The other day I was inveigled into driving to Pendine. My mind turned to all those scarved, goggled, record-breaking, speed-intoxicated chaps like Malcolm Campbell and John Cobb who posed, modestly grinning in the light of flashbulbs, on the pages of my copy of Every Boy's Book of Record-Breakers, or whatever it was. Cobb, I think (without looking him up on Wikipedia) must have been American: something whispers "Bonneville Salt Flats" in my ear, and weren't his cars called the Mobile Something-or-other, suggesting commercial sponsorship of a type that decent fellows like Campbell wouldn't have touched with a starting handle. There is a museum of speed (which I did not visit) at Pendine. On the famous sands I walked past a cone. There was an immediate and ill-natured blaring of a horn. A hundred yards off a man in the cab of a tractor made prohibitive gestures. A figure appeared on the balcony of a concrete, cube-shaped building among the dunes, where a red flag fluttered. The Ministry of Defence appropriated a large part of the sands during the War and, unsurprisingly, was disinclined to relinquish them in peace. Is it just me, or are there more and more places, previously accessible, from which the public is now excluded?
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