherhood of Land Rover Owners, you must first own a Land Rover built in the Series to 110 era (which means old, very old, or nearly vintage), must be prepared to wave at other owners of these temperamental but characterful vehicles and, above all, you must be willing to stop at nothing to, or let nothing stop you from, help/helping another member of the brotherhood.
Driving back from the supermarket with ice-cream, dairy and meat products packed into the multitude of storage facilities available in an old Land Rover, on a boiling hot day and you happen upon a stricken Land Rover and its’ owner on the road side. Do you:
a) Merrily wave but proceed on your way to get aforementioned food stuffs home before they melt or go off;
b) Stop briefly to ensure that the driver has been able to call for assistance, offer the use of your mobile if he/she hasn’t and then proceed home with aforementioned food stuffs before they melt or go off; or
c) Stop to offer assistance, unpacking the aforementioned food stuffs onto the road/pathway, to reach the tools needed to help get the broken down vehicle running again, spending as long as necessary, regardless of the perishable food stuffs and waiting family.
If your answer is ‘c‘ and you have an old Land Rover parked on your drive whether it be intact or in a pieces, then you are a member of the brotherhood.
I do believe that had we owned a roadworthy Series when I went into labour with either of the younger Mudlets, then not only would the Land Rover have undoubtedly been my mode of transport to the hospital (ouch!) but had we passed a fellow owner parked up at the side of the road with the bonnet up and a workshops worth of tools and parts spread about his/her person, then we would have stopped to help.
Not only would we have stopped but, in true Land Rover Owner fashion, Mud would no doubt have expected me to assist with the roadside repairs between contractions:
“No! Not that spanner! We need the 5/16ths for this particular nut – you should know that by now! Concentrate!”
So it comes as no real surprise to me that he has been willingly measuring all manner of body panels and angles to see if Chuck (who lives in America by the way) will be able to fit the truck cab he bought, into the hardtop covered load bed, of the Series Land Rover SWB Station Wagon that he has also bought, so that he can transport said truck cab back inside the Land Rover.
You could be forgiven for thinking that it would be simple for Chuck to go measure his new purchases to determine the feasibility of the task. However, in true Land Rover Owner style Chuck has bought a Land Rover some distance from where he lives ….. nearly 3000 miles to be exact. Further more, the truck cab is another 300 miles from the vehicle!
Men! Land Rover men in particular! Stopping at nothing to get the vehicle or parts they require. Mind you, these huge distances do put Muds’ occasional foray into the furthest most regions of Blighty to collect rarities such as truck cabs (we have 3 of those), bonnets (urm, yep we have 4 of those) and wings (got a couple of spare ones of those knocking about), into perspective.
I have been following Muds’ long distance discussions with Chuck over the last week with a smile. Our American friend has a wry sense of humour which is just as well …… a sense of humour is an essential requirement for Series Land Rover ownership because the alternative would be to cry and it wouldn’t do to see a grown man cry, on a regular basis.
So just before lunchtime, the Mudlets were actually playing nicely together and I had just sat down with a nice, hot cup of coffee when Mud popped his head around the door and uttered the dreaded words:
“Hun? Could you help me swap the truck cab over to the hard top? It’ll only take 10 minutes!”
Of course it didn’t only take 10 minutes, these jobs never do but, resigned to my fate, I put down my mug and trudged outside. We pushed Ciggy out onto the drive and then removed her hard top roof, quickly followed by the extremely heavy back panel.
“Watch my paint work,” Mud uttered as we manouvered the back panel onto the drive. This was to become a phrase I quickly came to hate with a vengeance.
Next we carried the dirty and mercifully unpainted hard top sides out onto the drive and, with Mud in the load bed, we fitted them in place …….
“Watch my paintwork!” a little louder this time.
The equally dirty and un-tarted up hardtop roof followed and was manhandled into place, with little contact with Ciggys paintwork – thank goodness.
Once that was in place, we then had to work out how to fit the component parts of the spare unpainted truck cab into the back. We lifted the back panel in first and jiggled it around to try and get it to fit …..
“Watch my paintwork!” and yes, the volume had risen slightly.
….. with my poor old fingers and hand acting as a buffer between the sharp edges of the panel and the cockpit green paintwork of the wheel arches. It quickly became apparent that the back panel couldn’t go in first and so it had to be carefully removed …..
“Will you watch my paintwork!” very loud this time.
…… and placed back on the gravel. it was at this point that I threatened to leave Mud to it and go back to my rapidly cooling cup of coffee. I think he grunted a ‘Sorry’ but I can’t be sure but he did decide that trying to gauge the fit of a truck cab roof using Ciggys’ beautifully painted limestone one, wasn’t a good plan and he disappeared into the shed to retrieve the battered one that went with the battered back panel we were using.
We then lifted the old roof into the load bed and I supported it there while Mud climbed into the cab area and, leaning over the back bulkhead, lifted the roof in, well sort of as it didn’t actually fit lengthways and needed to be turned ……..
“Watch my paintwork.” not quite so loudly this time.
……. up and round, so that it could be carefully placed across the tub, resting on the wheel arches ….
“Yes! I know! Watch the paintwork!!!”
Finally, 30 minutes after we started, we had the spare truck cab in the load bed and Mud took copious photo’s. The next 10 minutes was spent equally carefully removing the spare truck cab and roof, the hardtop roof and side panels, reinstating Ciggys beautifully refurbished truck cab and roof and gently pushing her back into the workshop.
My hands are scratched, my fingers have been squashed, my white T-shirt is filthy and my back, shoulders and arms are aching but in America, there is a soon to be member of the Land Rover Owners brotherhood, who appreciates our efforts and Mud owes me big time! Again!