Category Archives: Around The World

Red ‘ren, Soul of Egypt

Welcome back to the “I have a new car” blog!



Although Li’l Singin’ Suzie has not actually fallen apart at the seams, she has become unreliable, and less than melodic (especially on rough roads – everything rattles!). Some local ruffian has put a screwdriver through the passenger door lock, the repair of which left it non-functional. The window also fails to work. There are a couple of MOT Advisories,

Getting through this coming winter was looking like a worrying time.

As luck would have it, one of my Mother’s friends happened to mention that she rarely drives and was looking to get rid of her car. Knowing my situation, Mum asked her to consider us if she did decide to sell.

Long story short: I (with a little help from Dad) bought the car!

Technical Details:

  • Ford KA Zetec Climate 2007
  • Metallic red paint
  • Very low mileage
  • Very good condition (full service history)
  • One lady owner (two, if you count the lady who owned it for a whole month from new, before deciding it wasn’t for her!)


  • Despite being 11 years old, she is in almost mint condition
  • 1300cc engine is notably more power than anything I’ve driven before (The Stallion had a 1600cc,  but a much heavier body, and was a bit older)
  • She has a reflection of the Sydney Opera House in the rear wing!

Sydney Opera House


  • 1300cc engine is notably more power than anything I’ve driven before!
  • Can’t see the corners (my li’l bro noted that a KA has no corners!)
  • £195/year road tax!*

Worky Bits

I have figured where most of the important controls are, although I am settling into the “New Car Standard-Signalling Procedure”. The correct action when a new car approaches a junction is to switch on the windscreen wipers, and then indicate in both directions while changing radio stations. But you knew that.

I still don’t know how to get to the engine, but I hope that I never have to! My sister-in-law has had two KAs, and given me some suggestions, but she is of a similar “ring the RAC” mind as me.


It’s a little early to comment on fuel consumption, but I feel that she may be a little thirsty. I’m still impressed at modern mileage figures, though. My initial estimate is approximately 45MPG. I hope to be able to get that up to 50, once I’m more familiar with the clutch and gears, and no longer massively over-revving on manoeuvring.


Li’l Suzie (also known as The Car of Theseus) is being taken away later this week. While I am sad that our 4 year relationship is over, I know that she served me as well as she could.


Ka, his arms raised

Ka, his arms raised

You may be wondering where I got the title of this Blog Post. Well, sit back, and let me explain …

Red ‘ren, Soul of Egypt:

  • She is red. This part is not so puzzling.
  • KA ‘ren = Karen. If you’ve got a better name for a KA, please let me know!
  • Pharaoh Ka reigned Egypt circa 3200BC. His name means “soul”, as signified by the “raised arms” motif.

Going Forward

I don’t see my general attitude towards cars changing; keep them running until they are no longer economically viable. How much will it cost to get her through the next MOT? Hopefully, Red ‘ren will last a good few years before needing any major work, at which point, I will have to consider my options.

*Road Tax: Colloquial term for emissions-based Vehicle Excise Duty, a tax levied on all motor vehicles that use the public roads. The funds raised go in to the general Coffers, and are not ring-fenced for any particular purpose.

Misty Morning, Clouds in the Sky

Like a dreary Rothko, the North Sea steadfastly refused to roll and roil. If it hadn’t been for the surly surf lapping languidly at the edge of the sands, I might have thought it a painted ocean.

The Sea

The Sea

Such was the welcome I received from “bracing” Skegness. The rain hadn’t stopped all day, my legs ached from driving, and the Model Village was closed. But I was on holiday, dammit, and there was ART to be had!

Before long, we were installed in our room, and the weather had improved slightly. Enough to realise that the sea-based wind-farms, notably absent in the previous scene, had marched towards the land enough to be seen!

Wind Farms

Sea Windmills

While this picture shows the extent of the wind-farms, it doesn’t really do justice to their size. As we later discovered, they rise 80 metres above the water, with a turbine diameter of 120 metres (for reference, the London Eye stands 135 metres tall, so a turbine would just squeeze inside).

Closer View of Wind Farm

Closer View of Wind Farm

Being 5km from the shore, my camera was only able to pick up a certain level of detail, but I captured what I could.

Close up view of Wind Turbines

Closer Still

 Now, I’ve heard talk of the turbines spoiling the view, but personally I find them majestic, and I marvel at their construction! One hundred and twenty metre (120) span! 5 kilometres from shore! I’d rather see these awesome structures marching across the horizon than a dirty coal-burner sat pouring soot and smoke out into the air!

Talking of painted ships on panted oceans, the next significant sight took the ubiquitous wind-farms as a back-drop and introduced the Admiral Benbow sea-front cafe-bar.

The Admiral Bendbow

The Admiral Bendbow

Nestled into the sea defences at Chapel-St-Leonard’s, the Admiral Benbow has been a labour of love for it’s proprietors, and this shows in it’s friendly atmosphere and quirky decor. On dry days, one can sit out in the Hispaniola, built from recovered groynes and wave-breaks, and enjoy the view!

The Hispaniola

The Hispaniola

While in Chapel St Leonard’s, Lucretia insisted on finding some geocaches. Unfortunately, some were placed on private land, that the golf club has now restricted access to. But we found the ones that are still available!

No walk along the beach would be complete without pictures of the sand, artfully arranged by Mother Nature and adorned with sea-shells (which can be purchased from a lady, near the beach, if the old rhyme is to be believed!). In this shot, one of the razor-shells has fallen to echo it’s namesake.



Art is all about perception, so I’m told. So I found a couple of different ways of seeing the environment, to see if the adage held true. First, a close up:

Close up of Sand

Close up of Sand

And secondly, a shot that encompasses both tricks of perception and accidental art! I was trying for a low-level shot, including the wind farms, but ended up with this, that makes the sea look a lot rougher than it actually was!

Rough Sea!

Rough Sea!

Back at the wind-farm, a ship is spotted. It must have been moving at some speed, to pass the turbines so quickly, but I managed to get a shot of it.

Wind Ship

Wind Ship

I presume it was as supply-vessel for the substation that sits amongst the turbines, piping the electricity into cables for transmission to the shore.


Sub-Station (Disguised as AT-AT Walker)

Also in attendance was some sore of exploratory vessel (I think. It might have been maintenance of some sort. I hope it wasn’t part of the fishing fleet!).



So, we took a break from ships, and had a coffee on the pier at high tide (after negotiating the Amusement Arcade that forms the entrance, and, due to strong discipline, only having a quick go on the Addams Family pinball, and a short play on the 2p falls). Not that the tide seemed any closer than low tide! While it was enjoyable, it was tinged with sadness, and I can only imagine distraught parents trying to console the child who fell foul of this tragedy:

Lost Lolly

Lost Lolly

To overcome this we went and found a few more geocaches, walked along the beach some more, and eventually found a very nice bar to have dinner (I can recommend the Big Share Platter!).

And, as with all things, our trip came to an end. With skies darkening, we gave one last wave to the wind-farms, hopped back into Li’lSuzy, and were on our way home.

Last View of Wind Farms

Last View of Wind Farms


Adventures of the Travelling Stick Salesman

You will all have seen those fantasy pictures: large panoramic views, beautiful scenery. And somewhere in the middle ground, a lone figure, cloak swaying in the breeze, and hand firmly grasping a long staff. You can visualise it so well that I won’t bother posting an example.

The Belgian Jordy Lakiere has come to the conclusion that he is a Travelling Stick Salesman, touting his wares across lands far and near! From Mordor to Tatooine, he seeks out potential buyers, and then vanishes into the mists.

A collection of his customers can be found here:

EDIT: Tumbler Blog has changed. Try his Facebook Album

There will be some you recognise, some you don’t, and some you’ll be sure you’ve seen before but can’t quite remember where!

I won’t go rambling on. Go visit the site!

Lady Burghclere and Ethel

Detail from an Egyptian mummy at New Walk Museum

Detail from an Egyptian mummy at New Walk Museum

One of my clearest childhood memories is visiting the New Walk Museum, and finding they not only had dinosaurs and holograms, but also Egyptian Mummies! The Egypt section was dark, like a tomb, and a little scary for a young lad such as myself, but I was fascinated.

Later, when I joined up for the Natural History Sunday Club, we would always find some time to wander through the Egypt display. They have Royal mummies, funereal urns, and even a mummified cat!

Alas, childhood gave way to other, more important, things (or so they seemed at the time!). Rock ‘n’ Roll. Girls. Computers. Howard Carter and his ilk had to take a back seat for a while. But they never completely left.

So imagine my surprise and joy when I found this blog:

A friend has found letters to her grandmother, Elsie Merrall,  from Ethel North, lady’s maid and companion to Lady Winifred Burghclere, the elder sister of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon! You probably know that Lord Carnarvon is not only the business-partner of Howard Carter, discoverer of Tutankhamen’s tomb, but also the inspiration for the UK TV series Downton Abbey.

Ethel and Lady B travelled the world together, and Ethel wrote many letters and postcards to Elsie, telling of her exploits and adventures, along with commentary on many subjects. These  letters are now being compiled into a book, ready for publication.

To find out more, including how to get hold of the book when it is released, visit:

World Pipe Band Championships

OK, I did find some art, in the end!rspba-logo

BBC Alba are showing the World Pipe Band Championships, featuring bands from Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and, of course, Scotland. Broadcast from Glasgow, the 12 Finalists belted out their finest Pipe ‘n’ Drum tunes.

Won by the Northern Irish “Field Marshal Montgomery Band” for the third year running, there was a fantastic display of music!

Now, I’m no connoisseur of bagpipe music, but I thought tonight’s performance was very good! And if a bunch of guys in skirts blowing into sheeps innards while their mates bash at stretched pig skins isn’t Art, then my name’s not Mary Pickford!

Rainbow Mountains In China

Rainbow Mountains In Chinas Danxia Landform Geological Park Are Very, Very Real PHOTOS.

Rainbow mountains! No, really!

A friend who studied geology in Wales always remarked that he was becoming an expert in Grey Rocks. (This was before Ms James’s novel, or I’m sure he would have made some comparative pun.)
China, on the other hand, seems to have a wider selection of colours to choose from!

The Danxia Landform Geological Park is formed from 24 million year old sandstone, and buckled by tectonic forces, giving rise to a startling range of multicoloured mountains!

Wow. Just Wow! 🙂