I Saw Three Middle-Aged Motoring Journalists Who - For Legal Reasons - Never Worked On Top Gear

On Saturday morning I slowly cracked my eyes open, and ungracefully made my way out of the bed. Maybe for the first time since our arrival I realized that I am in a different city, and a different country. Admittedly that thought didn't really occur to me at Gatwick, or in the Gatwick Express, and not even when we couldn't find our way out of Euston.
So I chose to take my first look at the beautiful city of London during daylight. Gingerly and carefully I opened the curtains, looked outside and saw … oh look a Jaguar F-Type. 

I am not really ashamed to admit that this was true. Maybe I should be. But no. I like my F-Types.
There I was, my Clarkson, Hammond and May Live adventure had begun. However, the show wasn't due until 7:30PM. So I spent the morning with a lovely Londoner I had known for years.
While Klaudia stuffed her bag full of English books, we went to Speedy's for breakfast. I have never eaten chips this early, but I think I could get used to it. Afterwards she gave me a whistle stop guided tour through London. Some sights were seen and we also went along The Mall. And I may have – in my debatable genius – proclaimed Hey I know this, I've seen a Top Gear episode! But I suppose it is not news to her that I have seen a few – maybe all – Top Gear episodes.

It was strange how homely I felt in London. At first I thought it must be because I fluently speak the language. But I also did that in Zürich and felt a bit of out place there. In London it didn't bother me that everyone drove on the wrong side (sorry, the right side is just the right side), I adored their liberal attitude towards pedestrian crossings – just walk over when there is no car – and somehow nobody even thinks about eye-contact. It just doesn't exist. Everyone lives in their own version of London. And everything works so smoothly, despite the fact that it's a bit full. It should feel strange … but it just didn't. I loved it.

After my small science project of figuring out which car brand the British prefer (surprisingly the answer is VW) it was time to leave for the O2.
We hopped onto the tube – now with working traveller cards; thank you Laura – and then changed tubes. I knew that the O2 would be big but … I did not imagine that big. I swear I also saw the longest queue in my whole life. This was London, so everyone queued bravely and nicely.
Since the three of us had different seats we chose to pick a meeting point. Point A was by the bins, as I joked, where we belong. This sort of caused a slight mooing noise so I changed it to where I belong. Touchy bastards.

We split, one went to her posh seats – which I am very glad she had, because she has planned this for such a long time and deserved it – and the other had to get popcorn. Meanwhile I was more busy with not dying of thirst. There I was in another queue …
Since I knew that the next day we would have to leave again, and that banks refuse to change coins I dug through the coin-y bit of my money. This attracted the attention of the bloke in front of me, who jokingly asked if I had enough. I just shrugged my shoulders and replied, “I think so, just that I don't know what those coins say.“ After all I am more used to coins which are logical and have a huge number written on them, as I explained. He helped me dig though them. Afterwards we talked a little; where I come from, if I came all the way down here – I did not correct him that it's actually up here for me – just for the show and some small talk.

I have written prior that Top Gear/CHM fans are among the nicest I have ever met. It is also comforting to see that this applies in the real world as well. We parted by wishing each other a lot of fun during the show. So big shout-out to you, Nice Bloke Who Helped Me Dig Though the Mess That Are British Coins.

I couldn't quite believe that I was able to see the show until I had taken my seat and casually sipped on my water bottle. Other people just trundled down the street, and paid to see the boys. (Note to Self: Do NOT make a joke where you compare them to callboys)

Meanwhile, I had to battle my fear of flight, I threw up (once), fought with the ticket machine, got annoyed because we couldn't find the way out of Euston, and then finally reached a bed in which I couldn't sleep deeply because as it turns out a city does not make the same noises as the country side. Which makes none. I almost got killed by the shower, I didn't get out of bed very gracefully – I fell – and I am still not sure how I didn't get lost in the tube system. All of that just to see some slightly fat middle aged blokes who – for legal reasons – never worked on Top Gear.
But it would be a hell of a story, I knew. I think people can understand if for the moment pretty much all I thought was Fuck. Also in that language.

My three favourite blobs ... in the world
I wish I could share a few decent photos but they turned out to be quite crap. This wasn't due to my seat, which I liked. After all I was able to spot Clarkson's bum crack without having to look at the screen. However, the light outdid my camera. So they were not only three blobs but were most of the time overexposed as well.


Since I am a woman of words, I have chosen to take down quotes. Most people take photos, I thought. There will be millions – maybe not that many – on the internet. I do like words. So I wrote them down. Which given the slightly weird way I am, was most likely the cleverest thing I could do to remember everything that I wanted to.

Clarkson, Hammond and May Live was simply brilliant. Afterwards I knew that it was worth everything. And it would still be worth everything even if I also throw up on the flight back (I didn't). 

Clarkson wore his leather jacket, and was in a bright and cheeky mood. May wore his beloved pink and purple rugby shirt which I had hoped he'd wear. The downside was that Hammond still hasn't shaved his beard, but it was compensated by a few jokes and puns involving his penis size. Or rather lack thereof. And of course, the time when a stick which marked the start/finish line didn't want to stay, er, erect and May made a joke that that's a problem I have quite a lot lately.

Bless them, I quite like people who can shamelessly make fun of themselves. They had The Salad Shaker Of Doom with the creatively named Ramp of Death. And I am a bit ashamed that I was able to name all the cars during the car porn bit. But since this blog has little information about cars I may not do so now.



Anticlockwise: AMG GT-S ; BMW i8 ; Aston Martin GT ; Porsche 911 GTS RS ; Lamborghini Hurican ; Ferrari 458 Speciale (with the 6,000£ stripe) ; McLaren P1 ; TheFerrari TheFerrari ; Prosche 918 ; Lamborghini Aventador SV ;  Nissan GT-R ; Alfa Romero 4-C ; Bentley Continetal GT ; Audi R8 ; McLaren 650S. Middle: Aston Martin DB10 (x)

The show ended on a note of Health & Safety. The kind that told you since you'll be using public roads on the way home to please … drive fast.

Afterwards, we found ourself at Collection Point B – as in: Not The Bins – and the three of us went back to the hotel. Since I am the smallest person of the group I sort of know what Richard Hammond must feel like. Nothing like friendships which are built on light bullying.


On Sunday, we packed our stuff together. A weird thing happened … I had more luggage space in it than I had when I started the journey. It must have been my packing system which meant that I had stuffed the super little F-Type model into the cup to save space. Yes, that must have been it. No other explanation. Just when I had to stuff my small bag into my hand luggage I realized where the new found space had come from and just like that … gone.

On the way to the British Library I got a copy of The Sunday Times. Naturally because I wanted to stay on top of the news of the world - that may have just been a very bad pun, anyway - and wanted to know what is happening. And I found my favourite Health & Safety sign. It is stationed at the British Library and only there for my own safety. After all it says so, so it must be true:

Soon we were boarding the flight back, I thought that this time I might just as well be on drugs. Instead of drugs the cabin crew offered me a small chat with the Captain and the First Officer. The prospect of having to talk to such important people made me far more nervous than the actual flight, so I quietly retreated to the seats and pulled my shit together. I felt quite good and surprised myself. I came close to a feeling that one might describe as comfort. For someone like me, that is a very big compliment.
The only thing that was annoying was that my inner ear constantly told me that we were flying a slight right curve, and I constantly had to tell it that No, that is just not possible! I mean, yes, the Earth is round, but just no. We did not fly an endless right circle.

After touching down I felt such an amount of pride that I am quite optimistic about the next time I have to fly. Sometimes – and with sometimes I mean always – I just need to be thrown into the cold water, and learn to deal with it. I'm young enough to push my boarders in a rather brutal way. I call it the Bravery of the Young (def. Knowing that something isn't very good for you and/or a clever thing to do but doing it anyway).

The moment I truly realized that we were back was when we arrived at customs. Due to events of the past, passport control is enforced for everyone now. Just that someone thought checking every passport from two flights could be handled easily by one person.

I stood in a not very orderly queue – waterdrop like – and thought How Austrian is that?

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