Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jolly ‘Ol Silverstone

Otay, once again your Humble Scribe is woefully late upon publishing this... As it along with the past several rounds of this year’s Formula One World Championship has been floating ‘round in another No Fenders WormHole – ACK! And thus, today begins a plethora ‘O Grand Prix recaps in order to hopefully get caught-up to the current F1 race on the 2010 calendar...
Silverstone ‘09With the perceived threat of Uncle Bernaughty’s open declaration of angst against the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) and Silverstone, having dropped the bombshell one year ago (2008) during the race weekend that he’d awarded the British round of the F1 calendar to rival Donnington Park for ten years beginning in 2010… And then expanded to a staggering 17yr deal, I like many was left wondering why Emperor Bernardo would do such a STUPID thing to Silverstone. After all, it is the historical home of the British Grand Prix, having hosted the very first race of the modern Formula 1 championship way back in 1950.

Birth of the modern F1 championship
Thus, with the imperative that last year’s event was slated to be its final fling after some 50 odd years, your Humble Scribe had the good fortune of attending the race courtesy of Tricia & Robert Nearn, who I’ve previously chronicled in: Button’s Up, who just so happens to be a member of the British Racing Drivers Club, (BRDC) the circuit’s current owners...

Having arrived in London Wednesday morning (June 17th) just prior to the event; hence, having been in a virtual news blackout for 72hrs, imagine my surprise when on Thursday evening prior to suppertime, Robert divulged the fact that the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) had announced their intentions to form a rival “breakaway” racing league and had ceased all negotiations with Sir maXXum, nee MAD Max Mosley and the FIA, which in turn had imposed the deadline for all 2010 Formula One team applications to be filed no later then Friday June 12, 2009 just one week prior to the British GP, as the FIA and FOTA had become locked in a fierce battle over control of the sport after Mosley mandated a cost cap for Formula 1 in 2010. (But that’s a whole ‘Nother story eh!)

Weighing up the rivals in F1 row

And thus, in a dual universe, I’ve attempted taking notes from both my pilgrimage to Silverstone and SPEED’s coverage via le Memorex...


D-DAY for F1 Teams! - Friday Notes (6/19/09)Today is the deadline for the FOTA Teams to drop their unconditional demands and cow-tow to Sir maXXum ‘N Co. Of which I’m not privy to, nor know the outcome of it all since Tricia, Robert and I all go to partake in the “Wee Charlie’s” very first Sports Day at his School’s outdoor facility which happens to be next door to the Wetlands Centre. (Sanctuary) As the British Schools hold an All Schools “Field Day” each year... This comprises of each class/level having individual events, Funny events and team relays. The Funny events were comprised of a painting race, three legged race, Swan race, role the egg race, etc. There’s also a Father’s race, Mum’s race and a 30 person’s Mums/Kindren relay of which was run for the various Houses, of which I still don’t quite understand … As apparently there’s three Houses in the school, comprising of Orange, Green and Red.

Whilst sitting in a traffic jam of everybody leaving the event, Tricia asks should we go to lunch instead. Thus we eat lunch at the Wetlands Center’s cafeteria, where Charlie enjoys playing the various kids’ games, before we go for a Walkabout thru the grounds, even briefly joining a tour guide, who explains how magnificent the Wetlands Center sanctuary really is, as we’re only 4.5 miles away from the City Centre of London. As originally 125 acres were to be left undeveloped, being donated by the late Sir Peter scot, a devoted Naturalist who passed away in 1989...

In order to fund the project, the Thames Water District sold off 20 acres of the parcel to developers for a reported L11 millions pounds, while another L5 million pounds has been accrued thru donations, with the Wetlands Centre having opened sometime in the year 2000 and its estimated that 350,000 tourists flock yearly to the centre...

Wetlands Centre intro
Our guide told us as we stood in the visitor’s centre looking down the vast central expanse of Wetlands that pipes draw 1% of the Thames River’s water and are circulated thru the marshes and ponds. A large, deep trough has been dug in the centre of the marsh to enable the catching of fish when the water level is lowered, before ultimately being returned to the Thames…

That evening Tricia drives us across the Thames River once again on another errand, and as we skirt about London it suddenly dawns on me of how much it reminds me of being somewhat similar to New York with its constant hustle bustle of traffic everywhere; taxis, cars, motorcycles ‘N scooters, people scampering to ‘N fro, etc. As we parked her VW Beetle and walked towards our destination, a British Pub in order for me to try some “Pub” food for supper, as I thought for certain it’d be a most smoky affair, having forgotten that smoking had just been banned inside all establishments (Smoking Ban came into enforcement 2yrs ago, same time as Ireland; All UK?) and as we turned the corner and walked past an outside seating area, Tricia commented that that was the smoking area…

But I DON’T believe this was any usual type of British “Pub” faire, as I ended up going for the two most outlandish items on the menu after she read it to me… (As ALL of the choices sounded very FOREIGN to me) Uhm? I really would like the Potato soup, but just not the Escargot it comes with, especially since I’ve NEVER had Escargot! As I ended up ordering the Potato soup with SNAILS as my appetizer and for my main course...

Whale, for the past two mornings I’d awoken to the sound of Birds, or more specifically Wood Pigeons, which Yep! You guessed it! Just so happened to be on the Pub’s menu, so, in for a pound, in for a penny, eh? GASP! GULP! I’ll have the Pigeon… As I went ahead and ordered the fowl as my main course that evening, along with a pint of the local brew as we sat in the darkened Pub awaiting our food.

Our appetizers arrived and I gritted my teeth, as naturally my very first spoonful of soup would be complete with a bite ‘O SNAIL! URGH! Afterwards we were joined by another couple at our table, as the Pub continued to fill up, whilst we all chit chatted.

Then our (eagerly awaited?) main dishes arrived, mine being the Wood Pigeon with Potatoes and Vegetables, as the bird was served fully splayed open with its wings still attached…

As I tried carving the miniscule meat off the bones and swallowing my hardly cooked, rare fowl, the man sitting next to me commented; I see you haven’t quite made up your mind yet over it… As I sat there futilely sawing away at the blood red fricassee in the darkness, as all I was able to latch onto were the Pigeon’s multitudes of bones… Before Tricia finally took pity upon me, asking do you want me to cut that up for you?

Uhm, GULP! As I sat there taking my time digesting the redish fowl, which reminded me of liver, which is definitely one of my favourites… (NOT!) Veggies, fowl, swig ‘O Beer; North Hook (Hampton?) Bitter, Potatoes, Veggie, Fowl, you get the idea, as I noted that it was a very interesting dinner of which I managed to consume the majority of. Although my stomach did protest on the way home which Tricia heard, along with thru the night…

And in a strange, twisted sort ‘O fate Alfred Hitchcock way, I swore I didn’t hear any of the Wood Pigeons for the very first time Saturday morning!

Several weeks later, Mary Ellen would remark; did you do that just to have another story to write about in your No Fenders Blog?


Friday Practice Notes (SPEED TV)As the Telescreen’s opening shot of coverage pans in on a Sky diver replete with humongous Union Jack unfurled, David Hobbs announces that Bob Varsha is running a tad bit late, having just joined the Breakaway Announcers group… And thus he’ll be along shortly; oh look here he is now… Dropping in on us as we speak! While Steve Matchett can be heard chortling in the background.

Varsha then quips; why does this FIA-FOTA scrum make me think of the scene in Blazing Saddles where he holds the gun to his head and tells somebody to stop me before I shoot!

Varsha then brings in “The House ‘O Windsor” (Peter Windsor) for his two cents worth on the controversy… As Peter immediately defers to Sir Jackie (Stewart) for his take upon the matter, to which JYS replies,

Sir Jackie Stewart:“I DON’T LIKE IT! But you cannot say sign on the dotted line by Five O’clock tomorrow on something that needs to be negotiated away from the racetrack during a GP weekend.”
Meanwhile Varsha noted BRAWN GP’s newest sponsor, a prominent British clothier, noting;
“We may not have very much money but we certainly look sharp!”

To continue reading, see: Jolly ‘Ol Silverstone (Con’t)

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