Whistler beckons

Until now I have not got very excited about skiing next week.   Pressure of work and so much else going on have occupied my time.

But an article in todays Here is the City about a ‘banker’ taking to skiing down escalators in Tube stations had me reaching for the keybooard and typing WhistlerBlackcomb.com

They’ve had quite a season with over 500 inches of snow and a forecast of more to come over the next week.   Freezing level remains below 1000 metres, with the village at 675 this is looking good.

BMW drivers

From Stephen, clearly a wannabe BMW owner, this little driving piece:

The other day I was cruising along as usual coming onto one of my motorways, which was very busy with inferior cars. Firstly, I couldn’t believe that the flow of traffic DIDN’T slow down for me AT ALL as I came off the slip road! I had to squeeze into a tiny gap between two cars in order to get onto my motorway! (The driver of the car behind me did realise his mistake though and honked an apology to me with a long blast of his horn.)

Unbelievably, I had to do the same again before I could get to the BMW lane. (Why do underlings use this lane? Surely everyone knows it is for BMW drivers only?). Anyway, once in the BMW lane and posing along at 110mph enjoying the adulation that the inferior car drivers were giving me, I noticed an inferior car ahead of me which was not only in the BMW lane of my motorway, but was driving at a ridiculous 70 mph!

Naturally, I got to within a foot or so of his rear bumper and flashed my headlights to remind him he shouldn’t be in the BMW lane of my motorway and to get out the way. Of course, once he realised it was a BMW behind him, he did just that, but I could hardly believe it when he pulled straight back out behind me! He tried to keep up with me and when he realised I would out-run him, he put on some Council house type, blue flashing lights hidden in his front grille. He urged me to get onto the hard shoulder so that he could congratulate me on my excellent car and driving skills.

Needless to say, I was eager to oblige and when we had stopped, the man gave me a piece of paper confirming what I already knew – my car goes fast! Apparently he wants everyone to know what a superior car I have, so I had to take my licence to a Police Station to be sent away to have some points put on! (They’re not free either – they’re £20 each and I was only allowed 3). But the man at the Station said that as I drive a BMW, it won’t be much longer before I earn the full 12 points, and then I won’t even NEED a driving licence, so they will take it off me!.


And whilst BMW drivers sit like teutonic lemmings in the outside lane, the aged and treacherous Jag owners undertake on the left.

Photoblog – new link

David at Tressillian has changed his photoblog host … and has promised daily photo updates of his recent trips to Hong Kong and Australia… so if you want you daily photo fix… click here.

Star Ferry

As David says, Hong Kong may have changed dramatically over the last 30 years, but some things are constant.   The old Star Ferry pier has gone, but the boats still criss cross the harbour all day, every day.   There is no better way of getting from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central – particularly in the evening when all the lights are on.

Divided Opinion

The Jag seems to have caused a difference of opinion.   Mr FM, whose automotive transport choice starts and ends with LandRovers (and I can’t say I blame him – I love my Discovery too) was not uncomplimentary about the car per se… but did feel it an old man’s car.    Hmmmph.

He took it upon himself to run an Blog Poll on my new motor…the results of which can be found here.

I will remain unrepentant and enjoy the smooth ride, understated elegance and monster grunt.   For the record the car has no pipe holder, did start today and has does not have the Conservative Club, or Golf Club address programmed into it’s Sat Nav.

I just pray it will be reliable, or I’ll be eating humble pie for the next 12 months.

I may keep you posted.

Warning: Soldiering can be dangerous

Reader Pheasant Martin sent these…. I so hope they are true and particularly like the one about the bomb technician….



“Aim towards the enemy.” – Instruction printed on US Rocket Launcher.


“When the pin is pulled, Mr Grenade is not our friend.” – US Marine Corps.


“Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs are guaranteed to always hit the ground.” – USAF Ammo Troop.


“If the enemy is in range, so are you.” – Infantry Journal.


“A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what is left of your unit.” – Army’s magazine of preventive maintenance.


“It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed. U. S. Air Force Manual.


“Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo.” – Infantry Journal.


“Tracer rounds work both ways.” – US Army Ordnance.


“Five-second fuses only last three seconds.” – Infantry Journal.


“Any ship can be a minesweeper… once.” – Anon.


“Do not draw fire; it irritates the people around you.” – Your comrades.


“If you see a bomb technician running, try to keep up with him – USAF Ammo Troop.

Correct Quotes

I wasn’t exactly inundated with responses to yesterdays little teaser… only one reader ventured a guess…. and that was wrong.

Quote 1.   ”Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention is deserves” was of course Albert Einstein while…

Quote 2.   ”For all my education, accomplishments, and so called ‘wisdon’.. I can’t fathom my own heart”, was Michael Caine.

So, own up, were you right?

On another note, UK disability rights group are up in arms about Heather Mills’s prosthetic leg. Apparently Paul McCartney’s soon-to-be-ex-wife is to feature next month on US TV show ‘Dancing With The Stars’.  And a UK online gambling site has been taking bets on whether her prosthetic leg will fall off during a dance routine.  Legal experts say that Ms Mills could always sue, but a lawsuit will probably not stand up in court.   Tee Hee.

Halfway Progress

As we continue to tackle the myriad of tasks to repair, reclaim, renovate our house, it is sometimes beneficial to reflect on a little success.

One of the urgent tasks we faced was to construct a new chicken run.   Ideally we wanted it down at the bottom of one of the fields away from the house.   But we are a long way from creating a decent access to that field and I felt we needed it nearer.   Shivs wanted a vegetable garden and an overgrown area behind the workshops needed sorting.

A mound of nettles had at one time probably been a compost heap, but it was mixed with old builders sacks and general rubbish.   The ground was a bit soft, but we set to and cleared it.   An incoming power line runs to the pole on the left and then down to the workshop and the area in the foreground was lawned to the left and grassed over gravel path on the right.   The gravel courtyard had originally lead round the back of the garden to the menage, but years of neglect had seen it grow over… clearing it was not easy.

We needed to create a raised vegetable garden and, after a false start of making it too big, we formed a U shape.   All the old grass and weeds were removed, soil dug over and broken up.   Compost was mixed in and we were ready for planting.

Birthday Quotes

Today’s birthday celebrations include two very famous chaps.   One still with us and one who is not.    Albert Einstein and Michael Caine are both well known and most of us will have our own perception of them.   Can you tell which quote came from which man?

1.   Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention is deserves

2.   For all my education, accomplishments, and so called ‘wisdon’.. I can’t fathom my own heart.

Answers in the comments box… I’ll reveal all tomorrow.

A sale of two cars

Once the seed of automotive change is sowed in the fertile ground of my imagination, there is just no holding back.

Fear not though, dear reader, lest you be concerned I have reduced the fleet size by two – I have simply traded one for a another.   But before I spill the beans on the latest acquisition, I do need to set the scene.

A couple of weeks ago I went to test drive a Mazda RX-8.   Consistent with my new policy of wanting to own interesting / iconic / unique etc. cars, I thought this would be fun and also a more comfortable way of effecting my weekly commute.

Fabulous car.   Superb handling, quick, rev-tastic rotary engine spinning up to 9,250 rpm, well made, very comfortable and surprisingly spacious.   Wacky rear suicide doors and a fully loaded spec meant it was very good value.   Big Mike accompanied me on the test drive and we popped in to see Panther on our way – wanting to play on the lanes of the Lambourn Downs – purely in the interests of seeing what it could do you understand.

We were impressed.   Clearly so was Mrs Panther as we received a text not 5 hours later confirming she had been down to the same Mazda garage and bought one!   Panther himself suggested that next time I take a car for a test drive I don’t include their house on the route.   (Mental note to self:  test drive Porshe next time 😉

Anyway, what of my interest in the RX-8?   Well…. still keen, but…. and it’s quite a big but.   My other choice was a Jaguar XK-8.   Nice coupe, good looking, comfy, quite quick, although a bit older.   And I needed to drive one to be sure before I put my money on the Mazda.

I first drove a standard XK.   Oh dear.   What let down.   Slow, stodgy, dull witted handling.   A real disappointment and clearly not for me.    The salesman said that I wanted something a with a bit more ‘go’ and that I should look at an XKR… but the only one he had in stock had a black interior – which is a no go for me too.

But they did have an XJR.   Pacific Blue, Champagne leather and with a fully stamped up main dealer service history.   And it is quick.  370 BHP.   390 lbft of torque.   5.3 seconds 0-60mph.  Faster than my 911…..

And it is mine.   Deal done, pick it up later this week.

Sorry to see the MINI go, but overall whilst I enjoyed it, it was too bouncy for my commute, where I would prefer something sporting, but more comfortable.   Gratuituous pic below: