This is a little story about an eggshell blue car, a deceiving colour since her shell is as hard as rock. So is her suspension. I got to know her on the Botswana leg of the Mzanzi Trophy Rally. She had my heart bouncing.
She is indeed named after the famous chef, Nigella. The colour was originally chosen by owner, Paul Graham-Clarke, because of his obsession with Second World War 2 planes. The eggshell blue of the Spitfire’s underbelly camouflaged her against the sky. Paul planned to take her on daylight raids across Africa, including the Mzanzi Trophy. When he brought the freshly painted car home, Paul’s wife christened her “Nigella”, the chef’s eggshell blue crockery being a favourite of hers. The name stuck. So did her passenger door after 500 miles of Botswana’s finest sand.
After bouncing about on the notorious Moremi-Chobe road, Paul thought I had made a good enough impression on her – in her ceiling to be precise. “She’s yours,” he said, and after bashing my way out of the passenger door, I took the controls. She bucked, she bolted, she tried to throw me out, but the driver door was stuck too. She was no kinder to Paul who began looking for an ejector button. He was too kind to state the obvious: Nigella hated me. Her temperature was rising so I handed her back to the one man who knew her. But by then, like most men scorned, I had fallen for her. You see, it’s not just the rejection, it’s the places these wild girls take you.