By Webteam - 31st July 2017 6:08am
As a keen supporter of the Transport Festival, I was delighted to be invited by my friend Bernard Gribbin to ride shotgun with him in his Austin 7 at this year's festival.
I was a little surprised on arrival at Hankelow to be told that we were to lead the parade and that we would be filmed by TV as we drove through the village but after a crash course in how to do the "royal wave" we set off feeling very important.
From watching the parade in previous years, I knew that traffic jams in the Littleheath area were commonplace and the journey would be slow with plenty of time and opportunity to practice the wave. What I had not realised was that leading the parade you set the pace (speed bumps in Heathfield Road? Never saw them!) and we arrived on the playing fields in double quick time and parked as instructed right at the front.
Unfortunately, Bernard is such an efficient driver that the television crew in the square entirely missed us (probably still in the pub!) so we were asked to go round the loop again so that they could get us on film, but of course we could not get out of the field until all the other vehicles had arrived and parked.
So, somewhat belatedly and with great support from the Stewards, Bernard manoeuvred us from the front to the back and out of the car park so that we could go round again and this time the cameras were all in place to record the scene so everyone was satisfied.
It seems somewhat unkind and embarassing to add that Bernard's wonderful Austin 7 broke down just as were re-entering the car park and we had to be pushed the last few yards to get us off the road but fortunately pre-war Austin 7s were built before you needed a degree in computer science to understand anything about what goes on under the bonnet and a minor electrical fault was easily fixed.
Perhaps I should also add that, unbeknown to me, Bernard has been very involved with the making of the TV programme and has been interviewed several times including twice on the day of the Transport Festival and is well known to the TV crew, so he is a real "A Lister". If he needs an agent, I am available.
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