Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Good Time Had By All

Fiat 500s (and friend) at Taste Italia in EssexThe Taste Italia event, organised for and by Little Haven Children's Hospice (and not forgetting the Taste Italia team, whose generosity allowed it to happen) was a really lovely day out. Believe it or not, the British government supports hospices for adults but does not support hospices for chidren. I know nothing of the detail behind this seemingly ludicrous piece of policy, but it certainly appears to be grossly unfair and leaves organisations like Little Haven on their own to raise £1.5million a year just to stay afloat and care for the terminally ill children in their charge, so it really was for a worthy cause. The club will be making a donation and so will I.

Anyway, that's the serious stuff out of the way! It was great to see all the Fiat 500s lined up on the lawn and the weather was spectacularly good for the time of year. And someone brought a beautiful old Alfa along as well, which we were proud to have in our midst (see photo).

The food, wine and the setting were all as perfect as the weather and it was lovely to meet more people from the club too.

And I discovered the proprietor of Taste Italia's son has a newly imported 1971 Citroen DS which has the number plate directly after the one on the Fiat, with just a one number difference. Turns out Chelmsford DVLA hand out old plates in order and his Citroen was registered shortly after our Fiat and was next in line for 1971 plate allocation. What were the chances of meeting like that??

Sadly, the Lotus is still laid up at the mechanic's in Ongar. It seems the electrical problem causing the inability to start is proving a swine to track down! I hope to get it back soon though.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Taking Advantage

Wow, a whole month without posting. Terribly sorry about that, folks. I've been extremely busy and I won't bore you with the details.

Anyway, the main news is I've decided it's time these fuel-guzzling freeloaders of mine started paying their way! That's right, the cars are going to have to earn a living like everybody else (with the notable exception of the cat) - I'm putting them to work.

The Top Gear "sexiest car" article set things in motion once more. About a year ago I spoke to a company called the Classic Car Agency, who keep a register of classic cars available for hire to film and advertising companies (for a surprisingly modest one-off fee) about getting listed. The way it works is you sign up, they act as your agent and get your car booked for movies, photoshoots, TV programs, etc. They then take a commission from your fee, if everything goes according to plan. Fair enough, eh?

Of course, being me and being busy, I never got around to it with the Lotus, but after all the fuss about the Fiat 500, and with the 50th anniversary next year, I revisited them and noticed they didn't have one on their books. Figuring this might be a good opportunity, I filled in the forms and registered both the Fiat and the Lotus.

Sadly, I have no bookings as yet, but hopefully I'll get a few a year which will at least pay for the maintenance. It would be a great help! We'll see I suppose.

On a not entirely unrelated note, the organisers of an "Italian Summer" event for Little Haven Children's Hospice have contacted the Fiat 500 Club and requested the presence of ten Fiat 500s to spice up their garden party. Being reasonably local, we are happy to oblige, since they're offering free entry and it's all for a good cause. I hope the weather holds!