Just when I was thinking all the teething troubles I had with my Bentley had been sorted out, it went and caught fire!

The saga began on a Sunday, three weeks ago, when driving along on a dry, sunny day, the windscreen washers suddenly came on and would not stop, even with the engine off and the key removed. After phone calls back and forward to Bentley Rescue, their best advice was for me to remove the relevant fuse. I did so, whereupon the Bentley’s computer, being super-intelligent (but not that smart…) switched to another circuit and the pump started again. Finally the good old RAC turned up and managed to isolate and disconnect the offending washer pump.

However, next day, driving to a charity event at Glyndebourne Opera House, Helen and I dressed up in our finery, the car’s alarm system suddenly went bonkers. Every warning flashed up in front of me, from NO SEAT BELT, to LOW TIRE PRESSURE, to CHECK OIL NOW! These were accompanied by a cacophony of loud gongs, then the car filled with smoke. The villagers of Glynde were entertained to the sight of the two of us leaping out, while the car fizzed and crackled and belched smoke from everywhere but the exhaust…..

The car was recovered and sent to Jack Barclay, in London, the Bentley dealers from whom I had brought the car. I was less than impressed to be told a couple of days later that the fault lay in leaves that had blocked a drain gulley, causing a build up of water, which had in turn caused corrosion, through which water had leaked into the car’s on-board computer and wiring system. I then had a total sense of humour failure when I was told that because the car was out of warranty by a few months, I was looking at an £8,500 bill. You can read what happened next in this Daily Mail gossip column article!