Saturday, August 23, 2008

Summer Holiday - we're all off to sun free England.....

Well its that time of year again, the weather here in the Sand Pit has risen to unbarable levels and the general Dubai Curse has worn away at my patience so its time to head home for a break....and remind myself why I left the UK.

To this end we headed off for three weeks holiday. However, me being me, I couldn't just go for a straight forward holiday. Oh no, I had to make it a whistle stop tour. Don;t know why but I just can't do sitting still so the "relaxing" summer break involved 7 days in the UK, 9 days in Malta, 4 days in Barcelona and finally 3 days in London before heading back to Dubai.

And so first things first, off to the UK. Following a relatively straight forward flight that involved 6 hours of me not sleeping a wink and usually and the co-pilot snoring at 30k feet, we arrived at Heathrow. Now when you arrive in Dubai you are greeted by a sleek and shimmery, shiny and super efficient airport that is the perfect advert of the image of itself Dubai wishes to project to the world. In fact Dubai and its airport could be described as one and the same: Cool, swish, sleek and glizzy with a underside that is supported by an army of imported (often subcontinental) works force and fundamentally transient in nature. But it works.

Heathrow on the other had projects the image off.....well.....old, tired, tatty and chaotic full of tired people treading tired routes to the same old same old all wishing they could be soewhere else........Mmmmmm.........maybe Heathrow does very accurately reflect the country it is a gateway to after all. And I guess that is really what the trip back to the UK is all about for us long term expats. Its a chance to go home and catch up on the bits you like about the place you left behind, but at the same time remind yourself of the crap bits to left to get away from.

And as Douglous Adams once wrote "It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on Earth has ever produced the phrase, 'as pretty as an airport.' Airports are ugly. Some are very ugly. Some attain a degree of ugliness that can only be the result of a special effort."

Anyway, landed and got through the airport not troubles. Picked up the hire car and headed off to see my brother Rhubarb in 'Siemens Town'. And after a quick kip I headed into the mighty capital (or at least Vauxhall) to get the sensor cleaned on the Camera.

Now why tell you about the camera cleaning chore, not really news worth I hear you comment, but its really just a chance to send a big thanks to the staff at Fixation for a VERY quick and friendly service. Oh, and an excuse for a moan about British public transport.

When I noticed dust marks on my photos in Dubai I asked around where the nearest reputable and efficient place was to get it serviced in Dubai. And (not surprisingly) the common answer was there isn't. The nearest place is Fixation in London!! Now you know your reputation is good when people 3000miles away are recommending you. And the reputaiton is well deserved and the camera is now back to full health. And it only took them about 30 minutes.

And here is a shot taken shortly after leaving Fixation.....yeah I know, jsut another excuse to add another picture of tower cranes to my collection:

and the moan about trains........I could go on and elaborate......but I can sum it up in one number 7.20!! That is the price it cost me to help the environment and traffic congestion in London by leaving the car at home and heading into the capital by train.......and it was only four stops!! I think in future I'll drive and just ignore my carbon foot print. After all what do I care about future generations and the mess we'll be leaving behind for them......I'll be dead by then, or if not then senile and incontinent in an old people home.

The rest of the UK leg of the trip was lovely, drove the hired Italian car (Small, deisel, cramped and gutless) up norf to visit the folks. Although worthy of mention is the slight detour we took to drop Rhubarb and Turnip off in Wolverhampton so they could go to a sad git computer geek convention in a travel lodge in the side of teh M6. And this was in their spare time (not work related)!! And they missed out on a free lift the rest of the way to mums, a roast with all the trimmings AND a cracking Grand Prix. All to listen to a bunch of computer geeks talking about some internet radio station for penguins......or something like that.

Once up at mum we traveled about visiting relatives and doing all those quintcencially English tings that only foreigners and tourists ever do like visiting country churches, feeding the ducks and drinking beer in pub garden in the pouring rain with your soaked coat pulled up around your ears. It was magic.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Yet more bracket pictures

Here are some more pictures of the bracket and how it connects to the rails, and below are the two sizes of bolts that come with the rack. They are about 40 and 50mm long and both the same thread (marked as A2-70)

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Details on the Roof Rack

I have been asked for some more details on the roof rake so here are some dimensions:

The centre to centre distance between the front and back most mounting brackets is 166cm, with the middle bracket being exactly half way at 83cm

The width of the rack, measured from the center of the holding down bolt arrangements (ie halfway between each of the two rows of bolts) is 87.5cm, 95cm and 103cm.

As you can see this gives a large number of mounting arrangement options

the total length of the rack is 2m long.

Full details can be found at:

Anything else you'd like to know let me know.