Archive for May, 2013

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And so the book!

May 23, 2013

 

If I found the journey tough, capturing a record of it might prove to rob me of even more sleep!

On the matters literary, who can advise me on how to tackle the publishing some form of book about the JoLon journey?

I see it being about a twenty or thirty thousand word story with a generous collection of colour pictures.

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What a homecoming!

May 20, 2013

 

Of course we were set up! – but we thoroughly LOVED it!

 

Having returned to Johannesburg on Sunday 19th May after leaving JoLon Imp in England, my family and my travel buddy Geoff along with his family met me at the airport and it was arranged that we all retire to our house for a ‘cup of tea’. No problem, “but I am driving”, I quickly declared! To be able to drive a vehicle with considerably more that the 36 (or probably much less) horsepower of my ancient Imp had for the journey to London AND a vehicle with a fully operational REVERSE gear was quite a treat!

On to the highway. So far so good! Off the highway and into our suburb still fine. At the entrance to our neighbourhood I was surprised to see my old road Imp parked on the side of the street. Catherine, my wife, said, “ok here is where you get out, you and Geoff must drive the last kilometre to the house in your Imp.”

What a pleasant surprise; the engine that we now have in this ‘67 Imp has some decent poke and it sounds super sharp and I so looked forward to giving the rotoflexes something to consider! However my family had planned that we should return to whence we commenced similarly to how we arrived in Coventry – with a procession. Albeit a procession void of Hillman Imps but not to be undone, the Police car Imp that guided us through the Coventry roads was replaced with the security vehicle of our safety company Proforce and a small following of cars made up of my family in their pickup and Geoff’s car and one other vehicle. Sadly for me but fortunately for the rotoflexes the lead car drove up the distance to our home at a very slow pace, a very JoLon – Joburg to London pace -  but I resisted the temptation to overtake and let my ears revel in the crisp exhaust notes and the sinking back into the seat feeling of unfamiliar acceleration. Rolling slowly around the final corner before my house l noticed a large number of cars parked up on the pavement outside the houses of my neighbours and assumed they were having a Sunday afternoon party. BIG MISTAKE! When my house came into view I was greeted by a mass of people who occupied the entire street and were screaming and leaping up and down welcoming us back home. There were massive banners strung across the street, a public address system bellowing out Queen’s rendition of “we are the champions” and a barrage of cameras snapping photos of us as we took the Chequered flag that was so lovingly hand painted by my daughter Caitlin.

At this stage things became rather blurred, yes the magnitude of the moment contributed to this haze but the tears that welled up in my eyes were the main cause of vision distortion.

 JoLon Imp homecoming 2013

Sight and breath restored I was able to slowly take in the awesome vista; my family, my extended family, Geoff’s family, Geoff’s extended family, my neighbours, my close friends from all over Joburg and my racing pals all there to shake our hands and hug us home. It was a super super special feeling that we will always remember and cherish.

My neighbours Marius and Rob were the two who put the whole event together and not a detail was omitted, right down to the winners’ bottles of bubbly that we were presented with to spray on the street made podium.

Not only were we showered with bubbly but also with gifts! Commemorative tee shirts, Hillman Imp Models and the coup de grace the uber generous presentation by Frank Copping of the previously commissioned oil painting of the Imp but the renowned artist Gary Seitz.

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Rob and Marius had also set up two massive displays of over 200 photos of our trip on display boards that brought memories of our trip flooding back and a great focal point to share stories with our friends about our trip.

A massive thanks to Marius and Rob and all the people they roped into make us feel so thoroughly special on our return. (The Residents Association Chairman, the community security company Proforce and Rawson Property) who all played their part is converting Collins Avenue Randparkridge a truly special place on Sunday afternoon 19th of may 2013. 

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Senna’s Honda at Beaulieu

May 17, 2013

Senna's Honda at Beaulieu

When i left the keys of my Imp at Beaulieu i was hoping i would be offered the opportunity to take this little Honda for a quick ride but alal i was not allowed!!!

Waht a wonderful display of cars, really worth a looooong visit for any petrolhead.

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JoLon Imp comes to rest

May 17, 2013

yesterday i took Jolon Imp on my final drive on this great journey. I have placed it in the care of the good people of the Beaulieu National Motor Museum amid such wonderful machines as the McLaren Honda of Ayrton Senna and other classic autos, a bit outclassed but in great company! 

when i return to South Africa i will post more details reports of the trip in due course. 

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Khartoum to Wadi Halfa

May 10, 2013

 

After the monster day in the scorching heat and double engine change at the Blue Nile Sailing club, we crawled out of our tent at 06h30 having only turned in after midnight a few hours earlier. then a quick coffee and across Khartoum to the offices of our Wadi Halfa ferry and car barge FIXER who took our details and promised to mail it to the other FIXER (his brother) in Wadi Halfa and when we get to Wadi we should meet with him to get ourselves sorted. Well in principle this is how it should have worked.

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The next challenge was to exit the morning traffic of Khartoum and drive non stop to Wadi – only 982 kilometres – but of course this is through the full on sun baked Sahara desert! One thing in our favour was the road, it was a near perfect road with almost no serious undulations. so in spite of the enormous distance for our little 875cc Imp and the blazing sun we managed the trip in one run arriving at 02h00 in Wadi.of course we we also thoroughly enjoying the fruits of our previous day’s labour in that we were able to drive the car normally again with the clutch working perfectly again. (we still did not have second gear though, but this was AND STILL IS a selector problem.

Our Khartoum Fixer did make the journey a little easier for us in that he gave us six large and chilled bottles of water along with a block of ice with which we could keep our drinks cool in our cooler box. We were shocked to find that all through Africa we found it impossible to buy ice cubes with which we could keep our drinks cool with so this was a true luxury for us!

We had planned to stop off at a hotel in Dongola which was about half distance to have a shower and a good dinner. We did battle to find a hotel that could assist us with shower facilities but our luck was in again as we not only found a hotel with a shower with lovely hot water showers but they refused to accept money from us either. So clean as two new pins we tracked down a restaurant and we tucked in to some wonderful pizzas that filled us brim-full of energy for the onward journey.

I was keen to push on to arrive in Wadi Halfa even though it would mean a very late arrival but Geoff had wanted to camp wild in the desert for the night and carry on to Wadi in the morning. I was just too concerned about the fact that w still had no confirmation of a place on the ferry to Egypt nor the barge for our car which normally sails a couple of days apart. In fact the ferry for the Tuesday afternoon departure was already overbooked as well as the ferry for April 30th! this a week later was also overbooked! So we were actually looking down a long barrel and seriously worried puts my frame of mind very mildly.

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Geoff allowed me to forego our opportunity to camp out in the Sahara where we would surely have been able to see the southern skies as clear as ever one could with the complete absence of any light pollution.

Keeping in phone comms with Mazur, our Wadi Fixer, as we inched closer to Wadi, we finally arrived to be met with him at the entrance to the God forsaken dessert town, or was it a village! Just outside Mazur’s house where we spent a few hours resting, the Imp got stuck in the loose sand and Geoff had to call upon all his off-road driving skill to get us out without having to take out the spade and get to digging.

The four hours of sleep that we enjoyed got us partly back on even keel after a few very challenging days. but there was a mighty tough day ahead of us!

At 07h00 we headed into the town to prepare the paperwork for the transportation of the Imp to Egypt and the securing of passenger berths for Geoff and I. Began then another trying day hopefully never to be repeated!

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The Imp that can’t get enough!

May 9, 2013

 

After successfully negotiating the 14,000 kilometres from Johannesburg to Coventry to celebrate its fiftieth birthday, one would think the little car would say ’now that’s enough”, but no! Instead the crazy duo of Terence and Geoff are now doing a tour of Ireland and England before returning to sunny South Africa and the African Imp is merrily complying! 

Our arrival in Coventry for the final day of the Imp 50 celebrations was super special. We were intercepted about 15 miles outside Coventry town by some of the Imp Club members and very soon we were being given a Police escort right to our destination. Of particular note was the fact that this Police car with wailing siren was in fact also a Hillman Imp!

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Following us was a convoy of Imps of every different sort, shape and colour. Even Ginetta G15’s and Clan crusaders. what a sight it was to see more Imps driving behind us that probably exist in totality in all of South Africa. In fact i am aware of not more than about 10 Imps in roadworthy condition in South Africa,

After a most wonderful welcome Geoff and I managed to steal a few hours of long overdue shut-eye only to be gently aroused from our slumbers to a full on English breakfast, a feast fit for a King. And that was not all! The Chairman, Graeme, then presented us with a very special award which was a picture by the famous artist, David Shepard, of the Imp in the African bush in front of David’s favourite animal, the Elephant. Both copies of the very limited print were personally signed by the artist himself! These will be suitably treasured by both Geoff and I. Along with the very special works of art we were also presented with a commutative golden anniversary miniature Imp  made especially to mark the occasion. Our JoLon Imp also got a gift, a commutative rally plaque that we promptly placed in a place of pride on the front of the car. Over and above all of this, we were given a very special treat in a Imp 50 tee shirt. it should be noted that this was the ONLY clean piece of clothing that we possessed after our marathon drive.

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JoLon Imp enters London under the cover of darkness!

May 6, 2013

JoLon Imp enters London under the cover of darkness!

The JoLon Imp photographed here at the intersection of the M25 ring road around London and the M1 North in the early hours of the morning of the 6th of May on its final few kilometres to meet the members of the Imp Club at the 50 year celebrations in Coventry.