Monday, 22 June 2009

the slow and the ponderous

Okay, so if I’m honest the lack of posting here is as much to do with laziness as a lack of internets. That said, last weekend I couldn’t have found the time to string words together, as I was too busy either doing stuff, or being sleepy and grumpy. Usually as a result of doing stuff. Which is good, as it all helps drown out thoughts of burnt toast.
On Friday night, we returned to the now legendary(ish) Combustion Club to enjoy a rum-fueled evening of Victoriana and circus freaks in celebration of Laura’s birthday. It was a less grand affair than the Carne Ville shenanigans that it played host to a little over a month ago, but we all got dressed up and had a splendid time nonetheless. There were flaming hula hoops, some guy who got pretty naked on a tightrope, and a big band version of the Dangermouse
theme tune. Powerful.

Recovery the next day was aided by the ingestion of dried leaves in boiling water and fried stuff in bread, before I headed off to Castle Combe racing circuit with Laura and Matt, who does not collect 20th century German war memorabilia. We watched a whole host of classic and not-so-classic machines whizzing about, bimbled around the paddock area poking cars, and started getting ideas. More on this later…

I continued my overt stalking of Laura and Matt the following day by going karting with them. We were joined by Sam, Hollis (The Boy’s boy) and the irrepressible Dom, and took part in some kind of 150 lap endurance debacle. I got paired up with Sam who, despite his… erm… robust stature, proved to be quite competent behind the wheel of a kart. He drives a kart like he drives his car; with horrifying disregard for everyone else around him, making the task of getting past him tricky at best, death-defying at worst. We came in second, behind Dom and Hollis but ahead of Laura and Matt, who spent most of their time either collecting tyres or doing doughnuts around tiny circular tracks that only they could see.

In the evening Charlie and I played at being grown-ups by inviting everyone around for dinner. We had a table and chairs and wine and everything, and it was almost convincing; apart from the fact that we didn’t have enough wine glasses (I had to drink from a tankard instead), and we had to use books for placemats. And then we all wandered off towards the pub, and picked something else to dedicate our luncheon club to the destruction of, having smashed the Quintessons the previous week (they didn’t put up much of a fight).

So, a busy weekend. And the rest of the week? That… that wasn’t so busy. Grown-up work seems to have switched its core activities from investment casting, to digging big holes into which they can pour huge sums of money. As such, there’s no new projects being started, and therefore very little for me to be doing; forcing me to seek out other distractions. Such as me and Matt’s devious plans…

We want to race a car in the Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship. It’s still very much a twinkle in our collective eye, but we have started to give serious consideration to a number of the more important aspects of such a venture, like what our team should be called and what colour our car should be. Oh, and I suppose what sort of car, too.

The championship is divided into four classes of racing, so you don’t necessarily have to go for something fast and furious; you can go for something (relatively) cheap and crap instead. This idea appeals to us. Class D (the cheapest and crappest of the cheap and crap classes) seems to be mostly headed up by a lot of little French cars. This is because whilst most manufacturers have developed newer, cleaner and more frugal engines, and pack their cars with lots of safety features (making them quite heavy), the French still make archaic death traps. But neither of us are much into French cars, and would rather run something a bit different. So I’ve mostly been wasting time at work going through the online Parkers car guide
, working out power to weight ratios in my head. I even started to draw up a spreadsheet so that we could more easily compare our different options; but I gave up after half an hour when I realized that because I’m such an obsessive completist, I was going to spend a ludicrous amount of time compiling data for rubbish Korean cars with names like brands of laxative that we had no intention of ever driving.

It’s become a mild obsession, and just like in Fight Club when Ed Norton starts to look at everyone he encounters with a view to how good they might be in a brawl, I can no longer walk past a parked car without checking to see what engine it’s got and trying to predict how quick it might go around a track if it weren’t weighed down with such needless impedimenta as, say, seats.

Meanwhile, I finished painting this sucker.

Count Drakon Von Carstein; wealthy playboy aristocrat governor of Sylvania.
Likes: Mindless subservience, billowing cloaks, blood of virgins.
Dislikes: Sunlight, Bretonnian cuisine, torch-waving peasants.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Man we sucked at the pub quiz this weekend. But that picture of that fraud von Carstein, makes me want to paint up Captain von Beard as soon as possible. He's a real leader!