Painting The Rack

“Hold can 6 inches away from surface” it said, well that should be easy, all men know how big 6 inches is, its half the length of their penis – obviously! Turns out the instructions are wrong, they must mean “Hold can 12 inches away from surface” as 6 inches was clearly too close and it started to run immediately!!!

In all seriousness though I thought how hard can this be, I did an A Level in Art and i followed the instructions, turns out Hammerite are a set of liars. Perhaps it would have been easier to paint if the roof rack hadn’t been attached to the car – the panels for the secret cash stash painted just fine – either way, it was running and no matter what I did it just kept on running. In the end I gave up, sure we want our Rally car to look the business, but a few stickers over the top and no one will even know… thats the plan anyway.

So here it is, our painted (albeit badly) roof rack complete with high intensity spot lamps. Other modifications to the mighty Skoda include the hull otherwise known as sump and engine guard, the secret cash stash for the inevitable moment we are victims of a shake down, a second battery and our interior has been pimped out with an inverter and a whole load of 12v sockets. You’d think we were almost rally ready… however I have noticed there seems to be an issue with the temperature gauge. Yikes!

Modifications Underway

Skoda aren’t renowned for their motoring ingenuity, style or robustness….but, according to Whatcar, the 1.3 litre Felicia ‘was built after the company got its act together, so what you get for your money – and not a lot of it – is a very solid and dependable little hatchback’. Apparently, most importantly, it has excellent paint quality, a high quality trim (see next paragraph) and good shut lines (whatever they may be). The truth of the matter, from a driving perspective appears somewhat less reassuring. A previous owner has described his five-door variant as ‘pretty gutless’ and having ‘awful brakes that required double the distance you would need in a modern car’ – although he is very happy with the ‘intermittent wiper setting’. The critical buy/don’t buy modification we all hinge our decision on!

Much has been done to develop and improve this once discreet and innocent wagon into a foreign cruiser with off road and endurance potential. The cabins traditional grey soft-to-touch interior has been stripped and replaced with break out hammers, fire extinguishers and an illuminated compass. The engine bay has been modified to include a second battery, larger coolant header tank and a second radiator fan. Underneath a protective skin has been installed to guard the oil sump and fuel tank. The vehicle has also been styled and given a practical hat – a steel roof rack has been constructed with fuel jerry can slots and equipment tie down points. To improve visibility, some high-watt spot-lights have been rigged to the roof rack in preparation for the lonely nights retracing Genghis Khans path. The bonnet has been fitted with an air intake scoop and the 38,000 mile carriage has been treated to a pre-jaunt service.

Plan F-Stival Total £1067

It is the Plan F Team’s pleasure to announce that the total raised for Marie Curie at yesterday’s Plan F-Stival currently stands at £1,067 including gift aid! This means we’ve smashed last years total in spite of the rain. It also takes the total from the three festivals so far to over £2,600! Who knew you could raise so much money just by having a good time! Money is still coming in, and if you missed the festival but would like to contribute, then you can do so at course, none of this would have been possible without so many wonderful people attending, playing, setting up, and generally mucking in. In particular we’d like to thank: our host and singer, Brenda Hempton; Mr. William Bretherton on the barbeque; Alan Holmes for his superb sound expertise, music, and the use of his wonderful sound system; cake baker, musician and wine merchant Lynne Hempton; all those responsible for the other yummy cakes – Tess, Emma, Claire, Kim; Mary, Anna, Bekki, Rowena, and Peter for amonst other things, the wonderful and frankly riotous celidh; to all of our other musicians: Les Bratby, Karin Grandal-Park, Glynn Shipman, Bob Hempton, Frank Barnes, The Bimble Brothers (aka Michael Pritchard and Damon Kilcawley), and finally the inimitable Joe Hyde.We’d also like to say big thankyous to Rory at the Borough Brewery for the ale (…can’t believe how fast that disappeared!); to Patrick at Cornvale for the meat; convertible tractor-driver and bar-borrower Stewart Rigby; to Morgan Shaw at Fizzpop Creations for the lovely banner design; Julie and Cliff for the loan of the world’s biggest barbeque; and to Rick for boldly agreeing to have his flowing locks chopped off with garden shears in the name of a good cause.Special thanks also go to Ali, Pat, Sarah, George, Rich, Emma, Rushy, Anne, Hannah, Hannah, Don, John, Rob, Carys,Hazel, Christine, Gill, Andy B and little Stu, for mucking in and helping out in so many diverse ways.

In all the excitement, we sort of forgot to mention that the festival was also the launch of Alan & Lynne Hempton’s new CD – which you can get here:, or by asking Alan or Lynne. £2 from each CD sold will also go into the pot for Marie Curie.

If you got any photos of the festival, we’d love to see them, and once again, if anyone still wants to make a contribution, this is the place:

Our heartiest thanks and goodwill,

Alan, Dave, Gilbey & Don (Plan F)


The 5th Team Member…

Ever sat at home gazing at your Facebook timeline, seeing our photos of our adventures and thinking “I wish I could be with the lads”? Well fear not, this could be your lucky day.
Although as you all know we don’t like planning over here at Plan F HQ, we have begun to accept that in order for us to get you fine folk to turn out your pockets and hand it over, it helps if we do something for you – that requires some planning. So months before we leave on these charity adventures we start writing numerous finely crafted begging letters, Alan and I have developed quite the knack of this over time but even then it is like trying to get blood out of a stone, every once in a while though one works out and a company with a heart and more than likely a good sense of humour writes back and says yes – the fine folk over at were one of these companies.
Thanks to Party Packs we can offer one of you lucky people the chance to come with us… sadly not in person, but rather as a cardboard cut out. Party Packs have agreed to print us a life sized cardboard cut out of one of our lucky donators and should that be you we will be taking you along for the ride. Thats right, you’ll be coming for a pint with us in Munich, having a kebab in Turkey, visiting the Gates of Hell in Turkmenistan, no doubt end up in a Russian prison cell overnight at some point and of course you will be there with us at the finish line. We at Plan F promise to take you with us wherever we go and whenever we have a team photo, you will be in it. There will be no more looking at our photos on Facebook wishing you were there, you will have your very own album of photos from when you drove to Mongolia WITH Plan F!!
So don’t delay, sponsor us today £10 and we will enter you into the draw. For every multiple of £10 you sponsor us you will get another entry – but hurry, there is only a week left to get your donations in! To donate you can go to or you can simply text PLAN60 (plus your amount) to 70070. Thanks in advance and we hope to see YOU at the start line.

We all like a good party so if you’re arranging a party, need some fancy dress or even a life size cut out of someone who can’t be there then go check out they have literally got everything under one roof and they are super friendly and easy to deal with. Myself, Alan, Gilbey and Don would just like to say a massive thank you to Katy over at Party Packs for acknowledging and agreeing to our somewhat strange request, you’ve already helped us raise a small fortune and I’m sure there is more to come.