Another year has cone round quickly and it is time four our annual pilgrimage to Brighton. A good friend has a car that qualifies for the Bonham’s London to Brighton vintage car run, and we use it as an excuse to take Monday off and stay the Sunday night in Brighton, which this year only cost £25 at the North Street Premier Inn. Helen and I have in recent years (I have been doing it for over 21) skipped the early 05:00 start to be in Hyde Park by 07:00 and motored directly to Crawley leaving the house at a more sociable 09:00.
The drive round the M25 was steady due to the biblical rain caused by a long bank of cloud dissecting the country at 45 degrees and stationed directly over the A23 on this Sunday morning. Luckily the rain had stopped by the time we reached Gatwick Honda on the outskirts of Crawley, which new for this year is where the official coffee stop was arranged. Usually the coffee stop the is on Crawley high Street which is an ideal spot for the public to see the cars parked up on the cobbled square. The Honda dealership was on a main road with pretty poor viewing opportunities. We found a suitable place to park in a nearby housing area and soon met up with the support crew at the car show room. I heard many people grumbling about the new venue. Suddenly the rain came down again so we made a sharp exit and got back on the road to chase down the Humberette. I got some pictures of Paul Holywood who was driving the Beaulieu DeDion Bouton, we later found out that Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Ben Ainslie were taking part but did not spot them.
We did some of the office coal route but diverted off to do some catching up and with some luck caught up with the Humberette not far from Pyecombe where we had agreed to meet up for a passenger swap. Swap done we took the back road into Brighton to park the car near the Premier Inn before heading down to Madeira Drive to meet up with the others. Helen went shopping L&J whilst Rory and I went down the front. Chilli and mulled wine was on offer in the hospitality tent, but I opted for a coffee. We did the usual hanging around looking at cars before getting the car on the trailer for its journey home.
Walking back to the hotel Rory felt peckish and could not resist the opportunity for some traditional seaside fayre of Fish & Chips. Back at the hotel we found the girls and agreed to meet up at 19:00 to go and find somewhere to eat. We settled on Zafferelli’s which was just down the road. The food was good and the waiters took a shine to J and did some impromptu baby sitting so that his parents could enjoy their meal. I had Calamari Luciana (squid in a chili tomato sauce) followed by spaghetti Puttanesca both of which were good. We were all drinking and the bill came to £26 each which I thought was a fair price. We went for a final pint at the Horse and Wagon which was just up the street, a got to bed about 23:00 ish.
We woke up to rain the next morning and met up in reception at 08:50 for our tradition visit to Bill’s for breakfast. I had the vegetarian breakfast which consists of eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms on two pieces of toast one spread with Guacamole the other with chilli humus, and it is always very nice, and I washed it down with two Americano’s. Bills is on North Street just 5 minutes walk form the Premier Inn. Then we were off for a spot of shopping, and I managed to buy a T Shirt. We had to leave at about 11:30 or pay for extra parking at an exorbitant rate but that suited us as we had a stop on the way home to visit and elderly relative of Helen’s, who was expecting us for lunch.
We stopped off for a couple of hours and caught up on family news then headed off at about 14:00 home. It was still raining and we took a cross country route to avoid the tail back on the A23 near m25. We were home in good time about 16:00 we had beaten the rush hour traffic. A great weekend with friends.