“These bloody motoring journalists are too spoilt,” exclaimed a bigwig in Ford headquarters. “They wouldn’t know a hard day’s work if it slapped them in the chops,” someone else shouted… to a hum of agreement. So, following very little deliberation and with a few cackling laughs, Ford decided that, instead of giving us a front-row seat for the action on Ranger Odyssey, they would be throwing us into the deep end without the ability to swim.
Of course, looking back, we can see that we got ourselves into this whirlwind mess in the first place. If I remember correctly, it was another journalist who – while smoking a cigarette outside and attending to some business on his phone – was abruptly called in to join the other contestants. “We’re not going to wait for you all night – come inside,” the instructor said.
The journo, not a man who usually takes kindly to any nonsense, told the instructor that he was 50, not 15, and that if the instructor would be so kind as to vacate the area, it would be much appreciated. (Insert profanities where you see fit.) This little altercation during boot camp caused quite a stir, and all the journos were brought in for a vote. We could either observe the goings on, sleep in the hotel and have a few whiskeys, or we could shut the hell up, get into our freezing tents and join the
contestants for boot camp. The vote was called, and − probably to save face more than anything else − we opted to join in. Without the whiskey.