Saturday evening. Lazing on the big wide sofa with a pint of real ale, inappropriately grubby rigger boots on my feet , my familiar black Aussie bush hat still on my head, I probably look out of place in the smart clubhouse of the Bugatti Owners Club at Prescott Hillclimb. But I’ve worked a long day on the bookstall and the ale is my reward. To my right the bar is doing middling trade while to my left the staff are clearing away the bowls and dishes from the evening service. Ciaron, the boss, is circulating, shaking hands and passing the occasional comments to diners and the drinkers.
Framed by the big windows of Prescott Clubhouse and backlit by the evening sunset, local jazz artist Kim Cypher is playing mellow tones on a gleaming soprano saxophone while her guitarist gently strums the background rhythm. This is good. This is very good!
It’s the halfway point of the weekend and I’m chilling out before the hoped for rush of trade on the morrow. Today has been more fun than normal as my new apprentice was with me on the stall. My daughter Charlotte. She’s been keen to help for some time, this being a half term holiday week, it was the ideal opportunity. She did me proud , got on with everyone, and she’s keen to help out more. Result.
On track things were something of a mixed bag. The star of the event, the headline act…was having a bit of a moody. Duncan Pittaway’s fantastic recreation of the Fiat S76 “Beast of Turin” Land Speed Record Car had an iffy clutch and ran as a demo’ rather than competing as intended. Even behind a course car at reduced speed, the car managed to turn heads as it thumped up the hill with flames flashing out of the two enormous square stub exhausts. But that was better than the Maserati 250F parked alongside it in the paddock…where it remained, unmoving, all weekend.
If the Beast was the star of the show , there were three Beauties to squabble over the role of best supporting artist. One Italian, the other French. In the red corner was a Lamborghini Miura…although this one was line green. Colour aside, good God it was lovely! In the Blue corner was the new Bugatti Chiron, which was blue. Not so lovely( what is?) but a lot better looking that it’s predecessor, the much vaunted Veyron . Thas has always seemed a bit like a very muscular bulldog chewing a rather angry wasp to my eyes. The Chiron looked good from most angles but was so wide it would take the installation of a new, extra large gate to get the thing onto my driveway should I be lucky enough to win the lottery any time soon. There was a third contender, this was a different Miura (not often you see one, so two in the same paddock was a rare treat). This one was red, sported wider arches and a spoiler, which spoiled the usually perfect lines a bit, and it seemed to have lost it’s exhaust silencers on route. Oooh it did sound good! While the Bug was the most striking and the red Lambo was the best sounding, the lime green one, originally owned by sixties supermodel Twiggy, just took it by a slender well formed nose.
Back in the clubhouse later that evening, the sun had set, the tables were mostly empty and the real ale was low in my glass as Kim Cypher finished her set with a superb version of Gerry Rafferty’s “ Bleaker Street”. The only previous time I’d seen her on stage was at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival a few weeks back. She went down a storm and even my two girls, normally more into Katie Perry and Little Mix, were deeply impressed by her performance, even if we did have to wait while they safety pinned her back into a skin tight dress that had split during the sound check! Hope they book her again for next year along with those two beautiful Miuras and, of course, The Beast.
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