Setting off from the lakeside retreat in Zavidovo, and reputed fave of Putin, we were not aware of what accommodation would await in Smolensk. Luckily the day was very full so this was not a concern. It started with a dash for the Moscow Raceway and a another quick thrash around a quite tight circuit. Unlike some we don’t unload the luggage, parts and tools before the track time (you are not supposed to) and so we are quite heavy and pitch a bit on braking but nevertheless, and despite not being set up for the track, the Jag handles well and predictably.

Then a long drag across towards Smolensk amidst massive downpours that made the motorway a bit tricky. The spray from a long line of lorries is more than a match for the puny Jag wipers. Even on Day 23 it is still tempting to flick the lever on the steering column to switch the wipers on and off but this would not be that helpful as the lever is the overdrive control (to change in and out of what is effectively 5th gear). In addition I am still tempted (and I see Matt do it sometimes too) to reach down to the gear lever to change into 5th – again not much use as there isn’t a 5th (apart from the overdrive – and if you haven’t had old cars this bit is not required reading).

Back to the wipers – not only are they puny but the switch is a small toggle set on the dash which is a real pain to reach when wearing a full harness that allows virtually no upper body movement. This also hinders our required screen washer activities (a squirt of Evian (or local substitute)) as the washers gave up the ghost some time in Mongolia.

All of these continued irrelevant movements for control that either don’t exist or are not where they should be makes my claim to previous ownership of loads of classics seem a little doubtful.

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