Part One. Setting up camp.
By Tony 'Tosh' Brooks
Due to our regular group meet attendee and master blogger Mike Peake being otherwise engaged, I’ve been bullied...sorry, "politely asked" to write a report on our latest group meet and camping weekend at Crich Transport Museum Derbyshire. Organised by the ever enthusiastic young Mini owner Paul Cheetham, with the help of our very own events guru Gar Cole.
The weather forecast for the weekend was Sunny with cloud for Friday. Rain and more rain Saturday. Showers with cloud and blustery wind Sunday. For once, and much to our dismay, the forecast was spot on!!
Some weeks earlier I had picked up a Rover P6 for my mate Liam White, as it was for sale close to my home town. He was desperate to collect and drive the car but due to living in Bristol, was struggling to get over for it.
He asked if i could take it to Crich for him and he would come over for the weekend and drive it back home to Bristol on the Sunday.
He had to collect his son Finley from school and his lovely wife Helen from her pampering salon session and hoped to join us by about 7pm. Due to Helen being a total Diva they had decided not to camp and had booked into a swanky dog friendly B&B in the village to also accommodate their dog Luna.
This gave us a bit of a dilemma as I was bringing our new Nash Metropolitan on my trailer behind the camper we would be sleeping in, my brother Gus was driving Apollo and Kurt Lawrence was driving our XR3i. A car which he loves almost as much as the Mk3 Cortina I sold from under him last year.
Not wanting to let Liam down I said no problem, we'll leave the XR3 and Kurt can drive your P6 to Crich. Well this went down like a lead balloon and Kurt was screaming like a girl and stamping his feet, so being the kind hearted gent I am, I said "tough" that's how it's got to be!
Gus was going to our toy box early Friday morning to top up Apollo's fluids, as he has a tendency to spew them all out on the floor in between waiting for his time to shine, while I go shopping for essential weekend supplies. (Ok mainly whiskey, vodka, burgers, whiskey, cake and whiskey!)
I get a call from Gus at 10am saying he was bored, Apollo was good to go, all the cars were washed and the Nash was on the trailer! We were going to be way too early, so i suggested we take Liam's car to Crich then come back and collect everything else, as it was less than an hour from home. That way at least Kurt might be in a better mood and we'd have a full complement of cars at the show.
No drama, the car drove great, we dumped it on the camping field and shot straight back for the other cars.
When we got back for the second time Gar's caravan was parked in prime position. He'd been and gone back home to fetch his Moggy Minor "Nelson" and he'd text me to say due to the weather we should form a circle to shade the evening’s entertainment, so we parked Apollo and my camper "just so" and cracked open a beer just in time to welcome Phil Allen with his caravan which made up the full "square" circle.
Phil didn't hang about as he was doing a double run too and heading straight back to fetch his beautiful Rover P5. He doesn't live far from Crich so wouldn't be long!
The weather was beautiful in the afternoon and as time went by more beer flowed as we welcomed our organiser Paul Cheetham with his Mini, Kurt in the XR3i, Roger and Joan Tennison with their gorgeous Morris Oxford, and Ashley and his son Thomas in their mad as a box of frogs Scamp.
Still no sign of Gar or Phil but the text messages were coming thick and fast!! Gar had lost his credit card and was retracing his steps from earlier in the day hoping to find it and Phil's wife Lorraine had the keys to his P5 in her van miles away!! Well done boys!
Despite driving 160 miles from Bristol, Liam and his family still managed to arrive, check into the B&B and join us on camp before the rest of the gang!
Finally they were all back, Gar found his card in the petrol station where he'd left it and Phil retrieved his keys. The barbecue was roaring and the drinks were flowing. The banners were up, the sun was shining and life was good. Thomas and Finley became best of friends and played happily for hours. Luna and my dog Bella were also getting to know each other as we celebrated Phil's birthday with a superb cake provided by Gar with a picture of his P5 emblazoned on the top..(there's even a sweet wedding type picture of Phil and Kurt doing the cutting ceremony somewhere)
We partied on until after midnight with toasted marshmallows burning over the fire pit and copious amounts of alcohol being consumed until some sensible fellow (Sober Gar) suggested we hit the sack as we have a classic car show to go to tomorrow!
To be continued....
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