Right now I am sitting in the back of a big black Audi A8, being chauffeur driven from Gatwick airport to my home in Hove. I've spent the last two days in Florence driving the brand new Bentley Brooklands. A chap called Peter Robinson is at the wheel, and though he’s no relation to the Peter Robinson whom I used to know and love working with at Autocar, he seems like a decent enough sort of bloke. Who can drive an A8 precisely how it was intended. Fast and smooth, just how you’d like to be driven at the end of a long two days away.
This is not normally my kind of world. This is not normally the kind of thing I do. This driving of £230,000 Bentleys and then being chauffeur driven home is, you imagine, usually the preserve of the highest of high flyers. And today I’ve had a taste of their world.
Except I haven’t, really. Last night I caught the 19.55 flight from Gatwick to Florence having got the train from Hove to Gatwick. By the time I arrived at the hotel in Florence it was already well past midnight, and although I hadn’t eaten properly all day I didn’t much feel like eating at that time, especially since everyone else had gone to bed. So I went to bed as well, and couldn’t get to sleep, as is usually the case in hotel rooms.