A fistful of Phils and an engine full of horses

Whooah, there! Has it really been that long since my last post? Sorry for that little lapse. I’ve obviously been too busy recently. Or not not busy enough…

Yesterday I drove to Chislehurst on the outskirts of London with Ellie and AM for the wedding of Phil and Phill. Despite leaving early (in order to ensure we had plenty of time), we ended up arriving just as the bride did!! This was on account of me forgetting my belt and having to go back for it, having to stop at the petrol station to fill up and check the tyre pressures, and a short detour when we turned onto the M20 towards Kent instead of the A20 towards London! All good fun, and we did get there just about in time. The church was lovely, nice and old but in very good condition, and it was packed with people too, which was great. Phil looked stunning, the dress was really pretty, with sparkly bits in the dress and in the tiara and necklace. Phill looked the part too, though I didn’t get to see much of him during the service. The service itself was lovely – I always enjoy weddings, especially when it’s people I know!! A little worrying though – if I get this emotional and excited at someone else’s wedding, what on earth am I going to do when it comes to my own?…

The reception was good too. Phil and Phill had hired out a pub down the road with a nice big garden and function room. As always it was lovely to see old friends again, graduates who have gone their separate ways since graduating but who always seem to get together for weddings!! It was good to see Richard again, and Naomi, and even Katie was there! So much fun. The dance in the evening was good too, and started off with Phil and Phill doing a number on their own. But of course, being Phils, they couldn’t do things the normal traditional way – they danced to “Everybody needs somebody” from The Blues Brothers!!

This morning I got up bright an early, as I was scheduled to be missing church in order to go to a Mini Club event – a rolling road day! We all met up at T&M Auto Electrical on the Whitehall Industrial Estate in Colchester to have our cars put on their rolling road. For those who have not come across one of these, it’s basically two rollers inset in the ground which the front wheels sit in, electrical equipment is plugged into the engine and they calculate how powerful the engine is. I must point out from the start that this is not just an excuse for us to show off our engines, it’s actually a very good way of finding out how cleanly and efficiently the engine is running. For instance, my engine should have produced about 50 bhp as standard; if I got more than that then I would know that the engine is benefitting from whatever modifications I’ve made, if I got less that that I would know there was something wrong with it, and the nice friendly man would be able to tell me what was wrong. On the other hand, it was a great experience having everyone gathered round each car as they went through the entire rev range, pushing the cars to their limits! My little Neddy ended up with 52.2 bhp, which is very respectable. Apparently all that’s holding it up at the moment is the air filter, but I knew I needed one of those anyway, so that was reassuring! The slowest car of the day was a 998cc Mini City that produced about 40 bhp (it was running rather lean, so there wasn’t enough petrol going into the engine), and the most powerful was Billy’s Cooper which pumped out a healthy 73 bhp. Now, this may not sound much compared to the hundreds of horses you get in modern cars, but you have to remember that modern cars weigh twice as much as Minis, and Minis are still effectively using 1950’s engine technology, so those little numbers actually mean a lot more than you’d think. For those of you who might be interested, the whole day will be featured in the MiniWorld Magazine at some point (we had a photographer there taking pictures and interviewing us all, very exciting), so make sure you look out for that!

Unfortunately the day had a slightly sour end for a couple of us. As we were driving away from the garage, having had a great morning seeing how many horses we had under our bonnets, the other Mini Sidewalk stopped and the white Cooper behind didn’t! So that left a rather unattractive dent in his boot lid. Thankfully there was no structural damage, just cosmetic denting, but it’s still not a nice thing to happen. Thankfully, because of all the contacts we collectively have, it should be fairly easy to replace the bootlid and Jim’s front bumper without needing to worry about insurance claims, which is handy. That’s the great thing about being in the club – everyone’s willing to help everyone else!

2 thoughts on “A fistful of Phils and an engine full of horses

  1. Hi Matthew, really glad you enjoyed the wedding 🙂 When Alex and I were driving down for the rehearsal last Thursday, we also took the turning off onto the M20 instead of the A20 — it is atrociously signposted! And don’t worry about being too emotional on your own wedding — I was worried about it at first, but it all went really well in the end 😀

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