Sunday, 29 November 2015

Stamp collecting

It's a typical cold autumn day here in Cardiff with the wind blowing the rain strongly from seemingly all directions and one fence panel has come down

As many people who read this blog are aware the enjoyment I have had from owning Katy has extended to researching the history of Katy and of Land Rover Ambulances in general. See link above

So, it's onto the computer for some amusement and up comes an intersting post on one of the ebay searches I have running for a stamp with a Land Rover Ambulance on it. That got me thinking and given the weather, sitting here  was more enjoyable than going outside so I've done some research

That stamp is part of this set of 33 MT (Mozambecan Metical) stamp (about 44p UK in 2015) stamps issued in 2009  

It also appeared on this stamp  (about £2.35 UK in 2015) I note the date on this is 1956, but I think this must be a mistake as the 101 ambulances were not built until 1976

So that had me hunting for some more. .. This one from Lebanon in 1969 looks like a Pilchers Ambulance to me

This Kenyan 1980 Stamp clearly shows something that looks like the Series II dispensary sold by Pilchers from about 1958

This Jersey  1977 stamp has been said by some stamp collectors to feature a Land Rover Ambulance, but I am not sure about it, St Johns have had quite a few Land Rover Ambulances, but this looks a bit more like a sherpa van to me.

However best of all is this Pitcairn Islands stamp from 1995 featuring the Marshalls 127 Ambulance in UN colours. I can just about make out 63 KG on the number plate, but the last 2 digits are too indistinct. I have no evidence that Katy ever made it to that far away, but it is clear that at least one 127 did make an impact on the island even if it didn't get there in person

If you are into Land Rover stamps these are the most useful links I found (the links contain searches to land rover topics)

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Saved by "Jeep1"

It was time for some sunshine and we headed off to Lanzarote (not using Katy) and settled in for a few days of relaxation as can be determined by this page from Rhian's diary

After a couple of days we found a way to have some Land Rover time by booking onto a birdwatching trip with Lanzarote Active Club who's leaflet stated we would be being taken around in a Land Rover Defender. I have to admit that I quite expected a Santana to come and pick us up but it was a Defender even if it was referred to by the owner in a most apologetic way as "Jeep 1"

We did not mind at all how they referred to it as we had been robbed that morning by someone sneaking into our apartment through a window and stealing all our cash so it was just nice to see a friendly face.

The hotel had not been very helpful so we were delighted when Tom our driver called his boss Carmen and she agreed to help us process things with the Guarda (Police). so this first picture is at the Costa Teguise Guarda station where I was inside doing paper work and Rhian was watching Hoopoe's displaying their crests

With all the messing around we missed the best part of the day, but with excellent service the LAC team agreed that they would run the trip for us on Thursday which was our last day. So that morning with cash in our pocket we were happy when tom turned up and we were able to head off on our adventures.

The first area was the "desert" of Soo where we actually did some spotting so here are Tom and Rhian scanning the ground for birds

In this area the LAC team put out some watering stations for the birds which is an excellent conservation feature and a means to monitor things as they can see the amount of footprints

In this area (please ignore this if you are not into wildlife, but given the events above I am very happy to advertise the excellent birdwatching services of LAC) we saw.

Cream Coloured Courser, Berthelot's pipit, Wheatear, lesser Short toed Lark, Kestrel, lesser Black Back gulls, Cattle Egret, Linnets, Great Grey Shrike, Trumpeter Finch, Barbary Partridge and Houbara Bustard (2 males and a female)

On route to our next stop we saw Storm Petrels and then we went to PeƱas del Chache where we were treated to the sight and sound of about 37 (it was hard to count) wild canaries flitting around

Finally on our route home we had wonderful views of an Eleonora's falcon swooping gracefully over the tops of the bushes hunting for prey, An absolutely delightful day out and a nice ride in a nice TD5 Defender

If you want to read more about LAC
Their home page is
Their facebook page is

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Working Window (nearly)

The passenger side window mechanism has been getting worse and worse and it's not usable any more as there is the risk that we won't be able to secure Katy

So today I made a start on refurbishing it (I had meant to do the whole job, but read on)

Once you take off the inner panel you can see the whole mechanism. it's not complex, but to do anything with the window you need to remove that steel panel

There was plenty of surface rust, but overall it was not too bad for something over 25 years old

Once I had removed the glass I removed the channels (as I had bought some new plastic ones from the Series 3 Club)

And then after some work with a wire brush there was plenty of rust killer painted all over anything that did not look like decent green paint

Whilst I was there I added some more insulation. She is a camper after all so every bit helps

And then the rebuild started

and back to a nearly useful door

The problem is that the bottom door regulator channel was a lot more rotten than I thought it was so I am going to purchase a new one and then the job will be done properly instead of my bodging it with adhesive

Monday, 21 September 2015

Margam 2015

With the demise of the Tredegar House car show last year the petrolheads of South Wales had to find somewhere else to go.

Margam Park has proved to be the place and we had a fun day out with the SWLRC

Here's a picture of part of our stand

And Katy looking even better with her new front sign

We ended up as the site "tea stall" as the proper ones ran out. Not selling mind - up to people to donate to our charity bucket.

There were other cars there as well.. some worth a picture, as it;s always too crammed in at these shows to take a decent picture of a whole car here are some samples of details

And I saw this nice MMBi rebuilt 110 Ambulance/camper - it's ex St Sohns Ambulance with a full body refurbishment

The original plate has been retained in the rebuilt body

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Chocks Away

Yesterday was the day for the Annual South Wales Land Rover Club Road run, 

A great event for which we were "promised" good weather so you can imagine our delight to be standing waiting for the start at Asda Dowlais top in the rain

I'm not sure whether it was the delays, but I think we were all very happy to jump into warm cars (well most of us) when we were given the off. 

The first part of the route took up up past Pontsticill and Talybont reservoirs, but with the rain there was not really much point in stopping so the first stop we had for a picture was this "convoy collection" location as we came out of Brecon town

After that it was a nice run up through to the Eppynt Ranges where we stopped at one of the entrances for a photo shoot with the Reg Danger flag flying behind us

The new decals looked good apart from the front one I messed up applying (another one is on order)

And we took the opportunity for a picture with Rhian looking on as a WAAF and me in an RAF boiler suit fixing things underneath (nothing actually wrong).

BTW the Series to the left is wearing a "Red Arrow" suit for the event... the event was fund raising for the Welsh Air Ambulance hence the RAF in particular and general military theme.

From there it was up to Builth Wells for lunch where we saw an impromptu rocker cover gasket re-sealing and then back to base via a very narrow bridge on the old road from Bwlch to Llangynidr.

All back safely it was time for some pictures so I stated with a simple picture of Katy in her new decals

And then with Rhian and Wendy in their WAAF outfits

I was then asked to do a photoshoot with our three Land Army girls and with Peter's Series 1 Land Rover

Which looked really good being a farmyard vehicle again

It wasn't just the Series that ended up in pictures as this nice 110 was posed in the sun

And this Series II (A I think) made a nice picture driving into the field in the sun

All in all a wonderful time and hopefully we have raised a decent sum for the Welsh Air Ambulance 

Sunday, 23 August 2015

True Colours Again

Since we found pictures of Katy in uniform I have been considering adding some markings back to her

The decision was helped by the reaction we got when we dressed her up for the South Wales Land Rover club annual road run last year

Actually she needs a full respray which may happen this winter, but as there is another road run coming up we wanted to do something a bit better than we did last year. So we went to see Dave and Wendy of Designs and Signs Cardiff and they made us some adhesive vinyl stickers to replace the originals that would have been on there

We decided not to go for the full red cross and the word Ambulance on the front panel as this could confuse people who saw her on the road. Therefore we have opted for the outline of a red cross and her name across the front instead, but still the UN letters on the doors.

You can see that the cross is smaller than the original and placed in a different place. The crosses can't go where they were originally as the windows have been put in

There is a similar problem on the back door as one door has been removed and the gas bottle cupboard has been added. So this is a compromise

We think that she looks great and we are looking forwards to showing her off properly on the Road Run 

Monday, 27 July 2015


For those who don't know the unofficial National bird of Wales is the Red Kite. It is of course a Raptor

What has that got to do with land Rovers  I can hear you saying.

Well recently we had a Red Kite fly over our house and it reminded me I had a  job to do .. So out with the old and in with the new

When we went to the Malvern Show this year we stopped by the Raptor Engineering stand we purchased one of their binnacle mounts and binnacles to replace the tatty and rattly one we had. We opted for both the binnacle and the mount in metal as the standard Land Rover parts are famous for breaking

The instructions from Raptor had been fairly simple - look for the multiconnectors and undo them.

That seemed simple enough so we started with the instrument lights unit which were held in with 2 screws and it was easy to reach in and disconnect the 2 white connectors

Then we undid the screws on the side of the binnacle (only one was actually holding it in) and we could pull it carefully and see the wires.

At this point we could disconnect the speedo cable. It was a simple job to press both sides of the connector cable and pull the cable backwards

We had been told not to connect these from the back of the speedo/fuel gauge and temperature gauge bit to go behind them and find another multiconnector, which is the black one in the picture below. It was really stiff, but once freed, the units would have come out had not a previous owner had an alarm fitted which was spliced in in places, but with a modicum of labelling of wires carefully and a set of photographs taken at each stage it wasn't too bad a job.

The only problem was the cable to the pre-heat button which was attached to the gauge wiring the wrong side of the connector and the screw that held it in was rusted solid. After quite some deliberation I decided to cut that one and fit a new connection in so it would be simple if I ever needed to take it out again

After that it was the removal of the bolts holding the binnacle mount to the dashboard and then slowly and methodically a case of refitting every bolt and screw where it came from (except where new ones had come with the Kit of course).  Small hands were an asset with this so Rhian helped doing the hard work

The Speedo cable plugged in as easy as it came out so that was easy and we upgraded the bulbs to new LED's as well, and the result. .. clean instruments that work and do not rattle around when you are driving and I can see at night

All in about three hours for us. I am sure someone more experienced could do it faster, but it's done and hopefully something we never need to worry about again

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