Monthly Archives: January 2006

Say it with flowers!!!

Those who are Bond fans will remember this line from the closing scene of OHMSS.

Well I hope old 007 didn’t use Interflora.

I ordered a bunch of flowers from them for my Mother’s 80th birthday last week. When I went down at the weekend they were all dead, yet other bunches she received were still relatively alive.

The interflora ones had wilted after four days. I emailed them to say this was not on, and got a reply that they couldn’t do anything as my complaint was 7 days after my order…

I am certainly not using them any more.

The spy who came in from the slightly damp and chilly…

Yes, Johnny English made it onto TV last week, complete with his Aston Martin DB7.

Surprisingly, he had changed his name from Richard Latham (obviously to confuse the enemy), but his sidekick was still reliable old Bough.



Latham, er, I mean English’s DB7 had all the old refinements, even down to the now obligatory ejector seat, although for the film they used a dummy-car for the stunts..

The DB7 at one of Q’s suppliers…

At least with ROJ the gadgets were actually on the car.

Lady in a van

No, not the Alan Bennett play, but my very own white van (wo)man…

Among the various annoyances of not being able to drive – like not having to pay speeding fines, and not having to cope with the lunatics on the south London roads, is not being able to transport various bits of valuable Aston Martin around the country whenever I like.

Fortunately for me I have a lovely sister-in-law who fantasises about being a white van man and happily volunteers every time I wave a Hire-a-van set of keys in her general direction…

This weekend it was a front clip and bonnet to go to Canada plus my brand new windshield, and a set of brake calipers from Southampton, via Dulwich to collect some bumpers, tail lights and headlamps, via Islington to drop off some furniture for my nephew, and then on to Bedford, drop off the stuff, drink a cup of tea and then back in the van to Portsmouth. 304 miles, and she was still smiling…

White van woman

…now i just need to persuade her that towing a trailer through Paris is a walk in the park…

Location, location, location

Having worked as a travel writer and on the periphery of the movie business for a while, I do enjoy the odd bit of location spotting. Especially if an Aston Martin has been involved.

Members of the AMOC like nothing better than photographing their Astons at the Stoke Poges golf club, or on that famous bend on the hill in Switzerland (Goldfinger) or outside the Casino in Monte Carlo (James Bond & The Persuaders).

I recently visited Canada, and in Vancouver watched them filming an episode of ‘Killer Instinct’ now showing here in the UK. The first episode I saw was the one we watched being made. There were San Fransisco’s finest running around under the flyover overlooking Granville Island… and we were standing just behind the cameras.

There was also a daft Christmas film on TV over the holidays about a thief masquerading as Santa Claus – and as he ran through a department store, my whole family happily bellowed in chorus ‘Hudson Bay Company’…

The politics of petrol

Woa Malcolm – quite a rant on the MGA forum.

But you’re quite right – to really make a hash of the facts is a real journalistic skill. And I speak from personal experience here!!!

In the eyes of a newspaper reporter – bad news – good, disasterous news – Pullizer prize, good news – who cares.

To save the world we need more trees, and birth control.

And Aston Martins to keep us sane.

Pay attention 007

We’ve got our very own Q…

One of the special effects designers on ‘Little Britian’ has tentatively agreed to help redesign, and add to, ROJ’s armory of gadgets.

I do hope that doesn’t include a projectile vomit machine…

One of my neighbours casually asked about my Aston Martin the other day, so I showed him the DVD of the Barclaycard ad. He sat back in amazement and said ‘I used to be Rowan Atkinson’s stand in for those ads.’ What a small world.!


As a boy, I was forever making model kits. Planes, boats, cars – you name it. My favourite ( and one I’ve still got) was a super VC10, given to me by the CEO of BOAC back in the sixties. It was made by FROG and has flashing lights at the wingtips, tail fin etc.

These days the lights would be diodes – but this model has bulbs in the body of the plane, and long clear plasitc filaments which take the light to the wingtips , tail and so on. Somewhat like fibre-optics .

So, why am I rabbiting on about plastic kits – well, you don’t get very far without a decent sheet of instructions. And that’s just what you need for rebuilding Aston Martins too.

I am fortunate to have both the factory workshop manual and the parts catalogue for the V8, and a complete car in Malcolm’s garage to compare with.

This week I have taken the advice of my friend Richard from the AMOC and sat down with the parts catalogue and an Excel spreadsheet and have listed every nut, bolt, washer etc etc by size, shape and by area of the car – and the numbers needed. I will now take this list to the nut and bolt shop and so have all new, fully identifiable sets of fixings.

Rusty nuts…

While Malcolm wrestles with ways to stop rust getting in, I have been struggling with the result that will occur if he fails… if you get my drift.

ROJ has got so much rust that all the bits that should come apart don’t.

I have also discovered that about a third of the weight of an Aston Martin is made up of nuts, bolts, fixings, rivets, clips, catches and all manner of things to keep it together. Never have I seen so many on any car. And they’re all rusty!

Most of the rivets come out with the aid of a power drill, but anything with a screw thread has been very stubborn.

I decided that my mottly collection of tools, sockets and spanners just wasn’t up to the challenge, so have been casting around for something new.

I considered a Metrinch set, but was persuaded otherwise by more learned colleagues on the AMOC forum. I think I will plump for a bog standard Halfords or Machinemart set in the end, I decided that finesse would not be an issue in taking most of the bolts out as i would be replacing with new anyway.

..Oh, and happy new year!