I woke up and it was damn cold. The sky was beautifully clear, though and I decided I had to air the Z1. It was so cold that even though the car was in the garage, it was still reluctant to start. But with the roof up for the M11, we set off to the start at Birchanger services.
When we got there, Tricky (all the way from Derby!) was already there in his Z4 coupe with Garythefish and Sandra in the blue Z3M. Dario and his dad Lorenzo were a bit late, but for some reason I wasn't as highly strung as usual.
Dario had decided to play the big girls' blouse and pitched up in a 335d.
We set off into the cold winter sunshine and very soon discovered that there was a fair whack of black ice around. This led to an odd mixture of extremely careful bimbling and the odd, very short surge along dry, straight roads.
For the first half-hour or so, I was seriously considering calling the cruise to a halt.
But suddenly the ice started becoming less prevalent and we started to find more dry stretches and I decided to carry on (although there was that one downhill stretch in the shade with skidmarks going off the road in all directions ...
We stopped at the Nandos in Kettering for lunch, and had a really good time there. The usual batty witter, I mean, er, witty banter and the food was excellent. Because of the poor road conditions, Tricky and dario decided to go straight home. I took Garythefish back to the A14 on some nice back roads and then headed home for a nice cup of tea!
Thanks to the brave souls who made it, sorry there are no photos but it was just too damn cold to faff around with cameras!
I have to say, even though I chose the route myself, it was fantastic, featuring no less than two of Top Gear's favourite roads. I think those of you who opted to stay in missed a truly fantastic cruise. I will definitely be running that route again!
Tough one. The diesel is IMO more fun to drive but the 130 has 65 more horses. I'd go for the third option, a good fisting from ann widdicombe.