Friday, June 16, 2017


So it's been a super busy week and my usual write my blog on the bus time did not pan out. I keep meeting interesting people. What I have written this week I did a while ago. I am a bit of a hoarder and like things with sentimental value. Anyway here are my 10 favorite things. Note this does not include friends and family, I should maybe title it my 10 favorite inanimate objects...

One - Grampa's hip flask

I'm glad I found this. After my grandpa died years ago his car lay abandoned outside my parent's house. They asked me to clean it ready to sell. In the driver's door pocket I found his hip flask. Well bashed, worn and shiny it still had his favourite tipple in it. My mum said why don't you keep it. Now it lives pride of place on a shelf in my study. Still with my Grampa’s whisky in it. Johnny walker black label.

Two - Lego

I am a massive Lego fan. I grew up with Lego. Starting with blocks then Lego city and moving on to technical Lego when I grew older. I have two young boys and we have a lot of Lego in the house. A lot! It's a brilliant and timeless educational toy. I love sitting on the floor with my boys watching them create cars. Some have many different sized wheels with no hope of steering in reality. They have lasers and guns sticking out at odd angles. We have several big boxes around the house ready for creative minds. I have a few select constructions that took a bit longer to build that also live pride of place in my study.

Three - mini socket set

I love my tools, and this little red socket set is one of my favourites. It came free with a classic car magazine subscription many years ago. It is a good quality one made by Teng Tolls. It's a great size and has 13mm and 10mm sockets, hex bits, universal joint and extension bar. I built my own car a few years ago so I guess I could say I have enough tools to build a car.

Four - hot wheels cars

These little 1/64 scale cars are almost a currency in our house. "I'm going shopping anyone coming?... "can we have a hot wheels car dad?" Tesco trips involve sifting through the hot wheels display looking for rare finds. 90% of them end up in a big play box and have a hard life, chipped and crashed. The 10% I rescue and give them a Concours life. It's the ones I recognise from my childhood. This little mk1 escort is possibly the rarest one. Found in Tesco for 99p and currently trading on eBay for 10 times that. It was mint in the box till the boys got hold of it.

Five - Mac book Pro

This is a computer without actually being a computer. I was fed up last year with firing up a windows PC and waiting, and then waiting for updates and waiting for virus checks... so being a massive iPhone and iPad fan I made the jump and splashed out on a desktop mac and loved it. Then when I went to CodeClan they gave me a Mac Book Pro which I cosseted for 4 months till they asked for it back. It wasn't mine, it was on loan. Lost without it I splashed out again. Mine is 2016 with a graphite grey solid-state disk. It gets opened starts immediately and I can work. No waiting.

Six - Coos head

Jamie made this coos head (with a little help) and I just think it's brilliant. He made it from scraps of wood in the shed all his own design. He pulled the bits from the scrap bin and glued them together. A few bits were cut to length and sanded and given a rub with finishing wax. We have made and sold quite a few of these as part of Udny Designs. Ours and the first hangs pride of place in our dining room.

Seven - Spring picture

This is more artistic flair from Jamie. We went to a parent-child art competition at his primary school. You were given lots of materials, paints glue and an hour to make a spring-themed picture. Bright colours and of course a Tractor (Jamie is tractor daft) We had a busy hour cutting and sticking, laughing and joking. In a frantic rush up to the buzzer, we had made this picture. Jamie and his classmates all voted for their favourite picture by placing a tidily wink on their favourite. Cheers, and clapping Jamie was rewarded with first place and an Easter egg. Chuffed to bits the picture lived in the house and Jamie proudly showed it off before disappearing. Several months later it reappeared professionally framed as a gift for my birthday from my wife. Well chuffed it now hangs in our hall. It is framed brilliantly including hanging some of the worms (pipe cleaners) which had been dug up by the tractors plough (fallen off)

Eight - coffee table

We had to move house because of this table. Inspired by a restaurant in Florida where the tables were wood framed with maritime maps under glass as the surface, I decided to make my own and use a local OS map. I joined an evening woodwork class at Ellon academy bought some materials and set to work making my table.

It's big! OS maps are big. I built the frame and legs, mortise and tenon joints and all and glued them together. The top was actually so big it wouldn't fit in the car so I had to walk it home. We lived in a one-bedroom semi in Ellon at the time with a table for a mansion. It lived for a year or so under the bed while we looked for a bigger house. It has now been in active service in our living room in Udny. Scuffed, scraped, wine glass stains and 9 years of kids it's looking well used but still looks great. The map is long gone and now replaced by hundreds of little Instagram photos scattered below the glass. I can't see it being replaced any time soon apart from maybe updating the pictures.

Nine - Tiger

I built my Tiger 9 years ago. It took me 4 years to complete. I have had it for 13 years. Wow! Most people these days only keep their cars for 3 years. Well, I spent years dreaming of building my own car (since I was little) so I saved up my pennies and ordered a kit. I use the term kit here loosely as what I bought was a hodgepodge of the basic parts, Frame, body and some new and used parts. Unlike the more expensive Caterham or Westfield you get every nut and bolt and a comprehensive build manual. Mine had a manual but it was not comprehensive. I had a brilliant 4 years pottering away in the garage at my own pace, chipping away at the build small project after small project. I have blood sweat and tears in this car so it will continue to be tucked up in the garage for years to come. Getting out only in the dry and when the weather is good.

Ten - Note pad and pen

I carry a notepad and pen with me most days. Electronic ways of keeping notes are ok but you can't beat a pen and paper. I think in pictures so I like to jot down notes and add diagrams. My current notepad is a Moleskine lined which has been modified with duct tape to have a pen on the spine. The pen I carry is a simple 4 colour Bic ballpoint. Having multiple colours in one pen is genius and is better for diagrams and underlining.