Crime pays: For II’s in HK

A lovely story in the SCMP recently concerned a Vietnamese man who illegally entered Hong Kong carrying ammunition – and who threatened to commit robberies if he failed to find a job. He was jailed for 31 months. Duh!

Hell of a way to get a ‘permit to remain’…. but effective.

Free food and accomodation. Not bad.

The 36-year-old was sentenced in the District Court to 15 months’ jail for illegally remaining in Hong Kong, and an additional 16 months’ jail for possessing ammunition without a licence.

He was arrested at Man Kam To control point in September after he was discovered hiding in a lorry. He failed to provide proof of identity; some ammunition was also found on him.

The man had told police he would commit robberies if he could not find a job in the territory. He also said being sent to jail would help him kick his drug habit.

Free drug rehabilitation. Pretty good.

In recent years, some Vietnamese men have entered Hong Kong illegally with ammunition in order to be deliberately sent to jail. Some have said that this was so they could earn money while in prison.

And and Income! Result: crime pays.

And a criminal illegal immigrant does even better.

What a funny world we live in.

Countdown to Thanksgiving – the quiz

To many, Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season. A reminder that you only have so many shopping days to Christmas and if you haven’t ordered that Turkey, you may be a little late.

In a probably futile attempt at educating all but my two known America readers, I’ve done a bit of research on the subject.. but first you should take the quiz:

1. What year did the Pilgrims have their first Thanksgiving Feast?
A 1619
B 1620
C 1621
D 1935

2. What food was probably NOT on the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving menu?
A Potatoes
B Corn
C Fish
D Dried Fruit

3. The Horn of Plenty, or Cornucopia, which symbolizes abundance, originated in what country?
A Holland
B Greece
C America
D Turkey

4. In 1676, a day of thanksgiving was proclaimed to take place during what month?
A May
B June
C October
D November

5. What president didn’t like the idea of having a national Thanksgiving Day?
A Washington
B Nixon
C Truman
D Jefferson

6. Who is credited with leading the crusade to establish Thanksgiving Day?
A Sarah Jessica Parker
B Sarah Lee
C Sarah Josepha Hale
D Sarah Ferguson

7. Which president first established the date of Thanksgiving as a national celebration?
A Jefferson
B Adams
C Lincoln
D Wilson

8. Which president moved the date of Thanksgiving twice?
A Lincoln
B T. Roosevelt
C F. D. Roosevelt
D Eisenhower

9. The reason Thanksgiving was moved up a week was…
A To fullfil a political promise
B To ward off evil spirits
C Due to public pressure
D To lengthen the Christmas shopping season

10. Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on… (The answer is not in the narrative.)
A 2nd Monday in October
B 2nd Thursday in November
C 3rd Thursday in November
D May 1

Answers to be posted in the comments section please and I’ll post the Thanksgiving story and answers tomorrow….

The Rally of the Tests 2005

As an introduction to rallying, this was some baptism by fire. Many thought the tests very hard – some too hard – so they withdrew from the tougher night sections, finding them very rough on the cars. And when you see some of the beautiful machinery in the car park

Le French Excursion – a trilogy in 5 cars – Part 2

Sunday: Day 3

Packed full of good intentions, croissants and fresh coffee we left the hotel exactly as planned about an hour late. We had to do at least two tests and the first entitled “John McEnroe says” was a cracker. Basically we were given a route – emphatically NOT a map – with directions and distances. Same deal as before.. get to the finish having averaged exactly 30mph. Well Big Mike has a sense of humour and we did finally twig that the clue was in the test title. Witness the exchange in the purple Midget:

SNAKE: ‘There… THERE… turn right.. now, now.. NOW!’
TRICKY: ‘It’s a track you dickhead.. no way, we’ll trash the car…it’s a TRACK! You CANNOT be SERIOUS?!’
SNAKE & TRICKY: ‘Ahh I think we’ve cracked it…this is the right route’
SNAKE: ‘Faster….we’re late’
TRICKY: ‘It’s a bloody track and this car has the ground clearance of a snail!’
SNAKE: ‘Stop f***ing whinging and put your foot down’
TRICKY: ‘$*#@!

You can tell we had a lot of fun. We won that one too. I think.

Next we headed off to the riverside town of Montherme in Belgium. Now this was an absolutely beautiful place. An old Ardennes town at the foot of steeply sloping forests leading down into a winding river valley. Parked up by the bridge we went in search of loo’s and coffee. Yours truly filled up water bottles to counteract a slight weep from a head gasket in the process running the gauntlet of the local swans who didn’t look either impressed or friendly.

Now if we had thought Test 2 was a toughie…we were unprepared for Test 3. This one did come with a map though. Sweet, we thought, until the rules were explained: we were to drive the shortest distance between the start and a village about 10 miles away. But one village en route was out of bounds – and we had to visit three others, once only. And we had to plan our own route.

Queue much feverish plotting by navigators while drivers nervously paced up and down. Well to cut a long story short we were doing quite well – heading down another farm track when Big Mike jumped out at us with another impromptu early finish. So we waited for the others. And waited. Forty five minutes later we realized they weren’t coming. Well, at least not our way. They were all waiting in the destination village wondering where the hell we were….their view of the shortest route was different to ours….

A few recriminations later and we headed for our hotel – faded glory now adjacent to a paper plant… shame as once upon a time it would have been a fabulous setting. No matter, that evening dinner was special. Another – it wouldn’t happen here moment – as the owner and his wife opened on Sunday just for us. Ten hungry and thirsty travellers. We had a wonderful meal – not to the same standard as the Michelin 1* the night before – but much more relaxed and altogether we had a better night out. No idea how much we drank, but I recall a mid ‘70’s Armagnac towards the end.

At some point over dinner I believe results were announced…

Part 3 – with the results after the Rally!

The Rally of the Tests – latest

Feverish activity on the farm this weekend as I fitted fire extinguishers, rally plates, number plates and numbers to the BGT and finally ensured we have all the kit we could want and hopefully nothing more than we need, for the Rally of the Tests. Big Mike plotted maps and cursed the new system this year and gave me a route to the start line nearly 400 miles away in Edinburgh.

The car is with Mechanic Andy for some last minute items; driving lamps, reversing lamps, potty plug (it’s a navigation aid honest) and tweaks to the brakes.

I’m heading off on Wednesday to the Dalmahoy hotel where we do our scrutineering and final briefings before the start of the first tests at Knockhill circuit on Thursday evening.

Three days and 850 miles later we hope to arrive in Stratford on Avon for the end of rally dinner.

Wish us luck and follow the progress on: