It has long been an ambition of mine to have the Car Club come down to our adopted home in the Cotswolds and at last a break-through occurred to enable this and to make the visit particularly special. The area is blessed with a number of rare and famous car collections and after some months of patient networking it finally became possible to visit one of the holy grails, the home of the collection belonging to Nick Mason of Pink Floyd fame, and his family.
We were fortunate that perhaps the most famous Ferrari 250 GTO of all was indeed on display despite the risk of being taken away to some concours or other. There was a choice of Bugattis – one being run for our benefit and others being rebuilt by an on-site engineer dedicated to the purpose, such is the passion for the marque. We were indeed grateful for this once in a lifetime chance to tour and dream in the halls of these unique and beautiful cars. It transpired that the boss is the chairman of the ambassadors of the Navy Heritage Flight at Yeovilton, home of our affiliated 825 Squadron, so a brisk fund raise produced a decent cheque that we donated to the CO Commodore Jock Alexander during the more recent golf match.
Driving the long limbed, rangy roads across the top of the ridges and down in the combes of this area of outstanding natural beauty is part of the pleasure of visiting the Cotswolds. We managed this in some style with an eclectic mix of Alvis, Jensen, Aston Martin, Porsche and even a very rare straight eight Railton of Ecurie Maxwell our King of Gin. Such is the everyday stuff of Distillers mounts.
Our target on the second day was the delightful distillery of Liveryman Dan Szor who proudly showed us round the stone built stillhouse and maturing warehouses. Just days away from becoming whisky we sampled this delicious spirit, warm and fruity, just the way the distiller intended.
About to be launched at Vinexpo the general feeling was that they had a winner on their hands, so we presented a Distillers Quaich to make sure it had a good launch. Already there are plans for a significant expansion – which gives a further excuse for a visit in the future – if one were to be needed!
You cannot make whisky without rain and so we should not have been too disappointed when Sunday dawned wet and windy, and the idea of a walk in Cider with Rosie country suddenly seemed less appealing. But we had enjoyed fine sunny weather until then, great company, a convivial meal at Chateau Kemble, home of the Watlings, and some delightful foodie experiences in nearby Nailsworth and at the top of Rodborough Common, with spectacular views across the five valleys that converge on Stroud.
That now concludes the 2017 programme that has taken us to Prodrive and Aston Martin , Chatham Historic Dockyard and now the Cotswolds. So now is the time to hunker down with a fine malt whisky and work out the plans for 2018 and more fine drives, great company and interesting visits along the way, perhaps across the channel this time – we shall have to see.