I knew when I wrote that previous article that a lot of you would respond with ‘Yeah but that’s because you’re Captain Slow lol crappy smiley face with tears to show I’m not really funneh’. So here’s version two.
This time, we shared the house-locking duties. I remained only for the gate-closing, an activity of such deep significance in this ongoing experiment that it’s become known as ‘Gategate’.
This time, though, we took the low route. Instead of turning North and enduring all the Middle Ages before the big dual carriageway, we turned south, which takes us straight to a nice A-road. Sal (she’s still called Sarah in real life) was but a minute ahead.
She was also still in the Panda, with the usual plant pots. I was in the new Alpine A110, more of which later in the year on Grand Tour. It has 248bhp, weighs the square root of diddly, and is the greatest thing to come out of France since the Mouli cheese grater.
There are some single-file road works on this stretch, controlled by lights, and I arrived at them on a red. It’s a long red. I treated the lights as a drag-strip Christmas tree and I think the bloke waiting at the other end was alarmed at the speed with which I dispatched the bollarded chicane.
I caught up with her outdoors within a couple of miles. And sat behind her through another succession of villages. I really wish people wouldn’t live in the countryside. It’s for driving through and looking at.
But then a straight bit. I banged it down a couple of cogs and flew away quicker than the yellow bird up high in banana tree. Now I arrived at Salisbury, which adds a frisson of excitement to the contest through the risk of being poisoned.
I couldn’t help noticing, as I slowed for various roundabouts and what have you, that although the rear-view mirror of the Alpine is comically small and the view quite restricted, it was big enough to reveal the grinning visage of the woman I love and who loves me as she continually pulled up behind.
But, after a bit more urban sprawl and tortuous backroad, it was time to rejoin the fast dual carriageway of the original route. I’m ahead, but it’s my job (as IC internet, light bulbs, and groceries) to stop at the supermarket with petrol pumps attached and buy ingredients for supper.
I went round the shelves like a ram raider and was back in the Alpine (‘Alpeen’) in under three minutes. Then I was back on the slip road to the motorway and you know how the route goes from then on.
A few things to bear in mind. Sal will never go above 70mph on a motorway or dual carriageway. I will. We both stick rigorously to urban speed limits, because we expect other people to do the same through our village. We both used the same route, as usual.
More importantly, however, I didn’t have to put the car in the garage, because it’s not mine and I was using it early the next day anyway. Ha! So this time I aimed for our little side road with the intention of parking right outside the front door.
At that moment the phone rang. It was Sal. How far off was I, and did I want a glass of the Riesling?
Look; the Alpine A110 is genuinely fast. It is also an adorable car. It will enrich your life, certainly, but it won’t save any of it.