RIP FSC

Fox Soccer Channel (FSC) is no more ... This is the channel, along with the long departed Setanta USA, that allowed me to follow my beloved Reds for the last decade. Doomed by it's loss of the Barclays Premier League games to the rival NBC Sports Network; it has joined its' also recently demised brethren 'Speed Channel' as the victim of Fox's re-shuffling that includes their recently launched Fox Sports 1 Channel. We will miss you FSC. But thankfully not the games ... YNWA.

Cars and Coffee

Car-nuts ... It's now three months and 800 miles into my Seven life (and three months of neglect for this blog), and yesterday I took the opportunity to turn up at 'Cars and Coffee', the monthly car-nut gab-fest in North Dallas. The only theme is 'cars' and the love of them, so you get everything from the local drifting set with their tricked out Mitsu' Evo's to the 'too-rich-too-quick' guys with their Lambo's, tasteless watches the size of Rhode Island and silicon sister girlfriends'. It's held at a huge BMW dealership on the North Dallas tollway who, bless their soul, park their inventory on the grass and anywhere they can find space so as to leave several hundred spots open for we car nuts. There is a God, and I didn't need a televangelist to tell me ... The 25 mile ride over at 6:00 am, the early start necessary to get a decent parking spot, was somewhat surreal. I have never driven the Seven in the dark at 70 mph plus on the freeway and thankfully the eighteen wheeler traffic was sparse. I did encounter, unexpectedly (and all the more frustrating because everyone thought we were done with all of that), closures on East bound TX 114 (the 'DFW Connector'). This road, which used to be locally known, with good reason, as the 'funnel' was recently touted as being complete after three and a half years of pain. So to find the 'completed', and phenomenally improved, freeway was closed for 'paving and signage work' was not good for my blood pressure. Which was also not helped by the additional overly complex frontage road frustration of trying to find a way on to the freeway. Having said the above it is now in mid September and the weather continues to be ridiculously hot in North Texas this year (98 degrees F on Saturday); and so, despite the traffic issues, the early start actually ended up helping a lot. Once on to TX 114 though it was off to the races, which produced a big grin on the face of my soon to be twelve-year-old (who, by the by, has come to love roundabouts, in complete contrast to his mother, who loves the car but likes her Seven motoring to be sedate rides for coffee). The sensation of the warm wind whipping around us at speed, the surrounding darkness, the high-pitched tire whine on the concrete surface and the occasional flash of the tollway camera lights taking our rear-end view photograph for posterity all added to the sense of drama; truly surreal. The car meet' itself was great fun, the variety of cars was amazing and the people knowledgeable and friendly, even, surprisingly, the coffee was decent. Not knowing where to park we ended up opposite a bunch of Jeeps and adjacent to several classic muscle machines on one side and a friendly Stalker (V6 powered Seven knock-off) on the other. We were the only Caterham around as far as I could tell but by the time we decided to leave we had only walked about half of the parking lot, spending most of our time (courtesy of the 'soon-to-be-twelve-year-old'), around the Ferrari's, McLaren's, Lambo's and a singular Audi R8 that were parked in the reserved 'special area'. We did take a detour to the Porsche area (tasty), and the adjacent Lotus area. The latter was highlighted by a very pretty white Exige and an absolutely gorgeous 2007 limited edition Elise in the old Team Lotus JPS black and gold, known as the Elise Type 72D. This particular car I have actually seen before, as it is maintained by Jeff Sloan and the  boys at British Auto Specialists (it's a car I could definitely 'covet') and it's one of only 50 made. As noted, in between, there is anything and everything. A colleague of mine brought his bright orange BMW 2002 that isn't stock (but where it isn't doesn't matter); there were Beemer's, Vipers, Tesla's, Bently's, Corvette's, day-glow Camaro's, Mustang's and Nissan GT-R's but no (to the great dismay of the child) Panoz's. There were Low riders and kits, including several Cobra's and an absolutely perfect copy of an Austin Healey 3000 on a Mustang chassis that had me completely fooled. Classic VW Beetle's, VW vans, Mini's, Jeeps, Land Rover's Aston Martin's and American muscle, both restored and in-the-raw, were all around. A veritable feast for the car lover with the only requirement an early rise on a Saturday ... The ride back in daylight was less surreal, but none the less enjoyable and, to say the least, much fun was had by all. If you live in the Dallas area, or are visiting on the first Saturday of every month, are a  lover of cars and car people, then Cars and Coffee is highly recommended ...