In 1988 I went to the British Formula One Grand Prix with my sister and friends. We were four in total, Nick, Andy, Tracy and me. It was pretty exciting and one of the first “big days out” I had done as a teenager (I was 16).
I remember about five things about the day:

  • It rained
  • We watched from the Hangar Straight
  • Nigel Mansell came second
  • Andy and I bought an umbrella
  • We couldn’t hear the radio commentary because the cars were too loud
  • A car came to a stop right in front of us

Ok, wow, that’s six things about the day. I also want to say that we drove there in an Austin Allegro but I don’t think that is correct. I shall check and get back to you.

According the to Wikipedia page on this race it did rain, which is reassuring for my memory cells and Mansell did come second. It’s the umbrella I want to focus on.

As it rained so much Andy and I decided to buy an umbrella. We didn’t have enough money to each buy one so we put our funds together and bought a Marlboro McLaren umbrella from a stall. This umbrella served us well during the day and from then on we agreed we would share the umbrella between us as we both owned it.

I think this arrangement may have lasted about a year until I lost the umbrella. It’s something I feel a little bad about even to this day [when I remember to]. I had a strange canvassing job for Eissman who were trying to build a business of home delivered frozen food. A group of us would wander crappy (and some not-so-crappy) housing estates delivering the catalogue of frozen delights and then two days later we would ring every door bell and see if we could have the catalogue back, preferably with an order. It was commission only.

For this particular week I was getting a lift with the son of the vicar of Ugley in Essex. We were working in Letchworth in Hertfordshire. The weather must’ve been bad because I had the umbrella with me and then left it in his car when he dropped me off from another unsuccessful day at work. I’m pretty sure he quit and didn’t turn up again. As a job it was pretty bad, I lasted two weeks. What is more annoying is that I lost the umbrella which meant quite a bit to me.

I remembered this recently when I was teaching ratios to a class of mine. I told the story and then text Andy about it. He had forgotten what happened to the umbrella, but for me, I feel the loss nearly every day!