Mummy, Where Do MX5s Come From?

Well, Daddy and I….

go to the garage and order the car we want and 6,000 miles away, at one of the largest  factories in the world in Hiroshima Japan, Mazda build it. But then it has to get to us so it is put on a 60,000 tonne 200m long car carrier which has 12 floors, alongside 5,000 other Mazdas.

The MX5s are loaded onto the ship by a highly skilled parking team at a rate of between 70 and 100 cars per hour and reverse parked 10cm apart without using door mirrors. The drivers are guided by voice as they aim each car’s right rear corner at the next car’s A-pillar and when they are within a hand’s width they straighten up and reverse all the way back without a scratch. Then it is over to the lashing team who secure the cars to the deck to keep them safe whilst the ship travels non-stop, day and night at 20 knots for a month, via Singapore and through the Suez canal, until it finally arrives here. Isn’t that incredible?

The Mitsui OSK Line car carrier, Courageous Ace

Click on the photo to read more about the ship.

The Need For Speed

Eiger

The north face of the Eiger in the Bernese Oberland is one of the three great north faces in the Alps. Over 60 people have died attempting the 13,000ft wall which has its own violent weather system and is subject to constant rock falls. It was first climbed in 1938 and the ascent took three days. But time has moved on and in February 2008 the young Swiss mountaineer Ueli Steck completed the climb solo in an astonishing 2hrs 47 mins 33 secs!

Grande Jorasses

Eight weeks earlier in December 2007 Steck broke the record for the fastest ascent of the second of the great alpine challenges, the north face of the Grande Jorasses in the Mont Blank massif. He climbed the 13,900 ft wall, which includes 1,200 ft of 95 degree ice, in 2 hrs 21 mins.

Matterhorn

In 1965 the legendary Walter Bonatti completed the  greatest of the three challenges, the first solo winter ascent of the north face of the Matterhorn, on the Swiss Italian border. The assault  took him six days and he came very close to death. In January 2009 Steck ran up the 14,000 ft face in an unbelievable 1hr 56 mins!  You can watch a breath-taking summary on this HD video:

Get The Power!

The Mazda MX-5 has been named ‘Best Sports car’ in the highly-regarded 2010 JD Power vehicle ownership satisfaction survey published recently. The survey saw the participation of more than 17,000 car owners across the UK. Owners of Mazda’s iconic two-seater sports car gave their cars top-scores for appearance, exterior and interior quality, mechanical reliability, performance, running costs and dealer service. The Mazda MX-5 scored a satisfaction rating of 82.3%, beating the Mercedes-Benz SLK, VW Eos and Audi TT, amongst other rivals, to claim the ‘Best-in-Class’ honours. One feature that owners were particularly pleased with was the car’s soft-top, which was praised for its quality and reliability.
The car is also a previous winner of the JD Power award.Reporting this year’s survey results WhatCar? magazine said: “If there is one car that always does well in the sports category, it’s the MX-5. It has a trophy cabinet full of JD Power awards and now adds this year’s title, too.”

Mark Cameron, sales director, Mazda UK, said: “Today, the Mazda MX-5 remains unrivalled as a rewarding sports car that can also be used for everyday motoring all year round. The MX-5 soft-top continues to offer the purest, fun-to-drive thrills, while the Roadster Coupe adds to those thrills with an even more premium experience, together with that same exhilarating drive. With its low running costs and legendary reliability, the MX-5 remains an extremely competitive proposition as hundreds of satisfied owners confirm.”

The Greatest Gift, Ever…

The 1912 Segovia guitar

In 1912 the young Andres Segovia presented himself at the workshop of the legendary guitar maker Manuel Ramirez and asked to hire an instrument for a concert in Madrid: an idea unheard of at the time. Amused at first by the young man’s unusual request and his outlandish appearance (Segovia favoured a foppish style of dress), Manuel decided to go along with him and gave him a standard guitar, perhaps the nearest on hand, to try out. Upon hearing him play, however, Manuel soon realized that the young and as yet unknown, guitarist had extraordinary talent. As a result, Ramirez presented Segovia with the finest guitar in his workshop as a gift. This was Segovia’s first concert quality guitar, the one with which he was to build his legendary fame and which would represent the sound of the Spanish guitar for over 25 years during his globe-trotting tours of the world’s greatest cities. This instrument now rests in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

 

Theme from La Maja de Goya by Enrique Granados

Two of Goya’s best known paintings are The Nude Maja (La Maja Desnuda) and The Clothed Maja (La Maja Vestida), both pictures depict the same woman in the same pose. Goya painted La Maja Vestida after outrage in Spanish society over the Desnuda. Without a pretense to allegorical or mythological meaning the painting was “the first totally profane life-size female nude in Western art”. He refused to paint clothes on her, and instead created a new painting:

The identity of the Maja is uncertain. The most popularly suggested subjects are the Duchess of Alba, with whom Goya is thought to have had an affair, and the mistress of Manuel de Godoy, who subsequently owned the pictures. In 1808 the paintings were seized by Ferdinand VI, and in 1813 the Inquisition confiscated both works as ‘obscene’.

The Spanish composer Granados wrote La Maja da Goya after seeing the pictures and you can see Segovia playing the whole piece in the Prado Museum in Madrid, next to both the paintings:

Bloody Caravans…..


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