Drive it day.

Today was “Drive it day” when every self respecting classic car owner is supposed to take their cars out to make the public aware of our wonderful hobby.

Drive it day 2019.


Those of you who read this first time will now realise I have uploaded the professional photo which is slightly better quality but I left the others


Usually my wife is very reluctant to have her photo displayed on any sort of social media but today she must have had a funny turn as she decided it would be okay to upload her image.


We were papped by professional a photographer and I asked if they would be kind enough to bash off a couple of snaps on my phone which they duly did.

Two things are noticeable here, firstly I think the lens could do with a clean and secondly, you would hardly guess from the background of this photo that we are parked in a field full of classic cars but we were.

I’m going to upload these images before my wife changes her mind and may add the professional one later if I can get a copy.

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I am primarily aiming this blog at the younger folk who, I think, are not as genned up on the subject as they might be and will therefore start my blog in the style of a fairy story, as this seems to be the only way to gain their attention judging by the numbers of young folk watching Game of Thrones.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, in a time long, long ago, well actually Europe and the time was February 1957, there was no European Union, it wasn’t until March of that year that the European Economic Community, commonly known as the Common Market was formed.

On the 25th March 1957 a treaty was signed in Rome between France, West Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg which established the European Economic Community the EEC which came into operation in January 1958.

Image result for the eec treaty

Just to put this in perspective for you younger folk, prior to 1957 all the countries in Europe and the UK existed as separate entities, how scary is that!

How brave the British must have been, for as far back as the seventeenth and eighteenth century hoards of the extremely wealthy would have gone on a Grand Tour often lasting up to four years, extensively to broaden their horizons and take in the culture, language, geography and architecture, but which often just turned into a glorified booze up.

Image result for the grand tour 1700s

It would be wrong to accuse the British of being anti Europe for we have travelled extensively on trains like the Orient Express and the Blue Train to places like Paris, Milan, Vienna, Strasbourg, Belgrade and many others. Later in 1907 the Caravan Club was formed and by the 1930’s, touring the continent was within the reach of wealthy middle class people, however the best story of this time is of the race between Woolf Barnato, owner of Bentley Motors and famous Bentley Boy, who raced the Blue Train from Cannes back to London in his 6 1/2 litre Bentley Speed Six, and won!

Image result for the bentley and the blue train

Putting this story into historical perspective we have to now mention the Second World War in which a diminutive Austrian called Adolph Hitler attempted world domination where vast swathes of Europe came under the control of jackbooted Nazi hoards.

It was during 1940 that the French were overrun by the Germans causing General Charles De Gaulle to flee to Great Britain and set up the Free French army, he remained with us until 1944.

At this point up stepped the plucky Brits who rather belatedly were joined by our American cousins and went to the rescue of the defeated Europeans resulting in our return to Europe yet again on D Day in 1944, finally defeating the Nazis in 1945.

Meanwhile, as we were still running amok with our Bentley’s, it was suggested by some European political theorists who, with a view to preventing war and improving Europe’s economic climate that economic integration might be a good idea, and the first major step was taken in 1951 when France and West Germany integrated their coal and steel industries. Now for us older fellows and with the benefit of hindsight, we can all see where this is going.

I know that you will find this surprising, but initially Britain and other nations declined to join the Common Market, however by the early 1960’s the Common Market had shown signs of significant growth and Britain changed its mind.

From the British point of view there was a slight flaw in the plan, as the French President was one Charles de Gaulle who twice vetoed the British admission because of our close ties to the United States, hang on, I’m seeing a pattern emerging here, if I’m not much mistaken.

Image result for Charles De Gaulle

As you can imagine we were not greatly impressed with his actions, this, some might say from the “cheese eating surrender monkey” who as leader of the Free French during World War Two, when overrun by Nazi Germany fled to the safety of Great Britain for the rest of the war. One would have thought that, one good turn deserves another, but apparently not.

There is a possibility that had he not been so against us joining, we may have just walked away and got on with our lives, but we Brits are never ones to back away from the taunt “come and have a go, if you think you’re hard enough”, or in this case De Gaulle’s taunt of “Non”.

For the benefit of the younger element who may be reading this, it may surprise you to know that it wasn’t until January 1973 under the leadership of Ted Heath that we were finally able to join, which means we have only been in the Common Market for 45 years.

Image result for ted heath

Two small points here, 45 years in the concept of world history is a drop in the ocean and the Common Market that we joined then is a distinctly different animal to the current European Union we are currently shackled with.

Having given the history of getting in, I now propose to discuss the thorny subject of, getting out and will start with a quote from the latest film about Winston Churchill, who allegedly said, “you can’t reason with a tiger, when your head is in its mouth.”

Image result for winston churchill

Rather along the lines of a visit to the dentist where upon sitting in the chair, one clasps his testicles in one’s hand and utters the phrase, “we’re not going to hurt each other, are we?” Perhaps, when next our negotiating team enter the room, I think they too should have a useful phrase to get our point across and I suggest this; “Exactly what do you want to sell us, I’m sure there must be something?”

I know very little of the game of poker or gambling but I know a little about common sense and having witnessed recently the look of fear in the eyes of the EU negotiators when the mention of no deal is brought up, I still find it hard to understand why we don’t play this hand and negotiate a sensible deal which works for both of us.

There you are, the story of Brexit from the very beginning and I’m hoping I live long enough to eventually see an end to the story.

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Who is Jochen Rindt?

Following on from my previous post who’s George Formby, I happened to be watching the Formula 1 motor racing at the weekend and was reminded of Jochen Rindt which leaves you dear reader with the question, who?

Motor racing has always been a very dangerous profession especially during the 1960’s and 70’s where it was all too often that we would hear that yet another driver had been killed.

I have copied the list of drivers who died in the 60’s and 70’s from Wikipedia but was rather amazed to see they had left off Jim Clark who was one of the best drivers the world has ever seen. Clark was World Champion in both 1963 and 1965 and won the Indianapolis 500 in 1965 but unfortunately died when his car left the track and crashed into a tree whilst racing at Hockenheim in Germany on 7th April 1968.

Image result for Jim Clark

As you can see this was in the days before any form of crash protection at the circuit, and virtually nothing from the exceedingly flimsy cars of that era, so if you went off as Clark did there was nothing to stop you hitting the trees at the edge of the circuit.

Image result for jim clark crash

The following is the list of drivers who died just in Formula 1 in the 60’s and 70’s.

 Harry Schell (USA) May 13, 1960 BRDC International Trophy Silverstone Circuit Cooper T51 Practice [8]
 Chris Bristow (UK) June 19, 1960 Belgian Grand Prix[note 5] Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps Cooper T51 Race [8]
 Alan Stacey (UK) Lotus 18
 Shane Summers (UK) June 1, 1961 Silver City Trophy Brands Hatch Cooper Practice [14]
 Giulio Cabianca (ITA)[note 6] June 15, 1961 Test Autodromo di Modena Cooper T51 Test [15]
 Wolfgang von Trips (GER)[note 7] September 10, 1961 Italian Grand Prix Autodromo Nazionale Monza Ferrari 156 F1 Race [17]
 Ricardo Rodríguez (MEX) November 1, 1962 Mexican Grand Prix Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez Lotus 24 Practice [18]
 Gary Hocking (Rhodesia and Nyasaland) December 21, 1962 Natal Grand Prix Westmead Circuit Lotus 24 Practice [8]
 Carel Godin de Beaufort (NED)[note 8] August 1, 1964 German Grand Prix Nürburgring Porsche 718 Practice [8]
 John Taylor (UK)[note 9] August 7, 1966 German Grand Prix Nürburgring Brabham Race [20]
 Lorenzo Bandini (ITA)[note 10] May 7, 1967 Monaco Grand Prix Circuit de Monaco Ferrari 312 Race [21]
 Bob Anderson (UK) August 14, 1967 Test Silverstone Circuit Brabham Test [22]
 Jo Schlesser (FRA) July 7, 1968 French Grand Prix Rouen-Les-Essarts Honda RA302 Race [23]
 Gerhard Mitter (GER) August 1, 1969 German Grand Prix Nürburgring BMW Practice [8]
 Piers Courage (UK) June 21, 1970 Dutch Grand Prix Circuit Park Zandvoort De Tomaso Race [26]
 Jochen Rindt (AUT) September 5, 1970 Italian Grand Prix Autodromo Nazionale Monza Lotus 72 Qualifying [5]
 Jo Siffert (SUI) October 24, 1971 World Championship Victory Race Brands Hatch BRM P160 Race [27]
 Roger Williamson (UK) July 29, 1973 Dutch Grand Prix Circuit Park Zandvoort March Race [8]
 François Cevert (FRA) October 6, 1973 United States Grand Prix Watkins Glen Tyrrell Qualifying [28]
 Peter Revson (USA) March 22, 1974 Test Kyalami Shadow DN3 Test [29]
 Helmuth Koinigg (AUT) October 6, 1974 United States Grand Prix Watkins Glen Surtees Race [30]
 Mark Donohue (USA)[note 11] August 17, 1975 Austrian Grand Prix Österreichring March Practice [8]
 Tom Pryce (UK)[note 12] March 5, 1977 South African Grand Prix Kyalami Shadow DN8 Race [32]
 Brian McGuire (AUS)[note 13] August 29, 1977 Shellsport International Series Round 11 Brands Hatch McGuire BM1 Practice [33]
 Ronnie Peterson (SWE)[note 14] September 10, 1978 Italian Grand Prix Autodromo Nazionale Monza Lotus 78 Race [35]

However, my post today is about the only driver to have won the World Championship posthumously and that driver is Jochen Rindt.

Rindt was born in Germany in 1942 of Austrian and German parentage. His parents died under Allied bombing in 1943 and he was taken to Graz in Austria where he was brought up by his grandparents.

Image result for Jochen Rindt

He had a very successful F1 career and was considered one of the best drivers by many people but he was very badly affected by the death of his friend Piers Courage and many were convinced that he would retire at the end of the year. Until that time he continued to drive with grim determination but the joy of driving had ended for him.

Rindt went on to win the French, British and German GPs. In his home Grand Prix, at the Osterreichring, Rindt failed to finish and his main rival Jacky Ickx led a Ferrari 1-2. The pressure began to tell on Rindt and he went to Monza for the Italian GP ready to clinch the World Championship that had for so long alluded him. Rindt by that time had decided to quit racing at the end of the season and talked about setting up a sports clothing business.

Practice was held on Friday and Saturday, September 4-5, and half an hour into the Saturday session Rindt’s Lotus veered sharp left under heavy braking into the Parabolica, dived under the Armco crash barriers and bounced back onto the track, its front end torn away. Jochen Rindt was lifted clear by officials, but if he was not already dead there was no hope of his surviving terrible chest injuries. Officially he died in the ambulance on the way to a Milan hospital.

Image result for Jochen Rindt

I am grateful to Wikipedia and Grand Prix History for information used in this post to one of the best drivers in Formula 1 and the only one to have ever won the World Championship posthumously.

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200 POSTS.




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Defiance or determination or discipline?

My post today was prompted by reading Marilyn Armstrong’s post called Defiance or Determination.

Children seem so ill disciplined nowadays compared to my childhood, when my parents said no, they meant it and we knew it too. I am astounded at how rude some children can be but when you see a family out and they are sitting round a meal table all of them on their phones with no interaction between them, I’m not greatly surprised.

It will obviously never go back to the old days where six of the best with a slipper or a cane used to help concentrate the mind no end. Punishing children who don’t like school by excluding them from the very place they don’t want to be doesn’t seem like much of a punishment to me.

Image result for whacko

It’s quite odd to me that when I was at school, we never had anyone with ADHD or autism no-one disrupted a lesson and we were so unbelievably well behaved compared to modern children.

I know from experience that you can give a child a full-strength fizzy pop style drink and they shoot of as if they have a rocket up their backside and take some considerable time to calm down, I have no idea if this has any bearing on ADHD. When I was at school, we had fizzy pop called Tizer it tasted horrible so we didn’t consume vast quantities of the stuff which may explain a lot.

In my day there were four basic categories of children at school, naturally clever, hardworking, not so clever and lazy, or permutations thereof.  For example, you could be clever and lazy which would place you about halfway in your class, or you could be not so clever but put in an enormous amount of hard work and come top of the class.

Surprisingly the main thing we all came out of school with was a decent education in the lessons of morals, ethics and good manners, most of which was taught (although we didn’t realise it at the time) in the Religious Education class with parables like the good Samaritan etc.

I can remember my parents saying to me, “never speak to a grown up until they first speak to you,” which when visitors arrived, we would dutifully wait to be spoken to before responding. You can’t imagine the youth of today behaving in such a fashion.

We try to educate our grandchildren in the correct ways but sometimes it feels a little like pushing water uphill, I wonder what on earth it will be like in a few more generations time, from the look of things sometimes I worry that some of the coming generations may damage their knuckles as they scrape along the ground.

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My boy Jack.

I was prompted to write this today following a comment from Chris Hall about my post Goodbye Christopher Robin and the mention of the film on the subject.

This led into the mention of the film My boy Jack which I can also recommend as very well worth watching.

Image result for my boy jack

My Boy Jack is a 1916 poem by Rudyard Kipling. It was written after his son called Jack was posted as missing and later as dead in September 1915 during the battle of Loos in World War One. Jack was a Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion Irish Guards when he was killed, he had extremely bad eyesight and was not fit to be in the Army, but in the beginning of the war his father was very patriotic and pushed for his son to join up.

Not surprisingly after his son was killed Rudyard Kipling became very anti war, after witnessing the futility of it, having lost his son. My Boy Jack is quite a moving poem but all the more so when you know the story of why it was written. I need add nothing further to this blog and I give you;

My Boy Jack, by Rudyard Kipling.

“Have you news of my boy Jack?”
Not this tide.
“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Has any one else had word of him?”
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind —
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!

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Who’s George Formby?

My post today was inspired by a conversation I had when replying to a post by RACHELMANKOWITZ called The Ukelele Life where she was discussing taking ukulele lessons.

My response was to ask if she had a George Formby Society where she was and unfortunately her reply was, George Formby, who?

George Formby was one of Britain’s biggest film stars of the 30’s and 40’s so I was somewhat surprised he wasn’t more well known which leaves me no option but to endeavour to educate my readers about this very talented man.

George was famous for his risque songs which he used to sing and accompany himself on a banjolele which is a cross between a banjo and a ukulele but louder.

He was so famous that the George Formby Society was formed in 1961 in tribute to this great man.

Here are two of his most famous tunes, the first being “Leaning on a lamp post.”

The second being, “When I’m cleaning windows.”

This is the George Formby Society which meets every year and is as popular today as it was years ago, only in Great Britain you may think and you may be right but eccentricity is considered a virtue in this country.

George Formby has obviously influenced other performers, one of which is The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

Finally I give you a documentary on George Formby with the recommendation that you seek him out on youtube where you can find his films and tunes. It is people like George Formby and Gracie Fields who kept moral up and may have gone some way in assisting the winning of World War Two.

I can say no more ladies and gentlemen, I give you the rather wonderful George Formby, do enjoy. “Turned out nice again!”

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