A little light reading
Twelve months ago when I was in Europe my mate James Palmer was travelling on a similar route and at various times our paths would cross. It was at one of these rendezvous, at our mutual friend’s place in Frankfurt, when he pulled out a book he had picked up in England.
There as here, the AA is a longestablished (as old as the motor car!) and very august organisation, not noted for its sense of humour. Yet, they had produced this delightful tome The Gentleman’s Guide to Motoring which had me on more than one occasion laughing out loud. So you can imagine my delight to see a copy at Octane Books’ stall at the NZFMR meeting at Hampton Downs in January and I simply had to have it.
To begin at the end, there are summarised “Ten Rules for the Gentleman Motorist” which for your edification and education, I shall repeat for you to learn and practice from this day forth;
1/ A gentleman motorist recognises only two speeds – a moderate tootle and a fair old lick.
2/ The gentleman motorist eschews mundane traffic manoeuvres and instead errs on the side of the impressively flamboyant.
3/ The selection of a vehicle should be based on the shininess of its metalwork, the voluptuousness of its design and its pre-1973 vintage.
4/ Never venture behind the wheel of a car unless in suitable attire accompanied with goggles and a pipe. It is impossible for a gentleman motorist to wear too much tweed.
5/ Always greet members of the Constabulary with a distant respect and avoid endearments such as “My dear” or “Me old china”.
6/ Never take the names of Stirling Moss, Alfred Dunhill, W.O. Bentley or Alec Issigonis in vain.
7/ A gentleman regards the laws of the highway merely as a starting point on which to build his own artistic theories and extemporisations.
8/ Treat fellow road-users with the utmost courtesy even if most of them are hapless fools. A gentleman’s motto is “I doff therefore I am”.
9/ A gentleman must make a study of car mechanics, but only to the point where he is able to convincingly fake expertise beneath the bonnet.
10/ Remember the days of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, Silverstone Classic and Goodwood Revival and keep them holy.
The recommended travel arrangements for particularly unbiddable children