Tuesday, August 29, 2006


There you go....that's what my little Mini looks like. Rather I should say that's what she did look like as there are changes afoot.... she'll still be the same colour, but better so to speak.

I'm showing this piccie as sort of an experiment (my first illustration .. Eeeep!).... and also because Vanessa is one of the most important things in my life. This may seem "sad" of me, but I'm very keen on preserving things that are past, I detest the throwaway society we live in nowadays and all its associated uncaring attitudes towards repairing broken or faulty machinery/cars/bicycles and so on.

Anyway, back to Vanessa. She is a 1979 Clubman Automatic, and for a start that makes her somewhat of an oddity, I've never seen another Auto "Clubbie" and it would seem not many other people have either. When I first obtained her the previous owner had tried driving her through a gap.... nothing wrong you'd think - 'cept the gap was about 3' 6" and a Mini is 4' 6" wide! Since then I've spent about ten years getting her back on the road, rebuilding and repairing her and in some areas modifying the crumbling remnants of parts that were after all getting on for thirty years old. The unusual appearance of the outside, is meant to reflect the days of the Minis swansong in motorsport. A time when almost all of the benefits offered by what was an innovative design were being superceded by cars from other manufacturers and the brainchild of Alec Issigonis was no longer the "giant killer" it had been. She is also a tribute to the women who campaigned these little cars , many of whom continued in motorsport but unfortunately with little recognition.

So, you can see I have a deep and caring relationship with my car (told you I was sad ;-) ) so it really makes me fume when she gets damaged - which is what has happened.

Around this area (a Council Estate) the youths have recently been riding "MiniMotos" - a form of toy motorbike. This is bad enough as they tend to ride these machines on the playing field and the exhausts of these bikes are not very quiet. These idiots also have impromptu races around some of the streets further spreading the noise pollution which often goes on into the night as well as the risk of causing or having an accident. Now these youths seem to have little or no means of financial support - goodness knows how they got these bikes - and in order it seems to further their "Grand Prix de Estate" , they've taken to raiding cars for fuel .... including mine.

They've broken the locking fuel cap without getting it off and damaged thhe filler neck , so now I'll have to carry on what they've started and then replace the cap. On top of this they've also had a go at my friend's Mini (Xena - Rust Princess) breaking that cap and also trying to get into the car (there are two obviously empty fuel cans inside - no lids ) damaging both door locks and the boot lock for some reason.

It was suggested by a neighbour that I call the Police. The last time I did that to report the finding of a stolen motor scooter, they never came. That was also used for the shennanigins on the field so I called the Police again (several times) they still didn't come, and much to my dismay the scooter is now destroyed - R.I.P. 1966 Lambretta.

I'm sorry for the rant people.... but I'm soooo angry!

I'd string piano wire up if I could get away with it......

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Freedom of speech?

Having just caught up with Mr. Dinners blog, I'm somewhat "terrorised" myself.

I thought we lived in a country where the ability to speak freely without fear of reprisal was a right - it appears that I'm wrong. The knowledge that airports are notoriously easy to gain access to is hardly a state secret, after all millions of people do so in the pursuit of perfectly legal activities. The fact that pointing this out now seems to be sailing on the edge of aiding and abetting terrorists is ludicrous.

I'm also aware that many of the so called "staff access only" areas are so very accessible. I was nearly waved through a barrier while driving a yellow Mini Traveller - yes,one of those "half-timbered" Mini estates! - and equally when I worked as a despatch rider, I frequently entered areas of the airport that were nominally "out of bounds". All the security measures seem to be placed in areas where the public are, and as such I can see that persons intent on boarding aircraft intent on doing harm should be stopped - however there is much more to an airport than all the shiny glass and stainless steel of the terminal buildings, maybe it's these that the powers that be want to protect.

As the security forces seem to suggest they know about what plans malicious groups might have, it seems very odd that there is no thought given to the ingress of "devices" through the back door so to speak. Maybe 4D's post suddenly jogged someone's memory ...perhaps light suddenly dawned on the planners?

Whatever the reasons, I sympathise with Dinners....I was working for a security company during another period of terrorist alert (after an Arabic airline DC 10 exploded just after takeoff), and had to ferret through traveller's luggage and to guard certain airline's aircraft ..... yep! just me wandering around on the hardstand of a bleedin' great Jumbo Jet! (I wasn't even allowed inside the thing - it was bloody cold out in there in the wind) What would I have done if anybody had wanted to molest the 'plane? I don't know. I had no radio, no baton and nobody around for possibly miles in any direction to call on for help.

Well....we'll see if I get told off for this post (I think "they" may be monitoring for the words terrorist,device and bomb) but meanwhile -

- you stay safe Four Dinners do y''hear me? ;-)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Today, the sun's shining.......

OK...I surrender!....here's another post.... (by the way, I enjoy poking Puppy :-) )

As it says in the titley bit, today is quite pleasant. I had pleasure of a visit from my hubby over the weekend. This has cheered me up no end and shaken me from what I assume was depression - I know that I felt like staying in bed, not talking to anybody and just generally feeling so underwhelmed by everything and unable to get motivated in many of my pet projects.

The one thing that has kept me sane during this period, is my car. Now to most people a car is a means of getting from A to B. I wouldn't know. I can get lost in a carpark and as such tend to visit W, O and possibly F in my efforts to reach my destination, but end up (usually) enjoying myself.

My car is a venerable old lady of 1979 vintage, which I have been rebuilding
off and on over the past ten years or so. She's a Mini Clubman Saloon and is an automatic. Within the past month or so, I've been able to get her back on the road and with the co-driving abilities of April (who holds a full driving licence - useful that as I don't) we planned a visit to the Ace Cafe. Due to the age of my (t)rusty little steed, she requires a lead replacement additive in her petrol, of which there are a few available but only some that are recommended. Soooo we went out to look for some........ and look........ and look. Eventually trying a localish branch of 'Hellfrauds' with no joy, we were given directions to somewhere else...which turned out to be a Sainsbury's Supermarket and filling station. By now I'm feeling somewhat hot and bothered, and I must have communicated this onto Vanessa (my car's name) as upon arrival, she decided to do a passable imitation of an industrial chicken broiler and throw most of the contents of her cooling system over the forecourt. Following this little mishap, I can't say that I can recommend filling stations as being a particularly pleasant spot for having a picnic.

Eventually we got home, sorted out a fix for the cooling and smoothed out a few feathers. April went out and got hold of some of the elusive additive, then we had lunch and followed that with some more tinkering. Then we were ready for the off............

...to be continued