Certainly not a new purchase, I bought it in June 2008. But it has recently been the subject of a bit of attention over the last 12 months.

What Is It?

A 1989 Factory 90 V8 Country Petrol.

I bought it because I previously had a 1981 Series 3 Stage 1 V8 which I got rid of many years ago, and I fancied another one. I’m not a particular Landrover fanatic like many are – but I do like a V8 engine under the bonnet. So I wandered in to Safari Engineering in Yateley and asked dave if he knew anyone with a 90 V8 for sale. It just so happened he did. The blokes nickname was Jesus and he used it as his dog walking car, until the engine had expired (little end failure). Now, a wet dog is a smelly thing, so it took a lot of time and effort, mostly by jetwashing the inside of the car, to eventually get rid of the smell of dog. But the name persists and it is known as “The Dog” in our household.

Over the years, have done many many jobs on it, when I first bought it I replaced the engine, going from a broken 3.5 carb to a 4.0 EFI, which I then later put a megasquirt on. Various welding jobs over the years.

A few years back:

And sometimes I do work on it:

This time it needed a little more work, so I gave it a fairly decent going over. I wanted to fit rear seats to it, but proper, forward facing ones with 3 point seat belts, not the sideways facing ones only with a lap belt.

On inspection of some of the bodywork in the vicinity of where the seatbelts would mount, I realised some work was needed:

The lower panel – easy to replace with a stock item from landrover, but that upper bracket is not available, so I had to make one.

First I made a template in CAD:

And then cut it out in steel:

I think it came out well:

Bulkhead Removal

As is often the way, I then started to get carried away, so I then removed the bulkhead, replaced with a bulkhead brace bar, to give a lot more room in the interior and make it easier for the kids to get in and out:

Body Cappings

And carried on replacing any rust as I found it:

Brand new cappings from Landrover:

It was starting to come together quite well:

Leaky Sunroof

The sunroofs are well known for leaking, so I decided to remove the sunroof entirely. Even though the roof is a bit old and dented, I still wanted the new panel to sit flush and look tidy:

A nice sheet of 1.5mm NS4 ready to cut:

Seemed to go OK:

And fitted nicely:

Quite happy with the end result:

Bulkhead Repairs

At this point, I was looking at the bulkhead. I knew the top corners were a bit rust and I’d put some patches on them a few years back. I decided it was time to do them properly. It was fairly scary how rusty the structures were underneath once I started cutting:

This took a fair bit of work to make:

But came out pretty well. I did both sides, naturally:

The Repaint

As I then suffered a severe bout of scope creep, I decided that as I’d just replaced a bunch of rust with steel, it just wouldn’t do to leave them unpainted. But what colour and how to do it. I decided it might be fun to learn to spray a bit. I did learn a bit – the main lesson being, it’s well worth paying someone else.

Nevertheless, it came ouf OK, although I intentionally did it in white because that’s more forgiving of my errors. All done in cellulose. Would have liked 2-pack, but I don’t have the booth or breathing equipment to do it. Felt like I spent forever filling and sanding – and even then, it’s not a great job!

Slowly but surely, things progressed:

Gradually it started to look like a landrover again:

Apple Carplay

One thing I like in cars is to have apple carplay, plus I wanted front and rear hitchcams to help me line up a trailer first time. But I don’t like the bulky dashboard solutions mosf of them end up with, so instead I found a suiper compact 5″ screen carplay unit which I fitted along with some auxiliary switches:

The slighty curveball here was that the LT85 gear stick is further forwards than the other variants, so I had to modify the gearstick to make it fit:

Somewhere during all this I replaced the gearbox too with a refurbished LT85 from Ashcrofts.

Rear Seats

Finally I was in a position to start fitting the rear seats, using the exmoor trim Loc N Fold ones. They’re really good.

Cab Heat

I also decided to add another heater to give a bit more winter heat in the cab:

Oil Cooler

And made some proper brackets for the oil cooler:


So with it all back together, here’s where we are today. Still on the original chassis, I will replace that one day, and I need to do new roof lining and carpets in the cab. But looking smarter than it was, I think:

Aria Resorts St Helens caravan site is on the Isle of Wight. At the end of 2018, all customers on the site were not offered a pitch renewal and everyone had to move off the site.

It wasn’t handled by Aria as well as it could have been at the time – but the site was well overdue redevelopment and it didn’t really come as a shock – although it was still a disappointment; we’d hoped for at least one more year.

2 Years later, we’ve just bought a caravan with the same company that threw us off last time. Why would we do that?? Are we mad? Possibly yes, but the reasons are also pretty compelling.


We love St Helens & Bembridge end of the island. There’s lots of vans in many locations on the island, but we like that it’s:

  • Walking distance from Bembridge Harbour (especially Brading Haven Yacht Club, The Best Dressed Crab)
  • A small park – 92 Vans total, not crammed in, nice and secluded with a good bit of greenery.
  • A quiet park – Some of parks have a lot of laid on entertainment. We don’t need this – we like peace and quiet and doing our own thing.
  • Walking distance from Bembridge beach
  • A short walk from the green at St Helens

This is an honest photo (taken from trip advisor) of the park, in this case, looking up the middle of the park at some of the lodges. Not your run of the mill, crammed in, holiday park:


It’s important to consider not just the upfront cost, but also the ongoing costs.

When we compared costs to the nearby Nodes Point, their pitch fees for what we considered to be one of the worst pitches on the site (overlooked by the bar) – £7,000. St Helens £4,500.

On a like for like basis, the van costs are not disimilar – but over 10 years, Nodes point worked out in excess of £25,000 more expensive for an inferior pitch. Parkdean sites do lay on a lot more entertainment, have their onsite restaurants and so forth – so you do get more for the money – but for us as owners, it wasn’t value.

The Van

We liked the van – a Regal Seascape. Vans have come on a long way over the last few years, and Aria were offering a central heated, plumbed in (gas, water & electrics) van also with double glazing. It’s a great van, well made and has a great feel to it.

The Agreement

You read horror stories from some of the pitch agreements. The one we signed was reasonable and fair, plus any Steve (The sale manager we worked with) was open to tweaks to get it just right.

The Sale Process

There is no pressure. Steve is much more interested in making sure the location & van are right for you than squeezing you in to a sale you’ll later regret.


The proof is in the pudding – since we bought, we’ve not had a hint of buyer’s regret. Quite the opposite, we look forward to every visit and can’t wait until we’re back down there again. Thank you Aria for reinvigorating the site and bringing it back to life again.

Autonomous Data Warehouse – the new kid on the block. But does it really live up to the hype – will it make your analytics platform run faster or is it just more sales hype?

The most common question I get asked is “should we look at ADW”.
The second most common question (once I’ve said yes to the first one) then is “why”?

Let’s see how it really performs with some simple, reproducable tests that you can compare to your on premises databases, too.


  • With a cloud service, customers expect an “always on” capability – “maintenance mode” and other activities should be minimised.
  • Moreover, with the advent of metered services, it’s important that available uptime (burning credits) is maximised – you don’t want the server burning credits if it’s not available for use.
  • On premises Essbase can easily be backed up with no downtime with some custom backup scripts – let’s get the cloud to do the same.
  • OAC essbase backups are somewhat CPU intensive
  • The 2x most common use cases are:
    • Restore an individual application
    • Restore the server and rebuild an application
  • This post shows you how to turbocharge your backups!


  • OAC has been working fine for….180 days….and now won’t start!
  • Service appears to come up OK, but no services accessible & reboots don’t fix it.
  • The short answer – DBCS “as provisioned” has a 180 day expiry on all schemas – and officially there’s no way to unexpire the accounts without changing the passwords, which’ll break “everything”.
  • This post shows how to identify & debug the problem, fix it quickly and simply, and then prevent it happening again!


It’s interesting that the ancient Greeks understood that the revelations of the Oracles were not seen as the objective truth and they were fully aware of the unknowability of the divine. I think everyone went to the Oracle Analytics Partner Forum in Athens with some trepidation about what the future holds for Analytics & the Cloud @ Oracle Corporation. The news is good….


Tableau’s pretty cool, right? Self service BI for departments tired of waiting for years for the EDW to come online. Connect to the source systems, mash it all together – WOW – we have some BI!!

Nearly – but not quite. Tableau’s absolutely fantastic at getting started – finally, giving departments some good quality BI and getting people away from hacking reports together using Excel & Powerpoint – and for many organisations, that’s enough.

But – there’s a bunch of gotchas.


Has anyone actually talked to the CFO?

I was running a course last week and a particularly challenging requirement was raised by one of the attendees. No-one in the organisation had been able to work out how to solve it – but we weren’t talking about creating Skynet either – it was a simple request to create a balancing line on a report. The gotcha was that the balancing line needed to be computed on the fly depending on the viewpoint of the report – so was going to take the team quite a bit of effort to build in. More cost and lead time – but with not “that” much apparent benefit either.

The interesting thing was – no one had actually talked to the CFO to understand the background to the request, nor explored any alternative options.


I’ve recently been using the platform services API a lot – it’s really really powerful to help reduce the TCO – you can dynamically scale the up & down as needs arise – for example, scale it up during batch processing periods to get the batch to run quicker, but scale it back down again during normal BAU.

When you combine that with automated starting & stopping that the API also offers, this creates a compelling TCO!

However – the purpose of this post of to highlight a bug in the PSM Client API documentation. We actually run our own python wrapper rather than use the PSM API Client – but that’s the benchmark. The documentation for the PSM API is here.

A normal PSM command to scale the environment up might be as follows:

psm analytics scale -s OACESSDEV01 -c payload.json

And the contents of the payload file according to the documentation is as follows:

{ "components": 
    { "analytics": 
        { "shape":"oc4", 

So this scale command will tell the platform to scale the platform to an OC4 shape – 2x OCPUS, 4x VCPUS. Unfortunately it doesn’t work (it did last month, so it’s obviously a recent change – but a bit of a gotcha if your using this API!) – we get the following error:

        "message":"Failed to submit job to for the scale operation.", 
            "[Invalid [analytics] parameter [hosts] contained in request payload.]", 
            "[Invalid [analytics] parameter [shape] contained in request payload.]" 

Fortunately we’ve been writing our own wrapper for the API in Qubix Cloudbridge, so we know the insides of the API. The format of the payload file has changed, it now needs to be:

{ "components": 
  { "BI": 
    { "shape":"oc4", 

Note the word “analytics” has changed to “BI” – and everything now works!