The Anonymous Widower

Is This One Of The Most Significant Pages On The Internet?

The page is Rolls-Royce’s List Of Press Releases.

On July 8th, 2021, the company issued this press release, which is entitled Rolls-Royce Welcomes All-Electric Ground Support From Jaguar Land Rover For All-Electric Flight Speed World Record Attempt.

This is the opening paragraph.

Rolls-Royce’s all-electric aircraft the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ will take to the skies for the first time in the coming weeks as we work towards a world-record attempt with a target speed of 300+ MPH (480+ KMH). This exciting project will be carbon neutral and to support this ground-breaking innovation Jaguar Land Rover is loaning all-electric zero emission Jaguar I-PACE cars as towing and support vehicles.

This picture shows Spirit of Innovation and one the Jaguar I-PACE cars together in this Rolls-Royce picture

They make an interesting pair.

There is a full analysis of the plane in this article on CleanTechnica, which is entitled Rolls-Royce Attempting 100% Electric Aircraft Speed Record, Jaguar I-PACE Offering Ground Support.

The Jaguar can even tow the plane.


Also on On July 8th, 2021, the company issued this press release, which is entitled Rolls-Royce And Cavendish Nuclear Sign Delivery And Manufacturing Partnership Agreement For SMR Programme.

Another world-class company has joined the small modular nuclear reactor programme.

I have feelings, that this could be the start of something small and incredibly powerful!


I suspect Rolls-Royce have lots of useful research sitting in their archives. We should all follow, what they doing.

July 19, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 3 Comments

The E-Type is Fifty!

That amazing style icon of the 1960’s, the E-Type Jaguar is now 50.  There a report here.

June 6, 2011 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

Digital Radio

I generally listen to the radio through SKY or Freeview, except when I’m in the car.  The government wants to switch off the AM and FM signals, but they don’t seem to be getting far according to this BBC report. People just won’t switch.

I tried an add-on digital radio for my 5-year-old  Jaguar, but I couldn’t get it to work. As the radio for that car is fully integrated with Bluetooth and my phone, I doubt a proper replacement will be available, especially as the car is being discontinued.  An add-on for the Lotus Elan is probably easier, as that car has a replacement modern Sony radio with a USB connection.

So what would owners of cars like my Jaguar do to get radios, if the AM and FM signals were discontinued.  Probably moan a lot and not vote for the government next time. You wouldn’t spend several thousand to change your car, just to get the added safety of a radio on the move!

AM and FM may not be as good as digital, but this does seem to be rather a bodged and badly-thought out change.

By the way, when I’m in the near-continent, I get the BBC on AM.  Are the BBC doing to abandon, the many people who listen to Radio 4 on LW?  It looks like they are!

July 8, 2010 Posted by | News, World | , , | Leave a comment

Are Some Cars More Disabled-Friendly Than Others?

I’m not driving obviously, but the Jaguar did need its little check on oil, water and windscreen washer fluid.

I did it with ease and all the locks, levers and caps came to hand and were easily released with one hand. So has one car manufacturer thought about design for everybody, who might use their vehicles? Some of the new electronic systems I’ve seen in new cars, seem to have been designed by computer gamers, who have no idea how those over fifty think and behave! In any designs I have created, I have hopefully always taken the profile of the user into account. It’s rule one in design.

June 27, 2010 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , | 1 Comment

Toy Oh Dear

Toyota has a few problems. Not only do accelerators stick on some models, but now the Prius has a brake problem.

These may be serious and they are probably hurting Toyota’s image and the company will suffer for years to come.

The problems are very different.  The accelerator is a mechanical design fault and the brake is a software one. But if you have the first, here is excellent advice from the BBC. I know you’ll be unlikely to be able to access this advice if you have a problem, but make sure that you read it.

The trouble is that we assume are cars are perfect, the roads are perfect, the weather is always fine and nothing untoward will ever happen as we drive along in our cars listening to the Beatles, smoking fags and eating sandwiches.  I don’t do the last two as I abhor smoking and can’t eat bread, unless I make the gluten-free variety myself, but I hope you get the point.

We must have more driver education to make the roads safer and dare I say it allow everybody to enjoy driving more.  It’s a great pleasure to drive a car fast and legally down a challenging and empty road.

I have two cars; a Lotus Elan and a Jaguar X-Type Estate. 

The Lotus is simple with no-ABS, no-traction control, no-air conditioning and very little electronics to go wrong. It incidentally has a full electronic control system on the lump that does the work under the bonnet.  The Jaguar has all these, but other than body styles, the two cars are both manual gearboxes, front-wheel drive, full leather etc.

Now when it comes to bad roads, the Elan is in a class of its own compared to the Jag.  The ABS and traction control cuts in on the latter and makes things more rather difficult rather than easier.

So is one of the problems of modern cars, that they have just got too complicated, too heavy and we isolate the driver too much from the road?

I know that on bad days, I take the Lotus and enjoy that drive.  Perhaps, if we all learned to enjoy driving, we’d do it better and have less accidents and breakdowns.

February 10, 2010 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

Dancing with Hippopotami

I have just returned from Cornwall.  It was an easy drive in the Lotus, but it was made fraught because of the other clowns on the road and the fact that my new Sony radio failed.  I suspect that it’s just a fuse, but the original radio lasted sixteen years.

I left Polzeath dead on eleven this morning and instead of taking the Wadebridge and Bodmin route to the A30, I went via Camelford and picked the main road up at Launceston.  Now the 0-60 time for a Lotus Elan SE is 6.7 seconds.  That sounds a bit slow compared to Bugatti Veyron at 2.7 seconds, but those between six and seven seconds include a lot of fast machinery.  See TorqueStats for more details.  But because the handling is so precise and the engine has a wide torque curve, an Elan can overtake where much faster cars struggle. Certainly on the B-road to Camelford and on to Launceston, I overtook upwards of twenty vehicles with ease.

What struck me on that road was the numbers of 4x4s loaded to the gunnells. Not to be content with filling the inside with junk, they often had a large pack on the roof.  Now I know some people like to travel with the kitchen sink, but what you take tends to fit the space available.  I can remember that the when the children were small we could fit all three in the back of a Porsche 911 and get everything we needed in the boot.  Perhaps, we were poor and couldn’t afford all wheel drive push chairs.

Everything went well until a few miles after Exeter, when the radio failed.  This was particularly disappointing as I have since found out that my third least favourite team (Leeds United) has beaten my second least favourite (Manchester United).

And then we had the first delay of an hour.

Some prat in a Jeep decided to run into the back of someone else in the outside lane of the motorway.  Two other cars then joined the accident. I don’t know whether the Jeep was overloaded but there was obviously some misjudgement somewhere.  Perhaps the driver didn’t realise that his car didn’t brake as well as the hot hatch he ran into the back of. I should also say that when I break hard in the Lotus, I watch both ends so I don’t get  shunted up the arse.

And then a few miles further on, another 4×4 turned over and cost me another half-an-hour.  I hope it didn’t  cost anybody their life, as the Air Ambulance had landed in the field.

But perhaps we should ensure that they don’t travel at excessive speeds in the outside lane of the motorway, with drivers who are not competent to handle them at that weight and that speed.

I have been looking too at the specifications for a major manufacturer of roof boxes.  I can’t find any warnings about how they will affect the handling and the maximum weight they can carry seems quite low.  Perhaps the latter is correct, but how many overload them.  I certainly wouldn’t put one on my Jaguar X-Type Estate.

Once past the last accident, I had no real problems and pushed on past Swindon, Oxford, Brackley, Northampton, Huntingdon and Cambridge.  This may seem a long way to go, but it does avoid the M25 and all the roadworks.

I’d have done the journey under six hours but for the accidents!

At one point I followed a real car of a plonker; the BMW X6.  Don’t just take my view on this, but read what Jeremy Clarkson has to say. He was a lot more scathing on Top Gear.  Perhaps The Times needs the advertising and the BBC doesn’t.

But then I followed a Jaguar XF.  I could hold it, but only just.  When they produce an estate version, I’ll look at the Jag.

But I’ll still keep the Lotus.

January 3, 2010 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

An Elan on Skis?

I took the X-Type to Sainsburys this afternoon and the temperature gauge was showing minus eight.  Don’t ask me what that is in old money, as I don’t do Fahrenheit.

It was probably lucky that I took the Jaguar as someone had got themselves stuck and needed a tow off the snow-covered grass.  Not that the car would have been any good at it, as it wasn’t getting any grip on the ice, but I did have a tow rope, which meant that someone else in a Nissan Terrano could do the honours and remove the BMW.

Since the weather has got bad I’ve been alternating the two cars; the Jaguar X-Type and the Lotus Elan.

These pictures show the conditions and a couple of pictures to prove the Elan got safely to Newmarket and back.

By preference, I’d take the Elan every time on this sort of surface.  Especially as the lane to the main road into Newmarket, hasn’t been gritted at all and is a fairly steep incline down and then up both ways.  It’s also very much single track as the photo shows and you need to go slowly to avoid hitting someone going the other way, as hedges and a couple of bends make the road dangerous.  In the last eighteen years, that I have lived in this house, I reckon that there have been about one serious accident a year.  I’ve been hit thrice; by the postie, a lady who didn’t get over at all and a lunatic.

Today, I took the Lotus in with the top down and perhaps that was just too ambitious, despite the fact I was well wrapped up.  What the car needs is a proper tonneau cover!

All of this shows, that if you take a modern car like the X-Type with lots of clever electronics and anti-lock braking, it is no better than a car which was designed with proper dynamics in the first place.

I should say that I’ve driven cars a lot worse on snow and ice than the Jaguar, but good dynamics are the key to everything, when it comes to roadholding on surfaces, that are good, bad or just plain terrible!

December 19, 2009 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Saving Fuel and the Planet

I have two cars; a Jaguar Estate and a Lotus Elan, which I use depending on the weather and who I want to impress or show up.  Is that wrong? 

But turn up at an engineering company in the Lotus and you get a crowd of people admiring it.  I should say that it’s Norfolk Mustard or bright yellow and it does stand out.  It’s also a very cheap car to run, as it does over thirty to the gallon, is very simple, has a very good Isuzu engine, so servicing is cheap.  As an example, in the seventeen years my late wife and I have owned the car, it’s only had one new exhaust, a couple of of window motors and I think a brake cylinder.  To cap it all the insurance is well under £300 a year.  Depreciation is probably about zero and the car is still worth about £8-9,000.

You could argue that this is a truly green car (so it’s yellow), in that it’s lifetime carbon emmissions would actually be very low, because the car wouldn’t be scrapped after a few years.  How much carbon dioxide is emmitted making a car? Actually not that much according to this report, but others disagree.  But because Lotuses use plastic bodies, do they actually capture carbon?

The Jaguar is a workhorse and allows me to move the bits and pieces I need.  I don’t really need it now, as it is too big for just me and my basset hound, but I probably won’t change it and just drive it a couple of times round the clock.

Normally, around the UK, I drive the Jaguar within the speed limits and typically would return about 44 miles of so to the gallon.  On trips on continental motorways, driving at about 60-70 mph, I regularly return the mythical 10 m iles per litre.  Now there’s a really crazy measurement, but it’s a good level for all cars to achieve.

On my last trip to Holland, I got stuck in traffic around Rotterdam and in the first hour, I did just about 25  miles. So to get the ferry with ease, I stepped on the gas (diesel) and drove at about ninety all the way to the ferry.  And then on the trip up from Dover, I went with the traffic which was about eighty, rather than a legal seventy.

Now, the interesting thing, is that I returned only 37 miles per gallon.  This was a sixteen percent increase in consumption.

So perhaps we should encourage people to drive to the limits to help save the planet.

July 19, 2009 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , | Leave a comment

Home Safely

On this trip I took my Jaguar Estate rather than the Lotus Elan.

I’m glad I did, as I drove from Dover to home in heavy rain, thunder and a lot of lightning.  Not that the Lotus is bad in that type of weather conditions, but all Elans leak a bit!

But I made Dover to home in an hour and three-quarters.  Something you can’t do at any sane time of day.  At least though the Dartford Crossing is free between ten at night and six in the morning, so I didn’t have to find any money.

July 17, 2009 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment