Well, it’s time for our first blog on the Climping Cottage website. Please do bear with me as I am a newb! Although I am sure that there will be times when it will be a question of racking my brain for an idea on what to write about, Lord March has made this choice an easy one, for just ahead of writing this we visited the wonderful Goodwood Revival.
If you have not heard of it before, the Goodwood Revival is a vintage motorsport and aviation event. This year, the aviation aspect of the celebration was quite spectacular and even managed to turn most heads away from the cars. As the cars are rare and beautiful, that is quite a feat.
The most awe inspiring aviation event was the reuniting of the last two remaining airworthy Lancasters. They were flying together for the first time since 1964, creating a spectacular site and sound overhead. In fact we were a little late arriving and it was the first sight we were greeted by. Already excited from dressing up to the nines in 50’s gear and wearing more make up than I had for years; this sent the level of excitement into overload. They were swiftly followed in the air by a Canberra and two hunters and a gaggle of Spitfires and Hurricane fighters. All this and we were still in the car park!
Along with the air show there was plenty to see and before we even entered the event proper. There is now a Revival car park and if your car fits the given criteria, you may park in this inner sanctum. You also then become part of the event in a similar way to the regular Breakfast Club events. You could quite easily spend all day just looking around the spectacle that is the car park. There is also a fun fair, car vendors, restorers and purveyors of vintage goods and food.
I asked my father, who restores old cars, what he would most like to see a picture of and he asked for a Jaguar SS100. This was my mission. No doubt the real thing was there somewhere, but I at least found this beautiful replica for his album. I can see why he likes it, as it is like his car on steroids. Definitely his cup of Darjeeling. I keep trying to persuade him to come along and he nearly made it this year, although I really don’t think I will ever get him out of the car park.
If time allows, you could even enter the event itself, where it seems that the further you walk, the more interesting it becomes. This is where I fell foul. In the interests of completing my outfit, I donned heels to go with my swing dress and there is a serious amount of walking to get around the track and generally the attractions are spread out over a vast area. By the time my poor toes were starting to protest, I was miles away from the car and reluctant to turn back for the pumps. I found myself looking enviously at those who had decided to go for the land girl look in dungarees and brogues or, the sensible girls who had worn a swing dress but with plimsolls and ankle socks. I was not alone and noticed plenty of others starting to carry their shoes or sitting on the banks shoeless and taking a well earned break.There were even a few men complaining of weary feet at the end of the day!
We also found the parking shuttle was unclear and not as helpful as it could be. There seemed to be one offering from the car park company and another from Goodwood. For those with limited mobility, but not quite at the stage where they require a mobility scooter, the event could be a lot more user friendly. Perhaps a mini vintage steam railway, of the type at Chessington zoo when I was a child, made to be able to ferry weary adults when they need a break. Somehow, in the weird vintage World that is created at the Revival, I don’t think this would look odd at all.
Also, at times it did feel like we were walking from one bank of food stalls to another and I was starting to wonder where the cars were! Whilst American diners, with swing bands playing alongside seemed totally in keeping and were great fun, I think a little more thought could go into the deployment of other refreshment venues. They had tried, but it just ended up seeming messy, smelly, over-powering and detracted from the event.
All in all though, we had a ball. Surrendering to the sore feet, we finally headed back to the car and stayed for a further hour or two enjoying a picnic on the grass and watching the planes go overhead one more time. Frankly, I would go just for that!
The enduring images were of folk dressed in vintage 50’s clothing of all ages swing dancing in front of total strangers at 11am; an elegantly dressed lady in 40’s wear sitting side saddle on the fairground horse and a little lad of about two sitting on the ground in tweed strides, flat cap and braces with a deliberately grubby face and ice cream all round his mouth (a wonderfully vintage urchin). These should keep me going until next year.
For those even remotely interested in classic cars, motor sport or vintage style and entertainment, this event is a must. In fact, I would suggest you steel yourselves and go for the weekend. The tickets do book up early and always sell out, so decide and book. The dates are expected to be announced before the end of this year. We will announce them also on Twitter @climpingcottage.
In the meantime, “chapeau” Lord March.