Monthly Archives: May 2008

Devil May Care – or not…

When I started to collect the James Bond books as a teenager, I scoured second hand bookshops around the world for fair condition first editions – The original Ian Fleming books have always been my favourite, and have always been personally important to me because my life and Bond’s have been similar on several layers – I hasten to mention that I have not ever had to garote, knife or shoot anybody…

The John Gardiner books – awful though they are – I bought as they came out from Harrods, and keep on my shelf for ‘completeness’.

The Raymond Benson books were better – and once again these have a personal significance because each one has been signed and personally dedicated to me by the author.

And this is where my my annoyance with Penguin books lies – Devil May Care is a great book, but Penguin decided that they would fleece customers by selling their special signed edition (limited to 500) at £100 and a further 1500 un-numbered signed copies – which are now littering ebay at up to £100 each.

No more signed copies will be available they say…. Why – if the book was such a big thing for them, could Penguin/Waterstones not have had the author do a signing session, allowing us to have a more personal attachment to the book.

Instead the book is just another ‘investment’ for Angus to inherit.

Bond’s Bentley

In the book – set in 1967 – 007 has his old Bentley back, but right at the begining of the book he is ambushed on the way to Heathrow -and he thinks to himself that he would rather be in Aston Martin with the compartment under the driver’s seat for the big Colt 45….

Zen and the art of Aston Martin mechanics

What a great weekend!

The best ones are usually when it’s been a bugger of a week – or month in this case. The impending launch of The State of the Natural Environment report and the London mayoral elections have kept my nose firmly on the grindstone.

So Zen?? Well that’s my new toy – I lost my MP3 player on the way back from skiing (left on a Lufthansa plane) so bought myself this really jazzy 60gb media player a Creative Zen Vision W – the music quality is superb, and the size of the screen means I can watch movies when travelling.

This weekend I worked solidly on the engine, I’ve got two, but I’m planning on rebuilding the original one from ROJ to keep the chassis and engine number consistent.

The engine was pretty filthy, so I took it out into the sunshine and using my Boy’s Own Tool Kit compressor, sprayed it all over with gunk and then jet washed it.

I like this photo – it reminds me of two Star Wars robots having a chat:

Long nose Star War robot

Once I’d chased all the spiders out I rigged up the crane and with Gary’s help removed the gearbox:

After taking off the torque converter we attached the engine stand – this was an awkward job which required the help of both Gary and Malcolm – we hoisted the engine up high – then lifted the engine stand up to attach it, then lowered the whole thing down again.

Gary unslings the engine.

By this time it was getting late and time for Chinese take away – I slept very well that night.

On Sunday I sorted out the workshop, chucked out some scrap and did a few odd jobs – it was such a lovely day that I spent sometime sitting in the garden reading the workshop manual.

Engines one and two.

My number two engine actually looks in better condition, but it’s untested and we know that the one on the stand actually works – once rebuilt it too will look smart again.

And the cherry on the cake – Malcolm drove me to Bedford station in his MGA – bliss.