Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Car Whisperers

Dave, throttling.

Engine block.

Mikey got hold of this old Ford Capri one winter a few years ago. He took it back to his Dad's garage in North Wales and set to work doing it up in order to sell it on. When he pulled back into town the following spring we could all hear him coming, the sound of the throaty 2.8 V6 engine preceeding the view we got of the sleek black machine; reborn.

What an amazing car it had become. Mikey went to put the car up for sale but his twin brother Dave, who is just as much of a rev-head as Mikey, couldn't bear to see it leave the family so ponied up his winter's wages to buy it from his brother. Both of the Jones brothers are crazy car whisperers, able to listen to a crook vehicle and make an instant diagnosis. The Capri has been their labour of love and I spent an evening with Dave in their garage a few weeks ago to get some shots of him spannering on the car, part of a 1950's style greaser set of images that we wanted to produce. This was the first shoot, as Dave prepared the car for a classic car show that weekend. On the way to that show some clown reversed into the side of the Capri in a supermarket car park, stoving in the passenger door and the wing and effectively writing it off in the eyes of the insurance company. Both brothers are now hard at work, spending all of their spare time trying to nurse it back to health and keep their baby on the road. Once they're done, we'll get some images of their machine going sideways in a cloud of tyre smoke up at the old airfield... I for one can't wait to see that thing on the road again.

A workshop wall to envy.

Tight for space; The Viva, Dave and the Capri.

Check Dave's motor racing and Caterham 7 blog out at

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pick Up 3

In mid-winter we have all sorts of flotsam and jetsam wash up on the beaches of Cornwall.
Photo by Dave Williams.

Iniative Surf recently ran a training camp on Long Island, New York and the groms got involved with improving their beach environment after a training session.
Getting good habits at an early age.
Photo by Alex Espir.

All this will end up in the Ocean that you can see at the end of the ditch (right into the line-up of a surf spot) next time it rains. This has to change.

An Tor Orth An Mor took a two week holiday this northern summer, a bit last minute and far enough off the map to make posting photos difficult so apologies if you missed us...but we're back now, so on with business.

This one is an important one, both to spread a message well worth spreading and to try and shout it from the roof tops and encourage you the reader to pass the message on, but also to salute the people in this post who lead the charge in one way or another and do their bit.
Litter. You wouldn't believe how much of it ends up in the oceans or washed up on beaches, almost anywhere in the world no matter how remote and off the beaten track you go there's a pretty good chance that you'll find some plastic washed up on your idylic beach, maybe carried there by the winds and currents from thousands of miles away. In some places there are unbelievable levels of rubbish on the beaches and in the water, perhaps because of the prevailing wind direction or because the locals there don't have any refuse collection and wherever they throw it, it washes downstream to the coast. But regardless of the reasons why, it really shouldn't be there at all. But how can you help? Sometimes there's just too much to feel that you can make a difference.

Pick Up 3. It's that simple. The brainchild of 16 year old Cobi Emery from San Diego, California, Pick Up 3 asks you to pick up just three pieces of litter or trash when you walk back up the beach from the surf. You can carry three bits in one hand and dump them in a bin at the top of the beach or put them in a bag in your car to dispose of later, that way slowly but surely, little by little, we can start to make a difference; it's enough to have an impact whilst still being easily manageable.
Not only does the beach look nicer then, but the impact on the marine environment is amazing too - thousands of turtles and dolphins die each year because they mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and eat them, only to either fill their guts with undigestable plastic and starve, or in the case of turtles, float to the surface because of the increased buoyancy and bake to death in the sun. Wrong. So plastic bags, bottles, bits of fishing nets and line...if it didn't grow there it shouldn't go there.

My friend Alex from Initiative Surf asks all of his clients, be they junior competitive surfers or clients on guided surf trips to pick up 3 on their way back from every surf as part of his coaching regime, whilst Tom and the staff and customers of Island Vibe in Jeffreys Bay do regular beach clean ups there, with one big annual effort. This year 80 of them collected litter on the western beaches of J-Bay, filling bags and bags with unwanted refuse. Unfortunately, the next time the wind blows offshore, more plastic will blow out of the township and down the beach, just as after the first rains of the season in Morocco, Indonesia or any other developing coastal nation the water is too filthy to surf or swim in because the floodwater washes out all of the ditches and drains that locals use to dump their refuse in to. But perhaps slowly, 3 pieces at a time we can set an example, educate and begin to clean up the marine environment because we all live downstream of something and the oceans are too important to mess with.

Leave it better than you found it. Please.

Staff and guests at Island Vibe clearing the beach and drains that make up their back yard.
Photo by Rene Thornton.

More people and less litter than the previous year, so it's looking hopeful.
Photo by Rene Thornton.

A good job well done.
Photo by Rene Thornton.

Volounteers from the Polzeath VMCA clearing our local beach, thanks guys!