Lunch in the Cotswolds

With the summer over and autumn upon us, it’s that time of the year again when Ferrari’s are put in to hibernation until the spring. Before I could tuck my 360 up though I wanted to have one last weekend of fun, and boy was it worth it!

The weekend started with an uneventful journey out to the west country, where my Ferrari had been “holidaying” on my parents’ driveway (as I’d been back-and-forth on several weekends through September). The original plan for this second weekend in October though was to attend a family reunion in Stratford-upon-Avon, but I soon noticed that the Cotswold area group of the Ferrari Owners Club were holding their monthly meet in Ampny Crucis. I quickly made arrangements to attend and in the week leading up prayed for sun!

The journey to Stratford-upon-Avon was not as straight as it could have been, although this was due to the visits I had planned to make along the way. The first waypoint was in Cheltenham: an old uni friend for a late morning coffee. It was an uneventful drive via the M5, although the satnav did direct us around the housing estate past the school and all of its speed bumps, for which I was entirely ungrateful! That said, the drivers of Cheltenham were very courteous and at least twice, as I pulled out of side roads, I was waved out and given right-of-way even if I was intending to cross several lanes of traffic.

After leaving Cheltenham I had originally intended to head straight to Stratford, but was persuaded to join my parents and grandmother for a quick pub lunch in the village of Cradley. This made the finally leg of the journey a little easier as I could rely on my dad to lead the way to the Macdonald Swan’s Nest Hotel. (Whenever we’re in convoy I always wonder whether others can tell, as both our cars have AMA in their number plates…) Upon arrival to Stratford we were greeted with utter carnage: The carnival had come to town and so the town centre was virtually gridlocked—there’s nothing quite like inching through a town centre in a Ferrari.

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Although the Saturday was dry and pleasant, Sunday morning lived up to its name and brought with it a beautiful sunny day. Lunch was set for 12:30 and a little over an hours drive down the Fosse Way. The steady level of traffic helped keep me honest as we cruised along the wonderfully straight road, and although the GoPro battery died with only a couple of miles to our destination, it will hopefully give in insight in to how down-to-earth sitting behind the wheel of a Ferrari can be on public roads. Pulling in to the carpark of the Crown, it was relieving to find we were neither early nor late and that there was plenty of space available. With introductions made, we wondered in to the restaurant.

The lunch was fantastic: a lovely roast with all the necessary veg, although dessert was too much, especially after all of the food we’d already eaten over the weekend. It wasn’t long before we had to make our goodbyes, as our journey was not yet over; the finally leg to return the car to Slade’s Garage so she can serviced and safely stored for the winter months. Though unfortunately for us, Slade’s is closed on Sunday’s so we would have to park the Ferrari outside the showroom (under the CCTV cameras) and then catch the bus to the station—a rather inelegant way to end a weekend cruising around in a Ferrari 360, but nevermind, it hardly mattered after the weekend we’d had and we were just grateful to be home.

That’s likely to be it for the year—unless there’s a surprise outing—and it’ll be the spring before many Ferrari’s are back on the road. Drive safe.

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