Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


SO THERE I WAS, comfortably hob-nobbing at the Stewards’ Enclosure of the 1988 Henley Royal Regatta. We encouraged favourite teams and, between rowing events, chatted about university days, motor racing, and other things held dear. 

Food and Drink. Tasty hors d’oeuvres were in abundance and so were refreshing quaffs of Pimm’s Cup No. 1. No drunkeness, mind; just congenial camaraderie prompted by graceful ambience. 

After a light lunch, libations changed to Pimm’s Royal Cup, Pimm’s mixed with champagne. Again, nothing to excess. And, besides, most of the attendees were only a short distance from their overnight accommodations.

My Drive Home. By contrast, I had an early evening birthday fete to attend about three-quarters of an hour away. And, aware of the U.K.’s strict laws with respect to inebriated driving, I slacked off on the Pimm’s Royals maybe an hour before my departure. Plus, of course, there had been lunch and all those tasty hors d’oeuvres.

0 Mod3. A gentle rise preceded a downhill to the M4, whence my westward drive. There was a queue heading down the hill, with a policeman periodically waving a car onto the layby. 

Here, my vast mathematical background came to the fore.  Indeed, it was every third car being pulled over. And my borrowed Ford Escort RS Turbo was a 0 mod3. 

Agg! What about all those Pimm’s lingering in my system?? What about the headline, “R&T Scribbler Gaoled!”?? And would they actually spell it that way?? 

Saved by a Nicked Rally Light. Sure enough, the Escort RS Turbo and I got the wave into the layby. It was at least in part because of the 0 mod3, but also because the policeman was keen to see this out-of-the-ordinary hot little hatchback.

A similar 1988 Ford Escort RS Turbo. Image by Kieran White from Wikipedia.

“Sir,” the officer said, “someone’s nicked one of your driving lights.”

If there was any residual alcohol in my system, his words shocked it out of me. Geez, from the Stewards’ Enclosure!!

What followed was an amicable, albeit brief, chat about the RS Turbo, my International Driver’s license and being R&T’s engineering editor, and even the workings of an English Breathalyser. 

“Ah, yes. That would be with an “s,” I said, “not a “zee, er, zed.” 

“Well,” the officer said, “I must return to my duties. Have a pleasant drive.” 

It wasn’t until I settled into a steady 70 on the M4 that I was hit with a giant sense of post-Pimm’s relief. 

And, yes, this Henley boater became an objet d’art in my R&T office. I forget what was being celebrated in this happy snap. I’m sure the lei wouldn’t have passed muster at the Stewards’ Enclosure. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2021 

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