This afternoon, taking advantage of the glorious sunshine we’ve been having, I spent a few hours outside tinkering with my Mini. I couldn’t do anything about the brakes, since I still need to order a new brake hose, but I decided I would finally get round to fitting the chrome door escutcheons I bought ages ago. Nothing too complicated, just involved taking all the door furniture off (door handle, window winder, etc), removing the door card and unscrewing the exterior door handle from the inside. In fact, only one end of the handle needed to be unscrewed, as that left enough room to squeeze the escutcheon in.
Of course, as it always the way with Minis, and this one in particular, it was not all plain sailing. The fitting of the escutcheons was fine, but preparing them took considerably longer than I had expected. At some point they must have been left in the sun, and the plastic protective bit on them had effectively glued itself to the metal, and removing it took a somewhat mammoth effort. I tried picking, I tried gentle scraping, I tried soaking in WD40 and window cleaning fluid (the most powerful things I happened to have in the garage, pathetic really but they did work in the end). Finally they both came clean, more or less, and now both are fitted.
I also cleaned up a set of clear side repeaters I had knocking around, but they’re just not compatible with the standard lenses on the Mini, so I shall have to invest in a set that come with some wiring as well.
I have discovered an interesting phenomenon during all of this. It would appear that I am more willing to do things to the car if I know it’s off the road. This may sound silly, but because I know Neddy isn’t going anywhere until I get the brakes sorted, I’m more confident in doing other things. Suppose it boils down to the overall impact of failure – at the moment, if I broke something it wouldn’t really matter, because I’m already resigned to finding alternative transport, and as such I can more easily take matters into my own hands and tinker more effectively. I guess I know that if I start something and find I can’t finish it I’m not going to be at risk because I know I won’t be driving anywhere in the immediate future. In that case, I shall look forward even more to the day when I really can take the car off the road properly and attempt some bigger modifications, knowing that there is another car in the driveway that I can use as a daily runaround. One day…