My interests are varied and have changed over the years usually depending on time available. Where there is further information, links on this page will take you to other pages and photo galleries

TRAVEL


My first experience of foreign travel was a trip to Norway via Denmark to stay with a college friend and his family. (Note - its perhaps best not to follow me on a trip as shortly after crossing the Skagerrak to Norway the boat sank in a storm and again shortly after I had returned home the boat from Oslo to Newcastle caught fire mid North Sea!)
Later in life further summer holidays were spent in Jersey, Spain and Portugal with family life seeing the usual beach holidays in The Canaries and Mediterranean region. Since retirement I have been a little more ambitious and visited New Zealand (2006), Barcelona (2007), Australia (2008), Venice (2008), China (2009), Lisbon (2009), Montenegro (2009), Lake Garda (2010), Kenya (2011), Prague (2011), India (2012), Sorrento (2012), Brussels (2012), Paris (2013), USA and Canada (2013) and the occasional off-season visit to Tenerife and in the future.....who knows? I do have a wish list of places to visit which includes, Russia, Vietnam and Cambodia, Brazil, South Africa etc. etc.

To see picture galleries of my travels click on the relevant button on the left of the page.

To see where my travels have taken me click here to see
My travel map.



The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

St. Augustine

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MOTORING

My first car, a black Mk.1 Austin A40, was purchased in 1968 for the princely sum of £120 when I had finished college and needed to learn to drive to get to work; I later sold it for £90 so it didn’t really owe me anything. Those were the days of “real” motoring when you carried a spare can of petrol in the boot because the fuel gauge couldn’t always be trusted and during winter the engine would sometimes cut out owing to carburettor icing - engine adjustments were made with a screwdriver unlike these days when a laptop computer is required. When calculating a 0-60 mph time a calendar was useful - not the case with my current car!
Incidentally the cost of my driving lessons was 16 shillings (80 pence) an hour!

A40-EDIT

NFA 757 in all its glory.


After selling the A40 in 1970 I bought the first of three Opel Kadetts; Opel had just moved into the UK market and their cars had superior build quality which wasn’t associated at the time with home grown cars. The engine size was 998cc. and the car cost me a total of £906, 5 shillings and 9 pence; I was able to negotiate a discount from the garage owner, Mr. Heinz Landgraf, reducing the cost to £860. I stretched my budget to the limit by having a radio fitted (a Blaupunkt Sandringham) for the sum of £43-18s-3d and filling the tank with 7 gallons of 3 star petrol cost a further £2-4s-4d (in new money that is 32p per gallon!)
It was an exciting period waiting for my first new car but an industrial dispute meant that I had to be very patient. The planned delivery date was August 1st. to coincide with the issue of the new (“J”) registration but a dockworkers’ strike meant that at that particular time my car was sat on a quay side in Belgium and didn’t arrive in the UK until September.



60.





After this car I owned a further two Opel Kadetts and then in 1996 I made a quantum leap purchasing the first of three Volvos (two 440’s and an S40) - fuel injection, electronic ignition, air con. etc. all of which definitely saw the end of home servicing! The final model was the T4 variant of the S40 - let me just say that anyone who thought a Volvo was a boring ride quickly changed their mind after a short trip. One of the motoring correspondents wrote in his review that “the performance of the T4 is manic” - I wouldn’t disagree!

I made a brief foray into the world of kit cars taking over a Dutton Melos from Jonathan who by now was too involved in medical training to find any time for tinkering with cars. The model was originally assembled in 1984 based on a MkI Escort 1300XF and really was the forerunner of all Lotus 7-type cars. It had the sort of engine I understood and the intention was to make the restoration a retirement project but after making some progress, a cold garage and restricted workspace convinced me that it wasn’t such a good idea and I decided to sell it.

All my life I have wanted a sports car but family responsibilities dictated that I should be “sensible” and so when I retired I decided that now was the time “to do it” so I blew the pension lump sum on a Honda S2000GT!

Update - July 2014 - unfortunately I have had to part company with the Honda!! Getting in and out was becoming increasingly more uncomfortable and so the decision was made. Its gone to a good home!!

The next “family” car was to be a VW Golf which I found to be quite satisfactory for my needs - as I told the salesman it had to have a boot of sufficient capacity to carry two beehives!

I kept the Golf for seven years and have now moved up to the “crossover” model of a VW Tiguan - described by a motoring correspondent as “a Golf with wellies”! The extra height makes life a lot easier when loading bee hives etc. and the DSG automatic gearbox gives my ageing brain one thing less to think about!!




DSC00184[1]EDIT

My retirement present from Me to Me on delivery day against a backdrop of Carsington water.








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Woodturning

I have always been keen to try my hand at woodturning, or indeed any woodworking, but anyone attending secondary schools in the 60’s who were slightly academically gifted weren’t permitted to take Woodwork as an option but were force fed Latin etc. Later (much later!!) in life I pitched up in Ashbourne and became involved with the local Chamber of Trade and when it was announced that H.M. the Queen was to make a visit to the town we decided to decorate the town centre with Union Flags - yours truly spent a week of his holiday painting white about 100 six foot lengths of dowel to which we attached Union Flags. I got the idea that one or two poles would look better if they were topped with a decorative cap and decided to have a crack at making some. I realised that a lathe was required but not having access to one I mounted my B & D drill in a horizontal stand and jammed a huge screw (at least 6 inches) in the chuck onto which I wound a lump of softwood and Bingo!, I had a (very) basic lathe. With the aid of a chisel and a lot of scraping I achieved, more or less, an object resembling a flag pole cap which when painted yellow (couldn’t afford gold paint!) looked OK - ish up on the side of a building! Another committee member heard about my efforts and offered a basic Wolf lathe which required the addition of my drill but was a big improvement as it featured such extras as a tool rest!! The outcome was that I was hooked on woodturning and went for lessons with a local turning tutor, Reg Slack. Purchasing a proper lathe was the next priority and I have since twice moved into a larger workshop and bought a bigger lathe.
My efforts can be seen by clicking on the Woodturning link on the left. If you are interested in trying out woodturning then drop me a line via the link below. To view some expert turning go to our club page -
Derbyshire Dales Woodcraft Club - where you can view reports and photos of our meetings and read the latest newsletter.