Firstly, we hope all the Fathers and father figures out there are enjoying Father’s Day today surrounded by loved ones and those who are deployed or are away find another day to celebrate it with their loved ones. Another one of our Volunteers also marked the Falklands War by laying a wreath at his local war memorial to mark the end of hostilities 40 years ago on the 14th of this month. We at the Museum of course remember all who perished during the war and are proud of the crews who are still supporting UK operations at Mount Pleasant four decades on.
We start the update this week by bringing you the good news that we managed to meet the extended deadline to vacate our current storage building last weekend through some herculean efforts by all the volunteers over various weekends and weekdays where possible. Whilst it isn’t an ideal situation, we are still able to store our vehicles on the site and we have our most vulnerable vehicles and Victorian appliances still undercover, thanks to the generosity of the site owners. We also now have a third box trailer thanks to Dawson Group, Doncaster which is providing us temporary secure storage for another load of pallets which were loaded last week. As usual, this was made possible by James Selby Transport Ltd who provided one of their forklifts for us to use.
Once the box trailer was loaded to capacity it then left the volunteers to move the remainder of the pallets and equipment outside to be covered with sheets and protected as best as possible from the elements. This was hard, hot and absolutely filthy work which was almost never ending. However – with the evening drawing in – the last of the stuff was moved out by 20:15 hrs and the museum volunteers, utterly exhausted, returned home to be pressured washed in the garden before they were allowed back in the house by their significant others. Even the boss demonstrated the team’s fatigue levels by turning up last weekend in mismatched shoes and didn’t even notice until he dropped something on the non-steel capped shoe he had put on in the morning – mercifully it was light!
This weekend everyone returned to the HQ to have a slower weekend now that the main crisis had been dealt with. As usual we had a great turnout to get the day started with updates and to make a plan for what we were going to do during the day. The only order was that it needed to be much less of a mad rush than it has been recently to give everyone a breather and make it more enjoyable for everyone there.
The Chief Librarian and the Boss spent the day in the library and consolidated a load of books, resources and boxes. They also rediscovered some of the older exhibits that were first thought lost including a set of joint UK/US “Operating Manuals” for RAF Fylingdales Fire Section and some of the locally produced station magazines which showed some of the lighter side of past times. More alligator boxes were also sourced which meant that the volunteers had to scrape all the labels off the exterior and the interior needed serious fumigation as they had previously been filled with something that smelt less than pleasant. Meanwhile, the TACR2 toolbox continued to be sanded, re-varnished and fitted with new fixings and the shop prepared for the next show. So although it was a slower day it definitely didn’t mean we let up with achieving tasks at hand.
During the morning meeting the volunteers looked to the various shows that the museum are pencilled in to attend and what our current situation means for them. The MDU’s first outing at Fiskerton Jubilee Fete was a success and is now ready to be used so will take its place as the main resource for show season. The only question was what to do about a displaying a vehicle whilst adjusting to our current situation, the eyewatering fuel prices at the moment and the availability of drivers.
As a rough guide, we use an estimate of a litre a mile for fuel mileage for trips. Whilst this may seem excessive, some of the trucks we operate have some incredibly high-powered, large capacity engines which were only really designed for screaming out the door to attend fires – not pottering down public roads to attend fetes, fairs, and exhibitions! Also, the new E10 regulations and high content of ethanol in ‘normal’ unleaded means we must use the higher octane – even more expensive – E5 to prevent damage to the engine and fittings.
So, with all the thoughts and discussions completed, a team of three was dispatched to the storage area to retrieve the 1956 Thornycroft Dual Purpose 1 (DP1). The DP1 is one of our smaller appliances which needs minimal preparation to present to the public at shows and can be stored on a driveway if the need arises. It still has a 5.6L Rolls Royce B80 engine however which will still happily burn through the donations we receive at shows through the day. However, we feel this is an essential part of promoting the Museum to the public. It also helps that it is our old faithful in the fleet and starts first time at the push of a button almost every time if it hasn’t been sat for too long. Not bad for a 66 year old!
After the vehicle was inspected, started and given a trundle up and down the road to give it a warm up it was taken back to Scunthorpe to the closest fuel station we thought we could get E5 to find it was out of stock. There we got our first comments from drivers to which our response of “You should see the other 50!!” was greeted with slight disbelief. The truck trundled on again and we managed to get to another petrol station in the middle of Scunthorpe where we pulled into the furthest kiosk to find that it was only available on the other side of the forecourt! Cue some interesting marshalling and slightly bemused customers we got in and started filling up. We then navigated our way through the town back to the HQ through some of the housing estates which took some decent steering inputs to negotiate oncoming traffic but we got it back and more importantly it was still in one piece. Thanks to those who gave us a wave or gave us space to move through Scunthorpe.
After the team arrived back at the HQ we managed to dig out the washer to give the vehicle a spruce up before driving the long road back to Lincoln in preparation for the Lincolnshire Show at Lincoln Showground next week. Of course this meant it duly rained but it was a lovely drive back through the country roads even if a very small minority of drivers made it incredibly difficult for us. Please, if you come across a vintage or large vehicle, please give way to it as much as you can and allow the driver alot more time to navigate the turns and junctions – driving these vehicles is definitely a physical experience and they are not the most ergonomic! If you are at an event we are supporting in and around Lincoln or see us on the road – please make sure to give us a wave or come and have a chat!