DSCF1120Here in Eastbourne on England’s south coast, we have a very long, flat promenade, with a road running alongside. A new tourism feature is a 1927 chauffeur driven Rolls Royce taking people for a ride.

Pam’s 98 year old Auntie Joan lives with us, and a good friend had her mum come to stay recently, so we were having morning coffee as a party, me the only male listening to four ladies talking, when there was a gap in the conversation. I interjected while I could.

‘How do you two ladies fancy going for a spin in a vintage Rolls Royce?’ That was a conversation stopper. Silence. I continued

‘I have booked a chauffeur driven ride in about twenty minutes, if you are up for it?’

I could not get another word in, as they excitedly discussed between them what they would do. ‘How long will it last?’ ‘How much?’ ‘Will we be cold?’ I had to wait for another conversation gap to answer appropriately.

Twenty minutes later we were standing by the Rolls Royce, parked at the foot of the Wish Tower slopes, a ten minute stroll to the west of the Victorian pier. Phil their chauffeur was standing proudly by the car, with his lady assistant on hand to place a blanket over their legs after they had been gently placed on the accommodating leather bench seat.DSCF1121

The warning device is an old fashioned bull car horn by the driver’s right elbow, and Phil honked the horn twice as he gently drove away. The two ladies started their regal wave, more royally than the inhabitant from Buckingham Palace. This wave had started its life in the coffee house, and was now so accomplished that Auntie Joan does it from the confines of her wheel chair as I push her along the Eastbourne promenade.

We had arranged with chauffeur Phil that we would meet at the pier, so the non-travellers scurried along the seafront pushing an empty wheel chair. Passers by stared in surprise at us and were, I am sure, tempted to ask ‘you’ve lost the old lady’ but we were travelling too fast.

The car horn honked to announce its sedate arrival, and a crowd gathered to see who had arrived. ‘Was it someone famous? Is it a pair of old actresses? Where are the film/tv cameras?’ None of these. It was just Auntie Joan and her friend May, with a combined age of 179.DSCF1122

In case you are wondering, in the photos Auntie is the lady behind Phil, May on the passenger side. They tell everyone about the day they went for a ride in a vintage Rolls Royce. With their own personal chauffeur.

Phil Power as the Vintage Motoring Company takes passengers on a variety of journeys. These two ladies went on a taster trip lasting ten minutes at £10 per person. Tip is not expected but very well earned. www.vintagemotoringcompany.co.uk 01323 733332

Harry Pope is www.harrythewriter.com and www.harrytheblogger.com

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