Today I went to Pendine Sands to watch the attempt on the UK Electric Land Speed Record (details here).
It's not been a great day, despite the weather improving from a drizzly start to a glorious finish. I got there shortly after 1 pm, to hear that the record attempt had been postponed after the Bluebird had hit some soft sand and sustained some damage. The attempt would be delayed by an hour or so, and so I found my mates from the Triumph Club and we sat in the sunshine with a beer and some fish and chips. Perfect seaside fare, except that we were plagued by wasps. For the first time in my life I was served fish and chips in a box.
Nowhere in the world does fish and chips like Yorkshire does, and this was disappointing fare. I'm one of the old school who thinks that the newsprint added flavour, and that the modern fashion for clean white paper (or, whisper it, a polystyrene clamshell and a fork) is just a poofy fad which will never catch on. So having them in a cardboard box like a, well, like a pizza actually, was definitely an offence against culinary tradition.
I then strolled onto the sands to watch the entertainment and had an ice-cream. (Awful.) I met a couple of the other guys and we chatted for a while. We then heard over the tannoy that the Bluebird would be making its way back to the start line (where we were standing) to re-charge and make another attempt. Re-charging takes about half an hour, and is accomplished by a huge portable generator pulled behind a truck. You can see it in the middle of the picture.
Perhaps this is the solution for the 'range anxiety' said to be the main reason why motorists are not clamouring for electric vehicles at the moment. Each electric car to tow its own generator, fuelled by - well, petrol, naturally. It's all brilliantly thought out. The emissions don't count if they come from somewhere else, like - er - a power station.
The man on the tannoy then said that while driving back to the start, the Bluebird had hit another patch of soft sand and had broken its nose-cone and shaken the driver up a bit. Both were OK, but the record attempt would now be delayed until 5.30 pm. I expected to be home by then (the grass is like a forest after the France trip, and this has been the first dry day), so I decided to leave. First, I called in at the Museum of Speed to catch a look at the famous Babs, the car which killed J. G. Parry-Thomas in 1927 during an attempt to win back the land speed record from Malcolm Campbell, and which was buried under the dunes of Pendine until it was excavated and restored in the 1960s and 70s by Owen Wyn Owen. It is now in running order and is quite a sight.
It's much, much bigger than it looks here.
I started the bike and set off down the main road in Pendine. I was travelling at only 10-15 mph and had not yet put my visor down, and a Pendine Wasp flew into my face and wedged itself between my cheek and the side of the helmet. It stung me and then, in revenge at my poking it out with a gloved finger, stung me again. I pulled over, ripped off the helmet and inspected the damage. Of course I couldn't see it, as it was on my cheek a little below my eye, so I asked a passing Young Mum if she would have a look at it. Luckily, she turned out to be a nurse, so I was quickly examined and pronounced alive and in no immediate danger. However, it hurt like hell and was making my eye water, so I abandoned plans to meet up with the guys for a cup of tea later and made it straight for home.
S'pose I'd better cut the grass ...