The Battle - Jacobs car rally

Mum and Dad always taught their children never to waste time: Every Sunday there would be a cry, "The cars are ready". Up to eight small boys would run to get in a car. Mum drove hers, Dad his, with us packed in. They raced each other to church, overtaking, fast and safely, in the narrow Sussex lanes. We cheered them on: "Come on Mum, you can overtake  here!". We arrived, breathless with excitement, about a minute before the priest came out of the sacristy. The return journey was similar. Eight boys ran out of church, Mum and Dad leading the charge. It was very important to be first out of the car park because there were not many overtaking places. One Sunday Dad, who was the less ruthless of the pair, picked up a tardy boy and left the car park second. To be fair, Mum's car was not so powerful, so she needed every trick in the book. Driving like Stirling Moss, Dad caught up with Mum at the junction of Stream Lane, Riccars Lane and the A21. The photo shows the approach. Cars are whizzing by at high speed. The approach is very steep so hand brake skills are needed. You can barely see the cars coming in from each side, so you must get the front wheels just over the line and usually stop. Sly Dad had seen the opportunity. Mum was stopped for traffic and he drove up beside her at the line. There were shrieks of delight. A gap came, tyres squealed and Dad got away in front. From there, it was an easy run home with well known blocking techniques deployed.

Deadly junction:
My mother did not meekly submit to this display of male prowess. The next week she and team were again first out of the car par. We came to the A21 line with Dad hot on our heels. Mum in the middle of the left of the road, front wheels on the line. As ever the traffic was heavy and Dad was incoming. Mum shouted, "Open the doors!" Four doors swung open to more shrieks. There was no way for another car to get safely to the line. They were blocked. Mum and her team were victorious. The roast beef and Yorkshire pud tasted better than ever that day. From that day on, childish overtaking at that junction was not fair play.*

Being the son of this crazy pair, I took the lesson to heart and thought. Surprise and cunning go a long way. When, at the age of 13, in my childish opinion, god seemed about as likely as Father Christmas, I played the anti-race. When the cry, "The cars are ready", came, I stayed on the sofa reading the Sunday Times. One of the drivers came back for me and said, "Are you coming?" I said, "No". There was no time, they gracefully accepted defeat. The race was on.

Laughed out loud reading this! Good tale and brought the memories flooding back. I scent a challenge, perhaps each of the brothers should try to come up with a similar tale of the lunacy involved in growing up in a family of 8 boys with such forgiving parents and the amazing freedom we enjoyed?
Posted by: Paul | July 23, 2014 at 08:06 AM

Mons duplex: Golia and Aco

On Sunday Arthur headed off on the Mongol Rally, at the beginning of his 10,000 mile drive from London to Ulaanbaatur the capital of Mongolia. He is travelling with Will James, a friend from school and they are travelling in a Nissan Micra (a bit smaller than Mum and Dad's cars and it is packed to the roof with rations and spare parts). From the pictures of the launch on the Mongol Rally website it is evident that silly, crazy and very crazy cars are definitely the order of the day for this trip. Their route will take them through the landscapes of Europe to Istanbul and then through Turkey. From there to Georgia, Azerbaijan and across the Caspian Sea. Then they start their trek across the plains and mountains of Asia, through most of the 'stans including Kazakhstan where they hope to see Alice. I hope we will hear from them as they go, facebook, postcard or a message on The Blog please! All being well Siobhan and I expect Arthur back on 7th September, in time for university!

On Friday Edward will leave on his bike ride from London to Monaco. This will be a 1,000 mile ride with seven of his school friends, taking thirteen days. They will be zipping along in their lycra suits, sweating under the blazing french sun (hopefully). I think David Petri used to refer to a group of riders on racing bikes as an 'arse' of cyclists and certainly their position with heads down and bums up will still bear testament to this. I will be driving the support vehicle all the way and another dad will do the first six days with me. One of the dads has lent us a long wheel based landrover, so we will be chugging along at an agricultural speed, hoping for not too many emergency phone calls. We have booked into campsites for most of the nights and will arrive in Monaco on 6th August.

Many thanks to Rob for tips and advice and a mechanical guide to the Nissan Micra. I hope they will be able to use the maintenance manual as a comfort blanket and not need to make use of it too often. Also thanks to George providing a satellite phone for Arthur. In one of those quirks of life the phone did not work, so unfortunately it has stayed in England. Also I hear that Alice managed to meet Arthur in London (handy or what) before his departure and give him a few pieces of regional advice. Real thanks to all of you.

Keeling vs Mongolia and everywhere inbetween

Hi Arthur
That's great. I just remembered that you can post to by sending an email to a secret email address. There it is. You can attach pictures to the email and they should go up to. I tried it with this one of another mongolia maniac. Dont forget to resize pictures so that they are sensible for the web. Use Microsoft Paint or something.

Hi everyone
Arthur is going on the the Mongol rally. Expect a few photos and stories from strange places in the next few weeks ....

Woo Hoo!

On 11 July 2014 19:53, Arthur Keeling wrote:

Hi George,

Brilliant....the sat phone arrived this afternoon. Thank you SO MUCH.
I have got it charging at the moment and will have a 'play' tomorrow. If I have any questions, I'll be in touch, probably I'll call you.

In the final hectic stages of our trip and might need to change our route to go through Azerbijan instead of Iran. Hey ho.
Love Arthur

I'm glad big uncle is keeping an eye out.....Granny.

Posted by: Jenifer Keeling | July 13, 2014 at 06:22 PM