A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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24 June 2013


I'm sorry to say that I came away from Monaco with mixed feelings and thinking that I wouldn't care to visit again. Cook was in agreeance. This presents a problem as far as The Monaco Dash is concerned but I feel that there's a case to be made for an alternative and frankly, more interesting destination. There was something pitiable and soulless about Monaco itself that made our proposed adventure seem a bit pointless. The drive down would be a wonderful experience but there really needs to be something at the end of the rainbow - so to speak.

Menton was a joy in comparison.

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The research part of our visit went extremely well. Within 5 minutes of our landing, Cook had struck up a conversation with a lady who turned out to have a family house to rent near St Paul de Vence; it had room for 12 or more and ample secure parking. We visited the house the next day and found it to be perfect - the owners charming and most obliging. We also sought out hotels and apartments in various locations in the area surrounding Monaco but none had quite the pull (or the space for parking) of our first find.

We had supper with a friend who lives in the Winter Palace in Menton and the following day went up into the mountains to introduce ourselves to friends of The Great Collector - a journey my Hillman would have had difficulty with just getting round the corners. We trundled back down the other side of the col into Italy on the way home.  A day was spent in Nice - the highlight of our trip - and then we got on the plane for home.

Whilst I mulled over my thoughts vis-a-vis an alternative to Monaco, I finished off the dashboard. I'd decided that the top and bottom of the dash needed to be a bit more than just a straight edge so before I went to France I'd glued a brass rod to the bottom curve and experimented in making a swage line with the bits I'd cut out that made the holes.

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I discovered that the only way to get it right was to be confident and give the beech dolly a jolly good whack so that the swage line was formed in one hit - if possible.

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Then I cut off most of the surplus and tapped it round and under the bottom edge of the panel to finish.

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From an aesthetic point of view it was definitely worth the risk; luckily it's turned out alright and looks like a proper production job. So just the top of the dash to swage and trim and...

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... c'est fini.

The alternatives to Monaco? Two candidates spring immediately to mind; Pau and Angoulême. The Grand Prix de Pau Historique is usually about the 2nd week in May. I've been to Pau many times, though never for the GP, and find it delightful. The plus to this destination is that accommodation is not a problem; the hotel where I take up my duties as plongeur sleeps 12, is about an hour away and is in idyllic surroundings.

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The Circuit des Ramparts in Angoulême is about the 3rd week of September which more or less coincides with the Monaco plan and again, accommodation for 12 is not a problem as I have friends with a complex of charming gites only 40 minutes away.

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So maybe there's a way round this.

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