Billy’s Beagle Goes Boating

By on Mar 8, 2016 in History | 0 comments

Fitzroy, my Beagle Pup is named after the great Captain of HMS Beagle, the ship that took Darwin to the Galapagos Islands, I’d toyed with calling him Darwin but these days I don’t feel evolution dealt me a fair hand.  Vice Admiral Robert Fitzroy also founded the Meteorological Office and created what is now known as the Shipping Forecast. There is a sea area named after him there is Fitzroy Sound in the Falkland Islands, known by name to all army medics of my generation for the Treatment Station set up in the shearing sheds there in the Falklands war of 1982, its where I lost my first friend in the army too. My Beagle has a name to live up to and it’s high time he got his paws wet!   Fitzroy is only 15wks old but its important to get a dog at this stage of development comfy with activities you’d like to together through out your lives. Suitably named The...

Beagle, Battery and Babies

By on Feb 22, 2016 in History | 0 comments

If you want to live by the clock don’t have babies or Beagles.


By on Jan 27, 2016 in History | 0 comments

I work and live in tied accommodation in London. I don’t need a car day to day, no one does, the city’s transport is brilliant. But my home is in Devon and I’m a keen canoe/ boat paddler. Travelling outside London and moving boats around is a challenge without a car. I’ve been lucky, many of my friends have cars. Tracey is, like me, ex -army. Unlike me she’s a trained killer! Her close protection (bodyguard) duties in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan have left her with a habit of driving far enough from the car in front that should it stop and gunmen get out she’s able to evade, or turn the car as a barrier and return fire. It’s a bit frustrating in London watching other traffic fill the gap and Tracey dropping back to maintain extra safe distance, but I always felt safe as a passenger with her. Mouse is a former Traffic Cop in Devon and...


By on Jan 27, 2016 in History | 0 comments

It is summer 2010. I am driving into London along the motorway. The traffic is flowing, not quick, but flowing. Suddenly some speed merchant passes me up the inside on the emergency lane. I am  just pondering the marital status of his parents when he cuts back into my lane.   Then BANG!   I came around as a coach driver was helping me from my car. He made sure I was okay then gave me his card.   “Get in touch.  It wasn’t your fault.”   He quickly hopped back into his coach, tooled it around the carnage and got his passengers away before the Police closed the road.   Still a bit dazed, I went around the other cars to check the people were okay. By and large they were: one woman had an egg sized bruise on her forehead, but was already calling a friend to let her know they’d be late. There were five of us in total: me, two in the car I had...

War Story

By on Jan 27, 2016 in History | 0 comments

We  Were There but We Saw it First on CNN The warning came over the net; ‘Air Red, Air Red, take cover.’ Just that, in a clam clipped voice and in a calm clipped manner we made our way to the Munro Shelter. As I counted my Troop in, the Air Raid Siren sounded and I admit I felt some excitement, not fear, more of a thrill I was trained for this and I wanted to know how I’d get on. Once all were in I checked the CAM and NAIAD and looked about. Around 800 metres away the lights of the Dhahran International Hotel were topped by the brighter lights of CNN’s MNT on its roof, Tornado and F15 Aircraft were taking to the air all seemed normal and so it was; the all clear sounded and I told the Troop to leave the Shelter. Most of us slunk in to the Rest Room to check in owith the news. We had become News Junkies and CNN was the station of choice. Chuck Jago came on screen...

The Big Scream

By on Jan 27, 2016 in Places | 0 comments

I like cinema, I love Toni (it’s no secret, everyone does) and helping her in a bit of escapism with and from the demands of her twin baby daughters seemed like a nice thing to do. Even with the joys of motherhood she pines a little for her demanding job and the necessary, grown-up conversations at the office. She also misses the slightly less grown-up chatter of Tower RNLI Lifeboat on which she had been, like me, a volunteer crew member. So, a simple idea: take the kids to Brixton’s Ritzy Picturehouse and watch a special screening of Grandma with a lot of other mums (I saw no dads, but it was dark) and their babies. It wasn’t my first outing with Toni and the twins. We’ve done lunch a few times and even gone swimming so this should have been easier. I was wrong on that point. The logistics to get a baby into a car for an outing are daunting, with twins...

Postcard from East Anglia

By on Nov 5, 2015 in History | 0 comments

Pat Rowe and I headed for a windswept beach at Cromer, to get a feel for the appeal of the North Sea in November.

Postcard from Tokyo….

By on Nov 5, 2015 in Places | 0 comments

Compared with the experience of the auto journalists on this trip I’m a complete newbie, but I’m looking forward to the Tokyo Motor Show.