July 2013 in the Life of Ben (Blog)

  1. January
  2. February
  3. March
  4. April
  5. May
  6. June
  7. July
  8. August
  9. September
  10. October
  11. November
  12. December

Elvetham Heath Car Show (21st July 2013)

Brilliant sunny day. Drove the yellow auto-truck from the house to the show along Hitches Lane.

It runs every year and has a website: Elvetham Heath Car Show.

Bicycle Racks & Saddlebags (14th July 2013)

After a very sweaty ride to and from from the party last night, I’m definitely finished with carrying stuff on my back!

Carradice are a UK company who make saddlebags for bicycles with a lightweight rack system. Their own website shows how they look with a bag.

There are very few bags designed to take a 17″ laptop. The good ones are around £80 and have less capacity than the Tatoo one I have on permanent loan from Fiona.

Actually caught up with Fiona on my return journey, even though she took the train for most of the journey. 1 hour 3 minutes for 11 miles, about 10.5mph average. Even with traffic and route checks!

Planning to liberate a bungee strap or two from Dad to secure my current backpack to the rack. Have been looking at cycling specific backpacks and seen some good options. Will see how I go with this one first, though.

Dad’s Birthday (13th July 2013)

Think we went for a simple lunch at The Prince of Wales pub in Fleet. I stayed over for one night and went home on the Sunday.

Just in time to attend a house warming party for one of Fiona’s friends. Got to explore South-East London a bit for the first time.

Fitness Classes (11th July 2013)

Started going to Shoreditch Park on Thursday evenings to attend Michael Nelson-Cole martial arts inspired workout sessions. He’s a friendly and motivating guy and a higly qualified instructor.

My favourite catchphrases of his are “just do what you can do” and “if you need to take a break, take a break”. You’re talking my language, dude!

With that said, this first session is the most intense workout I’ve done, ever. That might reveal more about my total lack of fitness training to date rather than the session!

We start with a structured and varied warm-up which progressively ramps up. We then take a short break, just a couple of minutes, before starting focussed drills. Each drill is a particular move, repeated in various diffferent ways. Breaks are factored in for those who need them, such as myself.

When a few of us are there, we do games and endurance challenges. These are fun and the element of competition makes us push ourselves.

At the end we spend quite a bit of time doing stretches, as the body is now loosened up. The stretches have already improved my range of motion while the exercises have improved the smoothness of my motion and overall strength.

After the first session my shoulders felt very wobbly from all the press-ups. But I wasn’t sore the next day, just a bit weak. After a couple of days I was feeling better than ever and noticed my posture had improved.

Although we’ve been rained out a couple of times most evenings have been wonderful. Fiona does fitness classes all the time, mostly in gyms but that doesn’t appeal to me. These outdoor classes are a fantastatic way to get fit whilst enjoying the Summer!

37th Scalextric Club (9th July 2013)

Tonight’s racing at the London Scalextric Club is for Group 5 racing cars, running 5 lanes for 3 minutes per race. These are basically historic GT cars which don’t really interest me. But it was a nice evening so I cycled to the club as usual.

Tonight Steve lent me a red Porsche 911 and I really got along with it! The room and the track were warm and Terry lent me an adjustable controller.

Although I wasn’t a front-runner on outright pace I was driving consistently with relatively few crashes. The racers were in good spirits so this all made it a really enjoyable evening.

Group 5 is now a class I look forwards to racing again.

Blue Lane

Fastest Lap 9.44s
Laps: 18.25
Position: 2nd
Crashes 0!

Yellow Lane

All but me and Bob crashed lap 3. A bit later on Bob crashed and I was blocked by him! We went from 1st and 2nd down to 3rd and 4th. In other words, last. I had a few crashes just out of frustration after that.

Fastest Lap 9.66s
Laps: 17.30
Position: 5th
Crashes 3

Green Lane

The tightest and slowest lane. (That’s my excuse.)

Fastest Lap 10.16s
Laps: 16.40
Position: 4th
Crashes 1

Brown Lane

Fastest Lap 9.61s
Laps: 17.95
Position: 4th
Crashes 0

White Lane

Just behind 3rd after he crashed and recovered.

Fastest Lap 9.42s
Laps: 18.55
Position: 4th
Crashes Not sure.


We always race 12 laps in the first round of finals and only the leading two go through.

I was on white lane – the easiest one. Drove well but couldn’t quite catch Rino. He was fighting to get into the grand final at the end of the evening.

Fastest Lap 9.41s
Time: 1.56.47
Position: 3rd
Crashes 0

36th Scalextric Club (2nd July 2013)

Touring Cars were trading paint at the London Scalextric Club tonight. Rubbing is racing in this class!

Used my BMW as usual.

Brown Lane

Fastest Lap 9.85s
Laps: 22.95
Position: 3rd
Crashes 1

White Lane

Only crash is good for me but I made it a bad one! Took out Bob but I waited for him to rejoin and pass me.

Fastest Lap 9.56s
Laps: 23.35
Position: 3rd
Crashes 1

Blue Lane

Close racing with Bob again. A slow marshall dropped me to 3rd although it’s really my fault for crashing. Still caught and passed Bob making it a dramatic race!

Fastest Lap 9.57s
Laps: 23.45
Position: 2nd
Crashes 2

Yellow Lane

All my crashes were big spin-outs and each was at a different corner. Just didn’t have the control. Threwing caution to the wind to find where the limit was.

Fastest Lap 9.60s
Laps: 23.35
Position: 4th
Crashes 4


Started on Blue lane.

Wiped out Rino going into the 180° loop before the long straight! Waited in 3rd. Leader Bob crashed and blocked track. Rino bounced off and I bounced off Rino. I got put on last and narrowly finished behind Bob at the end.

Two more corners is all I needed!


Terry will bring in a couple for me to try.

Terry suggested the software on Tony’s controller might be making it super sensitive.

Steve will lend me his electronic thumb controller. He’s making some budget versions of it for club members which I'm considering as it's the one thing you use with every car.

My BMW runs well. Tyres have a couple of gouged lines. Possibly from the tyres hitting the wheelarches while carrying it around.

Using a blue club controller made it easier to control. Should have picked the smoother one, though. The blue ones are 40ohm while the orange one is 45ohm.