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Triumph - That was a year that was..


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7 minutes ago, Dobloseven said:

Great stuff! Has this T top idea been done on TRs before? 

Thanks, Not that I'm aware of.  But of course the TR's have been around for a long time now and are in many countries.   I have seen, and very nearly bought a Surrey hard-lid which was in two parts. It appeared very nicely made but I gather was not very water tight. 

An advantage of a T-bar, I'm hoping for, is that it gives a fixed and rigid  H shaped structure to nestle the smaller panels into and to seal against, rather than two removable panels trying to seal against each other, as they rest on rubber seals, on top of sorta-flexible supports.


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Not done much today but to stay out of the heat within the polytunnel.  I did however, this evening, add beam depth stiffness to the front rails. Not because they were flexing but rather so they should be more robust to withstand everyday (ab)use. . .

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^ very thin plywood (recycled packaging from the green grocer) was cut to shape, as a former to fibreglass onto. The front corner joint was first given a light laminate (300g/m) over the inside corner fillet of bridging-filler that I'd used to bond the two components together. And then the plywood, painted both sides and all edges with resin, was placed and likewise given a lightweight laminate. Together, the plywood with grp effectively form the web of an I-beam.  It's all very lightweight and once cured will be surprisingly strong and stiff.


^ naturally both passenger & driver's sides lift-off lids were done.

In due course they will be trimmed over to make things tidier inside the car, above the windscreen.




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On 7/8/2022 at 9:38 AM, Snake Charmer said:

That should create two nice little gutters for the water to run off the front and rear screens.  👍

Yep, I'm trying to keep tolerances very tight (yeah I know - that can be a risky strategy when the whole car flexes), but the idea is to minimise the air pressure and the amount of water getting to the seals, and so those two gutters will have minuscule capacity.   We'll just have to see if it works :ph34r:  ..and if it don't, then I'll just have to stick electrical tape over the top seams :lol:

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Oh Btw.  I now have to source Tr4 / Tr4A door glasses as I've the same issue as another TR owner (David aka qkingston )  had last year < here > ..insomuch as mine are also too high at the rear corner.  Of course it doesn't help that I'd intentionally kept the rear of my lid very low / tight to rear window seal.  oops ! . . .


Many thanks to Stuart B) (TR Register again) for answering my question - before I even knew to ask it :rolleyes:

His reply to David was..  "By the looks of it you have the wrong glass fitted as I had a similar though less pronounced problem when I first fitted the Surrey top to mine which had TR5 glasses fitted as that was all that was available all those years ago when I restored mine, since replaced with correct 4/4a glass and now the fit is much better, your "Parrish" top may also fit differently."

Which again highlights what brilliant forum these are, especially when one takes the time and trouble to search through previous threads. 

As my windscreen frame / header rail and soft-top hood frame were TR6, then this is no surprise.  But, perhaps like others, I simply didn't realise that these door glasses were shaped differently to fit the Tr5 or TR6 hood frames. 



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My pottering this week..  started off by seeing if I were at least on the right track ..


^ by deducting the 4" width of the T-bar, these surrey lid half-panels do fit within the boot, with the full tool kit and space to spare underneath them.  Of course that isn't so useful for touring but, at first glance, it does look practical enough for day-trips out with a holdall placed underneath the panels for coats or whatever.  I have read of targa-top lid panels being slipped into cloth or vinyl sleeves so as to protect them from scratching. That's something I'll likewise explore.  For touring - I guess boot-rack stowage of these panels would be best.  In practice, I may only remove the driver's side lid for everyday driving, and then of course it's just one side panel to stow.

Anyway moving onto the task in hand..

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^ I cut a steel plate and tapped it for 1/4" unf, then bonded that in under the rear flange ..for securing the lid to the backlight.  Then, as I had done across the front rail of these lids, I cut very thin plywood webs and bonded those into place, before laminating over. This closed that box section and ties the lid's top surface to the vertical flange.  

Next up - things got a little more testing  . . .

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^ Without needing to reinvent things - the door-glass-seal is to push onto a near-vertical flange. Those pieces were made a couple of weeks ago (see 3rd July) with my laminating over a length of rolled-angle.  Thankfully (for the sake of style) the shape I needed for the seal's flange needed to be kinked.  I marked the door glass with masking tape to simulate the TR4 shape of glass and from that deduced where a cut (just as single kink) was best made. 

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^ With the fibreglass 'angle' now kinked and held together with masking tape (..'cause I'm a sophisticate engineer type !), I cut n' sanded its return edge until it fitted where I wanted.. That being in line with the windscreen A-post and the backlight's B-post sealing flanges. As the door glass is flat so then does this flange need to be straight. And although it probably doesn't make a whole lot of difference, because the door glass has tumblehome to lay against the A-post, so this seal's angle is tilted out.  That's not very clear in the last photo, until one compares the seemingly vertical flange with the angle of the timber post in the background. For clarity this photo would have been better rotated to that  vertical.  Anyhow, the fibreglass 'angle' / flange was tack bonded in, what I hoped to be, the right place. . .

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^ with the lid back on the car, the sealing flange was checked against the lines of the door glass. Although the bottom shape of the flange needs to be curved to the top line of the glass (in this case 1" above the bottom edge of the masking tape that can be seen).. it was close enough to proceed with.

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^ the tack-bonding was appended to, and tidied up, as an inside corner fillet to be laminated over (x2 further layers of 300g csm).  That then closes the ring of flanges around the lid panel, which of course again adds to overall stiffness. 

Almost as an aside, but significant to ease-of-use, was to compare the weights ..original versus new. . .

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^ the original steel surrey-top lid, in steel, with the front edge weather seal in place but otherwise bare and missing some of its inside structure, weighs about 20 lb ( 9 kg).. which when reaching out (to half its width.. let's say 21") up n' over the car - is an ungainly lump to handle.  Due to its size & aerofoil shape - I'd be wary of doing it in a strong wind as well.  In stark contrast ; the fibreglass half-lid presently weighs around 3.3lb (1-1/2 kg), without seals but with the TR6 front latch / level fitted. Its half-width is not even 9.5" which together with the lesser weight makes it very much easier to position on the car.  It is still a little awkward though, insomuch as the peg on the latch has to be in aligned with the keyhole in the windscreen header rail, and the lid has to go down onto the windscreen and back-light frames almost vertically because of the deep flanges I have all the way around it.  

Anyhow moving on.. the issue I have now is with the driver's side door glass not fitting at all well  . . .


^ Even if this were swapped for a TR4 door glass, which has 3/8" to 1/2" less height at the rear top corner, I'd still have a gap above its front-top-corner.  And as you can see the angle of the back edge of the glass is not very good either ..now that the back-light's B-post has pulled down.  That it seems comes from this body-tub's B-post / door shut having been positioned too low &/or at an angle when it was restored. Which in turn meant the rear-deck-panel, forward of the boot lid is also low in this corner.  Therefore without major surgery - I'm scuppered.  I could of course have a door glass made to fit the aperture we have,  or . . .

Or else I might fudge it (.. at least until the body-tub is next repainted) . . .

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^ Time perhaps for a little wood whittling.  And Oh the aromatic delight of working with timber again, I cannot express the pleasure ..compared to grp or steel fabrication.  The 1/2" thick wood is of course recycled ..and was in fact part of a bulkhead on my boat, so it's high quality marine plywood I'm trying to pack this corner of back-light up with.  

As a bonus, I hope to benefit from another 1/2" of headroom under this side of the roof  :P

Crude ? undoubtedly yes ! ..but neither irreversible nor intrusive to the car.  And it's definitely a cheap solution ..if it works ! 

Will it work ? ..and will it look xxxx ?  Who really knows until I try it.  Katie  is for driving rather than showing, so let's just run through the exercise and then see what's what.

Bare wood wouldn't last long, so it needed to be sealed, but what with ? resin or paint ? 


I opted to use the same red paint as I'd used inside and under the car.  As I painted that on, I wet-out the wood with white-spirit, so as to encourage the paint to really soak in to the fibres.  When that's dry we'll see what's next.

That's it for this week.  I bid you a pleasant Sunday evening.



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^ the back-light is now raised by 1/2" at its front RH corner, and that in turn tilts its B-post angle back a little to almost correct it ..relative to the door glass.  Yes, the packer is there and noticeable to anyone who looks, but imo it's unobtrusive.  I can live with it as long as Katie  can !


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I was out in Katie yesterday, albeit only along the A14 a couple of junctions to Curry's in (an unsuccessful) search for an external hard drive that would be compatible with both windows XP and windows-11.   I then did potter around with doing grocery shopping before stopping off on the way home for fish n' chips.  The 4's temperature, with its TR6 seven-blade plastic fan was reading warmer than normal, around about 5 o'clock position on the dial ..but as it was stable there was not of concern.   

This was the first time I've driven the car with just the passenger-side half-surrey-top-lid on.  Tbh the breeze was so warm that it was difficult to sensibly assess air circulation within the car's interior, but still it was nice driving the car like that and the driver's window lowered.  Airy and cooling but not blustery . . .    




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  • 3 weeks later...

Today : Helmingham Hall & Gardens, Suffolk - Festival of Classic and Sports cars ( an event in support of charities) . . .



^ Katie  joined in with the TR Register's Abbott & Stour group of very nice people with very nice cars .. TR6s, Peerless, TR7-V8, and of course a TR4A ..with half a roof panel.

It's an excellent informal type show despite some pretty exotic and equally as diverse cars being allowed in,  that this year enjoyed sublime weather which.. by the end of the day sorta radiated from my fresh lobster-like complexion.  And because of that, I was obliged to stop off at the Sorrel Horse Inn, Claydon  ..for medicinal purposes you understand - to avoid my being dehydrated this evening !





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Not a whole lot to report on with Katie,  because last week I was working again on the trailer tent I'd been building ..and then neglecting.  After a full year of the trailer's lid's fibreglass supposedly curing it was still tacky to touch.! ..and clog the sanding discs !!  It's been suggested that the batch of fibreglass resin I'd bought has wax in it - that floats to the surface as it cures. That may be useful for sealing roof gutters and the such like, but it's an absolute pain in the sanding disc when trying to smooth its inside face. Anyway I did what I needed < here > to get it ready and to take it across for its fabric wrap-around sides to be templated (ie. the tent bit to be made).

The trailer's first road trip, only about 8 miles, to Darren at Sail and Cover, Woolverston Marina, happened without incident on Tuesday morning. 

Thereafter I decided to buy another TomTom for use when touring.  I had one for quite a few years (quite a few years ago now) and liked the display and choice of voices so I decided to look again what was available. I then muddled around looking a Garmin -v- TomTom and discovered the latter had recently discontinued support for 60 previous models (ie., no map updates for those, supposedly because the maps are now too big a file for those older sat.navs to work properly).  That seemed a plus point for Garmin until I discovered they are doing the same.  Similarly each company dropping dedicated traffic updates uplinks. They now seem to be pushing their customers over to using a mobile app for those.  I also considered customer services and how easy it was (..or how impossible) to speak to someone, and TomTom's website and lack of contact number swung things very much in favour of Garmin again.  But then.., maybe because of my old computer's software, I couldn't access much of Garmin's website or see most of their photos.  However - they do have a Hampshire head office and are not shy to give their telephone number out.  

Then I read that Garmin are best favoured in the US., whereas TomTom are thought to offer better maps & route-planning for the UK and Europe.  My decision making continued to swing back n' forth with physical size & shape, screen size, etc., and of course what was available second hand.  I spent hours reading reviews, starting with the poorest opinions first. Although the machines are supposedly now much faster (re-routing for example) it's all rather depressing how features have been dropped from previous versions ..like links to traffic.!  Much like any modern business - it appears that neither company really listen to what the customer wants.

I was very tempted by TomTom Rider's twisty road pre-set routes, likewise their camping & caravan routes, and their discovery trip (sightseeing) ..however looking at the listing of these on TomTom's website - it seems that only one route out of dozens was actually applicable.  Sure there are lovely coastal road routes in fantastic locations.. far across Europe and the world, but really very little in the parts of this country I'm in or am about to go to.     

I'm going away in the car, just for the weekend up to Derbyshire and Leicestershire, in 10 days time and so if I was to get a sat-nav. now.. then it'll have to be an auction which finishes very soon, or is close enough to collect in person, or is a refurbished one (cheaper than new and often on buy-it-now).  Bottom line was that.. I could not decide what to buy, and that was compounded by worries about buying a sat nav that was no long supported. And of course buying a used one which turns out to not hold its battery charge or has a reliability fault (I was victim to that when buying a laptop a few years ago, even though that came from a dealer of such things).  I was all but about to give up with buy a sat-nav., having slept on it, and having spent a whole lot more time yesterday ..looking again.  Finally, I'd came down in favour of TomTom's 6200 Go Discovery ..but a new one was too expensive, and buying used off ebay has its risks ..even if I managed to outbid everyone else (or else I'd be back to where I started).  

I wanted a larger screen (5.5", 6" or 7") because the device is to sit in the open glove box on the other side of the car.  I don't know but I'm pretty sure., the TR's open-top bolt-on windscreen would probably vibrate. Certainly the rear view mirror can be a bit of a blur at times, when being driven with enthusiasm and around country lanes ( read ; crashing and banging along ..as old seat-of-the-pants British sports-cars tend to do).. 

Garmin's website 'special offers' doesn't show on my computer, but TomTom's 'summer promotion' mostly did (a few photos wouldn't load).. 

Okay, I'd enough time spent looking and tossing the balance. I decided to make a rash decision and look at it as a worthwhile tool that will last at least 5 years. TomTom's Go Discovery model with 7" screen, is in their Summer promo < here > offered at 30% off.   £100 off brought its cost into (and even below) the price bracket of many older / small refurbished devices being offered by the traders.  £234.50 and they throw in a leather carrying case, a high speed charger, and prompt free delivery. It's not an obsolete model and I hope not to need the company's own guarantee. But it's there just in case.  Done.! Ordered.!  stop thinking now ..as that only leads to second guessing myself.

That was yesterday. 

Today was blasted-hot under the polytunnel, but at least I did do this . . .


^ dual cigarette charger socket wired in, to take the TomTom, and a dual USB charging adapter (for the phone). Fortunately, the TR's glove box is surprisingly deep, and I hope sufficiently tall an aperture to take the 7" TomTom (spec's tell you screen size and resolution but I couldn't find its overall dimensions).  I had the cable / cigarette lighters charger from years ago ..when I toured on a BMW motorcycle, so I've now wired that to fused-switched-live. The TomTom has now been dispatched so hopefully I'll get it on Monday or Tuesday.

As I say not a lot to report, but still a busy time and again one step closer to having the car ready for touring.

Wishing you a good evening,





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Saffron Walden Car Show on the Common - Sunday 14th

Cheers to Alan Short - Events Co-ordinator, TR Register East Saxons Group,  for the email letting us know that this event was on. The East Saxons have two groups, who meet at different venues, and yet who rarely meet. I generally go to The Alma  whereas most of these attendees were from The Farmhouse . They're a nice bunch of people and most welcoming to Katie  and I.




Getting there as a group and parking under the trees was an inspiring move by our leader. Coming from Ipswich and across country I turned up an hour later but was most grateful not to be sitting out in the open sun scorched Savanna. Many who did left early afternoon. . .


^ Saffron Walden's 'The Common' is enormous, as it carried on way down the gentle slopes to the left of the photo with military vehicles, vintage tractors, American muscle cars, and a number of motorcycle clubs.  Aside from the exotics there were also a host of more modern (1970s and '80s)  everyday classics. Fords were out in number, and a colony of Moggy 1000's were also found sheltering under the canopy of tress.  There were a number of extraordinarily low mileage and unusual cars too. . .


^ Rover 3500 Estoura


^ Zephyr Coupe Utility, from Australia, with straight-six 2.6 litre fitted with a Triple Weber carburettor manifold courtesy of one of that country's own tuning houses. 

All in a really good show, albeit too hot out in the sun for many. Still, it was a unexpected and pleasant surprise to give free entry for all, whether on a motorcycle or car, and to visitors on foot.

Katie  and I came back to sunny Ipswich via a slightly different route, and that was through Steeple Bumpstead and then Clare before dropping down to Sudbury and back to Ipswich via skirting around Hadleigh.  It was a good cross country drive (no motor or dual-carriageways at all) and mostly pleasant driving at my own pace.  I say mostly because I did find myself behind a modern Fiat 500 traveling at just 25 mph.  Once the road straightened enough to see 1/4 mile along I overtook but a numbscull came the other way around the next bend at excessive speeds. He was running wide around the corner, and although I had overtaken quickly and was well back onto my side of the road, the experience appears to have scared the other driver a tad ..as expressed by the farting blare of his car's horn.  I managed a broad smile. :rolleyes:



^ I but briefly stopped in the ancient but small market town of Clare  < here > to visit their fabulous church ..it was Sunday after all.  But as that was just around 5pm, it was soon-after time to lock the doors. Clare and the surrounding villages are littered with historic architecture and, what looks on passing to be, a good selection of nice country pubs.  I've a fad interest in 13th - 14th century history at the moment and this little town, which is now on a cross-country route to nowhere-in-particular, seems to have been largely forgotten ..so I plan to visit again sometime very soon.

Again my thanks to Alan and the TR Group for pulling together an excellent outing.  It's always very much more pleasant to turn up at such an event and to meet up and enjoy conversation with friendly faces.




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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's my little report on Katie  visiting the TR meet at Amblegate, Derbyshire, last weekend. . .


As a high mileage round trip over a weekend, this was the first long distance / weekend away trip with Katie since I bought her a-year-ago-in-March ..and of course since then much 'remedial work' has been done.  As such, these 360 miles were both a milestone and a proving run.. in terms of my aspirations to tour in a TR4A.  I'm glad to be able to report that she performed impeccably, and used no measurable amount of oil or water over that distance (in hot weather conditions), and despite my being 65 years old, 6ft-5" tall and 110kg in stature, and also suffering chronic lumber and sciatica issues - I did enjoy the cross-country driving and didn't suffer more than a few moments of back discomfort / stiffness - which I would expect to experienced in any vehicle over that many hours of travel.

Despite, well founded concerns having been expressed, I am pleased with the chassis mods we did, with the gearbox cover made in steel, its noise / heat insulation, and also with this car now having no dashboard brace / H-frame. The suspensions' supposedly-hard red polybushes (both front & rear) proved not to be an issue, aside perhaps on concrete motorway sections with their very close together ridges.  Likewise I'm happy with the Mazda MX-5 seats (although their backrests are rather firm). And their being pushed right the way back to the now concave rear-wheel arches work well for the necessary-to-me legroom.

I would like an inch more foot-width between the clutch pedal and the gearbox, so that pedal-lever will have to be reshaped.   I'm fine with our scruffy black dashboard, and glad to altered the switch layout ..particularly the overdrive switch now being on the LHS of the column ..next to the gear change lever.  Delighted also with the 7" TomTom sat nav, I bought.  It has an excellent display and its larger size conveniently sits within the open cubby hole (formerly glove box), rather across the windscreen. The wires are from the back, so when I stop - there's no obvious giveaway / temptation ..once my woolly hat is placed over it.  Its route planning is simple to use and very quick to find its way again ..when I divert along my own route. 

The Surrey-top lid panel being of a stowable size worked really well, despite my not yet having a boot rack.  On the way up it fitted within the boot, wrapped in a cotton sheet, along with 5ltrs each of water, oil & petrol, + a pot of hydraulic fluid, plus the fire extinguisher, two nights overnight bag, a shoulder holdall, my lunch and drinks for two days out, my chunky walking boots, two camping stools, a comprehensive tool kit, + car cover, etc.  On the drive back i just loosely placed it across the rear step inside the car, because that saves moving it to get into my travelling bags.   With TR6 lever arm latches across the front, it's reasonably quick and easy to fit. Getting the rear screw in, from the underside of the backlight frame, is a bit awkward - but then I'm not exactly used to doing it. The car only 'appears' to be more secure when parked with its hardtop in place ..as the door locks are so ****. I fit a dark blue lightweight car cover overnight ..to lessen it attention to the simple minded.

I still have mechanical jobs to do, as the car continues to suffer annoying (rather than catastrophic) vibration above 62mph, and disappointingly the gearbox whines in second gear.  There's also some clunking from the second-hand half-shafts I fitted. In short, I would like the drive-train to be smoother and all-but-silent.  The front suspension springs are too long / high and imo too stiff for cross-winds and awful-road-surfaces respectively.

Katie's TR four cylinder engine is pretty standard spec save it having a TR4 rather than TR4A cylinder head.. and I've done next to nothing to it aside from addressing coolant leaks (tightened the head down x3 times and replace one core plug. I cleaned the sludge out of the sump, and rebuilt the oil pump to minimum tolerance. I did clean and check the spark-plugs some time ago, but I have not yet cleaned or checked the points or the ignition timing. HT leads are as they were when I bought the car.  I did roughly adjust the carbs' rod linkages (visually) and replaced the float level jets.  It still runs a wide belt (loosely adjusted) to the dynamo. I now have a heat shield over the dynamo.  The water pump was swapped for a 2nd hand one when the previous' pulley belt fell off.   

- - -

I checked fluid levels and tyre pressures on Thursday - all were fine,  and packed and left to drive north by 10:15 on Friday morning. I stopped at our local shops to fill the petrol tank at 39487 miles.  Taking my time I headed up the A14, passed Bury St.Edmunds and Cambridge, to pick up the A1 north.  I took this up to the A606 which soon had me to Rutland Water . . . 


^ I found a pleasant spot to sit out and with my binoculars to watch the boats and wildlife for an unhurried break


^ a spot of lunch was heated-up on the engine.

Moving on, at our own pace, we enjoyed a cross-country run A606 and A6006 to Leicestershire, and then stopped again for a little fluid relief and a stretch of the legs down the canal.



^ that looks a pleasant way to spend a holiday, although perhaps - dare i say.. an electric motor might be a more relaxing glide ?

I stayed at the Portland House Hotel / Derby Conference Centre on Friday night.  A nice old building which sorta reminded me of the old naval academy at Greenwich.  Unlike that on the Thames, this one in Derby is just a short walk away from their own navigable canal,  so I took a evening stroll along that too.  I 'dined' near the town centre at a 'Hungry horse' but that got a bit loud so i didn't linger, instead I went back to the hotel and enjoyed an hour or so of reading a good novel in their lounge.   The room @ £45 was cheap for the night, but clean and comfortable enough.  The staff were very friendly, but I was unfortunate insomuch as the evening was warm and the allocated room faced onto an inner courtyard with air conditioning humming, It was also next to a fire door in the corridor. Add to this.. an amorous couple in the next room who then made a noise departing with giggles at 3:30am.  I (tried to) sleep with ear plugs in. 

I made a mistake when I booked the hotel, insomuch as breakfast was served from 7am Monday to Friday. I was to wake up on Saturday morning, where breakfast would be served from 8am.  Usually perhaps not such a big deal, but I had promised to help Rich with his auto-jumble stand at Ambergate, which was 25 minutes away.  I wanted to be there by 8:30 and so I missed breakfast altogether. Not even a cup of coffee !

Rich had already set out the tables when I showed up, according to my own schedule at 8:30. And so i set to helping him get all sorts of goodies out of his car and trailer, to be laid out on display. . .


^ The day passed quickly and we saw nothing of the museum, not much of the 300 or so TR's that turned out and even filled the site's overflow car park. 

Nevertheless I was glad, because together with Rich and Conrad there were just three other car-boot sized auto-jumble stands, and parts and autojumbles ..in my humble opinion, are a really important attraction to any major gathering, particularly for those who are presently in the midst of restoring a car, or have come from further afield... from the extremes of this island, from Ireland and across mainland Europe. They rarely get an opportunity to see Triumph parts offered at, often far, less than dealer prices.   Rich is tuning his service to TR owners down, in short.. he's likely to be doing less and less in the foreseeable future.  And so although it may have sounded very much like salesman's patter, he was genuine when he said that he was open to offer on many items.  And that the stock he has (..like just two aluminium fuel tanks left) will not be available in the future.   Some folk got great bargains.   Personally speaking, I rather wished I'd spoken out when I overheard how much he was prepared to let that big-valve cylinder head go for.., but he was talking to another gentleman and so it was right that the addressed-to person should then have first refusal.  And he bought it.  

IMO this event was a sad reflection on some TR specialist suppliers, who had less distance than Rich to travel - and who didn't bother to show up. 



^ just some of the TR's that attended Ambergate. the concourse cars were around the far corner and the overflow car-park was around to the left of these photos.

A great turnout and a tribute to all who showed up.  I try to avoid politics, but I doubt if even 300 more cars would have made up for the shortfall in numbers * for the Stafford International Weekend to break even. It was therefore was cancelled, and this event hurriedly organised  (* ..as many of us had booked & prepaid for that event anyway).


^ who was the very last to leave ?

Rich, who is best renown for having TR parts professionally refurbished - by the batch.. so everyone can benefit from the more competitive prices, had huge expenditures / investment in stock to try and recover ..and he so brought both a mpv packed with stuff and a good sized trailer as well.  The gates were supposed to be closed & locked at 6pm, and long after everyone else had gone home or back to their hotels - he was still packing things away. The man on the gate was exceptionally patient and kind to us, even though we were probably five or ten minutes late.  We then finished tying the contents of the trailer down outside the locked gates, and probably didn't get away until close to 6:30.  Rich then drove home to Colchester, Essex arriving home after 10pm.  He spent his Sunday unloading.   You may possibly consider this next time you look at any auto-jumbler stall and the prices being asked.  And that of course is aside from the time in chasing around and the money (..his own) spent in getting things reconditioned to a high quality, and wrapped and packed to bring along to the stand. 

Sadly also we had thieves.  No beating around the bush about that.  At this conjuncture we know of TR3 replated gear change levers having been stolen. We also know visitors from just across the channel, had just previously enquired about the price and didn't like the figure given.  An hour later several were noted to be missing. That may have been a coincidence and no allegation is made, but it's upsetting that one TR owner should steal from another ..and one who is actually a really genuine guy - who likes to help other out.

- - -

Myself .. well I trotted off for some petrol first, just a mile or two down the road from the museum.  I filled up again, and the chronometer then read 39664   The sppedo is 8mh slow at lower speeds and 6mph slow at 60mph, so I have no idea how far we actually travelled, but taking the reading verbatim indicates 177miles.  23.94 ltrs = 5.2660 imp gallons, which in turn equals 33.61 mpg.  

I then headed off to Appleby Inn Hotel at Appleby Parva, Appleby Magna, DE12 7AP.. which is just 25 minutes away, south of Derby, where I found myself booked into a wonderfully clean and quiet hotel for the night.   For on Sunday I was to attend a re-enactment of the 1485 Battle of Bosworth ..a pivotal turning point in English monarchy and this country's history. 




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On Sunday, I went across to experience the Battle of Bosworth reenactment. 

  • hopefully polite notice ;  the following has nothing to do with Triumphs (or cars) ..so you might save your time by not reading this post if you're not interested in this sort of historic reenactment event.  
16 hours ago, Bfg said:

I then headed off to Appleby Inn Hotel at Appleby Parva, Appleby Magna, DE12 7AP.. which is just 25 minutes away, south of Derby, where I found myself booked into a wonderfully clean and quiet hotel for the night.   For on Sunday I was to attend a re-enactment of the 1485 Battle of Bosworth ..a pivotal turning point in English monarchy and this country's history. 

^ This inn proved to be better than I might have hoped for. I'd specifically asked for a quiet room and was allocated an 'Accessible room' in what looked to be a recently built annex around the back of the main building. It was very spacious, spotlessly clean, and quiet ..even though the hotel is very close to the M42 ( junction 11) and I had the windows cracked-open front & back for through-ventilation.  Breakfast was again from 8am in the morning, and I enjoyed the excellent coffee with a full English.  Twycross Zoo is just 2 miles away, and the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre just 9.1 miles, and so even after checking fluid levels and leaving the hotel around 9am - I was at the battlefield site before visitors traffic. In fact I wondered if I were driving into the right place.!?   I had bought my ticket in on-line in advance, and as I drove in the ticket office staff were shuffling around as they set up and I just quietly drove passed without being asked to stop.  I found myself a parking spot very near to where the reenactment camp was . . .



^ albeit the back door entrance it was very convenient way into the event. And what an event it was . . .


The event featured battle re-enactments by a huge volunteer group of enthusiasts - the Wars of the Roses Federation .  In the morning they presented a commentary explained ; Battle of Towton, March 29th 1461, which is said to have the dubious distinction of possibly being the largest and bloodiest battle on English soil. Fought for ten hours between an estimated 50,000 soldiers in a snowstorm on Palm Sunday, the Yorkist army achieved a decisive victory over their Lancastrian opponents. As a result, Edward IV deposed the Lancastrian Henry VI and secured the English throne. 


The Yorkist at the had a slight advantage in elevation, which together with driving wind and snow in their favour offered both better visibility and a longer range for their long bowman's barrage of arrows. 


In the afternoon, we were presented with the Battle of Bosworth, August 22nd 1485   ..with an enthusiastic commentary of events, of untrustworthy allegiances, and the twists and turns of battle formation attacks and out flanking and opportunities taken.. by the present Lord Stanley ..who might, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, have just been 'just a little bias' in his verbal support of his direct forefathers. . . 








Both the Battle of Towton and the Battle of Bosworth reenactments were performed both with vigour and with due respect for the fallen dead. This included a full minute's silence.



^ all around the centre battlefield were encampments, and so inbetween the battle events there was a lot to see.   The Wars of the Roses Federation .self impose strict rules to present historical accuracy. No watches, later styles of personal jewellery, or spectacles    I saw only two exceptions throughout the hundreds of enthusiasts and one had lenses in rustic wooden frames and the other had lenses bound together with cord.  There were certainly no jeans, shoes or contemporary clothes.  No sleeping bags, or camping conveniences like cookers, nor anything plastic or aluminium (at least within sight). All the seats and tables, boxes were hand crafted in wood. Even when in late afternoon a son brought his mother an ice cream cone, she went inside the tent to enjoy it (..out of sight).


Most men, women and children were dressed in coarse linen or wool, with simple leather slippers, the above was an exception presenting the refinery of high status, such as the ermine collar which lower classes were forbidden to wear.  Her pallet (bed) within the tent was overlaid in velvet and as many others there were sheepskin on the floor.    I'd hate to imagine the state of these accommodations had there been a weekend of driving rain !  Fortunately this year was exceptionally dry (in 1485 the battlefield tactics were hampered by marshes) but also hot, whereby those dressed for battle were being supported by women on the field carrying flagons of .. .. .. .. ? 






^ dress on the field reflected rank and status, from Dukes in their full livery ..to the mercenaries whether a splendidly attired Knight  or soldiers at arms in mismatched rusty armour which had been looted from the dead. 


^ the fine detail in many outfits was quite exquisite.   Perhaps this is where the tradition of being 'buried in his best suit' came from ?


^ The only exception I saw to period clothing throughout the day was this squire to a mounted Knight.  Most everyone's eyes were turned to the battle field and so perhaps this late entry had issues that necessitated a breech in their code.


Naturally there were other displays in the centre fields, from falconry, to a jester who ate fire, loud & exciting displays of cannons, to skilled horsemanship . . .


^ Jousting practice.,  whether of accuracy in getting the lance in a hanging ring, or a small target close to the ground, or for the force of impact on a bat which span around the post when struck both hard & true. 


^ women were called in to make up battling combatants and to fire cannons.   The Wars of the Roses Federation  would welcome any of you to join their ranks, as volunteers who camp over the weekend ..and from what I might gather.. have a jolly good time inbetween times  when paying guests are off site.

I spent hours talking to numerous enactors around the fields. Each had been encouraged to adopt a craft or knowledge appropriate to the War of the Roses period. One chap who was a long bowman on the field, and a van driver in c.21st life, shared his enthusiasm and knowledge for the different types of bows and the different types of arrow perhaps with armour piercing heads or different styles of flight.  Others spoke with me for half an hour or more on the layers of bodily protection, whether to defend against blade, arrow or lance.  And how it all fitted together as worn.  I spoke to one chap about his display of surgical appliances, and how & why they were used, and he demonstrated just how sharp his 'cut-throat' shaving blade was ! 

Conversely there were wood workers, field kitchens, and spinning.  I'd not seen drop spinning before, nor tablet weaving. The participants patiently demonstrated and explained each. And also how the certain words and terms we still know came about ..such as spinster. And when a hawk has eaten its fill (in falconry speak, when its crop is full”.. it won’t want to hunt. Of course, another way of saying it has eaten its fill is to say “fed-up.” The phrase has carried over from a bird who doesn’t want to hunt anymore to a person who doesn’t want to do anything.

Some children were playing traditional games with hand made balls, spinning tops, or card games ..one group were playing a card game simply called '31' where the pack was familiar but for the lack of written numerals. One had to be quick to count the individual cards and I was surprised at the need for numeric skills ..500+ years ago, in adding up those numbers in your head.  A kindly lady explained, and showed to me examples of their silver coinage, quartered pennies, the groat, shilling ad mark, and then also details of things like purse strings, their girdles (not lingerie.. but belts or anything that hang around the waist) and buckles. 

I learnt more about medieval politics and everyday lifestyle in this country in one day than I did throughout all my years of schooling.

All good things come to an end though, as did this day.  I met Alex Marchant, the author of children's novels - which are set within the period of Richard III  and so gladly bought a couple of books off of her, before setting off in Katie  for the pleasant evening's drive home. Just 136 miles of mostly A14, so easy cruising..

The mileage, recorded on Monday morning, was 39848, when I again filled the tank of 5.246 imp gals ..so as to gauge fuel consumption over such a run.  182 miles since filling up on Saturday evening in Ambergate, which works out to be 34.7 mpg.  I'm happy with that. Again no measurable amount of water or oil was used.  And surprising few dead flies on the screen this year either.

All in all - it was a great weekend, made all the better for my going in Katie,



My apologies for the poor quality of many of the photos, I left my camera's SD card in the computer before I left home, and so had to rely on those from the phone which I then had to email to myself.


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An interesting account of your travels with Katie.  Back in the late 1970s/early 80s, my friend and colleague joined the similar Sealed Knot organisation and after much research built himself a working muzzle loading musket, complete with a flintlock mechanism. Once the barrel had been certified and other legalities complied with, he attended many reenactments of battles fought during the English Civil War period, with his black powder propelling soft(ish) blanks into the opposing forces. In the evenings all hostilities were abandoned and much ale was apparently consumed.  His transport at the time was a Triumph Vitesse.

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8 minutes ago, RayMK said:

In the evenings all hostilities were abandoned and much ale was apparently consumed.

I got the impression, with my turning up a little early the next morning to the event, that this tradition continues.  Overnight dehydration is proactively avoided  ;)

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No 15th century battles this weekend, well non for me anyway, but Katie  & I did enjoy the Suffolk cross country route to Framlingham, IP13 9BP, to savour a little local history, and young'uns besieging a fortress via their trebuchet . . .

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The fortress they were doing this in, or rather castle was Framlingham, Suffolk. . .


A twelfth century mostly-oval shaped moote-and-bailey with 10+ metre curtain walls and 13 open backed towers, which in themselves were defensible without the need for an inner defensive keep. They sit on top of 8-10m deep dry moat of steep-earthworks all around.  The inner-bailey was instead given over to great halls & lordly privy chambers and a chapel. And then military personnel and administrative accommodation within each of those towers. The well is said to be over 30m deep. 

The photo above shows the western curtain and towers overlooking the lower court (outer bailey) which in turn extends to the mere (..a shallow but sizable lake) that was a source of fresh fish and waterfowl. To the far right of my piccie can be seen the remains of the once-huge western tower, which projected out along the south bank of the lower court). Within this was a prison and also the postern gate. The lower court was likely to have been the site of stables, dovecote, granaries, kitchen gardens, etc.  It may also have been a refuge for townsfolk. To the north of the castle were the woodland parks for hunting.  And on the east hill side - 'pleasant gardens' (although those may have been in the Tudor period). The ancient market town of Framlingham is just a short distance from the south wall and gate.   

Passing back n' forth between some of England's greatest Middle-Ages nobles and the Crown (depending on who was in or out of favour at any particular time), these stones would have witnessed both greatest splendour and great distress.  Framlingham Castle, at one pivotal point in history, was in the hands of Princess Mary Tudor, eldest daughter of Henry VIII and of his first wife Catherine of Aragon.  Mary was successive heir to the throne, but after the death of her half-brother King Edward VI, her father in law - the Duke of Northumberland moved to secure the succession to Lady Jane Grey (protestant).  She was queen but for nine days, because for fear of her life Mary (who was Catholic) had fled to Framlingham - from where she sent word to rally her supporters and troops.  Apparently thousands of titled, gentry, vassal and 'country folk' flocked to her support, and others switched allegiances in favour of her cause, including the Earl of Sussex and Earl of Bath.  They rallied and prepared for civil war, but before head-to-head confrontation - Northumberland capitulated.  The privy council in London then accepted Mary to be the rightful Queen.  From Framlingham, she first moved to Ipswich and then onto London, where she was crowned Queen Mary on 1st October 1553.  

Lady Jane Grey, aged just 17 years, was executed some four months later, when her father, Henry Grey - 1st Duke of Suffolk, became involved with Wyatt's rebellion against Queen Mary's intention to marry Philip II of Spain.  He (the Duke of Suffolk) and others were likewise executed for treason.

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^ The inner Bailey, today with all sorts of medieval childrens' games and demonstrations, and dancing. 

Some eighty year after Princess Mary became Queen, the country was political more unified and very much more peaceful, and so the castle (like so many others) had fallen into disuse *  and was already in a very poor state of disrepair.  In 1635 it was bought from the Howard family for £14,000, by a rich lawyer / politician, who had formerly been Sergeant-in-arms to James I.  Unfortunately he died the following year, but in his will he expressly directed that the former nobility buildings within the bailey be dismantled and a poor house be built in its stead. The red brick building you see above is that poorhouse and school.    (* country and town houses with glazed windows were more the fashion than big drafty castles)


It was added to again, the centre section and right wing, as a workhouse and alms house, later still it became civil administrative offices.     . .

The castle also served as a munitions centre during the Napoleonic wars, and for garrison during the first World War. During the second it was again commandeered by the government for the use of British and American air-forces, based here in East Anglia.   

I could go on .. but I suspect that is enough-already !

So I'll bid you a very good evening,  Pete



A depiction of how Framlingham Castle may have looked in the c.13th - drawn by Alan Sorrel (1904 - 1974)


p.s. Next Sunday (4th September) is the Triumph Sport Six Club local meeting held Duxford Aero Museum.  I hope to be there with Katie .



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Reminder ;  Next Sunday (4th September) is the 29th annual Triumph Sport Six Club meeting, held Duxford Air & Tank Museum, CB22 4QR.  I hope to be there with Katie . Last time I went, in the Chrysler - there were possibly 100 classics, mostly Triumphs of all models, but also a dozen or so of other classic cars. We'll be parked up next to the Polish hanger, All are welcome. Entry is between 9am and 12 midday, for the discounted price of £20 to TSSC members, including of course entry to the IWM itself.  We had various marques including one or two American types. I don't know if the same discounted price applies to those classic cars ..I might only guess it did.  Entry is via the main car-park but then through a gate in the fence. Pay at the gate.

Weather forecast is 40% chance of rain showers that afternoon, but also 22 deg c. so an occasional shower ought not be an issue, not least because there are plenty of hangers to wonder around at those times.  


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  • 4 weeks later...

It seems like ages since I last posted, but that's only because over the past three weeks I've been so tired from working on my old boat (project). That's a 50 year old 30ft sailing catamaran (an Aristocat, which when the moulds and production were taken to Annapolis became the Gemini catamaran). Anyway the work was to sand back the underwater areas of each hull and to reseal those with epoxy.  As an old codger I find crawling under a boat, laying on my back with my arms reaching up to hold a sander for five hours a day not quite like the popular conception of 'living the dream'.   Hey ho, it's not something needed to be done very often ..but of course it's worth doing well. . .

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^ I also took the opportunity to mitre the previously-squared back edge of her teak keels.  I doubt if these will make 1/10th of a knot difference in hull speed but these little things help make me happy !  I've used Jotun HB - grey epoxy primer, under there. three thinned coats so far, and now that (yesterday) I've epoxy filled any pin holes and poc marks, I've just one layer to go. And that will then be an effective barrier against fibreglass osmosis for the the next 30 years.

- - - 

Katie  received somewhat less attention these past weeks but I did adjust the carbs.  The choke adjustment was uneven on either, resulting in a lumpy tick-over, and it was also too fast when only part on. This meant the tickover, with even just a 1/4 choke on, was too fast - and so I'd push the lever in, but then the closure of the butterfly was too little and she'd want to stall.   It's better now, but I really need to refurbish these carbs as the rods and lifter-quadrants are unevenly worn.

To aid smooth the engine a little more I also changed the cast iron cooling-fan extension to the aluminium one Mike (East Saxon's TR group) had very kindly turned (machined) from a solid billet.  I'd discussed this many moons ago  ..actually 2 whole years ago if you can believe that ! < here >  but now I've finally go around to fitting it  . . .


^ first up was to drain and remove the radiator, and then to try and get the fan-extension bolt undone.  It was only supposed to have been tightened to 90 ft.lb. but it didn't want to shift. That wasn't helped by my having a brain fart and putting the car in 1st gear. Turning the engine, via the above lever-arm (..even with handbrake hard on !) lifted the rear wheels onto the wooden blocks I'd place there as stops.  However, when I put the car into fourth gear the bolt came undone quite easily !  :ph34r:   What can I say ..but that we all make mistakes at some time or other.  No damage done..   moving on . . .


^ The old and the new.  That central bolt (5/8" Whitworth socket fitted very well) had been glued in place (some sort of rock-hard thread lock).  NB. the corner distortion of this photo makes the aluminium fan extension appear lop-side. It is not.

The groove in the old cast-iron fan extension was of concern for when I fitted the new aluminium one (as you can see - without such a groove) but when I fitted new engine mounts, I'd also fitted a 1/4" thick body-mount-spacer under the left-hand-side engine mount. That of course lifted the front of the engine up a tad, and so now the clearance between the extension piece and the steering rack felt sufficient to give it a try.

The pulley block's boss, which goes onto the end of the crankshaft and is the sealing face for the front seal was nasty so, I've replaced that with a good one, but the wide-belt pulley's were good to reuse as they were. The six 1/4" pulley bolts were a mix and match assortment, non of the nyloc's locked very well and two were plain nuts anyways .. so they've all been replaced with new.   The short bolt I'd hoped to replace the long one with didn't work, because its shoulder locked against the thread in the end of the crankshaft, so I've cleaned it up and reused the long bolt, as per the original configuration, with the locking plate under the fan bolts.  That central bolt is tightened to 90 ft.lb and assembled with medium strength Loctite on its thread.  

Mike had tapped the end of the aluminium fan extension to take 1/4" UNC set screws, rather than the original 1/4" UNF threads (..to avoid those tending to strip out of the softer metal), and so the fan blade screws were new as well.


^ as can be seen., with the engine at tick-over, the fan extension now spins true with the crank (whereas the old cast iron one wobbled into a blur ).  As it is less than 40% of the weight of the cast-iron one and the plastic fan is 12.6% the mass of the original, any remaining out of line will not be felt.

As Marco had said in his discourse on fan extensions - the clearance between the radiator and the fan was sufficient to fit the plastic fan (which is offset further forward).  I'd already had this aluminium fan extension made some 3/8" (10mm) shorter, and as you can see the gap from the radiator is perhaps now quite generous. 

All in all, this mod may seem a lot of effort, for something that can barely be seen, but it's satisfying to have slower engine tick-over, particularly during start up and when stopped at traffic lights ..without the front of the car shaking all over the place and the bonnet rattling loudly as if it's all about to self-destruct.

Job well done - BIG thanks again to Mike.



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Next up, the following morning to fitting the fan-extension was Duxford.  I'm always a little anxious about water levels after having drained the engine block down, and having not yet gone around the block to check all was well, but thankfully the 120 mile round trip to Duxford and back was without water loss or issue . . .


^ it was a well organised and attended local TSSC club meet, with invites to other classic car owners, all to enjoy the beautiful weather, the excellent museum and some classic aircraft flying (practice perhaps before the following weekend's Battle of Britain memorial event).


What's that sneaking off in the background   ..where's a Spitfire when you need one ? :D

Katie's  Sur_top (..half a Surrey_top) may look a little odd in the photos but it does work very nicely on the road, is quite practical, and psychologically feels very much more secured when left unattended.    


I rather like Triumph club meetings, more diverse and seemingly more relaxed than strictly TR meets.  

And part of the interest of such events is in seeing how others have done things . . .


^ talking of Spitfires.  At this meet, I had a look to see other's take on carburettor / throttle cables. I'm just toying with the idea of replacing Katie's  rod linkages with a Bowden cable.   

In the meantime, aside from the cars there were mostly classic aircraft to enjoy too. . .




^ Love the outfit ..I think we fellas (well me at least !) might make a little more effort.









It was a pleasurable drive across to Cambridgeshire and a great Day out. Many thanks to Duxford IWM, to Pete Lewis and all the volunteers of the TSSC who made this event happen.






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And then the weekend before last.. Katie  and I took a little jaunt across to the now little and mostly forgotten seaside port of Orford.  In particular I wanted to enjoy a drive, through the Rendlesham Forest and on to Orford Castle.  The drive was very pleasant and then the castle's keep was particularly intriguing. .



Not a whole lot of traffic, even at the weekends in this corner of the country.  

The castle itself was undergoing restoration (..and yes, I knew this before i visited) . . .

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^ presently looking like a modern office block being built, the castle's present remains are just the 90ft high keep and the undulating grounds of what used to be the bailey.  Like many castles the site was stripped of building materials, including quarrying the grounds for sand. Before the scaffolding was put up - it looked like the second photo, but is thought to have originally been rendered on all walls, inbetween its limestone corner stones. That is what I gather they are now doing again.

Although the bailey and curtain walls have long since been lost (mostly this happened in the early 18th century) the keep itself is interesting because the inside floors have been refitted, and the original spiral-stone staircase built into the SE tower is intact, so the spaces within are pretty authentic.  The castle was said to have been built by Henry II (well not him personally, but on his commission) to help balance the crown's authority in East Anglia - versus the rich & powerful Earl of Norfolk, who was grandson of Robert Bigod, who had come to England with and been given estates in Norfolk by William-the-Conqueror.  In part this was probably an economic move as well, because by securing and promoting what was at the time an up n' coming trading port (sheltered behind Orford Ness - a natural shingle bank) he would benefit (and deprive the Earl) of the market, ship yard, port tolls and taxes. 

The castle is unusual insomuch as it was a new build (c. 1165-1173) rather than being built on an earlier-fortified site. The keep was also new in design in being a round tower (actually a multi-faceted polygon) in stone, with three disproportionately large square towers.  The square buttress towers are integral to the round towers thick wall structure, and essentially flush with the inside of the walls, yet they half protrude outwards.  The spaces within these provide a generous number (for the era) of private chambers with passages within the thick round-tower's walls, which in turn leaves generously proportioned (large diameter) halls in the centre - at the base level, as well as on the first and second floor levels.  The entrance of the keep, with the Chapel above, was built into the corner between the SE tower and the round wall.


You'll notice from the above side-view section that there are half-floor chambers too, which altogether makes it a very complex and costly build.  That is all the more intriguing because Royalty is recorded to have only ever spent one overnight stay there. Furthermore, very oddly for this period of construction - the spaces and chimney-galleries suggest kitchen activities (fireplace and sink) at the base level, and then again at the first and second floor hall levels, and then a bakery oven within the top chamber of the north turret.  There are also four latrine shoots, two individual and one double, in the west corner, another in the basement cell, and what is thought to be a urinal through-the-wall in the upper first floor.  This is a century and half before many country houses had even a single inside  latrine.  Yes I know., this is just so exciting to read ..that one can hardly contain oneself !  But for context..  "in 1313, at Kenilworth, 32 shillings was paid for enlarging & rebuilding the Earl of Lancaster's latrine".. "This presumably projected like a (wooden) hut from one of the castle's buildings because the account showed that it was covered in shingles"(..John Goodall )

So why or whom demanded such accommodations be made some 150 years early, in 1165 ?  A clue may lie in this keep having chapel and chaplain's chamber with its own latrine. Religious practice of strict times of prayer meant that toilets would have rush hours before and after.  Furthermore, it's likely that William de Chesney - High Sheriff of both Norfolk and Suffolk through to 1163, and founder of Sibton's Cistercian Abbey of St Mary, may have been party to the planning and design of this castle ..and he was married with three daughters.  The double latrine off the Lower Hall would have been for visitors, and those would include merchants and the like who would come to the castle to pay their tolls and other taxes to the crown.  A castle is a fortress only during times of direct conflict, at all others it was a court, the civil administrative office where matters were settled and bills were paid, and of course it was a home to all that lived and served there.

The cell in the basement is now supposed to have been a prison, but I suspect that was unlikely. Prisons were more often away from the Lord's home, perhaps in a strong outer curtain-wall tower or the gatehouse. Titled prisoners were usually treated with due respect and accommodated accordingly.  The only entrance to this cell is through a hatch in what we now call 'the entrance lobby'   I suspect that it was not a prison cell but a very secure vault for records and payments made. That it was decked out with racking for pipe-rolls and tally sticks.  And that the latrine and tiny window were for the clerk (a cleric) who spent most of his days down there.  

I further imagine that the bakery oven in the top turret was there because the towers were both for watching - out to sea for enemies and over the river to see what traders were coming and going. The west tower was thought to house a beacon, to be lit should the castle be threatened. And so that oven fire would be kept alight at all times, ready to take a flame to the signalling beacon.  And so if the fire is to be kept alight - then it makes sense to use its heat for baking. The watch guard had this chamber as shelter for between all night watches, which perhaps like on a ship were 6 hours on six hours off, with no traipsing down the sheriff's stairwell inbetween times. Their latrine was probably a bucket emptied over the wall, as indeed might be lifted food supplies and logs for the fire.    

Although a garrison was stationed at Orford,  Walton Castle was just 12 miles direct line-of-sight to the South West, and Framlingham Castle a similar distance inland to the north-west.  By horse this was less than an hours ride, and by forced-march just two hours, so Orford's castle had a curtain wall of defenses to hold off against immediate attack, but the keep itself lacks arrow slits or most any other means of retaliation. It was built as a keep  to secure whomever and whatever was locked inside until reinforcements, across land or around the shoreline arrived. The crowning towers were both an awesome statement of the King's authority on those shores, a landmark for shipping, and a signalling tower, as indeed they were again in the Napoleonic and world wars. In the second world war the top turret of that same west tower was reinforced to take new-fangled radar equipment. And in the chamber below is graffiti dated 1941. 


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^ the Upper Hall, with its much older, possibly original fireplace archway clearly seen above the much later, much lower one. Even in the 12th century - great hall's fireplaces were still either away from the walls (possibly in the middle of the room but positioned closer to the Lord's table) with open roof vents (and louvers) or else extended into the room but with, often extravagantly decorated, hoods over them to the chimney.    There are 13 stone corbels around the room (two are adjacent to the higher fireplace arch in the LH photo) with recesses into the wall to take elegantly arched timber beams for the roof above.  At the higher level is a gallery door to the passageway within the wall and a chamber in the north square tower.  I don't recall how exactly this was accessed, but I believe it must have been a walk way around the domed roof (which is still some way below the tower wall's ramparts), from a similar doorway on a passage inside the south wall, besides the SE tower. I presume the domed roof was closed and so that gallery was around its outside.  This too must have been had a flat roof for access to the ramparts and turrets. 

The second of my photos shows one of the three double windows into the Upper Hall.  Actually it quite nice for a fortress tower, as that elevation does catch the sunlight. Originally, and for two or three centuries later - they'd be no glass, and so wooden shutters and heavy drapes would have lost that airiness.  The fireplace and candles would have lit it romantically dim and smokey.  You can just see arched doorway ..off the window bay, which run inside the round towers walls. 

It is, at least to me, interesting and fun to study such plans and touchable features in these ancient castles, and to try n' figure out how the spaces were used, what sort of living style the rich and privileged enjoyed, and their staff, and again what exactly was from which era in this building's 850-year history.? 

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and lengthy conversations with the friendly and informal English Heritage staff.    


^ the view from the rampart looking east over the town of Orford. The sea can seen beyond the shingle Orford Ness.  The River Ore is between the Ness and the trees, where the port now is.

In the evening I ventured down to the port, with its yacht club and mostly leisure craft and just a few fishing boats.


Katie, on the quayside - enjoying the evening air and the calls of oyster-catchers as the tide goes out...


In the distance, remembrance of this countryside's more recent military history, where over-the-horizon radar was developed and then atomic research establishment.  After military use, the powerful transmitting station was used by for BBC World Services  broadcasts around the clock.  It closed in May 2012 after 30 years of service.  in 2017 Radio Caroline started broadcasting on 648 kHz  ..which I still enjoy the music of.

It's an intriguing castle and coastline still  ..on the road-to-nowhere, and so forgotten mostly by the fast paced world.


153945128_Orfordc_1600byJohnNorden.jpg.1dd1238f220a97ecacdb1c78f87df3b2.jpg Orford Castle c.1600





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This past Sunday was the Essex classic car show in Colchester, Essex . . .


^ This annual show is held on Colchester Castle Park, which really belies its city-centre location.  


^ There's Katie  ..together with other cars from the TR Register's East Saxon  group, besides the white club banner, backed up to the Jaguar Enthusiast club. 


^ a turnout of eight TR's in attendance from this group ..although there were also also a TR3A in with the TSSC group, and other local members attended without their cars.  Fantastic weather and another great day out.


- - -



^ Colchester castle, on the hill above the park, is of Norman construction. It is uncertain but many scholar's believe it was built a further two stories higher.   It's built on the site of a Roman Temple, which was sacked & burnt by the forces of Boudica (..or Boadicea) < more here >. The temple was rebuilt and defensive walls built around the town. It's long since been a garrison town.  


The castle is now a museum, mostly dedicated to its Roman history.  This included an impressive audio-visual projection of historic events (depictions thereof) against the huge inside wall, around which are cabinet displays and interactions . . .



^ It strange to me, to think that such huge temples existed in Britain.  Italy, Greece, even Israel and other hot n' dusty places yes ..but here in England !  

When the Romans left Britain c. 400AD the temple was destroyed by Anglo-Saxon and the building materials recycled.  Although the foundations remained, after it was sacked once again - I presume they were either not substantial enough, or there vaults were vulnerable to undermining ..so the Normal castle fortification was built immediately around them. The design layout is similar but larger than the White Tower of London.   



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Sunday 2nd October - and the weather was gorgeous in its colours and warmth, so I took the opportunity to get out and about while the season lasted.

destination ; Castle Acre, in Norfolk, via the Thetford forest - round trip about 125 miles . . .


Nor(se-)folk drivers seemed slower than ever, but when the road was clear it was a pleasant drive. The deciduous trees along the roadside just turning autumnal golds and red.  

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^ 7th Armoured Division - Desert Rats.  From El Alamein to Berlin, via North Africa - Italy - Thetford Forest - France - Belgium - Holland

..stationed in Thetford Forest between January and May 1944, while they prepared for the invasion of Normandy.  This was the only time the division was in the United Kingdom in it's entire existence. The division sailed from Felixstowe on the 5th June 1944, with the first tanks landing on Gold Beach on the evening of 6th June 1944.  May your glory ever shine.

" May your laurels never fade. May the memory of this glorious pilgrimage of war you have made from Alamein, via the Baltic, to Berlin never die. It is a March unsurpassed through all the story of war.  May the fathers long tell the children about this tale"  Winston Churchill.


^ In this weather it was a pleasant trail through the trees to where the 'Desert Rat's training camp was.

Our next stop took us a little back in time  . . .


^ Castle Acre's Castle - built soon after the Norman Conquest (following the Battle of Hastings).  Although unimpressive in the photo, the site itself is ..because the scale and sharp definition of the earthworks of this round Motte & Bailey castle as well as it's outer bailey defensive embankments are so very intact.

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^ even a composite of four of my photographs doesn't give an impression of three-dimensional scale of these earthworks  But as a reference Katie is the red dot parked next to the large house / museum to the far right of the photo



I was also nice to walk the battlements and remaining curtain walls without health and safety barriers everywhere. The people in this photo help illustrate the size of this castle's bailey, but doesn't show anything of the very steep ditch that the present wooden bridge walkway spans. 

- - -

I then went around to the other side of this small and historic village, to the fantastical Castle Acre Priory ...


^ This site is again extensive with the church nave, seeming to me, of cathedral proportions. The audio tour was invaluable to explain what each chamber was used for and how.. from the church itself and the cloisters, to the dormitory (for up to 32 monks aside, from the prior), and the chapter house, refectory, infirmary, kitchen block, and two story latrine building, over its own stream ..to flush its contents away.  Being of French Cluniac (an order started in Burgundy) monastry (probably England's first) the architecture of each building is impressive at every turn with its masonry detailing superb.  Far too much for me to convey here, and of course much of it destroyed on the orders of Henry VIII / Thomas Cromwell in the latter 1530's . . .


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^ Still, aside from the ground plan and some walls, masonry details have survived the past 900 years (..and subsequent changes like glazed windows) pretty well.

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All in all a fascinating and most enjoyable day-trip into the past.  It's amazing where a TR can take you ! 

Our run back was via Downham Market for a cuppa tea with my friend Mathew, from the TSSC, and then I headed back to my local pub for Sunday roast dinner.  Katie  of course ran impeccably although by 9:30pm, when I got home it was a bit chilly driving around with the roof open.  Still I'm very much happier driving her, than a boring modern car.





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15 hours ago, Asimo said:


Thanks for the east-coast travelogue. I must get round to going east from here  (English Marches) one day. 

It’s just so much easier to go West…

Going West is great   ..it leads to less traffic over here in the East of the country  :D

For those on marchia walliae though, going west ought to take you into some great hill driving.  I think I'd need to tune the TR by another 50% to really enjoy that, or else swapping the TR's tractor motor to a 2.5 Daimler V8 with manual + overdrive would work nicely !  cue .. if anyone should have those going spare ?  :ph34r: 


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2 hours ago, Dobloseven said:

This is one of my favourite threads. Absolutely brilliant what has been achieved. Long live Katie! 

very kind words indeed. Thank you.

15 hours ago, Asimo said:

Good to know the TR is doing the job at last.

I've had the touring role (in a classic car) in mind for a long time now, and am just two months into realising those aspirations.  I've still got a number of mechanical issues to sort out, but then with a towing-hitch fitted (another job for the winter months !) and the camping trailer finished (ditto.. another job) - I hope to extend our trips further up or across country. 

So far the cost of our outings has been mostly fuel (around 34 mpg) ..as I joined English Heritage, so that covers entrance and parking fees at their castles, etc.  But traveling further afield is going to involve overnight stays ..so the trailer-tent I've been making will soon have to pay for itself (..despite its fabric wrap-around enclosure / tent costing me a small fortune).

For me the key is to have a purpose for each car, otherwise it's just a project that even when done still doesn't fit into one's lifestyle (.. I got a collection of those T-shirts !).


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  • 2 weeks later...

Two weeks later, and I'm still keeping busy on repainting the under-water-line of the old boat. 


^ Four thinned-coats of epoxy primer, sanded down twice have left me with a nasty rash, which (according to its proximity on my upper chest and on my back) I take to be an allergic reaction. I've never had it before but I guess I'm getting passed the stage of being young and forever invulnerable :ph34r:.  I'll know next time (well, when doing similar activities with epoxy) to wear a full one-piece disposable suit.    Boot line now repainted.

..so no trip out last weekend - but this weekend I couldn't miss the opportune beautiful weather, so up along the Suffolk coast again, this time to the small town of Leiston.  the town is famous for its industrial heritage, primarily as the home of the world famous Garrett works – one of Great Britain’s finest agricultural and steam engine production lines, opened in 1852 and celebrated today at the town’s Long-Shop Museum.  Leiston is also the home of Suffolk’s oldest purpose built cinema, opened in 1914.  The steam museum holds it's final steam day of the season on the 30th October, so today I went across to visit the remains of its Abbey. It is one of Suffolk’s most impressive monastic ruins and also home to Pro-Corda, a music organisation, providing education through the medium of chamber music. . .

P1260677s.JPG.bb8d9f8c1fb31f4f2d2b25f0b956308f.JPG     leiston_abbey_research_2.jpg

illustration by Peter Urmston of the abbey as it may have looked in the 16th century © Historic England ^^

An extraordinary thing about this monastery / Abbey is that it survived at all.  It was founded in 1182 by Ranulf de Glanville, Henry II ’s Chief Justiciar, and was dedicated to St Mary ...but it was evidently built elsewhere ..on a rather unhealthy location on swampy ground.  In about 1363 the abbey was moved (that's only 180 years of dwelling in a swamp !). So, brick by brick it was dismantled and the building materials and many of the original features carried across to the new site, where the abbey with its cloister and huge church was rebuilt and expanded upon.  Oddly, considering how costly this must have been.. many of the original architectural features in the Norman style were not updated to the fashions of the 14th century. The abbey was home to Augustinian canons who followed the Premonstratensian rule. Their domestic buildings were damaged by fire in the 1380's. These were then rebuilt. Nowadays there's just the outlines which remain.

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After the suppression* the King bestowed the abbey on his brother-in-law Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. And a farmhouse was built into the corner of the nave and north transept. The abbey buildings were used as farm buildings, and other parts of the church itself being used as a barn.

* suppression refers to various events at different times and places when monastic foundations were abolished and their possessions were appropriated by the state. It happened across Europe, but similarly in China, Mongolia, Mexico and California at different times.  Generally known as the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England, and is the administrative and legal process between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their income, disposed of their assets and (..barely) provided for their former members.

So, having originally been built in a wholly unsatisfactory location and then moved, burnt down, and then converted into a farm and its building left to crumble ..it still survives.  A new front was added to the house in the Georgian period, and between the presbytery and the north transept is the Lady Chapel. This was restored and furnished in 1918.  It is now a very modest but freshly re-thatched chapel which is still in use, both by the chamber music school which is based here and by those on Christian retreat.  As indeed is the house, which itself retains 18th century features. 

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The humbleness of the Lady's Chapel ..and its present use, is special.

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The surviving 14th.century architecture of the church reflects grandeur and very fine stone masonry.  You'll note in the second of these photos the flat fint work ..with the darker flints being used as if faux windows set within their limestone frames. These of course being aside from the massive arched windows that would once have had stained glass.  For a reclusive abbey that was originally built on an island surrounded by swamp, and even nowadays is barely noticeable along a Suffolk back-road to nowhere - the craftsmanship is very impressive.   


^ Katie enjoying this October's fine weather too !




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