Boisdale Life Magazine (Issue 18) - Flipbook - Page 77
There’s almost zero soundproofing – hit a cat’s eye and
it sounds like a blacksmith
hammering an anvil
used it for her hair. It was a sign of
wealth, designed to evoke splendour. It
was also considered the Viagra of its
day. Shakespeare makes reference to it
in A Winter’s Tale, and the Bard is also
said to have stayed at my Suffolk B&B.
I MAG E CR E DIT
with his McLaren
Honda at the
Prix, 1990. Below
ating back to the 13th century,
Darsham Old Hall was once
owned by Anne Boleyn’s uncle.
A little later, Anne Bedingfield lived
here. She was the first woman in
England to own a theatre, which is how
she met Mr Shakespeare and invited
him up to Darsham. In the 1800s Sir
Henry Rous, the father of modern horse
racing, turned it into a stud farm and
now, under the ownership of Paul and
Jude Rylott, prize-winning pedigree
alpacas are bred on its land.
From Saffron Walden, I take the A11
towards Newmarket and then the A14
past Bury St Edmunds. Darsham lies at
the end of the A1120 just before you hit
the coast at Dunwich.
Due to the gaping aero holes in every
piece of the Senna’s bodywork, which
are designed to help its tyres grip at
gargantuan cornering speeds, the Senna
makes an unnerving racket on unswept
roads. When I arrive at Darsham Old
Hall, after negotiating its gravel
approach, half the driveway falls out
of the dihedral doors.
Like the Senna, alpacas are strange
beasts to see in the Suffolk countryside
and, while I’m finding the car to be very
compliant and not scary at all, alpacas
are terribly difficult to control.
“Manitou” and “Incan Fortune” pull
violently on the reins Paul and Jude
offer me. I had no idea what big
business alpaca baby-making is.
Manitou’s cousin sold in the US for
$750k. That’s basically as much as the
Senna. Incidentally, one of the Rylott’s
herd gave birth the day after my visit.
The newborn was named “Ayrton”.
I drive up the A12 to the idyllically
secluded Walberswick, at the mouth
of the River Blyth, and dine on dressed
Dunwich crab with saffron mayo at
The Anchor. An inordinate number of celebs have homes
in this tiny village on the coast. The Freud family have
long had a base here. The director of the Bourne series,
Paul Greengrass, keeps a cottage here, too, and presumably,
with his penchant for shaky cinematography and thrilling
tension, he’d appreciate the McLaren.
ne wouldn’t be wise to push the Senna hard on
public roads, but even a mild squirt of the throttle
and brakes demands that you recalibrate your brain
to the speed. And while I’d happily drive one every day if
I could (if you intend to bring anything bar what you’re
wearing, you can’t, there’s no boot), it does have a firm ride
and almost zero soundproofing. Hit a cat’s eye and it makes
a sound like a blacksmith hammering an anvil.
With any hypercar one must be wary of the rozzers, but
the only police car I meet is an old Wartburg. Its owners are
on a rally, visiting Cold War sites around East Anglia. There
is something rather Cold War about the Senna too, in terms
of its shape and thrust. The engine start/stop button is on the
cockpit’s roof. It recalls the US Air Force’s SR-71 Blackbird.
There’s a loop you can take out of Darsham, past Sibton
Park to Dennington, then Stradbrook on the B1118 and on
to Laxfield on the B1117, past Heveningham Hall – home
to Foxton’s founder and car collector Jon Hunt. The McLaren
clings on around the tight and twisty lanes. Diverting up the
A144, I stop at Fen Farm dairy, home to Montbéliarde cows
and the UK’s first raw milk vending machine. Pop in £1 and
fill a litre bottle of delicious, creamy, unpasteurised milk.
“Raw” describes the Senna. For me, this is the spiritual
successor to the Ferrari F40, in both philosophy and looks.
It’s the most focused McLaren road car ever, and the truest
to the racing team’s DNA. Like Fen Farm’s produce, it’s
untreated. Just about complying with motoring regulations,
it’s right on the edge. And it’s sensational.