Tuesday 25 June 2019

Suffering for one's art

The Dunoon presents Argyll Rally is one of the very few events where travelling by ferry is an option, and perhaps that's why so many folk choose it. For those in the east and the south it offers a genteel and picturesque shortcut with the chance to chill out for half an hour rather than driving through Glasgow and Dumbarton and up Loch Lomondside and through Arrochar, which is usually clogged with tour buses and logging lorries, caravans and motorhomes, furriners and rubberneckers, but for my big pal Jaggy that was indeed the favoured option, as opposed to the more relaxed sea crossing.

The reason was simple, this week's Press Appraisal Vehicle was a Ford Fiesta. So what? It had an ST badge on the grille and on the boot. A 200hp, 1.5 turbocharged little firecracker of a machine.

To make best use of it, the big chap set off at early hours o'clock to beat the traffic and take the long way round the top of Loch Long then down through Strachur past Loch Eck to Dunoon.

Ever mindful of the profusion of speed cameras, which seem to be as plentiful as midges these days, the big chap had a ball. Of course top speed is limited on A and B roads, but if you don't slow down for the corners, you can still have barrowloads of fun.

The ride was pretty firm on its 17 inch Michelins, but it clung to the tarmac more ferociously than a Cowal midge to a peelly waally tourist and it shot out of corners like Edinburgh's 1 o'clock gun.

There was one ever so tiny wee drawback. The Recaro front seats. They were either designed by one of those infuriatingly fit, gym-generation, nuts and grain fed masochists with six packs and buns of steel or a disgruntled teenager denied treats at home and at school who wanted to get his/her own back on normal shaped adults.

That's the reason the big chap was trudging so awkwardly around the Service Area. The side bolsters of the driving seat were never designed for those possessed of a passion for all things Scottish cuisine, especially if served up in batter in newspapers, or inside a hot water pastry crust reeking of minced mutton and gravy.

And yet, ever mindful of his duty as a responsible fair minded motoring journalist the big lad never once complained even as he limped awkwardly up the slope at the back of the Service Area, because he had to drive the delightful wee thing home again afterwards - after having let the traffic die down! In life, it's not just food that needs to be savoured.

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