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Oldnautibits Weblog

Over the years since 2005 I have written a number of short features for our "Weblog". These pieces normally relate to something topical - the most recent entry appears in the scrolling window on our "desktop" Home page - it is also available here, together with an archive of what's gone before.

21st December 2023

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Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2024!

Where did that one go? To quote her late majesty Queen Elizabeth's epic speech describing events of 1992 she stated "This is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis". Here at the Oldnautibits HQ we would not go quite as far in our summary of 2023, but let's say we have had better years.

Sadly, it seems the impact of global warming is making its presence felt here in the UK and across the world, with a succession of climate related catastrophes. In Britain we have faced a succession of named storms (the latest being today as these words are typed) and with our HQ being located on the very edge of the Somerset Levels we are very low lying and what we term locally as 'The Inland Sea' has returned again this December to worry many. Related issues have meant the team here have had to spend significant time 'manning the pumps' (both literally and metaphorically) and as such this has impacted on servicing the website and benefitting from our normal buoyant Christmas trade.

It is hoped, however, 2024 will see a new dawn for us all and the year will not present the challenges many of us have faced in 2023 and the team here are adopting the late Captain Sir Tom Moore's mantra "The sun will shine again the birds will sing and we'll all have a lovely day tomorrow. "

With very best wishes to our friends and customers here and across the world and in the hope that 2024 will finally see the 'Peace on Earth' that we all crave but is currently so sadly missing as we say goodbye to the year now ending.

2nd December 2022

Christmas Greetings and forward into 2023!

They say everything speeds up as the years go by and that certainly seems to be the case in the Oldnautibits HQ. This week we invested in our Christmas tree and a purchased a new set if lights, but with postal and rail strikes here in the UK and with Asian Flu decimating the turkey population it hardly feels like the season to be jolly. 2022 has proven to be a year to remember for all the wrong reasons including the sad loss of Her Majesty the Queen in September.

Amongst all the gloom and doom we do have one bit of local news that has put a smile on our faces here. Some of you will know I have personally been leading a fight to prevent a totally inappropriate open cast stone quarry directly on our 'flight path' here. This has been going on since 2018 and despite being turned down twice the applicant went to appeal. Fortunately we mounted a robust campaign and the appeal judge took note of the many local concerns and the application was finally (and we hope definitively) rejected in the autumn. We and our rural neighbours are delighted this sword of Damocles is no longer hanging over us. This 4 year campaign has taken a significant amount of time (and quite a bit of money)but it is hoped in 2023 we can again devote ourselves to operating the business which has been forced to take back seat in the recent weeks, months and years.

We conclude this piece by wishing our friends, customers and colleagues in our niche profession the compliments of the season and in the hope that early in 2023 we sees Putin's warmongering defeated in the Ukraine. And that once again we all see Peace on Earth.

26th August 2022

Autumn update from the Control Tower

Late August may seem a premature time to post an autumn update. Here in southwest England however, the impact of global warming has resulted in an incredibly dry summer, that in turn has led to our autumn leaf fall starting approximately two months early. Nights are also drawing in and it is sad to report that winter is only just around the corner.

The disaster that has fallen Ukraine now stretches beyond 6 months and the ramifications of Putin's unjust and unacceptable war is impacting on not just the Ukrainian peoples but the whole world. The United Nations seem powerless to help although our soon to be ex PM has done more than many world leaders in supporting President Zelensky in his struggles.

Closer to home our local fight against a totally inappropriate stone quarry located in a residential area in our village continues. The current appeal, was due to be decided upon in June but was then pushed back to July and then August. The most recent information is the decision will now not be made until September and in the meantime we and our neighbours live on tenterhooks. We have done all we can to fight this proposal and we can only hope justice will finally be done, as this issue has been hanging over our community since 2018. This issue has absorbed a totally inappropriate amount of our time and it is hoped once this is behind us, we can concentrate more on the job we so much enjoy.

Sadly our major War & Peace Militaria fair was cancelled again in 2022 and many of our other local sources for both marine and aviation kit have yielded very poor pickings in recent months. That being said we plan to filter out some choice items from our reserve collection as well as other inventory items held back for the rainy day that looks to be approaching. We hope to restock the website once autumn proper finally arrives in October but as ever if you have a special requirement do drop us a line, even if you do not see an appropriate listing on the website currently.

And finally issues of exporting to and buying from the EU since Brexit remain and as such we continue our moratorium on exports to Europe. The hassle and costs involved for both us and our customers remains unacceptable, but we will continue to monitor the situation. It is hoped with our next blog update we will have more positive news to report in what is fast becoming in Her Majesty's famous words of 1992 an 'Annus Horribilis' for us all.

1st February 2022

Spring is in the air!

Christmas and New Year now seem a distant memory, but it is hoped all our regular customers and friends had a good one, wherever you may be located. Here in the UK life seems to be returning to some sort of normality,except in Downing Street and its enclaves, but we prefer not to wash our dirty laundry in public, so will swiftly move on!

We intimated in the December blog entry that Mr Oldnautibits has been somewhat distracted in 2021 assisting with fighting several unacceptable local planning applications. Sadly, one that relates to the reopening of a redundant quarry right on our doorstep, that has been rejected by the local council twice has now been taken to appeal. We are mounting a robust and final campaign so this entirely inappropriate scheme can be finally consigned to history. We hope this should be concluded by the spring, but in the meantime the business is having to play second fiddle. We are, however, still here in the office so if you do have a specific requirement just drop us a mail and we will respond promptly in the usual manner.

Despite reporting the Covid situation on the ground is returning to some form of normality, this is not entirely true. The end of January normally sees all the key UK and EU dealers assemble at the Stoneleigh Militaria Fair where we all meet to buy, sell and trade. Sadly, the organisers were not prepared to commit in view of the Omicron variant of Covid and the event was pulled at the 11th hour. It has now been rescheduled for the 22nd of May so it is hoped this and other key UK fairs will be back on the agenda as 2022 rolls out.

And finally, have you ever considered owning the classic sports car beloved of RAF pilots in the 1930's, 40's or 50's? If so your opportunity to invest in a 1954 MGTF 1250 registration 359 UYN will be up for sale through Charterhouse auctioneers with viewing on 2nd March with the sale the following day, Thursday 3rd March at the Haynes Motor Museum in Somerset. The TF is the final derivative of the classic T series of cars and regarded by many as the prettiest. This is an original right hand drive example with matching engine and chassis numbers and is of course finished in flame red with wire wheels. Bidding is in person on the day or online and full details can be found via this link: https://charterhouse-cars. com/next-car-auction The TF has sadly been consigned by me as owning three classics as well as a small sailing boat has proved a bridge too far. These cars like to be used, hence making the difficult decision to rehome the MG. We will be posting a few photographs on the site to perhaps whet your appetite and with spring just around the corner, what better time to invest in some open top classic motoring?

Keep safe and let's hope 2022 proves to be the year when life returns to a new normal!

9th December 2021

Happy Christmas and a Better New Year!

The team here at the Oldnautibits HQ are not quite sure where 2021 has gone but gone it has and like many, we will not be sorry to see the back of it. This time last year, here in the UK, we were about to go into a full pandemic lockdown and now a year letter we are faced with the new Omicron Covid variant and our leaders in Westminster are instigating their 'Plan B', in the hope this more virulent strain may be contained. All we can hope is 2022 finally brings better news on this front.

Whilst on the subject of bad news Brexit has done no good for our trade with our EU customers. Our despatches across Europe have been seriously delayed and, in most instances, local duties have been charged and it would seem from this side of the pond, the UK are being punished by our former "friends" in the EU for leaving their Club. Unlike some of our dealer chums we have not had any orders lost or destroyed, but in view of the difficulties outlined we will, for the time being at least, only ship to EU destinations entirely at the customers risk as we can no longer guarantee safe deliveries. If the situation eases in 2022, as we hope it will, we will of course resume trade as before and hopefully this will only be a temporary moratorium.

Finally, an apology for the lack of recent fresh stock updates on the site. This has partly been caused by the non-availability of quality new stock and partly when it does become available, particularly via our local auctions, prices have become ludicrously high. We have spotted the odd 'sleeper' this year but with most auction houses now offering online viewing and bidding the dealers advantage of actually being in the room is lost and we are unable in most instances to compete with online bidders. A case in point is a decent '41 pattern Mae West listed on E Bay recently that finally sold for £2,400 +, an eye watering figure that would have secured an elusive '32 pattern not so long ago.

This situation has been compounded by 'Mr Oldnautibits' being co-opted onto two local committees that have spent the last 12 months+ fighting local planning issues. This has proved hugely time consuming and more so when our planning regulations allow applicants who have lost their case (sometimes more than once) to go to appeal, meaning just when you think it is safe to relax the issue reappears in a new guise. We currently have just one more battle to fight that we are hopeful will be successfully won in the early part of next year and then we trust the team here can concentrate on the day job that has proved impossible this year. If, however you have a specific requirement please just e mail us via the enquiry screen as we may just have what you are after tucked away and if not, we may be able to find it for you.

In conclusion can we thank our diverse range of clients and for their business over the last 12 months and wish all customers and friends (who in many cases are both) the complements of the season, a very happy Christmas and we hope a better New Year!

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