New challenge…

The Gulf of Finland

Thanks to everyone for the help with the petrol pump repair! Chris was told by several people not to attempt a weld, luckily got the messages before setting off to find a garage! He used epoxy metal putty and will give it a go today. Our new friend Petteri from Helsinki has really pulled out all the stops to help – last night he drove 100km to where he keeps the box saloon that he is restoring (his Austin is an earlier model with a gravity fed fuel tank so no pump) because he remembered that he has a box of spares. Lo! A pump! But we are now a long way from Helsinki…

Enterprising Petteri is going to put the pump on a bus to Vaalimaa for us to collect later. We can’t thank him enough. Also thanks to Ruairidh for the Austin 7 Friends website and forum which is how Petteri found us.

Last night Chris tested the waters of the Gulf of Finland. If we don’t get to Russia his new challenge will be to swim there.

Any ideas?

Chris finally found the reason for the oil leak! There’s a crack in the petrol pump.

The crack is on the corner, and on the other side.

We have a spare pump, but Chris is not sure that it is any good. He wants to find out if it is possible to weld a repair/araldite/braised/something else?

“Lurking Cats”

Otherwise known as “Hiipivat Kissat”, a Polish folk group staying in the two cabins next to us in Porvoo. They had been singing at a folk festival, so before we left they came over and sang us a beautiful song, the moral of which seems to be marry a hard-working wife…

Chris then sang “Working on the Railway” (fillimiooriay etc) and they sang the chorus in harmony. Great to meet you, Cats!

Hiipivat Kissat

Serendipity strikes again…

So, just before we got off the ferry Chris had an email from a chap in Finland called Petteri. He said he had found us via the forum Austin 7 Friends, and was wondering when we were arriving in Finland – he lives in Helsinki! He and his wife Sanna drove out to our log cabin in Porvoo and after a long look at the car took us on a tour of the old town, an amazing medieval town with wooden buildings built on the banks of the river. The beautiful church was rebuilt a few years ago after it was accidentally set on fire by a young man who was drunk. The roof tiles are all made of wood.

Anyway, it turns out that Petteri likes classic cars, he owns three. A model T Ford, a model A Ford, and… an Austin 7! He is rebuilding the Austin but struggles to find parts and advice – he said he has found the other five Austin owners in Finland – and finds the forum is really useful. After the trip Chris would like to try and forge some Austin links between the UK and Finland, he did mention taking a van full of spares over on the ferry…

The rebuilt church with wooden roof tiles.
Cobbled streets of Porvoo.
Tall boy, small door! One of the lovely wooden houses in Porvoo.
Petteri and Sanna, with the Austin outside our home for the night in Porvoo.

Today we are driving to Vaalimaa near the border with Russia, so that we have a day in hand tomorrow to get ready for crossing into Russia on Saturday. Apart from the indicator falling off the car is running very well despite being loaded up. There is a lot of interest in the car here in Finland, every time we stop people come to talk and take photos! It’s a very friendly country and everyone we have met speaks English – we feel very embarrassed that we can’t speak any Finnish.


Nearly at the end of our crossing to Finland. It has been a really good experience – we have been looked after, fed, had lots of conversations and feel ready to tackle the first leg on foreign soil! First job is to find a motor factor and buy an oil filter (or two) and then a friendly garage so that Chris can remove the petrol pump again and try and solve the oil leak issue.

The gym… unfortunately (!) the crossing was a bit too rough for us to make proper use of it!
Look at Arthur’s cabin! Complete with lounge area and en-suite shower room. Sucks to Brittany Ferries!!!
Departing Hull, the view from the bridge.
Catching the rays… up on the bridge deck, although it was actually quite a rough crossing despite the sunshine!
Chris soon got an invitation onto the bridge, although there is a chart on the chart table in reality the whole system is much more high tech.
The Finnmaster approaching the Oresund Bridge. The Austin is on the deck below the lorries, safe and sound and in the dry!
We made such good time across the North Sea the Captain decided that we could take the route under the Oresund Bridge. We went under just after dawn, it was stunning, but we were in for a surprise soon after…
Straight into a low pressure system!

High seas…

After a very gentle first night on board, rocked to sleep by the swell we awoke to bacon and eggs for breakfast, porridge if you’d rather, and then up on deck to get some fresh air. However… as we got out into the North Sea the swell built as the sea shallowed – it seems that the North Sea is only 30-50 metres deep which means steep seas! Even the kitchen got a surprise when the contents of our well-stocked self-service fridge ended up on the floor, and all the stainless steel trays tumbled off the shelves! Even the first officer said that he hates the North Sea.

Being on a ship with very few crew and passengers gives Chris plenty of time to interrogate talk to people and find out their wonderful stories – what he does best! We have found common links with everyone, serendipity at it’s best, including people from the Philippines, Finland, Scotland and Berwick-upon-Tweed. After an enjoyable visit to the bridge, where Chris met the Captain to find out about life on the ship – and of course to talk about the World Cup Challenge – tomorrow we have an early start to film the passage of ‘Babushka’ under the Oresond bridge that connects Sweden and Denmark. The Captain has decided to take this route because we have made such good time across the North Sea – what a treat!

Photos to follow when we are able to upload them – there’s no wifi on board but we can use PCs that are located in the store room. This is also where all the sweets and treats are on sale…