Well time Marches on (see what I done there March 2018 lush or what?) my old muddy muckers and it’s that time again when I must sit down at the PC to let you know about my sad life and what’s been happening generally on the scene and what my thoughts are about it all. Did you get out in the snow and recover anyone you little 4x4 tinkers you, I bet you did? I noted on Faceache that a few of you did your duty tugging everything from buses and coaches to heavy HGVs out, and jolly well done to you all. Me? All I had to do was to run a few people to work and back, and nip up Tesco’s and load up for a few of the older neighbours round our road. “Ooh Aah Mrs hark at you, who do you think you are? Mr Lardy Dah? You’re well into your 70s yourself you old fart”. What’s just happened there, I’ve just been talking to meself in print. “Silly old sod you’re losing it mate”. I just done it again, bollocks. This is doing my head in; I’d better have a lie down.

Anyway, that was a funny old turn that didn’t make you laugh though wasn’t it that snow? We had it in 2 lots here right heavy both times it was and all, and as I write to you, (you are there aren’t you Everard I’m not writing to meself again am I?) it’s the 23rd March so its officially spring (HA HA HA) and they (you know them, Michael Fish and that lot) are threatening us with some more. Don’t know about youz but I cannot wait to feel the sun on me bones again. Well that’s sorted the weather out.

Always tell when its cold round our way when the Russian officers Hunt for Red October hat comes out

Things at the off road site I look after in Kent are coming along nicely, with a nice assortment of clubs coming to visit me. We have had in the past year the St John Ambulance people to do some off the road training as well as the South East 4X4 Response team. Always a pleasure to let them use the site. Years ago I used to run trials for the local members in the Range Rover Register, and a friend who spent his whole working life at the Lode Lane Land Rover plant and was a senior engineer with input on lots of the product range told me this. “Charlie lad if you’re going to set out trials or design sites you will never be able to win. Drivers will tell you it’s too hard, and as many others will tell you it is not hard enough”. My old pal Barrie Holt brought his mini digger down the site for a couple of days, and with the help of another mate Barry John Fawsett, they dug out a few more hazards for drivers to hone their off road skills on. They did a side slope carousel a side slope that curves around. It is not too severe; indeed it’s not as severe as the concrete one at the famous Jungle Track within the Lode Lane Land Rover factory. That scared me witless, but they should know how far their products can keel over, but I still didn’t like it. It is surprising when first time 4x4 drivers try it how it worries them, but once in and out, they go around for another run, and its pleasing to see their confidence growing once they have conquered it. Next was a bomb hole just straight in deep and out again. Then they did a splendid job making a set of Camel Humps, I call them Whoop De Doos coz they make your belly feel all funny as you drive over them, and then a slot up a steep bank. I asked the chaps to cut it steep and then a short flat part and then steep up and out again. I had to laugh when a newbie to off-roading at the site contacted me and said that I had done it all wrong. He told me it was too difficult to drive up because you had to accelerate then lay off a bit to get onto the flat part then, accelerate again and it was too hard. He suggested that I go back and fill the middle bit in. I asked him somewhat sarcastically if he “would like me to concrete the whole site over”. Not like me really, so I explained that it was done like that to test your skill levels and to improve them, and to give you confidence old chum. Because sooner or later you will came across a hill just like that. I know of 2 famous ones, K2 at the end of the off-road course at Stoneleigh Park and another at Tuff Tracks where they used to do some of the Camel Trophy training years ago, and that one was a real beast. By the way I hear you think “what were you doing whilst all this work was going on then Chas”? Sod all mate, supervising and geeing up the workers.

My walking backwards biker jacket. V on the back looks like the front as I walk away.

And here’s another thing I don’t know what it’s like round your way, but after this hard winter aren’t the road surfaces in a bloody fine mess? Blimey I just been down the M2 (the 2-lane motorway London to Dover that was out of date the day it was opened should have been 3 lanes both ways) today, and it certainly gives your suspension a work out I can tell you. It was no better at the end when I turned onto the A2 to get to the off road site. I’m not exaggerating either it really was dangerous, as some of the holes were well deep. After years of having me right eyeball shoved in the back of cameras various mostly Canons and Nikons, I have cashed some of them in and got meself a nice little movie camera. It’s a Canon XC10, a cool bit of kit that films in 4.2K which I am led to believe is good enough for television, and there is a switch to take snaps in 12 megapixels on a separate HD memory card.

The Discovery on the drive in the snow.

The memory card for filming is a C Fast card, and they didn’t tell me about that when I bought it, and boy are they bloody expensive. As usual the instruction book for all the good it is to me and my dull brain could have been printed in Swahili. Why don’t someone make sets of instructions for idiots like me, leading you thru the how to use it thingy type bits step by easy step? I gotta get meself one of them canvas chairs now and an eye shade and a loud hailer so I can shout “ACTION then CUT PRINT”. Can’t show you any films of it yet mind, I can’t work out how to get the films out the bloody thing and onto to PC editing thingy. RATS! A mate of mine said “who do you think you are anyway Danny Boyle”, quick as a whip I told him “Nah mate he’s not cool, gotta be Spike Lee or Clint Eastwood for me buddy all day, me old cock sparrow”.

The XC10.