I finally found the problem with the car, whose worrying squeaking had developed into an even more worrying graunching noise, accompanied by juddering.
Reader, it was the universal joint.
It was quite a relief, because
- It’s always much nicer to know what a problem is, than to have a problem and not know what it is
- It was something I could fix myself
So I crawled under the car and uncoupled the drive shaft from the rear axle and pulled it off the gear box, and contemplated the Workshop Manual.
In obedience to the instructions, I applied gentle blows to the yoke with a copper mallet.
And then rather less gentle blows.
and then I used the blowtorch.
And soaked it in release oil.
And hit it lots.
And put it on a piece of teak (rescued from a skip some time ago. I knew it would be useful one of these days) and whacked it even more.
And finally it came off.
And then all I had to do was cycle across to the south side of Bristol for a new UJ (as we mechanical types call them)
And put it all back together again.
And now the car is working beautifully. At last.