Ashton’s President’s Prattle for December, 2020

Ashton, Caroline, Doggo and the Land Rover

Well, here we are. Christmas is but a few weeks away. Again.

It’s about this time of the year when I usually reflect back on all the different types of fun we’ve had during the year. This year has certainly been different, albeit not in exactly the way I would have preferred. More in the way Confucius might have had in mind when he (apocryphally) suggested “May you live in interesting times”.

And as a result of fires, floods and pandemics, this year has been the original annus horribilis. However, as has also been noted previously (this time I am more certain that it is accurately attributed to Churchill), “never let a good crisis go to waste”. I know a number of our friends set out to complete a COVID project (or even two) and in many cases succeeded.

Personally, mine was to recommission the 1958 Land Rover that has been cluttering up the road outside the house for several years. It’s still cluttering up the road, and frankly not looking all that different, but underneath it is almost entirely rebuilt.

The chassis has been shot blasted, welded and painted before being liberally soaked inside with fish oil (don’t get too close on a hot day – just sayin’) before being completely rewired and replumbed. Those who know I am colour blind might be more impressed than others at the fact that the electrics have yet to let their smoke out. The brakes work, the clutch works, the engine runs (sometimes) and no longer leaks coolant or oil, and it is now just in need of a final timing check, and we should be good to go. Above you can find a shot of Caroline and I taking the dog for a jaunt.

Once NSW was allowed out from under the COVID cloud we started to get Tyre Kick and Coffee underway, although the ladies at the Kokoda Cafe decided to have a lie in on Sundays (who can blame them) so that one now starts at 9.30 instead of 9.

Club Lotus Australia November Tyre Kick South

Ed Holly joined in with the bright idea to launch a parallel alternate Tyre Kick, on the second Sunday of the month at Carrs Park in Blakehurst. To date we’ve had two and they have both been as well attended as the original events, so hopefully that means more people getting their cars out for a breath of fresh air.

Thank you to everyone attending both events! For December, we will use them both as proxies for the Christmas Party, so if you find me at either event, come and hit me up for a coffee on the club. And because I’m appropriately forgetful, if you come to both, you might even get a coffee at both.

Finally, our much missed motorsport got back underway, initially slightly with some uncertainty, but increasingly with gusto and less red tape. One of my observations of COVID is that it has forced many petty bureaucrats to rethink the necessity of triplicate signatures on pieces of paper that end up filling up landfill. At least sometimes.

A good example is Motorsport Australia, which has adopted a no-touch approach to registration and documentation which is to be heartily applauded – I really hope we don’t regress from this much more 21st century approach to organisation.

Ashton at the HSRCA Summer Festival

Since the easing of restrictions, the CSCA series has managed three further rounds, and HSRCA has managed the delayed Spring Festival a month ago, and this weekend just gone, the Summer Festival. Which was suitably named – summer came early, and with a vengeance. On Saturday it was 45 degrees in the shade. I have no idea what the temperature in the cabin was. More about that elsewhere, but suffice to say it was a great way to start the run towards Christmas.

Which just leaves me to wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas, and here’s hoping for a vastly different New Year. Although there won’t be a Chatter in January, we will be having coffees, so I hope to catch some of you then too, and in the meantime, keep it safe, upright and mostly on the blackstuff.

Pip Pip,

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