the first volunteer day of the FV3805 Restoration was a success!
When Jingles and I arrived at the Wight Military & Heritage Museum a shift group was taking a break and got shown around the museum with a guide who explained a little bit about everything they have in display and as soon Ed Francis, one of the heads of the project and who works in the Bovington Tank Museum spotted us he rushed with a mysterious bag, he had inside a "Tanker Mechanic started-kit" (overall, Tool-kit belt and tools) that he gifted me. I felt so radiant!
I'm the type of woman who gets very pleased with such gifts and very happy that the Tool-belt didn't fall down to my feet, this one been wearing overalls and using tools since and while other girls were still playing with Barbies but no tool-belt would fit while helping Grandpa (who enjoys buying old car/motos to restore and then drive them like a lunatic thought the family properties with Rock music screaming out of his very 90's radio) and fixing my own Karts. Father just got tired of fixing them himself and taught me all I couldn't figure out of my own. Often would be dropped at the Kart circuit with my box/garage keys, and spend my weekends/holidays keeping my machines in good condition and only asking help to the staff to lift the back wheels and push the Kart forward for manual start-ups (Start-up switches and Recoil starters are for pussies!) until I was big/strong enough to do it myself! The Kart Circuit Staff were always pleased to help as they adopted me as their tiny girl mascot who would test and steal the manly-hood of 30-50 year old man by beating their times in racing competitions. It was evil but somehow enjoyable to see some reaching the point they would lose control of their Karts while desperately trying to not be passed or catching up with me. :P
Its safe to say... My family expected their first of my generation (me) to be a boy.
Anyways, I'm derailing here, enough of my childhood!
Many people showed up and worked incessantly the whole day in and on the "bae" FV3805. We actually managed to do way more in a day than anything we had planned/expected and according to Ed Francis 65% paint was stripped, hatches greased, engine inspected, gearbox eyeballed, floor plates changed and a fossilized cat was found and looked like it had spent a couple decades in there (Cool cat chose a badass urn to die in!)
Even Jingles got his hands on a nail gun and worked for awhile on the exterior! Everyone kept a very friendly atmosphere, sharing tools and helping each others. I chose to stay inside, scraped the paint in difficult areas (small metal bars on the right, batteries compartment corners and around my hatch, the driver's). It was hard to contain my William Riker's sh** eating grin and didn't want to go home, felt like fish in the water and found myself in the way back feeling annoyed that I didn't have time to finish one bit that was working on when we got told it was time to stop.
At the end the museum staff had a treat for us, they gave APC rides to everyone and they got to see the Centurion being driven. I was initially invited for a the tank ride on the museum arena but only one person could go... I saw on Jingles's eyes how much he wanted to go and "allowed" him to lose his "being in a moving tank" cherry experience. I know he loves the Centurion, its one of his favorite tanks and as much it pained to let this experience go, I will be driving tanks in a couple days (my training is going to start on beginning of next month) as this one is going be Bovigton's very first tame woman tank driver and will have far more chances than him. It seemed right and although it was a nice gesture don't be mistaken, I'm still a cat person and wouldn't do this for everyone! Specially when it comes to tank drives! :P
After the tank ride something happened to the Centurion... wont say much pretty sure he will enlighten you in tomorrow's Mingles with Jingles episode! :P
We ended the day having some drinks in the pub near the museum and having a BBQ.
It was an amazing experience and would recommend everyone! There will be more volunteering days in the future and even if you live far away, the museum even allows people to camp in their grounds!
Here is the photo album of this day (if you have photos do share them on the FV3805 Restoration FB page!):
Interesting fact: Counting with me, 3 of the 4 woman that worked on the FV3805 were Portuguese. I'm so proud!