A bright, crisp first Sunday in December was the perfect backdrop to the East Anglian section of the Bristol Owners’ Christmas lunch at the Ravenwood Hall Hotel in Suffolk.
Driving there along the A14 a familiar shape appeared in my rear-view mirror as Churchill the 411 closed in behind. As we made our way up the drive to the hotel we saw several other cars had beaten us to it and were making an impressive statement parked right outside the entrance.
I parked next to Churchill and the above photo shows the Chairman’s 410 nearest the camera alongside Warwick Banks’ 404, Nick Challacombe’s 407 and Richard Phillips’ 411 - recently the runner-up in Classic Car Weekly’s Classic Car of the Year competition.
The roads on the way back home were dry but the temperature was falling and after we had turned off the A14 onto the A137, bound for Manningtree, we encountered one of Essex County Council’s gritters coming in the opposite direction. There was an awful racket as it sprayed my bonnet with grit and rock salt but thankfully there was nothing that Neil couldn’t polish out.
The good weather had certainly encouraged a good turn-out with 23 club members arriving in 10 Bristol cars, ranging from a 1948 400 through to a 1979 603. A few more next year and we will be able to take over an entire room in the hotel!
Here’s to a very happy Christmas and a Bristolling new year.