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How do you go and fetch a Land Rover?

by Bill McClelland

Bill has again been busy this month, and I have managed to acquire a few pages of his diary. However, self preservation precludes me from exhibiting his most recent material. However...

June 2/94

Dear Diary: It seems some pages are missing from my diary. If I was of a suspicious turn of mind I might suspect that my wife (upon whom be the peace) was passing it along to her lawyer to help prepare a case of mental incompetence. But I am sure I just set it down some where safe and forgot all about it.

To fill in the missing bits I will just give a bald narration because I forgot the exact days on which events happened. They all took place however during the last two months.

It all started with the fateful cup of coffee in the pizzeria in North Augusta. Terry walked in and asked Harold and I if we wanted to sell the Land Rover that was dangling from the end of Harold's tow hook. As it happened, we didn't. Well, I didn't. Harold, sensing disaster, was only too willing to sell my Land Rover. I should have taken his advice. Instead, we went over to Terry's to look at his many Land Rovers. Over the course of the next week, while Harold recovered from a massive hang-over, I dickered back and forth with Terry on price and selection. We finally settled on a mutually acceptable price for 4 Land Rovers and I contacted Harold to let him know his tow hook was again required. It was at this point that his wife bought shares in Labatt's and Seagrams.

The day we moved the machines from Terry's back field over to my back field was not the sort of day you remember because of the weather. It was neither too hot nor too cold or indeed too much of anything except a Saturday. The First machine, an 88 pick-up, went uneventually enough, and was dropped beside the 88 from the wreckers. next came a 109 pick-up that also went quietly. Dixon (aka The Guy from Stats) had come top witness this great Land Rover migration, and we stayed to talk with Terry while Harold towed away this second machine. After 90 minutes had gone by we were starting to worry when he did not return for the next vehicle. More time went by. Imagine conversation lagging. Another hour. Finally hrold showed up, remarking how good the roast beef dinner had been. And how well the cold beers had gone with it. TGFS and I said nothing.

Then we hooked up the 88 station wagon and Harold and I left on trip 3 of the day. We went by the back road. We went slowly. It was to no avail. Less than five miles down the road the frame on the 88 disintegrated under the stress of the tow, or perhaps folded in the middle. Anyone in the drivers seat would have been crushed when the steering wheel imbedded itself in the seat back and the roof settled on the bonnet, after flattening the windscreen. Were we discouraged? You bet. Did we want to unhook and shove the various pieces into the deep ditch that bordered the road at that point? Only Harold. We kept going, slowly, very slowly, stopping from time to time to try and put out the fire caused by the friction on the gearbox and drive shaft. That stretch of gravel road has never been graded as well by the township. The crossmember for the snowplough leveled that road as it had never been leveled before.

When we finally dragged the sorry looking thing into the yard the smoke cloud was visible for two concessions and the smell of burning oil had the environmental health officer visiting me the next day. That machine looks as if ran over a land mine, or as if it was torpeoded and broke in the middle. A pittiful sight. Harold required another drink. The forth machine was an anti-climax, all went smoothly and there were five Land Rovers sitting behind the barn, 2 88 Station Wagons, an 88 pick-up and 2 109 pick-ups. My wife (upon whom there be the peace) treats me with an ominous silence.

Reprinted from the Ottawa Valley Land Rovers newsletter, July, 1994
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