Perils of Farley Mount

July 28th, 2003

Helen and I met up with various members of my family for a ‘picnic’ this Saturday. The venue of choice was Farley Mount, near Romsey, Hampshire. Known amongst the locals as the place that a horse rolled down a chalk pit and died survived. It’s now immortalised by having a chalk design of a horse on a hill face. The journey by car was perilous to say the least. Try driving uphill on a track fit for just one car abreast and having a continuous stream of Rav-4s and Range Rovers coming at you from the opposite direction. When we arrived it was pissing down with rain and none of us were adequately equipped for the condition. Since we’d all come expecting to have a nice picnic on a hill in the summer sunshine, we made do with our lot. Various foodstuffs such as pork pie and quiche were passed around and I took a few snaps to wile away the time.

Not more than an hour passed by before someone had the smashing idea to decamp to the nearest pub to dry off. We found a lovely village pub called the Dolphin in Hursley. I finally got to try the newly relaunched Heineken “5% alcohol” and was impressed. It’s got quite a fruity taste and goes down much better than Stella. Suitably dry and refreshed, we all said our goodbyes and headed off in different directions.

Helen and I were tasked with the job of delivering my mother back to Maidenhead in the pissing rain. We made a brief pit stop in Romsey to visit my Nan’s new pad (very nice indeed) and Fran and Neil’s pad (very nice but in the middle of renovation and sporting a fab new loft conversion) in Winchester. We then braved the perilous rain to drive down the M3 to Maidenhead. I lost control of the car as we approached the outskirts of Reading. The tyres lost their grip to the water-flooded road and I narrowly avoided going into a spin. All those misspent hours playing Gran Turismo proved fruitful as I managed to regain control of the car, leaving Helen and Mum thoroughly panicked. The rest of the journey was fairly uneventful. We dropped mum off at her friend’s house in Maidenhead and continued in the rain back to Buckingham. On our way we passed a fair few pile ups and random crashes, all due to the completely bizarre heavy weather.

Sunday was calm by comparison but I did discover that somewhere along the way of the perilous journey of the previous day, that one of my Clio’s wheels had lost some ball-bearings. If you’ve ever had this problem you will know that your car suddenly starts aping the noise of an aeroplane taking off. Embarrassing having all your neighbours wandering what the hell you are doing in such an old banger. I’ve decided to get the car fixed (minimal cost) and then sell it on. I am finally going to buy a car the befits somebody like me. We’re moving up a class from ‘super-mini’ to ‘small car’. I shall be buying one of the following: Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra (all recent models, of course). We’re going for 5 doors and nothing under a 1.6 litre engine.

Today the sun has returned and it looks like it will be a nice day. This is the longest entry I’ve written for a while and whilst it may not interest you in the slightest, it will help me remember a few things in the future…