I was watching the chaps on Top Gear the other night and got itchy feet when they got to the piece in which they drove three supercars along the Stelvio pass.

Usually I am jealous only of Clarkson, May and Hammond’s wealth, but the next morning I got up with a firm resolution to get on the blower to Hallett and organise myself a trip to the Appenines with a suitably outrageous car.

First, though, I had to drive to Portsmouth to collect an aeroplane bit. And do you know what? On the way back I happened to have one of the most brilliant drives I’ve had in years.

I flashed past Goodwood up the A285 towards Petworth and had to overtake no more than four cars. At Petworth I turned right onto the A272; then, within a few miles, turned up a country lane (not even classified, I think) to a village called Plaistow, which has the most authentic village stores you could imagine. No pasta, but a couple of very nice sausage rolls.

I’ve been banging on about the fact that there’s still great driving to be had in this country if only one makes the effort. Only a few days ago someone was telling me how it wasn’t worth driving a nice car because the roads are so chocked. Motorways and city centres may be, but if you get into the countryside on a work day, there’s still plenty of fun to be had.