1. Dobby's Great Escape

(June 2010)

I thought I had done really well. It had been 5 years since I had been built and I had always behaved myself properly. Of course, there was that time when the oil pressure gauge hose burst and I did a rather good impression of Herbie by squirting my master’s shoes with oil. Otherwise I had never actually broken down – unless you count the time my alternator stopped charging in sympathy with the ZR but even then I kept going so as not to suffer the indignity of being rescued by the RAC.

Mind you, I had also been well looked after. I was used frequently as my master often took me to the school car park where I felt at home surrounded by some really old buildings and he also took me on holidays. He always made sure I had a good layer of AutoGlym and the time I was brutally attacked by vandals he consoled me and brought me back to my former glory, after which I thanked him by winning an award.

 

Now I had reached the age of 5, I thought I might at least get a birthday present but my master seemed to be preoccupied with something else. It was October 2009 and there seemed to be a lot of activity in the house. Not that it was ever particularly quiet, just that there seemed to be more coming and going than usual. I did get my usual October half term mini service but I couldn’t work out why he was packing the garage’s contents into boxes. Then one day it looked like the house had been emptied though I couldn’t see clearly. Somehow it seemed unnerving and that night was eerily quiet. Next day the master turned up with a van and started removing some rubbish from the garden. Then he returned and took all the boxes which surrounded me and all the other bits from the garage and left me all alone.

 

I was petrified. The house was empty – I’d caught a glimpse of the back room – and now the garage was empty too. Apart from me – on my own! The master had gone and I was convinced he had deserted me.

 

Imagine my relief, when next day the garage door was flung open. “I’m taking you to your new home today, Dobby”, he said. There was a garage right underneath his bedroom so I thought I would be safe there, among the boxes which had evidently made the same journey as I had (though I have to say not in such style). Having squeezed me in he shut the garage door but then my nightmare began.

 

What had I done to upset him? He left me there for ages, imprisoned in my new windowless garage. I could hear the other family cars coming and going. Occasionally he would open the door and rummage in one of the many boxes trying to find some tool or other and then he would ask if I was alright but he never took me out. It felt very dark, cold and damp in there. This went on for the whole of November and December and I began to wonder if I was ever going to escape.

 

January 1st, the door opened and my master said we were going for a drive. The sun was shining and he said we ought to stretch our legs. I just managed to turn over and coughed and spluttered a bit but it wasn’t long before I was singing sweetly again. We drove along some lovely country roads; caught a glimpse of some remaining snow and once or twice I felt the ice beneath my treads but it was so good to be out in the winter sunshine. Alas, my run was short-lived as after 20 miles I was returned to confinement. All I could do now was dream about my release – I felt it was all too much.

 

Later in January I heard some strange noises outside my prison. It sounded like some sort of digger. Was my home about to be turned to rubble with me inside? Then one day some strange men opened the door and left their tools inside. Looking outside, I could see the cause of the earlier kerfuffle – there was a big gap where the garden had been. Over the next few days some concrete was laid and a wall was built and one of the men fiddled around with some wires on the garage wall. The men didn’t seem to notice they were leaving lots of dust all over me. I was feeling quite sorry for myself now. If only I could escape! It was not easy as there always seemed to be something parked behind me in the drive.

 

As February came, I noticed whenever the door was opened that the drive was generally clear and the family cars were now parked to one side on the new piece of concrete. Perhaps I could escape after all! The half term break came and my master at least had the decency to give me a wash outside in the fresh air. I nearly escaped then and there but it was so nice to have a bath that I just had to keep still and enjoy it. Then he put my special mounting plate on me – the one I only wear on car runs with other classics. The anticipation was killing me. Then he put me back in the garage and put my hood on. Oh no! I had lost the opportunity. Next time, I vowed, I would make a bid for freedom.

 

Only a few days later, quite early in the morning, he returned and took me out of the garage and closed the door behind me. Now was my chance! Pausing just enough to let the master and his wife clamber in, I shot off down the drive and away. What I hadn’t realised, was that we were going on the MG Snowdrop Run and my escape had actually been planned by my master. Still, at least it felt like I had instigated it myself and what a lovely first day of freedom I had. We drove to Wimpole Hall and met up with about another 100 MGs (I was the only NG). Then we drove over 60 miles (hood down) around some lovely Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire countryside ending up at Kathy Brown’s Gardens. The wimps, who are my master and his wife, complained that it was cold despite the sunshine and that the heater wasn’t working very well (what do they expect when I am left to languish in prison for 4 months!) and so put the hood back up to drive home. My escape had taken us about 150 miles altogether – freedom at last!

 

Over the next few weeks my master started taking me to school again when the weather was reasonable. He explained to me that it had been difficult to get me out of the garage before the front had been resurfaced and the weather over the winter had been pretty atrocious anyway. I think he was just making excuses but it was lovely to be back in regular use again so I didn’t complain too much. He says he is going to take me to the Wye Valley over Easter for a little holiday where we’ll meet some other classics. I am really looking forward to that.

 

Soon the spring and summer will be here! Oh the open road, the dusty highway, oh bliss! Poop, Poop! Now where have I heard that before?

 

Dobby