Sunday, November 04, 2007

Mrs E's chest...an affair for smooth roads?


Right I have to tell you about your money...or in this case where your money go! I can tell you now...if you live in Wales it goes on smooth asphalt and In England they charge you twice as much and you get the lumpy bits...
Last week we sold Mrs E’s hand built Pug 306 convertible leaving us only with Esther…our Renault 5, 1986, 1.4L Automatic, with a sunroof.

What you notice when you drive an old bird like Esther is the state of the roads and I must say I am surprised at the state of the road in the Greatest Britain. Two days ago we took the old lady for spin, 400 miles (650km) leaving our comfy garage, where she had an oil change, some Autoglym, a bit of antifreeze and a bit of TLC. We set off to view the village of Portmeirion, famous for its architecture and of course for being the exterior location to The Prisoner television series starring Patrick McGoohan.

To get there we had to cross a few counties in the Greatest England to get to the Greatest Wales and it was when we crossed the border into Wales entering Powys, we started to notice the difference…Mrs E doesn’t like Esther to much cause it makes her boobies jump about a bit, and she says that in her age wearing a sports bra is only stupid…me I have no problem I just have a problem with staring at the road instead of averting my eyes over to Mrs E’s chest bobbing about like two buoy’s in the sea…however in Wales it all stopped…no bobbing or distraction, the road surface was smooth like a baby’s bottom...just an expression…

We drove for hours through Snowdonia National Park and mile after mile the surface was awesome…I never believed I would say this, but not since I drove from Stockholm back to Helsingborg in Sweden or that time before I was married, a girl called Camilla have I ever seen something so smooth…it was like driving on silk, the rubber, cheap ones from Kwik Fit, did not even make a noise anymore. We were not alone there were trucks, the size of lorries driving on the road, locals in very fast 4x4’s wanting to get to their local and not wanting to be the obvious nerd in a classic car I stepped on it…so all Esther’s horse powers had to do their duty…but no bump, no bobbing of Mrs E’s chest just bliss…

We continued in silence, mostly because the BBC has not built out their radio network in Snowdonia National Park, so not by choice, did we have to wait to hear what Jeremy Vine had to say…we caught up with him between moments of classical FM, how come they always get a signal…and spouts of Welsh Radio, which sound like a bunch of Swedes on a midsummer eve’s drunken night out…so smooth….no noise…WHY???

I feel that we have been cheated in the Greatest England…we pay the same road tax…drive the same cars, pay the same for the fuel and they…the Welsh, have smooth roads…not a pot hole every two yards, leaking water pipe, or yellow signs and cones which say “Work will start here in 2008 and will last for 11 years!” Why is that?

Is it because they actually spend their money on the roads. We know that they like a drink in Wales, and a song, which explains the silence of the radio network and it would also explain why there is not a road which is straight, but I don’t care about that. What I care about is smoothness…the ability to take my 1986 Renault 5 and drive it until it hits 60Mph (100km) and feel the road, not sit in the car with two “Nodding Dogs”…

Driving back from Wales exiting again at Powys, we entered England and I tell you not…within 5 minutes of driving we were jumping about in the car like to “doggers at a lay bay“ in Bristol, worried we might get arrested and thrown into jail…and all because they sell lumpy asphalt in England and Mrs E’s chest is distracting my driving…

What is that all about!

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Herr Nilsson not just a digital friend...


Ten years ago I crossed one of the side roads to Blvd de la Croissette in Cannes, at one of the 60 events I have attended, in the South of France. Having “bumped” into a variety of celebrities during my time there none delighted me more that this particular old lady who was walking on her own without any bodyguards or without any entourage. She was just an old frail lady, whom to the crowds was a nobody. But to me, she was the ultimate superstar...she was the only person I have asked for an autograph she was simply Astrid Lindgren…

Astrid Lindgren wrote some of the classic Swedish children stories of our times from Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Långstrump), Emil of the Maple Hills (Emil i Lönneberga) and Karlsson on the Roof (Karlsson på taket). Astrid took time and had a chat to me, a simple Swedish boy, whose claim to fame was to ride the blow up goose as a child. However it was in one of those stories, the story of Pippi Longstocking that Herr, or Mr Nilsson, came into play. The trustwordy friend, in this case a monkey, to Pippi appeared. After watching these stories as a child and later on, to delight of my daughter, I thought that everyone should have a Mr Nilsson and I am so very pleased to be able to say that I have one…

Of 40 years now I have had, and still have, my own Mr Nilsson, he is just my best friend of all times. We went to school for some 11 years, before that we managed to swim in the sea, burn down the local forest, getting married, not to each other but to separate women. He married Mrs Nilsson and I married Mrs Ericson. Out of all friends I have, Mr Nilsson, who should not be confused with Pippi’s little monkey, as my Mr Nilsson does a very bad job climbing trees and eating nuts. However my Mr Nilsson does provide everything that friendship should do, updating me with the local ice hockey results from the Tigers home games, provide Peugeot and Renault support over the phone, far better than any local dealership and best of all…he listens when I have something to say.

Does he care that I have met the Status Quo…well in fact he does, he wants copies of any freebies that I might have been given, but all in all he is very much like me, he likes that it the winter it snows, and that in the summer it is hot…he likes a good BBQ, no chicken included though as he is allergic, but he loves a SAAB 96, and if you ask him, he will write you an essay on how too increase the engine size and what carburettor to use, plus he would probably drive to Austria to participate in classic rally only to find out that he did not bring the wiper arm to the motorized wipers which eventually made them to pull out of the rally…

Sebastian Loeb might get a bit upset of his Citroen team arrived without wiper arms to his WRC car, but in this case it was Mr Nilsson…he worked everything out even down to the replacement handbrake wire…but left the wiper arm at home…None of the team got upset they just went on with the rally, when the snow was too heavy the SAAB 96 had to pull out and retire, the team enjoyed a couple of days of R&R and talked about how next year they might bring another wiper arm…

This week I have had something new to celebrate, Mr Nilsson my childhood friend has finally arrived into the 21st century, today, by means of digital communication I received my first ever email from him…albeit it being 27 images from a snowy classic car rally in Austria doesn’t matter…the fact is that I did receive an email…so from now on my childhood friend and I will move our friendship into cyberspace…I am the luckiest guy in the world…

This is the fact of life…get yourself a Mr Nilsson, hang on to him and in time your friendship will move from analogue to digital communication…a far cry better than when you start from a digital position…

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