Tuesday – Sour Milk


Just how do you clean quilted, white leather seats? Not surprisingly, Malin the hound hasn’t had a spell riding shotgun in the Vanquish this week – not when the upgraded trim costs an extra £10,000.

One of the worst car trim disaster stories happened to a friend of mine many years ago. On the way back from the supermarket, he spilt a pint of milk on the seat of his prized Ford Escort.

In case you didn’t know, milk dries sour and the smell after a few days is just appalling. It’s impossible to get rid of but after lots of scrubbing, my friend thought he had just about managed it.

Right up to the point when he left the side window down, just wide enough for a neighbour’s cat to creep in and pee on the same spot as the milk. Imagine that in an Aston Martin…

Tuesday – Barking


Did you know that sunroofs are a terribly British thing? You won’t find French, Italian or Spanish cars with glass roofs – it’s just us lot who need to make the most of what usually passes for summer in this country.

And every sunny days seems like the last at the moment. Today was something of a surprise, glorious weather that had me reaching to open the Forester’s quite enormous sunroof. It’s a whopper – a proper area of glass that even opens up.

While glass in the roof is good, I leave my dog Malin to decide how bright a car cabin is these days. He loathes a low roofline and whinges accordingly.

So, dog owners, I can report that if you want the ultimate ride for you mutt, the Forester has no equal. It’s the only estate car he is happy to jump into and the sunroof is just an added bonus.


Saturday – No Clown


Jeremy Apparently, when I was five-years-old, I wanted to run away to the circus. I became a journalist instead, so I got there in the end…

Tonight we drove the low-slung XKR-S across the bumps and mounds of Rodborough Common in Gloucestershire to attend Giffords Circus. Giffords is a traditional, family-run touring circus with clowns, horses and a goose.

All afternoon I had been scorching around the Cotswolds with the Jag in ‘sport’ mode and making a lot of noise. So I was worried it would be impossible to drive a supercar like this in to a circus car park and hope to avoid turning heads.

But that slow  meander across the common proved something else about the supercharged XKR-S – it can keep a low profile if it wants to. At low revs those four tailpipes aren’t outrageously loud, the gearchange is slippery smooth you don’t feel like a clown.

And with a car so screamingly blue as this, that is a very good thing. Believe me.


Tuesday – Singing in the Rain


Jessica We have left the contrasting elements of Le Mans behind, from the medieval city with Roman walls, cobbled streets (frequented by Hollywood filmmakers for movies such as Cerano de Bergerac), 14th Century stained glass in the cathedral on an epic scale, to the vast expanse of the Le Mans 24 hour circuit poised for the next pilgrimage and we are off to visit Giverny the home of Monet and his garden.

The BMW takes us with absolute ease and comfort through very British driving rain across expanses of open countryside on roads which, despite the conditions, are hugely enjoyable to drive on, overtaking (with a handy co pilot for vision) is a breeze and the heads up display keeps you up to date with your speed it feels very Top Gun fighter jet.

Sadly due to weather we did not speed drive around Le Mans in a Bugatti or have the roof down on the BMW for any length of time but the car was no less appealing and satisfying to drive as a result.

My only difficulty with this car so far is planning my seating position with the seemingly infinite buttons to be pushed, pulled lifted or pressed, I found being a passenger most testing as somehow I could not get the ideal position for a long drive. (Could be my build of course, however you would have thought with all that choice, being above average height would not be an issue).

Friday – Fashion Wagon Or Get Away Car?

Jessica Imagine shopping on a budget and finding a piece of furniture that looks well designed, has good lines and appeals to the expensive side of your nature, for a modest price.609648_santafe_050

That’s what this car feels like…………from the outside!

Once you get inside you realise you have been shopping in IKEA, everything is basic, utilitarian and clunky although the drivers seat feels like a guilty pleasure as it is like siting in a battered old arm chair.

This week the car and I have sat in London traffic visiting a London, back to its fashion roots ( it is used by models for London Fashion Week) where it was easy to handle, a good height for keeping an eye on cyclists, ignoring irate taxi drivers and avoiding buses.  We have covered the motorways, from the South West to Newmarket the home of British horse racing.

The car goes well enough, however you would not use it as a get away car and I don’t feel confident overtaking on a main roads as we are not talking throughbred under the bonnet here.  Once you are up to speed it is relatively responsive and there is some power there.

I wonder if, being basic inside it would be a good country car, mud no problem, space for dogs, lambs, children (their friends) and the paraphernalia of pony clubbers.

How it would manage pulling a trailer I don’t  know but it would be worth finding out.With the coming snow I am looking forward to seeing how it manages en route back to the South West!