Thursday, 21 July 2011

I am back

I haven't been in the mood for writing recently but a couple of people have given me a kick up the arse so here is an update for the last couple of weekends.

On the first weekend of July I went to Goodwood Festival of Speed with friends Adam and Adrian. I hadn't planned to go to any of the usual motorsport events this year but I ended up booking the Grand Prix in May and then I got a text from Adam saying that the company Adrian worked for were the sponsors of the drivers' enclosure and he had corporate tickets. Now obviously I had no interest in free beer but the possibility of getting better access to drivers and cars was sufficiently tempting to agree to go. I know it may sound strange to be so reluctant to have a day out but I have these factors to consider

Arrange morning carer for 7am and be up and ready in 90 minutes

Arrange evening carer to coincide with my return

Brief friends on care requirements for the day

Plan around no access to toilet for the day

Weather considerations; rain is potentially disasterous for computer, being in direct sun wipes me out and renders the eyegaze unusable

Any distance beyond 100 metres requires someone to drive the wheelchair

Being dependent on whoever is with me to wipe eyes, scratch itches, empty bags, reposition arms, lift me up if slide down in the seat etc etc.

The route to Goodwood goes right past Fernhurst TVR, where I bought my 3 TVRs from. I had recently discovered the spare wheel from the Griffith. It had been taken out of the boot to make room for my folding walking frame and it never got put back when I sold the car in 2008. So I thought I would drop in and say hello to the guys I had got to know quite well. Graham, who I bought my first TVR from back in 1996 was there. I remember keeping him at the showroom until almost 10pm while I dithered in choosing between a blue or silver V8S, having just had my first experience of roof-down TVR driving, around the Hampshire countryside on a glorious September evening. Needless to say, Graham didn't have a tough sales job to do. I always regretted selling it in 2000 when I couldn't resist buying the TVR Tuscan, and had ever since planned to track it down and buy it back. C'est la vie

We had a quick chat during which he mentioned they had a stand at the Goodwood Festival which Simon (who I bought the Tuscan from) was manning. I would like to make it clear that I am not some very sad individual who keeps in touch with every car salesman I have ever dealt with, but the guys at Fernhurst are a great bunch. With the wheel returned we continued to Goodwood.

The day was very enjoyable and the weather was good (apart from being too sunny). Unlike previous years we didn't make the mile or so trip through the dusty wooded section through the rally stage to the top paddock. Its a great spot to see the star drivers but the terrain was too much this year. I was struggling with wheelchair on the flat but Adam did a brilliant job of mastering the controls and stepped in for the longer trips. Unfortunately we weren't able to get any special access despite Adrian's best efforts, but it was a good day out.

The following weekend I went to the F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone with Stuart. A third ticket was shared between my friend Chris on Saturday and Stuart's wife on the Sunday. Travelling there and back two days in a row was exhausting but it was good to have managed it again. The weather could have been worse, the skies opened literally at the second the Red Arrows arrived and pissed down until they finished 20 minutes later. We hadn't booked early enough to get covered seating so were reliant on waterproofs and umbrellas to keep us and (more importantly) my computer dry. The race result was disappointing; Hamilton, having briefly been second after starting 10th, only managed fourth and Button was forced to retire after the pit crew forgot to put a wheelnut on!

So 2 busy weekends in a row! The prospect of doing them is increasingly daunting but thanks to Adam's and Stuart's patience and willingness to overcome any difficulties, I can continue to do them. Just need to drum up the determination to do the Goodwood Revival in September and make it 3 out of 3.