Archive for April, 2013


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Time to be sensible…ish


I had been through some really bad times and looking back this was close to the bottom (but not quite there!). It was the consensus of everybody around me that I needed a holiday, so I decided to head for the sun. I booked myself 10 days on Gran Canaria in a nice hotel with an infinity pool.

initinity pool Waterfall

I spent my days sleeping by the pool and my nights drinking in an Irish Bar watching Football and listening to live music, alternating between long nights of too much Guinness or too much Jack ‘n’ Coke.


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Anaphylactic Shock in Finland

The single best advice I can offer to anyone looking to buy old cars is to get them inspected or learn what to look for. The Landrover was a good solid car, with a very good diesel engine (is that an oxymoron?). It was a bit slow but pulled well, it was noisy and dirty and it’s door needed slamming (until I fixed it) but it served it’s purpose very well, (The beauty of a slow car is that you learn a lot about conservation of speed. I terrified my Mum on more than one occasion (sorry Mum!) hurtling along at speeds that it wasn’t built for) plenty of space for the dogs in the back and happy to plod through any mud we encountered (much like my Golden).

A typical walk...

Sadly it was during the time I owned the Disco that my beloved Golden gave up his fight with cancer. (more…)

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An easy decision

Land Rover Discovery 300TdiThe choice of dog car was really quite easy. I had considered a Mitsubishi Shogun Mini for a few minutes but my thoughts always returned to the same car – A Land Rover Discovery. Very few cars are better off road and of all the SUVs available only an old Land Rover Defender carried more credibility in the countryside. It was old and slow and had some issues, but it was a good solid car for weekend dog walks and it’s simple mechanical design made DIY maintenance an option; something that was good for the bank balance and a rewarding way to spend my free time.

My Dad likes to remind me of some of the issues we had working on it; (more…)

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I have waited years for the Rolling Stones to tour, I love their music and need to have seen them before I die!

Last week they announced the tour dates and I am starting to think that the Universe is conspiring to stop my dream coming true. Why? I hear you ask… well let me tell you:

I live in San Francisco and they are playing two dates, great I thought, but hang on, when they play Oakland I am on a business trip to San Diego and when they play San Jose I am in Seattle. Annoying… but it gets worse… In June I will be home in the UK for my niece’s wedding, which is on June 29th they same day they play Glastonbury. I then fly home to the US, 5 days before they play Hyde Park!!!

You can’t always get what you want…

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A Mid-Life Crisis at 35

As you might have noticed, a lot of the car choices from this time in my life were heavily compromised by the need for something “dog friendly”, limited parking and a limited budget. But life was about to change….

I have already written about my divorce so I won’t go into any detail, but suffice to say I no longer had the need for a family car and a dog car. I now just had one car. I really loved driving the Saab. The dogs felt safe (or I felt they were safe?), it was quiet on the motorway and could really fly when I needed it too. I had many great trips along the A272 to my office in Crawley and in particular the stretch as you leave Midhurst. It remains one of my favourite series of curves to this day and if you time it right and manage to avoid traffic I promise you will have a huge grin on your face by the end of your journey.


On one of those regular commutes I had an epiphany: I’m driving this great big dog car like it’s a sports car but I now have two spaces so I can buy two cars; something sporty and a car for the dogs!

The freedom of choosing  a car for one dedicated purpose  is a strange sensation the first time it happens, but it was a revelation. I wanted a 4×4 for dog duties and something fast and sporty for my commute.

“Freedom” and “Dedicated” are slightly misleading words because my main car still needed to be capable of 400 miles per week and occasional day trips to Paignton in a reasonable amount of  comfort, but I certainly had more options available to me than before. I will tell you about the 4×4 next week.

My first thoughts went to a Honda S2000 a fast fun and reliable two seat sports cars. Yes it had to be revved to get it moving fast but at least it was docile when you didn’t want to play. But what about a Porsche Boxster, one of the finest handling small sports cars available? a BMW Z4 perhaps? or maybe I should be more practical and get something with four seats, something more sensible like a BMW 330i?

After a lot of deliberation I decided that the S2000 was too tight inside and too loud at speed for long journeys, the Porsche was going to cost a lot to service with the high mileage I was doing, the BMW Z4 just not as good as the Porsche… and the 330i? Well life is too short to be sensible, especially on the back of a divorce!!

So my next car was a four seat car (capable of carrying four full size adults) with four doors to enable easy access (even if two were only half doors)

Mazda RX-8 Doors

rear wheel drive, gorgeous looks, 231 horsepower and a 0-62 time of 6.9 seconds. That tiny 1.3 engine started every morning with a ‘Bark’ like a big V6 but revved all the way to 9000 RPM, a engine with a name that brings out the small boy in every grown man. ” Wankel” snigger.

Mazda RX-8 2003 Interior

Yes, my next car was a bright red Mazda RX-8, with black and red leather interior. I’ll let Mr Clarkson explain just how great it is, he’s good at that kind of thing  :


That car felt like a sports car every time I stepped into it and maintained that sensation throughout each and every corner and roundabout on my daily drives.

I still miss that car, one of the few cars I regret selling….


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