Welcome to the World!

Welcome to the world, Sophie Helen! May you be gifted with the wisdom and beauty of your classical namesakes. We can’t wait to meet you in person. And congratulations to the proud parents!

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No new baby!

its only days away, well its late, where is it Alex, stop keeping us in suspense, more stairs, try some raspberry leaf tea, I hear it works a treat. anyway good luckand Im sure it will be here any day.

so while that great news awaits Ill let you know what we have been doing…no news yet???
Ok us,
after a great christmas away in Wales, jane will add photos to a page soon, and add Morocco photos etc soon, keep checking back…anyhow, we have moved house, moved to bethnal green which is a bit further out and somewhat further around London from where we were, but only really 20 minutes walk from our old place. but its very different, trees, parks, and no river unfortunately for Jane but a carpark for me. check the pages later for photos of all the new things
Anyway still on the job hunt, really alot slower than I hoped and thought but have new small month long projects at work for new associates so not so bad at the moment, could probably put up with it. well see its still the airport though.

Teh new flat is great, has been a bit noisy for the first few weeks with student accommodation nearby being noisy but its calming down since the new term has got underway.
anyway no baby yet so Ill see-you-by

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Justin’s 2010

My top 5’s for 2010

Highlights:
1: Driving the Nurburghring
2: Visiting Family after easter
3: Anne’s visit (yes really)
4: Rock on seine Paris
5: Architecture Biennale Venice

Lowlights:
1: Getting sick in morocco
2: Stress at work
3: Not travelling enough
4: the cold
5: being so far away

Top 5 Albums:
1: Alice in Chains – Black gives way to blue
2: VAST – Me and you
3: Audioslave – Audioslave
4: Marina and the Diamonds – the Family Jewels
5: Static X – Wisconsin death trip

Top 5 Television shows:
1: Lost
2: Survivor heros vs villains
3: F1 coverage
4: Big bang theory
5: American Hotrod?

Top 5 tourist Attractions:
1: Muse Dorsay Paris
2: Muse De Rodin Paris
3: St Marks square Venice
4: Doges Palace Venice
5: Pantheon Paris

Top 5 proud moments:
1: Jane singing at the royal Albert Hall – again
2: Spending time with my sisters kids and seeing them grow into exceptional people
3: Greg’s leaving speach
4: breaking down International language barriers
5: Janes striving

Top 5 toys:
1: Fuji track Bike
2: Playstation 3 Grand tourismo
3: TA04 TRF
4: Tom Tom Sat nav
5: Ipod

Top 5 forums:
1: RSmotorsport
2: Turbosport
3: Classic ford
4: Old shool ford
5: The London plan

Worst 5 personal events:
1: Night of pain followed by month of yuk – morocco
2: Arguing with Armed policeman in isolated Moroccan mountain pass
3: Dermotologists diagnosis
4: Work
5: Hearing about mums hospitalisation

Most frustrating moment:
My director throwing my bonus cheque over my shoulder onto my desk after having sat with all other staff members, somewhat annoyed I was at meetings and not able to attend the last minute summons!

Most exhilarating moment:
first pass of the carousel Nurburghring

Biggest dissapointment:
Mark webber only number 3!

Most exciting event:
Track riding weekend at Newport international velodrome

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what else?

Well after Morocco we were home for a week (well it should have been a week but our early return made it a week and a half) before Anne showed up. Early sunday morning…and I mean early we got to the car to find it locked in as the auto gate wouldnt open, remote batteries flat or broken or british!
Well we made it only a few minutes late after a replacement car was found, however Annes flight had arrived an hour early, not to worry! we found her in a queue making purchases

It was great to see her and we toured home showing her the sites in the car which we had booked for way too long and had to get value for, crossed the tower bridge 400 times making the random terrorism check police post very suspicious, not too suspicious but just enough.
The following weekend we again hired a car and set of on there magical family history tour of west england. JAne and Anne amongst others had done a substantial amount of research into locations of key events in the history of their family, by Key I refer to deaths marriages and possible lives at certain addresses. at the same time they had found several references to my family. when I say at the same time, Anne had done a great deal of research on my behalf into the Payne and Andrew names (dad and mum) and branched out into other family tree threads to discover ancient Payne’s had come from Somerset, The Gug, west camel, yeovil, wincanton and surrounds, forgive If I got any of those names wrong or claimed Monk/Worthley family haunts as my own, I don’t have the details in front of me here at work and we visited so many small towns, standing at alters where old family were married, christened, baptised, circum… you know what I mean.
Of course we visited many of Janes relatives haunts as well, we discovered the plaques on a wall inside a church dedicated to her relatives, and another gravestone in the churchyard, we also visited the 3rd Earl of Somerset’s Home, Petworth house Well it was his home for many years but there were also many others, the reason I mention this particular earl is his connection with Jane. Yes Jane is landed gentry in disguises, her disguise being half a millennia and a globe of separation but that’s close enough for me. It turns out that the Earls, mistress Elizabeth Ilive, later to become wife and mother to his children, had a brother, the earl in all his wisdom and generosity packed the brother and his family off to Australia back in the 1800’s. That family through one way or another became Janes family which led to Jane in the natural way. There are even paintings and knowledge about Elizabeth Ilive on the walls of the great house, famed for its very impressive art collections and lifestyles of the family at that time…very exciting

OK Ill be back

see-you-by

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where was I

so last time you read about our travels I think we were mid Morocco! well if it wasn’t assume it was as that is where I am going to start. Actually Ill be back in a minute, better see where I was up to…

Ok so we had alluded to Roman towns and corrupt police, and a mini meca. What wasn’t mentioned was poison and thats what happened, as you could guess from my not mentioning it, poison was not on my agenda, we spent the day at Voulubilis, an excellently preserved ancient roman town which was still inhabited up until the 18th century when it was destroyed by the great Lisbon earthquake, think it was about 02:00 am in 1755. it was quite amazing place with a stunning visitor centre, yet to open, and talking with a local it has been yet to open for quite some time. During the day it was hot, drank lots of water but was feeling a pain in the kidney region, this odd pain explained itself at about midnight in a diabolical stomach upset. 12 vomits in 3 hours, yes I said it , its out there in more senses of the word, I cant take it back. It didn’t destroy any long standing period of non convobulation (sic) but it was unwelcome.

So what do you do when your pal is face down in the bowl with uncontrollable spasms at 3am. Jane found it the perfect opportunity for a bit of late night sightseeing with her newfound buddy, the night manager from the Riad. even went so far to pick up the dry cleaning.

Perhaps a little unfair, Jane actually spent 3 hours being raced, literally raced around the streets of Fez on a pilgrimage to find an open medico to find a chemical to stop me purging! Of course the hour before was spent in discussions with Mr. hero as to where he might go, then a call to another friend who had a car, and finally another friend who wanted to come fro a ride. So Jane piles into the car and hops from closed location to closed location after another, even the hospital A&E is closed…so I’m told…until they happen across a chemist next door to the dry cleaners where out night manager has something to pick up, at 3am??? No hospital but you can get your dry cleaning a haircut and countless other things so I am told. Anyhow her return heralded the beginning of a two week recovery from whatever it was (food poisoning, remember the sun, the hot and the food left out in it, I ate it and got sick)
Unfortunately no sleep and an onward booking meant we had to trudge across the country in the car to Meknes. Strangely the map of the Medina looked like we could drive to the door, so we tried as the roads got narrower until oncoming traffic, even though its only 1 car wide, stopped progress, so we parked up and made the rest of the journey on foot. Unfortunately the Riads errand boy didn’t understand when we said we were at the end oft he road when he escorted us back to the car via every carpark in the quarter hoping our car was there, when we finally escorted him to our car, a place he had never been, only 5 minutes walk from the Riad. I can sort of understand though, as Jane was trying to convince the young fella of his misunderstanding, a CRAZY woman attacked me, jumping in my way to block my path through an arched opening she reached fro my throat with one hand and with the other struck a toothpick against the stonework and thrust it mewards! Holy Cow! what’s going on I though as I deftly avoided shishkabobing. of course Jane and her friend barely register my brush with death while already on the edge of it. CRAZY woman I tell you.
Meknes unfortunately was wasted as we sleep the rest of the afternoon to catch up and allow me to recuperate. we wandered a bit in the evening for as long as I could and witnessed the breaking of Ramadan from Meknes’s public square.
The next day we decided to push on and head for the desert hoping I would be feeling better, whose had food poisoning for longer than 24 hours eh. ME as it turns out. Our drive to Midelt was fairly uneventful, via Ifrane, the kings ski resort/university town. In the high atlas mountains there is this pristine French style village that attracts the best Moroccans for their annual holidays, to ski and generally not be hot and dirty as per the plains. Quite amazing.
Oh yeah! then there was the police, pulled me over and fined me for being there, we negotiated what the fine would be, they wanted 400 dirham’s, I said no, they said 300, I said no, the conferred with one another and offered a final bid of 100 which I took. Thanks for that guys, good to see CORRUPTION is live and well. Only problem Jane and I saw when discussing the possibility of this robbery was if they, the coppers had guns…they did and our Hire Peugeot, while agile and by far the quickest modern thing on the road wasn’t as fast as the coppers 6 little friends. and I didn’t want to return the hire car with 6 bullet holes and blood stains, so we stopped and graciously had money stolen from us. King Mohammed VI clean up your country!
ll be back, dinner needs my attention
see-you-by

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I am middle class!

oooh Im angry!
Why?
Do I have ‘dont serve me correctly’ tattooed across my forehead or exude a sense of ‘I dont need fair’
I dont know but somethings amiss!
Asking nicely for a particular table at a restaurant was greeted with a polite but firm no, those seats are for parties of 4 not two as we were. Fair enough in a crowded peak hour rush, but this was a quiet hour. However not 2 minutes after we were showed to our less than acceptable table another couple was showed to the table by the same waitress. Not fair or equitable and watching the VIP’s they ordered no more than we did and certainly perused the menu not like regulars but like anyone else!
More recently I wished to deposit my bag within the cloakroom at a parisien museum, the thin lipped peasent behind the counter would not accept my bag, filled to the brim with janes side bag as it wasnt a back pack…fair enough again, should the shelves not been filled with other peoples side and hand bags! What, Im too tall to deposit my bag, perhaps too good looking or conversely, do I need a handsome handbag to offset my fearsome scowl in order to protect small children, I dont think so, im just a victim of unfairness. yes thats right I am the victim of a conspiracy, that stretches worldwide. I get the noisy room at hotels, only 1 floor above the street, where smokes stand, I get the shower that doesnt work, sure water dribbles out and on occasion it may be semi warm.
why do I insist in standing in the queue knowing full well the queue sidlers, jumpers and hijackers will end up in front of me, and no body will do a thing about it. I do know why I ended up buying 3 meals and 2 drinks in Paris when I just wanted a coke and a quiche, becuase I cant speak Frenchies and could say no no matter how much the waiter person piled into my bag. Technically, would we replay the security camera footage Im sure I either pointed, gestured or asked for all of what I got but surely she noticed I was talking jibberish in school boy Frenchie and would step in and ask if I really intended on ordering one of everythingh?
But I digress, Fairness, does not belong to the middle class, I am middle class and will accept inequity and unfairness, and when witnessing it will complain inwardly but do little other than scowl.
But no more, I want wat is rightfully Mine…Fairness in all my dealings…unless of course the other party disagrees then Ill just tow the line.
See-you-Bye

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FEZ oh FES

day 1 million, well thats what it feels like, its hot, and im being kicked of my posting seat, but I digress…damn hot. Just like Australia only North african, a lot less alchohol but a lot more praying, and its not the muslims, who are everywhere that are praying 5 times a day, its me almost every thirty seconds, praying that I dont get hooked in some conversation that will cost me money, you catch their eyes, they being street sellers, sellers of everything, think 100 myer, coles and safeway stores exploding across a small city and wherever stuff lands someone will be selling it, so shops lining the streets selling almost anything from new fridges to hair dye and fresh fruit stores next to rotten meat tables, oh did I mention its hot…Damn hot, though I have been reminded we are in typical desert cycle tonight as its a bit cold up here on the roof terrace of the 400 year old mudbrick and bamboo courtyard house, converted to B&B. The days are clear sunny and australia hot, 36-38 degress, which does not do much for the meat tables I can tell you, nor the fruit sellers actually. maybee a deal should be struck with the fridge sellers?? just a suggestion.

So lots of prayering, a new noun I declare, here in Morocco, of course when 99.5478 percent of the population is Prayering in one of the 3 million mosques ligning the streets, souks, medinas, and kasbahs, oh did I mention its hot and ther is a lot of prayering?? well when they are prayering the “Naughty boys” come out to play” when I say Play, I mean walking along with a tourist to wherever trying to convince them to part with the hard earned, and when failing getting agro and allah forbid if a woman was to speak to the “Naughty boys” who are not scared of anyone, not even allah or their fathers! well maybe as it turns out a bit scared of Janes “big scary eyes”. Youll need to be a grandchild of ourse to find out what all that means…well maybee next post.
So yesterday was a quick 6 hour drive from Marrakesh to Fez, south to north, spent more on tolls than on fuel, but must admit the road was pretty good considering we are in africa, Im not sure what that means but I am really only learning what Africa means, and to be honest this is Mediteranean Africa so more like Spain, except less spanish, more frenchie and somewhat muslim. Oh alot of Prayering and hot…damn hot too. Well it is hot for us Poms…yes you read it Im a pom now as I cant stand the heat. god where do I get this? oh Sorry Allah where do I get this, hey Im a fence sitter OK.
So we arrived and somehow managed to make our way to a carpark local to the Riad we are staying, took a Guide tout to lead us there on his motorscooterbikething hoping to make a sale on overpriced tour guides only to be let down as we dont do guides. Of course earleir I had offered him a payment which he refused saying he was just being friendly, of course no more was to come of the friendship so he demanded the payment. dont worry me mate as I spend less on having my toenails clipped but be honest, dont make up some ass about story, apparently thats what the tourists do, and we do…beconings ( another new noun) into a carpet sellers shop is deflected with a maybee tomorrow, of course unless your James Bond tomorrow never comes nor does the day Im going into a carpet sellers hole in the wall shop to purchase and over priced, poor quality, yuk rug. No Idea on quality as I dont hang around long enough but I have to tell you, just between us…I dont trust them! No its true, maybee a bit hard to believe but I dont. Anyway tomorrow never comes, and maybe later, back soon and have to rush stories echo across the city in most languages. alot less english that I expected, the language of tourism is french here, and I must declare I am not happy about it, just spent a week with the frenchies and Im back with their North African cousins

Anyway today was spent wandering the souks looking mostly for the woodworking museum, sounds great…but you werent here. In fact it is in a very old Fondouk, or travelling merchants hotel, bearing in mind the local berber (not barber) are nomadic.It was recently restored and converted to a morocan wood working museum. Quite well done too I must say, Incredibly detailed timber screens and carved plaster ornementation. If your really unlucky one day you might see the pictures amongst the total 72 million we have taken over the last 4 years in a slide night!

Anyway off Roman tomorrow, well actually we are off to the best preserved roman town in Africa for a looksee as we like Roman stuff, then off to the Morocan meca, undiscovered by the world as the religious destination until the 1950’s some millenium after it started, how did we mis sit I say…How. Doing this by car again so my left hand drive skills are gaining momentum, which they will need to as later this week we head rural and may need to evade rogue cops with cash on their minds.

See-you-by

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Rocked by the Kasbah

Yes, today we were officially rocked by the kasbah! We are on holiday – finally – in Marrakesh, Morocco. First time in Africa, the closest I have been before was southern Spain, but Morocco is a whole different ball game. It’s hot, sweaty, dirty, smelly, slightly intimidating but so interesting, full of activity and action. After not much sleep at the Luton Airport hotel, we caught our 6:30am flight and arrived at Marrakesh airport around 9am, followed by an hour in a queue in the hot and humid passport control area. We were got away somewhat scammed by the taxi that took us to our hotel, charging only double what they should have. We alighted at a square and phoned the hotel, who said they would send someone to find us. Meanwhile a man decided he would be our guide, although we said we had one coming. Even when the real guide turned up, the other man continued to lead the party, looking as important and official as possible. After turning a few corners in the winding red plastered alleyways of ever decreasing size, we were joined by a woman. Barely a word was spoken, but we proceeded in state, accompanied by our increasing entourage, until we were cheek by jowl in the narrowest alley of all. Justin thought we’d be mugged, I was making mental Hansel and Gretel crumb trails to remember the path. Eventually we reached a tiny wooden door in the wall and the woman led us inside revealing her role as one of our hosts – and we stumbled inside with the clamour for a tip from our guides ringing in our ears. Yes we did give them one, which rankled, surely it’s part of the service? Anyway since then we’ve been accosted by many many many people trying to be our guides, and I am quite proud of how good we have become at getting rid of them. Even to the point of walking confidently in any direction to give the impression we know where we’re going. This city is the most confusing place in the world, we have a map but it’s useless, as there are about three street names written on it, and most of the streets don’t have names on them anyway. I think we have spent about 90% of our time here lost. Mostly that’s ok as we don’t really have anywhere to be at any particular time, although it was kind of annoying to spend the entirety of this afternoon walking through the streets of the Kasbah trying to find the Bahia Palace, only to realise once we’d actually left the city limits that we’d been going in completely the wrong direction. Two hours and three sets of directions from random people in the street later, and we found the Saadian Tombs where we’d set out from, and thence the Palace, about 10 minutes walk away. It was closed. Early, for Ramadan. Not in the guidebook, nor on the map we had which stated other early closing times. However we had a decent sightseeing day, we went to the Ben Youssef Medersa (religious centre of learning) from the 16th century, and the Koubba baths which serviced the mosque nearby, dating from the Almorovid empire of the 11th century. We’ve also spent quite a bit of time wandering (lost) through the Souks in the old medina – these are markets on a grand scale. Tiny winding alleys with timber slat or palm frond roofs giving a dappled light to the stalls below, full of wares in large shops, small stalls, or tiny cupboards in walls stashed to the ceiling with goods. Glinting lanterns, embroidered slippers in every colour, polished chess-sets, clothing, carpets, woven baskets, pet tortoises, fresh mint, preserved olives, ceramic tagines, mountains of spices, jewellery, everthing for sale. Absolutely amazing, vivid colours, noise, movement. Yet as it’s Ramadan, stall holders shut around 5, then there is a manic hustle and bustle as they buy mounds of dates and fresh khoubz bread and rush home to break the fast, followed around 7 by the chorus of muezzin from every mosque signalling prayer time. Then they’re back out to Djema el Fna, the main square, to sell, eat, and entertain. I don’t approve of everything in the main square – monkeys on leads and snake charmers’ cobras probably don’t lead great lives – but it’s certainly very exotic and interesting to watch the action. We’re back at the Riad (guesthouse) now, on the roof terrace to catch the evening breeze and get a bit less hot and sticky, lazing on a long banquette with mounds of cushions. Life is so hard! Well it’s a long awaited holiday so we’ll make the most of it. Off to Fez tomorrow.

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Thanks to all

to the 300 odd people who cared to leave messages comments and advise over the last two weeks I thank you so much, especially the 50 or so who left multiple comments, you were all so helpfull. So far from your advice I have booked holidays in Iraqi, bought anti smoking generic drugs online which I have to say work a treat as I still dont smoke and it never looked like I would, I also got two enlargements, Im keeping one as a spare, as you just never know, thanks for your tip, april1978! I also invested in some German stuff, that came well recommended and advised I must rush to save disappointed. Im sure I wont be disappointed when it arrives, whatever it is as 428 million germans cant be wrong. And to all those wanting to quote from the plan, be our guest, of course the royalties are due on the second tuesday of the third month of the year, please just leave your payment in a brown paper bag in the usuall place.

So thats out of the way, where was I, Oh yeah so after driving the ring…

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… we packed up and headed back to London, where after another epic journey in the truck we boarded the ferry, however enough time was made available in the que to load the boat for me to go and have my first unassisted Fully french conversation, well as french as ordering two hotdogs one with onions the other with cheese and onions and two cokes. Small triumphs I say. So I arrived home to jane that night and crashed, as it was only 8 hours tillI boarded a plane to Zurich, where Garys father awaited to be escorted back to Australia. Ken had got himself into trouble with the law 1 million worth in swiss watches, and was on the run and had to go to ground, So I had to smuggle him out of Switzerland…Hang on a minute… cant back that up, needels to say I helped out where possible as we made our way across the globe with the FBI in hot pur…Stop it…
After stopping in Zurich switzerland and Dubai airport we safely arrived in melbourne, where I was greeted by gaz who thankfully dropped me at mum and dads empty house. Of course the surprise trip, was such a surprise the folks decided to go away and werent expecting to return till almost after I had left, however some deft storytelling probably including international intrigue etc guaranteed their return sometime that day, but when! Dah Dah dahhhh. Well it wasnt while I was asleep, the trip having taken its toll, as the movies were poor at best, and sleep was not welcome where i was!
As I had to be alert in case the KGB were on our tail, so much so that I managed to get us upgrared to business class for the grand total of 1 hour and 12 minutes, when I say u I mean Ken, i had to stay with the cattle and guard the loot…oh god Im back there again, anyhoo, having travelled the world with empty suit cases with barely a pair of spare underdrawerclothesthings I stole the Volvo (Like the saint i drive volvos, and he is an international man of mystery), well actually I did as mum didnt know I had the car, so there is some truth to my story, to head to susie’s as she was my next acomplice in the great Knox job of 2010. My haul included so much I havent needed to shop since, Of course I very rare;y shop so it may not have been that big, but it did fill mu drag bag onth ereturn flight, of course the backpack was full of twisties for the trip, shlould have seen custome in zurich on my return, the bag opened and a soft golden glow overcame the customs official, she asked where I was going, To London I answered and she shutthe bag in wonder and waved me on, always to live a straight life. But I digress, to Knox, to shop, to own, to then dash home hoping to discover and dark empty house where I may sit in the revolving chair holding the dog and turn slowly upon the parents return, probably to cause myocardial infarction, whiletapping my fingertips on one hand to the other hand while held palm to palm, Its harder to describe than you think. However a slight delay in my departure with my own loot from the hideway (susies house) allowed the woud be dead to arrive home, not discover the missing car but find someone had been sleeping in the bed at the end of the hall, What is wrong with a person who notices not a missing car, nor a passport and mysterious long box in the kitchen but the gentle ruffles of a poorly made bed…well i tell thee now, that sort of person Is my Mother, Dah, dah, dahhhh. Of course her first reaction is to not cal the bear hunters, but to call said aformentioned and well loved sister and demand to speak to the culprit. Only a mother would notice the shape of the indent in an unmade bed and determine that not 1 million miles away is her son but only near Knox is he now. So terrorising the parents idea was ruined so i helped unpack the winne-bigger than my london flat-bago bus after their return and hung around chatting.
The next few days are a blur of family and friends of spending obscene amounts of money on nothing at all, well to me, Melbourne is expensive, there were trips to films with pre teen nephew and neice and just post teen sister ( Oh shucks she says) then go karting with slightly older nephews and grandpa. Who i must say again excelled himself in his ability to miss the wave past and believe he legitimately passed me, this is the story of my life mind as everytime we kart together, its On However in fairness I always spend some time in the back chasing as its fun. You hear that you old bugger, cause its fun not cause you actually passed me. However there was this one time where we came face to face on the fastest corner of the track, afer my Nurburgring experience I thought the cart could do the flip flop flat, Nope it couldnt and a hard sideways spin into the wall placed me back into the path of Father believing If i could do it so could he, what he couldnt see around the corners was I couldnt do it, neither could he and pow, bang bish, followed the biggest eyes I have ever seen…too funny, anyway between late nights with the friends who replied to phone calls and days spent with family doing football games, Gym competitions, movies and generally mee looking and beinmg out of place as a modern british chap in east Melbourne I returned home via dubai and zurich after another 5 days away.
anyway time fo the evening walk, So wheres the leash,

See-you-by

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8 countries in 3 days

what a trip!

Easter trip to Nurburgring plans turned into a whirlwind world trip covering 8 countries and 55 modes of transport, all at the drop of an unexpected hat.

I had planned to visit a Spa trackday on Easter Friday followed by a day at Germany’s Nurburgring then back to London sunday night ready for work Tuesday. Spa was cancelled a week out due to a damaged circuit after storms came through so a 3am start Pre easter thursday to get a ferry from Dover to Boulogne before an epic…well by European standards 9 hour drive across Northern France, Holland, Belgium, back to france and onto germany before arriving amidst a snow blizard, or was it hail, perhaps torrential rain perhaps also Spring sunshine, was I in melbourne, No I was in the Eifel mountains in the town of Nurburg, which must have once been Nur where a castle was built, and this was a real fortified castle, not a typical German Stately home or palace masquerading as a Castle. While the castle was interseting the reason for coming was the Nordschleif or north loop. A 20+km long 100 corner circuit/toll road ‘that widely considered the toughest, most dangerous and most demanding purpose-built racing circuit in the world’ That has been a desired detination for me for many years. Loosely described as pit crew I was conscripted to keep a mate company in the cabin of the tow truck carrying his Mk 2 Cosworth powered escort in convoy with 25 odd other small ford enthusiasts spread across many other tow trucks, recovery vehicles, undersized sedans with oversize trailors, work vans, road registered race cars and busses all driving, carrying, towing or enclosing a menagerie of high performance old fords…the least powerfull of which was  a 350ish HP LS3 powered Capri. I was teamed with Mark whos 380Hp escort, riding on tiny 13 inch wheels was to be my introduction to the course who claims in average a life a day. fortunately we killed it taking it off the truck, the fuel pump, the only second hand part on the car, decided to seize, fortunate that it occurred of the circuit as a minimum 180 euro recovery fee would have been applicable. Unfortunately, Easter Friday was warm and sunny, despite the predictions of snow and ice, as a result, every german, french, dutch and Belgian rev head decended on the quaint little village. I have never seen so many cars with performance potential in the one spot. everything from a 1.1 litre polo…well not really any performance potential there to a 1 million pound Gumpert, hypercar driven by a pimple faced 21 year old. I also believe every gt2 and gt3 porsche had also found there way there. I spent most of my day running around north germany trying to locate a fuel pump, who would have thought a bosch pump would be so hard to find…coincidentally I spent some of the night looking under parked cars looking for same said pump to no avail.

So the Escort was dead , I was there and may have missed my chance had The Rent-4-ring crew not been open. I hired a race prepared New suzuki swift, kitted out with race suspension, tyres, brakes and safety equipment like a roll cage, race seat and harness and an additional 50 hp and 100kg weight loss. All in all I had 7 hours to not kill myself or worse still, damage the car and the circuit, as each driver is responsible fore the damage they cause to the circuit and is charged with repair and lost revenue bills, which must be paid to recover ones passport. The biggest bill is reputedly 39,000 pounds several years ago. Anyway needless to say I survived and have earnt my sticker which I will wear on the flanks of whatever car I own forever… I bought a few stickers, one for the escort, one for my tool box, another for…well whatever I can stick them too.

Adding to the fear of course was driving my first left hand drive car, changing gear with my right hand, in the rain as the good weather had left the nigt before, on a circuit famouse for death, not having play-stationed it (yes its a new verb) so I had no Idea where I was going and hit 220km/h in some locations. the car was great for what it was and in the conditions, I did not threaten its limits, nor did i scare an apex, but on my 3rd run I did pass a porsche, and not one that was parked, or piled into a fence, or spinning off, or missing awheel, or missfiring but a bonified-real-slow porsche.

Anyway the following day…keep posted! more to follow its late and I still have the lag of the jet variety.

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