Coachlines - February 2018

15.02.18 Lyn Litchfield

From the bicycle kingdom to the Coachmakers’ city

China is my birth country, although later on I seized the opportunity to take the Trans-Siberian train from Beijing to Moscow and finally ended up in the home of famous rally drivers – Finland, the country I’ve called home ever since. I can never forget how many bicycles there were in the streets of China in my childhood.

As a TV journalist by trade, and a sales & marketing professional in my later corporate life with Nokia, I have been travelling almost non stop with the help of all sorts of vehicles, even by camel!¬†You know the legendary Silk Road? Once I had to cross the Moon Bay Desert by camel overnight, with one daring travel companion and one local guide. It wasn’t comfortable at all, but it was the only means we had if we wished to continue to track along the Silk Road. The last part of my journey before reaching the Pakistan border was by an army Land Rover. As a Chinese citizen I wasn’t allowed to approach the border. Only the commander of the frontier guards could issue me with a pass, which he did, not only a paper pass, but also gave me a lift in his Land Rover.

That's how much I know about changing a flat tyre

That’s how much I know about changing a flat tyre

Soon after the Silk Road expedition, I upgraded from camel to the Trans-Siberian train and left my first home country for good. It was in early February and everybody in the bicycle kingdom was celebrating Chinese New Year. The journey lasted seven nights. In my compartment, two of the other passengers were newly released inmates having just served five years’ jail term. The lands of Mongolia and Russia were barren and bleak. The locals waiting for us on the platforms would not hesitate to get their knives out in order to snatch a bar of chewing gum. Luckily the ex-inmates from my compartment had knives with them too. So I was again well protected.

2018 is my 16th year living in England. Sheltered by the Outstanding Natural Beauty of the Surrey Hills, my husband and I have settled down and gradually built a tiny collection of classic cars. Those are his cars more than mine, to be honest. I still like travelling a lot, perhaps taking more than 40 flights a year. However we do find time to attend some interesting classic car rallies, as well as Goodwood, Brooklands and Silverstone. In fact, it was at Silverstone two years ago that our Immediate Past Master Martin Payne successfully ‘recruited’ me to The Coachmakers.

With my passion for all forms of vehicles, I am happily settled with the Coachies. Could there be a better way to find a home for my wanderlust than becoming a Coachmaker?