Monthly Archives: December 2013

Suck and blow, fun with valves

 Finally got to spend a few days on the farm, and finally some ROJ related news.

Young Phil picked me up from milton keynes station in his ear splittingly fast Nissan s14

 It certainly turned the heads of a few commuters.


And when we got to the farm there were a few new toys to admire:


This 1980’s Renault Alpine is a particularly rare variant – only 26 in existance.


This Datsun 240Z looks to be quite a challenge!

But I wasn’t there just to admire the motoring heritage, I was there to work on the 5.4lt V8 engine that came out of ROJ.


An excellent place to keep one’s tea.

The plan was to seat all the valves in the right hand cylinder head – but as with so much of this car rebuild. Plans soon change… I’m putting together a short video of the work I did get done, and I’ll post that when it’s finished..


Jamaica Farewell


Many things have kept me from playing with ROJ lately –  some frustrating and some most pleasurable.

Travel being in the pleasurable catagory.

Being a bit of a James Bond fan, Jamaica had always been on the list of places to visit – so at half-term we spent a most enjoyable two weeks experiencing the island.

I wasn’t sure what to expect – I know parts of Kingston can be pretty rough – but then there are parts of any city in the world that one wouldn’t venture into after dark. (the only time I’ve ever felt really threatened was in Vancouver!)

In fact we found the people really quite friendly and gentle.  Yes we got hassled on the beach to buy trinkets – but unlike anywhere in North Africa, when you asked them to go away, they did.

We spent the first week ‘living like locals’ with a Jamaican family in Ocho Rios  Richard and Marcia were very keen for us to experience the Jamaica that most tourists don’t see. We ate local food, discussed local issues and politics, drank lots of Red Stripe and Wray and Nephew, and were taken to some stunning places.

Stephanie at Ocho Rios

Jamaican driving is a thing to behold. Part of the driving test curriculum must be a thorough study of the films of Vin Diesel. Fast and Furious could have been filmed on any normal day on the island!

Although I didn’t get to see Goldeneye, we did spot a few locations from Dr No and Live and Let Die – including driving under the bridge where Roger Moore lost his top-deck.

Stephanie does Ursula Andress at Frenchman's Cove.

Stephanie does Ursula Andress at Frenchman’s Cove.

I went for a dive off Port Antonio, but the sharks and barracudas  had taken the day off. Not so the crocodiles in the Black River and ‘The Farm’ where 007 did his croc running trick.

Just try it 007!

Just try it 007!

Stephanie was keen to visit Firefly, the home of Noel Coward, and I could certainly see why he lived there.

in Noel Coward pose

in Noel Coward pose

Noel Coward's house Firefly

I think what surprised me most about seeing Jamaica from the perspective of a middle class family, was how aspirational the people were. There were lots of good competitive schools; excellent health care some very attractive homes – mind you I just loved this type of typical Jamaican house.


The local food was fine if you know what to buy and where. Richard took us to a touristy place called Scotchies for Jerk chicken – but it was excellent jerk chicken – unlike the tough, charred racing chicken we were served at Boston Bay.

Roadside grilled yams and sweet potatoes were good.

grilled yam

We were very sad to say goodbye to Richard and Marcia for our next adventure – living like Tarzan and Jane at Great Huts at Boston Bay.

Behind a magical bamboo gate lies an enchanted world where the Caribbean sea pounds the rocks 100 feet below the balcony of your hut. The service was superb and the food delicious. We stayed in ‘Sea Grape’ – with our own secluded outdoor tub overlooking the sea. I loved it!

We spent our last few days in Luxury in the hills above Port Antonio at the Mocking Bird Hill Hotel – as the only guests.

Bfast Port Antonio

All in all a very restful and relaxing break, and i would recommend it to anyone.