Our Landies of hope and glory

A few Sundays ago I went to lunch with my butcher, Bryan George (legendarily referred to as the best butcher in Wales, and not without good reason). We were driving in convoy from his shop in Talgarth to the Bunch of Grapes, a friendly and popular gastropub in Pontypridd. The convoy seemed like a sensible plan until Bryan started pulling away from me, acting as though he were practising for next season's Welsh Grand Prix.

Soon his Lexus had disappeared over the hill, and I was left with the distinct impression that Bryan isn't a big fan of first gear. Or second gear come to that. You've heard of Ernie, the fastest milkman in the West? Forget about him. Meet Bryan, the fastest butcher in Wales.

Land Rover Discovery

The most socially acceptable car on the road, the car that suggests the most convivial drivers, the least aggressive... well, that car is a Land Rover

As I pootled on down to Pontypridd, assuming that by now Bryan was already seated in the restaurant - perusing the menu, supping a pint of real ale, nibbling an olive and perhaps exchanging cornering techniques with Jenson Button or Lewis Hamilton on his mobile - I started to notice the cars coming towards me on the dual carriageway. In between the Fiat 500s and the supermarket Nissans, nestling behind the zooty little hairdresser cars and the fleet of fridge-like Volvos, were dozens of examples of one particular marque, a marque that seems more ubiquitous by the week. And a truly wonderful marque at that.

Which got me thinking. Imagine it's a Sunday, and you've driven out to the country with a prospective new girlfriend, wife or mistress. It's a beautiful, sunny spring day, the sky is unblemished by clouds, the boot is full of French wine, Italian bread and Spanish cheese, and the roads are surprisingly empty.

You turn off the motorway onto an A-road and then turn off the main road and begin following a dusty track that leads to a secluded clearing close to the river. This is where you brought the last prospective girlfriend, wife or mistress, and you know that it's always deserted and is the perfect place for some protracted mid-afternoon seduction. And then you spot it. The car, that is. Sitting menacingly under a large willow, windows rolled up, its engine still running.

Now, as this is an imaginary situation, the car isn't real, but for the purposes of the exercise, I'd like you to suggest which car you'd prefer to see - to think of the least offensive car in a situation such as this. If there had to be a car there, which one would it be? Would it be a Rolls-Royce, a Prius or a BMW? Would it be a Mercedes, a Seat or a Volkswagen?

Well, it wouldn't be yellow, that's for sure. Or orange or bright pink come to that. And it wouldn't have spoilers, under-car lighting or huge jazzed-up hubcaps either. Nor would it have a gargantuan stencil of a dragon or a bulldog on the bonnet. It wouldn't be a stretch limo or a white van, and it wouldn't have a motocross bike strapped to the roof rack. It also wouldn't have blacked-out windows and a vibrating sound system that can be heard in Belgium.

No, you'd want to see something a little more refined, something which suggested a driver with a more temperate nature, someone who might move on unprompted upon seeing you unpack your pantechnicon of French wine, Italian bread and Spanish cheese.

Yes, the car you'd probably like to see, the most socially acceptable car on the road, the car that suggests the most convivial drivers, the least aggressive, the drivers you'd be most likely to chat to at a drinks party, the drivers of the car I saw dozens of on my trip to Pontypridd... well, that car is a Land Rover.

Everyone loves a Landy. They're driven by all the right sorts of people-farmers, country lovers, animal lovers and all kinds of folk who have no interest in getting admiring glances from prepubescent boys, impressionable shopgirls or middle-aged petrolheads. In other words, Land Rovers tend not to be driven by footballers, drug dealers or the sort of people who only drive to nightclubs so that people can see what car they drive.

I've become such a fan of the Landy that I'm considering investing in one myself. I'm thinking long wheel arch, red paint job, stainless-steel panelling, power steering, iPod dock, the lot.

However, I do have a word of warning for any Land Rover drivers in the Powys area. In fact, I have a word of warning for any drivers in the Powys area, particularly any unsuspecting ones on the Talgarth bypass. That car behind you? It's driven by my butcher. And he's about to overtake you.

I'd get out of the way if I were you.

Dylan Jones is the editor of GQ

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