D I (Here’s) Why!

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

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 genius..ie 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

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 😉