After a day where everything goes wrong, or I feel down, I can jump into my adventure wagon and take off into the sunset for an evening’s exploration, sliding that spindly gearstick into place on a soundtrack of charismatic gearbox whine and exhaust burble.
I don’t look to go from A to B fast and I rarely give her a bath, relishing the ‘rough’ look. This allows me to tackle greenlanes and byways without fear of obstacles, as once I get past that final row of houses and venture into the rough stuff, my troubles fade away; I could be in Africa.
No one else exists. It’s just me and my Land Rover, taking on the world.
I’ve recently discovered a green lane close to home, so on a recent clear night with moonlight draping the hills, I cranked up the engine and set off to discover new territory. But this new route ended up tricking me.
Instead of the ground remaining level upon entry there was actually a several foot drop where the Series III dipped and lifted its hull with such force that my exhaust brackets snapped, my spare wheel set itself free and the back end slung itself into a wild tank slap. All at 12mph.
Besides reshaping my back, the biggest woe was my sudden lack of headlights. The jolt had dislodged my earth to the electrics, which for an instant seemed to affect only the lights, before a curtain of thick and sour smelling smoke erupted from behind the steering column. Having brought the Land Rover to a sharp halt, like a man, I ran away.
After a few minutes hiding in a hedge anticipating a fiery explosion, I emerged to inspect the damage. The ignition was dead and the smell of burning was enough to curl the nose hairs. As I stood stranded in the cold darkness miles from home, I longed for my P38.
With no tools or indeed any idea about electronics, I set about trying to get my jalopy going again using the starting handle. Miraculously, she coughed into life and I limped her home, stopping every few miles to empty the cabin of yet more smoke.
The Series III is back on my drive for more repair work now, a wiring loom on order for October, with any subsequent forest fires in the area a matter for the courts.
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