Thursday 28 December 2023

Rally - A Seasonal Tale

Thirty years ago my big pal Jaggy persuaded a very good friend of his to have a shot at rallying. His name was Chic Murray and as well as ‘mine host’ of the Bruntsfield Hotel in the southside of Edinburgh, Chic was one of Scotland’s top comedians, not just stand-up, but hosted his own TV sketch and comedy shows.

In fact it was in the Bruntsfield that the friendship blossomed and they became such firm friends that Chic converted two of the tarmac parking spaces outside the hotel bar windows into a nice grassy patch and flower bed. The sole reason for this was that Jaggy’s fall would be cushioned when he was frequently ejected from the premises through the window and landed on his RS.

It has to be said that Jaggy was rather puzzled as he thought his behaviour was perfectly acceptable for such a quaint and historic ‘Auld Reekie’ establishment but Chic regarded his behaviour as ‘drunk and disorderly’ i.e. Jaggy didn’t drink enough and should have ordered more!

Anyway, knowing of Jaggy’s propensity for the sport, Chic thought he would have a go and experience for himself the captivating attraction and adrenaline fuelled thrills of rallying.

He actually wrote an article which was published worldwide (around parts of Scotland) about his first (and last) venture into the world of motor sport and this is reproduced below:

-  -  - Chic Murray’s Guide to Rallying – a Festive Fairy Tale  -  -  -

I awoke with a start. Funny really. I had gone to bed with a finish. I knew she was finnish, blond hair, blue eyes and legs that went on for ever, but there was something funny going on, or else I was hungover. I knew it was a hangover. I was in a garage for airyplanes and they had all been flying around inside my head before I went to bed. It must have been bad booze or bad company that caused me to wake with a start.

Still it was fortunate. I needed a start. The car’s battery was flat and despite putting an airline on it overnight it was still flat in the morning, so I took the start outside and it worked first time, the car fired up. I quickly extinguished the fire and climbed aboard and started off. Handy thing this start, and I was to need it later when I started the rally.

This was difficult too, since I had to start the rally on the drop of a flag, then jump into the car, start it up and start off on the event. Unfortunately the dropped flag wrapped itself around the front wheels and the starting official was flagging me down to let me know. I didn’t stop. I drove past the officer and wound down the window to tell him to “flag off”.

The forests called. In fact it was so cauld the polar bears were rubbing boy scouts together to make fire. But I arrived at the end of the road section in one piece. My other piece was on the window shelf. It was a jammy piece for later refreshment. I entered the forest.

The marshals called. In fact they were so cauld they were frozen to their spots. I offered some advice. Clearasil soap would quickly remove their spots. They were grateful.

The start marshal produced a flag. This was the second flag I had seen today so I was a bit wary. Anyway he gave me a quick countdown. I told him I didn’t like TV games. He shouted ‘Go’, so I went, carefully avoiding the start flag and set off up the forest like a scalded cat. I knew it was a scalded cat. I had scalded it. The radiator had spurted a jet of hot steam on to the Marshal’s pet tabby and the cat leaped on the roof.

I tried to ignore it but it was difficult. I put the screaming noise down to what was under the bonnet, not sticking to the roof. The scream continued to rise almost deafening me. I changed gear. Not an easy thing to do, getting a one piece suit off in the tight confines of a car while driving and then change into something more casual. The screaming continued, so I changed gear again, this time back into something more sporting.

The spectators were besides themselves with amazement but it doubled their numbers. Every time I changed gear it brought a new gasp of astonishment from the assembled hordes as they knowingly spotted the source of the screaming. It was a cat on a hot tin roof.

At the end of that stage I was in the lead. That was to be expected, I was using lead-free fuel and I was now free from pursuit. I could tell I was nearing the flying finish, the marshall was flying. It had something to do with the whisky bottle in his pocket but he dropped the flag as I sped past. I remember seeing him in the mirror picking up the flag, but the finish marshal had already stopped the clock. A face like his would turn milk sour inside a coo never mind stop a clock. He gave me my time, I gave him some of mine, and we parted the best of friends.

I left him behind, which was not surprising as there were already two bums in the car and I didn’t need another behind. I headed for the next stage and the marshal clocked me in. Clocking cars is against the law so I told the marshal not to do it again. He appreciated my advice so I gave him some more: Be kind to your mother – leave home.

The second stage used to be a drover’s road so I drove steadily, the third stage was full of hairpins but they came in handy. They kept the hair out of my eyes. The fourth stage was a blinder. The Notes didn’t work so I drove it blind. The fifth stage was flat-out all the way – my seat back broke. The sixth stage was a real blaster. I put that down to the Tunnock’s curry pie with extra helping of beans.

There was just one stage to go, so I went. It was a very nice stage. In fact I cleaned it. That meant it was even nicer still. No-one else cleaned it so it got dirty again very quickly. This upset the conservationists. Still, it was no place to build a conservatory. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

At the rally finish, the marshal had another flag. It was either white with black squares or black with white squares but I avoided any entanglement. Then a very coarse clerk approached and told us to climb on to the roof, gave us two bottles of champagne and told us to spray it all over the place. I couldn’t see any fish, maybe the cat ate it, so I drank it instead.

The bubbles went up my nose and the liquid went down my throat, then the world turned upside down and I went to bed after the finish.

… I knew she was finnish, she had blond hair, blue eyes and legs that went on for ever … I awoke with a start ….

P.S. This is an abridged version of the full tale as those of a ‘woke’ and sensitive nature may be offended.

P.P.S. Anyone who doubts the honesty and veracity of this account may need counselling. Regular readers will know it’s all perfectly trew!

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