At the end of May, 2017, fifteen French and seven British Winds gathered near Rochester in Kent, for a weekend of cars, castles and cuisine. Despite being an English bank holiday, we had mostly wonderful weather giving us lots of opportunity for topless driving, as well as sharing several great days of sightseeing.
Day 1 – involved meeting our French friends off the ferry at Samphire Hoe near Dover, before travelling upto our base at the Premier Inn, Rochester. We took the opportunity to freshen up after a long drive (some had travelled upto 1,000 km), we enjoyed a lovely traditional English meal at the Roffen Club, before returning to the hotel for a few drinks and bed.
Day 2 – after a hotel breakfast, we departed in the rain for a run to Penshurst Place, the ancestral home of the Sidney family and built in the 12th Century. Thankfully the sun quickly broke through the clouds so we could enjoy a top down run through the glorious Kent countryside, before parking up, much to the interest and amusement of the non-club members also visiting.
After enjoying guided tours, given in both English and French, we were able to explore the grounds freely, before lunch was served at the Leicester Arms Hotel and Pub just down the road in Penshurst village.
The afternoon was spent in and around Penshurst, before availing ourselves of the continued sunshine to return to Rochester to pick up supplies, fuel and car washes in some instances.
Simply Italian were our wonderful hosts for the evening meal – a great selection of food and drinks were served to our 45 members, before we returned to the hotel for much needed R&R.
Day 3 – we started the day with a wonderful breakfast buffet at Coast2Coast in Rochester who provided us with the much needed third days sustenance before we organised our tribe and set off in convoy towards Sissinghurst castle gardens. Again, the weather was good, availing us of some roof down action. Interesting to see the reaction of the people of Kent as we travelled along – most probably having never seen a single Wind, let alone 24 of them!
Sissinghurst provided our group with a great sit down warm lunch, before we were able to amble about the estate getting some great pictures before heading back once again to the hotel.
Coast2Coast kindly provided full use of their restaurant for our evening meals and as the final ‘group’ event, I think we all had a great time catching up on the weekends events, as well as other Renault matters, before we said our final proper goodbyes, until next year.
Day 4 – was an early start for our French friends, setting off at around 7.30am to ensure that they got their ferry on time, and thus their onward journeys across France, whilst the English were able to set off at slightly more gentle times.
Thank you to everyone who supported the event, including Coast 2 Coast Restaurants, Premier Inn and the organising team of Barbs, Graham, Paul, Linda and Ju for bringing our gale of Winds together and providing amazing logistics, support, translation skills and encouragement to make the 2017 event an amazing success!
See you all in Europe in 2018!