Who would have realised that Dover was so far away. It's a totally different experience being a passenger in an old car. Motorways are definitely out of the question which makes Dover a 7 hour journey from Binfield. But it made me appreciate the English countryside (well I did see lots of it!) as we passed through Berkshire, Surrey, Sussex and Kent on our way to the ferry. Luckily a whole day was set aside for the trip so we had time to enjoy a leisurely lunch in a pub somewhere on route in one of those counties.
Now for the car stuff. I mentioned no seat belts so there was no way I was sitting in the front. Instead, with an armrest one side, and a pillow the other I was nicely wedged in the back passenger side of the Rover. I felt a bit as if I had my own chauffeur, although d*** refused to wear a uniform and call me ma'am. The seats are lovely and squishy which made for a lovely bounce when we encountered potholes and bumps in the road. Unfortunately it also meant there was a good deal of swaying as we took corners, but without my padding I would have been sliding from side to side.
d*** did a marvellous job of driving this 64 year old car which has no power steering, no ABS, no automatic headlights or windscreen wipers, or indeed any of the modern gadgets we are so used to. I knew the brakes worked though, because I could hear them squealing each time he pressed them. And if we stopped suddenly, the whole of the front bench seat slid about 10 inches towards the bonnet (good choice, to sit wedged in the back!). A few spots of rain obliterated the view of the road so with the help of the new windscreen wipers, we enjoyed a Jackson Pollock effect instead. But we made it safely to Dover - eventually.
Our friends are driving what will be the oldest car in the rally. A little beauty called Mabel. She's a MG TD and at 76 years old is a sprightly old dear. A leather strap around her bonnet and a fetching shade of green make her the star of the parade. Our Rover is very much the bumptious bank manager in comparison. I was trying our names and felt that it was a Reginald or Ernest, but I've been overruled by the owners and based upon the number plate the Rover will be known as Jinx (I'm hoping that's not a bad omen).
The end of day one saw both cars looking rather out of place in the Dover Premier Inn car park. I think they'll feel far more at home in the chateau car park later in this trip!