Hot Rod & Custom Car Show 2017


Just spent an enjoyable couple of hours at the Hot Rod & Custom Car Show, held at Stansted House in Hampshire.

The weather did rather let us down but the cars managed to shine through even if the sun didn’t.

I’ll let the cars do the talking, take a look at the following photos. See what you think.

Conservatory Re-Build – Furniture


No further progress towards completion as yet. However, we are making as much use as we can. We have sat outside on the decking when ever the sun shines. There is still a lot of heat in the sun but the ambient temperature drops rapidly at the first hint of a cloud. This just drives us inside to sit in our new warm, draught free environment.

Inside just became a whole lot more comfortable as, yesterday, our new furniture arrived courtesy of The Fir Trade Furniture Company.

A year ago we visited their stand at the Garden Show, Stansted Park. Tried their seats and found them to be really comfortable. This year we revisited their stand, retried the seats and were really taken with their level of comfort and with the sturdiness of design. Managing Director Hugh Ross, following my enquiry about the strength of the seats due to the unusual leg angles, and my concerns about the seats ability to withstand my weight, did no more than turn one of the seats upside down. Then he proceeded to show me the large steel bolts securing the legs to the base of the seat and the additional wooden inserts used to strengthen the whole structure.

Knowing we were about to embark on the demolition and rebuild of our conservatory we decided, that once we knew exactly how much space we would have, we would visit the show rooms in Salisbury.

And so we duly visited their showrooms late in August where we remade our acquaintance with Hugh after quite the most horrendous journey . Torrential rain all the way with almost zero visibility on the M27 due to the spray. In a country that is known for rain you would think that our road builders would use quick draining surface as is the case on some of the autoroutes in France.

Anyway, back on topic, we were welcomed with coffee and biscuits and tried nearly all the seats in all styles but were drawn back to the Semarang set. Orders were placed, fabrics and patterns chosen, deposit paid and we were advised that the lead time to delivery would be four to six weeks.

A call from Hugh advised that our order was ready for delivery, unfortunately minus the foot stool, Friday was agreed and the new furniture arrived delivered by Igor, the Italian.

Semarang furniture set - The Fair Trade Furniture Company
Semarang furniture set – The Fair Trade Furniture Company

Our original order was for the two chairs, a foot stool and the “gin & tonic” table. As you can see in the photo, the chairs are lop-sided, left and right-handed. The low side provides easy access to the drinks on the table while the high side provides support for when ones chosen anaesthetic, be it G & T or some other suitable beverage, kicks in.

On Thursday morning we decided to add the lamp to our order. After several missed calls in both directions we eventually linked up and the lamp was added to our delivery for Friday.

The previous photo shows the lamp on but it really comes into its own at night-time, providing a cosier level of lighting and the reflections in the glass and tiled floor are really quite effective.

Semarang furniture set - The Fair Trade Furniture Company
Semarang furniture set – The Fair Trade Furniture Company

I would like to say that our dealings with this company have been superb. Everyone that we have spoken to has been really friendly and their response to our last-minute addition of the lamp to our order has been first class.

“Where’s yer stop-cock Bob?”


The ground preparation for the conservatory build carries on apace. The digger arrived early yesterday morning and, along with a pneumatic drill, was soon put to work digging out the old footings.

Conservatory - The mini digger
Conservatory – The mini digger

However, proceedings came to an abrupt halt when the kitchen drain was discovered and the pipe cracked.

Conservatory - One cracked and repaired drain pipe.
Conservatory – One cracked and repaired drain pipe.

This was duly repaired and the work continued.

Continued, that is, until lunch-time when I was asked … “where’s yer stop-cock Bob ?” Apparently the guy with the pneumatic drill had managed to crack both of the water pipes which supplied the old utility room.

Work once again stopped while parts were obtained from the local hardware store and repairs made. With the water supply made secure and cold water feed once more live my wife and I headed off out to lunch.

The Pavillion, Stansted House
The Pavillion, Stansted House

After a very pleasant, leisurely, lunch with my granddaughter and great-granddaughter at The Pavillion Tearoom, Stansted House we returned home.

What a difference a couple of hours can make. The guys were pretty much finished for the day, just tidying up. The digger had been put to good use and apart from some hand digging the footings were dug.

Conservatory - Digging of footings almost complete
Conservatory – Digging of footings almost complete

The picture doesn’t really show the actual depth but the trench is around four feet deep.

During the afternoon, while we were out, a grab truck had arrived and taken away a load of the spoil from the trench. A second visit is scheduled for later today.

What the picture also doesn’t show is that the guys managed to break up another drain pipe during the excavations. This one being the drain for the washing machine and sink in the old utility room. This one will be made good once the new build and plumbing begins.

Apparently, this last drain was not the only casualty of the day as while using the digger the step under the garage door was caught and the brickwork knocked back. A piece of brick was dislodged and landed on the head of one of the guys. He is fine but does have a mark on his head.

The great British workman is a tough breed. I would have had to go lie down in a darkened room.

And so work continues. The steel reinforcing mesh was delivered yesterday and the guys are going get that in place ready for concrete to be poured. Let’s see how they get on.