Friday, 28 September 2007

XF - now in colour

I came across the XF configurator recently, and having seen a few favourites, and a few of my least favourite colours, I can comment fully.

It is a gorgeous looking car, and whilst the configurator is, well, crap, it highlights that the car works in a hell of a lot of colours. I do love Emerald Fire, yet Winter Gold, Pearl Grey, and Azure Blue work well too.

The interior works in many of the colour schemes available, although I'm not over-enamoured with the 'Spice' tan seats.
Have a play on the configurator - just be warned, these things can go up to above sixty thousand pounds.

I really really want this car, it's a modern MK2. It's aspirational, contemporary, yet tasteful too. And from the rear 3/4 view it could be a 4dr version of one of Callum's other creations, the DB9

Now, I need a way of getting 60 grand cheap.
Anyone care to help me rob a bank?

Friday, 7 September 2007

I may be no calligraphist, but at least I have a proper pen

I like fountain pens. Whenever I write with one, my writing, normally only recognizable to those who allow inkstained spiders to run across their work, becomes in my opinion slightly more legible. There is also the feeling that you are using a higher class of writing instrument, and that due to the superior implement, your work will ultimately be better.

That is all, admittedly, an illusion, crap generated by the brain to justify the use of an unusual tool. But I like using them, so I shall.

During 2006, my sole writing tool was the fountain pen from the JML pen set, which some of you may remember as being advertised with an unbreakable nib. And whilst, unlike the advert, I never tried stabbing mine through a Coke can, it proved well up to the task of performing the function it was intended to.

However, whilst it's nib may have been unburstable, the nib section of the pen was plastic, whilst the rest of the pen was metal. This knackered the thread between them up to the extent that after 12 months it was non-existent.

So for the last 8 and a bit months I have been forced to return to felt ended pens, and on occasions where nothing else was to hand, I have even used the odd Biro. However, during this time, I have been actively looking for the perfect pen to replace the JML.

I tried my mother's Parker fountain pen, which has laid unused at the back of a desk drawer for the 7 years or so she has owned it. And it was awful. The nib was scratchy, the pen itself was plastic and thus too light, and it was finished in an unappealing shade of blue.

I decided to narrow my search to pens like the JML, metal pens with a certain degree of weightiness, and with nice nibs. As, however, it wouldn't be considered good form to try a pen before purchase, I decided to look towards the cheaper end of the market, as I would be wasting less money should it not prove comfortable.

Some of you may be wondering why I didn't simply get another JML pen. The reason is that I couldn't find one anywhere. However, the pen I eventually found is almost perfect. It's silver, but probably isn't silver. It's not light, weighing at a guess two thirds of the weight of my mobile phone. It's lovely to work with, and the best bit of all is that it was just £2.99.

Yes, there are faults, such as that I would bet it isn't as tough nibbed as my last one (then again, I don't plan on stabbing this one through a Coke can either), and the clip on the lid is hideous, but it's a nice pen and I even have a choice between using cartridges or using bottled ink.

So I'm happy. Writing has once again become an unalloyed pleasure. I wonder if anyone would design me a fountain keyboard..........

Saturday, 1 September 2007

It all started with an SD1

When I was six, my parents sold the 1982 Rover SD1 3500 Vanden Plas that they had owned since before I was born. It had no brakes, very little in the way of non-corroded bodywork, and used a lot of oil. Yet despite this, it had made such a powerful impression upon me that now, ten years on, I am still madly in love with the products of British Leyland, and indeed most cars outside that conglomerate also.

It was Moonraker Blue, automatic, and had grey box velvet seats (a no-cost option instead of the standard leather - why?), and looked fantastic.

Sadly, it was last heard of by the DVLA only a couple of years after we sold it, and my mother reports that it was painted yellow last time she saw it, which the DVLA confirms. (Yellow with blue tinted windows)

My very first memory is of the back of that car. I must have been about 3, and was looking at the registration plate, PKY36X, and at the Vanden Plas script on the rear panel. The memories I have of my first holiday, in Mablethorpe when I was about four, are few in number, yet one of them is of that car stood next to the caravan.

I have always (I suspect sparked by that car) had an interest in cars. And, in particular, cars by the same company as the SD1, British Leyland. This led to me discovering, run by Keith Adams, joining the BMC>MG forum there, and eventually finding my way onto many boards throughout the net.

There has been, for the last month or so, a Moonraker Blue SD1 Vanden Plas less than half a mile from my grandmother's house. And it's reminded me just how gorgeous they are. And one day, I will own one. A V8, but with leather seats in place of the velvet. Until that day, I must just dream.....