Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Bob and I duly set off to Dover on the Thursday evening and caught the ferry to Calais. We then drove leisurely through France avoiding the AutoRoute and into Paris arriving there the next evening. Paris was a real experience for both of us to drive in. I had been in Paris once before with Ginger and it was an absolute mad place for driving. Bob and I found our way into Paris fine, but we could not find our way out towards Switzerland? After driving around for hours on end, asking people for directions in English, as neither of us spoke French, we finally found the road we required and headed off towards Switzerland, endlessly listening to J.J. Cale on the 8 track.
It was Saturday morning in the early hours when we drove across the border into Switzerland and we were in the Broström house in Epalinges by early afternoon. The housekeeper came to the door and was happy to see her little car back safely and we were asked in to see Piranne. She came down the stairs dressed in really expensive clothes, a white silk blouse with a tan suede mini skirt and matching waistcoat and looking a million dollars saying, “It is good to see you again” and I introduced Bob to her.  We were invited to stay for some cake, coffee and a chat when Masten Gregory arrived and we were introduced to him. Masten was a famous racing driver but had retired a while ago and he lived nearby. He was advising Piranne on a new Quadraphonic Stereo system for her house, which was all the rage at the time.
Piranne asked, “How long are you staying in Switzerland?” and I said, “We are going to fly straight back to London today”. I was not sure if she had made arrangements for our flights, but she said, “I will arrange your flights once you decide which day you wish to fly home, as surely are staying over in Switzerland for a few days? I am sure she did not think about what we earned for a living and that this was a big trip for us, living on a shoestring, as her life was in fact worlds apart from ours. Then she asked, “How are you getting around whilst staying in Switzerland?” and I told her we assumed someone would drive us to Geneva to fly home that day? She said, “Nonsense please take my Porsche 911 and use that during your stay.” It was apparently not running as well and it would be a big favour if we could look at it and see if we could do something about it. This seemed to us to be no more than an excuse to help us out, not the other way round, so we politely agreed and took the keys. She also gave us some cash and said, “Go up into the mountains and check it out up there and also stay over for the night.” I thanked her and told her we would tune the car up for her whilst we had it, which she thought was fantastic.
So we drove off in the Ivory white Porsche 911S and headed along the E62 towards Culley and Vevey and then we took the E27 through Montreux, Martigny, Sion and then up into the mountains through Goppenstein to the Ferden dam. I had been up to this particular route and mountain road previously with Ginger. I explained to Bob that it was a typical Swiss mountain winding road, like you see in the movies. It was a very sunny day so we opened the electric sunroof and played Andy Williams, “There’s a Summer Place” on the 8 track tape as we climbed up the twisting road.
This was a good test of the Porsche 911 and we needed all of its power to drive quickly up the mountain. We checked the spark plugs and made some small adjustments to the carburettor settings along the way.
We changed drivers quite often and then we arrived at the reservoir and seemed like we were on the top of the world. We took a few photographs and then headed back to Lausanne and found a small hotel for the night. 

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