28 May 2017

Volvo C70 T5 SE Lux

Last week research found that only 5% of the countless recipes shown on television each week are ever copied at home by viewers. This is not surprising. You could give me the same ingredients that Gordon Ramsay uses and put me in the same kitchen with the same equipment, and even though we have exactly the same number of hands, fingers and noses I can absolutely guarantee that I'd end up with a plate full of over-salted, inedible mush.

Cooking is like painting. I have a brush and some eyes but everything I try to transpose onto canvas ends up looking like a dog.

Mazda MX-5

Of course, you can walk somewhere when your car breaks down, or if you're too drunk to drive it. You can also walk if you're only going a very short distance - to the bar, for instance, in a pub. But the notion of walking for fun is just risible.

On your marks for a village Olympics

While watching the absolutely breathtaking New Year's Eve firework display in London I finally formed an opinion on the question of Britain hosting the Olympic Games.

I should explain at the outset that I don't much like athletics. Running is fine when you are late for a train, or when you are nine, but the concept of running in a circle for nothing but glory seems a bit medieval if you ask me...

We're all going on a celebrity holiday

We learnt last weekend that the government in Sardinia is planning to impose punishing wealth taxes on billionaire visitors who come to the island in their enormous gin palaces or their onyx aeroplanes. I'm sure this went down well with those of a Guardian disposition.

Cat Lover

I have chopped the word 'free' off one of those trendy stickers they give you in garages so that it now says 'I love lead'. It is in the back window of my Alfa and it is meant to be a joke. 

But I'll tell you something: people who won't eat meat have no sense of humour.

The Best Man

I am having to practise the art of being boring. I have not been in the pub for a week, I care more for the well-being of my Royal Worcester collection than I do my Alfa and I am now an expert on the subject of vacuum cleaners.

Four inches have been hacked from my hair and when I went shopping for clothes the other day, it was to Hacketts and not Jean Machine.

Good lord, as I write it is 2 p.m on a Sunday, a time when normally I'd be in the white Horse, discussing the week's deals and conquests...

Democratic Party

It's funny, but for ages I've been under the misapprehension that Britain is a democracy. I suppose I concluded this from our electoral system.

Fly Down to Reno

The P-51 Mustang was America's answer to the Japanese Zero. Powered by a US-built Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, it delivered 1500 horsepower and a knockout blow to the flying machines of the Pacific Rim.

However, the P-51 in which I flew was churning out 3000 horsepower and could deliver a knockout blow to my central nervous system - which was very nervous indeed.

You see, if a 1940s' car breaks down, and let's face it they do, a lot, you coast to the side of the road and await the AA. But if a 1940s' plane breaks down it doesn't so much as coast but plummet...

Switzerland

Your dinner party is a bit lacklustre and you've noticed the guests have started to glance at their watches, so simply lean forwards and ask this question: if you had to shoot just one person, who would it be?

Texas

For our first three nights there we walked the sidewalks at night, looking for bars and restaurants. We wanted action but all we got was a joint whose USP was an owner who encouraged us to throw the pistachio nutshells on the floor.

Another day's holiday? Please, give me a break

According to a poll, the vast majority of people questioned as they struggled back to work last week thought that England should have followed Scotland's lead and made Tuesday a bank holiday.

Two things strike me as odd here. First, that anyone could be bothered to undertake such research and, second, that anyone in their right mind could think that the Christmas break was in some way too short.

I took ten days off and by 11 o'clock on the first morning I had drunk fourteen cups of coffee, read all the newspapers and the Guardian and then... and then what?

All this health and safety talk is just killing me

You may recall that after the Hatfield train crash last year six-chins Prescott, our deputy prime minister, turned up at the scene and gave the distinct impression that with a bit more effort and a lot more investment, nobody would die on the railways ever again.

GT40

It was quite a con. I'd managed to convince the producers of 'old' Top Gear that we should film a feature about fast Fords through the ages.

The suits nodded sagely as their new-boy presenter outlined his treatment. We would have a look at cars such as the Cortina 1600E and the Escort RS2000, which would bring a sense of teary nostalgia to the piece, and then we'd look at the new Fiesta turbo for the 'yoof ' audience. 'Everyone likes a fast Ford,' I argued, and they agreed, giving me the green light to set it up...

Blackbird

In the mid sixties an RAF fighter pilot was cruising down the east coast of England in his Lightning when he saw something unusual. 

'It looked exactly like one of those sci-fi Airfix kits that I'd had as a boy in the fifties,' he told me, years later.

Aircraft Carrier

It's a ship, first and foremost. But it's also a nuclear power station. And it's an airport. And it's an instrument of war. 

And above all this, it's a city with shops, cinemas, hairdressers, banks, hospitals, its own television station, its own daily newspaper and 5,000 inhabitants.

GT90 in a flat spin

Earls Court becomes the fashion capital of the western world this week as the London Anorak Show opens its doors to members of the public.

Better known as the Motor Show, families will be donning their finest acrylic fibres and braving the Piccadilly Line so that they may gawp at all that's new and shiny.

However, if you want to see all that's really new and shiny, you need to stay on the Piccadilly Line until you arrive at Terminal Four. And then you should catch a plane to Japan.

The trouble is that the London Motor Show clashes with the Tokyo Motor Show, and there's no surprises for guessing which one is rated most highly by the exhibitors...

Blackpool Rock

The Alfa Romeo GTV6 had the worst gearbox I've ever encountered, the worst driving position and the worst record for reliability. Nevertheless, I bought one

All aboard the veal calf express

It is a fact that most people in the major financial institutions go to work by train, which means they harbour a deep-seated hatred of British Rail.

Peugeot 1007

So what, exactly, is God's most stupid creation? The pink flamingo, the avocado pear, Stephen Joseph from the pressure group Transport 2000? There are many choices even before you get to the koala bear.

It sleeps for 18 hours a day, only waking up to gorge on eucalyptus leaves, which make it stoned. So stoned in fact that whenever it sees anything that isn't a eucalyptus tree or another koala, it becomes so frightened it gives itself Chlamydia...

BMW M5

I worked today with a young naked girl whom we shall call Teri. She wasn't actually naked, but such was the smallness of her clothing you could tell she wanted to be.

Vauxhall Monaro VXR

Last week the Daily Mail broke off momentarily from writing about immigrants, Princess Diana and the value of your house, and published a photograph of my wife and me walking down the road.

Sorry, Hans, brassy Brits rule the beaches now

When package holidays began, all of a sudden we could experience life at close quarters with people from other nations. We thought the Germans were the most ridiculous people on the beach.

As Monty Python pointed out years ago, they pinched the sun beds and barged into the queues and frightened the children. And if you weren't at the buffet spot-on seven, Fritz had wolfed all the sausages...

Learn to kill a chicken, or you'll get no supper

I am becoming increasingly depressed at the way we're trying to insulate ourselves from the reality of the food chain and the wonders of the natural world.

Hollywood

Hollywood's record with the truth is simply abysmal, which isn't so bad if you treat the cinema as a place of entertainment. But in America the multiplex is just about the only place where anybody learns any history.

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