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Here's a brolley good show.

THERE has only been one other time in my life that I've enjoyed waiting at red traffic lights quite so much as all heads turned in my direction.

The first time I was sat behind the wheel of a Ferrari in Seef district returning a roaring beauty back to the Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain where I had picked it up earlier in the evening for a test drive.

On this occasion my wonderful friends at Euro Motors had handed me the keys to a glorious silver Rolls-Royce Ghost and I sat patiently, with 'a cat that got the cream' satisfied smile on my face, at the junction at the bottom of Sitra Highway.

A nasty little Nissan attempted to cut in front of me, showing little respect. But as the famous American actor and director, John Malkovich, once famously said: 'The Ghosts you chase you never catch'.

This Roller is an elegant beast, with a delightful turn of speed and a delicate touch when it comes to steering though the traffic.

I'd arranged to meet my American pal, Del, for a coffee at Starbucks opposite St Christopher's Junior & Infants School.

If you've got it, flaunt it!

Larger than your average motor, I took advantage of school still being out for the Eid break by taking up the equivalent of three spaces and parking horizontally. I didn't want The Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet ornament sticking out into the road, in case it got clipped by a passing motorist.

I looked out of the window as I supped a double espresso and chatted about the coming US Presidential election with Del.

This dreamy state of Rolls-Royce-inspired relaxation was suddenly shattered by another nasty Nissan driver who, rather than slow down on the school road, decided to weave in and out of the sleeping policemen and nearly lost control, thankfully missing my parked beauty, which costs a tidy six figure sum, by a few inches.

I was a nervous wreck by this time and hastily went back to my Roller accompanied by Del who had earlier asked if I'd chanced upon its door umbrella.

I had failed to spot this quirky little extra. How have I possibly managed to drive all these years without one?

Sure enough, as you open the driver's door there's a little knob to press and out pops a brolly. Very useful for when it's wet and windy back home in Blighty, I'm sure, but it can also act as a fine sun shade in Bahrain when you've got to walk all the way from a car park to the mall.

Whilst I was very excited by the umbrella, Stan Jnr and his friend Luke were more impressed with the woolly carpet on the floor.

Excitedly, they pulled off their sandals and twiggled their toes with glee (fortunately, their feet were clean and dry having earlier stepped out of the swimming pool).

I took them for a spin to Palm Square, off Budaiya Highway, for a frozen yogurt treat and maneuvered along the side of Words Bookstore Cafe which is an ideal safe and spacious spot to park a Rolls-Royce.

I dropped them back home and then went on a detour around the island popping in to see as many people as possible (as you do) before returning the luxurious limo to the showroom in Sitra.

It was one of those test drives I never wanted to end.

It was as clear as the speedometer shining clearly on the windscreen that since its launch in 2009, the Ghost has been a vision of simplicity -- taking the core values of Rolls-Royce and creating contemporary, effortless luxury.

Ghost projects a more informal presence than the legendary Phantom with an even greater emphasis on driving.

While seated comfortably in the Ghost's slightly-elevated position behind the wheel, described as the 'authority position', of course, drivers have an IPS 10.25-inch HD screen before them.

This screen can be used to display an impressive 3D City View, which is one among many subtle navigation tools, where the correct lane and the correct turn is recommended to the driver via the split screen as a clear small map.

The Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller Ghost presents a pad with the ability to scroll through menus by turning the chrome dial and pressing down to select its functions.

A pointer function allows menu options to be selected more quickly. The inclusion of inputs by written text, for example where a name and number must be added via the telephone menu is an additional improvement. It recognises characters in English and Arabic, to assist drivers in the company's third largest global market, where character selection can otherwise be a time-consuming process.

Created and fine-tuned by the leading experts in the industry, the bespoke sound system in the Ghost allows for a rich and all-encompassing aural experience, bringing the centre of sound even closer to the passenger's ear.

An array of 16 loudspeakers, two tweeters and a full active 18-channel amplifier with 1300W maximum power deliver unparalleled sound quality, while the 'theatre' setting creates a perfect surround-sound 'bigger than live' experience. Radio Bahrain's Paul Fraser has never sounded so good.

Adding to the already vast array of existing comfort features, Ghost builds upon the Comfort Access that allows the opening of the boot with an effortless foot movement in case both hands are busy. The model includes a Smart Close function alongside Smart Opener, where the boot can then be closed with a foot movement beneath the rear bumper of the car.

As celebrated author Stephen King once said: 'Calling it a simple schoolgirl crush was like saying a Rolls-Royce was a vehicle with four wheels ... She did not giggle wildly and blush when she saw him, nor did she chalk his name on trees or write it on the walls of the Kissing Bridge. She simply lived with his face in her heart all the time, a kind of sweet, hurtful ache ...'

I will, however, share that ache from now on ... for my beautiful Ghost, not Paul Fraser. Will I ever own one? There's not a Ghost of a chance! But if I had enough money, I wouldn't hesitate.

However, there are some canny people out there and some of the tightest I know are very wealthy individuals. One friend, who didn't get rich by splashing the cash about, is a multi-millionaire who has had sensors fitted in each room of his mansion to turn off the lights when they are empty ... to save on his 'leccy bills!

He has an eye for a bargain and could drive off in a luxury limo too as the Euro Motors' showroom in Sitra is displaying a rather splendid banner proclaiming a 'pre-owned certified Rolls-Royce programme'.

If I were a rich man I'd been calling Euro Motors on 17750750.

[c] Copyright 2011

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Publication:Gulf Weekly
Date:Sep 21, 2016
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