Since having my current Jaguar S-type I haven’t really driven it all that far. I've driven it a lot, just not far, the furthest trip being about fifty miles or so. To be fair for the most part I don't drive far, infact most of the time my car(s) get used on the school run, and that’s about it.
But that was about to change, for her Birthday my littlest monster wanted to go to the Eden Project, almost 200 miles away from BelongaClint...
Before setting off for a destination outside the County I always like to do a few pre-flight checks. Mostly fluid levels and that sort of thing, high on my list of least favourite things to do is breaking down and sitting for hours by the side of the road for the RAC to come and collect us. Pre-flight checks done, and everything A-ok, and we were ready to leave. I think that who ever owned this car before really looked after it, with over 200,000 miles on the clock it doesn't seem to use any fluids other than the windscreen washer fluid! However, as I closed the bonnet, and pushed it down to click it into the catch I had this little thought pop into my head. I thought to myself, by the time we get home, I'm going to have the Engine Management light on! I don't know why I thought this, it's not been on before. But I just had an inkling, and I couldn't shift it from my mind! I got in, turned the key and it fired right up and settled into a smooth V8 burbly idle. I still had that little thought on my mind, but thought to myself I was being ridiculous, there's nothing wrong with the car! I put my new 'Greatest Hits Of The Sixties' CD into the stereo, popped the boot so that Mrs Clint could chuck our bags into it, then she and our two little monster climbed in. I turned to them, and with the sounds of the sixties playing on the stereo I gave them the customary "Buckle up for safety!" Then pulled out onto the main road and pointed the nose of the Jaguar towards The Eden Project.
It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down, I had the radio on, I was drivin'. Trees flew by, me and Del were singin' little Runaway, I was flyin'! All was going well as we wafted along the road, but then, about an hour into our journey our forward progress was halted by an accident. Initially we sat there with the engine running for maybe an hour or more. I'm not too sure what the accident was, as by the time we passed where it had happened several hours later it had been cleared away. Hopefully nobody was badly injured, although we saw the air ambulance we didn't see anything that was all that twisted up. So with any luck it was just a few bent cars that blocked the road. Just after passing the accident, and as I was starting to pick up speed again suddenly I get this come up on the dashboard...
ENGINE FAILSAFE MODE! Accompanied by the Engine Management Light! I knew it, why didn't I leave it at home, its not like I don't have anything else to drive! The thing was though, that although it said it was in Engine Failsafe Mode, nothing had changed, I stabbed at the accelerator and it still roared away pushing us into our seats as it did so, it wasn't struggling at all! I kept and eye on the gauges and decided that at the next service station we'd pull in and have a look at it. I'd rather be sitting at a service station having a cup of tea and a piece of cake if I'm going to be waiting for the RAC! Twenty or so miles later a service station came into view and I pulled in. I parked up and turned the engine off, popped the bonnet, and checked all the fluid levels I could. Just like it was back at BelongaClint earlier in the day, everything seems A-ok. We decided that it was time for a cup of tea anyway, so we headed off to the café for a bit of a brew, and to let it cool off. As we sat there I wondered what was wrong with it, if indeed there was anything wrong with it at all! Mrs Clint asked me what I thought was the problem? I said I didn't know. So she said, have you put the right fuel in it? I can see that she obviously hasn't forgotten the mis-fuelling of the Chev-suzu over six months ago! Yes, I said, it's got the right fuel in it! Just checking she said, you know what you're like! Good grief, I've done it once in over thirty years of motoring, am I never going to live it down! Her Worshipfulness spoke again, do you think it will make it there? Well, I said, it's about 140 miles still to go, so the way I see it, it's got two chances, it will either get us there, or it'll break down by the side of the road! But we'll soon know! That didn't fill her with confidence or me either if I'm honest, but we got back in, buckled up for safety, and I turned the key. As usual the mighty Jag fired right up and settled into a smooth V8 burbly idle. The Engine Management Light was still on, and it said it was still in Engine Failsafe Mode, although as I said before, nothing seemed to have changed! Many many hours later we pulled into the carpark at The Eden Project, and yes it was still in Engine Failsafe Mode! We checked in, unpacked our stuff into our room, then headed off to Truro in search of something to eat!
The following couple of days, as we had gone for the weekend the Jag just sat outside our room as we were staying on site at The Eden Project, and therefore just walked there and back while we were staying there. Now despite coming from a bit of a farming background it is pretty safe to say that I'm not much of a horticulturist, although my Grandad, it's safe to say really was. Having said that I do find The Eden Project a fascinating place to visits. For my two little monsters, this was their first visit, but for me it was my third, and I have to say that it was easily as interesting as my previous visits.
For those who don't know The Eden Project is a popular visitor attraction located just outside of St Austel in Cornwall. The project is located in a reclaimed china clay pit, where they have built biomes in which to house plants that are collected from many diverse climates and environments.
The Eden Project is dominated by two massive enclosures consisting of adjoining domes that house thousands of plant species, each of the enclosures mimics a natural biome. The biomes are made up from hundreds of hexagonal and pentagonal, inflated, plastic cells supported by steel frames. The larger one of the two biomes replicates a rainforest environment and the second, replicates a Mediterranean environment.
For me personally I find that the creation, and architecture of the biomes is as interesting as the plants that they house inside, plus, if like us you visit when it's pretty chilly outside, inside the biomes its balmy temperature is a welcome relief!
Outside of the biomes there is also a large botanical garden which is home to many plants and wildlife which are native to Cornwall and the UK in general. Honestly, I know that I've already stated that I'm not all that into horticulture, but I doubt that I'd ever get bored here, and all to soon our weekend at the Eden Project was over.
Its worth noting that while we were away our accommodation was a converted shipping container, although it wasn't massive inside, it had all the things we needed for a weekend away, and was warm, dry, and quiet. It does make me wonder why I've not built myself a home from shipping containers, it's something I've thought about doing for atleast two decades now! Anyway, we got into the Jag, and I wondered after two days rest, would it start at all? I popped the bonnet, and checked all the fluid levels. Just like it was back at BelongaClint a couple of days before, everything seems A-ok. I turned the key, and as usual the mighty Jag fired right up and settled into a smooth V8 burbly idle, yes, the Engine Management Light was still on, and it still said it was still in Engine Failsafe Mode! Mrs Clint asked if she thought it would get us home. I told her that I was pretty sure that there is actually nothing wrong with it, famous last words I know, but I was pretty sure! Nearly four hours later as we were about 15 miles from home the engine decided that actually, it was fine now, and both the engine management light, and the engine failsafe mode message went off, and again, nothing changed, but it was nice to see the dashboard without the worrying lights and message!
As I turned into the road where BelongaClint is I was still feeling pretty good about the Jag, and as the light still wasn't on I was feeling better by the minute! Several days later, and with the engine management light, and the engine failsafe mode message still off I decided that I would take the mighty Jag out to my mechanic so that he could plug his computer in to see what, if anything was wrong with it. He plugged in, and after several minutes he turned to me and said, there's nothing wrong with it, it's running ok, and no warning codes have been stored. It's probably just a sensor, but it won't hurt to keep an eye on it. Well, that took a load off I must admit. I like this car, probably far more than I should and in all honesty I don't really want it to break, and I don't want to sell it either. Hopefully there's plenty more smiles per mile left in it!