Driving to Silverstone
By Ignatius F. Makarevich
I awoke in an alien environment. This was a good thing, however, as my nerves had been rather like an electric buzz of late. The room was brightly decorated in light, earthy tones. I opened the wide window’s curtains fully and was greeted by a vista of … sheep. Quite a few sheep there were, too, standing like groups of bored, stuffed animals as they munched away. This was the Midwest of England, and I was coming to get a deeper understanding of the extent of the differences in our cultures. I got ready quickly, for today I was to drive over to legendary Silverstone, home of the British Grand Prix, for a class in piloting Formula Fords.
I strode excitedly to the mundane rental car, careful to get into the correct side, and got in. The starkly utilitarian interior of my steed was forgotten in looking at the scene around me. It was right out of Channel Thirteen. The warm, golden sunshine gave the land an interesting tone reminiscent of a tour through New England or upstate New York in the summer.
It was early in the morning, so traffic was nil as I pulled out onto the road. Accelerating quickly through the gears so as to set a good pace, I was taken again by the pastoral farm scenery. Small rolling hillocks with short grass, sometimes of a different color were everywhere. The whole of the land seemed covered by a checkerboard of squares made of low bushes, dividing the hills into blocks.
The tires made a nice, kind of crunchy noise on the smooth tarmac of the somewhat narrow country lanes. The radio was off to catch the birdsong and the quietness of the country. As I watched, the scenery seemed to not follow the pace of the car, almost as if the land was sentient and affording an extended view of its beauty. Yes, it was good to be on holiday.
Turning my attention more to the driving, the wonderful roads filled my heart with fun. Winding gently, the smooth tarmac beckoned, alluring in its sinuosity. Taking full advantage, I raised the pace to a sporting level. The tires made a nice, happy noise, and the motor hummed along in tune. The scenery followed suit and passed by at a nice, zippy rate, a bit of a dust trail in the rearview mirror. My heart was a song, no need for the radio.
One thing about the drive that made it fun is the wonderful street signs that are all over the country. So used to the ruler sized American signs high up on a pole, these were a treat from heaven, large, low-mounted signs that were truly impossible to miss. They relieved almost entirely any anxiety of taking a wrong turn. It is most heartening to know there is a place where they think about people who drive for fun in a place they have never been.
Accelerating powerfully up a long, wide, low hill, there was the sign for Silverstone! A nice, sharp turn to the left onto another little lane that shortly afterwards opened up into a large open area chock a bloc with industrial buildings with the names of famous race car makers emblazoned on their faces. Exhilarated and relaxed in a pleasant way, I pulled into a parking spot knowing this was going to be a very good day.