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Hijinks Ensue

A long overdue update

What have I been up to in the past couple of weeks? Let's see:

I went to the Morris Minor Owners Club National Rally at the Haynes Motor Museum in Sussex. I'm trying to economise on holiday time so I set off after work on the Friday and drove all the way in one go. The traffic was very heavy on the M6, and I went through a stretch of extremely heavy rain, then Lintilla's newly-fitted replacement coil packed in. She started misfiring on the motorway about a mile from a service station that I'd been planning to stop at anyway, and she made it all the way up the access road before going "chuff chuff BONK" and dying with just enough impetus left to coast to the nearest parking space! What a considerate car! :D

Half an hour later I'd used the facilities, diagnosed the fault, fitted the spare coil, and was back on the road. I arrived at the camp site at midnight to find that several of my friends from the MMOC web forum were still up and were just starting to get worried about why I hadn't arrived yet! I quickly pitched my tent by lamp light while Dan pumped up my airbed.

My Primus No. 5 performed admirably over the weekend and got a few appreciative comments. Lintilla was parked both days on display in the website area of 'branch avenue' (don't ask) and attracted more attention than I expected. I suppose it's unusual to see a car on display at a classic car rally that's both cosmetically very tatty and sees fairly high mileage in everyday use. The weather that weekend was swelteringly hot both days and I was in severe danger of Dave's Syndrome. There was an autojumble (a sort of car boot sale for old car parts) and I returned home with the boot stuffed full of spare parts.

The following weekend I went down to mid-Wales to take a look at the house wibble_puppy is buying. To save money I camped at a working water mill about ten miles away. I drove down on the Friday after work and arrived not too tired and with plenty of time to pitch my tent in daylight, have dinner (cooked on my Primus no 5, of course!), and read for a while before bed. This is a big improvement over the 6.5 hour slog down the motorway to get to where she lives now! :)

I spent Saturday exploring the area. I pottered around Newtown and bought some nice sausages for my dinner, I drove for many miles without seeing a motorway or big town, I walked up to a Bronze Age stone circle, then I visited Montgomery on the day of their annual street fair: I looked around the ruins of the castle, I walked up to the War Memorial on the top of Town Hill, and I found probably the best shop in the world (with one drawback: I wanted to take Wibble to see it the next day, but they weren't going to be open, because "chapel's on Sunday"). Finally I went on another long drive and walked up to a huge wind farm.

On the Sunday I went with Wibble to have a close look at the house. I think the place is brilliant! It's an old farmhouse in the middle of the countryside with two rickety old barns. Not only does it have a battered old coal-fired Rayburn stove that I'm going to fettle, it also has a proper deep old well under the kitchen floor, accessed by lifting up a few floor tiles and a metal cover. :)

Last week I fettled another paraffin stove. It was slightly more challenging than the previous one because it was in worse condition when I got it (it had obviously seen a fair bit of use and there was a lot of carbon build-up inside the burner). It's looking good and working well now though! :)

My latest project was rigging up a tank to do electrolytic rust removal on the rusty steel tin the R M Picnic packs away into when it's not in use. I haven't tried it on the tin yet but I did have a go with it on a very rusty cast iron handle, and the result was fairly impressive. It didn't take it right down to shiny bare metal (un-machined cast iron has a layer of black scale on the surface) but it did get rid of all the rust with a few hours of bubbling away in the tank followed by a bit of light wire-brushing.

My next stove fettling project is going to be a pair of Monitor 17b 'picnic' stoves. They are about as small as this type of stove gets and they look very cute indeed. Both are in a fairly poor state right now with various missing bits and pieces, and ugly repairs that want re-doing, so they should be a fun challenge for me. :)


sounds like you have been busy! I'm quite jelous of your stove - I neeed one so I can take the kids away with Molly and not have to lug loads of gas bottles etc.

I love mid wales - my aunt lives in Llanfair Carinion where they have a great steam railway to welshpool. You might like "havashuftie" the army surples shop there.


You probably want a small collapsible stove in a tin with a roarer burner for camping in a Minor - something like my R M Picnic (which is basically a clone of the Primus 210, as is the Optimus 00) would be ideal. I'm looking forward to trying it out properly on my next camping trip! I bought it on eBay for £10.50 + postage, and it took a few evenings worth of my spare time, some consumables, and one (cheap) spare part to get it fettled.

Trouble is they are addictive and once you've done one you'll be buying others that are in worse condition for the challenge of repairing them! A bit like classic cars except a lot cheaper and you don't have to justify the space they take up on the driveway! ;)

My Primus No. 5 in its biscuit tin is great to cook on (the flame is more controllable than our household gas hob!) but it takes up a lot of space in the car and it's not designed to cope with breezy outdoor conditions. It was basically designed as a kitchen stove in the days before mains gas.

My Monitor 17b's (design copied from the Primus 96) are even smaller than the R M Picnic, so they would good if you want to carry the stove with you while backpacking, but I can't comment as to how effective they would be for cooking a family meal while camping because I haven't got mine running yet.

Alternatively the Optimus 8R (my first camping stove, inherited from my dad who used to use it when climbing) is very small and not too heavy. It's not as pretty as a proper old-fashioned three-legged brass paraffin stove though, it's quite noisy on full blast, it's finicky to light and control because it doesn't have a pump (as standard), and it's messier/smellier and more dangerous because it runs on petrol. I've managed to set fire to it by accident more than once! For that reason I probably wouldn't recommend using one around kids, and definitely not inside a tent.

I'll have to take a look at that railway sometime - thanks! :)
Sounds great :) too tired to say much else except glad the stove working out nicely; I'm not surprised it's been approved!
Thank you! :)