Mr Clements and I have just spent the best part of an hour securing the Scimitar to a trailer in preparation for its journey to the bodyshop. It took that long because neither of us was particular certain of the best way to tie it down – mostly because I am using a different trailer and straps – and oddly this made us even more nervous than usual.
I’ve had a fair amount of practice at towing and am the first to admit that there is a fine art to doing it well. At first I was far from competent, but even then had more experience than some thanks to a previous stint as a lorry driver. Even so, remembering to turn the wheel ‘the other way’ than you want the trailer to go can still prove challenging.
One of my first towing experiences was a baptism of fire. There's nothing like pulling a 15ft 6in long AC round the M25 behind a struggling Mark I Land-Rover Discovery to get you acquainted with the fine art of ‘tugging’.
My most memorable moment came when I collected a 1955 Morris Minor that was gifted to me as another restoration project. This time the tow car came courtesy of sister magazine, Practical Caravan and was a Kia Sedona.
The trailer belonged to the owner of the Morris and was a rather expensive closed affair and so I allowed him to direct me to the pick-up location. “There’s a narrow bridge just up here, but it’ll be fine”, came his voice, shortly before it became apparent that there were several inches width to disagree about.
My inability to reverse into a very tight spot proved of immense frustration to both myself and the growing queue of oncoming motorists, so, in desperation, we unhitched the trailer and pushed it by hand into what turned out to be Kate Bush’s driveway. That isn’t a euphemism for anything dirty either.
Since then I have improved – especially with the arrival of my own Land-Rover, but I suspect that is something to do with the all-round visibility when the roof is rolled up... as well as the reduced speed of any manoeuvre. I was even complimented on my towing ability recently when I reversed the trailer into a tight spot between two spaniels and an old A-series engine.
And so to this weekend’s efforts. The Scimitar is going to Blackpool for paint and I will admit that this time I am leaving my Series IIA in the car park. I am staying true to the brand though, and have borrowed a brand new Discovery with lots of electronic things.
Part of me is disappointed that I am deviating from my classic devotion, but the thought of Berkshire to Blackpool at 45mph and no more than 15mpg is making me feel a little better about accepting Land-Rover's largesse.
Let’s hope the north isn’t as grim as it has been of late – yes, I am talking about the weather.