Enthusiasts of British Motor Vehicles Built Before Nineteen Eighty Five and the Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show at the National Exhibition Centre. Part 2 (Perhaps the title is a bit long after all.)
by Mike Peake
After our eventful drive in and a fight with the jobsworth security guard on the door to the hall, we made it to the stand. Gar was fed copious quantities of cake and his personality was quickly reset back to his normal “fluffy” self.
Our stand was brilliantly placed to achieve maximum footfall in the 1st corner to the right of the main entrance. As soon as the door opened we were incredibly busy with visitors. Members and muggles alike crowded on for a chat and some cake and we were all kept very busy talking to everyone about our group and the cars on the stand.
It was fantastic to see so many of our members turn up to say hello. Please forgive me, but there is not room here to mention you all. We did get photos of as many of you as we could. They are published here on the website’s gallery and posted in the group by Tosh Brooks.
That said however, special mention must go to Anders Hakansson who travelled all the way from Sweden just to see the picture of his rather fine Morris Minor Pickup on our international wall.
It was also the day that many of our families came up to show support and bring more baked produce for our consumption. It was great to meet you all and sample the wonderful cakes supplied.
Mrs FB and my daughters Sophie and Emily were there too and even though Mrs FB still hadn’t forgiven me for the caravan incident she did bring her extremely fine sausage plait and G&T cupcakes. She’s a fine woman and very good wife whom I love very, very much. (Please forgive me and can I come home now?) Having made the comestible delivery, my ladies set off for a wander round the show.
As many of you know, my youngest daughter is a keen fan of the Classic Mini. What you may not know is that she is a Contemporary Dancer currently studying with the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Imagine her joy then, when she found something that fed both her passions in life. A rather fine Mini that was once owned by Dame Margot Fonteyn, the world renowned Prima Ballerina at the Royal Ballet during the 1940’s and 50’s and one of Emily’s biggest heroes.
My 3 ladies were so enthusiastic whilst looking round the car that the current guardian came over for a chat. On hearing that Emily was both a dancer and a fan of Minis, she opened up the car so they could have a proper look and a very long chat. She even let Emily sit in the driver’s seat. I think Emily become quite emotional when she realised that her bum was occupying the same spot on which the bum of Dame Margot Fonteyn spent so much time.
Thank the gods it wasn't for sale!
Moving on to my favourite car in the show (other than the ones on our stand obviously). I know I may have mentioned this car once or twice before but it is just beautiful. I have no idea what it’s like to drive, what parts availability is like or whether or not they are easy to work on, and to be honest, I just don’t care.
I think it is such a great example of a period when car designers placed as much emphasis on looking good as they did function. Boy did they succeed with this car. I would be quite happy to spend all day looking at those lines and especially that waterfall grille. The car is of course the 1938 Triumph Dolomite. Let’s all take a moment to just gaze in wonder.
Right! Moment over, it’s on with the show. As I’ve said Saturday was really busy with visitors so the day flew by in a bit of a blur and before we knew it, it was time to get our glad rags on for the awards dinner. Gar and I left early as we wanted to take particular care to look good and get our hair just right. Gus and Tosh are from Yorkshire.
We arrived back at the Concourse Suite and met up with our table companions for the night, Lord and Lady Simpson of Boston and were alarmed to see that the Brooks Brothers had not fallen for Gar’s ploy of sending them to the wrong venue. However, it was of amusement to observe that a Yorkshire man’s idea of “smart attire” to attend a formal dinner is to iron their flat caps and leave t’ whippets at ‘oome.
Obviously, Lord John, Gar and I were looking extremely dapper in our suits, and Gar’s tie didn’t clash too badly with his shorts after all. Of course it goes without saying that Lady Simpson of Boston looked simply divine in all her finery. Once we’d found a handy welding mask to avoid suffering multi carat dazzle blindness, we were also able to admire the new tiara and ring that Lady Simpson had bought that afternoon in the Jewellery quarter.
After being shown through to the dining hall, our starters were quickly served and we tucked in. I had a moment of alarm when I realised Lord John didn’t have his plate yet and was about to prostate myself to plead forgiveness for my commoners bad manners when Lady Sandra whispered to me that “Lord John doesn’t eat rabbit food”. I continued with my starter relieved that I hadn’t committed an almighty faux pas and overjoyed that they were serving Merlot at the table.
The meal ended and we progressed into the awards section of the evening. As you know, we were up for 3 awards on our table. The Group was up for best internet presence and national car club of the year and Lord John Simpson of Boston was up for lifetime achievement award again, even though he isn’t dead yet.
It would normally be at this point that I would run you through all the awards and their worthy winners and say what an honour it is just to be nominated blah, blah, yadda, yadda, but it was all just a bit of a blur. I was far too busy trying to keep order on my table (or spoiling the fun as Tosh would have it!) As it became apparent we hadn’t won anything, the Brooks started yelling abuse at the judges, Gar had to be physically restrained as his “KILLER” personality from this morning resurfaced and he wanted to rip Mike Brewers head off. However, It was when Lord Simpson of Boston threatened to give his butler the Purdey and tell him to "Have at 'em" that I gave up and decided to let go with a couple of well-aimed barrages of erudite wit of my own.
Fortunately, Paul Sweeney was much more on the ball even though he is 12,000 miles away and published the full list of awards and their winners here on our website.
So, as a social experiment, the evening had its points of interest. As an experience of a formal dinner that we’d like to be invited back to? Well, time will tell but let’s just say that the abundance of Merlot wasn’t the only reason I was banging my head on the table by the end of the meal,
To Be Continued… Yes I know, but I’ve still got Sunday to cover! Suck it up!
Click here for Enthusiasts of British Motor Vehicles Built Before Nineteen Eighty Five and the Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show at the National Exhibition Centre. Part 1.
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