Socrates and Plato took a house on Crete in the summer months.
Another month, and another vacation planned.
This time I’m going to Chania on Crete, a spectacular island in the blue, blue Mediterranean sea. I fly out to Crete on Tuesday September 4th for a week, and I’ll be staying at a small, family run hotel, the Pella Steve II, which is exclusively for the more adult single traveller.
Chania is the most beautiful, interesting, and evocative town on Crete ~ from the Venetian Harbour to the narrow shopping streets and waterfront restaurants. Chania also has it’s own international airport, which is very cool when it comes to transfer times.
I’m fully expecting the weather, hotel, sightseeing, shopping, entertainment, food, drink, and company to be brilliant.
These singles holidays are something different and exclusive. Always in a smaller hotel, everyone has their own double room, everyone is open and friendly, and there always seems to be a lot going on among ‘the group’. These singles vacations are not just sitting by the pool and reading. In my experience these singles vacations are fun from waking in the morning to getting off to bed early the following morning. Luckily, these days I never touch booze and get by with a few hours sleep.
In my experience you don’t need to worry about not knowing anyone before you get there ~ on this kind of vacation, new and very interesting friends are made pretty quickly. Anyhow, on this type of vacation everyone hangs out with anyone they wish to ~ starting at the hotel bar.
However, I was thinking that it would be cool to have a travelling companion to share the experience with, not as a couple, but as friends who travel together. Being a guy, of course I’d be the one spending all the money. That’s what guys of my generation do.
You never know, I may find a cool travelling companion yet. And, after this holiday on Crete, there will be another vacation coming along soon.
My email is always at the end of these blog posts.
Crete is a very beautiful island
La mode se démodé, le style monochromatique, jamais.
Noir Rouge à Lèvres Fumer
une garce est la contraire d’une salope,
et elle fume pour la prouver.
Women don’t like mind games. Most women like romance.
I’m just a guy, you know? Ergo I don’t actually understand the woman I care for, and sometimes I don’t really know what she wants from me. However, in an effort to be a ‘better’ guy I’ve been exploring the internet, and I believe these are the behaviours a woman would like me to bring to a relationship.
You know what? I worked out #1 all by my self.
- Do not be a jerk. (From time to time I have been a 21 carat jerk.)
- Give her respect. Respect her opinions, career, interests, friends, family, needs, dreams, and desires. Respect her body, her mind, and her soul. Accept and understand who and what she truly is.
- Give her time and space. She’s an independent lady, so don’t be clingy and dependent. She is not responsible for your happiness, you are. Don’t pressure her into doing things she’s not ready for. But, when she needs you, be generous with your own time; always be there for her.
- Be confident and capable ~ take charge when you need to. She needs to know that you can always be relied on to take the lead when necessary.
- Always help her to feel safe. Don’t ever be threatening, and if she’s worried about someone or something, or scared of something or someone ~ then help her to deal with it!
- Respect her privacy. Don’t ever intrude where she wants to be private, and never, ever, comment on what she posts on social media.
- Follow through with your plans and ideas. Women like to know that if a guy says he is going to do something, he will actually do it.
- Be completely honest, unless complete honesty is hurtful. Women don’t like liars, and once you have lost a woman’s trust it’s hard to get it back again.
- When it’s appropriate be romantic. And, what is truly romantic changes from time to time, and from woman to woman. To be romantic; You need to get to know her.
- Be polite, well-mannered, and well-spoken. Very good manners take a little effort ~ but I’m lucky here, I’m a true English Gentleman, and good manners come naturally to me. And never, ever get drunk when she’s around.
- Self-deprecating humour. Don’t make jokes at her expense, but it’s OK to poke fun at yourself. She will probably like gentle humour, and dislike you trying to be funny by being vicious and nasty about other people.
- If she ever feels the need to apologise, accept her apology with grace. Especially never, ever, mention the things she’s apologised for ever again.
- A Man should never be late. She may have no sense of time, she may always be late for everything, but you should always be there on time~ always. If you’ve promised to call at eight o’clock, then you should call her at exactly eight.
- Be consistent, reliable, and trustworthy. Women don’t seem to appreciate unreliability, a good guy needs to be the same good guy every minute of every day.
- Listen to her. When she wants to talk, listen patiently with acceptance and understanding. Don’t give her solutions she hasn’t asked for, just listen to her.
- Respond to her texts and emails in a timely manner. She may take forever to reply to you, but if you get a message from her, then respond as soon as is humanly possible.
- Always be clean, tidy, and well-groomed. You and your place should always be pretty immaculate, especially the bathroom. And, if you are ever invited to her place, treat it with the utmost respect. Clean your shoes, get a manicure, get a haircut, have some great pictures in your place….
- Be faithful in word and deed. Don’t screw around, don’t date other women, don’t constantly flirt with other women, don’t check out other women, don’t ‘like’ other women’s pictures on social media, and do not constantly jerk off to porn.
- Be complementary. Tell her she looks pretty, her hair’s nice, tell her you like her. and if it’s appropriate tell her that you love her.
- Do things just for her. Clean her car, make sure she’s always got petrol, (gas), in the tank, fix things for her, send her flowers and perfume, but bear in mind point #9, and be romantic in the right way and when it’s appropriate.
- Sex. Do not try too go to far and too fast. If anything, follow her lead, and remember point #10 , and always be polite and well-mannered. And, if and when you sleep with her, remember that her pleasure is important. You may need sex, but perhaps what she really wants is love.
Writing this stuff, it all makes perfect sense, and I don’t believe I’ve got anything badly wrong in this list. But, Ladies, if I have, then please feel free to tell me about it.
And, writing this stuff I realise that I do most of these good things most of the time, and some of them all of the time. Sadly, that isn’t good enough. Point #14 behoves me to be consistent, reliable, and trustworthy ~ I need to do all of the above all of the time.
That’s a tall order, but if she is worth it, and you really care, then she’s worth all of it all of the time.
In future, I shall make every effort to follow my advice from this list. I am going to do this stuff.
pictures by Jack Vettriano
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No woman is going to want to admit that she’s had casual sex in an Edsel. The Ford Edsel is not a cool car, it’s not even so ugly-pretty that it’s cool. The Edsel is just one of the worst cars ever made.
So what makes an Edsel such a terrible car? Start with how it looks, and it looks as though it was designed by a committee of the most boring preppy men Ford could come up with after searching through the worst colleges in America. I mean, who would design a grille that looks like a surprised toilet seat?
For a brand-new design the Edsel was about as innovative as a horse and cart. It was big and heavy ~ over 18 feet long and weighing in at two tons. It had a newly designed ohv V8 Ford MEL engine, (Mercury, Edsel, Lincoln), which was big at 410 cu in, (6.7 litres), powerful with 345 bhp and 475 ft lbs of torque, and very heavy. The Edsel had a slush-pump auto-box, and Hotchkiss live axle rear suspension that dated back to the 1930s. It also had some weird features, such as push-button gear selectors on the steering wheel.
And then the Edsel had the second worst marketing and sales campaign in the history of road transport, only eclipsed by that even bigger disaster, the Sinclair C5. From a teaser campaign that heralded the Edsel as the car for the future, to setting up a separate Edsel division within the Ford Motor Company and a separate dealership network, everything about the Edsel’s sales and marketing is a textbook example of how not to sell anything. Small wonder this dog of a car sold only 110,847 heavily discounted units ~ peanuts by Ford standards.
The Edsel was also relatively expensive, costing about the same as a Mercury, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick and Dodge, which were much better products, with much better and more well-known names and images.
Because the Edsel was built on the same production line as standard Fords, the assemblers had to interrupt their routines when an Edsel came along, and many workers just didn’t bother to put the right parts in the right places. Therefore the Edsel was very badly built and suffered from consequent reliability problems. Issues ranged from a leaking trunk, (boot), in wet weather, to bad welding, and catastrophically dangerous power steering failures.
Allegedly, the Edsel drives like a canal barge. That huge V8 delivers pedestrian performance with a top speed just short of 120 mph, a 0-60 time of about 11 seconds, and terrible fuel consumption figures. The suspension is nothing to write home about, and so pressing-on is supposed to be accompanied by a lot of tyre squeal, initial understeer and then mad oversteer. Have I ever driven an Edsel? You have got to be joking.
Luckily there are only about 6,000 examples of this terrible car still in existence. There has to be more than that, everywhere I go on my various road trips I seem to come across an Edsel, or maybe they’re just so bad that they’re memorable. You can expect to pay about $10,000 for an immaculate example, if you were ever insane enough to want an Edsel.
Don’t buy an Edsel. They are not cool, an Edsel won’t make a satisfying hobby, they will make a terrible investment, and no cool girl will ever want to have sex with you in that car.
When I first ran away from real life and came to my seaside apartment I was a broken man. The thought of friendships and relationships made me feel physically ill. I also began to relearn who I really was. The true Jack Collier cannot abide clutter, untidiness, dust, dirt, and mess. Neither physical, mental, and emotional muddle sit well with me.
Nor do I seem to be particularly acquisitive. The pleasures of collecting things; pictures, ornaments, and the like, largely passes me by. Although I have been, and still am, guilty of having far too many books and too much recorded music, (in its multifarious forms), than can be good for one person.
Fashion does not particularly interest me. My sheepskin ‘flying’ jacket is more than 20 years old, and I am still wearing dress shoes almost as old as that. ~ but then I’m a man.
Without any planning or conscious thought I began the process of decluttering my life.
Some of this was easier than you would think, because there are only three little rules;
- Do not buy anything that does not have an immediate and specific purpose in your life.
- If you have things which do not have a specific purpose in your life, then either sell them, give them away, or dump them in the trash.
- Never, ever, leave anything out in the open, cluttering up table-tops, counter tops, bedside cabinets, dressers, sinks, the sides of the bath… If you are not actually using something right now, then always put everything away. If there’s nowhere to keep whatever it is ~ say clothes you haven’t worn for years, then follow rule #2.
What I did not realise until very recently is that living attracts clutter like a dog attracts fleas. Decluttering your life is not a one-off event, it’s an ongoing process which requires vigilance and effort. Consequently I am still selling stuff through eBay and Amazon, I am still a regular visitor to my local thrift / charity / goodwill stores, and I still find myself tossing things into the trash.
Worst of all, I still sometimes buy things I don’t really need, or even want. And, like all men, I am terrible at returning things to the store.
How does endless sunshine, stylish bars and restaurants, great shopping, fantastic attractions, and a totally cool, (weird), nightlife sound to you? For someone brought up in a North of England coal mining town it sounds fabulous.
From the Pacific coast find the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway, (aka Interstate 10), and before you get to Whitewater look for route 111 and head south-east into Palm Springs.
(Picture by the girl riding shotgun)
Palm Springs is a one street town. Almost everything cool is either on or just off Palm Canyon Drive. Baristo Road is east west and crosses Palm Canyon Drive, (for those who don’t know how street signs work in the USA).
To be more truthful, central Palm Springs is a two street town, because Palm Canyon Drive is one-way, heading south. To double back on oneself, take Indian Canyon Drive, heading North. If you’re searching for a classic car for your next road trip, then check out the auction lots on Indian Canyon Drive. But, take my advice, don’t buy an Edsel.
If you are in Southern California, Palm Springs is a place which just oozes sexual energy, of whatever flavour you like. Don’t forget, this town is both close enough and far enough away from Hollywood to have made it one of the illicit meeting places of choice for the stars of the silver screen. The restaurant in the picture is called Lulu.
pictures by jack collier
Rest In Peace, The Best 4×4 By Far
All good things must come to an end. My Lightweight Land Rover was one of the best things I ever had. Proper Land Rovers are fairly ugly, ( the Lightweight pictured is incredibly ugly), boxy, heavy, slow, uncomfortable, thirsty, rugged ~ a ‘proper’ Land Rover is one of the coolest cars a man can buy. And, should you ever want to take off into the middle of a desert, on a dirt road, for a couple of weeks at a time, then there is no better car to choose than a ‘proper’ Land Rover.
The modern ‘proper’ Land Rover is called Defender, but before Land Rover went chichi and upmarket on us, all Land Rovers were rugged off-road vehicles equally suited to driving down Regent Street in London as they were to carrying troops across a battlefield. The iconic Land Rover is said to be The Queen’s favourite car.
The very first Land Rovers were built, by the Rover Company, to replace the ubiquitous Jeep just after the end of WWII. The whole design ethos can be traced back to those 2 simple facts. It had to replace the Jeep and it was going to be British, and Britain was broken and destitute after WWII. The Land Rover had to be a rugged, go-anywhere 4×4 workhorse. Steel was in short supply in the UK so the body is aluminium, it had to use as many existing components as possible, looks and comfort didn’t much matter, and it had to be cheap. The 1948 version cost £450.
The simple solution found by Rover designer Maurice Wilks was to manufacture a strong box section chassis, and just hang everything else off that. Just look at that chassis. Rugged or what? Over-engineered perhaps. At the beginning all Land Rovers came in sage-green because a job-lot of surplus paint was acquired from a fighter aircraft factory.
Basically, once the basic steel frame has been welded together, everything else is bolted on. Or pop-riveted. Or screwed. Or banged in with a hammer. For English boys of a certain age if I say that a Land Rover is just a man-sized Meccano, they will know exactly how it was built. (USA Erector Set) As the blurb for the Erector Set says the ability to build a model, then take it apart and build something else, over and over again. And, do you know what? You can do the same thing with a full-sized Land Rover.
If your Land Rover is falling apart, you can take it completely apart, down to the last nut and bolt, and then build it again, but perhaps differently, and better. Choose cart springs or coil? Part-time or full-time four-wheel drive? Pick any engine you like, and as far as the body is concerned, the choice is too wide to mention. The most extreme Land Rover bodywork is the 101 Forward Control, which makes a fantastic camper / RV. This thing was mostly used as a military ambulance or command car.
This flexibility and rebuild-ability means that the Land Rover is the greenest car ever built, dust to dust. More than 80% of all the ‘proper’ Land Rovers ever built since 1948 are still in use~ they don’t get thrown away, they get recycled. Which should have pleased the environmental nutcases is California, but didn’t. Perhaps they didn’t like its military connections.
Since the first Land Rover was built in 1948 some 200,000 have been bought for military use, and like all Land Rovers have appeared in a bewildering range of variants. As well as the 101 there were tracked, amphibious, fire engines… The most famous variant being the Pink Panthers used by the SAS, (Special Air Service), the UK’s and World’s premier special service force. The pink colour is desert camouflage. You would understand that if you’d ever been into the desert.
However, there are a few problems having a real Land Rover as your only car. For example; they are illegal in the USA, they are slowish and use a lot of fuel, comfort isn’t what they are built for, they are tall and a long way off the ground, the heating system is pathetic…. But, as I said, if you really want to drive off into the desert, this is your vehicle of choice, at least you will stand some chance of returning.
There is an all new Land Rover Defender coming off the stocks. But the new Land Rover Defender isn’t even going to be built at its traditional home, in Solihull, in Britain. A new factory in Slovakia, (Slovakia? Did anything good ever come from that part of the world), will build the chichi new Defender DC100, which looks like a bigger version of BMW’s Mini that’s been frightened by a plastic bath-tub. More suitable for the supermarket car park than the Sahara Desert.
Good Grief! But money talks. Land Rover will be able to sell this toy car in the USA. They are just dumb enough to buy it if it’s cheap.
I have owned a couple of Land Rovers, including a Lightweight, and the kid’s toy look of the new DC100 just doesn’t cut it. It’s a girl’s car, or maybe a hairdresser’s, at least a metrosexual guy who worries about his manicure more than his car.
Don’t worry, get a tool kit and build your own ‘proper’ Land Rover. All you need is a hammer ~ well maybe. It’s the tool of choice in Slovakia.
most photographs from google
That’s a pretty open question.
Let me be more specific.
What’s wrong with women who want to turn their guy into someone else?
Every women I have ever met wants to ‘improve’ the man they’re in a relationship with. Most women will not just take a guy for himeslf. Most women want their guy to dink less beer and watch less sports television.
You would think that if woman wants their other half to be different, then they would have looked for a different man in the first place. It’s not as though women are short of choice when it comes to men. Almost any woman can get any man they want, given that the man in question is interested in sex and the woman is willing to oblige.
So, a woman starts dating a reclusive guy, who lives comfortably alone in his sparsely furnished garret. Before the poor fool knows what’s happening ‘She’ has invaded his space and started to change things. Curtains, rugs, and colour start to appear in his comfortably all-white garret, spoiling the simplicity of the bare floorboards. ‘She’ starts buying him clothes he would never have bought for himself. She changes his brand of aftershave / cologne. ‘She’ wants him to buy a sensible car instead of the insane sports car he’s very happy driving.
Perhaps ‘She’ suggests a change of job / career might be better for his happiness. ‘She’ says that he should spend less time at the sports bar with his pals, maybe drink a little less, eat more vegetables and less prime steak.
In short, ‘She’ wants to improve her man by changing him ~ ‘She’ wants him to put away boyish things and grow up. ‘She’ wants him to be successful.
Success took me to her bosom like a maternal boa constrictor. ~ Noel Coward
All this change and impovement results from the maternal instinct in women.
The bottom line is; Give a woman an acorn and the next thing you know you’re up to your rump in oak trees. Col. Thaddeus Gearhart
So, now we are into 2015, do you want to own the cutest little classic GT? Buy a Triumph GT6
So, now the holidays are over, do you want a reliable and practical GT? Do not buy a Triumph GT6
Some say that the Triumph GT6 is a baby E-Type Jaguar. And, that it’s practical enough to drive every day. All I know is that the Mk3 is an incredibly pretty little car. Stick a V12 up front and it could have been a Ferrari.
The Triumph GT6 was in production from 1966 to 1973. Some 25,100 were built. Like the Triumph Spitfire, the GT6 traces its heritage back to the Triumph Herald via the 6 cylinder Triumph Vitesse. All are built on a rather flexible separate chassis-frame with all-independant suspension ~ wishbones at the front and very problematical high-pivot swing-axles at the rear. This combination gives an incredibly tight turning circle and catastrophic snap oversteer at the limit of grip. A Mk1 GT6 that hasn’t its suspension properly maintained or upgraded is going to stuff you into a hedge on rainy day.
There was no plan to build the GT6 when the Spitfire was conceived, and the first iteration of the GT6 design was a coupe version of the Spitfire. Only one prototype Spitfire GT was built ~ it was too heavy and underpowered with the 63bhp 4 cylinder engine. This car was quickly redesigned to take the 1600cc six from the Vitesse.
This was still underpowered so a 95bhp 2 litre version of the six was installed, along with a close-ratio, all-synchomesh gearbox with optional Laycock overdrive. The weakness was still the chassis and swing-axle rear suspension. However, the Mk1 GT6 could be made to handle very well indeed, at the expense of ride comfort. Please do not buy a Mk1 GT6, unless you also intend to do some / a lot of work on the rear suspension. There are plenty of magazine articles and parts still available for the GT6.
In 1968 the Mk2 was introduced. This had more power, (104bhp), a revised rear suspension, a better interior and better ventilation. A GT6 can get very hot inside due to the big engine in a small body. The much prettier Mk3, (to my eyes), came in 1970. This did away with external seams on the front wings and had a much better looking tail-end.
You could drive a well-sorted GT6 across continents. The smooth straight six engine, overdrive gearbox, and high final drive make for very relaxed cruising. But in a hot country you are going to get very, very warm in a GT6. The cockpit is small, and the straight six chucks out a lot of heat. If you want to keep cool think about a GT6 with a Webasto sunroof. What the GT6 isn’t cool with is coping with roads like the Stelvio Pass at speed. Unless you are very good, and the suspension is in first-class condition, any cowardice in the corner will give you snap oversteer and see you going backwards to your doom. The handling of any GT6 can go from acceptable to lethal in an instant due to lift-off snap oversteer. It isn’t only a Porsche 911 that can send you backwards through a garden wall.
The GT6 is strictly a two-seater, but the luggage space under the rear hatch is big enough for a week’s family shopping or the luggage for a continental road trip. Unless you mess with the engine a lot, you should get in excess of 30 MPG, and the 8 gallon fuel tank will give you an acceptable range.
You can expect to pay anywhere between £2,000 and £12,000 for a GT6, depending on condition and originality. You can spend thousands of hours and thousands of £££$$$£££ keeping the thing running and improving it. There is no such thing as a GT6 soft top / convertible. That is called a Spitfire, however it is engined.
Like all Triumphs of this period the GT6 rusts. Like the Herald, Vitesse and Spitfire, the GT6 also rattles. The footwells can get very hot in summer. The six cylinder engine leaks oil and has thrust washer problems. (At least the perpetual oil leaks help protect the front chassis from rust.) The differential should not whine, if it does, it’s probably worn out. The gearbox is weak for the power it handles. The suspension requires regular and careful maintenance. In particular the transverse leaf spring at the rear will sag over time ~ this does not improve the handling. You will need an appropriate workshop manual.
Rust is the main enemy of cars from this era, with accident damage coming a close second. Rust in the rear chassis is almost to be expected, and it is terminal. A new chassis is no longer available from Rimmer Bros, although plenty of repair sections are. It’s no laughing matter taking the body off a GT6 chassis, and it’s bloody difficult to get it properly back on again. Beware of any car where the panel gaps are uneven and the doors do not hang properly. The huge bonnet is available new at something like £1,300, again from Rimmer Bros. Rust in the sills of a GT6 is very serious as there is no outboard chassis framing. The Herald / Spitfire / GT6 chassis is strictly a backbone.
There is endless tuning / upgrade potential for the GT6. Swapping the 2 litre engine for the long stroke 2.5 litre version will give anything up to 150bhp. Take this engine out to 2.7 litres and you should easily get 180bhp. Personally, I would not have the Lucas mechanical fuel injection system again for any money, (that is unless you have a wide experience of older diesel engines). Instead I would fit triple Weber 40 DCOE carburetors, (or 45’s). Putting more power into a GT6 will give you a seriously fast car, but you will also need to upgrade the brakes, suspension, gearbox, differential…. And, the already hard ride will probably get harder.
Alternatives to the Triuph GT6 include the MGBGT, Reliant Scimitar GTE, Ford Capri, Lotus Elan Plus 2, and Nissan 240Z.
Like all classic cars a GT6 will need lots of care and attention. I would suggest that, if you are going to spend money on a GT6, then cure the rust, get the suspension and brakes into first class working order, and improve the cooling. Don’t bother with wheels any wider than 6 inches.