:: Tuesday, 23 August 2005 ::
WOG MOG LE JOG - DAY 14 BATH TO PERRANWELL (NEAR LAND'S END)
Out of Bath I needed to get down down South West Engerland, back to where it all began, to the home of the Mog, at Perranwell in Cornwall.
Getting there would end my perfect roundtrip.
I scooted outta Bath round noon, and, after some iPOD hassles quickly sorted in the shade at the back of the Royal Crescent, I got a blast of Rolling Stones 'Exile on mainstreet' to take me on my way. Perfect.
No more traditional English traffic holdups.
But I could hardly be sad with the wonders on perfect B roads. Although I was getting a little antsy heading across Dartmoor, which took an age on account
Actual Dartmoor ponies.
And, plus, Dartmoor sheep abound.
They seemed to like the warmth of the sunkissed blacktop,so the going was mighty slow.
Eventually, I had to hand back the keys and the immobiliser and unpack my gear.
I had to relinquish the Morgan 4/4 1.8L FordVtec engine, sweetest roadgoing machine I have enjoyed speeding along in since discovering the delights of the little red 1989 Mazda MX-5 that lives in my garage.
The whole round trip took me 2124 miles.
And what did I learn?
That alls you need for this sort of adventure is a compass, a decent 4 miles:1 inch map, a positive attitude and one heck of a car.
I will follow up with a post explaining the top roads I would recommend for drivey fun across Engerland, SouthEast Wales and Scotterland.
But for this post right now, I gotta confess to feeling a quiet sense of achievement and a goodly deal of delight in discovering the English motoring classic that is the Morgan.
Do I want one?
:: WB 2:26 p.m. [link+] ::
WOG MOG LE JOG - DAY 13 LOWER SLAUGHTER TO BATH
The Cotswolds basically looks a lot
And like this, all stone walls of impressive precision and no mortar.
The preferred fuel for the daytrip down to Bath wasStilton, Double Glouscester and Stinking Bishop
cheese, all English staples and, as a cheese tragic, I can certainly vouch, stinky and delicious.
Very happy with the fuel, I decided on a little roofless action in the Mog.
To whit, unstudding the studs, unsnipping the snappynubs, peeling back the leather roof, letting the threehoopedroofskeleton drop, and awayyyy we go:
It is atchally easy, even if it does make your face go all wincey as the studs stick a little bit, and the stretchyness of the leather makes everything feel precarious, like the windshield is going to crack off from all the tension, and the snappynubs get a super stuck and will not budge....
Not hard at all.
Now, no pics of beautiful downtown Bath cos I already spent some time there before the whole MOG LE JOG thing, so youse can check back with them pics if youse wish.
But the whole trip to Bath was easy and pretty easy on the eyes too. Top stuff, and once again the Royal Crescent was a perfect setting for afternoon chats with buds.
Top way to end the penultimate day of my trip, even if I was getting a little sad at the prospect of losing my Mog-pal the very next day.
:: WB 2:09 p.m. [link+] ::
WOG MOG LE JOG - DAY 12 RUTLAND TO LOWER SLAUGHTER
In which I encounter nothing but pigrelated and Cotswoldian delights.
Rutland's wonders run to
and the nearby legendary Dickinson bakery, home of the
a.k.a Dickinson Pie
a.k.a world's best and biggest pork pie.
Natch, I had to purchase one, but the reckless consumption I have been engaged in throughout my journey has put at risk my ability to shoehorn myself into the narrow Mog seats
so this hefty comestible
was merely tasted before being fed to the ducks on earth.
And where were the ducks?
Why, in Lower Slaughter, natch.
Not Upper Slaughter.
Zif I would wanna go there.
:: WB 5:21 a.m. [link+] ::
WOG MOG LE JOG - DAY 11 YORK TO RUTLAND
In which I encounter shock, rudeness and terror.
It was on the cruise outta York and down to Rutland that I got something of a shock.
It is not often one encounters any
much less many many of them
and certainly not being sold, with pride even, as if they are actually a real car deserving of roadworthy certificates.
I was frankly appalled.
But my sprits were lifted by what I think was a
nucular power factory
spotted orf in the distance.
Then they were deflated again by being repeatedly given the finger by
these three English schoolboy louts in the back of this bus.
They seemed to be delighted by the Morgan before their disgusting class envy kicked in and the meanness started.
They all ducked from view as I decided to catch 'em on digimotorpicfilm, the little swine, but a couple were just a little too slow.
Ha ha. Who's giving the finger now, eh lads?
Anyhoo, orf to Rutland, to the village of hambleton, atchally, which is on the peninsular that juts out into Rutland water, a dirty big lake type arrangement. I got in to the village late afternoon, beautiful crisp and sunny weather enjoyed all day, bt imbetween listening to the iPOD - a Creedence day I think - I mighta heard something about weather turning a bit nasty overnight.
Hmmmm. Moggy roof is not entirely waterproof, what with its holes, and the fact it is made of leather and will get water logged and drippy pretty fast.
The hotel assured me I'd be fine under beautiful big trees.
It was three when I was woken by a humongously loud clap of thunder, and realised it was not just raining, but was teeming down so hard it hurt when I put my hand outta da window.
O. Mo. Go.
Total panic. Run to book about hotel.
ARGH! Notice at bottom on first page says the hotel does NOT operate a 24 hour reception? What the...? How am I s'posed to...? What am I going to do?
Considering taking the whole doona cover down to the car and laying it over the top hoping that will somehow be more waterproof than the care, and will prevent soakage.
Contemplate laying my raincoat over the rood, but realise it is only a jacket, so hardly a solution. Kick self for failing to buy DrizaBone trip.
Commence dressing in complete panic. Tears forming in eyes. Heartrate stratospheric.
Resume reading hotel book for something, anything, to do with getting help or finding cover.
See note about sole lonely on-site staffer in one special room available only for emergencies.
O ya, I think this qualifies.
Phone him - it was a him, a Swiss guy I think called, I kid you not, Tony - and he wakes up as he speaks to me, saying a lot of "hmmmm" and "is it realy not waterproof?".
After not too many seconds - although it feels like minutes cos of the teeming rain and my imagination filling up the interior of the Mog and soaking its little wooden frame to pieces til it is all bendy and splooshy and...undriveable....then
Tony says, "Is it small?"
And I say "Yiss, yiss it is,"
And he says "I think we can fit it next to the stables."
And I say "I'll see you downstairs in two shakes."
So Tony takes me out to the car in the pouring rain with one of them jumbo hotel umbrellas that good hotels always seem to have, and we get to the car and I jump in and it is so cold, and there is definitely drippage coming through the roof.
Orf I drive, slowly in the rain with Sleepy Swiss Tony leading the way and we get to the stables, and he tells me to do a complex three point reverse kinda of turn to get under the archway entrance to the stables, under cover on top and in front but not if the rain decides to come teeming in on a windy angle.
I do it, and the Mog is a noisy little motor, all roary fun, you know? And with that I got to get some peaceful sleep knowing my little car was okeedoke.
Lucky, lucky me, eh?
Not so lucky for the staff of the hotel, but. Not only did I ruin Tony's night, but all the other staff stay at the refurbed stables, so I woke up every one of them too, with my motory noisiness.
I am not sure if the wave they gave me when I checked out in the a.m was a "come on back" or a "come on back when you get yourself a waterproof car" or a "stay the hell away ya rowdy troublemaker" kinda wave.
I can vouch for the folks at Hambleton - they are sensational.
:: WB 4:33 a.m. [link+] ::
WOG MOG LE JOG - DAY 11 HARROGATE AND INTO YORK BEFORE RUTLAND
:: Saturday, 20 August 2005 ::
I know it has been a few days readers, but who knew staying in 18th century hotels in Engerland would compromise my broadband access, eh?
Whatever. I am now on line and in a very tappy mood.
So, to day 11. That day's drive from lovely Harrogate to Rutland, the tiniest district in Engerland, was real driving pleasure with plenty of eye candy along the way, said candy being provided by spectacular York Minster, which was my first stop along the way. It was full up for overnighters on account of York races, hence the stay in lovely Harrogate. But that was quite alright, as Harrogate is a delightful Georgian type town, not too big and not too small.
And not too far away from York, which only one of the biggest durned cathedrals round and about this green and pleasant land.
To get into York you drive past the
walls of the town
and into a gorgeous village town type arrangement with the Minster rising imposingly but
kind of cuddled by all the surrounding Ye Olde type joints.
It is simply spectacular
and I was fortunate enough to turn up in the middle of a wonderful choir orchestra performance of some muzak I did not recognise - possibly if not probably an English composer.
Lucky me, eh? Who knew God was a Anglican?
Anyhoo, the interior is breathtakingly huge
and the authorities have actualy opened up the undergound too, so youse can wander round and see the Roman stuff on which the whole thing is originally built.
So, mille grazie to the Romans for the wonders of York Minster.
:: WB 4:10 a.m. [link+] ::
WOG MOG LE JOG - DAYS 11, 12, 13 AND 14 TO BE POSTED SUNDAY 21 AUGUST
:: Thursday, 18 August 2005 ::
Sorry for lack of posts, peeps, but Harrogate to Hambleton to Lower Slaughter to Bath and back to Land's End and the end of the Mog drive will have to get posted tomorrow night sometime.
lack of internet accessy goodness throughout the Midlands of England and fabulous fun being had has eaten into bloggy time.
More soon, lo giuro. Including the biggest pork pie ever.
:: WB 9:11 a.m. [link+] ::
WOG MOG LE JOG - DAY 10 EDINBURGH TO HARROGATE
:: Tuesday, 16 August 2005 ::
Yesterday was an artsy day in Edinburgh, wth a visit to the
to check out a fantastic paitning called "The Oncologists" which I was not allowed to photograph and which I cannot find online.
It is a very large, modern and moody affair. Fantastic and likely to become one of my all time favourites.
Yiss, it is that good.
Then it was orf to the Modern Art gallery for the Francis Bacon exhibition, which was also fantabulous in that macabre way that Bacon had of rendering everything kind of twisted meaty, you know?
Again with the no photos so youse will have to make do with
the cover art of the published gallery stuff picked up. That is only two thirds of 'The Oncologist' painting. It is missing a whole other oncologist.
There was also a trip in to the National Gallery itself for a pilgrimage of sorts to this Rembrandt self-portrait which is so expressive and perfect, with his hat that looks so very real and velvetyfelty.
Then, having got my art fix outta da way, it was on the road.
Mucho laughter with the concierge guys who were refusing to go get the car for me. Only the Spaniard (I think), Mandy, was prepared to go. The rest of them declared the car too hard to drive, and far too claustrophobic with its little cabin and tight footpedal zone.
One guy the night before had apparently tried to move the car and got so crazy inside it that he had a fit and was screaming to be let out.
Mandy was laughin' up a storm as he related this tale of scots weakness.
Not a 'Colin McRae' moment, but more a 'Carlos Sainz' triumph, and if youse do not get that reference, then youse are obviously not rally driving fans. And youse should be.
But I digress and anyhoo. It was on the road for one of the bestest drivey days ever.
Down the A68 from Edinburgh to Jedburgh, the last stop in scotland before coming across the "England" border stone, which was a parking stop filled with campervans and tourists so the Mog and me went cruising on by.
And why stop anyway? Cos the A68 keeps going down through North Yorkshire to Darlington and then you take the A167 from Darlington to Thirsk
and the roads are literally like rollercoasters.
Just up and down down down, with blind summits and no trees for reference in lots of spots. I was enjoying a mixture of sheer driving pleasure and terror at the prospect of being one of the 75-deaths-per-annum annouced in big depressing signs by the side of the road.
Way to make me crazy, road-nancies.
So, up up up and down down down all the way along, rolling hills, filled with gigantic hay bales and perfect dairy cattle and only the
occasional traditional English hold ups of huge tractor type things
forcing the applicaiton of the Mog's spongey brakes.
Soundtrack for the trip was a fantastically weirdo English country music radio station. Yah, you read that right. The annoucer sounded like he came off the classical music broadcast station, but instead he was introducing Suzie Bogguss. And natch, not being a true country music fan, who eschews making fun of their dumb names and even dumber pronounciation (no offense, but, cos I lerv my country music; heck, I am a Louvin Brothers fan, and they do not come much weirder than Ira and Charlie).
So he announces a Bogguss track and asks listeners to identify the opening line of the song, which he swears is:
We were always looking for tuna, with our heads in the clouds.
and damn, if he was not a hunnerd per cent right. She means to sing 'true love' but it sounds like 'tuna' and that, readers, is objectively hilarious.
Many giggles on the rollercoastery roads.
Made it in to Ripon late afternoon, and had to do some serious swerving and doubling back, to capture this image of suburban loveliness.
Just a house on a corner in a street, but so English and lovely.
Mog has the turning circle of a football ground, so it gets a heap of attention whenever I am pointing him to do special things like uturns and doubling back to see stuff and all that. Thankfully, folks are so tanken with the car, that i get happy nods rather than smirks and disapproval.
Now, not a lot of pics of the fab drive on account of all them A roads is single lane stuff. So motorpics at speed are not a sensible risk taking activity. I did get a bit of one machine I encounrtered, however, but it isn't a good shot for youse readers. The machine was some sort of harvesting ploughing thing, attached to a huge tractor and it was obviously ploughing vast fields of shit, no two ways about it, cos as it drove ahead of me, giant patties of the stuff were being flung on to the Mog.
Thank Jeebus the roof was up, keeping not just the sun but also the fecundity of rural England offa me.
Still, with the Lyndyrd Skynyrds going on the weirdo country station at that time, all was well and happy, if a little stinky, in the Mog.
Next stop, Rutland. The littlest region in England. Home of some sort of giant Rutland Water fake lake or something, we'll see.
Also home of The Rutles, and their truly great track:
Get up and go,
Get up and go,
Get up and go back home
:: WB 1:41 a.m. [link+] ::
WOG MOR LE JOG - DAY 9 EDINBURGH
Mucho time spent relaxing today in hotel room of luxury. But to update, the trip into Edin burgh from the north takes you across a bridge next to that famous weird looking bridge,
captured here on Mog-at-speed cam.
And it is a pretty easy city to navigate, so finding
The Scotsman hotel was not too much of a chore.
Happy chats about the mog with the conciergey folks, woh took him off to lock him up for the afternoon and night, all snug somewhere in the bowels of the building, I think.
The hotel is located in the old Scotsman newspaper building so it is all marle and wood panelling and, interestingly, hatches beside every room, so you can get stuff delivered without opening the door to anyone. mebbe they were the old hatches where the copy got delivered. Who knows? I can't be asked to ask. I just like the whole concept of no people interraction at all, if you want to avoid it. Just phonecalls, or maybe even just text messages to room service.
After several hours relaxation and bloggy attempts and email checks etcetera, got on the mov to see some of the town.
Blogger is refusing to upload the image of the castle lit up at night. Suffice it to note such pics are a dime a dozen as befits a structure of long standing.
This, on the other hand, has a less futureproof and ongoing feel about it.
So, the editorial picture choice is a simple one.
O-kee, as the locals might say. I am done for the night. Spent some time out tonight at a festival thingy. Made the mistake of going to see a Yasmin Alibhai Brown discussion about multiculturalism instead of the Iranian comedian I was thinking of seeing. Urgh. Left everything a bit late. Still, I got to give her a resounding "booo" as she snidely sounded off that Nick Cohen is "deranged" and "a racist" and "every thinking person is againt the Iraq war".
She is a toxic wog, that one. Doesn't want to call herself "English" even though she is. Prefers "British" whatever the f*ck that is.
:: WB 3:00 p.m. [link+] ::
WOG MOG LE JOG - DAY 9 PITLOCHRY TO EDINBURGH
Yesterday's run was Inverness to John o'Groats to Pitlochry.
Pitlochry is a delightful little spot, very villagey and nice, and lo, there just happened to be a bunch of marching pipers orf marching down the main drag as I got into town to find the internet cafe closed.
They just wheelled outta nowhere and went off, the crowd following like lemmings.
Very kitch but lovely, if a little grating on the ears.
The morning's required activity was a trip to (Tim)Blair Castle
a fabulous big white pile, that is all decked out carefully in vast numbers of deer heads and antlers, and guns and swords and tartan stuffs.
They even had a lone piper
which made a bunch of Italian tourists squeal with delight. They were madly amassing themselves for a group shot around this piper, much crying out "presto", "avanti" and then, as they all got together and the camera button was due to be pushed they all shouted:
A terrific touristy moment.
It went well with the tours going on the Castle, which were mostly of Germans for Germans. At one point I was certain a fight had broken out but no, it was just a German tour guide explaining lace embroidery to her group.
No pics allowed in the castle which just means youse readers need to get there for a squizz.
The run down in to Edinburgh was easy peasey, straight south, A9, M90, A90.
Pics of Edinburgh to follow. Bloger is being quite scottish about image uploads per post. As in not many.
:: WB 2:28 p.m. [link+] ::
WOG MOG LE JOG - DAY 8 JOHN o'GROATS - UPDATED - NOW WITH PICS
:: Sunday, 14 August 2005 ::
Hey readers, I made it.
Needed Moggy roof cos john o'Groats really is at the arse end of everything in Scotland, all 'wind swept and interesting' and you actually have to drive through a weirdo kind of misty fog separation barrier to get there.
And once there, there is very little there there, you know?
Still I got my photo, and the kind man took a snap of the Mog just as the horrible catterwhauling noise of the ferry let out a peel, gaining my appalled attention for a second. Nice shot, but. I like it.
A very big drivey day was had yesterday, then, all the way from Inverness up to John o'Groats and then all the way back down past Inverness to Pitlochry, near Blair Castle.
But of the happy kind, eh?
Found out last night, as I stayed in a hotel that was way too like 'The Shining' for my liking:
a big imposing pile up on a bluff
with empty red hallways sreaming 'redrum'
[Urgh, Blogger is not letting post the pic of the eerily empty and boarded up blue ballroom. Totally spooky.]
that the road I had driven for about 8 hours all during that very day was only the deadliest road in Scotland.
No point in getting the retrospective heebyjeebies. fact is, the road was no problemo for me. Granted, there were a lot of lorries to share the blacktop with, and they are quite aggressive, them Scots lorries, but the road's major flaw, to my thinking, is the fact that all the potholes are on the front right wheel line, both north and south.
Much swerving had to be done.
That was the major problem.
Oh, plus there were long holdups at road works points, and a really steep mountain that needed some tight corner hugging and first gearage, that was a bit hair raising.
Add to that the fact I had the cricket going all day and you can imagine the tension in the little Mog cabin.
I feel somewhat responsible for the draw - which we totally could have won, mind - cos it seemed that every time I got outta the car - to get petrol, to go to the can, to pick up a drink - a wicket was lost. Bad Woggy. Should have stayed in the car.
Still and all, there is now no probem here now in the spectacular Scotsman hotel here safe and sound in fabulous festival-filled Edinburgh.
Thanks for all the emails asking if I'd made it to JOG. Yip and yippee, yes I have. I am now on the downhill run. But tonight, Edinburgh calls: its siren song of heavy traffic and festival festivities is irresistible.
:: WB 8:27 a.m. [link+] ::
WOG MOG LE JOG - INVERNESS
Got in to Inverness late, and I know I know, I should be drinking whiskey and playing golf or something, but hey. I am a Wog. I do white wine and bubbles at a stretch. Met some fab surfey American business folks and had drinks and chats over sunset and smokes. Very civilised here riverside in Inverness.
It is a delightful part of the world and the weather today has spoiled me rotten. Perfect. For driving and for evening drinks.
The whole waterside thing they got going on in Inverness is a delight. Would like, as with so many other joints, to spend more time here, but needs must.
Rest for me tonight
and for the Morgan.
Tomorrow I tag John o'Groats.
Whoo hoo. Should just tip the 1000 miles (coulda bin shorta but I have not just driven it to drive it, I have made detours to take in UKside delights).
And now, to sleep the sleep of the sleepy.
:: WB 3:05 p.m. [link+] ::
WOG BLOG LE JOG - DAY 7 GLASGOW TO INVERNESS
The A9 is the road that takes you from Glasgow (after a bit of phaffing around to find it) up to Inverness, through Perthshire.
It is a spectacular drive and for those readers who like a bt of fun driveyfun, this is oooo the road to do it on.
But the best bit about it is that you really do get a sense of entering the higlands of Scotland, and leaving the low flat stuff behind all very majestic really.
But that is atchally not the best bit.
The BEST bit is coming across, just there by the roadside, a little ways off the A9, for a fun drivey diversion
or Highland Cattle, to give them their vulgar title.
They are only the most cuddliest perfect creatures ever made by God and man.
Who could resist one of these if it turned up annouced in your front paddock of an afternoon.
Lord, they are just mesmerising. And can they eat - just chompychompy all the time.
I totally want one.
And natch, I will call it Hamish if it is a boy and Shirley if it is girl.
:: WB 2:51 p.m. [link+] ::
WOG MOG LE JOG - Glasgow
Afore I forget, on the drive up to Glasgow there were many many motorway sheep
and many motorway moos
but 80 mile an hour speeds were making motorclickpics a risky business what with the sliding in the rain and all the fear and stuff going in the Mog cabin.
But once in Glasgow I was able to spend some time "savouring" a "local delicacy"
the Scots Pie, which seems to me to involve a hard crust pastry shell with lid and a squirt of meatlike substance inside.
Delicious in the I-do-not-want-to-know-the-provenance-of-this-foodstuff kinda way, you know?
Walking off the stodge of that breakfast pie - I know it is not meant to be breakfast but I am in and out of this joint and got not time for culinary niceties, right? - I made my way to Sty Mungo's Museum of Religious Art for my devotional visit to
Dali's Crucifixtion of Christ of St John the somethingorother - I forget just now
as I am tapping away in the hallway of my hotel on the only broadband connection in this joint. A magnificent painting that can be stared at for hours and hours. Man was mad but such a genius. One of my favorite paintings of all time, as for my Ma. So this pic is for you Ma if you're reading.
Then it was orf for the obligatory Wog visit to the Cathedral. A filthy black imposing pile not yet open for bizness so no interior shots, dang a ding dang. Next visit, I guess.
Then the pilgrimage was commenced, down the Suckeyhole Street (spelled Sauchiehaul or somesuch) to find the famous tea rooms designed by Charles Rennie MacIntosh, Glasgow's most famous designey son.
But not for the design he did for the tearooms.
For the Haggis Neeps and Tatties at £5.95.
And no, I did not eat it first and then take a picture. This is just what it looks like.
Like the Scots Pie, surprisingly tasty, for all the revoltingness of its appearance.
A little offally but hey, that's basically it.
Glasgow boxes duly ticked, orf I went to Inverness.
And you know what lives in the highlands don't you?....
:: WB 2:31 p.m. [link+] ::
WOG BLOG LE JOG - DAY 6 Manchester to Glasgow
Whoa, rainy raininess in manchester for the huge leg of the LE JOG journey up to Glasgow. A good five hour drive, along motorway, no less, and in the pouring rain.
Must needy roofy for Mog. Claustrophic Wog in Mog. Stress, tension, heartache. And yet, and yet, rain for cricket is a good thing for the Oz boyos. What to think? What to think? Happy or sad for rain?
I decided on happy and just got down to it.
The drive is a busy busy drive, along heavy traffic motorway with, get this, full on traffic jams all the way along. A five hour drive was in fact a six hour drive.
But the beautiful northern English countryside along the motorway made it worthwhile. It was all green and rolling hills. There were even motorway moos, but blogger is eating my pics so next post okay?
The littlest wipers in the world - three sets of them by the way - were working overtime, making motorphoto fun not much of an option
But I found a motorway buddy even littler than me
so I figured if he was not afraid to tackle the horros of the English motorway in the rain
Then I would not be scared either. So there.
Driving into Glasgow was easy peasey although it down have a bunch of one way streets.
So after much left and left again and again
|I found George Square, the heart opf the city
and my hotel was round the corner so no problemo.
Glasgow is quite the top town. Once a city of culture.....yessss, no sneering, it is vibrant and jumping.
Went for a walk in the evening but thought better of taking pictures of blokes spewing their guts up in the street. Saw two of them within a block radius, including one backwards falling into traffic spew which was easily a 7.9 on the degree-of-difficulty scale. Not a pretty sight I can tell you, but the rest of the town is a delight.
So, more Glasgow in a sec.
:: WB 2:15 p.m. [link+] ::