Easter Weekend in London (Oh Deer!)

This is the first post that is going to be written more or less at the same time that it actually happened. As we’re currently the closing stages of Easter weekend, and the events also took place this Easter weekend. As far as the back store goes, my close family had decided to make use of their Christmas presents from me—a wine tasting experience at Vinopolis—which meant that they would be descending upon London on Easter Saturday. Having already decided that I should make the most of the long weekend for myself and my Ferrari, I had already planned to collect her on Good Friday and spend the weekend in London having brunch, lunch, and dinner, and generally just cruising around, (and just maybe joining my family for some wine).

First things first though: I needed petrol—and this wasn’t just a casual need such as when you’re getting low—I was almost totally out of fuel! The indicator was showing nothing, zero out of ten bars! Somehow, I managed to reach the Shell garage on the east of Swindon (one of the closest to my parents that offers V-Power Nitro+). Having inched my way there, I felt it was only fair that I give my 360 some of what she deserves, and so took a slightly longer but faster route back to my parents, via the M4 and the connecting country roads. This short morning jaunt was followed by an afternoon of attempting to clean her between the showers that peppered Good Friday.

Saturday morning I was London bound, first for some Parkrun volunteering and then a bit of cruising around the West End. I had always figured my first drive to the Q-Park at Marble Arch would be in something a little less conspicuous but never got around it. It was largely uneventful from a driving perspective, although I did, at one point, spot a LaFerrari and attempted to catch up but it turned off just as I was getting close. Then a short while later I crossed paths with a McLaren, and obviously in a secure, underground car park there were several more Ferrari’s wrapped up and resting.

Sunday was another perfect day: the sun was out, there were other Ferrari’s strolling up Park Lane, so I joined them (briefly). I actually set off up Edgware Road, aiming for Saint Albans. No sooner had I dropped my friend off, I was joined at a roundabout by a Lotus Exige S. (You can see where this is going…) As we pull away, we’re both hesitant—still in first gear—not sure if the other is about to floor it. And then we do! We’re near-enough neck and neck (if anything, I will concede that the Lotus had the edge) and so as we approached a slower car in his lefthand lane, I backed off and allowed him to pull out in front. Then we approached the second roundabout for round two, and in a reversal of fortune, I was clearly in front as we closed in on roundabout number three. There was no round three decider, we just slowly cruised to the final roundabout, thumbs up out of the windows, and then we each went our separate ways. I won’t normally accept a challenge, partly because I don’t want to let the side down for Ferrari, but more importantly because I have a lot to lose by being caught driving dangerously, yet on this occasion I couldn’t resist.

It seems that your deity of choice is’t without a sense of humour, and no sooner had I joined the M25, was I plunged into the tail end of a long traffic jam. For roughly forty minutes we crawled along, everyone slowly roasting in their cars. I watched my water temperature slowly rise from (where it usually sits at) ¼ to ½ before the fans kick in to keep the water from getting too hot, and then drop back as soon as I hit motorway speeds after we’d cleared the accident. (How’s that for heat transfer‽) After switching from the M25 to the M40, my journey was only broken up by my stop for more petrol near Fairford—I was’t as empty as before, but it had occurred to me that it might be wise to store the car with more fuel than none. Before heading back to my parents to complete my mini-Easter-tour, I made a dash in to Malmesbury to see some friends, and I was more than happy to find a space in the centre of town.

Easter Monday; not a good day! In fact, far from it. It started like any other idle Ferrari-driving morning with the sun beaming down. I decided to head out for an hour or so, no particular destination in mind, before giving my 360 a wash and heading back up to London. I wasn’t in any rush, and was happy just to be behind the wheel. My route thus far had been to approach Malmesbury and then head north to Cirencester, and driving through the centre of Ciren. I noticed that it was particularly quiet and in such a situation it makes no difference to going around the bypass. Once I hit the A419 it was south to Marlborough. I didn’t make it; pulling away from the roundabout at the M4 I passed a white van (there are two lanes heading up the hill, so though nothing of it), and then there was what can only be described as death and destruction! A muntjac deer darted out in front of me! Despite hitting the brakes I was still doing approximately 30mph when it ran, head first, in to my bumper.

As you can imagine, my first thought was Oh crap! I wonder how much damage that’s done? I continued slowing as I rose to the top of the hill, and spotting a bus stop, pulled over to inspect the damage. I’m sure the guys in the van behind must have been wetting themselves with laughter as they watched a small deer go head-to-head with a Ferrari. Having seen what had happened to my bumper, and after cursing the deer population in general—I was at least a little thankful that it hadn’t been anything bigger—I turned round and gingerly drove back to my parents. There was to be no more fun that day.

Since returning to London I have been able to question other Ferrari owners, at the monthly Ferrari Owners Club, London Area Group meeting about restoration verses replacement of the bumper, as well as inquire and source quotes from both Slade’s and Garner’s. The general consensus is that it’s a repair job, not so serious that a new bumper is necessary, so that should at least limit the financial damage, but it’s only a small consolation (and none whatsoever to the deers widow). I hope to have this all sorted by the end of the month, but it’s rather dependant on who comes back with a quote. I also have a feeling that I will need to move the car around a bit as there’s only so much information about what work needs doing that can be gained from photographs. That’s pretty much all for now, I will have more to say once I get some more definitive responses regarding the repair; hopefully it won’t be too long.