A slow drive around Costa Blanca

We have just returned from our family holiday to Spain an occasion I particularly enjoy for many reasons. These include uninterrupted time with the children, the sun, and a chance to read a book, but most of all, to drive a vehicle with a bit of nip.

That was until this year. My experience almost rivalled the cut-and-shut Belarus/Transit hybrid I had the misfortune of driving in Turkey 10 years ago. It was such a bad car I did not even recognise the shape, let alone the badge on the front grille.

When booking this years car on the interweb, we prudently decided to save a couple of euros and reserve a Toyota Yaris as depicted on the website.

My anticipation grew at Alicante airport when told I was to get a Lancia instead. Just thinking of the great Lancia rally cars had me salivating like Pavlovs dog.

That was until I saw it. Once we had picked up the child seats from Roy (not a fully-fledged Spanish national) and shoehorned everyone in, it was time to tackle the ramp out of the car park. I put the lack of performance down to the engine being cold. Worse was to come when my run-up to a hill was interrupted by an eager Bedford Rascal being driven by a horticulturalist called Manuel.

The change from 3rd to 2nd gear was smooth and then the Rascal started pulling away. Only we werent, in fact the Lancia was getting slower and if it were not for Vickys moment of inspiration in turning off the air conditioning, then the shameful prospect of changing from 2nd to 1st with a queue of traffic behind us might have become a reality.

While cruising around the Costa Blanca at a snails pace, it at least allowed me to study Spanish agriculture. There were no signs of buffer strips, skylark plots or an ACCS inspector in sight.

As the UK is looking like being a net importer of wheat this year, could the grain trade ensure each imported load has the correct sticker please?

I imagine there is as much chance of this as there is of our Lancia winning the Spanish Grand Prix.

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