Castles in the Sky

Sunday morning brought a nice run up the Fosse Way to Warwick. I usually enjoy the Fosse Way, and the roads from Highworth up through Lechlade and Burford to pick up the Fosse itself at Stow-on-the-Wold are wonderful, open, fast roads over the Cotswolds. However we set off a bit late, so we kept getting stuck behind lines of modern cars all too afraid to overtake anything travelling more than 40mph. This is one of the delights of the Bristol. It is a quick car, obviously, and with bags of torque and strong brakes it a breeze to leapfrog several cars at once and safely sneak back into the gaps. The thing to be aware of is that many people can be surprised at this sedate old car suddenly hoisting her skirts and coming past at a decent rate of knots : ) Still we made it up there in good time, found a decent lunch in a pub on the square, and then worked it off exploring St Mary’s Church. It’s a beautiful old church, with some fascinating tombs of the Earls of Warwick. These were the real reason for our visit, my better half being a historian who knows about these things and wanted to see them. I wanted a pub lunch so we were both happy. One of the tombs is that of Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth and rumoured lover.

Before heading south again, we managed to find a spot where we could take a photo of the car with Warwick Castle. We didn’t go into the castle (I haven’t been since school outing days), but it’s what you think of when anyone mentions Warwick. I am gradually building up a collection of photos of the 410 in front of the various landmarks and places it’s been. They’re not all great masterpieces, but it seems that it has become the done thing if you have a classic car. If you go anywhere interesting, or historic, with an automotive connection, or especially with an aeronautical connection, classic car owners seem to always want to photograph the car in front of it. I suppose it’s like tourists photographing the family at Disneyland, or in front of Buckingham Palace. With families and with cars there’s the desire we have to record that we were there, that we made it, but with cars especially (and maybe with great aunts too) there is also an element of ‘one classic in front of another’ to it. I even have a photo of the 410 next to a very scruffy and down at heel Fouga Magister we passed in a village in the back of beyond in France last year. On that occasion I stopped partly because the Magister is one of those planes that I hadn’t thought of for years, but largely because seeing one there reminded me of the Airfix version I had made years ago (the first Airfix aeroplane I built in fact). Definitely one classic in front of another.

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