Monday, 19 November 2007

Montague’s Gaff

One Saturday recently, Mrs SS7 had to take her Mother’s Union old dears (a long story for someone elses’ blog) to a meeting in the borrowed Merc, leaving the two boy’s and I with the Shed* – running much better after a long trip to Manchester and back the weekend before.

We decided it was an opportunity for a long-promised trip to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.

It’s around 50 minutes drive from the house, and we arrived at 11.30am after an easy magazine-reading-in-bed start. Our trip began with replica open London bus ride around the park, and after disembarking, we first walked through the Victorian kitchen garden, and then enjoyed a bit of grub at the Brabazon café.
After decent fish and chip lunch, went to into the main galleries. Nick Mason keeps some of his mobile eye-candy at the museum, so a Ferrari F40 and Big Mac were waiting at the doorway to universal small boys’ delight. The rest of the Museum contains lots of interesting stuff in an eclectic collection, some hum-drum, some really exceptional.

Personal highlights were the pre-war Sunbeam GP car, and the Golden Arrow and Bluebird land speed record cars, part of a large LSR display. I hadn’t realised that Thrust2 reached a simply staggering 760mph when it broke the sound barrier, and the LSR, in 2005.

The later Grand Prix kit includes some proper 80’s F1 cars - knee high to a grass hopper, bloody great wide slicks and 900bhp – unlike today’s F3 c/f rubbish. Nice too see also the big banger 240mph Jaguar prototype from my Le Mans heyday. There are bikes upstairs too, plus a big display of motoring ephemera.
I could have spent hours watching the AV monitors at most of the collections, and was very tempted to do so, but the museum only looked small boy proof up to a point, so I had to keep one eye on the Heir and another on the Spare. The 9 y.o Heir got £2’s worth of ride in a karting simulator; a box on computer controlled hydraulic rams that produced G-forces to match what was happening on the screen. His efforts were complimented by the staff, as were 4 y.o. Spare’s run in the electric karts outside.

The Playstation marquee was the next stop, and in hindsight I could have just left the little b*gger’s there for four hours and done the museum properly, but you live and learn. However, the lack of a PS3 was disappointing, so after a run through the Museum’s shop (F50 poster, small blue purse, Paul Frere Boxster/Cayman) we headed home.

Folllwing a sausage & mash dinner we all went to the November the 5th Fireworks at the local Footie club.

After Sunday God-bothering we went for a gentle stroll to a pub we’d heard about. It turned out to be the best eatery we’ve discovered since moving down to the coast, so a pint and sarnie turned into good grub all round and a decent Sancerre.
To make room for supper, the Heir and I walked home; 6 miles around the harbour and along the foreshore. The afternoon November weather was stunning, and at times there were just us, huge empty blue skies and the sound of birdsong. By the time we’d arrived home the fire had been lit and a large whiskey poured. A good day.

*Our elderly BMW 520i touring, which will suffice for family transport until the young SS7’s cease their car interior destroying food and crayon habits.

No comments: