The Kill Cancer Death Rally

My car blew up : how should we proceed?
August 2, 2007, 4:20 am
Filed under: 2007

Who buys a car that blows up after being driven for half an hour? Tom, that’s who. Pete from the AA laughed as the engine overheated in neutral, the bumper seemed to be stuck on with airfix and the fog lights weren’t even wired in. He’d have cried if he could have seen the engine, but the bonnet was stuck.

Our great idea for getting to Calais, now that the car was out, was to get a lift from Billingsgate fish market in Canary ‘Oh my God it’s a long way’ Wharf. Unfortunately all the French trucks left before we arrived. Fortunately, Pearse got to see a handgun transaction taking place which made his night.

This leaves me wondering how to go south. What do you think we should do? Or, bearing in mind the Big Lebowski car theme,  should that be ‘What would the Dude do?’.


Dedicating this rally to Peter and Julia
August 1, 2007, 7:46 am
Filed under: 2007, Cancer

I’ve been asked to dedicate the rally to my friend Pippa’s father, Peter, who died of cancer just a few month’s back. She’s in Australia so unfortunately I didn’t get the text with the news that her father had carked it. Meantime, I see her new photo on Facebook and write to tell her “Your new profile photo makes you look depressed”.

Response : “My Dad died yesterday”.

So this rally goes out to you, Mr. Druce. I’ve asked Pippa to send a photo so that we can have you riding on our dashboard for a final journey, after your final journey. If you’re anything like Pippa (and by the way, well done on growing her – she’s great) you’ll be good company.

I’ll also co-dedicate the rally to Julia Luard, my friend Dave’s mother. Apparently she was very serene when she went, convinced that she was off to a ‘tea party in the sky’. Whenever I went to their farm in Somerset she’d be smiling and was the kindest person you could imagine.

My heart really goes out to both of you   OK, enough of the platitudes.

Your parents died.

It will be a bit shit forever.

But you’ll have them forever in amazing bittersweet memories. Get used to crying with a smile on your face because, in those moments, Peter and Julia live on.


I’m open to sponsorship at

The trouble with buying a car on the web
July 25, 2007, 9:36 pm
Filed under: Cars

Apparently there’s some new form of agism/racism that prevents the AA from ensuring cars that are registered before 1993. That means the insurance for the Volvo would have cost approximately four times the car itself. However, having re-entered the car market, it does give me a chance to have a close look at two of the strategies used to sell a motor on the web.

Good points / bad points

One of the most common strategies when selling a car is to set up the pros and cons of the vehicle. Here’s how it goes normally.

Good points :

  • Has original steering wheel,
  • Reaches 100 mph in first (if dropped from plane)
  • MOTed until tomorrow morning

Bad points :

  • No gear box
  • No clutch
  • No starter
  • Built on ancient Indian burial ground
  • Carries bubonic plague
  • Tendency to “transform” itself into a robot at any moment crushing all passengers

The Traveller

The listing :

“I’ve decided to go travelling at the last moment – because I’m such a crazy hippy – so, I’ve got to sell my car, my beloved Algonquin Starshine. I’d love to keep it but really must go and pick flowers in uplands of Kashmir”.

What a steal, I think. I’ll ring this dozy hippy chick and get the car for some Red Afghan, sitar strings and 4 metres of cheese-cloth.

ring – ring – ring

“Awight mate, izzit vee Fiesta ya want? Yeah, 200 notes an’ if ya need a Mondeo gi’ me a bell”

Travellers are the new little old ladies.

Still need to find a car.

I’m on my way to buy a Volvo
July 25, 2007, 5:02 pm
Filed under: 2007, Cars

I’m buying the Volvo. Despite worrying that it might cause a fracture in my psychic walls, I totally fell in love with the car. It’s a 14 year old beast with 180 000 miles on the clock. More shire horse than thoroughbred, this blue bad boy looks as though it would keep on going ’till Christ returns.

Today, I pick it up.

There are plenty more cars on GumTree if you do want to come.

10 Days to Go : I’m only just finding my car
July 23, 2007, 9:22 pm
Filed under: 2007, Cars

Argh, this rally has bundled me up and run away with me. 10 days to go and I am only just buying my car. This is exactly the sort of slackness that I have castigated others for. In future I will not try to finish big ass six month projects three days before I go on the rally. I definitely will not compound this by trying my hand at being a standup comedian, four weeks before I finish a big ass work project.

On the bright side of life, I wrote a post on Project Red Stripe – the thing that I was working on for The Economist – that got on the front page of TechMeme (Techmeme is the geek version of The Times, all of you who didn’t think the iPhone changed the world) and I have found out that I can go on stage and make *some* people laugh.  However, I haven’t been able to give the rally the love, care and attention in needs. As I like to think that I can chew more than others can bite off this hurts. Nonetheless, we head to Bavaria in 10 days.

For that we’ll need a car. I’ve got two options on the go at the moment.

Option 1 : The Citroenski – being sold by Remus the Pole who also has quite a large stash of Stella in the back of his car. It is a bit small for five days, I’d say.
Option 2 : A Volvo 440 – buying this 7 seater beast might bring on some sort of Freudian crisis because it is the car my father had. I’m worried that some time after buying this I’ll wake up in a large black armour exoskeleton. My breath will rasp like a phone pest with a sore throat, and I’ll be wearing a long black cape : “You’ve come over to Dark Side, Tom. You are your father”. Cue some sort of internal Oedipan light sabre battle. Though you can put down all the seats and sleep in the car. Maybe the risk of becoming my old man isn’t so bad – bring on the pink cords.

If anyone else is keen on one of these cars and decides to come on the rally at the last minute please tell me.

Die Weather ist lovely in Bavaria, ja
July 17, 2007, 7:48 am
Filed under: Germany

Good news party people, the weather is absolutely great in Bavaria. Now, as the route has been carefully calculated and calibrated to leave us a fair bit of time to play outside that is Gut News.

Sponsorship Form and Insurance Details
July 16, 2007, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Insurance, Sponsorship

Here’s the sponsorship form for the rally (Sponsorship Form). Use it recklessly and remember all the good that you’re doing by getting money for the Cancer Research UK. Recently, I’ve had a few friends of mine who’ve had one of their parents cancered. It really is a quite upsetting. Two of my favourite peopel had been all fine and dandy when, suddenly, they have one of their parents just casually wiped out. I really would appreciate it if some doctors spent a little more time curing cancer and a little less time being amateur terrorists.

I would also be very upset if one of the ralliers got themselves in any trouble on the route, so this is the perfect time to remind everyone that the KCDR supports safe driving in a very active way. Car insurance is also greatly encouraged and you can get it very easily at Norwich Union Short Term Car Insurance.

Be safe on the road and help get revenge on cancer by raising money.