Monthly Archives: May 2013

Welding done

When I was doing my welding certificate at the College of NW London all those years ago, I found the most challenging technique to be oxy-acetylene or gas welding. Mainly because I had real trouble in seeing the weldpool properly, MIG was just so much easier. Saying that I still passed the certificate.

Watching Malcolm using the TIG welder brought back all those horrors – it was the difficult bit of MIG with the difficult bit of gas all rolled into one. If I had attempted to weld ROJ myself it would have ended up looking like the rolling hills of the Cotswolds. The aluminium body is far more susceptible to distortion under heat that steel.

I think Malcolm was also pleased with his efforts as he’s written it up on the MIG welding forum:

I have also had drummed into me the importance of the door gap, get that right first and work on everything else from there.

Frankenstein's Aston

Before I can take time off again to dress the welds, fill and rub down the body, I’ve got three meetings to organise in parliament for the Landmine charities and an exhibition of Giles Duley’s photographs in the Upper Waiting Hall.

ROJ’s first outing

 It was emotional.

The garage door came off. Gary’s Alfa burst into a throaty roar and burbled backwards into the yard and then…. the lawnmower pulled ROJ from his lair.

We took it down to Phil’s workshop for Malcolm to do the TIG welding on the roof joints and the front and rear wings.

the dramatic artistic shot

Will I finish the car before the barn falls down?

TIG’ling my fancy

Now I am really fortunate in having  one of the country’s most aclaimed welders as a friend – Malcolm is an artist with a welding torch, and he agreed to help me glue ROJ back together again.

TIG welding ROJ

…then the Argon ran out – so we’ll finish this weekend.

Hannibal’s Home

In between farm visits I’ve had a little adventure.

(Yes, yes another one) This time sadly I was winging it solo as Stephanie is still recovering from a knee operation.

A few weeks ago, out of the blue, I got an invitation to join a ‘MICE Fam’ trip to Tunisia.

In the industry this means a Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events familiarization trip, essentially to check out the country’s events facilities.

I normally just delete these things,  but Tunisia is a country of interest, and I really wanted to sound things out politically following the revolution. So I went.

We set off from Heathrow with Tunisair and had a pretty uneventful flight to Tunis – Tunis was once known as the mighty city of Carthage, so unsurprisingly my archaeology hat was tucked into my duffle bag too.

Our Tunisian hosts from Eden Tours met us at the airport, and I must say they were terrific, and as with so many North Africans they were charming, hospitable and generous – and dare I say – every bit as good as the guides that our old friends Explore Holidays use.. I would happily recommend them to anyone.

Our little group was a cheerful bunch of mismatched professionals who all hit it off and had a great time together. From the tattooed 19 year old web journo – to the (only slightly) older and greyer Malaysian travel agent with a wicked sense of humour and a penchant for the Hookah pipes.

Our entusiastic guide Sammi describing the spectacular Roman mosaics

The hotels that Eden put us up in were spectacular – if somewhat on the over sized variety – I had to keep reminding myself that this was no holiday, and that I was looking at them from a conference organiser’s perspective. From the typically Saudi style Golden Tulip Gammarth to the Swiss clock efficiency of the Mövenpicks at Gammarth  and Sousse to the final spectacle of the Hasdrubal Thalassa at Hammamet.

In between the visits to the hotels and meeting rooms we had some time for a bit of rubble gazing – a bit of ancient Carthage, and the magnificent Roman mosaics and Colluseum at El Jem.

I spotted a few old and interesting cars – but they were difficult to get snaps of – one place we did stop was my idea of heaven – the New Fly Restaurant in Port El Kantaoui – I have always wanted to have a place like that!

Plane Heaven

Coffee, tea or me?

 Tunisia seems to have come throught the revolution well. we only saw a few reminders – such as the ex-president’s son’s villa.

We got caught up in a fairly good natured demonstration about amnesty for political prisoners:

Despite the police presence and rolls of barbed wire there was no trouble at all.

I enjoyed Tunisia –  it would make a great destination for a full archaelogical tour – and I would also suggest it would make a good incentive trip for the right kind of company.

Where to next? Stockholm for our wedding anniversary later this month.