Wreck of the Week

My search for a wreck of the week brings up this week the hard cash that underpins a lot of the nostalgia boom we have seen recently:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2560739/Now-thats-fixer-upper-Wrecks-classic-cars-selling-MORE-new-models-prices-rusting-roof.html

“Barn Find” vehicles fetching equal to or more than fully restored vehicles; frenetic bidding over dusty relics; a craze for originality between buyers with infeasibly deep pockets.

This is a world that I can’t even tessellate with. The cars described would have been beyond my reach ten years ago and are beyond my reach today.

However, as we have seen with anything carrying a blue oval, the effects of this are not just confined to the rarefied heights of hedge manager salaries.

It has become (and looks likely to continue for a while to be) very difficult for a person of moderate to modest means to get involved in the classic car hobby.

However I remember a similar time in the 1980s where classic cars started to look a great investment. People bought crumbly wrecks gave them a cheap respray and flogged them for serious money.

Then there was a downturn: several people who bought cars as an “investment” got burned. The upside being that the guy who wanted to tinker in his shed got a look in once again.

We can hope that cars will start to return to sensible in the near future. However, sadly the keys to that E-Type I’ve always dreamed off are likely to remain in someone else’s hands in perpetuity.

“Rust in peace” searches this week bring me to this article https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/2092341/stunning-pictures-show-how-nature-has-reclaimed-cars-left-abandoned-across-europe/ featuring the work of Roman Robroek who loves to take pictures of abandoned cars. I took a chance that the name was unusual and believe that I have found the photography site that the article is about:

https://romanrobroek.nl/#transport

It is a fascinating site which causes me to regret the fact that I cannot operate a camera (even if given instructions designed for a five year old).

Some of the pictures are truly beautiful. In the case of the cars I do wonder where they are and if anyone will step up and try to save them.

Even better I have been in touch with Roman and he is happy for me to use some of his pictures in my blog. So I am very happy about that and grateful thanks to Roman. (The featured image in the blog this week is one of his).

This week’s YouTube video is a light hearted effort from Pathé set in Reading.

This shows a very different attitude in 1963 to today – cars having no value at all when they got to a certain age. As a result cars were dumped – quite literally anywhere that a person could find to dump them.

The announcer refers to the introduction of testing, which leads me to suspect that the MOT is not as venerable as I once thought.

It appears the MOT was introduced in 1960 so just 3 years prior to the film. A very large number of vehicles initially failed and so the requirements for testing were enhanced. (Presumably this was because the roads had many unsafe vehicles on them).

Initially cars older than 10 years were tested (many failed). In 1961 this became 7 years, in 1967 it became 3 years. Since then the requirements for the age of vehicles haven’t changed but the items being tested have increased with time.

The film takes a comedic approach which includes a very strange episode at the end involving explosives. This is more akin to something you might have seen a circus clown performing.

Many of the cars in the film would be very desirable today so it is sad to see that they were just discarded.

However the vehicles would have been merely 10 or so years old at that stage and 10 year old vehicles today have limited value. Little has changed.

I checked the example of LJ2393 (the smoking vehicle in the latter part of the film). It is not on the DVLA database. So it did not survive. No wonder that vehicles of this age are valued – precious few seem to have made it this far. The exploding vehicle has registration HH – TR645 which is an odd plate. Being the suspicious type I checked it. It is invalid and so almost certainly the vehicle isn’t a vehicle at all but merely a film prop.

This week I was sent details of some marvellous BBC sound effects which include some early car sounds and car-related sounds. http://bbcsfx.acropolis.org.uk/

This is listed as “Cars: 1.6 GL (Manual) 1982 model Ford Cortina. Exterior, tickover recorded near exhaust”. Which for anyone who is wondering what a car of the 1980s would sound like is pretty close to how I remember.

Ford Cortina 1982 Tickover Download audio

Back to Wreck of the Week proper and another ruster drawn from the nation’s favourite auction site.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/192460868689?ul_noapp=true

This one struck my eye because it is just up the road from me and very close to where my partner is working currently.

I say is, however the listing has been ended because the vehicle is “no longer available” so we have to assume it found a buyer, eager or otherwise.

 

Originally listed at £2,300.00 sadly there is no automotive equivalent of the land registry to determine what it actually made in the end. (Even if there was – the absence of any registration details makes such a search impossible).

We’re treated to 5, yup 5 gleaming pictures of marvelousness to sate our nostalgia demons. The text doesn’t do much more to convey anything:

“1966 FORD MUSTANG

SOLID SHELL

WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET

THERE IS NO PAPERWORK WITH THIS CAR

I CAN DELIVER FOR £1.50 PER MILE

CAR LOCATED NEAR ROYSTON HERFORDSHIRE

CASH ON COLLECTION

PLEASE NOTE THE ANGLIA AND FAST BACK ARE NOT FOR SALE”

I’ve left the shouty text in place this time to convey the full-on nature of modern auction site listings. If someone was speaking like this I would rather be at the other end of a very long room.

Now Royston is a big place but for those not of the United Kingdom (or maybe those of its further flung elements of this nation) here is the approximate location of said vehicle:

So what are we getting in this “What you see is what you get” auction.

Shame it is not for sale that Anglia looks much more my cup of tea to be honest. I can’t see enough of the vehicle beyond it to make out what it is, but what a marvellous place with all these pieces of automotive history lined up just ripe for the restorer to feast his eyes upon.

In any case from the text we can ascertain that the car for sale is in the foreground, none of those in the background are so hands off sonny.

All we know about it is that it is 1966. There are no registration details and given there is no paperwork it is easily feasible that the car was never registered in the UK – we’ve covered the niceties of the NOVA system before.

However some comments on the impact where you have no documentation at all are here:

http://www.nsra.org.uk/newforum/showthread.php?61208-NEW-IMPORTATION-RULES-NOVA-(Notification-of-Vehicle-Arrivals)

Put it this way I am not certain I would want to wind my way through the various departments to satisfy them that the vehicle has been properly imported and that all relevant taxes have been paid. It is not clear what happens if you don’t satisfy them but an unregistered car is without value (unless you want to limit it to the race track) and unpaid tax can become an expensive problem…

So apart from the soft-porn focusing (we’re kind of used to that now I think ) what have we. No engine, no gearbox, no front wings, no ancilliaries, no suspension, little or no braking system, no front panels. In fact it appears more like the before in a banger race.

As it stands though what can be seen does not look excessively rusty. So it is possible that this could be used to reshell a car that was completely gone bodywise but had most of the parts.

Unlike a previous Wreck of the Week featuring a Mustang this one has a windscreen and so perhaps there is some hope for the interior.

To be fair, if you’ve been following Wreck of the Week for any period of time then you will have seen much rustier prospects but potentially not cars that have less included with them. (Even the windscreen wipers are absent from this one).

What surprises me from the pictures is that you can fit a stonking V8 between those suspension turrets but scale is something that photographs may not convey well.

Ok, the interior is not quite (but almost) a pond. Heavy moss growth indicates that starting on the car now before it gets much worse is probably an astute plan. The algae covered item may well be the front offside wing although there is no sign of the normal use of car-as-shed approach. This means that there doesn’t appear to be the usual smorgasbord of spares that some of these adverts entice us with.

Not a particularly easy view of much of the interior but apart from the previously noted no gearbox problem, there are no carpets, no seats, no dashboard, a steering wheel which is missing some parts.

On the upside it does look relatively intact metalwise – not much call for Joe le welder here. (Those fans of the welding art form can groan now).

I’m unclear why the rear footwell is a storage vessel for odd fastenings – perhaps it had visions of becoming a shed and never got that far.

Perhaps a better focused version of one we’ve seen before. So no clues about the rear, the boot area, the underside (other than what we can glean from the interior shot), the rear wheelarches – other glass in the car and so on and so fifth.

Well that’s it, no more images to enthral us.

So necessarily a brief one this week. You’ll have to go and do some real work now.

Next week lets hope someone who was a true David Bailey. Preferably one with laryngitis of the advertising text as well.

 

If you took this one home please let us know what you did with her, it would be fascinating to discover what kind of future she has..

 

 

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Image source Roman Robroek http://www.romanrobroek.nl

 

Credit to the property website from which the original idea (for Wreck of the Week) came:

http://www.wreckoftheweek.co.uk/

(Whilst that site looks at crumbly ruins this one looks at crumbly panels).

 

Wreck of the Week

This week’s Wreck of the Week pulls up an article on the loss of an old friend.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/11/land-rover-emerges-cornish-beach-30-years-sinking/

Ronnie Hanney drove his family onto the sands at Gwithian Towans Beach Cornwall on January 13th 1990. Completely misjudging the nature of the sands he was unable to extract the vehicle and was forced to leave it as the tide returned. The vehicle was said to be 22 years old at the time (so 1968). It was buried roof down in the sand and remains so to this day only the chassis re-emerging at intervals.

Please someone go extricate it and get it back to roadworthiness. (Mr Hanney is no longer with us and so is unlikely to be doing the work himself.)

My continual searches for new “rust in peace” items brings me once again to Ireland (Ireland was the location of the video in the last rust in peace).

This time a forum with several pictures of cars left to rust away. Despite enquiries no one seemed to be aware where any of the cars actually were. Rather like the YouTube videos that we’ve been watching no chance at all of dragging them out of a hedge and rebuilding them.

Talking of YouTube videos:

This is not the world’s greatest collection and very oddly arranged a very sorry sight indeed. The Americans do seem to be doing this kind of stuff in greater volume than anyone else as far as I can tell. This time there is barely a spare part worth saving as far as I can see. Mostly they are ghosts of former cars just two steps away from compost.

It’s very sad, especially as some of them look like such interesting vehicles.

This week I was sent an article on classic nostalgia abroad. This was obviously something to tempt me to use a travel company’s services. However to me it is fantastic to discover that all around the world people are in love with their cars. Long may that remain the case.

And so to the main subject of this week’s Wreck of the Week.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/302635020119

I’ve no idea what it sold for, it’s concluding label being “This listing was ended by the seller because the item is no longer available”. I take it that the car was listed elsewhere and someone made an offer that couldn’t be refused.

The text states: “Morris Minor

All glass

Gear box

Back axle

Lots of parts on the shell

Comes with v5

Good back wings

For more info call me on

07766542098

Can assist with loading”

In the (now standard for auction site listings) shouty text – I’ve muted it to save your ears.

It was located in Hereford but that’s a large place and there are no other details for me to give you a better map of location than this:

As a classified ad there is no bid history and so no clues as to the keenness of people to have an ingot of automotive history.

(It was originally listed at £250.00).

As far as I can tell it looks good only for parts – and a lot of those were missing. Let’s have a look at her to see what I mean.

There’s a measly 5 images with this listing I’m afraid which is little for us barn-find adherents to hold onto.

So the now standard – (probably has an ISO number) approach to car listings:

1) missing paint – tick,

2) interior used as a shed – tick

3) items resting on roof – tick.

On the face of it much of the car is sat inside it, if you were looking to perform a restoration then you would want some kind of assurances that all – or at least most of the parts were there.

As someone remarked on a classic car programme recently – “all of the parts are never there”.

As you will see later, this shot is beautifully framed and does not in any way prepare you for the quantity of work that is inevitably going to be required.

And now it becomes plain, what there is of the car does not look that bad. The downside being that you only have half of the car.

Given the inner wing on the driver’s side has been sawn off – getting it true and level to the original specification is going to be work taking not a little skill.

Whoever bought it must have felt themselves equal to the challenge. More likely though the buyer had a Morris Minor in better shape but requiring a few parts that this one could supply.

So front end rebuild, new inner wing, valance, outer wings, bonnet, engine, headlights, engine ancillaries and no doubt a whole gamut of items I haven’t given thought to. Sheesh.

Still as we have seen on a previous Wreck of the Week the value of these Morris’s is down in the weeds and it is a brave person who will take one on. The cost of restoring will soon gobble through any differential between its price and the price of buying a good one.

I suppose that there are less outcries of “sacrilege” should someone wish to improve the performance with an engine swap; update the brakes or install a supercharger for example.

I’m rather in favour of people being able to make their cars just how they want them, so maybe the low price of entry is a passport and not a barrier.

I recently met a man who had restored a MKI Escort and sold it to pay for his daughter’s path through university. Another man spent hours of his life restoring a Capri and then sold it – to the shock of his friends.

Whilst the high price of the blue badge ensures that many more are recovered. It also ensures that several people are unable to get a historic Ford due to the high cost of entry now.

And some who have cherished cars find that they now need to sell them to fund other life events because there is now so much money tied up in them. It’s like the story of the elderly people who now have to sell their house (even if to an equity release scheme) because the one thing of value they have left is their house.

Perhaps Morris will become the unsung heroes of the classic world, cars the average man can still buy, tinker with, modify, and ultimately sell without the kind of fear that wallet-breaking prices can engender.

Looking at this I have a sense that whoever bought it might have wanted spares. There are a fair number of spares in that car, including the odd panel; it probably means that this one is not going to see the highway again.

In many ways if it had not been laid about with the plasma cutter it might have been rescuable. There have been some shocking cars we’ve seen in Wreck of the Week which optimistic sellers believe are recoverable.

Assuming that belief is sound – with only a little more attached steel someone might have made a go of this one.

Perhaps someone finished cutting the front off this one and made an interesting trailer of it. (Others have done this before  http://www.mmoc.org.uk/Messageboard/viewtopic.php?t=29444&start=15)

Well at least the claims that the rear wings are in good condition seems to be a valid one. Makes me wonder why it is chopped about so much; another Minor in need of those bits that have been excised maybe?

Well if you bought this car please share what it is that you intend to do with her.

 

 

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Credit to the property website from which the original idea (for Wreck of the Week) came:

http://www.wreckoftheweek.co.uk/

(What that site is to buildings this site is to Bonnets).

Fifty Special Things – Cambridge Gin Laboratory

When: 18-02-2017

Where: Cambridge Gin Laboratory

Price: Free – It was a gift

Review: excellent way to spend a few hours, several different courses available

Tip: take the bus, and then you can spend the rest of the day in the bar next door.

I remember when I was thinking about how to make the fifty special things work that one problem was always going to be budget. Having made the decision to try to make my fiftieth year a special one, how do you afford it all?

So it was with great delight that I received a gift of a gin tasting session at the Cambridge Gin Lab.

It turns out that it is very popular, the day we went it was full up. I imagine other days are not dissimilar.

Gin 1

The Cambridge Gin Laboratory is at 10 Green Street, Cambridge.

Gin 2

There is a board outside to confirm location and a sign on the door.

At the time I was convinced that I was going to rule the world via the medium of blogging – such that there is quite a strong pictorial record.

Gin 3

Gin 4

It was around the time of this visit that I began to comprehend just how fashionable gin had become and just how many people were keen to get in on the act.

Gin 5

The lab is downstairs and is laid out with all kinds of gin-related paraphernalia.

Gin 6

Prior to the gin sampling itself there is a very interesting talk on gin and the history of gin from which I made a few notes.

Gin 7

Note the picture of the black Labrador on the wall, said to be the reason why it is called the Cambridge Gin “Lab”.

There are various events available including a tailoring option to create a unique gin.

Gim 8

Gin is actually juniper-flavoured vodka. The predominant flavour must be juniper. The juniper “berry” is used (which is technically a cone). No sugar.

The nose of gin is often described as “piney”. Juniper was used for medicinal purposes for a long time. However claims that drinking gin is healthy are sadly untrue.

Gin 9

A monastery used to distil wine and float botanicals in it and used this as a treatment. Drinking this though was not tasty so they started to sweeten it.

Gin 10

Traditional gin was produced in the Low Countries (Dutch) in the 15th Century. Jenever was their name for juniper.

Gin 11

The English fought the Dutch in the 30 years’ war. Soldiers began to be given alcohol before they went into battle – it became referred to as “Dutch courage”.

The English then started to make their own gin. The gin craze was between 1720 and 1751.

This could be thought of as the first drug war. In the poor areas of London 1/3 of households were making and selling gin. However there was lots of methanol left in it which is poisonous. Some sellers cut the result with turpentine which is poisonous.

They were drinking 80% ABV in pints – like beer. They became very addicted.

The Gin Acts 1751 started to legislate gin production.

William Hogarth 1751 creates two paintings Gin Lane is political propaganda intended to encourage people to switch back to beer (Beer Street).

Gin Lane
GinLane

Beer Street
Beer Street - Calle de la cerveza

Beer Street and Gin lane
Beer-street-and-Gin-lane

Gin was still allowed to be drunk however.

The theory is that Hogarth was paid by the beer industry to encourage people to drink beer.

The Gin Act was passed. After crop failures and attempts at alternative beverages – they eventually got better at making gin.

Alcohol fermentation, involving yeast processes on sugar, produces heat, carbon-dioxide and ethanol (together with other alcohols).

ABV (ethanol by volume) the maximum that fermentation achieves is 15% ABV. (You can heat the result to make it stronger).

To distil – put the alcohol in a still – heat it. It starts to boil and evaporate. The outlet tube is cooled in water (it is coiled to increase its surface area).

Simple distillation apparatus

Different compounds boil at different temperatures:
Ethanol 78.4oC
Methanol 60oC (ish)

You track the temperature and collect the low boiling point liquid and dispose of it, this is referred to as the “head”.

You collect the middle boiling point liquid and keep it.

You collect the higher boiling point liquid referred to as the “tails” and dispose of it.

In this way you get to concentrate what you want.

In vodka you remove a lot of the impurities, this produces 96% alcohol. In whisky you keep some impurities by retaining a greater heat range, this affects the flavour.

Gin started to be recognisably gin in the early 19th century – juniper is added during the distillation. Juniper flavour becomes incorporated into the gin.

They also started to use continuous distillation – here a huge still uses plates to draw off the distillate at the correct temperature range.


CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Gin now starts to taste nicer – it becomes fashionable to have unsweetened gin.

London Dry Gin became fashionable – today this is a subcategory of gin.
London Dry Gin started in London but not made there anymore.

It is dry – not sweet – you must use real botanicals – these must go into the distillation pot and not be added afterwards.

Gin – is a shortening of jenever the Dutch for Juniper. Today other botanicals (plants) are used e.g. rose petal, cherry blossom, coriander seed, juniper cone.

These react differently to heat – the heat is high so the botanicals are added at different times – this is like adding ingredients in cooking.

You treat each botanical with the level of heat that suits it. The boiling point is related to atmospheric pressure – reducing pressure reduces the heat needed for boiling.

1 botanical is added at a time – you distil different botanicals. What comes out is not a gin, it is a flavoured distillate. Then you blend the distillates.

However it needs a basis of London dry gin. Therefore you can blend your own gin.

The distillery has 100s of distillates. It is tailoring gin to individuals, bars, and restaurants. You can use delicate things in gin e.g. cucumber.

Hendricks add the flavour afterwards – you can make a lot more gin this way – but not a London Dry Gin.

1 gin run takes 1 hour – there are 4 people in the company.

When we arrived we had a gin to start with which was a standard London Dry Gin with a fever-tree tonic. I rather liked this.

However we also got to use atomisers to spray gin directly into the mouth (well after some practice – the first squirt was directly into my eye). Atomisers contain the same spirit as the demijohns on shelves around the walls. They are used to allow tasting without consuming a lot of gin.

Brands feel it is important to be traditional – to have this as part of their brand.

Wheat is the basis of gin, potato potcheen (Poitín). Gin must be a neutral spirit – the basis does not have to be wheat, however if it is not wheat or potato then this fact must be listed on the bottle. Potato vodka is slightly oilier. Rye is slightly spicier (to a trained palette).

To make comparisons involves a system for tasting gin which needs consistency and needs a standardised language. Tasting is an ability that develops from training & experience. Room temperature is best to identify botanicals.

After the initial gin on entry and trying the atomisers there were 3 gins to try, these were sat on the table protected by glass lids.

The first apparently had rose and violet petals in it. The sequence is first mouth feel – it should feel somewhere between milk and water – medium. I have the palette of a straw bale I established.

There is no sweetness added – when you distil – sugar does not carry over, hence the distillate from pineapple has no sugar. What you can have is associative sweetness – this reminds you of sweet things for example florals gives this effect. (It’s all in the mind in fact).

It also had blackcurrant leaf – which gives a fruity flavour and basil, angelica, rosemary. Angelica is very common in gin – it is slightly spicy. In tasting you want to linger a little not too short.

You don’t have to prefer one that wins awards – as this is a measure of how well it is made rather than if you like it.

The Cambridge Distillery make different gins for different bars – Midsummer House has a herbal garden – we use those herbs in their gin.
Pint shop – Peas Hill we use peas in their gin.
College graduation gins – they forage for flowers in their garden – buy the gin which is unique to that year. Usually you have to go to the venue to taste their unique gin.

Japanese gin has become a retail product (this is the second gin that we tasted).
Nobu in London wanted one. It was made with a team of chefs inspired by botanicals used in Japanese cooking. This is light in intensity, the spirit is the same though. The botanicals are different, Juniper, cucumber, sesame, schiso leaf, almonds (it is marzipany), sanshō pepper (a bit perfumy), yuzu.

Botanicals are affected by the weather and are used seasonally. Each year there are seasonal gins. The ones in spring/summer are lighter. The ones in autumn/winter are more warming.

Each gin is therefore non-re-creatable. 100 bottles of each one are made and these sell quickly.

Autumn/winter gin contains bergamot. It has fennel in it, bergamot, rosemary, blackcurrant leaf, and juniper. It can manage a punchier tonic. They tend to use fever-tree as a good “go to” mixer…

The Dog – the black Lab is the lab dog Gin 12 he/she is why this place is called a gin lab Gin 13.

They capture the lightest 1% of stuff that evaporates referred to as the angel’s share of gin. They have made an angels share gin at £2000 a bottle.

They produced about 6 bottles, all sold quickly.

In addition to the tasting which we attended there is also available:

  • Histories and mysteries of gin session
  • Make your own bottle
  • Themed tastings

Given how great our session was these will also be worth a try.
Afterwards they give you a voucher to try a cocktail in the bar next door (accessible underground). The bar is on Trinity Street.

This is at 2648 Cambridge. Great cocktails which may make you want to stay.

As I say take the bus there…

Gin 14

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Prezzo St Neots

When: 01-01-2017

Where: Prezzo St Neots

Price: Free – it was a gift

Review: I find Prezzo to be reliably good whenever I go there

Tip: Wise to book – it can get busy prior to film showing times as the cinema is next door.

This is an old blog post that never got put in the correct place. This dates from a time when I saw the future as reviewing those experiences I was able to take in.

Shortly afterwards I determined that the time for the experiences took away from the time for writing the blog.

This and a few like it will have to stand as memories of that aim.

The last such post is here: https://magic-phil.co.uk/2017/02/20/fifty-special-things-thanh-binh-restaurant-cambridge/.

I had concluded that I would write no further reviews. That was until fellow blog writer Anthony reminded me that the 50 Special Things did not officially have an end. Two years later it would now be 52 special things in any case so I have plenty to review.

You can catch Anthony here: http://unofficialcambridgefilmfestival.blogspot.co.uk/ or tweet him here https://twitter.com/theagentapsley

It had been a few months since my resolution to fill my 50th year with as many fun things as was feasible.

The visit to Prezzo St Neots was my suggestion. http://www.prezzorestaurants.co.uk/restaurant/st-neots/

The purpose: to celebrate my 50th birthday with my family. The event was coming somewhat after the actual birthday date.

If one believes in horoscopes I was born under the sign of Libra. (Which should give you a clue).

The original resolution for “50 special things” was before my birthday in a meeting with my counsellor . (However it was embellished on my birthday whilst eating in a resort restaurant with my two friends Jacqui and Jon. (We were in Gaya in Malaysia). I suspect in some not too distant blog entry details of that will emerge.

The idea of 50 special things was to dispel the belief that a birthday is limited to one day per year. Limiting celebrations in this way is likely to be disappointing. Allowing the celebrations to last all year circumvents that problem.

The idea came through talking to my counsellor. In my experience counsellors are often the source of great advice.

I’m certain that not all great recommendations come from counsellors but in my experience many of the good ones do.

This is quite an awesome responsibility when deciding to embark upon the journey towards being a counsellor. (How do you come up with these good ideas).

As a volunteer counsellor myself I am not certain that I can measure up to that expectation.

A 50th birthday celebration at Prezzo. This was in the hope that gluten-free means less stomach aches the following day.

Prezzo have a pretty extensive gluten-free menu (other restaurants take note). This menu means that I have eaten there many times.

St Neots is the usual Prezzo venue due to the familiarity I have with eateries there. (I live within easy driving distance of St Neots).

(I seem to be a creature of habit who would like to be a creature of adventure).

Prezzo is usually a place that is highly-populated due to its proximity to the St Neots cinema. It has a hubbub akin to a football stadium.

New Year’s Day and all I needed was to sleep (after a night in an Indian restaurant – the site of our New Year’s Eve celebrations).

Prezzo 1

An Indian restaurant some bottles of wine a need for sleep the day after. (To anyone of average intellect that would not have been surprising).

So I am sat half-asleep in a restaurant with a surprisingly muted hubbub. Perhaps I was not alone in my post Chilean wine indulgence.

New Year’s Day certainly seemed to bring a falloff in demand for Prezzo culinary expertise.

It was hard to get enthusiastic when consumption of unsuitable food the night before meant a tsunami stomach ache. Besides enough gas to replenish the North Sea pipeline.

Prezzo 2

Despite this malaise I noticed that the service (by three waitresses) was excellent. They seemed to cope with a deficit of staff (no doubt brought on by the holiday season) without noticeable decline in delivery or positivity.

For some reason the menu was not filling me with joy (as it has on previous occasions). I wondered if there had been a recent redesign or possibly it was feeling green that did it.

When you’re trying to avoid incompatible-with-IBS foods risotto is usually a good standby. That is apart from those establishments that insist all risotto must contain peas.

Prezzo 3

Peas are great if you fancy spending a day or so on your own fumigating a greenhouse. With a stomach that feels like a space hopper with an overweight and restless kid on it.

Sadly my choice was only slightly less tolerable as it contained leek. Leek is fantastic for post-food onion-orientated fragrances (as beloved by no one).

King prawn risotto following a starter of gluten-free bread with balsamic onion dressing. I love onion but onion wages outright war on me. It starts with the intestines and continues on down.

For an IBS-sufferer like me rice and gluten-free gets my recommendation.

Fortunately I have not developed a dairy-intolerance. If you are unable to take the cheese in the risotto there are a few gluten free pastas. I do not tolerate tomato well so eat these when I’m feeling quite well before hand.

Prezzo 4

Desserts of ice cream are well-tolerated by me (with peppermint tea). (This means I get to socialise otherwise going out would be taxing – finding foods that don’t make me ill.)

After all of these precautions I opted for the chocolate drink. In my defence I read recently that dark chocolate helps stay the commencement of Alzheimer’s. (Dementia has been a theme in my family).

Prezzo 5

I would recommend Prezzo as a place to go if like me you tend to tolerate some foods poorly. The menu gives some options that I don’t see at other nearby restaurants.

Although Prezzo is busy the service tends to be swift. The staff are pleasant despite having a huge number of tables to attend upon.

I tend to visit this restaurant every few months. So far the only down side is that the background volume in there can get elevated. In other respects I choose Prezzo over the alternatives.

 

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Do It

What You Waiting For.

I was reflecting today that older people keep trying to tell younger people things are a certain way and younger people don’t listen.

This seems to have been an issue for many generations.

I remember that there was a saying when I was a child “he has to learn the hard way”.

In which the hard way was to insist on learning by experience when someone had already told you what the outcome would be.

When you have twenty years or so left to exist it comes to mind that learning the hard way is too time-consuming and painful.

It is clear that spending a lot of life relearning lessons that others already know, which they have learned already and are trying to show you is a waste.

It took until my fifth decade before I began to get a picture of what other people were trying to tell me. In many respects when it is too late.

One of these is nicely documented in the song Time by Pink Floyd “No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun”.

I found that I waited and then kept on waiting for someone to tell me when was the proper time to begin.

For example since I can remember I have wanted to write a book, there seems no reason that makes sense.

Perhaps once it was an escape from a 9-5 job or something that seemed better than dealing with members of the public or whatever was right for the time.

But as boring jobs ended, and life improved the ambition remained.

It is now plain that I gave myself excuses: no punctuation or grammar background; gradual loss of imagination; daunted by the task and so on.

But mainly I was waiting, waiting for a time to start.

If there was ever a way of passing a message to someone four decades younger. Then it would be: do not wait, do what you want to do – now.

There may not be a tomorrow for you to try to do it in…

Things You Really Will be Doing Now You’re 50 – Part Five

Following on from part four of the things you are going to find when you’re 50.

https://magic-phil.co.uk/2016/12/11/things-you-really-will-be-doing-now-youre-50-part-four

Ten more items from the same list:

  1. You can’t see road signs so you get glasses. You can’t see to thread a needle, so you get glasses. Any task involves juggling eyesight correcting devices. You develop a facility for recognising different varieties of fuzzy as objects.
  2. Just as you get to like something you find that the shops stop stocking it. Years ago you just moved on. Now you find yourself scanning auction sites, second hand stores, junk shops in the hope of continuing to use that thing you have a fondness for.
  3. Suddenly everything in the past seems more pleasant than today. You forget the shoddy brakes on your first car and wish you still had it. You forget the unpleasantness with the neighbour and consider that everyone was much friendlier then. Constant rain showers are dispelled in memories of long summers of unbroken sunshine. You have entered the nostalgia zone.
  4. After a long time of dismissing it as boring you find an hour of Gardeners’ World quite relaxing. You get drawn in. Before long you find that you are making way too many visits to garden centres. Eventually you start listening to Gardeners’ question time…
  5. You meet up with some friends that you haven’t seen in a long time. You know that you haven’t changed but you are shocked at how old they look…
  6. In conversation someone remarks that you have a lot less time to go than you have already had. After the message has had time to sink in you realise that actually you don’t mind about that. You wonder if that means there is something wrong with you.
  7. Whitening your teeth sounds a great idea. Surely this would improve your appeal to other people. However you realise that your mouth now contains more amalgam than tooth.
  8. Snoring will start to punctuate your night time hours. You will find no explanation for this. In order to avoid being murdered by your partner you take to the sofa.
  9. Your body formerly lived a halcyon existence of cooperative equanimity. Now the disparate parts engage in a war with one another. If one area is dry an adjacent area is greasy. If one is jittery due to inactivity another is tired out from exercise. Whilst one feels fit another feels damaged. Every action is punctuated with either fatigue, itching or little stabs of pain; apparently to remind you that this dispute is underway.
  10. Other people have now moved you from a position where you might have been appealing to some kind of universal parent figure. Your role is now to listen and support; to give advice (which they will ignore). This enables them to go on with their lives; in which it is never suspected you could be involved.

That’s the 50 things that will happen to you now that you are 50, I’d welcome any comments (unless of the trolling variety. If you like this blog please subscribe by email and you will get updates as I post new stuff.
If you missed part one you will find it here:
https://magic-phil.co.uk/2016/12/11/things-you-really-will-be-doing-now-youre-50
If you missed part two you will find it here:
https://magic-phil.co.uk/2016/12/11/things-you-really-will-be-doing-now-youre-50-part-two
If you missed part three you will find it here:
https://magic-phil.co.uk/2016/12/11/things-you-really-will-be-doing-now-youre-50-part-three
If you missed part four you will find it here:
https://magic-phil.co.uk/2016/12/11/things-you-really-will-be-doing-now-youre-50-part-four

That’s it for this series.

Things You Really Will be Doing Now You’re 50

Articles on how to live your life abound; instructions on this; guidelines on that.

If the first 5 decades seem to have been chaotic it might appear that consulting this guidance may provide some hope of enlightenment.

It was in light of this that I stumbled across this article which gives suggestions about what you can do now that you have reached 50:
https://www.onefamily.com/hub/wellbeing/50-things-to-do-now-youre-50

All very well but for me this article did not reflect being 50 in any real sense.

Here are the steps that you will inevitably encounter when you’re 50.

Tradition dictates that there should be 50 of these, but 10 is all I’m prepared to read at one sitting.

  1. Alcohol: moderate drinking leaves you with a hangover which would’ve taxed Gandhi. More than moderate drinking has you escorted to a hospice. Drinking over more than one day means a trip to an expensive rehab centre.
  2. You will forget the name of someone you’ve known for at least ten years; you’ll be too embarrassed to admit it. Months later you’ll be trying to remember where you put your keys; for no obvious reason the name will pop back into your head.
  3. A malicious poltergeist will move into your house. It will confine itself to moving your keys, your money, your work’s access pass. You will spend the start of most journeys hunting for one or more of these items.
  4. You will develop an irresistible urge to sleep whenever you sit down – any comfortable surface will find you drooling into your collar: park benches, train seats, brambles, nettles.
  5. You’re on better terms with the doctor than you have been your whole life; your medical records are being moved to The National Archives.
  6. You meet some people from school and find at least one person you knew is already dead and has been for some time. You start guessing which of you will be next.
  7. Without warning you develop a fondness for cardigans, they become your default outer wear.
  8. Saga starts to send you junk mail – for some reason their trips start to look interesting.
  9. Room temperature of 20 oC seems to be like the inside of a Greenland glacier; you keep revisiting the thermostat.
  10. The heroes you’ve had in your life now turn out to be paedophiles or dead or more often both.

Instalment two in this series covers the next 10:
https://magic-phil.co.uk/2016/12/11/things-you-really-will-be-doing-now-youre-50-part-two