Prelude: Llandudno

We arrived last night after an easy run from Wiltshire, mainly on the A and B roads.   The weather remained dry and clear and roads and scenery were wonderful.   This is why we do these events.. just getting here was special.

On checking the tyre pressures before leaving I noticed the front offside was a little low – confirming my suspicions that we had an issue with that tyre.  Outside Bala we spotted one of those local tyre shops, not one of the big chains, and decided to stop and see if they had any spares.   They did not, but did change the valve stem and clean the surface rust of the rim which was the cause of the abrasion and hence the leak.  Sorted.

The young man in the workshop had a very strange accent… his radio was tuned to an interesting and incomprehensible Welsh station and I asked if he spoke Welsh.   On reflection that was somewhat stupid, but his answer surprised me more.  Not only did he speak welsh, but he said he rarely spoke any english:  hence the accent.   Later in the day I learned that much of the local accent is derivative of  a Viking language, left here many centuries ago… and that indigineous DNA can be traced to certain fishing villages in Norway.

Seems there’s more to Llandudno than I first thought.

Drivers and Navigators briefing in an hour, then a practice run, Scrutineering and registration.. should be a busy day.

Thursday, January 19
  The Lamborghini Miura
by on Thu 19 Jan 2006 09:29 AM GMT

It is said the reason Ferruccio Lamborghini created the orginal Miura in 1966, was because he did not like Enzo Ferrari.   Apparently Lamborghini owned a Ferrari and complained that the gearbox was noisy.   Enzo allegedly responded by suggesting he stick to making tractors – which had made him a millionaire – and leave the manufacture of sportscars to Ferrari.   Ferrucio was a tad miffed so decided to have a go himself….


Whatever his motives may have been, it’s a great story, an amazing car and it rewrote the rule book for supercars for ever.   Sure, GT’s can have engines at the front, but to be a sportscar the motor has to be in the middle.  OK, or the back in the case of the 911, but that really is the exception that proves the rule.



In dazzling orange or lime green, the original Miura epitomised the swinging Sixties, with black eyelashes around its headlamps matching the false lashes of skinny, white-faced models.  Twiggy’s manager, Justin de Velleneuve, bought the one above (with her money) to squire her around London’s night spots.   One of my friends bought said car a couple of years ago as an investment.   I could barely get in – god knows how you would actually drive one – let alone park it, it was awful.   But it looked amazing.  

The Muira also set the standards in scary supercar handling. Super-fast, its screaming quad-cam V12 engine was mounted across the back; that mass would pull the car into lurid oversteer if you lifted off in a corner and the sharp nose would lift at speed as air got underneath it.


And now, as retro is the new new, it is being reborn.   This new version sports a barrage of aerodynamic splitters and winglets to keep it on the ground. So will it be less scary than the old model? Bentley’s chief engineer, Uli Eichhorn, thought so. “I don’t think we know how to make a car that handles that badly any more,” he grinned.

True, but you still know how to make them gorgeous!


I think I need another lottery ticket.   Or two.

Weekend Work

Good weekends are made all the more enjoyable when the doom and gloom of the weather forecast turns out to be erroneous.

After a glorious week in Bournemouth (no bucket and spade:  blackberry and pc instead) I was fired up for a relaxing, if busy time.

Saturday morning was spent down at the Shoot putting in some rabbit proof fencing.  The bunnies are getting fat on Farmer Andrew’s wheat and we don’t want them tucking into our maize cover next month.   The fence should help keep them off, or at least easier to shoot when the try and get round it.

The afternoon was dedicated to gardening.  And what better than to be riding around on the mower in the sunshine?   Satisfying indeed.

The Fisherman and his wife with new tadpole were over for dinner, so several bottles of decent wine were polished off, before we turned in and, after all that fresh air and excercise, slept the sleep of the righteous.

Still only half time and Sunday was also busy.   Mr FM brought his nippers over so they while they set about trashing the garden and seeing how high they could go on the trampoline, we had a little automotive therapy.   Well, truth is I polished two of the fleet while the good Mr FM sat with a cup of coffee and a Marlborough light.   To his credit he refrained from offering any advice.

Imagine my surprise though, when he hinted that Disco Dave (his, not mine) needed a bit of a hose down.  We set to with the pressure washer, detergent and some serious ally wheel cleaner.   Never realised it was such a nice colour.

One roast beef BBQ and a bottle of Rioja later and it was almost time for Top Gear.    Which I forgot to watch….. before heading back to the smoke.

For a rest.

Smudger at the Savoy

The celebration of Landmark birthdays reached a peak last Saturday in the Savoy Hotel in London.   Smudger was turning 40 and invited 28 friends from around the world to join him and wife Scary for dinner.    While the guests came from Hong Kong, Singapore, USA and the UK the wine was mainly from France.   Which is certainly better than having French guests and English wine.

As Smudger is a wino connosieur we knew we were in for a treat and it was telling that on opening the menu, I did not look at the right hand side with the food, but the left, with the wine.   Here’s what we enjoyed:

Verve Cliquot La Grande Dame 1990

Domaine Ramonet – Batard Montrachet Grand Cru 1988

Chateau Guiraud 1 Cru Sauternes

Chateau Palmer 1983, 1975, 1966

Taylors Port 1966

Massandra Tokay 1948

All splendid – especially the Palmer ’66 and the Tokay ’48.   The latter still full of life and concentrated sweetness.    I still marvel that we could enjoy a drink made nearly 60 years ago, well before most of the guests were born.

Many thanks Smudger.   Here’s to your 50th!

Number Plates

Driving along The Embankment into London for a party (more later) last Saturday I spotted two cars – or more significantly their number plates – in Chelsea.

Clearly a well heeled sort of owner, with immensely good taste and a great sense of humour.

The cars?   A shiny new Bentley and an Aston Martin DB9.   Registrations?

2 BE   and   NOT 2 B