Thursday 26 September 2019

Roaring 40s

Among other things I did on my holiday, I sat with my brother in the cemetery where my father's ashes are buried - after we'd run a loud strimmer and disturbed the Sunday morning mourners for quarter of an hour.

"Do you still use any of the old man's phrases?" asked my brother. He still often says "goose driver" instead of "screwdriver". The only phrase that I could think of that I still use is "get home cold, wet and frightened" which used to generally be about sailing adventures. The thing is that I drove to Norfolk for my holiday and I did get home cold, wet and frightened.

The journey home took over 8 hours and was marred by extremely heavy rain, heavy traffic, poor visibility, and a long delay on the A303. While my car does have a hood and sidescreens, it's not particularly waterproof. By the end of the journey the inside of the windscreen was as wet as the outside and there was half an inch of water sloshing around my feet. The rain gets through the scuttle and drips on your legs, and the spray gets up between the sill and the sidescreen and drenches your arm.

I had also worn the tires to within microns of the legal limit, so as soon as I hit a deep puddle I skated across it, on at least three occasions I was not in control of the vehicle, and I found myself going pretty much sideways leaving a roundabout.

Richard "IP22" B

Tuesday 17 September 2019


I love how much of the English language is transmitted through context and implication, rather than through the actual words. "Can drink" for example might mean "is at least eighteen years of age", "has finished a course of antibiotics", "isn't in charge of a motor vehicle" or "has a high tolerance for alcohol".

My mother says that her cat talks to her, but I'm pretty sure that all the information is got from context. The things that her cat has apparently told her are "I'm stuck up a tree" , "I'm hungry", "I'm on the wrong side of this closed door" and "wake up! It's breakfast time"

Richard "can't drink" B

Wednesday 11 September 2019


I've just come back from a fantastic track day at Pembrey and there were two useful learning experiences.

I got straight out of a passenger ride in a racing car (GT5 spec Ginetta G40) and into a passenger ride in my own sports car. The difference between a racing car and a sports car becomes abundantly clear. Mine felt like a Rolls Royce with it's easy ingress/egress, comfortable seats, smooth ride, good ventilation, quiet engine and transmission, abundant leg room, gentle gear changes and sedate pace. Ordinarily it feels harsh, loud, cramped and fast.

My guest was an experienced driver, but new to my car and that circuit. At one time he seemed to have lost the ability to turn the car to the right. We went out, spun off a right hand corner, came back in, went out spun it on a different right hand corner came back in. I though he was being clumsy, he thought he had lost his touch. It took us a long time to realise that the problem was related to the oil spill that I had driven though on the previous session. Our left rear tyre (only) was contaminated even though we could see no indication of it. It took a long time to get it warm and scrubbed in again.

Richard "clown car" B

Wednesday 4 September 2019


At the weekend I serviced a Renault Clio 197 and I made a terrible mistake. I put a drip tray under it, undid the sump plug and let the oil drain out. There wasn't very much oil and it was surprisingly clean. It later became clear that I had actually drained the gearbox oil! As luck would have it we were thinking about changing the gearbox oil too and we had oil and a drain plug washer in stock. What it did mean in that we couldn't move the car until we had located the filler cap. We used the internet, an endoscope and a mirror on a stick before we found it. You have to take the wheel off before you can see it.

Richard "Quick Fit" B