It's been asked that we issue a quick update for the 'non-twitterati' and as that seems reasonable enough here goes. It's not especially in depth but it sets out the basics.
A while back things had gone a bit circular on Twitter, a tiny minority of trolls trotting out the same old mantra and, to be honest, when someone suggested a ceasefire it seemed an excellent call so the BBP team went oft to make metal sculptures, rally cars and lawnmowers and put the Bluebird thing down for a while. We did, however, drop a line to the RM to see if they were ready to get around a table yet as we were once told this would be 'a long time coming' and four years is quite a long time so you never know but we heard nothing to begin with.
Several weeks went by and all was peaceful until, inevitably, someone asked if there was anything to report and we said there wasn't but we'd mailed some weeks earlier to ask if the RM wanted to meet, but without result.
This seemed to set off a chain reaction in that several things happened in rapid succession.
We received a reply out of the blue saying that perhaps, yes, it would be a good time for a meeting but it came with conditions. They wanted to send two people (who to this day remain anonymous) but who supposedly have experience with both business and restorations. There would be a lawyer to accompany them, this meeting was to take place in K7's workshop and, best of all, it was to be super secret, without prejudice and hush hush or, put another way, we had to promise not to tell you who we'd met or what was said. Now considering that terrible lies have been told about the 2013 agreement and how the trustees never agreed it, which they did. The 2019 agreement that we dismissed out of hand, which we did not, and the Zoom meeting to which representatives with no authority were sent, which wasn't the case at all, and all because we agreed that these matters were to be kept private, there was no way we were going to fall for that again. So instead an offer went back to say that we would meet their people on neutral ground to begin with, there would be no lawyers and we would be publishing a detailed account of all that was said immediately afterwards. We never received a reply to that.
Coinciding with this was a weekend at Goodwood, which several of us attended, as did the RM, who launched a new website called 'Bring Bluebird Home' or some such basically saying give us your money but not offering a single good reason why anyone would want to. The text is at best not conducive to good relations and at worst downright defamatory so we had to wonder just how sincere the original offer of a meeting really was in view of the fact that the website was likely in process before the meeting was suggested and certainly the domains had been purchased. Needless to say it didn't do well and neither did their Goodwood efforts.
Next, the RM, with much fanfare, announced the procurement (some say they paid money for them, some say they were given) of a pair of Orpheus 803 engines. These engines were released in large numbers some years ago by the Italian Air Force and we leapt at the chance to add a couple of shiny new Orph's to our stable but our due diligence proved there is absolutely no way the larger accessory gearbox and fuel pump on the 803 will fit in K7's hull. The 101 Orph' fits where it touches and it's a fraction of the size in the gearbox dept. so that was that. Buying engines that don't fit wasn't our mistake but that didn't stop a few keyboard warriors firing up their fingers to take issue with us.
All of this seemed to annoy those at the RM because shortly afterwards we received another letter that really was unfathomable. It consisted of a great tract of blustering and threatening cod-legalese that went nowhere, offered nothing and served no purpose that we could see. It wasn't worth trying to pick the bones out of it so we simply mailed back saying if they wanted to play legal games please get on and do it.
No sooner said than done - we received another letter of claim. Our third, or maybe fourth, but it contained nothing new. It came from a different lawyer so it was most likely derived from a similar selective edit as that used to instruct the last ones and basically says, give us all of K7 right now or we'll do bad things to you. Except they know very well and have admitted already that they don't own all of K7 so it would be impossible to comply even if we felt inclined to do so. They are yet to prove that they ever even owned the wreckage - a question put to them by lawyers in April 2019 that remains unanswered to this day. But that's another story. We wrote back explaining our position and that's where the matter lies for now.
In the meantime we worked with Jason Liversidge to help him get his Guinness World Record for a head controlled wheelchair and then began discussions with Mike McCarthy, our old mate from Sky News, about his Baton of Hope project for next year. Mike lost his son to suicide some months ago and wants to raise awareness of this silent pandemic. A more worthy cause it would be difficult to imagine so we said we'd do whatever they asked us to do up to and including running the boat on water. We also wrote to the RM inviting them to set aside any differences and join us or to raise any objection sooner rather than later. It would be a logistical struggle to run next year as the window to do that is all but closed but we'd give it a go. Of course it wasn't long before the trolls tried putting their oar in but that was expected and allowed for so we'll see what happens next.
Could be a mad dash to try and get K7 ready to run, could be the start of a 10 year legal wrangle or it could be we just hibernate in K7's workshop over the winter and re-emerge in the spring when we can get the door open and the tables and chairs out again.
We'll see, so until the next point of interest...