The day of trials. “It’s cheaper today, full of enthusiasts with not so much money,” said aunt Shirley.
Her Alpine Sunbeam meant that we got to park in a field very near the entrance to the track. “All tax-exempt cars this way”, it said. I should tell of the beauties we were parked between, in front of and behind, but I’m rubbish at that. And there were three days of it. All I can say is that there was a dark green one, a couple of pewtery silver ones, a red one, a beige one, they were all gorgeous, and that Shirley said “Oh no, not next to the American one,” on one of the days, as we were being flagged into position. It was a field full of works of art.
The NAAFI tent
Despite my earnest desire to push more cars, there were lots of JAP, Cooper, and 500 enthusiasts around, all so eager I didn’t get an opportunity. However the 9 had flaked off overnight. Poster paint wasn’t the best idea. Blackboard paint worked well though. I became my aunt’s general factotum, carrying things, finding things, finding people. Shirley decided that we should change into some finery so we went to the Naafi tent (that’s what it was got up to look like…all sorts of RAF posters and cots and uniforms and bales of hay and the long tables covered with WWII maps) that was attached to the Rolex Driver’s Club. It was guarded by two men in uniform with “MP” arm-bands. One walked along a pathway lined with photographers eager to get pictures of legendary motorists. They were everywhere. Every lovely elderly gentleman who caught my eye and smiled caused Shirley to whisper “That was ………,” and I’d try to remember and then get it mixed up with the last name. There was a clutch of actors dressed in 1930s clothes pretending to be shooting a film, complete with vintage lights, vintage cameras and vintage megaphone. They were mostly ignored, and as the three days went on they took more to lounging on the chaise-longes and less to shouting down the megaphones. The Ladies’ Powder Room had an ironing board, an iron, and hessian floors. Three full-length mirrors.
Ready to plug the forthcoming album...
As soon as we walked back out all lipsticked and tarted up, the photogaphers started to take notice.
Shirley wanted to see the planes. So did I. She said that, as I looked to be dressed as a spy, I ought to pose in front of an enemy plane.
Wish you could see the backs of my tights. They have seams, but also little bows as part of the seam design. A bow for each ankle. I took some great photos of Aunt Shirley in front of some of her favourite planes, and am waiting for her to send them to me!
The most impressive plane, to me, is this beauty. It went faster than anything in the world in 1929. 328 miles per hour. Imagine! It was the space shuttle of its day. Steve, who was with the Solent Sky museum in Southampton and stood nearby to prevent too many people knocking at the pontoons to see what sound they made, knew all about his subject and made it fascinating. But he also knew about my sort of music! Rudy Vallee (and how he died) and Deanna Durbin!
Shirley did her trials, and she, along with the rest of the 500s, worried about the weather for the next day’s race. This day was dry, and the next day had rain forecast.