Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Tales from daan sarf! (Glens first post!)

Thanks to Andy I now have powers to add my own thoughts to this blog.......should be fairly short then!

It seems so long ago now that I joined Andy for the last few miles of his Roc-around-the-clock challenge, and led him convoy style around the streets of Kent. I can still remember breakfast shortly afterwards when he mentioned a fleeting thought of doing a similar challenge 'in Europe somewhere'. I believe the original plan was to take part in 'Home to Rome' or 'Staples to Naples' where we would be one of many making a long journey to our destination. Simple, I thought. If we break down somewhere, one of the others will help...The arrangements were to be 'modified' somewhat between then and now!!

So here we are, well into 2008 and things are going quite well so far with our preparations as you will know if you having been following the blog so far. I must admit after getting over my 'you want to go WHERE?' moment during our discussions about destinations, Iam glad Andy had the courage / madness / poetic talent to suggest Morocco as our destination. This is going to be one hell of an experience that neither of us will ever forget.

So I figured a quick update on what I have been up to would be in order. It will also give Andys hands a rest as he is the one who has done all the writing so far!

An old friend from the Register recently moved to Munich and sent me an Email inviting me to clear out any spare Scirocco parts we wanted from his shed. These included hoses, driveshaft parts, seals, tappets, camshafts, interior trim parts, a spare spacesaver wheel (we have 6 wheels now remember!) and even a grille spoiler! If you read this, thanks Tony. Im also throwing in a set of Wolfrace alloy wheels to finish the look of the car off too, so parts are looking good so far.

I have sent out a fair few emails to local businesses, but have had almost no success in this area - a real blow to confidence. I have also sent mail to the Kent Messenger as well as Meridian and South East Today about possible coverage of our event in the local press - I will keep you updated here as to any progress, hopefully we can get our challenge featured on the T.V.

I have also been keeping in touch with MacMillan Cancer Support regarding our progress. Today I popped into their Maidstone office for a chat about the challenge and how things are going so far. They have given me various bits and bobs to help us collect more donations including some banners, balloons and even a collection bucket for when we attend the car shows this year. They have also promised to put links to our sites on their main website and added up my total 'offline' collections to date - some £135! This brings Macmillans donations total to over £500! So, a big thanks to all of you who have supported our challenge so far. Keep spreading the word if you can - we could still do with plenty more help and support.

Lastly, I have been working on some T-Shirt designs to promote the challenge. You may recall seeing me and Andy in our own shirts for our radio interview earlier in these pages. The new shirts will be put up on E-bay soon in a variety of colours and the money made on the shirts will be added to our donations to the two charities. Watch this space for more news on these in the next few days

My word, did I write that much? Must be thinking more than I realise then.....

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

A fishy tale !

Just a quick note relating to an idea that has been considered as relevant to our little foray to Africa,namely the possibility that we can arrive there perhaps bearing gifts that could help the people of Morocco !.If anyone reading this blog has an idea as to the contact details of a worthy cause that perhaps operates in Morocco (or maybe beyond, but is based in North Africa)then we want to hear from you.We will have a reasonable amount of room in the trailer and as such we should be in a good position to deliver a reasonable amount of stuff to worthy causes.Please use the Email Address mentioned in this blog to contact us.Cheers ! :-)

Oh,nearly forgot my scheduled rant for the, but more specifically prepacked Scottish Mackerel fillets !.Just to prove what a crazy mixed up world we live in these days let me give you an example of how to much information can be worse than none at all.
My 5 year old wanted some Mackerel this evening, so i sourced some from the fridge and then had a read of the instructions.The pack told me several things.The calorific values,the amount of Sugar,salt and fat.How much Omega 3 it contained.The fact it was a produce of Scotland and that although the packaging was not recyclable at the mo...."We are working on it" was the message.It contained 98% fish and 2% salt,weighed 200 g and had a very comprehensive cooking guide which asked to me ensure that the food was "hot throughout before serving".It was produced in the UK (in case i was not sure were Scotland was ?) and the pack advised me to use it within 2 days after i first opened it.Sounds like all good advice then yes ?......Err NO.Because it then went on to advise me that "Allergy advice: Contains fish".......Really ?...what Mackerel...No !.But by far the worst issue about this "rant for the day" became obvious when my 5 year old began to choke on a fish why (after telling us that Fish !) would they not advise the consumer that these fillets (Definition= fillet, also filet (pronounced or ), is a boneless cut of meat or fish.) may contain some (bones) still ?.........Is it me, or are the people who write these instructions/guides not seeing the wood for tree's, or perhaps not seeing the bones for fish ?.Take care :-)

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Do you ever have those days when...........

Do you ever have those days when things just don't go to plan ? Those days when even though you try to get things organised,prepare in advance and attempt to cover every base things still just don't work out !.I had a day like that every day this week and boy was it annoying :-(.
First on the list was the news that the car was (due to circumstances beyond AW's control)still not ready, and would not be until around the end of next week,this of course then meant i had to reshuffle the logo applications by Lee and also caused me concern over getting time to attach the tow bar.
The next problem was that after receiving the All singing all dancing Satnav from Kaz and Pete (Thanks !)and then spending nearly 2 hours updating the software, installing the mandatory "silly voices" (Yoda,Clint Eastwood and Austin Powers amongst them !)the bl**dy thing stopped working !.I could not switch it off or reset it and as it is a sealed unit it was not possible to remove the i was left looking at a glowing,blank screen for around half an hour before i packed it away back into it's box with the intention of letting Kaz send it back !.Interestingly at this point we had a very rare piece of good luck because the following morning having decided to have one last check that I had put all the bits back in the box i was amazed to find that the unit had had second thoughts about giving me grief, and was now working as advertised......i later decided that I had probably caused the problem by forgetting to plug in the power supply whilst the unit was connected to the USB port, thus it had run out of juice just as i disconnected it and gone into "not playing" mode shortly afterwards.....must remember not to let it run down in the middle of Europe...could cause us a few headaches if it did !.
Today (Sunday) Andy Walsh of AW Repair Centre called to discuss the delay with the car, and it was during the course of the conversation that i decided to tell him that the first outing that was due to Happen on the 19th April at GTI Spring festival (Santa Pod) was actually on the 13th( it was my fault again !)...i got my dates wrong...oops :-0.After Andy had picked himself up off of the floor and composed himself (is it possible to put a Scirocco there ?) he promised to put the wheels in motion to ensure that the car would be ready by next Friday (the 11th) so that we would be able to get her down to the Pod and get the publicity machine into gear....fingers (and everything else !)are now crossed.
On the plus side this weekend I decided to see if we could sell any merchandise on Ebay to raise not only money but also to get the word out about what our challenge is all about.Result ? We sold 10 window stickers in 22 hours with a request for more from several people.These are the '53' stickers that denote the type number issued by VW to the Scirocco model during development...and also by coincidence it happens to be the number worn by the most famous VW of all,Herbie !
T-Shirts are now being offered with the S2M Logo on them, so we will just have to see how these go over the next few weeks.

If you can offer us any support in our challenge then please feel free to contact us either by phone 07974 955611 or by email :-)

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Time to start the media (Volks)wagen rolling !

Random picture...but it made me laugh :-)

Today during my teabreak I was in the vacinity of the Mansfield 103.2 radio studio, so took the oppertunity to pop in and introduce myself.After a brief chat i was wisked upstairs (oh err !) and ten minutes later i emerged from the recording booth having "laid down" a short resume of our little expedition onto the studio's interview suite.Hopefully in the next few days our message will start to hit the airwaves and the guys at Mansfield 103.2 have promised to keep the folk of Mansfield,Ashfield and Bolsover up to date with our fun and games by producing/broadcasting updates on a regular basis...nice :-).
Also today I emailed Sean Dunderdale of Lincs FM 102.2 to ask if he will support our event via their radio satation, he has agreed to do so and also, as the station is the official radio of the Waddington Airshow, he has promised to keep mentioning us to the airshow crowds when we attend Waddington in July.

I am still considering how to best utilise the several fantastic prizes that we have been given to raise funds (F1,Flight Sim,Karting etc) and have had an idea about hosting some sort of Quiz on this Blog page.The basic idea is that over a few weeks we will ask questions,perhaps give some clues to the answers, then all the people that email me with the correct answers will go into a prize draw for the goodies.Also an idea has been put forward to use the Scirocco trailer as a huge collection tin whilst we are at Waddington/VW meetings, and we shall encourage (Force !) innocent bystanders to throw any loose change into it some kind of strange "wishing trailer" type device (well we don't have an ...erm......."well" do we !)as they say "Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves" !

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Dreams are like Angels...............

I try to keep things up beat in this blog, but you know some days things just can't help but get you down :-(
In the last week or so i have been feverishly typing away sending emails to a multitude of companies asking for help in our challenge....and the result has been nothing short of depressing !.It seems that all UK companies are involved in their own charity/trust operations, or are partners in something or other.Even the ones who don't mention anything about chairty involvement in their "official" websites reply with the same stock "No" to a request for even the slightest help, and to be honest i am getting a little fed up of the amount of times our requestes for help are being declined.

I must just point out that we are still scratching around for any help at the mo, be it in either cash sponsorship,prizes or items on our "wish list" that we need to complete our challenge so anyone who is able to help us out PLEASE do get in touch and make yourself know....:-)

I have been tempted to see what would happen if we approached the same companies again, but this time with the story that we had a celebrity coming along with us for the ride....i wonder if i would get a stock email reply...especially if it was an "A" lister of some description.

It's not until you get involved in events such as this that you find out just how much work goes on in the background before the actual event takes place, and there have been days when I do question my reasons for getting myself and Glen into this malarky !.The answer is of course that both of us feel compelled to help others, and to that end we must always persist in our endevours to keep this event matter how many "No's" we come up against (and there have been a lot......a LOT !).For my own part being involved in this sort of charity work is a kind of therapy, and keeps my mind focused on things that are constructive and positive.There are days when I do consider my future, when the worry about my own Leukaemia do start to enter my thoughts and trouble me, but having something like S2M to keep you engaged makes sure that the times like this are fewer, that those early moring wake ups when the house is quite and the fear is most acute are not so common as they may be.Scirocco 2 morocco is now a dream, but a dream that will with a bit of luck and a little help become a reality in the not so distant future, and as the lyrics to that old Frankie Goes to Hollywood song go "Dreams are like angels,they keep bad at bay". Ok....better get back to work goes on !