Sunday, 29 April 2012

Meet Muriel!!!

Great excitement – I did it – got a Maggie (Thompson) Mobile!! A Citroen Romahome – aged 21years – not quite all in working order but fixable. In really good nick inside – barring not being able to work fridge and cooker and electric points!! Engine runs well (touch wood) said to do 45-50 to the gallon, can go up to 70 without exploding or imploding but prefers 50-60mph.

I picked her up on the 11th July and had her in the garage by the afternoon as she has a driver side window that keels over like a drunk when opened, a petrol cap that does not lock relying instead on luck to keep the diesel in the tank and a windscreen washing system that makes noise but little else. NB none of these additional features were in the Ebay advert. I think I was a bit done over but she was remarkably well priced and turned her puppy / orphan eyes on me and I couldn’t leave her behind to suffer possible further neglect!

The garage were happy to service her and generally check the ‘found’ faults and try to find the unfound…… including the wrong light-bulb, both front lights independently mobile and in need of replacement – at some time – not possible to mend errant window as parts no longer made – only solution replacement door! and dire warnings of imminent spontaneous combustion of engine if the timer belt had not been replaced. The petro cap had to be a ‘special order’ which can’t be picked up until the weekend.

Maiden voyage began 19th July traveling to York via Sunderland then off to Oxford Art in Action at Waterperry Gardens on 20th.

Sent pictures of Muriel to my kids and Bella (graphic designer) sent them to colleague and college /flat mate, Nicky, who has created the GI Jan Mobile! I think I will stick with Muriel as befits my aspiration to be calm and sedate (OK I only said it was aspiration!! We can all dream….)

What happened to Muriel subsequently???

2 lovely nights, sleeping in my little Muriel bed, at Oxford Art in Action followed by journey back to Newcastle for Becky Nicklin’s wedding on a beautiful hot day terminating (literally!!) after an hour in a traffic jam with Muriel’s engine blowing up!!
Returned to Newcastle, thanks to the RAC, to a garage that quoted £1,500 to £2,000 – nearly as much as poor Muriel cost me! Thankfully rescued by the very lovely Peter who resuscitated her for about £500!

Very hot day, lots of traffic as Black Saturday - all France on the road!!
Next voyage - France – managed over 8oo miles and a very pleasant night near Rouen – when, after half an hour in a hot traffic jam, Muriel died again!! 
Parked at Aire - managed to get her started......
.... but not for long!

We were rescued by the gendarmerie – who peered under the bonnet and inhaled deeply and shrugged their gallic shoulders and shook their Gitane smoking heads, as did the guy who picked Muriel up – diagnosis of dead engine predictions of 2 – 3000€ to repair. 
Thanks to RAC we were taxied for a night (back northwards 90km!!) as there were no hire cars available (it was black Saturday – everyone in France was on the road!) to a very nice hotel thanks to RAC – next day we were given a hire car for the whole of our holiday and Muriel was transported back – thanks to RAC (again!!!) – a few weeks later. The French prognosis was considered a little inaccurate by the very lovely Peter who tended towards a poorly radiator and suddenly Muriel – a rather feline Citroen (in terms of number of lives) – was revived!
She now awaits some new panels from a younger model that hasn’t fared quite as well and – with luck it will be Scotland for the Scone Castle Show.....

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