The back of the tow truck, reversing into position in the petrol station.It started with a debate about a light on the dash board as we were driving to Sutton Coldfield for a Chritsmas market last weekend. A red light we never even knew existed awoke and began to glow. Dimly at first, when he roared into life. We topped up the radiator, checked the oil and decided that the Beast was probably just saying good morning. In a fairly creepy way, but perhaps he was just referencing Hal 9000 from Stanley Kubrick’s seminal 2001: Space Odyssey.

We worried our way through Leamington as the light grew brighter (“Hello Dave”) flashed a little (“I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.”) grew darker (“I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t let you do that.”) and started smoking (“Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose any more purpose.”). It was at that point we decided to pull over for fuel and some quality time googling possible causes.

Having come to the conclusion that this, much like everything else that has gone wrong with the Beast so far, is another one of those classically faults that all LTs of a certain age have, Barny began swearing from round by the pump. Turns out that in the heat of the moment, when the future of your livelihood could well be in the hands of a temperamental little dash light, it’s much easier to put unleaded in the diesel van.

As a dutiful wife I carefully collated and stored all the entertaining responses that I could have offered and called the RAC instead. Since the last classic LT fault I had decided to upgrade to recovery, which meant a mere 2 hour wait in the forecourt at Sainsburys. Then once again the van was hoisted up and toed forlornly along behind us, back the mile or so we had managed that morning to our garage.

Since then, though, things have improved. Spa Motors pumped the petrol out, and on the way home whatever lights had previously been bothering our old truck appeared to have been successfully exorcised by that little puff of smoke. The following day we were thankfully able to make it to the Leamington Yuletide market, where news of the fuel problem had already spread. Being all dutiful and whatnot I had already mostly exhausted my repertoire of petrol and diesel jokes, and it was nice to hear some new material.

The market was also lovely; crisp wintery weather and some familiar faces who had enjoyed toasties enough in the past coming to seek us out again. Not only that, but after a bad start we finally worked up the nerve to drill into the van and have managed to put our rope lights up. The Jabberwocky has transformed from a gloomy lizard into a sparkling salamander, and the night will never be the same again.
The Jabberwocky, with an LED rope light round the outline of the passenger side.

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