Sunday 23rd July 2006

Part two of the lads weekend, started badly. I woke up much later than I planned and entered up rushing around in the my room, ignoring a missed call from Chris, jumping in the shower and rushing to the train station. Not a good start, not a good start at all. After purchasing my tickets and heading down the subway to platform three, Chris called me and laughed as I explained I was running slightly late. So was he. Phew. For a while I had images of meeting him and his brother and other half in fed up mood at Paddington. It was not to be, I would just about beat them into London and meet them at Paddington platform. This was the first time I was meeting Gary, although of course I had heard so much about him and spoken to him on the phone a few weeks ago regarding this trip. Chris kept a secret that I was to discover later. We meet on platform fourteen of Paddington station and Gary then headed to Millie’s Cookies for some much needed breakfast and a cup of coffee. We then headed for the tube station and I explained the route, but Gary just heard, “blah blah blah to blah blah to blah”. I laughed. He was just a older more immature version of Chris. More to follow very shortly. We came to Baker Street our stop on the Bakerloo Line but deep in discussions I completely forgot and thought we were still had another stop to go. Sandy, Gary’s wife was quick to point it out and we jumped out. However my powers were fading, there must have been some kryptonite lying around near by. We headed the wrong way up the platform and I turned around with Chris commenting, “He’s lost it!” As we walked back down the platform, the tube train we had just jumped off was waiting to leave, but a guy with a big rucksack decided to jump on just as the doors were closing, jamming the bag in. Instead a group of people tried helplessly to get the bag free but with no joy. In a moment that could have been taken from any Hollywood blockbuster, Gary casually walked up to the door, no rush, grabbed the door open with one arm and released the bag. Then without a flinch he continued walking past, not reacting to the waves of thanks from the passengers in the train. If only I had taken a picture at the moment, it was crazy. Just a shame you need to give two weeks notice and pay ¬£300 for the privilege. The rest of the journey was uneventful, with no further rescue attempts required, although of course Gary was always more than willing to help anyone in distress. By the time we joined the DLR at Canning Town, it was very busy but as we already had tickets we stopped at Customs House rather than Prince Regent. After an initial queue, we were in just before 11am. I was disappointed that they took the main part of the ticket and left us with the little stub. Gary and Sandy went off on their own while Chris and I started off in the main manufacturer stand, starting over at Peugeot. We then got a drink, Tropical Smoothie for a small break before moving over to the show area. We met up with Gary and Sandy for a quick bite to eat before heading around the final few stands that we had not seen, including a fabulous Honda Civic Type-R in a pearlescent white with overtones of blue when the lights hit the body work in the right place, which was magnificent, just to look at. We then headed outside into the sunshine to see the BMW stands. It was here that Gary decided to poke fun and the rest of the people checking out all the little compartments in the boots. There is a selection of photographs of Gary’s head (or in at least one picture, most of his body, in a boot). These are perhaps the funniest of my latest FlickR set. It was on the German manufacturer’s stand that we had a small taste of the high life. Sandy saw Kenny, an old neighbour and we were accordingly invited upstairs to the drivers lounge for a complementary drink on the blacony, overlooking the stands and dock. Now you can see that Chris and I would have missed out on this grand opportunity if we had not come along with SuperG and his Lois Lane. We then headed around to the other side of the building to look at some of the activities available. There was a small radio control track by Vauxhall for their VXR sports range. Get the kiddies playing with the small cars, while the grown ups buy some clothes. Behind this was the Zoom Zoom circuit by Mazda. A selection of cars, RX8, MX5 and new MPS where on show by no-one was really pushing the cars hard on the first straight, and posting quite modest times on the board for such a low demanding track. We then headed down to the Range Rover Freelander experience, under their new advertising slogan of Go Beyond. (I am sure you have seen the recent commercial in your local multiplex, voiced by Ewan McGregor.) Quite an interesting course with various obstacles, including the whole car behind tilted forty-five degrees. We then headed back into the show after looking at some cars crawl down a slide. After a quick browse of the shopping areas, we headed back to on the DLR for home. I took 250 pictures today at the motor show, on my seventh month anniversary of going pro on FlickR. I now have broken the one thousand barrier for total number of pictures hosted, most of them in a set. I cut down my collection of photographs to only 218, when I thought it would easier to get it to a figure of around 100. Checking the referrals on my site recently, someone on eBay was selling tickets but had linked to the photographs on my site. I am going to delete them and move them over to FlickR. Funnily enough looking back to May two years ago there was the Mazda concept for the MPS in Birmingham. Today in London that car was on display and on sale. A selection of my favourite pictures from the day are below.

VXRP7240372Civic Type-R

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