22nd November 2011
So, armed with my faithful Tom-Tom and my even more faithful wife and her map, we set off from The Grand in Brighton at 6.15am on Tuesday November 15.
Our eight car convoy comprised:
Andy Cheesman and Leonidas Allkanjani in a Bentley
Mike Holland and Jemma Garrett in a BMW
Robbie Raggio and his son Elliot in a McLaren
Angelo and Linda Cavallo in a Jaguar
Essam Barakat and Peter Robbins in an Aston Martin
Clive and Jacqueline Perry in a Maserati
Guy Clinch and Kerstin Jagfeldt in a BMW
Tim and Sue Cobb in a Volvo. Well somebody had to drive a Volvo!
The drive to Folkestone and the Eurotunnel was fairly uneventful, except Angelo and I missed the crossing. A car driver in front of us had forgotten his passport and delayed the two of us. When one of Angelos passengers suggested we might be allowed to pass, the customs officer decided Angelo and I deserved a special security inspection for another five minutes.
Having found no traces of Semtex on either car, we were allowed on our way. Phew!
After 480 miles, we approached our final destination and were greeted by the sight of Andys Bentley stuck in the middle of a roundabout. Thankfully, Andy had taken out comprehensive roadside recovery insurance the previous day and so was soon in good hands. Bentley dealerships are few and far between in rural France, so the car was shipped off to Lyon and finally Geneva. (From there it made a more leisurely return to England a few days later.)
We all checked into the Chateau Pizay hotel in the tiny village of Pizay, near Macon. Its a great place and I would recommend it.
The events of Day Two to follow tomorrow...
The Brighton Beaujolais Bash was a charity event on behalf of Chestnut Tree House. Click here for more information.