2PM Friday found Poppy, a pile of cleaning products and me on the drive and preparations to attend our flagship meet at Gaydon began. This may have given you the impression that I was preparing for a concourse competition but I’d better assure you that this was most certainly not the case. The process mainly involved scraping off the dead bugs left over from Crich and a wipe over with a bottle of instant shine.
I then spent the rest of the evening baking my award winning lemon drizzle cake. Did I tell you I won an award for my lemon drizzle cake?
Gar was setting up at 9AM and I said I would help, so I set off ridiculously early to meet up with Chris and Johnny (his MG) before heading off on the same route as we had taken for Coventry last November. Now, I’d watched the BBC weather forecast before setting off and although it was fair then, they suggested that we might come across some rain on the way up so I’d left my roof up. However, I arrived at Chris’s to discover him taking his roof down. I received a fair bit of abuse at this point for being a softy so I folded my hood and fitted the cover. Then had to wait another 20mins while Chris continued, and continued to stow his hood and we joked about whether we would get past Moreton in the Marsh this time. (you may remember from My Coventry blog that this is where Johnny’s starter motor exploded in a shower of sparks.)
Eventually we set off, neatly dodging the horrendous queues for the Fairford air show and enjoying fairly bright weather. Turning north onto the A429 though, revealed a skyscape of heavily laden black rainclouds. Chris and I exchange a glance. Mine proclaimed “I Bl**dy told you so” and his was a rather sheepish grin.
We pressed on briskly as it’s a fantastic road for brisk classic motoring is the A429. If you haven’t already, treat yourself and give it a go. Then it started to rain. Only a few spots at first, so we kept going with our roofs down. Then it started to rain hard enough to require the wipers to be deployed but still we pressed on. You see, I’d discovered that as long as I didn’t slow down below “brisk” I kept rather dry. Yes, there was quite a bit of rain now on the windscreen but tucked down behind Poppy’s high windscreen, the cockpit and I remained surprisingly dry. I did get a bit damp when forced to slow for traffic through Stow but as we sped up again the problem went away.
The rain continued to get harder and still we pressed on. We had resorted to headlamps and wipers now and we were starting to get pitying looks from other motorists. As we were coming up to Moreton in the Marsh I started to wonder why the wipers weren’t clearing the rain as efficiently as they had been, before realising that there were now rain drops on the inside so as we would have to slow down through the village, I decided that perhaps we ought to stop and put the hoods up. We pulled into the same petrol station that Johnny had broken down in last time and I’m sure I saw two strapping passers-by turn around and walk quickly.
As I got out of my car, I glanced across at Chris and realised that he sits a bit higher in his car than I do in mine and hadn’t been receiving the same protection as me. He was soaked! What’s left of his hair was plastered down on his head and water was dripping off his glasses, ears and nose. I’m afraid I laughed… a lot… and had to take a picture.
The rest of the trip passed without incident as we dried out under our snugly fitted hoods. Although Johnny’s headlamp bulb blew as we were driving through Halford but I forgot to tell Chris until back at work on Tuesday.
There were two other shows at the British Motor Museum. The Institute of Advanced Motorists were celebrating their 60th anniversary and had a car from each of those 60 years. It was a really interesting display and there was also some modern MG thing as well so the show areas were filling up fast. We found our spot despite the marshals and were greeted by cries of “Oh Look! From The Brookes brothers and our very own fat controller. We parked up on the front row and started to help set up and then I took up my duties of “even fatter assistant controller” as all our wonderful members turned up with their wonderful cars and lots and lots of cake. (We really are going to have to get a bigger admin table!)
My duties as “Even fatter assistant controller” mainly consisted of drinking the fruit juice and eating the breakfast pastries that Gar had provided.
However, as we were setting up, a breakdown truck arrived and parked right at the front of our display area and unloaded a nice looking Lotus Eclat which joined the IAM display. When he didn’t return to move the breakdown truck I went over to ask him to do so. He rather crossly informed me that he couldn’t as it had broken down. Apparently, it was wrong to laugh and say “Wow. That is bad luck. First the Lotus and then the breakdown truck?” Whilst beating me around the head with his flat cap he rudely informed me that the Lotus hadn’t broken down, he always trailers it to shows.
My other low point was striding up to a party of people that were leaving our area and informing them that they had to pay a fiver to park their car in our display. On discovering that they were muggles looking around and hadn’t parked their car in ours or any other show area, I smiled sheepishly and sidled away to hide.
The rest of our meet was fantastic as always. You really are a very nice bunch of people with an incredibly eclectic mix of wonderful cars. Everything from everyman cars such as Heralds, Allegros Marinas and Escorts to exotic Jensons, Pipers, Bristols and E Types, all parked up side by side with their owners chatting happily without a hint of snobbery. I have to say that our shows are the first ones I’ve been to where I don’t have to worry about being made to feel like the poor relation. I loved it. And even the Stig turned up!
Awards were given to John Malley and his Piper as the attending members favourite car and BL Dan choose Jonathan Bennett’s fine Allegro estate wearing its battle scars with pride as his favourite BL car of the show.
Highlights for me were the Granada hearse with the super woofer speakers on the coffin bed. And Rich Philpot’s superb Herald Coupe which meant that for the first time at an EBMV meet, Poppy wasn’t the only Herald in the village and had a friend for the day.
I particularly liked the Supermarine Spitfire Flypast at about 2PM. Well done for organising that Gar! And, of course, Apollo.
The Museum is a great venue too. My favourite part was upstairs in the collections centre. It was an Aladins cave of motoring delights, prototypes, safety testing platforms and other oddities.
Unfortunately, due to irritating distractions such as eldest daughter’s BA Hons graduation and youngest daughter’s final dance show before going off to Study for a BA (Hons) in Contemporary Dance at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire, I was unable to get a weekend pass and couldn’t attend the pre and post show camping. However, I almost feel I was there as those that were, took great delight in letting me know what I was missing. Even down to the last of my “award winning” Lemon Drizzle cake which was “liberated” for the campers by the Brooks Brothers!
I did however have a fantastic time driving in a spirited fashion back home…. With the roof down!
Big Thanks to our very own Fat controller, Gar Cole for organising yet another great Day and a special mention for BL Dan Bysouth our very own genuine BL expert and all round good egg and a very nice chap. It was an honour to meet you BL Dan along with so many other nice people from the group. I feel that I ought to apologise to the Honourable John Simpson too, as I may have got a bit star struck when I met him and mumbled incoherently.
See you next time fine People.
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