by: Marilin Darlinghton
photograpy by: Maurice and Marilyn
Interview to Maurice D. : an old friend of Caronvana Romantica from UK. He’s an enthusiast driver, but first of all he’s an enthusiast flyer. We asked him to describe his passions.
CR: Maurice, we know you’re an enthusiast flyer. How do you started?
"How quickly time passes, to my surprise I see that I have been flying for over fifty years and the joy at being able to fly is still magical. To soar in the sky and up through the clouds diving, twisting, looping, and rolling and have the satisfaction of a perfect landing at the end of the day when only the rumble of the wheels on the grass tells you have landed, is as good as it gets".
I still fly two or three times a week and every time I fly I learn something new. The Rallies and meetings my flying friends and I have attended are always entertaining but the best of all I like to tour in the aeroplane. I trained was at a small grass airfield near home. A very good friend encouraged me to go and have lesson and I never looked back. Within six months my brother, nephew and I bought a Miles Messenger aeroplane and started to travel in Europe. It’s a plane you don’t see nowadays except in a museum, as it was built during the war from wood and glue, covered in linen, they eventually fell to pieces.
CR: How many countries have you visited?
I have travelled around Europe and the UK, Ireland France Scandinavia, Italy Spain Germany and after the Berlin wall came down, East Germany , Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. With three other small planes and my Chipmunk, we were in the first private light aircraft to land in East Germany after the end of the Cold War. In fact when we landed in Prague we drew crowds from around the airport, with our colourful aeroplanes, word soon went round that we were from England. Then, there were no civil aviation maps available and we flew on road maps which in themselves were difficult to obtain.
CR: A funny episode?
We only fly when the visibility is good but of course, sometimes we would run into bad weather, either we turned back or carried on to the nearest airfield. Once in Italy, returning from Venice, we were caught out in bad weather and it was too far to turn back. Short of fuel, with only 10 miles to our destination of Cremona, we pushed on, we were down to about 50 metres above the ground. Using only a compass for to stay on track but with luck and the grace of God, we all landed safely in the pouring rain. How I had missed the church steeple in the town I do not know for it was right on my track, I did not see it until the following morning when the weather had cleared. After we landed we ran into the club house we were greeted with cries of astonishment and were asked where we had come from and where we had thought were going! Later, replete with superb food and wine, our hosts found us accommodation in the town, dropping us off with cheery goodbyes and offers of a lift the next day.
How do you started to rive veteran cars?
These days, although I still fly, I enjoy touring in an old car, just as much and we are not so dependent on good weather, although it does help!
I bought my first old car due to good friends, with whom we used to attend a lot of flying rallies. Then Jeff suggested that we should try car rallies with him, which he said, were equally as good fun as flying and to our delight, we joined him on our very first European car rally in our newly acquired 1934 Bentley open tourer for a Carovana Romantica trip in Southern Italy ,which was a great success. We were introduced and saw parts of Italy that we would never have seen as normal tourists. We found the scenery, the people and the food and wine utterly delightful and we thoroughly enjoyed it. On that first rally we met so many charming people and have stayed friends with them over the years. We attend about 3 to 4 rallies a year in GB and Europe. We have won 1 or 2 cups but my most treasured prize is the cup presented to us by friends one year for being the only car that didn’t win anything!
CR: What do you like in veteran cars?
Cars are a bit like beautiful women, when you are young you want the new Supermodel, but as you get older you start to appreciate the charisma, beautiful body and in the case of my car, comfort of an older model.