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Spanish Grand Prix 2011

Last minute decision at the end of April…off to Spain for the 2011 Spanish Grand Prix.  Only my 2nd Grand Prix in 10 years, first visit was to Spa in 2001.

All excited on the Friday morning getting ready to head off to Bournemouth Airport for the lunchtime flight to Gerona, Spain.  Arrived at the airport, weighed my suitcase and yes, overweight, so a quick shuffle of things from suitcase to rucksack and hey presto and a huge sigh of relief!!  My excuse was that I really didn’t know what the weather was going to be like as rain was forecast for the weekend a few days beforehand, but then again I am also female so packing everything barr the kitchen sink is the norm!!  After going through Passport Control and through into Departures a quick cup of tea and suddenly the flight is called for boarding.  Flight took off and it was a fairly quick trip over the Channel and Mountains and down into Gerona.  Yayyy, it’s sunny and fairly warm.  Car hire picked up and whoop, whoop, headed off to the Costa Brava.  The roads are amazing in Spain, and so quiet, however the weird thing was the, ummm, ladies in what could be called skimpy clothing on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, took me a while to realise what they were waiting for :-/

Anyway found the way to the hotel in Calella, parked up and checked in.  Booked All Inclusive as it was cheaper to do that than just do Room Only. Nice room and hotel was clean.  Down to the bar for a quick drink by the swimming pool, so nice to be able to sit outside in the evening by a pool.  Dinner and then a quick walk to the beach, some shopping for supplies for the trip to the Circuit De Catalunya the next morning, back to the bar and a couple more drinks and then bed for me…exhausted and excited about the Saturday viewing!!

Hotel was a bit noisy due to the bars very nearby that were open until very early in the morning.  Up and out of the door for the journey to the circuit at about 7.15am.  It only took about  3/4 hour to get to the circuit, apart from a wrong turn into the VIP entrance where the double of Eddie Irvine was posing as a Police man, quick turn around and arrived at the right car park.  Out of the car and literally 20 steps and through the gates into the circuit, up some steps and yes, arrived at the track…can’t believe it, the sun’s out, there’s the smell of engine fuel in the air, my first Grand Prix for 10 years.

Through a little bit of a merchandise village to some food, grabbed a bacon roll and thank goodness I brought some drinks with me as the coffee was not good…had a wander through a bit further, wow how close to the track can I get. Found a spot in General Admin where I could see the hairpin turn 4 behind me, turns 7, 8 and 9 in front of me and just over the other side the run up from the start to the first corner.

Found a tree and plonked myself under that, big sun hat on head, suncream on and relax…GP2, GP3, Mini’s and Porsche and yes the F1 cars.  OMG the noise, how I’ve missed the noise of real F1 cars.  Earplugs in and wow, good job I had some, the Lotus Renault with it’s high pitched whistle hurt the ol ear lugs!!  The cars were beautiful going round the track, the Lotus  Renault with it’s black and gold livery shining in the sun, the Mercedes Petronas with it’s silver green, the Mclaren shining with its silver and red.  All of the cars very pretty (yes girly thing!!) Even the Safety Car looked bloomin good and the Medical Car, oh what a lovely growl from that car….sighhhh!!!

Quali time for F1 and  no, Vettel not on pole, Webber is, Vettel 2nd, Hamilton 3rd, Alosno 4th and Button 5th!!

Headed back to the hotel after the qualifying and  sorted out the pine needles from my blanket, put some more water in the room fridge, headed down to the bar for a cup of tea and sat out by the pool for an hour.  Dinner and then watched a good magician for a while in the hotel.  Off to bed for an early start.

Awake at 5am, headed into the shower, Alonso chants being heard in the streets below. It must be F1 day 😀  Headed off to the track about 6.45 and got to the track at 7.30.  Decided to get near to where I was sat on the Saturday due to the shade, me and sun don’t mix too well. Found a spot, blanket down, bacon roll bought.  Lots of people in Gen Admin area already.  Really weird being amongst so many fans that are there to cheer on one man…Fernando Alonso.  I’m not one of his greatest fans, but to see all of those fans, with the varying team shirts on, Benetton, Mclaren, Renault, Ferarri, all Alonso, hardly any other driver shirts to be seen.

So my view again 7, 8 and 9 and the run up to the start and if I stood up the hairpin 4 behind me again.  £100 Gen Admin ticket and what awesome views and 2 screens right in front too!

Marshalls out on track, the countdown starting on the big tower in front, the safety and medical car going round to check the track and the safety lights and flags and first race out is the Minis, Feisty little devils those cars!!

Next up GP2 and GP3.  GP2 a little bit of a crash, but the big one was during the start of GP3.  Stationary car on the gri and most got round it but 1 towards the back ploughed into it, bits and pieces flying off everywhere, safety car out and the cars were taken via the pit lane until everything cleared up.  Up on the screens they showed the crash but also Charlie Whiting jumping clear out of the starting box as a tyre was flying towards him…eek!!

Final race before the big one, the Porsche…not a fan, but it wasn’t too bad a race!!

Quick trip to grab a cold drink and loo break and out from under the tree, phew it’s hot…back to my spot to wait for the drivers parade.  Spain have got this bit right…all of the drivers were driven round individually in all sorts of cars, much better than being on the back of a lorry.  Everyone cheering as they all went past, extra cheers for JB from me!!

Finally race time…cars off round to the grid while I was imagining Martin Brundle doing his grid walk just across the other side of the circuit to where I was…Finally all the cars lined up, the area around me all staring at the screens, lights out and they are off…OH MY GOSH…Alonso stormed up to the first corner and into first place, the whole circuit erupted, I had my ear plugs in but boy were those cheers loud, cars round to the back of me, more cheers, now coming round in front of me and I’m sure that I was in the Alonso Bank Club, deafening and that happened for a few laps until he got overtaken.  As the race went on there was some good action…however even with the screen in front I really lost where everyone was after all the pit stops and overtaking.  Alonso and Webber fighting for 3rd and 4th, Jenson overtakes Webber and then Alonso and into thirds, yes getting a tad excited through that part of the race as I thought he was into first…wasn’t taking much notice of Vettel and Hamilton!!

End of the race and Vettel on the top step with Hamilton in 2nd and Jenson Button in third, yayyyy I got to see JB on the podium!!!

Happy that I’d had a great day of racing, headed off back to Calella with the masses, although getting out really was easy. However taking a wrong turn and heading along the wrong motorway wasn’t…eventually found a road to go off, through the hills or it could of been a mountain and down to Calella, and guess what it started raining!!

Back to the hotel, shower off the dust, couple of drinks, dinner and bed.  Up the next day for flight home.

I’m glad I went, I would go again and I would like to stay in Barcelona at some point, but to be quite honest why pay those hiked prices  over the GP weekend.  Costa Brava is a great place to stay and get to the track!!!

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BookBoon

Just a little library related post!

There are a few sites which have free eBooks to download and BookBoon is one of them.  They have books for students, business and for travel.  They are in pdf format and cover various different areas.

There are some useful books especially if you are trying to get your head around Office 2007 or 2010. They go from Beginner to Advanced, so very handy. They cover other various areas such as, Accounting, Communication Skills, Management and many others

Travel Guides for all around the World, all Continents covered.

The text books cover a number of different subject areas. The best thing to do is to have a look and see.

Happy reading!!

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Want to know about all the changes to the F1 cars this year….Read this very interesting blog!

Scarbsf1's Blog

For 2012 we will have a raft of rules changes that will alter the look and performance of the car. For most of the new cars, we will immediately see the impact of the lower nose regulations. Then the big story of 2010-2011 of exhaust blown diffusers (EBDs) comes to an end with stringent exhaust placement rules and a further restriction on blown engine mappings.
Even without rule changes the pace of development marches on, as teams converge of a similar set of ideas to get the most from the car. This year, Rake, Front wings and clever suspensions will be the emerging trends. Sidepods will also be a big differentiator, as teams move the sidepod around to gain the best airflow to the rear of the car. There will also be the adoption of new structural solutions aimed to save weight and improve aero.
Last of all there might…

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Morgan lurve!!!

I went to Wilton House Nr Salisbury in 2010 and fell in love…with a car!!

A Morgan! 

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British Grand Prix Weekend 2011

I’m really lucky that I’ve got some good friends and the friend that I was going to Silverstone with was Korin.  Korin and I have been friends for about 4 years after working together.  Korin left a couple of years ago but we have remained really good friends.  Both love F1 so talked about it, Korin got permission from his partner Sarah (thank you Sarah!!) and decided to go to Silverstone for the 2011 Grand Prix.

We booked Club Silverstone tickets, which although fairly expensive have their benefits…a seat for the whole 3 days, it’s own little bar/restaurant/toilets. Big bonus, it was warm and cosy with tv screens when it was blowing a hooley and chucking it down with rain. A godsend I can tell you and not having to queue for the toilets and a brill view of the Red Arrows on the Sunday.

Korin doesn’t do “camping”,  I was quite prepared to pitch a tent in a muddy field for a few days but we ended up with a great big American Motor Home and had it delivered to the Marussia Virgin Camping at Stowe School.

Well I was so excited about going to Silverstone for the Grand Prix, I drove everyone mad with my countdown updates…Christmas onwards.  I decided to take 2 weeks off work so that I wouldn’t send everyone insane!!  Thursday came and it was time to pack up the car with food, bedding and clothes, anybody would think I was going away for a fortnight.  Car filled to the brim and after saying goodbye to my neighbours who were looking after Blue I headed off towards Stowe School.  I’d arranged to meet Korin at the school so as I got nearer I was looking out for him.  I got to the bridge over the river and there was Korin sat on a rock looking like a gnome, all he needed was a fishing rod, instead he had his phone in his hand! Well Korin travels pretty light, one little suitcase that he managed to squeeze onto my back seat.  Off we trundled to the school and parked up near the site…a bit earlier than we should have been as the site was still being set up, however our motorhome was there, waiting for us.  Both of us a tad excited, one actually being near to Silverstone for one of the biggest sporting events in the UK and two to see this huge motorhome!!  We looked for keys but couldn’t find any so after much scurrying around trying to find phone numbers using our phones to access the web as neither of us had the number of the chap we’d rented the RV The RV!!from, doh!!  We managed to get hold of him and arranged to go back up the road to a pub that I’d passed on my way to Stowe.  Off we went and found the chap, drove back to Stowe and the lovely lady owner showed us around.  I needn’t have brought so much stuff as there was bedding, tea towels, etc.  Well I was prepared just in case!! After they went we unpacked the car and put bits and pieces away and then went a did a bit of exploring of the site.  Teepees, Tents, Toilets and Showers, a big stage, massive screen, a food area and most importantly a bar!! Just in the corner peeking out of a delivery truck was Lightning McQueen from “Cars 2”!! Marussia Virgin had Pixar as one of their sponsors that weekend so there were a couple of the main characters there together with some other rather nice cars.  I’d cooked a cottage pie so went back to the RV and put that in the oven.  The heavens decided to open and it threw it down just as people were arriving to put up their own tents.  After dinner we headed over to the entertainment area and met up with some fellow Tweeters.  So nice to meet people you’ve corresponded with but have no idea what they look like and really nice when a nice man called Dave brought a home made Tiramsu which needed to be stored in the fridge in the RV…yummy, thanks Dave!!!.  We got talking to a few people and yes Twitter was a common occurance, more people added to the follow/er lists!  I must admit it was rather chilly and wet…July, more like bloomin March.  Anyway first night in the RV wasn’t too bad although I had the sofa which was supposed to have a blow up mattress…we hunted high and low, couldn’t find it, luckily it was quite a long sofa and pretty comfy.  I woke up fairly early and clomped around, making a cup of tea, got dressed and then shouted Korin who was tucked up in a nice cosy bed at the other end of the RV, made some breakfast, made up a bit of a packed lunch and then about 7 we headed off up to the bus to go to First Practice of the British GP 😀

Arrived at Silverstone, all wrapped up as it was cold and wet.  Made our way to Club Silverstone, past the heliport and went in to get a cup of coffee.  Impressed with what we saw, picked up our caps and programmes and then headed off up to the stands to watch P1.  The theme of the Silverstone weekend appeared to be rain and wind.  P1, I lasted just over an hour, poor Korin was shivering and decided after 3\4 hr he needed to go into the warm.  We ended up watching the rest of P1 in the bar, together with the GP2 and GP3, bit bloomin chilly in those stands!!  P2 came along and off we went to our seats again.  Sat down, 1st couple of cars came out and bam…rain, hail stones, wind. No cars on track so that was it, back to the bar!! We went back to Stowe after P2 and warmed up in the RV then later on Meet the Driversthere was live music and food in the entertainment area.  Pretty good music.  A bottle of brandy and coke in pocket and yes wrapped up warm again as it was again raining and a couple of hundred people huddled under a big tent like thing.  We were waiting for Crofty to come on stage and introduce Timo Glock, Jerome D’Ambrosia, Sakon Yamamoto and Robert Wickens.  Well Crofty made the “Meet the Drivers” bit very funny and it was nice to be able to get up close to the drivers.  They came down after and spoke to lots of people and Korin managed to get his photo with Timo, chuffed isn’t the word!!! I headed off to the RV to warm up and have a cup of tea.  Korin stayed and had a few more beers and then stumbled back to the RV about an hour later!

Saturday morning and Quali day, up again early and out the door up to the bus. We walked from the drop off point and decided to walk the other way round to Club Silverstone which was the long way round!  Silverstone WingPast the new Silverstone Wing, quickly went up into the stands opposite and saw what it would be like overlooking the pit area, pretty spectacular!!  Carried on walking, past some stalls where Korin bought a couple of Lotus caps.  The sun was out and the coats were off.  We kept on walking and managed to get up pretty close to the track where the GP2 and GP3 were qualifying for their races later that day.  Got to Club Silverstone, cup of coffee and sat down for a bit.  P3 started so off up to the stands to our seats.  P3 over and we managed to meet up with some more fellow tweeters.  Qualifying time, back to our seats…and guess what rain again.  Still pretty exciting though!  After quali we headed off to meet Kayleigh, one of my first followers on Twitter and someone I now count as a friend, we met with a big hug and then went off to find Dom, who once again a fellow tweeter and I’d met last in 2010 at Britcar. We had a wander then stopped had a quick drink and a chat and then said our goodbyes and Korin and I headed back to Stowe.  We didn’t really join in with everyone at Stowe, both pretty tired so Korin sat in the Captains chair and me on the sofa chilled and watched TV.  One of the home comforts of the RV.

I knew I wouldn’t sleep very well, was so excited about race day, up early and I really wanted to get on that first bus out at 7am. Thank you Korin for going along with my early morning madness!!

We made our way to Club Silverstone, past all the people who were already set up in the General Admin areas, past the heliport where helicopter after helicopter was landing, talk about busy and past all the people queuing up to get their bacon butties and coffee. We went up to the stands to watch the first races of the day before the BIG one.  A great morning and the sun was shining.

11.30am and it’s time for the Drivers parade, laughter all around the circuit as images of Alonso on the big screens running to catch up as they’d left him behind!!!  The noise was huge when the drivers went past the various stages of the track.   Quickly back down to the bar for a drink to steady the nerves before the start. Red Arrows Over flew the Red Arrows and did an amazing display…out came the drivers to go round to the grid and guess what…yes it started raining on our side of the track…if I remember Pasta Maldonado decided to have an off just in front of us and had to be taken back to the pits.

1.00pm race time, excited…drivers off on the parade lap, all lined up on the grid, as the red lights come on, the engines get louder and whoop it’s GO GO GO…I managed to phone a friend as they were going round on that first lap as I knew he wasn’t able to watch live.  Well as the race got under way and overtaking was happening, it was hard to keep up with who was where, thank goodness there was a tv screen and Korin had the little tv thing.

Jenson into the pits…omg, noooooo he was doing so well and the bloomin wheel fell off…gutted…Korin said my face just fell…I just wanted to crawl over everyone and go get a brandy.  However I did stay and I didn’t see a Vettel win but I did see an Alonso win!!

After the race we went and got a drink and then luckily, we were able to walk along the trackTrack Walk and pick up some tyre marbles.  Headed back to wait for the bus back to Stowe.  An hours wait and then an hour for the coach to drive the 4 miles back to the school. Once again, pooped we didn’t partake in the entertainment, just chilled and watch the F1 hilights, packed up and got ready to head home the next day.

Well that was about it really, an amazing weekend at the 2011 British Gp.  Made lots of new friends, had a good laugh and saw first hand the sport that I love.

Big thank you to Korin for a great weekend and to his partner Sarah xx

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My first blog…eek!!

46 years old and I thought I’d try something new…actually that seems to be the theme this year so far!

I guess I should start off with the history of me…well a little history as I may write more in-depth at a later stage…hey, this may be my foray into writing that novel…each blog a chapter but, I don’t want to bore you all.  I say all, people may not even want to read this!

Ok, here goes, 2 marriages, 2 divorces, no actual children to call my own, but brought up 6 step-children from the 2 marriages. A career in the Tourism industry, a ranch hand in Canada, Tour manager with a coach company and now a librarian looking after electronic resources.

My interests, well working in a library means I love to read, I make cards, I have my Dog Blue, love to potter in my garden, like to do techy things  and my biggest interest is (for those that know me will be rolling their eyes!!) Formula 1 and other Motorsports.

I’m now single and have been for a while but luckily I have some great friends, although they do call me a hermit at times.  You know how it is, winter, cold outside, all I want to do is curl up on the couch with the tv, a book, the dog and a cup of tea.  Weekends from March to November and F1 takes over, oh and then Indy and Nascar!!

Well I think that will do for now, just a bit about me.  I don’t know how often I’ll blog but as I said at the beginning, something new for me to tackle!!