If you’re lucky, you will stop only twice during the Run – once at Brighton… and once in Crawley, roughly the Run’s mid-point, where coffee, tea, doughnuts and the chance to stretch your legs are provided.

Crawley was packed with people, excitement, and enthusiasm. As we came into the center of a beautiful cobblestone shopping district, I saw people walking about with huge white boards. At first, I thought these might be light reflectors, since there was quite a bit of photography going on. But as we pulled into a parking spot, I saw one of the boards disappear as it was slipped under our car. The town of Crawley was simply protecting its cobblestones against the odd oil drop. This tells you a lot about Crawley.

Above: Mary Ellam and her Darracq. Note the CPD (Cobblestone-Protective Device) placed under the car.

Mary and I went to get something hot to drink. Bill – and this tells you a lot about Bill – went round to look at other cars and talk to other drivers. Bill talked to people to whom he had sold a car. He talked to people from whom he had hopes of buying a car. He simply loved being with and talking to other drivers and owners

I won’t lie to you – I could not speak when I disembarked from the Darracq. This was a physiological rather than emotional impediment… my jaw seemed frozen. My legs weren’t full operational, either. Most of the sensation in my ungloved waving hand was gone. In summary, only selected portions of my body were working.

Meanwhile, Mary and I were being treated like visiting royalty. We were actually escorted through the crowd to a large room where local people had volunteered to dispense tea and coffee. The power of speech returned to me with the first sip, so I was able to approximate the word “thanks.” Maybe it was just me… but I think it was the lot of us… all the London-Brighton Runners… that inspired a certain look of real pity from those serving refreshments.

Last year, Dinah Sheridan taught me a euphemism, not well-known here in America, which comes in handy at this point in the story. 

Since coffee had been provided at the start, and then again in Crawley, I realized that before we got back on the road, it might be wise to “spend a penny.” I asked one of the nearby policemen where one might make such a "purchase"… and for the first and probably last time in my life, I was escorted to this location by a constable, who then waited for me, in order to lead me back. Due to my multiple layers of redundant clothing… he actually had a bit of a wait.

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