Short Ride In A Fast Machine

I suppose it is wrong to have fun. I should have been doing something serious and cerebral on Wednesday morning this week but then this friend turned up in an open-top MG, she was smiling, the sun was shining and, well, fun usually wins out with me.

So off we went on a pointless, highly entertaining, race to nowhere in particular.

It was, I am ashamed to admit, just about fun and it can be contagious. Soon we were not the only ones laughing and a car full of lads even saw the joke.

I am a simple soul I know but since having my now well-known brain haemorrhage last October, I have been banned from driving for at least a year and I have missed putting my foot down on and speeding down an open road just for the hell of it.

I mentioned this the other day and my friend Heather who is an actress – woops, she likes to be called actor. There should be another word to replace actor/actress because thespians are really the third gender. She is also a weirdly and mechanically minded auto-freak and speed maniac who just thought she would take me out for a fast journey to feed my appetite.

I put aside any thoughts of old folks being given a Sunday treat and embraced the moment.

There really is something special about driving in an open-topped car on a summer’s day and, as a passenger there is an added pleasure as you can just look up at the sky with an added sense of luxury as you feel the velocity beneath you.

Signs, of course, try to spoil the fun. I wanted to vandalise the flashing Slow Down warning which dims your entertainment as you approach Ringmer, what must be the most boring village in England – if you know of others, let’s have a competition?

I know rules are rules but sometimes it is good just to pretend they have all gone away…not that Heather ever broke the speed limit I hasten to add.

After we had escaped from Ringmer there was one of those roads that I used to love driving along when I lived ten miles to the East of Lewes. It is an old coach road which, in the spirit of the pre-industrial, pre-conservation world, just cut a line between two points.

It has just enough hills on it to give you an extra sense of danger as you hurtle towards the unknown on the other side – we are all facing the unknown so enjoy it once in a while.

We were heading for my old village, Blackboys where I lived up until nearly two years ago in rural seclusion with some very friendly woodland birds, an ancient fox, some aggressive badgers, a tame pheasant, a robin that feed from my hand and a feral cat that decided that we could have a controlled but affectionate relationship.

It is also a wondrously beautiful part of England where ancient woodland surrounded the cottage giving me the freedom to roam all day without seeing anyone except my old Springer Spaniel who ended his long life there.

I have now swapped all that for town-life just in time, I guess, as I am now banned from the roads. Back in the town, people have taken over from wild animals and I am alright about this. Human beings are fine too; not always as cuddly as a baby rabbit maybe but we English need to love our own species just a little bit more than we do.

This car ride was all about humanity I think. Not about our problems, anxieties and frailties but about our often unexplored capacity for pleasure and, most importantly, fun.

The grey skies gathered as we returned to Lewes but nothing could diminish the adrenalin rush which comes not just from speed but also from that feeling of being yourself – alive and free.

So thank you Heather and anyone else out there who wants to take a stand for hilarity and fun. As for the nigglers who might be tut-tutting, stay in the slow lane, OK.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.