By Mike Peake.
Eeee, Ba gum lad wim gowyn t’ Yorkshire moors ont’ touwer!
Ok, I’ll stop that now. It’s starting to hurt my throat and I don’t understand what I’ve written.
It was time for our much-anticipated tour of the Yorkshire Moors in celebration of dedicated member Bernard Owen’s 80th birthday and we were all very excited despite severe bumbling incompetence hitting weeks before the actual tour.
When Mrs FB heard about this tour she was very keen to come as it was “not camping”. In a moment of rare clarity of thought, our glorious Fat Controller of events (Gar Cole) realised that November, in the North Yorkshire Moors is likely to be a tad chilly and damp and not very likely to be conducive for happy camping. He booked the Cross Keys Inn.
Now, as well as being “camping averse”, Mrs FB was also rather unwilling to be driven 300 miles in a “rattle ridden, drafty old car with a leaky roof and no heating in November”. (I know. How rude! It’s a good job Poppy didn’t hear.) Fortunately Gar Cole came to the rescue. “I’m buying a car trailer, Mike.” He said. “You can borrow it whenever you like.” Sorted, I thought. So I sent him Poppy’s dimensions just to make sure. Gar successfully sourced a trailer and I towed it home from the NEC show. We won an award at the NEC show you know.
Anyway, the trailer was parked on my drive in the dark and I only saw it in the dark until the next weekend which was the weekend before the tour. I went up to my lock up and gave Poppy her pre-flight checks and while I was there, I happened to look at the gap between Poppy’s wheels and had an alarming thought. I measured the gap between the wheels and the track. (Distance between the outsides of the wheels). The measurements were 43” and 49”. When I got back to the trailer, I measured that gap between the insides of the tracks. It was 47”! Ooops!
If I was really clever in loading, I could get poppy balancing on the raised lip on the inside edge of each track with 1” of tyre to spare on each side. Needless to say, I abandoned this plan so I decided to go in the CRV and car hop when we got there. Sadly, Poppy would be left at home for yet another tour this year.
Friday 22nd November dawned and we set off with a very sad looking empty trailer. (We were passing right by Gar’s house on the way so it would’ve been silly not to return it to him so that he could discover that Nelson wouldn’t fit either.)
After a brief stop at Gar’s it was on to meet some more intrepid tourists at the Donington Park Services. (Just the 3 “n’s” Lo(r)raine, is that correct?) Nick and Jo, Windy and Sarah Woodward, Bernard and Thelma Owen and new tourists Anthony and Pat Osborne. Surprisingly Phil Allin was there too but he was just skiving and joining us for a coffee. He couldn’t leave until Lucas had finished school but you could tell his feet were itching. We sent Phil back to work and set of for the M1/A1(M) car park for the final 2 hour blatt to the hotel. With two decompression stops, I should be able to continue my journey to the extreme north without getting the bends or a nosebleed.
Arrival at the hotel was a welcome relief after a traffic jam-laden trip but at least all the classics behaved themselves and in that sense it was trouble-free. The hotel was a fantastic find by Gar. It was newly refurbished and had only reopened the previous week. You could still smell the paint and the rooms were fantastic.
The rest of the tourists arrived over the afternoon and Bernard’s 80th birthday celebration weekend could start properly. A lovely evening was spent in great company with good food and just a little beer. Sue Clamp’s multi-storey birthday cake caused some problems as even Tosh Brooks’ mouth wasn’t big enough to deal with the height.
After the events at the NEC, Phil and I had made sure we remained at opposite ends of the pub for the whole evening as he is a very bad influence on me. As a result, I woke up in the morning feeling remarkably refreshed and healthy. Indeed, actually human.
Phil didn’t. For some reason, a night on Yorkshire ale had sent him “native”. He spent the whole morning dressed like this and saying things like “’Eee, ‘ave Tha seen ma ferrits?”, “Eee Thas reet grand thariz” and “Eee ba gum lad”. At one stage he even exclaimed “’Ow Mootch!” We tried to flush it out of him with copious amounts of tea. However, schoolboy error, it turned out to be Yorkshire tea. Oh well, Tha lives an’ learns young’uns, tha lives an’ learns. Oh no. He’s got me at it now!
So let me introduce the tourists. First the little surprise left for us in the car park overnight. An unidentified classic car. It turns out that Graham was fed up of his very, very late 1999 Rover 75 trying to run him over on tour and has actually gone out and bought this rather lovely Humber called Humphrey.
Newcomers to our tours, Pat and Anthony Osborne bought this cracking looking 1980 MGB GT. I particularly liked the black paint with the rubber bumpers. Welcome to the EBMVBB1985 Care in the Community group. It was great to meet you and I hope you weren’t scared away by Windy Woodward. Every group has one though and we’re sorry about that.
Tosh and Gus Brooks Jake and Bella in their gorgeous P6 2000. Surprisingly, this is the P6’s second tour with us as Tosh hasn’t sold it yet. Get yer finger out Tosh. We’re bored now and need you to bring something else exciting. (Not so exciting that it wants to kill us though.)
Nick and Jo were in the glorious Jensen. Nick had fitted new twin carbs (Not himself obviously. Don’t be daft!) They only cost £20 and he was making the most of the 10% improvement in fuel efficiency that the new carbs were giving him. He said he really enjoyed that extra 250yds.
Eric Dalton was in his Rover 216 VDP. This is a local one for our resident mad Scotsman and he almost forgot to stop at the hotel as he hadn’t driven his normal 600 miles to one of our events.
Phil, Lorrain and Lucas were in Big Rov, the stately home on wheels. Big Rov loved Yorkshire and we all love Big Rov but we could all see his embarrassment at the antics of his driver.
Being wafted around in the luxury that is the Ford Zephyr were Ian Woodward and his long-suffering wife Sarah along with Bernard and Thelma Owens. As the all-important 80th birthday boy, Bernard exercised his right to be chauffeur-driven this weekend, leaving Webster the Maxi at home. I do love this Zephyr despite the silly gear stick but most of all, I still can’t get over how appropriate it is for Windy Woodward to have a car called a Zephyr!!
Poor Nelson had been left on the drive yet again in favour of the flash new mistress in Gar’s life in the shape of the much younger Mk1 Mondeo. (All fur coat and no knickers that one, so they say. The Mondeo I mean - not Gar, obviously! Eeeew!
Richie Moore and Stan Barnes joined us on the day in the stunning blue Sierra estate and the immaculate S-Type Jaaaag.
Adrian, Rhianna and Shannon “Slugger” Jenkins and her friend Casey were in Shannon’s very, very late 1999 Ford fiesta. John Ticehurst, Kevin Terry, Keith and Marcus McGovern, Mrs FB and I had all forgotten to bring a classic and would spend the day car hopping.
That just leaves my very favourite, Brian Allison and his Mk II Triumph 2000. Obviously, it’s the car that’s my favourite not Brian. I really, really love this car and spending the day being chauffeured around in the warm cosy loveliness of it just underlined my desperate need to have a big Triumph in my life. Now, Brian has very kindly agreed to leave it to me in his will. However he inconsiderately, stubbornly and surprisingly (given he is older than time) clings onto life! Oh, er yes, and er long may it continue (at least long enough to spend the TLC sorting some of Tricia’s niggles anyway.)
So, now that you know everyone its back to the tour. We checked our weather apps and were pleased to see that Gar “Rainman” Cole had booked our usual weather even down to the yellow warnings.
Gar handed out the tour notes and we were ready for the off. Actually we weren’t quite. Windy’s Zephyr had run out of electrickery and needed a top up from Gar’s flashy Jezebel but was soon up and running.
Eric wasn’t so lucky though. His Rover VDP just point blank refused to start. Even our resident car whisperer Gus “Super Enthusiast Man” Brooks couldn’t coax her into life. The diagnosis? We believe that she was feeling hard done by and unloved as she had only been driven 100 miles or so yesterday instead her usual 600. Eric elected to wait for the recovery chap who couldn’t cheer her up either and Eric and the Rover were towed home. So, bit of a busman’s holiday for ex recovery driver Eric.
The slight delay meant that we’d all had time to meticulously study the tour notes that Gar had handed out rather than mess about in the car park taking daft photos. This meant that as Gar pulled out of the hotel in the white Jezebel, everyone was ready to ……. head off in their own completely different directions. Honestly, it was like a Red Arrows break, even down to the green coloured smoke leaking from Windy Woodwards window.
Brian and I had an excuse. We turned around and went to make sure Eric was ok and didn’t want to jump in with us. As for the rest - who knows? Actually, Humphrey the Humber had a little hiccup and needed a short rest before bravely continuing after Super Enthusiast Man gave him a hard stare.
Twenty minutes later when Gar realised that literally no one was following, he pulled to the side of the road, put his head in his hands and tried not to go Super Diva. Eventually, we all trickled in, all thinking the same. “Oh! There’s Gar. Wonder why he’s stopped there?”
Once Gar was happy that he had his flock successfully corralled, we all set off again for our 1st official stop at Hutton le Hole. Well to be more specific, The chocolate factory at Hutton Le Hole. The ladies on tour had found out about this little gem and insisted that it we added it to our itinerary. To be honest, none of the men folk argued too hard as we all want our ladies to be happy. Not to mention that some of us may like chocolate too. Anyway, who wanted to go and who didn’t was all rather academic; it was shut.
The car park was jolly nice though and well worth the £2.50 we’d all put in the machine. Adrian also took the opportunity to replace some of the air that had fallen out of the Fiesta’s tyre. It was only flat at the bottom though, so I’m sure it will be fine.
We left Hutton Le Hole car park for a fantastic drive across the moors to Grosmont. I didn’t know 1 in 3 hills existed before this trip but Gar seemed to have found loads of them. It was brilliant! The weather was bleak and the moors were bleak and it was all rather beautiful because of it. I loved it. The hauntingly beautiful scenery necessitated several unscheduled photo opportunity stops including the ruins of iron smelting kilns high up in the middle of nowhere before the notorious 1 in 3 descent down the “Chimney Bank”.
Grosmont is one of the stations on the wonderfully nostalgic North Yorkshire Moors Steam Railway. It was chosen as a stop because of the unspoilt Victorian station where we would be able to see steam trains roaring in and out of the station and experience all the accompanying sights, smells and sounds. It was shut.
We did however manage to break onto the station platform which was indeed nostalgic. Gar was telling everyone that would listen that this station “played the part of Hogsmeade station in the Harry Potter Films” before running up and down doing his beast Hagrid impression. Which, to be fair was actually quite good.
None of us had the heart to tell him it was Goathland station further up the line that played Hogsmeade. We were all enjoying the Hagrid impressions too much. At Grosmont we also broke into the engine sheds and gaped at the huge massive engines up close before finding a proper old fashioned toy er… I mean model shop to mooch around in and gape at the tiny little engines up close.
It was just a short trip from Grosmont to Goathland and this was the stop Mrs FB and I were looking forward to the most. Back when we were newlyweds, we were avid fans of a brand new police drama starring Nick Berry and Niamh Cusack. We were even expecting our 1st child at the same time as the main characters in the drama. Yes, Goathland was where Heartbeat was filmed. It was fantastic to drive around the village green and see the “Aidensfield Arms” and “Scripps Funeral Parlour and garage.” Which of course we had to stop outside and take pictures.
Whilst we were taking the famous photo outside of “Scripps” which, as you can see, was all done up just as in the programme, the owner of the gift shop done up as “Scripps” came out and rather grumpily and rudely told us to “clear off” as we were “takin’ bloomin’ liberties!” Well, he said something like that.
He didn’t seem to understand that after taking the pictures all 28 of us would quite likely have gone in and given him money for his cheap tourist tat thus providing him with his living. Furthermore, our cars were causing quite a stir among the other tourists and parked outside his shop could have drawn in even more custom. Never mind.
We had the last laugh anyway by driving really slowly past the premises and taking photos anyway. I left a blistering review on trip advisor too. That’ll teach him. At least, I will do, as soon as I think of something suitably witty and cutting.
I have to say, it was a bit of a shock to come across a grumpy Yorkshire man. I mean, A grumpy Yorkshire man? Who knew? After all, we have Yorkshire men in our very own group and they’re all happy, cheerful, fluffy and lovely types who are never the slightest bit grumpy. What? What do you mean “who’s that then?” Yes, of course I mean Brian, Gus and Tosh. Why are you laughing?
Anyway, we all laughed off our brush with Grumpy and continued on to Goathland station. You know, the station that actually played Hogsmeade station in the Harry Potter films. There were still no steam trains as the railway was still shut for the winter and there was not even a whiff of the magical Hogwarts Express, but we had fun whilst indulging our nostalgia bones all the same.
Now it was time for the short drive to the Cross Butts Inn in Whitby (no, I can’t imagine why it’s called that either) where we were having Bernard’s birthday dinner. We’d managed to convince Pukka Phil that the restaurant had called to say that they’d run out of pies to see if we could set off another teenage strop New Forest style. Yes I know you will deny this Pukka Phil as you pretended not to believe us, but we all saw your bottom lip trembling and don’t think we didn’t notice you stood by the door to steal the 1st portion of pie to be bought through.
Whilst the rest of us were waiting for our food and Pukka Phil was filling his face with pie, Windy Woodward was teaching Lucas how to make a wine glass sing. He’s a good teacher and it wasn’t long before Lucas produced a fine pure note. Windy then rolled up his sleeves, said “Hold my Beer”, wet his fingers and started to run them round the rim of the glass. We were all utterly amazed and our ghasts were flabbered when a full orchestral rendition of the Bridal March rang out across the Inn. Ian took a bow and the applause was deafening.
Actually, there was a wedding in the function room next door but the timing couldn’t have been better if it was planned. The rest of our meals were delivered and the food was exceptionally good as was the service. Even Tosh wasn’t complaining. But now it was time for Bernard who really is a very lovely man and the Grandfather of the group. I shall now pass you over to Gar and Bernard themselves. (I mean watch the video you numpties! This is the interweb, It’s clever like that.)
It was all rather moving and got a bit emotional but we wiped our eyes, bashed our chests and started talking in manly voices about manly things until it was time to head off for our final destination,.
Whitby Abbey was our final destination before heading back to the hotel. We were all looking forward to mooching around its haunting chapel’s and vestibules looking for Count Dracula’s coffin and soaking in the spooky atmosphere. It was shut.
Everyone was fussing around the car park to get the cars perfectly lined up with the floodlit Abbey making a fine backdrop and some really great photos were taken.
Personally, I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. It’s not as though they’ve even finished building it yet! I mean, I’m sure it will look lovely when it is actually fully built, but still.
Anyway, it rounded off a really great tour so huge thanks to Gar for all his tireless efforts in putting together a great day and it’s not even over yet.
We all headed back to our hotel and after a short nap as we’re all knocking on a bit now, we hit the bar for another great evening with great company. There was even a professional singer laid on for us! Well, yes. The least said about that the better. It was all we could do to stop Jo ripping his microphone away and taking over. Not that she wouldn’t have been a far superior replacement you understand. I’m sure she has the voice of an angel (What was that Nick? A Hells Angel you say? Well that is just rude Nick! I’m surprised at you.) No. we were only stopping Jo as we felt it would be rude to usurp the professional.
Phil and I were still making sure that we never inhabited the same end of the pub at the same time but it would appear that his claim that I was the bad influence wasn’t his only worry. He was so concerned after the effect that drinking Yorkshire Ale had had on him, that he was choosing to drink the least Yorkshire, and coincidentally least manly tipple to be had. Yes, and I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say, that I am deeply ashamed to report that he was drinking … Baileys! Not only that, but Baileys … with ice!!! I know. Oh the humiliation!
He wasn’t the only one. Lorraine was also drinking Baileys with Ice but as she is an actual girl, it’s not quite so shameful. Anyway, It would appear that Lorraine was only drinking Baileys in the extremely mistaken belief that it would improve her dancing.
A really lovely evening was had by all in the best company possible. Midnight was soon upon us. The hotel staff were starting to drop subtle hints that it was time for us to retire to our rooms for the night. You know the sort of thing? Putting the chairs up on the tables and turning the lights out. Anyway most of our party took the hint and went to bed. Two of us didn’t though. Can you guess? Ha! No! it wasn’t Phil and I. We’d spent the whole weekend avoiding each other whenever alcohol was about. No. It was Mrs FB and Jo who stayed up way into the night putting the world to rights.
“At last!” I thought. I’d be able to administer the same levels of loving sympathy that Mrs FB gives my hangovers. Yes! Disappointingly, Mrs FB didn’t have so much as a minor head ache in the morning.
Now would be a good time to say a massive thanks to all those who attended. Along with the other regulars who couldn’t be here you’ve made the social side of this group so much fun that it almost comes as a surprise that there are classic cars too.
So, hearty breakfasts were eaten, sad Goodbyes were said and we all headed our separate ways for trouble free trips home. All except Gar that is. The Jezebel’s gearbox let go a mile away from home. Nelson smirked, smugly.
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