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Entries in Cars (21)


MiniWorld makes me sound gay!

My friend Ian collects classic Minis, including one of the first five hundred built and one of the last five hundred built. He also has several in between.

For reasons of "convenience" he has a toilet in the corner of his large garage and before he walled it in he wanted a joke photo of him sitting on it. This ended up as a series of photos featuring him and his Italian Job Mini in various poses, with him reading MiniWorld magazine, wiping the Mini's dipstick, etc.

We sent one of these photos off to Kay Drury at MiniWorld a while ago. We know Kate through various Mini events and she has also attended the Manx Mini Meet which is organised by Ian and a couple of friends.

This photo was eventually printed in the July 2012 issue of MiniWorld.

I'm not too sure about the "when fooling around one day Mike got Ian to drop his trousers" part though!

Photo: MiniWorld Reader's Photo


Isle of Man to Peebles

My mother and I were heading off for another annual Caine family get together in Peebles, Scotland. My wife can't make it as it's in Manx Grand Prix fortnight and she can't get time off from her job at the hospital.

This meant an early start to take the Ben My Chree sailing to Heysham and after the obligatory stop at Gretna to buy some whisky and lunch we turned off the motorway at Moffat to take the scenic route to Peebles.

There were only two other people in the Manannan Executive lounge. They were going to a reunion which was normally held in the same hotel we were going to but this year it was big reunion and it was being held in Edinburgh. Coincidentally they were also going to return on the same sailing as us.

Unlike last year when torrential rain had flooded and closed some of the roads this year the weather was fine and I enjoyed “making some progress” in the Porsche Boxster.

If my wife had been with me it would be all white knuckles and "slow down!" but my 84 year old mother was in the passenger seat and she was fast asleep after a good lunch. Once she briefly woke up and asked how fast we were going. I told her about 80 and she said "Oh, I thought it was faster than that" and then went back to sleep.

After checking in to Peebles Hydro we in to Peebles town and looked at some shops; I may buy some shoes. My mother then wanted to look at a church so I enjoyed a pint in pub next door. Such a convenient arrangement! In the evening we had our meal with six of the family.


Mark King, Level 42, reunited with his old Mini 

My friend Ian, a classic Mini enthusiast, owns a number of Minis including one of the first 500 made and also one of the last 500 made. He also owns a number of good examples of Minis spanning the years in between.

One of these first 500 Minis was bought new by the grandmother of Mark King, bass player with Level 42, and he and his sisters learned to drive in it. Level 42 were appearing at the Villa Marina in Douglas on the Isle of Man and Ian had taken the chance of emailing Mark King to see if he’d be interested in seeing his old Mini again.

Not really expecting a reply he was pleasantly surprised when within about 15 minutes Mark had enthusiastically replied saying he’d love to see his old Mini. An afternoon meeting was arranged at the Mount Murray hotel on the day of the concert and Ian asked me to come along at take some photos.

We arrived early at the hotel and took the cosseted Mini off the trailer and attached L plates to the car for a laugh as Mark had learned to drive in it. As we were still early we went in to the hotel for  coffee and at the appointed time we went to the reception to wait for Mark. We had expected him to be arrive late, possibly with some of “his people” but were pleasantly surprised to find him already there, waiting by himself.

Photo; Mark King and Ian Sim discuss the Mini's history

We headed out to the car park to see the car and Mark and Ian chatted about all things Mini (I’m not really al that into them so a lot of it was over my head) and Ian caught up on the early history of the car.

Photo: Mark King rips up the L plates

Mark then had a quick drive around the hotel car park and then Ian declared he’s passed the test again and Mark then ripped up the L plates.

In the evening Ian, Mary (Ian’s wife) and I went to the Villa to see Mark and Level 42 in action. I’d never really been into Level 42 but I did recognise some of the tracks; the bass player of the support band had worked with me many years ago and had been a huge fan of Mark’s unique playing style. I did download their greatest hits album off iTunes the next day.


Classic Car Pageant

My mate Ian picked me up in his recently restored 1996 Mini Traveller, the one his did the 2009 Italian Job in, and we headed off to the TT Grandstand for the start of the Classic Car Pageant.

The weather was a little poor, with mist and drizzle, which probably affected the turnout. As it was organised by the local Rolls Royce / Bentley owners they had a good turn out There was also a few Minis, Porsches, VWs, MGBs and a few other makes including a prototype Maseratai and a DeLorean.

The drivers were given a choice of several different routes of similar lengths to navigate in order to not have a huge procession of cars, all following each other, with the idea being we would all meet up at the same time to enjoy a picnic.

The route was quite easy to follow and we eventually ended up in a paddock in the north of the island for a slightly soggy picnic. Some of the Rolls Royce owners enjoyed cucumber sandwiches on the fold down tables in the back of their cars while Ian and I had a jam sandwich in the back of his Mini Traveller.

Despite the weather it was an enjoyable afternoon and a chance to see some rare cars including three vintage Bentleys that were worth about half a million pounds. It only confirmed my idea that there must be a lot of interesting, rare and valuable cars tucked away in garages and barns on the island.


Boxster Service in Chester

We were up early this morning to take the Seacat over to Liverpool and then on to the Porsche garage near Chester to drop our Boxster off for its first service. While the car was being serviced they dropped us off in Chester, where we did a bit of shopping before being picked up again later when the car was ready.

We then drove to the De Vere Carden Park Hotel, a hotel we'd stayed at before and had our evening meal in the hotel