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.