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D I (Here’s) Why!

24 Aug

John and I are very make do and mend.  The idea of throwing something away because it’s old or for newer technology does not sit well with us.  And if something breaks our first thought is to fix it not replace it.  It’s saves loads of money (of which we have little) and its far more eco-friendly to fix something then scrap it and replace it with a new one.  That’s why our (touch wood) washing machine is over 20 years old and working just fine (Ok we’ve replaced parts a couple of times); and why we still have a cathode ray tube TV (that my dad was chucking out 15 years ago because the colour definition had gone – but we fixed for £30); and why John just had to have a go at this…

We bought a Toyota Prius from our wonderful local Toyota dealership in Builth 10/11 years ago.  Second hand 2005 model.  Despite its dents and scrapes its been fine. The garage service and MOT it annually and fix any niggles and problems.  they’re a fantastic team and should we ever need a new second-hand car we will get another Toyota because of their customer service.

Our trusty Toyota Prius

Our trusty Toyota Prius

A few weeks after the last service which includes a battery health check we went away for a few days in our Imps.  On return john went somewhere in the Toyota and by the time he returned every warning light was on ; glowing red cars with exclamation marks VSC and break warnings… it did not look good.

Popped to the garage and were told it would be one of two things a faulty start-up which made the computers think the hybrid battery was failing; or the hybrid battery was failing.  They reset the warnings and said if they don’t come back on then all is well.  sadly they all came back on.

Now I know nothing about electrics/electronics/engineering or cars but the hybrid battery, I’m told is made up of a series of cells that together make up 220V and although the car is petrol and electric, once the hybrid battery fails the car dies, it will not continue to work on just petrol.

A new hybrid batter fitted by a dealer is £1200 (that’s one and a half hours of labour (£125) and the battery.  The car is maybe worth scrap value without a working battery.

We don’t have £1200 or access to it in any way.

New Hybrid Battery Cells

New Hybrid Battery Cells

John researched refurbished batteries and they were around £300-400 but were in places like Cambridge and Coventry.  Plus our wonderful garage agreed they would fit it for us at the same rate but would not be able to offer a guarantee.  all fair enough, but one big problem,,,, We didn’t have a car to go and get one.

After much research and YouTube video watching our very own handyman, my John, decided he would give it a go himself.  He purchased two new cells at £56 delivered and allowed himself 2 days to dismantle the car and attempt the repair. (Two cells with the thought being that the car might have managed with one failing but two it would be unlikely coupled with the garage previously assuring us that in most cases the cars are scrapped well before the hybrid batteries fail – they’d only ever had two fail in all the years…now three)

So, how did John get on? Well here’s his Vlog about it.  Basically £56 and  four hours and we have a working car again!  Plus he only needed to replace one of the cells, so we still have a spare.

I think I’ll suggest to our Dealership that they offer this service.  For £350 we’d have probably have let them do it and I bet they could do it in an hour.

But for us, here’s a better example of why we DIY… We just saved ourselves £1100!!!


A Furry Tale Ending

3 May

We all love it when a plan comes together. Which is difficult when you live life without one.  Actually it’s not difficult at all because you can claim that the outcome was the plan and hey presto ‘success!’  I swear by it. It makes for a very satisfying lifestyle and it doesn’t half make you feel good.

fab_1_hopfarm07_aAnyway, I digress.  Todays furry tale is about me and Ffloyd.  If you know me, you know Ffloyd . And if you know Ffloyd you know that she has matured nicely, having received her magenta facelift 3 years ago.  From her youthful baby doll pink to her current most stunning livery in the expert hands of Dr Crompton (Junior), that would be classic car restorer and oh-so-talented-middle-son, Graham.

ffloyd in her new liverySometimes though we may look fit on the outside but we are not really looking after our internals very well.  Poor Ffloyd.  Now 48 and having had a new roofliner 14 years ago by bodge-artist-Berni (yes, that would be me) , really needed a new head.  The problem with a compound curve is that to re

ffloyds new roof liner

cover it is, to use a technical term, ‘bloody difficult’ .  In a rush job to sort it before the National last year I figured it would work with tablecloth vinyl and acquired some gorgeous length of floweriness, removed the cream fleece but left the battered old original and made a failed attempt at gluing said floral display onto said ripped old original.  To a blind man, from a distance , it looked passable. Just.  To me, not so much.  It was embarrassing.

12909650_10153362477513204_709734594388397624_oMuch thought went into plan B.  So I acquire a long, wide length of pink fur.  Completely removed the original battered liner, took off the roof struts, did a fair bit of measuring, re-measuring, pinning, re-pinning and then bit the bullet.


I sought out a a good friend with a sewing machine and the wherewithal to use it.  Charmed said friend with the promise of coffee, cwtches and banter , and took the new roof to a central location with a plug socket and a coffee machine, for the stitching to occur (no photos of this phase 😦  ) .  I can tell you it involved a lot of caffeine, much laugher, an audience and a 91-year-old ‘fan’ with a walking stick!!  Thanks to all involved in ‘Operation Pink Fluff’.

“All that was left”, eeekk, was to fit it…….

I think John and I will be coughing up pink fur balls for some time……..

In the meantime, who’s for a spin in Ffloyd? Time for a new adventure





Ffloyd and Clifford go Camping

6 Aug

It was an odd mix of emotions this morning.  A bitter sweet mix. Ffloyd was heading away on holiday without me. Worse still she was going without me AND going with Clifford.  I guess i was a little jealous. Alongside a large dollop of pride.  Clifford is my son Jason’s Singer Chamois.  He’s been going along to Imp Club Nationals since he was two.

Grahan and Jason in the first car that Graham built at Imp National 2000

Grahan and Jason in the first car that Graham built at Imp National 2000

This will be the first one he’s driving to with the added bonus of doing so in a car he built himself.  He turned 17 last November and passed his test this April.

Ffloyd & Clifford

Ffloyd & Clifford

Originally the plan was for John, Jason and I to go in convoy the 260 miles from Llanwrtyd to Darlington in Thunderbird 4, Clifford and Ffloyd respectively.   However, TB4 remains on SORN and our B&B is full .  So this amazing adventure is a Crompton only, big boys adventure. John is leading the way in Ffloyd and Jason is following in Clifford.  His brother; John’s son, Graham will meet them there in Reg.

on the road

on the road

They’re going to have a ball.  Camping, Cars and Cromptons. A winning combination.
I’m looking forward to the updates – hint hint boys 😉

Imps v Loonies

21 Jul

I have a dilema.

The Monster Raving Loony Party Conference 2015 in Blackpool clashes with the Imp Wicked Welsh Weekender 2015 in Pandy

On the one hand, as Lady Lily the Pink (which in the original transcript I’d typed as “Oink” – still laughing whilst correcting); and standing for Welsh Assembly Elections 2015 for the OMRLP – I am particularly keen to be in attendance with my fellow Loons to discuss policy, reshuffle the cabinet and share a bit of banter.

Cabinet Reshuffle

Cabinet Reshuffle

Show & Shine

Show & Shine

On the other hand, I’m missing the Imp National (again) this year due to work commitments and promised my family and fellow Impers I would definitely be at this years wonderful Wicked Welsh in PandyPerth  2013 -2

Loony Conference 2014

Loony Conference 2014

Which would you choose?

Simply Pink at Beaulieu

10 Jun


                                                                                                                                                        Fund raising fun with Pinkies…
why not check it all out here

Ffloyd goes Simply Pink at Beaulieu for Breast Cancer Campaign

Ffloyd goes Simply Pink at Beaulieu for Breast Cancer Campaign

A Husky named Ffloyd

23 May
new roof liner

new roof liner

I’ve just been replacing the roof lining in Ffloyd with something pink and flowery and it got me looking back to when i first owned Ffloyd, and the process of creating my mini “FAB1” … this is an article I wrote in the summer of 2003 for IMPressions Magazine




Image073A Husky named Floyd

What do you do when you change job and you have to give back your car? Any ‘normal’ individual would probably replace it with a nearly new second-hand something or other.
Not me. Having been stung before I did not want to risk choosing another duffer and spending the next few months/years forking out for replacement, expensive this and that’s and paying someone else to fit them just because modern cars are so un-mechanic friendly. What with this and the ‘I told you so’ and ‘sodding car’ arguments that in the past had nearly destroyed an otherwise long and happy relationship, the thought of having to choose something began to bring on sleepless nights.
So the idea came about to look in the Imp Club magazines, ‘just to see’. Which I did and I did just see. But why would I want to see if I could see a Hillman? Well, for one, John is an avid Hillman fan. John owns an Imp (that yellow one without a roof, his ‘work in progress’); he smiles when things fail and he has to fix them! Johns two eldest sons own(ed) Imps. They too smile when they have to lie on the cold concrete, drop out the engine and replace every part. Again.
So I saw something in The Mag, a Husky, right model, right price, right condition, right timing. One week before the Imp Club Do of 2001, so an ideal opportunity to view it with the experts, John, David and Graham – my team of mechanics. Well all those ‘rights’ had to make it the right car. I saw it and had to have it. Obviously.
Bringing it home from Uxbridge to Southend a couple of weeks later was more than a minor challenge. I had never driven a Hillman anything before. John’s had a ‘technique’ that made him the only driver of his. So being a novice both to Hillmans and old cars in general I had never heard of or experienced the need for left foot braking. I stalled at every junction and roundabout. It was a very long journey. But by the time I got it home I too was smiling!
So here I was the proud owner of a dark navy Husky with light blue interior, UGW 617F. A middle-aged mum, working in a middle management job, a child in private school. Surely a 4×4 would have been more appropriate. Not content to be just different and not planning to set up a pet funeral service with my new mini hearse (as it was frequently described), I decided I needed a plan. And my plan was pink, but if it was to be pink it had to be PINK!
Well, you’ve all seen it and know I don’t do things by half!
Obviously, John was very happy to oblige. How could he resist such an opportunity to spend a huge amount of time playing with cars and compressors and not have me moaning about him being in the garage! John, indeed, was a man in his element, a pig in brown stuff, a child in a sweetie shop if you get my drift. He was so happy that he had the seats re-upholstered for my Christmas present in just the right shade of……. you guessed it… PINK.
The project took a long time, despite the enthusiasm. Children, building work, day jobs all attempted and managed to get in the way. Also knowing that I couldn’t make the 2002 event took the pressure off and delayed the work. However, Spring 2003 brought with it new vigour (or should I say mass panic!) The job had to be finished. The Wirral was calling. John took on the external duties, sanding, spraying, sanding, spraying, buffing, polishing as well as full service and rebuilds for both my engine and his in time for the long journey. Jason, our youngest, then 5 and I were in charge of interiors. All the metal was painted with little pots of ‘Hot Pink’. The door panels were recovered in black fleece. The carpet was replaced with a grey off-cut. Have any of you ever tried laying a carpet? In a confined space with no straight or flat edges? Not the easiest thing I’d ever done I can tell you. But I had Jason to kneel in the middle column or press his feet against one wheel arch whilst I pressed it down on another. He spread the glue, flattened the carpet and kept me entertained for 2 days inside the car! Then came the roof liner, cream fleece, the obvious choice(!) Ever tried it? Again a challenge, the width changes from front to back, it curves, its above your head! Again my secret weapon came to the rescue holding up one side with his head as I smoothed it across to the other. See, at five and three-quarters he has just the right height to stand with his head against the roof. I could not have done it without him.

The fun I have driving it. The people I’ve spoken to and the children and adults who delight in it. I love that everyone recognises me around the place. Mind you, I could never have an affair! Perhaps that’s why John agreed so readily?! Surely not!

When Ffloyd first joined our family it was touch and go whether I started a pet cemetery business or get him resprayed!!

When Ffloyd first joined our family it was touch and go whether I started a pet cemetery business or get him resprayed!!

Ffloyd in her FAB1 guise


2007 – Imp National – Hop Farm

ffloyd in her new livery

Maturer Magenta tone – thanks to Graham Cromptons expert work



reinvention number 3

Ffloyd joins the Pink Car Rally.. final pre-event update..

4 Sep

Collection pot for Ffloyd now exceeds £1000!!! 

What can I say but thank you Ffloyd Supporters and people of Llanwrtyd and thankyou ladies who donated their hair and shaved their heads to put the bulk of that money in their back in May (June, Jen, Aurelia – i love you all)

A thoroughbred rear engined car ...and a Ferrari !

A thoroughbred rear engined car …and a Ferrari !

Tomorrow is the big day.  Ffloyd, John and I will take the 175 mile drive to the start point.  We will travel from Llanwrtyd to Brecon and take the A40 as far as Witney; we’ll then join the A415 to Abingdon on Thames and the A4130 to Henley on Thames… look out for us and tweet photos if you catch us to @pinkcarrally.


Sails of Merit... by Sarah Liscoe
Sails of Merit… by Sarah Liscoe

We’re meeting fellow Husky owners (Rob & Sarah Liscoe) for a ‘camp’ in the back of our Husky’s with our matching blue/pink husky/tents handmade by Sarah and her new business “Sails of Merit”

10497904_10154439719450153_159132964683286482_o  Then its off to the start for 9am at Saintsbury Langley – if you are in the area come along and meet us – we’ll be liverying up with Little Princess Trust and Pink Car Rally posters and getting set for the off at 10am.  Then its  an M25 Pink Car Convey to Intu Lakeside where us Pinkies will be based all afternoon until 7pm meeting the public, selling Little Princess Goodies, allowing you to take our car’s photos for donations to our cause.

Remember if you see our Pinkie Convoy on the M25 this Saturday and Sunday please take a photo and post it to you FB page and tag Pink Car Rally 2014 or tweet @pinkcarrally or, of course – send me a copy and comment on this blog.

Wish us Pinkies well and feel free to donate … it’s a great cause… love to you all….

Update to the Pink Car Rally Update (!)……

30 Aug

The fund pot is at £994.97 as of this moment in time!!!!

Ffloyd (aged 46) will be driven by me AKA Lady Lily the Pink with co-driver and tame mechanic, John Crompton on hand to deal with the inevitable breakdowns!

Ffloyd (aged 46) will be driven by me AKA Lady Lily the Pink with co-driver and tame mechanic, John Crompton on hand to deal with the inevitable breakdowns!

…..this is due to a  huge HUGE HUGE amount of generosity and support from friends, family and the local community.  I decided to do this over 2 years ago, I can’t believe that this coming weekend is THE weekend. 

me and my alter ego... Lady Lily the Pink

me and my alter ego… Lady Lily the Pink

Having first discussed the idea in May 2013, I somehow managed to engage 2 amazing ladies (June Duncan and Jenny Walsby) who decided to grow their hair for a year with the view to cutting it off for donation this May just gone.  The idea .. to raise money and increase our fund pot for this amazing cause… they were joined by another local lady AureliaTyczka and all 3 donated hair and then had their head shaves – contributing over £750 to the pot. WOW

June, Tina,Aurelia, Jen - amazing local ladies helping The Little Princess Trust

June, Tina,Aurelia, Jen – amazing local ladies helping The Little Princess Trust

This was the start of our fundraiser that ends this Sunday after Ffloyd and I (and our ‘Tame Mechanic”, John ) have completed the 2014 Pink Car Rally.

Here’s a reminder of the timetable:

Day 1 – Saturday 6th September

9am – meet at Sainsbury’s, Uxbridge Road, Langley, Slough SL1 1SU (Selena Mullen is liaising with them, in the hope that we can make our visit there ‘official’, but if they say ‘no’ then we will simply be a group of very pink customers, in an assortment of pink cars! I, for one, will be having breakfast there around 8am!!! – Thank you, Selena)

10am – leave Sainsbury’s :-

Option 1 – if Wexham Park Hospital (SL2 4HL) gives permission, we will drive there first, before heading for the M25. It’s 5 miles from Sainsbury’s.

Option 2 – head straight for the M25 (directions will be issued)

12noon – arrive South Mimms Service Area on M25

1pm – leave South Mimms

3pm – arrive intu Lakeside – RM20 2ZP

NB We have permission to do an ‘all day’ coin collection here! So anyone choosing to join us here is welcome to start collecting if they arrive before us!

7pm – leave intu Lakeside and cross the Dartford Bridge (toll) to the Dartford Travelodge (5 miles away)

Pinkie Dinner!!!!!

Day 2

9.30am Leave Dartford Travelodge, heading for Brands Hatch DA3 8NG (10.6miles)

10am Arrive Brand’s Hatch (we should be able to buy food there… I’m currently checking our location and where the food is etc…)

11am Leave Brand’s Hatch – official start of Day 2 of the rally! Head for M25 S towards Gatwick

Subject to permission….. (currently waiting to hear) we will then go Sutton, Surrey

12.15pm Arrive Royal Marsden Hospital Sutton SM2 5PT

NB If no permission is granted (I’m currently liaising with two hospitals on the site!) then I will find an alternative comfort stop.

1.30pm Leave the Hospital/other venue… and re-join the M25

3.30pm Arrive either at Wexham Park Hospital SL2 4HL (awaiting authorisation) or Sainsbury’s Uxbridge Road, Langley, Slough SL1 1SU

The rally will end at approx. 4.30pm

If you are on the M25 or new any of the scheduled stops PLEASE come along and support us and the host of other PINKIES on the Rally.  If you want to show your support and can spare a few pennies please visit my justgiving page and help make this a record year.   Last year all the Pinkies together raised almost £18,000.  Lets beat it this year.
I think Ffloyd (aged 46) is going to be the oldest car on the Rally with Jane Sutton, driving Bubble (aged 43) a close second.  Her mechanic is coming along too….  should be a fantastic weekend ❤ ❤ ❤

Bubble (aged 43) will be driven by Pinkie, Jane Sutton and codriver/ mechanic hubby will be on hand in case of emergency

Bubble (aged 43) will be driven by Pinkie, Jane Sutton and co-driver/ mechanic hubby will be on hand in case of emergency


Pink Car Rally Update…..

16 Aug

Further to my previous post, there has been an announcement

The Pink Car Rally route has been finalised ….! We will be ‘orbiting the orbital’ on the 6th and 7th September!
Day 1 will take us from Langley, Slough to intu Lakeside and after an overnight stay in the local area…
Day 2 will take us from Brands Hatch (yes, really….. THE Brands Hatch!!! As in Britain’s best-loved motor racing circuit) back to Langley, Slough…

All I can say is, O M G... I really do deserve sponsorship for this… I moved away from Essex to Wales largely to never have to see the M25 again… but on 6/7th (and if traffic is bad, possibly 8th/9th!!!) you will find Ffloyd and I (plus John my tame mechanic) circumnavigating the “Ring of Hell” to raise money for Little Princess Trust along with many other Pinkies…

If you live in the areas we stop why not come along and show your support (please bring me tea/cake and valium!!)

I, (on behalf of The Little Princess Trust) deserve your money so I can pass it on to a great cause… come on… make all the pain worth my while…

from last years event....

from last years event….

Getting ready for The Pink Car Rally 2014…

29 Jun

I blogged about a great fundraiser that I was on the peripheries of in May the blog was “Hair Raising..a good Cause”. 

Now its time for phase 2

The aim of a group of us here in Llanwrtyd Wells, Mid Wales was to raise (initially £500) for the Little Princess Trust.  In May 2013 I announced I fancied joining the annual Pink Car Rally organised by Sali Gray and asked some friends if they fancied growing and donating their hair the following May to raise awareness of the cause and get the ball rolling.  Well… June, Jen, Aurelia and Tina raised an astonishing £692 as well as donating their ponytails  during the Music Madness and Mayhem event at the Neuadd Arms Hotel on 4th May 2014.

Ffloyd and I will be on the 2014 Pink Car Rally raising money for The Little Princess Trust

Ffloyd and I will be on the 2014 Pink Car Rally raising money for The Little Princess Trust

SO, the target has risen.  We’re aiming for £1000.  It’s a great cause, we have generous friends and acquaintances and phase 2 will be a fun one to follow.

me as Lady Lily Pink -Loony Party Music Fest Llanwrtyd Wells

me as Lady Lily Pink -Loony Party Music Fest Llanwrtyd Wells

You will probably all know by now of my fabulous 1968 Hillman Husky in its new livery of Magenta pink but just in case you’ve been living in an underground bunker and missed her – here she is.  Ffloyd,  As in Pink Floyd; double “FF” as in Welsh!

If you look back through my blogs you’ll find various references to my darling car

It’s all very exciting.  We’re still waiting for the route release and the entry forms but, as Sali confirmed “you’re on the list”.   You can following the organisational progress via the events FB page if you fancy joining the ever-expanding Pink Community they have going

I personally plan to come along mob handed or at least have ‘mob pockets’ along the route.  I’m looking for an entourage of Loonies and Impers to come out and cheer the rally on. But mostly I’m after your dosh!

As the widget upload seems to be beyond me, you can sponsor me using this link to our JustGiving page and add to the £692 total we have because of the brave ladies who had their heads shaved.  It’s a great cause, helping kids with cancer.

June, Tina,Aurelia, Jen - amazing local ladies helping The Little Princess Trust

June, Tina,Aurelia, Jen – amazing local ladies helping The Little Princess Trust

Anyway, looking at previous Pink Car Rally images, I appear to be the only one taking something old and unreliable.  don’t be cheeky,  I’m not referring to my co-driver/partner/mechanic, John Crompton;  but of course, to Ffloyd who, like me will be 46 years old.

Me and John - pink and peaceful and Imp50 last year

Me and John – pink and peaceful and Imp50 last year

The Hillman Imp Club

Official Monster Raving Loony Party