The first proper frost of the year it must be the London to Brighton Veteran Car run. The others had a 05:00 start but Helen and I left the house to join them at Purley at the Starbucks or Crawley, depending on their progress. We have Rory a call about 20 minutes out but got no answer, we did get hold of Lizzie who was herding children as she left the house.
We took a chance and went to the Starbucks, and spotted Kevin and only had to wait about 5 minutes for the Humbrette to turn up, perfect timing.t he radiator that Rob had fixed the day before seemed to hold out with any a small drip, which compared to pre-repair was a good job. The others did a passenger swap while we let Rory warm up with a hot chocolate and toasted cheese sandwich.
We followed the route until Horley then we peeled off and sped down to the centre of Crawley, where we parked up and headed straight for the White Hart for a traditional drink. Lizzie had made it to Crawley too, so the whole crew were together.
We caught up with the Humbrette and overtook it then got behind again several times due to traffic and various stops. We stopped at the pylons and did a final swap of passengers. We headed directly to the Premier inn where I left Helen then Rory, Norman and IP walked down to the front. Security was quite tight but I managed to jump over the barriers while a security guard a few yards away has turned his back, apparently he saw me but did nothing.
Loading the car was a pain as Kevin had had to park a long way off. We came up with a plan where Kevin wax driven in the Humbrette then drive back towards us, and we met halfway. I was the only one trusted to strap the car on the trailer, si had to go along. They got 6 people into Kevin’s Volvo for the journey back.
We met up at 19:00 then found a Turkish and Persian restaurant and had an average meal. We stopped for a pint at the Cricketer’s on the way back and had a very pleasant pint of Lazy Lizard which is brewed in a garage somewhere in Brighton. We had a good nights sleep and met up in reception at 09:00 and headed to Bill’s for breakfast, then did the tradition shopping.
Journety back was not too busy and we stopped at M’s for some lunch.
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.
We were up early (07:00) but not as early as the fools who went to Hyde park for the start, they were up at 04:30 for a 05:00 departure from Aston Clinton. So we had a leisurely coffee and toast before heading off to pick up L from Tring. It is our annual pilgrimage to Brighton, the excuse is the London to Brighton vintage car run, but really is is a chance to get together with L&R and spend a Sunday night in Brighton followed by a morning shopping.
My good friend R has a very old Humberette pre 1905 which is the year limit for cars to enter the run. We met up round his on Saturday morning. To polish the car and discuss what maintenance should have been done on the car since the previous run which has not been done, and load it up on a trailer ready for the early start on Sunday.
We picked up L in Tring at 08:15 and were son whizzing around the M25, when we got close to Redhill we game the others a call. They had just arrived so we left the motorway and find them at the Starbucks. We soon found the others and grabbed a coffee then jumped back in the car and headed to Crawley.
The weather was quite cold but the sun was shining. We stood around for a while and a spotted K who was Geocaching something we have not done for a while. We found a small magnetic container in a metal box next to a post box. I took the opportunity to download the app to my phone. The White Hart provided refreshments while we waited to start the next leg.
The weather was still sunny when we arrived in Brighton, and after a challenge finding the entrance to the NCP car park we were soon in the Premier Inn, to dump our bags and go our separate ways. The girls went shopping and I went down to the front to meet up with the people in the car. I soon found them and we stood around chewing the cud before getting a call from K to let us know where we needed to go to load the car back on the trailer for the journey home. R had managed to blagg his way to a parking space down on the front by claiming his vintage car had broken a wheel, so we only had a short walk back then a ride to the hotel. We dropped of two others then via not the shortest route found the NCP car park.
We agreed to meet up at 19:00 for something to eat.
We were up fairly early to prepare for the annual London to Brighton veteran car run, but not as early as the rest of the crew who we would be joining at Crawley, they would be getting up at 04:30 to leave the village at 05:00. We made sandwiches and some hot honey and lemon for Neil who had woken up with a cold. However the torrential rain dampened our enthusiasm and it required some effort to leave the house. Sheets of rain across the A41 & M25 but the skies are now lightening a little. Feeling very sorry for everyone who went up to the start at Hyde Park at 5am and who would have spent 3 soggy hours in an open top car. We took the lazy option this year and opted to meet the cars at Crawley.
Steady progress around the M25, lots of standing water as we pass under the “give peas a chance” viaduct. Checked in with the frog whisperer to see how the car posse were progressing. They had reached the Little Chef and left before we were in the environ so we continue to Crawley as we might have time to get to the main street to film the Humberette arriving. The leaden skies persisted but the rain a little lighter as we pass the Chertsey exit. Best wishes to T who is in New York and should have been running the marathon there today, being cheered on by my lil sis. Lots of spray but sun shining as we join the M23. As we approached Crawley we started to spot some of the veteran cars.
We got to Crawley before the car and found a seat in the window seat overlooking the area where the car park up for a tea stop. We kept a lookout for the car with a half in the warm pub. Helen was perplexed about the the complicated parking ticket dispensers which required us to enter the last three digits of the car registration. The weather become more overcast for a while! Met up with R, K & J who had had a very damp journey as evidenced by R’s trousers. K said his sailing waterproofs had been very useful. Time for a quick bacon roll then down the A23 in pursuit oh the old car. Neil enjoyed practising his pursuit driving style and we found the Humberette just after Staplefield. We also linked up with the others and and J is in the car, e are officially a convoy!
You see some funny things on the London to Brighton, lots of different car clubs by the side of the road, people with picnic tables complete with champagne, by far the best thing this year was a old 1920/30 coach like car all done out for a safari, complete with a leopard skin on the bonnet, the owner was in kilt and pith helmet complete with arrow and enjoying a pint.
As we approached Brighton we peeled off and headed in to the town centre, making sure we were west of the railway so that we avoided the traffic and got to our hotel. We parked up checked in then headed down to Madeira Drive to watch the cars coming in. Our timing was perfect as we got to the drive in came the Humbrette, there was a wait before it crossed the finish line as K had been promised a go in the car as it crossed the finish line. We headed to the other side of the finish line and soon found where they had parked up. The weather was now blue skies and sunshine, a perfect way to end the day.
The arrangements for loading the cars up had changed this year, the tender vehicles had to park up at the racecourse then come down to the drive to load the vehicles up but only of the organisers had confirmation that the vintage car had crossed the finish line. I accompanied R and K back up the the racecourse to get the tender vehicle. The new trailer was a dream to load and they people not staying over were soon on their way, we headed back to the hotel. Helen and I went for a quick look round the old lanes, whilst R and L had a rest in anticipation of the evening ahead.
R was adamant that we would go to a non-veggie restaurant as last year he had not enjoyed his meal at Food for Friends, we ended up in Zizzi which was started with the help of The Princes Trust, the portions were massive the Pizzas hung off the side of the ample plates,and R decided that 5 tapas style dishes were in order, and despite us thinking he would never manage to eat it all he did. After we met up with A and A for a quick drink at a pub opposite, where a jazz band was playing, we left the establishment at a reasonable hour and were in bed by 23:00.
The next day was the usual breakfast at Bill’s which I would recommend, the veggie breakfast is very different with it’s humus and guacamole toast, sweet chilli sauce topped off with mushrooms and poached eggs is like nothing I have seen anywhere else, and it really works. Breakfast was followed by some shopping in the Laines then at about 13:00 we headed home but not before dropping on on Helen’s aunt for some lunch.
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.