It's early November and we are going to take Clara away for New Year, so I'm looking out for things that could be an issue!

I noticed that she was running a little cool - the temperature gauge never seemed to go above about 70 degrees - so that is going to need a bit of attention. There was also a strange noise coming from what I thought was one of the belts.

A trip to Silchester Garage Garage confirmed my suspicions: the thermostat was not working and one of the belts was worn. New ones fitted.

A couple of weeks later I noticed that the wiper was running a little slowly. Does she need a new wiper motor? I really hope not! A few days later the ABS light came on on starting after a very short trip. Oh well, lights do sometimes come on at random and go off again after a while...

After another drive of about half a mile I stopped again. When I came back from the shop she wouldn't start!

A quick phone call to my local mechanic and he was on the way to see what he could do. She started after being jumped from his mobile battery pack but stalled again as soon as we tried to move her out of the parking space. The poor guy ended up driving her with a window open in the rain holding a torch for some sort of illumination!

A couple of days later she was back with a shiny new alternator, a windscreen wiper which wiped at the correct speed and no random lights on in the cluster.

I was so grateful that this occurred when it did and not a bit later when we were away!

We went to Ghent for New Year - so she did get a second trip abroad in 2018 after all.

Anyway, off to Ghent!

Clara On The Way Clara At Folkestone Clara In The Train Clara In Ieper Clara At The Menin Gate

Back in May we went to France and Belgium with family to see some WWI sites and we stayed at the lovely Alice House whilst we were in Ieper. If you are looking for a traditional house in Ieper which is very near to some great restaurants, the Lakenhalle, the Menin Gate and within walking distance of all the best parts of Ieper you should really consider staying here!

We contacted the charming hosts of this establishment, Mieke and Ivan, on our New Year trip to see if it would be possible to meet up (sadly, we couldn't arrange a meeting) but I sent them a picture of Clara at Sanctuary Wood to see if they would recognise the location:

Clara At Sanctuary Wood

and received a picture of their W124 'Demelza' in return! I had to look twice to realise that it wasn't Clara! Demelza is parked in exactly the same position...! She looks great and I'd love to see her in the metal. Hopefully next time?

Demelza At Sanctuary Wood

A few more miles later and we were in Ghent...

Clara At NH Ghent Belfort

After a wonderful stay in Ghent it was time to come home, sadly...

Clara At Calais Clara In The Train Again Clara Back Home Again

Another great trip in Clara!

You really can use a W124 as a daily driver - and have some great trips - if you keep an eye on fluid levels and just keep up with general maintenance.

And it's so much cheaper than a new car on a contract plan - plus she's yours at the end of the day...

19 Germany Again One