Sun, rain, work, fun and mud… Goodwood Revival 2017

It’s September so it must be the Goodwood Revival. Time for our favourite and busiest weekend of the year.  Mario had been invited back to the taxi rank (our 19th year and Mario’s16th) and with great excitement we’d also been asked to join in the Fiat 500 60th anniversary celebration parade – more of that in the next blog.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon and went to the circuit to sign on for the parade. The drivers club had been transformed into a stretch of the River Thames complete with willow trees and the Richmond Rowing Club. The circuit was very busy with last minute preparations and the Freddy March Spirit of Aviation Party was about to start. We returned to the house for the traditional cricket match and Spitfire display.IMG_1871DSC06739DSC06770DSC06745After getting all our paperwork we settled into our accommodation and then went to the Goodwood Hotel for a lovely supper in the revamped restaurant – Farmer, Butcher, Chef. Using all of the estate’s products the food was superb and the decor interesting, our table was a display case full of agricultural bits and bobs. Fiat 500’s get everywhere, there was one in the hotel lobby! We decided on a relatively early night in preparation for the weekend ahead.IMG_1872IMG_1875Friday morning started rather damply and the day got progressively worse. Even though we were doing the afternoon shift at the taxi rank we were on site early as the Fiat 500 celebration parade was Track Oopening. It was exciting to see the baby Fiats everywhere and Mario felt very ‘at home’ with the Italian theme – we loved the ‘Italian Job’ Bullion Van Coffee Shop!DSC06775IMG_0152IMG_0169As in previous years on the taxi rank Jane drove Mario, James was driving ‘Regie’ the Renault 4cv Convertible and our friend Craig had ‘Kato’ the Subaru 360. The rank was made up of an assortment of classics spanning several decades of motoring including ACs, several Jowett models, old London Cabs, Mercedes, Austins and more. I’m afraid there are very few pictures from the taxi rank this year, when we were working in the afternoons it was very wet and we were kept very busy. On Friday when the racing goes on late we were driving from 1pm till 8.45pm and pretty much continuously during this time between the Circuit, Hotel, Kennels and Goodwood House. The traffic seemed especially bad around the circuit this year and with the appalling weather conditions and the amount of water and mud on the road it was quite a difficult task. However all three cars performed impeccably and we we still completed 100km a day which might not seem much but on one occasion it took 40 minutes to get back from the Kennels to the circuit!

We had to grin at the sight of the new Rolls Royces’ sitting in large deep puddles outside the entrance, unfortunately we didn’t get a picture of the rather odd white and orange version which looked particularly sad. In the late evening the sun could be seen through the clouds and the Goodwood Park looked rather beautiful in the damp.  On Saturday evening even Lord March (Duke of Richmond – as the old Duke had sadly died a few days before the Revival) was also stuck in the traffic in his Ferrari, he waved but didn’t look too happy, I’m sure the traffic situation was looked into very quickly!

Mario didn’t get to drive anyone famous this year, James gave a ride to Super Bike Champ Troy Corser and his ‘regular’ passenger rally hero Rauno Aaltonen.  Mario did give Vlogger Petrol Ped a lift back to the Kennels and we featured on his vlog of the day.DSC06943DSC06798IMG_0163DSC06938IMG_1904

Because of the parade held every morning we were on late taxi shift everyday but actually this worked to our advantage, as we had the best of the weather in the mornings when we had a chance to look around. On Friday we looked round the stalls and met up with some friends and then had a look around the paddock. We saw Dario Franchitti filming for the Revival TV coverage.DSC06802DSC06808DSC06810Fashion is a big part of the Revival and lots of the visitors wear great outfits. Liberty had a great display of vintage outfits as part of the March MotorWorks, I loved the outfit below. For my own outfits, I have gone a bit more sixties and practical because of the amount driving and getting in and out of Mario required – dressing in lightweight coats, trousers and flat shoes but adding interest with elaborate vintage accessories and by designing and printing my own period looking ‘Mario’ fabric for the coats. The coats attract a lot of attention and people love it when they notice ‘Mario’ on the fabric. This years coat went one step further and had special “Mario’ lining as well!DSC06811DSC06870On Saturday and Sunday mornings it was lovely and sunny and we enjoyed just wandering around looking at the cars in the paddocks and the attractions. As usual we didn’t see much if any racing on the track but this doesn’t really bother us as we catch up on TV later. Following is a selection of images from around the Revival…

We loved this Ecuire Ecosse D-type with a matching J40 Pedal Car for the Settrington Cup.DSC06841The Red Bull P38 Lightning US WW2 fighter plane was superb, I just caught a glimpse of it’s unique twin boom shape in the air but couldn’t grab the camera in time.DSC06849DSC06852 (1)DSC06866DSC06874DSC06880DSC06882DSC06888DSC06897We had a ride on the ghost train which was tremendous vintage kitsch, all damp string and illuminated skeletons. The hand that grabbed your shoulder made you jump though!DSC06910DSC06912DSC06915DSC07005DSC07010DSC07017DSC07037So all in all a pretty good weekend, the cars ended up pretty grubby but with no mechanical problems so all came home safely.IMG_1924IMG_1925

Coming soon… all the fun of the Fiat 600 celebrations at Goodwood.


Style and the City… The Tweed Run 2015

2015slider1“The Tweed Run is a metropolitan bicycle ride with a bit of style. We take to the streets in our well-pressed best, and cycle through the city’s iconic landmarks. Along the way, we stop for a tea break and a picnic stop, and we usually end with a bit of a jolly knees-up”.

Regular readers will know that James was given an entry to the 2014 Tweed Run and this great event got us into cycling (on the flat, at the seaside!) and then led to us getting and restoring Cynthia an early 80’s Italian Cicli Cinzia bicycle.

So earlier this year we applied of tickets for the 2015 Tweed Run, Unfortunately the event is always very oversubscribed and we didn’t get lucky but then our friends in Derbyshire came up trumps with a spare ticket so we decided that, as last year, James would ride and I would be the roving photographer.

We set off for the ‘Big City’ about 8am last Saturday morning and made really good time with no hold ups. Yet again, we were pleasantly surprised, finding free parking in Westminster – all day on a Saturday – and we were early enough to have a fab breakfast in the famous Art Deco style, Regency Cafe, which opened in 1946 and has appeared on TV and the movies. A short cycle for James and a stroll through the beautiful St James’ Park, for me, got us to the start in Spring Gardens beside Admiralty Arch. It was a glorious spring morning and there was a great buzz of activity as the 700 entrants parked their assortment of bikes, everything from Penny Farthings to ‘Boris’ hire bikes’, and wandered over to Trafalgar Square for the official photo. There were some fantastic tweedy and vintage outfits, extraordinary facial hair and lots of flower decked bikes. I took this opportunity to hop on a bus down to Westminster Bridge to get a good spot for the classic ‘Genevieve’ photo.IMG_0847DSC00467 DSC00475 Tweed RunTR-mapThe official photo took longer than expected and waiting on a very busy Westminster Bridge, I was concerned that I had missed them but then out of the traffic the first contingent of marshals arrived. In previous years the marshals have stopped the traffic at junctions to allow the ride to go through on mass but this year the riders had been told they had to obey the traffic signals and so the event became much more spread out. It didn’t look as impressive and personally I thought it caused more disruption then just letting them through together.DSC00505DSC00510DSC00512DSC00513DSC00516James and our friends Mark and Richard on the tandem came through quite early on.DSC00522DSC00523DSC00525DSC00535DSC00540DSC00544DSC00549The passengers on this coach must have been surprised at being eye to eye with a cyclist!DSC00552Then I spotted my friend Marge The Tweed Queen who makes wonderful tweed goodies in Derbyshire. She looked absolutely fabulous in her hand made tweed outfit with her bike uniquely decorated with tweed, matching panniers, a lovely vintage box on the rack and a basket woven with tweed strips and decorated with crochet flowers in strong black, white, green and orange.DSC00557DSC00561DSC00587DSC00598DSC00600It was then a quick dash by tube for me, over to Holborn for the tea stop in Red Lion Square. It wasn’t long before the tea was ignored and the Cocktails made an appearance and we all enjoyed the magnificent Cheesey Moustaches made by Marge. The tandem had some improvements this year to help with transporting the supplies, with Mark constructing panniers out of vintage metal file boxes.DSC00607DSC00612DSC00620DSC00622DSC00639Then it was off across London again to Hyde Park, a quick dash to the tube ensured I arrived first, to get a place along the Serpentine, although in retrospect I wish I gone to the end of the Mall and got another iconic London Shot with Buckingham Palace in the background – although the park was beautiful it didn’t really give the photos a recognisable destination. The ride was bunched up before they came through the park and I’m sure they gave a few ‘normal’ cyclists and roller skaters a bit of a surprise.DSC00654DSC00660DSC00662DSC00665DSC00673DSC00678DSC00687DSC00694DSC00698DSC00702DSC00711DSC00713DSC00721Poor Marge who had a major operation just a couple of months ago and probably shouldn’t have been cycling at all, was finding it a bit of a struggle and so we walked over to Park Lane and flagged down a lovely taxi driver who quickly agreed to take ‘two ladies and a bicycle’ over to the picnic stop at Saint Pancras Gardens. We only got there as the ride was arriving, having been round the edge of Regents Park, so it goes to prove that it is quicker to cycle in London. The Gardens and Old Church were very picturesque and everybody had soon spread their blankets out and were busy picnicking on the grass.DSC00763DSC00770DSC00776As always Richard had laid out a wonderful spread with smoked duck, salami’s, salad, cheese and a selection of delicious Granny Mary’s potted meats from their local Derbyshire. Another of Mark’s innovations came into play with a copper tap on the bottom of one of the panniers dispensing red wine!DSC00778DSC00784DSC00791DSC00798DSC00806This pic shows some of the detail of Marge’s bike dressing, such a lot of work which was to be rewarded later…DSC00821DSC00823Although lovely and sunny there was a very chilling wind and after a leisurely break everybody was quite keen to get back on their trusty steads for the short ride down to the finish in Bloomsbury Square, the more sheltered square was much warmer and a perfect location for a celebratory finishing glass of bubbly. The prize giving and end of ride party was held in the adjoining art deco Bloomsbury Ballroom, where they made a rather fine cocktail or two. We were all delighted to find out that Marge’s endeavours had been rewarded and she had won the ‘Best Dressed’ bike award and she was given a really cute leather bike bag from sponsors Pashley.DSC00849DSC00845DSC00866DSC00875After some suitable celebrating we retired to have supper and discuss a great day. I really must get into ‘training’ and do longer rides and gain some confidence in cycling in traffic, so Cynthia and I can hopefully take part next year. The problem is that Cynthia’s best accessory is a little large… although we did suggest that Mario with Cynthia on a roof rack would make a perfect course car!DSC04325You can see more of our pictures of Tweed Run 2015 online

Vintage day in the big city…

Yesterday we decided to have a day out in the ‘big city’. Having worked (and commuted) for twenty years I now work from home so it’s quite a shock to the system to go back. After a remarkably easy drive up which only took just over an hour we parked within walking distance of our destination with no problem, I find it amazing that on a Sunday parking is so easy and free! We strolled over to the Southbank where the Classic Car Boot Sale was being held.10685550_713635338719648_2329346387515021717_n-630x225

At the entrance we saw this lovely VW bus and bumped into an old acquaintance who had previously purchased our old Citroen H Van. He had his lovely Renault Estafette on Display, although it is currently in disguise as an Italian! Having been a fire engine in France for nearly thirty years it was purchased by a film production company in 2012 and transformed into a Ferrari Team Vehicle for the movie Rush. Now ‘probably the most famous Estafette in the world’ it has had it’s interior converted into a camper while retaining it’s film role livery.DSC09122 DSC09123 DSC09125

The Classic Car Boot Sale is put on by Wayne Hemingway’s ‘Vintage’ team who put on ‘Vintage at Goodwood’ several years ago. I was a little disappointed in the number of cars although there was possibly more than you realised as they were tucked away and often covered in goods for sale. A lot of the merchandise was in gazebos rather than with the cars but it was interesting to poke around for a couple of hours.

Unfortunately we didn’t find any vintage ‘must haves’ (well only a fabulous fur coat but that was over £400!), generally the prices I saw seemed quite reasonable, I was quite surprised as I thought the location would have ‘upped’ the prices. It does annoy me though when traders don’t have their goods priced, I’m sure it looses them lots of sales. It was a fun morning and we chatted to some nice people, especially the team who run Eroica Britannia – a vintage cycling event we were hoping to go to but which unfortunately clashes with James’ rally.

There was quite a varied but slightly uninspiring collection of cars, rather worryingly we were both rather drawn to the Austin Allegro, I think in my case mainly down to the rather fabulous ‘Marioesque’ colour! One area had been set aside for food traders, most of these were also cooking and serving out of period vehicles, there were so many Citroen H-Vans that I shouldn’t think there can be many left in France, it’s a shame we got rid of ours as there must now be a good market in supplying them to the catering industry. At least they were all selling interesting food rather than burgers. One lovely example had distressed wood paneling which looked really good.

Unfortunately the day was also very cold and it started to rain just after one so we didn’t want to hang around for too long. The show was on for two days and I think Saturday would possibly have been the better day as the weather was much nicer and I would guess that any real star buys would have been snapped up early on.

Following is a photo record of the morning…DSC09128 DSC09129 DSC09131 DSC09133 DSC09135 DSC09136 DSC09138 DSC09139 DSC09143 DSC09144 DSC09147 DSC09149 DSC09150 DSC09152 DSC09154 DSC09155 DSC09156 DSC09159 DSC09160 DSC09162 DSC09163 DSC09164 DSC09165 DSC09166 DSC09167 DSC09168Once it turned to rain we left the Southbank and walked back to the Imperial War Museum, where we spent an interesting couple of hours wandering around the displays. As this is predominantly a car blog I’ve included a picture of the rather superb Humber Staff Car. I was hopping to see the new exhibition on wartime fashion but as we’d been walking around for several hours I didn’t think I could do it justice to the entrance fee and so left that for another time.IMG_0794 DSC09187

Hoping that the weather will improve for next weekend which is the Goodwood 73 Members Meeting, so look out for a full report early next week.

Fabulous Goodwood frocks…

OK I know this blog is predominately about cars but just this once I’m going to write about a frock… It is car connected as it’s this years Goodwood Revival ‘Mario frock’ and I promise there will be lots of pictures of Mario.

Last year I decided to print my own Mario fabric and make a vintage style dress to go with the car, it was so successful I decided to create another one for the 2014 Revival, the idea being that if I do another one next year, I’ll have a unique and personal frock for each day of the Revival. PrintDSC06091

After some thought I went down the ‘postcard’ route, that sort of ‘wish you were here’ tropical style 50’s design but with a bit of a twist as the postcards would all feature Mario. The first idea was to take pictures of Mario in front of landmarks in the area, sort of ‘Paris, Rome, Madrid’ but replace them with Bognor, Selsey and Pagham but it was difficult to find good locations so the idea evolved into landmarks at Goodwood, the places we drive to as part of the GRTC taxi fleet.

We went down to Goodwood on a fairly sunny Sunday and spent the afternoon driving round the estate taking pictures of Mario at the Circuit, Race Course, Hotel, Kennels etc and this formed the basis of the design. Below are some of the original photos, some of which didn’t make it on to the material design.

DSC03682 DSC03688 DSC03694 DSC03703 DSC03738 DSC03750 DSC03769 DSC03779 DSC03784 DSC03790 DSC03796 DSC03800 DSC03807I took the images into Photoshop and using some filters to give them a more 50’s illustrative style the pictures were mixed in with palm trees, postmarks and typography on a Mario lime/yellow background. Luckily I’m a graphic/web designer in my daily life and so the fabric design was quite straightforward for me. To produce the final fabric, I use a brilliant company in America called Spoonflower, you upload your designs, use their software to sort out the repeat and then they print the fabric digitally onto your chosen fabric.Postcard - earls court Postcard - entrance Postcard - pit straightHeaderLogo_NEW Layout 1 spoonflower-page

I wasn’t very organised this year and ran out of time to get a sample printed, so I had to bite the bullet and go ahead and order the whole 7 yards required. An anxious few weeks went by, before the package arrived and I knew that the colours had printed correctly. Using reprinted vintage Vogue patterns as a base, I made a dress and matching jacket which was finished just in time, not helped by the assistance of our young cat Birkin (named after Sir ‘Tim’ Birkin – we already have an older cat called Bentley).IMG_1230IMG_0549 IMG_0561

The dress was a great success, I wore the 2013 model on the Friday and the new one on Saturday and Sunday but with different accessories, it’s amazing how people don’t notice the print at first and then are amazed that it is the car they are riding in!

DSC06234 DSC06271DSC06279 DSC06325 DSC06729I really enjoyed designing the fabric and have been wondering if there is any market for producing custom made ‘team’ shirts for historic racers using images of their cars?

Now I just have to come up with another new design for the 2015 model.

Dressed to impress…

For many years now, Jane has been building a vintage wardrobe of suitable attire for Goodwood and to co-ordinate with Mario.DSC02691

Finding it difficult to find genuine vintage frocks in the right colours so in the last couple of years I have made dresses. Visitors at the Revival often comment on the ‘matching’ outfits but many seem to think it is a lucky coincidence! This year we decided to take it a step further and design and print our own fabric actually featuring Mario.

We found a company in the USA that allows you to upload your design and digitally print at quite a reasonable cost. I took a number of photos of Mario at different angles, cut them out and added some photoshop effects so they looked like illustrations. These were put together in a repeat pattern with a 50’s style graphic and some linking lines to produce my original design. The placing had to be very carefully thought out so that the design would repeat correctly across a width of fabric.Print

We uploaded the design and ordered sample swatches to make sure we were happy with the colour and fabric choice and waited anxiously for them to arrive before bravely hitting the order button to have six yards printed, after about three weeks a parcel arrived.DSC01968

In the meantime I had made up the chosen Butterick reprinted Vintage pattern in the lining fabric and fitted it to avoid wasting any of the unique material. The day I had to cut  the Mario fabric was rather daunting as I had no time left to get any more cloth if it all went wrong. The dress was made with a couple of days to go and some of the left over scraps were used to make hankies for the boys top pockets.

A trip out found a lovely new hat in a perfect shade and a huge sort out of my vintage collection produced outfits for the Thursday and Friday plus accessories for all the outfits. All packed up in our new matching vintage luggage we set off for the Revival in style.IMG_0236DSC02641

On Friday we were amazed to see this lady who perfectly and unintentionally matched Mario and much better than me!DSC02722

However on Saturday the new frock was revealed. I was very happy with the result especially as people didn’t notice at first which hopefully means that I achieved the proper vintage look, before suddenly exclaiming “OMG your dress is like the car”, I’m sure that some people still thought it was a lucky coincidence!

The dress got such a great and positive reaction that I spent the very few quiet moments over the weekend designing in my head, next years fabric… watch this space.



Had to post this pic of Mario’s cutest passenger. This lovely little chap (sorry I don’t know his name) was sitting patiently in the salon while his Mum had her hair done. He was pleased to sit in Mario and really looked the part with his little suit, satchel and gas mask. There were loads of cute kids dressed up this year, including a little lad being towed round in a toy jeep wearing a tiny army uniform (not sure if he was one of the actors) through to a baby in a hand knitted ‘hoodie’ straight from a 50’s knitting pattern and lots of pigtailed girls in floral dresses and ankle socks. Quite a few original prams and pushchairs too, really nice to see whole families getting into the spirit of the event.