Monthly Archives: October 2007

Motoring in Morocco

As predicted, there was a dearth of interesting cars in North Africa – although Malcolm would have been in Renault 4 heaven..

Hot Renault

potential hot Renault!

Of course second only to the Aston Martin, one of my favourite cars is the hunble Land Rover – and the desert is just the place for those.

Land Rover at Algierian border

Tuareg encampment

We had a fascinating trip over the high Atlas to the desert beyond – slept in a Tuareg tent, and even met a Tuareg with a PhD!

Cosy Tuareg camp

Stephanie wrapped up against the cold desert air

Hiking up the high Atlas

In the Middle East politics rules everyone’s lives, and to a certain extent it is very similar in this part of North Africa -there are tensions between Morocco and Algeria over the siting of Al-Quaida training camps in the southern desert. There are tensions with the Western Saharan separatists. The Moroccans claim the separatists are supported by a number of communist regimes who want to see the Western Sahara as an independent state – carefully omitting to mention that they annexed the country back in 1975 with the help of guess who – yup, the good ol’ USA..

Coke delivers globally.

The majority group in Morocco are the native Berbers, but the King and many in power are Arabs – so there is a certain amount of racial tension too.

We arrived just after the government elections, resulting in five women being elected and one of these with a ministerial post. An amazing change in political attitudes for this part of the world. The Moroccan’s have 36 different political parties, but only 28 engage in the elections. The prime minister is drawn from the majority party – but the parliament is one very large coalition. We were at the Royal Palace in Rabat when King Mohammed IV was meeting his new PM Abbas El Fassi for the the first time.

Of course politics is what I’m involved in now – but years ago I worked in TV and the film business – so I just love visiting famous movie locations – Ait Ben Haddou was where they filmed a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark

Nigel Ellway is Indiana Jones!

Now back to putting the brakes back on the Aston….

Who got crowned?

When I discovered my office in Queen Anne’s Gate was just around the corner from Lord Brett Sinclair’s house as seen in The Persuaders, I donned my double breasted and got my assistant to take a quick photo.

His Lordship's pad

I’ve been having great fun watching all the old episodes of The Persuaders on DVD – and location spotting. Noting down all the places I will need to take ROJ to have it’s photo taken.

I am surprised by how good ‘The Persuaders’ still is – rather than being dated, it is more like watching a period piece. Even the acting isn’t too bad.

The odd little mistake does creep in now and again.

In one episode Brett Sinclair appears in his Peer’s robes saying he is off to a state occasion in the House of Lords.

His robe and coronet are those of an Earl (which Brett was supposed to be) but instead of them being his parliamentary robes (crimson with three white and gold stripes) that he should wear to a state occasion, he is wearing his coronation robes (crimson with ermine trim and three rows of sealskin spots). Only ever worn at the time of a coronation.

So, in the early seventies we got a new Monarch – who is it? and why were the British public never told…??

No work for a while

Won’t be able to fit the new servos for a few weeks – off to Morocco for a bit of a Sahara safari – doubt if there are any Aston owners to cadge a lift from there.