Clare Teal: Slipping quietly into second gear and the local garage

It wasn't quite the day at the races I'd expected, but it was a beautiful morning, the sun was beaming down, the flowers were waving in the breeze and the birds were making some quite unusual whirring and squealing noises, although it would be some time before we realised it was actually the car not the birds.

We wended our way through the beautifully picturesque village of Castle Combe and past the duck pond as seen in the 1967 film, Doctor Dolittle. A perfect omen as I intended to be Clare Dolittle for the next few hours.

We safely delivered Muddy and our hero to "the skid pan" so they could do whatever one does at a skid pan for the next few hours. Mud's mother, Di, and I got comfortable on the grassy bank, sipping apple juice and chewing wine gums while taking in the tranquil hum of the go-karting grand prix occurring to our immediate right.

Within minutes, our guys and four others headed on to the track. Not an overall or crash helmet in sight. The group divided and jumped into two old dirty cars – a white one and a blue one.

The road surface had been sprayed with oily mess out of a tub. Di and I watched as the drivers took it in turns to navigate the course, skidding and sliding merrily. No-one was allowed to go higher than second gear (my idea of heaven). Muddy and OH had slid about sometimes turning right round a lot; we applauded loudly as we thought that was the idea. Turns out they were there to learn how not to do that.

Over the course of the afternoon, they would drive a bit then disappear off into a little cabin then hit the road again. Every time this happened, they drove better and better until there was no skidding at all. No fun for the spectator but much safer for the world at large.

Muddy drives a stupid amount of miles every year and both she and OH really feel that they are now better prepared to drive in bad weather and control the car in emergency situations.

Sadly, no sooner had we set off home than the orange engine light of doom came on, the car lost 90 per cent of its power and we trundled to the garage in second gear.