Camping in the Capital Pt 3 – More ‘research’, a fuel filter & another one bites the dust…

Intrigued? Don’t be, I’ve just entered ‘The Silliest Blog Title Of The Year’ competition. Oh, don’t be daft, there’s no such thing – to my knowledge. No, the title does give some insight in to what's to follow, I promise. Still reading? Blimey.

So, after sending the last blog on it’s copper and fibre paved journey, there was work to be done. With the prophets of doom at the met office promising weather to test Patsy’s aquatic properties again on Friday it was time for the awning to come down. Unfortunately it was still wet from the night before, and the sun was on the other side of the van. How inconsiderate. So with the pegs out and awning dangling in the breeze we turned our attention to our venerable old tug, Jessie.

Now, Jessie has developed a rather bad habit of late. Smoking. I know, shocking, you’d have thought she’d know better. Anyway it’s been getting worse, so much so, that an enthusiastic tap on the throttle would cause a cloud of thick black smoke to issue forth from the exhaust totally enveloping anyone unlucky enough to be behind.  A new air filter a while back had made little difference and for the last couple of weeks a fuel filter and some potent injector cleaner has been rattling around in the boot. So, up went the bonnet.

Now, I’m no mechanic but have dabbled with cars in the past doing some of the more straightforward jobs, however with each successive purchase I’ve felt less and less inclined to get my hands dirty as the complexity of cars increases and working space in engine compartments decreases. Or it’s maybe that I’m getting older and can’t be arsed anymore.

Anyway, the job couldn’t have been more straightforward once I’d taken a quick degree course on how the pipes clipped on – what’s wrong with jubilee clips for gawds sake I don’t know. A funnel to top up the new filter with the cleaning gunk and diesel would have helped – but  a fairy liquid bottle came to the rescue. With the new filter in place and bonnet down Trev turned the key and Jessie fired up again expelling some more soot in the process. An opportunity to give her a good clear out was clearly needed (translation – an excuse to boot it ) so we headed out of the site keeping the revs nice and low and trundled down and away from the site whilst the engine warmed. Soon the needle on the gauge was rising which was just as well given that we’d happened upon the Tollgate on Sydenham Hill and had come away without any cash.

Anyway, to cut a long story – oops too late –  a few minutes and several enthusiastic stabs on the throttle later Jessie was running much smoother – hopefully the clouds of black soot left in our wake obscured the number plate sufficiently. Might have been an idea to take the door signs off though……

By the time we returned to site the awning was dry so that was unthreaded from the gutter, laid out and folded away.  With the rest of the ‘outdoor’ stuff the boot of the car was nigh on full again. I’ve never been able to travel particularly light when travelling but with caravanning there’s even more stuff that seems ‘essential’. Like long leather coats…….

An evening’s research in Crystal Palace had been decided upon earlier and, with it being Thursday and curry night there was only one place to start. Wetherspoons. The curry was nice and hot, although it didn’t make me sweat or my nose run, although of course the true indicator of how hot a curry was doesn’t come until several hours later. The beer was good though and we stayed for a second and with plenty to choose from we had both something different again.

Westow House was the next hostelry to have the  dubious  privilege of a visit from the Nonsense! research department. A large boozer on the corner of Crystal Palace parade and, as mentioned before, with an impressive number of ales on draught.   A singer was attempting to accompany a backing tape – not altogether successfully – and we decided to sit outside, preserving for a little while longer our eardrums, if not our livers. We chose differently again but Trev came unstuck this time with a Belgian IPA that had a most peculiar taste that neither of us could pin down.

The Grape & Grain, just across the road was the last port of call with an even greater selection of ale on offer, some of which had changed from our previous visit on Sunday. I would have loved to try them all but neither the wallet or digestive tract was up to the task  -  we did manage a couple though whilst catching the end of the quiz. 

Friday, and our last full day away. The rather strenuous research of the previous evening necessitated a rather long lie in but given that it was persisting down outside that hardly mattered.  Having had a brief excursion to the shops early afternoon for some food for dinner, we got freshened up and headed to the bus stop again for our last expedition of the trip – in to town for the theatre and the Queen musical  ‘We Will Rock You’

We thought we’d left plenty of time, even allowing for the Friday rush hour traffic, but it wasn’t to be and we arrived with only ten minutes to spare negating any possibility of a pre show drink.

The show itself was brilliant. We’d seen it before – about 11 years ago soon after it started and it had lost none of it’s magic. The story line had been tweaked- updating it for the ‘i’ generation – and the set was a little different in places but the same great songs remained. And with a packed theatre and a Friday night crowd that we’re really up for it it was a cracking evenings entertainment and the atmosphere was terrific.

Theatre Land was buzzing as we waited for the bus with the pubs full of revellers inside and out enjoying the mild evening. The journey back to site was pretty unremarkable save for a bunch of kids that got on just after Lambeth Palace, most quite obviously ‘well oiled’ despite being barely in their teens. Remaining vertical proved a challenge to far for one or tow of ‘em as the bus weaved it’s way south. Relative peace and quite returned as the bus stopped at Brixton and they lurched down the stairs and staggered on to the pavement.

With most of the clearing up already done, we were away early Saturday morning and arrived back at the storage compound barely and hour and a half later. We pulled Patsy in to the washing bay and I got busy with the hose pipe whilst Trev sorted out the inside. 

With Patsy at least a little cleaner both inside and out we put her back in her bay and headed home via the club for a much needed pint and sarnie.

So, there we are, another trip done and dusted – and one that will go down in Nonsense! history for the least number of photo’s taken. It’s been fun though, we done what we wanted to do and enjoyed just chilling too.

So, what’s next? Well, Christmas is coming (like you need reminding) and Patsy will be on the road again during the school holidays – to Kent first, then up to Cambridge for Christmas itself before returning again to Crystal Palace for a few days over new year. All weather permitting of course, but as long as the white stuff holds off we’ll be fine.

So, until then…

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