Alastair's Blog

Behind the Wheel - Student Radio Documentary

Alastair Caldwell - Thursday, May 29, 2014

Earlier this year I had a visit from two students, Sean Terry and Richard Anderson, who are attending Sunderland University. As part of their final year thesis they were producing a radio documentary on F1 and came over to my house to interview me and get words direct from the horse's mouth - so to speak!

Great production and includes interviews with a host of people in F1 across the years. Interesting approach that they took looking not just at the rigours of F1 but the effect on personal and family life.

You can hear it by clicking below and go to their SoundCloud page by clicking on the link below the image.

 

 Read the background for this project by clicking here


Social media links updated

You can now post on Facebook or Twitter by clicking on the social media icons on the left of the page and follow me on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube by clicking on the social media icons at the top right of the page (these are all at the base of the page on tablets & mobile phones). If you want to share on other social media channels just click the '+' icon on the left and select another social media channel

Thanks to Maureen at Insight Group Marketing for arranging and coordinating the interview and to Sean and Richard for coming along and including me in their radio documentary - good luck with your final year exams! 

 

End of the 'Road to Mandalay' on to 'Marrakech Express Rally' via New Zealand

Alastair Caldwell - Monday, March 03, 2014

Currently enjoying a 3 week break with my mother in New Zealand after we got to the end of the 'Road to Mandalay' rally. It was pretty good all round considering the number of problems we had. End results were:

Result: We came 3rd in class & 7th overall

As always I wanted to finish first in class and overall but it wasn't to be!

I posted an update when we were about halfway through, but because of terrible WiFi I wasn't able to post as regularly as I wanted so I saved it all up for an end of rally review! Here are some of the high points:

24th Jan: Up to the second week the Rally had been pretty good and Burma was just great. Everything in Burma is good, roads, people, scenery, food and the weather. Mother is also fantastic coping with everything, she's so alert and interested, and still continuing with the great navigation!

Other ralliests are suggesting that Mum should be in the Guinness book of records as the oldest rally navigator... now that's an idea! We stayed two nights in a hotel on Inle lake - it is just fantastic! Lovely hotel and lovely long boats that wisk you through wonderful scenes that are straight out of a Travel brochure. The Burmese people are just so nice and sweet it is almost too much. They have great reverence for age so treat Mother with great respect and tender care. It's so nice to be here and just loving everything about Burma. 

Here's Mum ready for the Guinness World Record for oldest rally navigator!

3rd Feb: Rally was still going really well and Mum was being just great and getting on famously with the rally and everyone involved. During this rally we were joined by Peter Hall, a Journalist from the Daily Telegraph, who wrote a weekly review column for the Telegraph website which you can check out by clicking here (see below for links to his full rally review). Peter is also producing a feature article for Saga magazine on Mum, I am told it is Britain's biggest circulation magazine, so looking forward to seeing that!  The place was just lovely and we were in Bagan for three days, did a fantastic hot air balloon trip over the city which has huge Temples and thousands of smaller Stupas everywhere - just outstanding. 

The balloon trip was marvellous, amazing views and great fun


9th Feb: End of the road for the rally and we flew from Yangong to Bangkok and then on to Sydney to stay with my daughter Elizabeth and her family.

The Road to Mandalay rally was one of the best. I'l take memories of Burma and the Burmese the roads, scenery and weather with me as we go. So nice to be with these people, they couldn't be nicer, such as shame to leave but we need to move on.

The good news is that it inspired me to take a whole heap of photos, some appear on this page and the previous blog and you can see a lot more on my facbeook and twitter channels.

A long rally but yet again Mum was fantastic, always alert and interested, never sleeping in the car, doing a superb job of navigation with the road book and generally people watching observing all and everything passing by and enjoying herself!

We were taken by surprise by the fact there was some competition so had not taken any equipment for this but still tried to do it - though not very hard. We got some nice trophies for coming third in class. We stayed two days in Sydney then went off to New Zealand for three weeks. We'll be popping back to Oz for a while then back to UK on the 12th March.

Marrakech Express rally 29th March to 9th April

Need to get back by 29th March and ready as we are off to the Marrakech Express rally which takes place 29th March to 9th April. This is 15 2CV Citroen's starting in Spain then rushing about Morocco then back again. The route includes Meknes, Midelt, Merzouga, the Todra Gorge and the Atlas Mountains. Should be a great hoot as my friend Hayden Burvill, Porsche fanatic, owner of WEVO Porsche specialist parts company is coming from California to co-drive. He knows me well as we did the London to Capetown rally together. Watch this space for updates on the Marakesh rally!

Can't get away from the Space Station elephant logo - as expected in Mandalay elephants are everywhere!

 

Peter Hall's Road to Mandalay Coverage in the Daily Telegraph:

Peter Hall, Daily Telegraph, Classic cars: the road to Mandalay

Peter Hall, Daily Telegraph, Classic cars in the Road to Mandalay rally: week 1

Peter Hall, Daily Telegraph, Classic cars in the Road to Mandalay rally: week 2

Peter Hall, Daily Telegraph, Classic cars in the Road to Mandalay rally: week 3

 

Social media links updated

You can now post on facebook or twitter by clicking on the social media icons on the left of the page and follow me on facebook, twitter and youtube by clicking on the social media icons at the top right of the page (these are all at the base of the page on a tablets & mobile phones). If you want to share on other social media channels just click the '+' icon on the left and select another social media channel

 

The Road to Mandalay

Alastair Caldwell - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Well, just a week after we started the The Road to Mandalay rally and I got my first mention of the rally in the Daily Telegraph yesterday - I must be slipping! Normally my antics get me much more press coverage. Still it was good to read and see that mum got the headlines!:

"...the ever-determined Alastair Caldwell, navigated by his formidable 96-year-old mother, Dorothy."

 

So a quick recap of the first week:

On 23rd, all started well with mum at the start line and the car being blessed by a Monk - hence garland on the grill

The following evening, saw Mother with 60ft long dugout canoe 400 years old Racing canoe and waiting for a coconut to drop! Not too much pressure at this time.

There were lots of sugar cane trucks on the side of the road, waiting to sell their loads. They tried to get us to buy - they figured that Rolls Royce drivers must be able to buy the odd load of sugar cane, not really essential fodder for a rally.

Scenery is beautiful and the rally has been good so far and Burma is just great, everything is good, roads, people, scenery, food, weather. For me Rudyard Kipling, in his Mandalay poem summed it up:

   But them spicy garlic smells,
   An' the sunshine an' the palm-trees an' the tinkly temple-bells;
   On the road to Mandalay...

Mother is also fantastic and coping with everything, alert, interested and doing great at the navigation. Other rallyists are suggesting that she should be in the Guinness book of records as the oldest rally nav! Will try to keep updates coming but  Internet tends to be very poor so far everywhere.

We are staying two nights in a hotel on Inle lake. It is just fantastic, lovely hotel and lovely long boats that whisk you through wonderful scenes that are from a travel brochure but they are real. The Burmese are just so nice and sweet it is almost too much, they have great reverence for age so treat Mother with great respect and tender care.

Just a marvelous rally so far - bit off the leadership pace, but plenty of time to go yet and as The Telegraph said 'ever-determined'!!

Can't get away from the Space Station elephant logo - as expected in Mandalay elephants are everywhere!

 

 

 

 

Round the horn to finish 2nd

Alastair Caldwell - Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It is so good to be back in Argentina for the Cape Horn Rally in November. Brought back some great memories and we created a few more!  As always I wanted to win and cross the line to see the chequered flag but sadly just pipped into 2nd place by Paul and Sandra Merryweather in their 1974 - Mercedes 450 SL - well done to them after a hard fought drive.

I was joined by Laurel Smith in my 1968 Mercedes 280SL Sports, gleaming red under the beautiful Argentinian sky at the start line. That look didn't last long however as no sooner had we started than the head gasket blew! But I'll come back to that in a minute.

Before the rally started we arrived into Buenos Aires in good time so had a couple of days looking round and doing a few visits to old haunts from my days coming here with McLaren in the 70s. The Grand Prix in '74 win was a memorable one for me as we won after local hero Carlos Reutman led the race and Juan Peron, the President of Argentina at that time, flew his helicopter to the track late in the race to view this triumph. The army used tear gas and gunfire to control the crowd and then Reutman's car failed and Peron left swiftly as Hulme won the race. It wasn't a friendly end to the race and and we had to be guarded from the crowd.

Anyway, after reliving some of those great memories the rally, as I said, got off to a very bad start when the cylinder head gasket failed on the very first test! So we finished the day in a cloud of steam but actually leading the rally. With the help of the rally mechanics I changed the gasket that evening and the car ran very well after that - although it proved very hard to start when hot which is an old problem.

The next two days were very good. The second day test was cancelled and we won both tests on the third day so finished off after three days still leading and still smiling.

17th November saw us crossing the desert - what a scorcher it was! Sadly Laurel's navigation duties were suspended as she went down with a tummy bug from the day before. So combined with car action, stress and heat she had a horrid day. The following day we had a rest day in Mendoza so a chance to recover for all of us.

The following few days saw a lot of activity with Paul & Sandra just 8 seconds behind us, a Chevy, a few dinks here and there and some clouds of steam from cars in our rear view mirror. There's never a dull moment on these rallies!

The last week of the rally went relatively smoothly driving through and visiting some great places with some majestic sites.  Glorious weather and a great drive over the Andes from Mendoza to Santiago - great drive over the Andes up to 11000 feet and down again with such beautiful views.  When we arrived in Santiago, Chile after the day's test, we had a second day as a rest day and ended up sitting by the fantastic pool of the Grand Hyatt Hotel.  At this stage all was still going well on the rally, car running well and still leading - but Paul & Sandra closing the gap.

I spent a lot of time as we travelled trying to locate another head gasket to replace the one I used on the first day - not tempting fate just like to make sure we had one in reserve in case the rally took its toll again.

Sunday 24th was a rest day in Bariloche, Argentina and still all going well and the car still leading the rally - just! We stayed in a fantastic hotel - Resort LLAO LLAO - which they tell us is the leading hotel in the World. I can believe it. Perched on top of a hill surrounded by lakes and snowy mountains. It was probably the best place to discover that we were no longer leading the rally, my good friends Paul & Sandra finally overtook us, which is fine with me.

We finished the rally in Ushuaia, Argentina second to Paul & Sandra, with the 1966 Ford Mustang GT 289 Cabrio of
Christian Dumolin and Regine Dumolin-Petillion third behind us. Felt really happy for Sandra as not only did they win it was also her birthday so a double celebration for them.

Great drive, great rally, some marvellous sites, great racing and good times with some great friends in wonderful hotels en route. Can't wait until the next rally!!

Keep following here and on my social media channels – updates coming when I can get time.

 

 

Revisiting The Scene of the Crime on the Pirelli Classic

Alastair Caldwell - Friday, June 21, 2013

It’s still hot - but in more ways than one!

The route has been fun these past couple of days and it's been getting hotter and more humid. We wanted to 'develop' our air conditioning so adapted the modification to add some more oomph - not pretty and not to our standard of fit or finish - but it wroked! Judge for yourself:

Ferrri air con mods

Ferrari Air-Con modifications Mark II capitalising on the slip streaming from Ferrari and Space Station logos.

When we arrived in the Dolomites we took a chance to grab some sun, overlooking a glorious vista. The Dolomites are a wonderful range of mountains and when the weather is like this you can literally see for miles from this vantage point:

The Dolomites - glorious views and glorious weather. Ferrari looking cool. 

So at the beginning of this post I mentioned that it was hot in more ways than one. Well there we were minding our own business with the latest regularity when right out of nowhere we were attacked by a.... concrete post! At the time we just couldn't stop because of the regularity so we pushed on and then came back to revisit the 'scene of the crime' and snap a few shots. Not as bad as it looks but bad nonetheless. Not sure if the Ferrari or the post came off worst!

Hateful looks from the Ferrari as it eyes the 'downed' post!

By the time you read this we'll be on our last day - wish us luck!

Keep following here and on my social media channels – updates coming when I can get time.

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Here we go again! Time for another rally

Alastair Caldwell - Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Just back from Croatia and thought things were a bit quiet so we (once again joined by Catriona Rings my faithful navigator) started the Pirelli Classic Marathon 2013 on Saturday! Never a dull moment round here. 

This is another great rally and what better way to join and run it than in the glorious GTO. It took ages to build and convert this replica Ferrari 250 GTO from my original Ferrari 330GT with a proper V12 4 litre engine. So I've been chomping at the bit to get a Space Station Self Storage rallying sticker on the body and have a real run out with it.

This will be the first time the GTO has been driven in anger so I'm really looking forward to seeing how it performs in its new guise. The rally started in Ypres, the Belgian capital of rallying with scrutineering on Saturday followed by the welcoming dinner in the evening. Then on Saturday morning we were off to Cortina d’Ampezzo via overnight stops in Luxembourg, Mulhouse, Engelberg and Bormio.

Ferrari on teh starting line ready to goThe rally commemorates the 25th Anniversary of the original Classic Marathon in 1988. Then they had a target of driving across Europe to Cortina and all the way back again to the RAC Club in Pall Mall, London. This time though the rally ends in Cortina, no driving back just staying on to celebrate in Italian style.

I'll be posting updates here and on my twitter and facebook pages, so if you don't follow me click on the links below and join me to read and see the latest news and gossip en route.

FACEBOOK: like my page on facebook

TWITTER: follow me on twitter

Happy rallying!

Vintage Paris-Madrid Rally and the winner is....

Alastair Caldwell - Monday, June 03, 2013

Just a couple of weeks after the London to Lisbon rally I was on the road again at the Paris to Madrid Vintage car rally. This time with the lovely Alfa adorned as usual with my lucky elephant Space Station sticker. 4th place in class and 13th overall in the London to Lisbon rally was good based on all the mechanical problems we had - but I hate not winning (!) so I was determined to do better on this rally.

I thought everything was going to come undone before we'd even started when we discovered a water leak the night before.  So radiator out of the Alfa and into the repair shop overnight and fixed - but it wasn't done until late in the morning! So a late push to the starting line in Paris.  Fortunately for once we had planned to arrive a day early so we had time in hand and arrived in Versailles with plenty to spare and ready for dinner. We even managed a bit of tourist activity walking the Palace Gardens of Versaille which are really beautiful especially at this time of year. Great trees and old statues and some brilliant bronzes all on a theme of full size trees. Well worth a visit and free to enter!

The 52 pre-war cars were flagged away to start the rally from Versailles to commemorate the incredible 1903 Paris-Madrid race - 110 years to the day.  Our rally started well but we had poor brakes to start with, but a bit more fiddling saw them feeling and working better and we finished the day in the lead. A good omen for the days ahead.

The field was full of some fantastic cars that had entered this year's rally. Some really interesting early vintage classic ones. The rally follows the original 1903 route wherever the organisers can arrange. The three day 1300km (815 mile) event reflects the society of the period with the drivers and passengers having fun by dressing up in appropriate clothing for the pre-war period!

To reflect the mix of vehicles the organisers had sorted the field into classes for four, three and two wheeled motor, steam or electric driven vehicles:

 -     Veteran in two classes: Up to 1905 and 1906 to 1919.
 -     Vintage from 1920 to 1929
 -     Pre-war from 1930 to 1940

As with the original schedule the event is made up of three legs, with our first stop Angouleme (instead of Bordeaux in the original rally). Here we were met with locally produced fortified wine and some delicate pastry’s organised by Club Charentals de Belles Voitures.

We left Angouleme on the second day heading south via Saint Emilion (a lovely wine region!) and the Pyrenees Mountains to our overnight stop at Pamplona, famous for its bull run - not just yet though! In Pamploma we were greeted by local classic car enthusiasts, lots of kindred spirits and reveling in the fun of the day. We did well again today and in the top three. After arriving we all enjoyed a marvelous cocktail party and local celebrations.

The third leg takes roads that are much more fun, less traveled across to Navarra and Rioja - it's a wine fest every time we do this run. There was a regularity set on gravel on this last day, which was very hard to do on time. We did well but the chasing Italian driven Aston did slightly better. But any chance of them winning went out the window when they threw it all away with a wrong test which dropped them right down the field. Sad for them but good for us! A really good day today and we were feeling really confident when we arrived in Madrid to take the chequered flag.

And with a major effort and finishing in style the winner is... Us!

Great feeling to going across the finishing line in first place. The evening was rounded off with a a gala dinner and prize giving. I drove the car to the Gala Prize giving at the Madrid Ritz where it was on display for the evening looking both grand and resplendent with it's winners rosette across the bonnet. Catriona Rings my faithful navigator on many events gave a nice speech. At the end of the evening the Alfa stayed at the Ritz... I was in no shape to drive the car back after the dinner and celebrations!

Oh, and I nearly forgot, we met up with Michael Portillo celebrating his 60th birthday. So a good evening was had by all!


There’s more photos on my facebook page. For those of you that don’t already follow, might be an idea to more photos on my facebook page like my page now as there are more rallies coming, you can also see instant comments on my twitter channel so you can follow me there as well.

The London to Lisbon Rally – 2013

Alastair Caldwell - Thursday, May 09, 2013

Just back from the glorious London to Lisbon Rally, managed to achieve a Blue Riband and finish 4th in class and 13th overall out of a field of 50 so not a bad result after a few problems before and during the event!

This was the 6th edition of this Rally and having competed before I was keen to do well and decided to take the Mercedes 280SL Sports with me after it served so well in India. But timescales were against me and word arrived that the Mercedes wouldn’t get back in time due to all manner of shipping controls, so I opted  to take the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud llI which I used for the TransAmerica trip last year.  Easy decision for me, but Joe had a lot of work to do to get it ready in time! 

After seven years, the epic London-Lisbon Reliability Trial and Tour 6th edition finally arrived. It's open to all cars up to end of 1983 and the 2,000-mile Classic Trial features ‘Tulip’ regularities, handling and manoeuvrability tests. Starting in the UK we were destined to travel through France and Spain arriving at the finishing line in Portugal 10 days later. 

The rally was long and eventful – but then what else would you expect from me!

The route included some of the best scenery in England, France, Spain and Portugal.  Here’s a rundown of the event and my ‘memorable moments. There’s more detail on my facebook page. For those of you that don’t already follow, might be an idea to follow now as there are more rallies coming, you can also see instant comments on my twitter channel so you can follow me there as well.

I've just started a youtube channel as well so you can also see  some 'interesting videos from the rally on there'!

Day 1: Saturday 27th April – Greenwich to Portsmouth

Laurel Smith, my co-driver, and I left Greenwich after being flagged off the starting line by João de Vallera, the Portuguese Ambassador to the UK, and were among 50 classic cars. The first day is always a challenge getting to grips with the route, trials and of course coaxing the Rolls along. We had a few problems with battery charging and some penalties on regularities and tests, but finished the day in a respectable 4th in class position and 23rd overall.

Day 2: Sunday 28th April – Saint Malo to Poitiers (France)

The car ferry was a sight to behold with 50 classic cars crammed nose to tail in rows – onlookers were abundant! The Rolls got a lot of admiring glances and a worthy mention in the press release from the organisers, Hero.  We had a pretty uneventful day, made good progress and ended up two positions, 2nd in class and 16th in the field. Going well! We went to Nogaro circuit for some more tests. I think the last time I was there was with McLarens testing with Tambay for Monaco 72.

Day 3: Monday 29th April – Poitiers to Pau (France)


Weather today was marvellous, cloudless sky and sunny and by the end of the day we had kept pace at 2nd position in  class and increased our overall standing by 1 to 15th. We had split into two groups last night in different hotels and convened at a local classic car enthusiast’s garage as the starting point. The route to Pau was split into two session with lunch at the posh Château de Mirambeau with a code board section and unscheduled  French roadworks (!) which extended the days timing. 



Day 4: Tuesday 30th April – Pau to Burgos (Spain)

A few cars had retired over the few days and we started down to 42 crews in torrential rain – just like being at home in the UK! Our goal today was to pass into Spain and there were some fears that the rain might change into snow across the pass, but in the end unfounded and our way was clear – but wet! The test at Miranda Kart was great fun and saw us just drop to 3rd in class as we reviewed the days trials (and tribulations!) over dinner at the Hotel Palacio de la Merced and found out that another crew had pulled out due to clutch failure on their Mustang. 

Day 5: Wednesday 1st May – Burgos to Leon (Spain)


Half way through the event as we got up today, day 5. The roads ahead of us were completely empty on a bank 
holiday Monday. Made the driving today great fun as we just had to concentrate on the trials and each other. Clear streets gave us good views and spotted this ‘car art’ along the way: 

Thought it was going to be a good viewing day, but early mist that gave way to sun was soon replaced by torrential rain – very challenging driving for the whole field. But managed to increase our position in class to 3rd and move two further up the field into 13th overall.  

In the evening we enjoyed some local tapas, a favourite of mine, and saw the splendid cathedral, a sight to behold, before retiring to the hotel for some well earned rest ready to start again in the morning as we head further across Spain with some more bad weather forecast. 

Day 6: Thursday 2nd May – Leon to Ourense (Spain)

Today we saw the best of Spain spectacular scenery under clear blue skies and warming sunshine (a welcome change from the rain and snow we had experienced on the last few days). Two speed test tables today instead of the normal Jogularity style. Ending up at the Cabanas Kart circuit under the watchful eye of a local TV crew. Mirrors and make up to the ready as we got ready to complete the kart trial. After solid morning and afternoon events we ended the day at the same position, ready for a good meal and a well earned rest.

Day 7: Friday 3rd May – Ourense to Vila Real (Portugal)

Today saw us aiming to cross the border and a different challenge for the organisers today. The café next to the Spanish/Portuguese customs had shut down! So the planned coffee break after crossing into Portugal saw members of Hero fetching a generator to have coffee and cakes ready and waiting for us as if nothing was untoward.  We had two kart circuits today and at lunch we thought we were in for some trouble as he local police arrived in numbers – only to discover that they were just car enthusiasts like everyone else. No trouble just genuine admiration. The rally remained on Spanish time even though we were crossing time zones – so that made it easier to manage throughout the day, moving up one place to 12th overall.

Day 8: Saturday 4th May – Vila Real to Caramulo (Portugal)

We went to a race track today and were greeted by a photo of me and Cat in the Alfa taken at the first London to Lisbon rally. Talk about Déjà vu! 

Saturday and Sunday rolled into one as it was the roll into the finishing line. We did the Caramulo hill-climb which was supported by more police activity as they shut over 2.5km of public road so that we could run the event unhindered. 

Not sure we’d see this level of cooperation in every country! We two runs at the hill climb looping back after the first run to tee up for the second hill climb. Dinner was held at the Caramulo Museum across the road from tonight’s hotel. 

The museum houses a collection of classic and historic cars of all types, including some iconic Formula 1 cars. We had free access after dinner to see the cars which included: 

 » The oldest car in Portugal, still in running condition, an 1899 Peugeot;
 » The Bugatti 35B that in 1931 established the speed record in Lehrfeld at more than 200 km/h;


And of course
 » The Rolls-Royce that was used by Queen Elizabeth II, President Eisenhower, Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II during their state visits to Portugal

Day 9: Sunday 5th May – Caramulo to Lisbon (Portugal)

Hardly seems like yesterday that we left Greenwich, yet here we are ready for the final day of the rally. Today we had a real spot of bother as we came to a halt on the hill climb test completely. I had to get Laurel out and over to the Armco in case the next car hit us - they go at one minute intervals. We were there for more than a minute but eventually the car improved and we did the hill but with lots of penalties. The car seems to be able to tell when it's on a test - behaves fine then as soon as a test comes up it misbehaves!

By the end of today we’ll have travelled 2,386 miles, across 4 countries and had 25 regularities and 14 tests. Hot today, 27 deg C. Lots of spectators as we approached the final stretches of the rally. 

The police were there again paving the way for us. We stopped in the historic square Praca do Comercio then late afternoon, flanked by police motorcycle outriders who stopped the traffic at all junctions and allowed us to go through all the red lights to the finish line. At the finishing line we were flagged across by Her Excellency Gill Gallard the British Ambassador to Portugal together with city councillor Mr Manuel Brito. A very prestigious finish.










And, here we are, across the finishing line with the Rolls sporting my ever trusty Space Station windscreen sticker. We  finished 4th in class and 13th overall with a Blue Riband. A great rally with some superb people. Good fun all round. Roll on the next one!



A Few of my Favourite Things - Mike Read - BBC Radio interview

Alastair Caldwell - Thursday, February 28, 2013

I had a great time yesterday when I visited BBC Radio Berkshire and chatted with the DJ Mike Read on his feature 'A Few of my Favourite Things'. You can listen to the interview on BBC iPlayer (the interview starts about 2 hours and 6 minutes in, straight after The Electric Light Orchestra's Livin' Thing).

Mike obviously knows his stuff when it comes to music but he also has a keen interest in cars which came out as we discussed my F1 career, McLaren and James Hunt - who Mike had met several times in James' heyday and we recalled his 'lively approach'!

It was also good to reminisce about music, books and TV shows as we ran through some of my favourite things:


» my favourite song - The Beatles, Yesterday, and my memories of George Harrison, a motor enthusiast
» my favourite TV show - Fawlty Towers - John Cleese, a genius,  playing it straight and still funny after all these years
» my favourite film, Pulp Fiction - a great film with all the emotions and action in one place
» my favourite book - Catch 22, a great book - the last line made me laugh for weeks - read it to find out why!

Mike also quizzed me about the release of Rush in September this year. Can't wait to see the final film and watch Chris Hemsworth playing James Hunt and of course Stephen Mangan who is playing me in the film. But as I talk about what I've done and achieved it's still great to know that I was the first person to see the importance of self storage in the UK when I started Space Station Self Storage all those years ago. Now with storage locations along the M4 corridor it still fills me with pride when I look at the success we've had.

 

Listen to the full BBC interview with Mike Read here.
The interview starts about 2 hours and 6 minutes in, straight after The Electric Light Orchestra's Livin' Thing.

 

 

Back from India

Alastair Caldwell - Thursday, February 28, 2013

I had a great time in India on the ROARR Classic India 2013 rally. My faithful red Mercedes 280SL kept going (most of the time!) and experienced some great scenery. The driving was wonderful, exciting and entertaining (you'll need to watch the videos to fully understand what I mean). And I met some very entertaining and really interesting people - a great time.

     
Driving and enjoying the energy of India
My Mercedes 280SL ROARRing Very welcome in India

A big thank you to everyone that followed my Twitter and Facebook posts, it wasn't always possible to get a good internet connection but I managed to upload lots of photos and a few videos. Check them out on my facebook channel.

There were so many experiences it's hard to rate them, but I'm currently sorting through all my pictures and videos so watch this space and my facebook channel to see more.

I just wish that I was eligible for my Space Station photography competition! With these shots of my Space Station banner I think I might have been in with a chance this month:

     
Space Station on a busy road At the docks - banner gets attention Space Station banner gets pride of place

You can enter the photo competition on the Space Station Facebook channel - just Like the page and upload your images. Good luck!


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