By Mike Peake
WOW! THAT WAS AWESOME!. What a weekend. This is, in my opinion, the best static show that we attend as a group and that I have ever been to.
It is also one of the biggest. Just how big became apparent when I arrived on Thursday evening to find the exhibitors campsite section nearly full already. We were parked up by Marshals as we arrived, so it was impossible to reserve spaces for members arriving later. Fortunately we weren’t so far apart that a short walk couldn’t bring us all together for an evening chin wag.
The Brooks were first on site and caused panic and mayhem when they told us they’d seen a sign to say that gates were locked between 8pm and 8am. This caused me to rush around like a lunatic in order to have both cars and caravan onsite before the deadline and Gar to decide he’d have another night in his own comfy bed and join us Friday morning. (BTW, The gates weren’t locked at 8PM)
Campers the 1st night were Gus, Tosh and Bella Brooks, with the Austin Big 7, Jason Wright with his Triumph Herald 1200 Convertible, Poppy and me. A pleasant evening of chat and alcohol was spent and an early night was had.
Friday dawned a perfect summers morning. We were all up bright and early to set up the stand and were joined by Gar and Hattie Cole with his Fisher Holivan Junior 8 which was pressed into service as the pitch café providing many a tea, coffee, hot chocolate latte etc.
We were also joined by Darren and Karen Williamson with their rather lovely Morris Ital 1.3, one of 3 Itals Darren owns. It was great to see this nice couple hadn’t been scared away on the Peaks tour and had agreed to join us again.
Being Friday, the show was a bit quieter with fewer visitors and exhibitors than were expected for the actual weekend. Many of the Car Club stands were completely empty.
However there was still acres of fine old oily stuff to see with the working steam engines, commercial vehicles, buses military vehicles, tractors, small industrial trucks, motor bikes, emergency vehicles, as well as animal displays, a huge trade area and radio controlled model aircraft. Like I’ve said before, this show is MASSIVE!
Of course, my old favourite was there too. A 1941 Diamond T 980 Ballast truck.
I’ve made no secret in the group that my Grandad drove RT and Routemaster buses for London Transport. What I haven’t made such a fuss about is that it was the Army that taught him to drive and then sent him to North Africa where he spent a brief time driving Austin K2 ambulances, (Yes, just like “Ice cold in Alex”) before being transferred to tank transport and recovery using Scammels at 1st but then the Diamond Ts - a far superior vehicle as far as he was concerned.
Realising that our tanks struggled to drive themselves the large distances required over the rough terrain of the North African Desert, The British Army decided that they would need a lot more tank transporters. Scammel, their supplier at the time couldn’t mass produce the numbers required so the Army approached the American company and commissioned them to supply the Diamond T 980 and 981.
I have seen this truck a few times at this show now. I have always loved this particular Diamond T because it is the only one I have found that was actually in the desert at the same time as my Grandad, but this year it got even closer. One of my Grandad’s war stories was how he was in the team of drivers that unloaded the 1st batch of “Ts” to arrive in Alexandria and in fact, drove the 1st one off the boat.
Well, there was some new information on the show board this year. This particular “T” was in that 1st batch delivered. Well, that is close enough for me to say that it is highly likely that my Grandad actually drove this vehicle 77 years ago (In fact I have decided that he did). Therefore, I have even sat in the same seat he did all that time ago.
Sorry. I went off on a bit of a tangent there. I hope you don’t mind and weren’t too bored, but I was so excited to find this truck was even more closely connected to my Grandad, that I had to share it with you.
We took it in turns to man the stand and wander off to sample the show’s delights but all too quickly the show ended for the day and it was back to the campsite to await some more fellow members. We were expecting Phil, Loraine and Lucas Allin.
We couldn’t wait to hear about Loraine Towing a caravan at the speed of light, trying to keep up with Phil in his newly purchased XJS. The ever intrepid Chris Ball who was bringing his MGB all the way from Cricklade (about a mile and a half from the site) and of course our really intrepid mile muncher, Eric Dalton who was coming all the way from deepest darkest Scotlandshire.
The Allin’s and Chris made it but Eric’s Ambassador finally threw a strop and was heard shouting “I’m an old lady Eric! Have some respect!” as she coasted to a stop near Keele services on the M6.
Missing Eric, the rest of us settled down to a lovely chicken and beef stew provided by Old Mother Cole. Jolly delicious it was too.
Some time had passed, some wine was drunk and chats and laughs had and most of our gathering took themselves off to bed. However, Phil produced a bottle of gin and another of tonic. Well you know me - I’m never able to resist temptation, so I was severely led astray by Phil who kept me up until 2AM drinking sociably and putting the world to rights. (I will be introducing a “Brexit Swear Jar” for future events though. I Know, It’ll be me that fills it. Sorry about that.)
Saturday morning was another perfect summer dawn, I believe. I certainly wasn’t early or anything approaching bright but I did notice that Hattie, Gars dog, must have been at the gin bottle we had left out as we didn’t drink that much and Hattie spent the whole day asleep so that proves it.
As I couldn’t face even the thought of breakfast at that stage, I was blearily peering at my hood, trying to remember how to lower it when Gus bounded up like Tigger and said “ we need your car to put the banner up”. Before I knew it, he had my keys and was driving Poppy up to our stand with a partially collapsed hood and my microfiber cloth still drying on the boot rack.
Resisting the urge to go back to bed, I fell into Chris’s MGB and was driven up to our pitch to supervise the setting up - only to find most of it was done and all I had to do was arrange the remaining cars to arrive. I left them where they landed until I felt a bit better and did some rearranging.
The new arrival on our stand and new to our live meets was Steve Roberts and his MG Metro. Phil Rendle was also supposed to join us with his Morris Traveller but got a bit confused on entry and ended up parking with all the independent owners.
Chris Ball took pity on me and took me off to look at the classic cars on display and search out that magic cure-all that is known as a bacon bap. An hour later I was back at the stand and halfway through manfully taking my medicine when I noticed that Mrs FB and my daughters had arrived on the stand. I was well and truly busted. Now if it was just the bacon bap, I could have talked my way out of it. However, I could tell by the nasty grins on my “friends” faces that they had taken the opportunity to fully grass me up in my absence.
“Hello Dear” I said as brightly as I could manage whilst trying to dodge that “Wait ‘til I get you home!” glare that was directed at me. Then inspiration struck. “Shall we go and look at Minis Emily?” I said whilst moving quickly but trying not to look like I was running away.
When I was finally cornered, I took it like a man… and blamed it all on Phil.
Another day was spent chatting to members and muggles that came on our stand, chatting to each other and looking at old oily stuff in a field. Immense fun was had by all and we even had a parachute display team land in the main arena.
4PM arrived and it was time for the classic cars to tour the arena. I have to say I was very impressed at the marshalling and organisation in getting us from our stand to the arena without killing any Muggles and it was great to drive around with a sea of people all pointing waving and smiling. I do have to say though, that the new commentator tried hard but needs to brush up on his knowledge.
Emily was desperate to drive Poppy again so the keys were passed and I sat in the back for the first time in my ownership. I had also closed my ears ready for the expected grinding of gears on the 2nd to 3rd change which can be tricky for the uninitiated, but no. Smooth clean changes all round.
Many of my fellow stand members seemed to find it hilarious that Mrs FB and I were in the back while our daughters took command. I have no idea why it was so funny but it did mean that there are plenty of photos. It also bought home just how long I’ve had Poppy and how much a part of the family she is.
Well, with the arena tour over it was time to head back to the campsite for a bit of a relax and some tea before heading up to the steam fair. Or so we thought.
One of the arenas has a live demonstration of steam traction engines running a saw mill. This was running for the entire day and as you can imagine, quite a pile of sawn timber was accumulating. Well Tosh, being from Yorkshire Tha’ Knows, couldn’t resist and soon negotiated the purchase of a proportion of the pile knowing that as he’d sold the Austin he would have an empty trailer going home. So, at the end of the day, my CR-V was hitched up to the Brooks car trailer which, let me tell you, seems an awful lot bigger when hitched to the back of my car!
Four of us then headed up to the saw mill area and started loading… and loading… and loading! Well, let’s just say that the weight of the loaded trailer gave the Honda’s clutch a good work out on the way back to the camping pitch.
Knowing how supportive all the chaps would be, I was a little nervous when I discovered I was expected to reverse the trailer back onto the extremely narrow gap between the Brooks camp site and their neighbours. I needn’t have been though as I managed to show my epic towing skills and dropped it back, millimetre perfect in one go! Time for a well-deserved beer then. (After last night I still couldn’t quite face wine.)
Mrs FB then cooked us a lovely BBQ in the van. (it was too dry to have a real BBQ, we’d have set the field on fire.) it must have been nice because Hattie ate most of it.
After our meal, we all set off for the steam fair and exhibitors party. All except Gar who was off to do a taxi run and wouldn’t be back until Sunday PM. Chris Ball also left as he had other commitments on the Sunday. You could tell they didn’t want to go as Gar got into the car and those sad doleful eyes looked back at us to say goodbye. Hattie looked fed up too but she’s a Basset Hound and they always look like that.
If you look closely, you might see a Fatbloke.
You could tell Gar didn’t organise this trip. For the 3rd day running dawned another perfect summers day. In fact it was still “Bloody Hot” to quote the Standard British Temperature scale.
Sunday is THE busy day of the show with every exhibitor space crammed to overflowing and Muggles a-plenty. Our stand was no exception - we had 13 cars and a caravan on display.
We were joined by Andy Perman in his VDP, John Malley in his Piper, which is true dedication driving a car with no opening windows on a day like that. Mark Wilson and his E-Type Jaguar also arrived along with Windy Woodward, Berbo and Ian’s son Johnathon in the Zephyr. The real surprise however, was the special vehicle they were towing but I’ll keep you in suspense about that for now.
Phil Rendle and his Morris Traveller managed to find our pitch this time and bought his mate and fellow EBMV member, Scott Morris and his Tahiti Blue Triumph 2500S Estate. Dave Britton was also on the stand with his rather stunning Rover P5B. Along with Steve Roberts and his MG Metro, This was the 1st live EBMV meet that these 4 chaps had attended, So I hope you all had fun and will be joining us again in the future.
The Woodwards wanted to be with us all weekend but Ian’s daughter decided that she would get married this weekend and, rather selfishly I thought, wouldn’t move the date for us. But it was really great that they came down for the Sunday. It wouldn’t have been the same without them and we wouldn’t have got to see the “Special” that Ian towed down.
Well what can I say? Out of all the fantastic oily stuff that was on display it was this that got my attention. It doesn’t really fit into either of our groups but WOW! I was even allowed the honour of driving it around show field and I was amazed at the out and out power of this single seater. All right! All right! I’ll tell you! It’s a Pihslang 888NR with a 2.5 motor. Never heard of it? No, me neither but click below to reveal this awesome vehicle.
Ok, OK, its a 2.5 KW motor. What can I say, I couldn’t resist it. Sorry. When I heard Ian was bringing this, I wanted to decorate it with tin cans on string, ribbons and a “Just Farted” sign instead of “Just Married” but Mrs FB thought it would be poor taste to mock the afflicted. (I guess she doesn’t know us that well does she?) I hope you get well really soon Ian and the Pihslang can be laid up safely for future generations to admire.
Another great day was had by all as we deep-fried ourselves in sun tan oil. It really was a great show with great people. You can’t really describe the size and variety of this show other than to say that there really is something for everybody and if you’re coming next year, you will need more than one day to see it all.
Because of the traffic problems leaving the show last year, The Allins, Gar and I elected to stay on another night and leave on Monday morning. The organisers had even laid on a party with live music and cheaper beer. Unfortunately all the vintage fair and steam engines had already been packed away and only one food outlet was still open, so we had a nice baguette and a chat and watched another sunset.
To quote a rather clever chap, “WOW! THAT WAS AWESOME!. What a weekend. This is, my opinion, the best static show that we attend as a group and that I have ever been to.” [Me, at the top of the page. EBMV 2018]
Huge thanks to all those that supported me on our stand you all really made the weekend special and I hope you had as much fun as I did.
SVTEC (the organisers) have already announced that they will be back next year on 2nd to 4th August 2019 so put the date in your diaries and keep an eye on our events section for more details. I will be doing my damnedest to get us another stand at this show.
Finally, It wouldn’t be an EBMV event without a photo of our beloved Fat Controller eating now would it?
Well thanks for bearing with me through yet another Blog. Poppy and I will be off on our adventures again on our group’s Steamships and Scrumpy tour this weekend. Please join us if you can we’d love to see some new faces in real life.
All the best.
Poppy and Fatbloke.
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