The rest of 2017 was relatively uneventful, culminating in Bertha wearing her usual Christmas decoration.

Christmas Decoration

2018 started similarly quietly as far as Bertha was concerned - Clara took us to eastern Germany in February (details here if you are interested) - but Bertha's first big trip of the year was to The Isle of Purbeck in Dorset.

We had a wonderful, uneventful, trip - but of course it wasn't that warm in April so the stalling problem didn't recur.

Bertha At Worth Matravers
Bertha At Kimmeridge
Bertha At Kimmeridge

A month later a trip out on a very hot day set in train a series of events that continues to this day (April 2020)!

We decided to go to Lullingstone Roman Villa (Kent, UK) and then on to the Bredgar and Wormshill Railway on the North Kent Downs. Getting held up in traffic (if you have ever driven on the M25 you will know that this is a frequent occurrance!) caused Bertha to stall every couple of minutes, and when we decided to leave the motorway she stalled again driving onto the roundabout at the junction. This is getting tedious, not to mention potentially dangerous.

Lullingstone Roman Villa

The Roman Villa was fairly interesting and when we had finished there we went on to the railway. It was absolutely packed - which would have detracted rather from the experience in our book - and as I was concerned about how Bertha would behave we decided to turn around and drive home. The journey was relatively uneventful and we arrived safely.

However, this constant stalling in hot weather was really spoiling our enjoyment of an otherwise lovely car. We did not think that the problem was unsolvable and decided to get a second opinion from the experts - it couldn't be just modern fuel as our then mechanic said, surely?.

This was the start of our (now) long-running relationship with Silchester Garage! We couldn't believe that the owners of classic Mercedes' - and older ones than Bertha at that - had to put up with this problem, so an appointment was duly made.

This is what they detailed on the invoice:

"Check tickover, stalls when hot. Investigate the engine running, tune emission, found running quite rich, also, we increased the idle slightly. We think the stalling problem comes from there, engine idle was too low. Another thing we've noticed, the engine is using oil, probably piston rings etc. Top up with 1 litre

The emphasis is mine, but that sentence in bold was to prove the start of very big things!

Inspiration At The Show