It is the weekend of the London to Brighton vintage car run (#LBVCR) and as is traditional Helen and I are participating with a good friend Rory, who has a 1903 Humberette. I went over on Saturday to buff up the brass and polish the paint work before loading the car on to the trailer and securing it for the journey to Hyde Park on the Sunday. As usual Rory & Rob were bickering over the lack of preparation on Rory’s behalf and the right way to do things.
We were in bed by 20:00 because we had to be round Rory’s at 05:00 to leave. Helen was up and 04:00 and I surfaced at 04:35 and we made it to Rory’s by 05:00. Whilst sorting out stuff at home we got a call from Helens mum she had decided to cadge a lift to near Brighton to visit a relative. We picked up Helen’s mum of the way after leaving only 5 minutes after the planned time. Strangely we ended up in front of the others despite not having overtaken them, turns out that had also picked someone up on the way. I let them overtake and followed them down to Hyde Park.
Parking is never a problem at that time of the morning and we were soon over by the Serpentine, watching the pigeons lying round in a large flock. As predicted we were there far earlier than we needed to be, it was 06:15 and we had a 07:20 start so we went to the cafe that was doing a roaring trade and relaxed for a while. Back out at the start queue we chatted and took a few pictures then the 6 minute warning sign came round, the driver struggled to get the car started again but a small drop of magic juice from a very old bottle with a nozzle seemed to do the trick, I didn’t ask what was in it sometimes it is best not to know.
We hurried back to may car and joined the 50 mile traffic jam to Brighton Madeira drive. It did not take too long to catch up with the old crock, I think it was around Purley. When we got to Streatham we had to be diverted off the usual route because the police had cordoned off the high street. Not a problem for my car but it involved a hill so some of the old crocks were slowed significantly. The Humberette just a about made it. Around Croydon we did a passenger change then we stopped again for a coffee and a swap over at around Merstham.
We were now into the usual routine and plodded on down to Crawley for the official coffee stop, where we all met up at the White Hart, for a beer. Rory had managed to upset a local taxi driver by nipping into a free parking space that the taxi driver had been waiting for. Even worse was to come as when we left Mark left his car in Crawley but not before swapping spaces with Rory’s car and again upsetting the locals. The traffic normally gets worse as you leave Crawley and everyone is now up and about, this year was no exception.
The weather was holding out, i.e. it was not raining, but it was overcast so not really ideal for taking photo’s, never the less I had a go at the technique where you set a long shutter speak 30th/60th and follow the motion of a car in the hope of getting a blurred back ground and static subject, essentially giving the picture a sense of speed. You can see the best shot in the post.
We passed Pease Pottage, which I only mention because of the strange sounding name. Then we we over the big hills without a fuss. We dropped off Helen’s mum and then did a final meet up with the car at the slip round just before the Needles, then headed to the west of the railway to dump the car at the NCP near the Travelodge, interestingly we were spending more to accommodate the car for a night than we were on ourselves, the NCP was £25 for 24hours and the room was booked early for £23.50.
Down on Madeira drive we met up with the others, the hospitality was not up to the usual standard as they were clipping the passes if you asked for more than one portion, and they were serving only the participant tickets. After sting around in the cold for a while we sent the girls off back to the hotel while the men packed the car up on the trailer for transport back to base.
We met up in the hotel lobby at 19:00 and the veggies outnumbered the meat eaters so we went to Food for Friends a veggie restaurant we had been to a few years before. I had a Thai platter followed by a Haloumi massala both of which I would recommend. We retired at 22:00 for some well earned shut eye.
On Monday we all met up at in reception and headed out to get some breakfast, as we had decided to splash out on a nice breakfast rather than the pretty basic fare at the Travelodge. It was really handy that The Independent on Saturday had a feature of the 50 best places to eat breakfast. There was one in Bright called Bills Placein and old bus depot. I must say that it is highly recommended, I had the veggie breakfast which was two slices of toast with Guacamole on one and Humus on the other topped with tomato’s, mushrooms and poached eggs, topped off with a sweet chilli sauce.
Suitably refreshed it was off round the shops of the lanes to see what we could find. I bought a pair of slippers and a print of a Treecreeper for the lounge wall. At around 13:00 we all met up said our good byes and headed home picking Helen’s mum on the way.